Sidney Crosby, who has missed the past 10 months with a concussion, may return to the Penguins lineup this Friday versus the Dallas Stars.
Crosby, the Penguins captain and among the biggest stars the National Hockey League has to offer, suffered two hard hits to the head last January -- one in the New Year's Day Winter Classic against the Washington Capitals, and one a few days later against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Rumors are hotly circulating that Crosby will play Friday, but the forward said he doesn't know yet.
I guess [people who anticipate a Friday return] know more than I do, because I haven't really thought about it, Crosby said to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma was equally non-committal.
We are not waiting for an epiphany to make a decision, Bylsma said, according to the Dallas Morning News. He's progressing. He's going down that road. I'll reiterate to you again, there is not a timetable or a date right now that we know and you don't. He's continuing to practice with the team. He got back out there [on the ice] after the weekend, and he'll to continue to practice with the team this week.
Crosby's injury and subsequent long recovery have created a heated debate about player safety and hits to the head in professional hockey. Other players have suffered concussions, but the loss of one of the games more marketable players for such a long period of time caused some commentators to push for rule changes banning any hit to the head.
Crosby himself got into the debate in September, saying the hits should be removed from the game.
As a league, as a union, I think we've all educated ourselves a lot in the last six or seven months, he said, according to the Toronto Sun. I think it can go further. At the end of the day I don't think there's a reason not to take [headshots] out.