Rangers close gap on Penguins in Atlantic
Sidney Crosby at a press conference discussing his concussion in early September. Reuters

The Pittsburgh Penguins made it official Monday: Sidney Crosby will miss at least the first week of the 2011-12 NHL season with lingering concussion symptoms.

Crosby has been placed on injured reserve, the team announced Monday. Crosby, a former NHL Most Valuable Player and heralded by many as the best player in the game, has skated and participated in light drills with the Penguins during training camp. However, he has not yet been cleared for contact.

Crosby suffered a concussion in January that ended his season prematurely. The Penguins begin their season Thursday at Vancouver, but Crosby will not be eligible to return to the lineup until Oct. 13. Pittsburgh's home opener against the Florida Panthers is Oct. 11, ensuring that Crosby will also miss that game.

Crosby appeared in only half of the Penguins' games last season, but still led the team in points with 66. He did not play following a Jan. 5 hit from the Tampa Bay Lightning's Victor Hedman.

The move to the injured reserve list was expected, but not official until Monday. After Saturday's practice, Crosby told reporters he did not think he would play in the Penguins' opener Thursday.

No. I wouldn't expect it, no, he said.

After that same practice, both Penguins coach Dan Bylsma and general manager Ray Shero also said Crosby would not play in the opener.

On Saturday, Crosby told reporters he expected to travel with the Penguins on their opening road trip. This slate includes stops in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.

Though he is eligible to return on Oct. 13, that option is not likely. Crosby has yet to be cleared for contact, and there will likely have to be a period after that clearance for another clearance - the clearance to play.