Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Selective Memory Sidney Crosby Hasn't Forgotten His Recent Medical History, but Does Not Dwell on What Might Have Been; Instead, He Is Enjoying Full Health and Concentrating on His and His Team's Immediate Future

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Selective Memory Sidney Crosby Hasn't Forgotten His Recent Medical History, but Does Not Dwell on What Might Have Been; Instead, He Is Enjoying Full Health and Concentrating on His and His Team's Immediate Future

Article excerpt

Sidney Crosby is experiencing a bit of memory loss.

And that's good news. Very good news.

For Crosby. For the Penguins. For anyone who felt cheated when a guy many regard as the world's finest player was limited to 22 games the past two-plus years by a concussion, a neck injury and a labor dispute.

And, while Crosby remains keenly aware of all that went on during the lockout that shut down the NHL from mid-September until early January, he can't recall exactly when he last had to visit a specialist because of the concussion and neck injury that kept him in street clothes so often since the first week of 2011.

Can't remember when he experienced any symptoms associated with those medical issues, either. It has been that long.

Fact is, the biggest problem Crosby has had for months has been a lack of opportunities to play in games, and that will be remedied when the Penguins visit Philadelphia Saturday afternoon in their regular-season opener.

He didn't need the extra time off created by the lockout to complete his recovery, but being forced to tread water through fall and much of winter further stoked his competitive fires, which burn blue-hot even under usual circumstances.

Mentally, he seems as focused as he is motivated.

Physically, he is better than he has been since the night of Jan. 1, 2011, when then-Washington forward David Steckel drove a forearm into his head during the Winter Classic at Heinz Field. And, Crosby said recently, that's better than both times he returned to the lineup last season after extended absences.

"I'm much better, as far as just conditioning and everything," he said. "I haven't played a game, so I can't tell you that, but just my strength and speed and all that stuff, I feel a lot closer to where I need to be than I was last year.

"Last year, I thought I was kind of at that point when I came back, but, realistically, I probably wasn't. I needed some time to train and get used to all the things you're used to doing [when you're] skating every day and doing all that stuff. That year, year- and-a-half, it was tough to kind of keep everything together."

There still are occasions, he said, when he experiences things some might construe as aftershocks from his injuries but that actually are attributable to the rigors of playing the game for so many years. …

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