Sidney Crosby monitors options

The possibility of Sidney Crosby embarking on a European hockey odyssey is becoming more realistic with each passing day of the NHL lockout.

But while he is monitoring the situation, he says there's certainly no set date on any decision in that regard.

"There's no real timeline, I think it's just trying to get a pulse on what's going on (on the labor front), and that's been hard to do," the Pittsburgh Penguins superstar told ESPN.com over the phone late Tuesday night after arriving in Phoenix, where he's joining other NHLers for scrimmages this week.

"At the end of the day, I'm a hockey player and I love to play," Crosby said. "Don't get me wrong, I don't mind practicing, but I've been practicing a lot for the last couple of years. I just want to play. If there's nothing really happening as far as getting a deal done, then it becomes much more important to play games and finding out where that makes sense."

Crosby spoke about his options, including Europe, with agent Pat Brisson on Monday night.

"Sidney is seriously looking at his options in Europe," Brisson told ESPN.com on Tuesday. "He needs and wants to play hockey. It will be difficult to go all year without playing after what he's gone through the last two years. Over the next few days I'm going to make more calls and continue to explore Sidney's options."

The NHL and NHL Players' Association are set to meet with mediators Wednesday and perhaps Thursday.

"I'm trying to still be optimistic, and hopefully that's something that will maybe be a turning point," Crosby said. "It's something that at least forces both sides to be in a room together and at least talk. That in itself hasn't been easy to do lately. I'm hoping (mediation) makes a difference."

Crosby has been outspoken during this lockout and involved at times in the process, flying into New York and Toronto over the past two months for a couple of bargaining meetings and jumping on players' calls.

He said the whole ordeal has been tough to take.

"As a player you just want to understand what's going on," Crosby said. "The process has been the most frustrating part. You want to believe that every day there's communication and everybody is trying to get it done, but the way it's gone with the periods of not talking, that's not very encouraging. Especially when we know with every day we miss, it's hurting everyone. We need to figure it out. I know having mediators involved is something Don (Fehr) brought up a month ago, from the players' side that's something we were hoping would happen if things didn't go well. I'm glad both sides agreed to it."