Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Sidney Crosby Defends Decision to Skip Hockey World Championship: Crosby Defends Skipping World Championship

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Sidney Crosby Defends Decision to Skip Hockey World Championship: Crosby Defends Skipping World Championship

Article excerpt

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Sidney Crosby is strongly defending his decision to not play for Canada in the upcoming World Hockey Championship, saying he needs to go through the full summer of preparation he missed because of a concussion last year.

While Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Evgeni Malkin will play for Russia -- "Really, I don't have a choice," Malkin said -- Crosby declined Tuesday an invitation to play for Team Canada in Helsinki and Stockholm from May 4-20.

"Typically, I'd be there in a second, but this isn't a normal situation and this isn't me trying to hide away from the world championships," said Crosby. "I love playing for Team Canada."

Crosby was surprised to hear that some Canadians are upset with his decision. He last played for his homeland in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, when he scored the overtime goal that carried Canada past the United States in the gold-medal game.

"Anyone who is questioning that right now obviously doesn't know me or aren't thinking right," Crosby said. "I mean, I don't have anything to say about that."

But because he has missed so much playing time to concussion-related issues over the last two seasons -- 101 games, plus the 2011 playoffs -- Crosby said it is very important for him to have a healthy, regular summer of preparation. He has not played a full NHL season since 2009-10.

"I feel pretty good. (But) the last year and a half has been tough," Crosby said. "It's been tough to stay healthy. I think the best thing to do is to give myself a full summer for to get ready for next year and have a full season."

Crosby, widely considered to be hockey's premier player at the time, was leading the NHL scoring race with 66 points in 41 games when he sustained a season-ending concussion in January 2011.

Because of ongoing concussion-related symptoms -- spatial issues, headaches and sensitivity to bright light and loud noise -- Crosby could do little off-season training until late last summer. He was banned from contact for most of training camp, then missed the first 20 games of the season before returning with a spectacular two-goal, two-assist effort against the New York Islanders on Nov. …

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