The Official Web Site of the Pittsburgh Penguins
Pens e-News Service Twitter Icon Facebook Icon SMS Icon Pens Mobile App Icon PensTV Icon YouTube Icon Pinterest Icon Pens e-News Service
 

Crosby Media Conference Transcript: 9/7/11

Wednesday, 09.07.2011 / 7:08 PM / Features
Pittsburgh Penguins
X
Share with your Friends


Crosby Media Conference Transcript: 9\/7\/11
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, general manager Ray Shero and Dr. Michael Collins and Dr. Ted Carrick held a media conference Wednesday to address Crosby's recovery from a concussion. Here is the full transcript of what they had to say.



OPENING STATEMENTS



Opening statement from Penguins GM Ray Shero:


Good afternoon everyone, and thank you for attending today. Before we begin, I just want to say on behalf of the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, we want to extend our sincerest condolences to the players, coaches and staff members of the Yaroslavl hockey team of the KHL in Russia who died today in a tragic plane crash. The thoughts and prayers of the Penguins, the NHL family and the entire hockey world are with you during this difficult time.

Opening statement from Dr. Michael (Micky) Collins, Director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program – Pittsburgh

I wanted to take some time in opening this in actually describing what a concussion is and how we’ve treated Sid and where Sid has gone with this injury. A concussion is a brain injury. The word ‘concussed’ literally translates from Latin to English to mean ‘to shake violently.’ Think of your brain as an egg yolk inside an egg shell and there’s rotation or acceleration forces that cause the brain to move inside the skull. When that occurs inside our brain, we have billions of cells called neurons, and when the brain moves inside the skull, the neurons will stretch and the certain chemicals that come out of the neurons that shouldn’t come out and certain chemicals go into the neurons that shouldn’t go in. When that occurs, at the end of the day, what a concussion is, is an energy problem within the brain. The brain is starved for energy and its not getting enough supply of energy. We know that brain injuries can cause significant symptoms and significant issues.

I first saw Sid on Jan. 6. At that time, I became involved in Sid’s care. When I saw Sid, he was having very consistent symptoms, consistent with a significant cerebral concussion. He was foggy. What that means is that it’s almost like your high definition TV is like a standard definition TV. It feels like you’re one step behind yourself. It feels like you’re in slow motion. He had headaches. He had fogginess. He had difficulties with fatigue. He had light sensitivity. He had noise sensitivity. He had a hard time thinking. At that point, I evaluated him with a tool called ImPACT, which is a neurocognitive test. His testing showed significant problems with his cognitive functioning. His findings were entirely consistent with what we see with a concussion. At that point in time, when I saw Sid’s profile of symptoms, when I saw the deficits and impact, I knew that we were in for a long recovery. The types of symptoms Sid had initially are exactly the type of symptoms we see that end up taking the longest to recover from concussions. The symptom of fogginess – although it is very hard to describe and very hard to articulate – and very hard to pinpoint and really hard to experience – is the symptom that best predicts when someone is going to have a long-term recovery. So the first time I saw Sid, I knew we were in for the long run with this injury. And quite frankly, I wasn’t, nor am I now, surprised that it’s taken this long for Sid to start improving. And yes, we are seeing significant improvements recently. When I saw Sid, we underwent a rehabilitation program where we introduced physical therapy to help with the type of symptoms that Sid had. The type of concussion that Sid had – and it’s a little complex – but it’s something that we call a vestibular type of concussion. The vestibular system in the brain – the job of that system – is to integrate sensory information. So when you have to keep your head still and move your eyes, or keep your eyes still and move your head, when you’re in a busy environment, when you’re skating down the ice and the boards are moving by or you’re moving by the boards that are at a quicker speed or you have to look down, look up and do turns – that space in motion system is exactly the system that was affected in Sid’s injury. Sid is a Ferrari. His vestibular system is better than anyone else’s. That is why he is the most elite hockey player in the world. That system is where Sid excels at. That system is why Sid is who he is. It makes sense that with where his injury was, it’s going to take a while to rehabilitate this. And we’ve done a very good job of doing that.

I don’t look at concussions as the boogeyman here. I take this as a manageable injury and we’re making progress in Sid’s case, and I anticipate Sid returning to hockey and playing well in the future. But I can guarantee you that we’re not going to make any mistakes in this case. And before Sid goes back to play, we’re going to make sure he’s 100 percent recovered, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Fortunately, we have very good ways of assessing that. We understand what to look at, what systems to look at and measure and assess, and what systems to ask about. We understand the influence of his exertion on those symptoms. We understand what we have to achieve before we can put Sid back in harm’s way and where he’s going to take another hit. When he does, we want to make sure that this is fully resolved. I can tell you that over the course of the summer, we initially rehabilitated Sid to the point where he became more active. He started to skate, was doing well – we got to that 80-90 percent level of exertion, and as he increased his speed playing hockey, as he increased his turns, as he increased his motion, the symptoms started coming back again. At that point – and even with all of the rehab we had done – Dr. Carrick became involved. And Dr. Carrick is an expert in rehabbing these types of injuries and these types of symptoms. And Sid sought out Dr. Carrick and recently Sid has made exceptional progress toward improving and to becoming normal. At this point in time – (Tuesday), actually – I assessed Sid. I hadn’t assessed him for a while. I was able to assess him and do the testing that we do, and I can tell you that his data is the best we’ve seen. It is approaching normal limits. It is not there yet. It’s something that I was extremely encouraged by with the numbers that we saw, that I saw, on ImPACT. I’m very pleased with where he’s at right now from an activity standpoint. Right now, I would classify Sid’s case as we are in reconditioning mode. In order for Sid to go back and play, he needs to be reconditioned 100 percent without having symptoms. So let’s get him reconditioned and see how he does. At that point, if he can recondition and his symptoms are not there, we will then have a systematic process regarding a return to play. There’s no timelines on this. We cannot predict when that’s going to occur. But like I said earlier, I can guarantee you one thing, and that’s we’re going to make sure he is 100 percent normal before he goes back to play.

Opening statement from Dr. Ted Carrick, professor of Clinical Neurology, the Carrick Institute – Cape Canaveral, Fla. Also Distinguished Professor of Neurology, Life University, Marietta, Ga.

I’m here because Sid asked me to be here to discuss with you some of the things that have been going on in his life over the last while. I know you haven’t been kept up to date with a lot of the components. More recently, Sid was referred to me because of his continuing symptoms – fogginess, dizziness, lightheadedness, and inability to do things to his maximum function. We were able to see him at my lab at Life University in Marietta, Ga. We were able to follow up and work with Dr. Collins and his team, and we had a different type of approach where we looked at the physicality. We did specific measurements that allowed us to make a really good diagnostic impression of what was happening inside Sid’s brain.

You all know that your brain allows you to think and to write and to read, and to look at paintings or perhaps paint them. But one thing that the brain does is that it really allows you to know where you are in space and where space is in reference to you. In Sid’s case, that was not exactly correct – that is to say, areas of space were not in an appropriate grid to where he would perceive them. It’s as if you could imagine something to be in your right, but it’s a little bit off of right. We have different types of reflexes. You all have probably had a fall or a slip, and you know if you fall to the right side you’re going to lift your arms out or something to catch yourself from falling. Well, you can imagine if your brain has been injured and that you perceive that you’re falling and you’re not falling, then you can have different reactions of different muscles and different stability factors that make it difficult for you to do certain things. We were able in our lab to quantify this, get some numbers, get some data and then to develop strategies that allowed us to basically build him a new grid. We can change the representation of body parts and environment in the brain. We can do that very, very successfully with different types of strategies. Sid did very, very well. At the present time, he is able now to embrace strategies with a new system where everything is in line. That is to say, where his right hand is perceived is where his right hand is. Where his right leg is perceived to be is where his right leg is. He’s markedly stable. The function that we have between the head, the eyes, the neck is fine, is really absolutely marvelous. The problem we have in Sid’s case and in the cases of other people is that the length of time that he’s had – the aborrhency, if you would – were the disconnection of what his function was has led him into different patterns that now we have to break. Things are working well now, and he’s got to condition himself with these new patterns. When we first saw Sid, different functions didn’t work well at all. Now they do work well and he’s got to get used to them. There’s some other strategies and adjustments to his system that we need to do over the next little while. And I’m very, very thankful.

It’s Christmas, I think, for Sid Crosby and for people that care for him. It’s a very good start. Our treatment of Sid was not only to allow him to return to hockey, but we’re very, very concerned with the state of anybody’s brain when they injure it. And our greatest direction is to ensure that Sid has a very fruitful and positive life – that he can do anything he wishes to do in hockey and after hockey to live the vibrancy and to embrace that kind of activity. As a consequence, with the things that we do in our lab, not only do we see people from around the world with similar difficult problems as Sid, but we’re very much involved in a vitalistic approach to wellness, to prevent such injuries such as having no tolerance for headshots in this game and in other games. If we can put our direction to preventing more injuries such as this and then address the people that do have concussions, then we can make a very, very profound statement that not only can affect the sport of hockey and other sports, but society in general. So we’ve got a long course ahead of us. The incidents of head injury are epidemic. We’re seeing it in young kids, we’re seeing it in old kids and everywhere in between. This case is one of the good outcomes. Some cases are not as good as this one. We’re fortunate today to have technology that allows us to quantify things in ways we only dreamed of yesterday. It’s a good time to have a head injury now compared to a few years ago, but hopefully we won’t have to go through these things in the future.

QUESTIONS



On how Crosby has been mentally over these past eight months of dealing with this, and if he considered retirement at any point during that time:

Crosby: Mentally, I feel good. It’s probably the best I’ve felt, honestly. So I’m really happy with the last three weeks. It’s been really positive. It’s been a tough road. Retirement? No. I think I’ve always thought about the consequences of this injury and making sure I’m smart with it, because at the end of the day that’s the last thing I want. But with that being said, I think no, I didn’t really give a whole lot of thought to that.

On what their definition of contact is and if Crosby has taken any bumps at all, and on what the “Christmas” reference meant that Dr. Carrick made:

Dr. Carrick: The reason for Christmas is that it’s sort of a celebration. This is going to have a very good outcome. Sid shouldn’t have any sequelae, or problems in the future. What we found with our testing is that we have different perturbations. It means that something’s going to knock you off your center. Sid wasn’t able to tolerate small perturbations. He would fall over. So now, he’s able to tolerate great perturbations. So we have the numbers. When you have contact of any sort – whether it be contact with the ice or just contact walking down the road or just contact with another player – that causes a different reaction. So if someone presses against you, you’re going to have reactions of your body specific to where you perceive the contact coming from and actually where you are. When things are askew, then your reaction to that contact is not appropriate. That is to say, someone may push you in this direction, and rather than rotating away from that contact, you might rotate into it. So our therapy is very, very specific into allowing the refinement and development of appropriate responses now that Sid’s on his way to a fuller recovery.

Dr. Collins: I can tell you that we’re going to make sure we introduce contact in a very careful way. We’re not even close to that right now. We need to make sure that Sid is able to recondition fully, without any return to these symptoms. We’re going to measure him with ImPACT and with our testing every step of the way. We’re going to make sure we do this in a systematic, careful way. When he’s ready, we’ll know. I think the prognosis – I agree with Dr. Carrick – the prognosis, first of all, is excellent that Sid will not have any long-term problems from this injury. In fact, I’m supremely confident in that issue. The return to play issue, I’m also equally positive. I think we’ll get there. But we’re not there yet, and we have work to do before we get there.

On if he can regain his vestibular functioning 100 percent, and if his perception in that regard is so high, that it’s hard to diagnose when he’s getting close to 100 percent because his 90 percent might be somebody else’s 100 percent:

Dr. Collins: First of all, I don’t think you could have said it more eloquently. Sid’s 100 percent is different than anyone else’s. That has been a challenge in this case, because he is the Ferrari of hockey players. We have made tremendous progress with this. At this point, Sid is not having any classic vestibular symptoms remaining. All the fogginess, the fatigue, the dizziness, the space in motion issues at this point in time at 70-80 percent of reconditioning have gone away, which is very positive. It is a challenge, because this is not like your usual case. I see these injuries all day, every day, and I see high school kids that have these problems. Their 100 percent is maybe perhaps a little different than Sid’s. That has been a challenge, but I think we’re going to be very in tune to that as we move forward.

Crosby: Yeah, and as far as I’m concerned I think 90 percent is good, but at the same time, if there’s symptoms or if there are things that aren’t right, 90 percent really isn’t good enough. I’m probably putting myself in a position to get hit and probably mess that system up a little bit more. I don’t want to do that. So maybe I could get by with 90 percent. Maybe I couldn’t. But I’m not going to roll the dice on that. I think it’s important to get back to where I need to be. If not, we’ve seen it many times. You’ll get reoccurring issues and I definitely want to stay away from that.

Dr. Collins: We know that outcomes are much better when we achieve that 100 percent, so we’re not going to allow Sid to go back at 90 percent.

On how Crosby amped up his workouts during the playoffs and the difference between then and now, and why Crosby thought he could do what he did at that point, why he had to back off and how he feels now compared to then:

Crosby: I guess it was kind of similar to the summer. As soon as I started to really push myself, a practice is much different than a game. I wasn’t getting hit. I was skating pretty good, but we’re talking about split seconds in hockey and I think people have to realize that too, is that you can look good on the outside – you’re not limping with a concussion – it’s not visible. But as far as timing and things like that, things feeling faster, that’s all part of those symptoms. A lot of those things started to creep back and the fogginess that Micky talked about, the headaches, that kind of thing – as soon as I started to increase exertion and intensity, all of those things seemed to creep back a little bit. It’s not easy to kind of go through that. There’s no guideline. You’ve got to listen to your body, you’ve got to listen to the doctors. Luckily for me, I’ve got a great team of people here that have really helped me. But at the same time, at the end of the day, I know how I feel and I’ve got to make sure that I let them know that.

Dr. Collins: And to answer your question, Sid’s been an incredible patient. He’s been compliant with everything. He’s worked so hard to get better from this. The amount of time he’s done with rehabilitation, the amount of hours we’ve spent together, the amount of phone calls we’ve made – I couldn’t have a better patient with this. And that’s going to help with this outcome, because I think we have a very good dialogue between us. And yeah, he went back and when he got to 80-90 percent (exertion), the symptoms started coming back. So we backed off. It’s as simple as that.

On not hearing any absolutes and if Crosby is willing to say what people are thinking, which is that there remains a possibility that he will never play in the NHL again:

Crosby:
A pretty slight one. I wouldn’t bet on that. But I think that yeah, it’s a scary thing, and I think that we’ve got to be aware of it. I think even for myself, I’ve been much more educated over the last 6, 7 months here with how serious (concussions) are. I think we continue to educate ourselves. But we can have as much education as we want, if concussions are as prominent as they are now, it doesn’t matter how much you know about them, they’re going to be a problem. So I think we’ve got to make steps to help avoid them and not deal with this. But as far as my situation,I’m lucky. I feel like I’m in pretty good shape and on the right end of this right now.

On if he’s preparing for the possibility of never playing in the NHL again in his head:

Crosby: Not whatsoever. Not at all.

On what 80-90 percent exertion means for him, what reaching 100 percent exertion would mean for him, how practices are different than games and what that means for him skating with the team:

Crosby: 80-90 percent is, and I’ve discussed it with the doctors and with Ray Shero and everyone – we talk about that extra gear in hockey. I mean, it’s one thing to be out there skating and to kind of be cruising around. But it’s another thing to really exert yourself fully and to have to turn quick and stop and all these things that we take for granted doing them so much every day, but are pretty taxing on your whole system. I would say, when I say 80-90 percent, I really fatigue myself or really stress those things and I didn’t really respond the right way. As far as with Dr. Collins and communication with the team, that’s something that we’ll see moving forward. I’m not sure how things are going to go, but I would expect at some point, yeah, we’re going to have to introduce contact and that kind of thing. But that’s something that we’ve always kind of worked and communicated closely to figure out what those guidelines are.

On Crosby describing what it was like at the worst point during this injury and what the reoccurrence of symptoms was like mentally for him knowing he wasn’t quite ready, what his life was like and what he could and couldn’t do:

Crosby: As far as the worst part, I would say just probably right away. I didn’t really like driving or watching TV. Even having the radio on in the car, I didn’t want to listen to the radio. I tried to go to a meeting, actually, with our team, about a month in. Just watching video was something that really felt like it was stressing my system. I had to work so hard just to concentrate on that. Those were kind of the worst parts. I had a couple bad migraines, stuff like that. Stuff I hadn’t really experienced before. So I guess that was the toughest part. When things reoccurred, obviously it was frustrating because you feel like you’re making progress. That’s the nature of these things sometimes. You have a few good days and a few bad days. It’s really impossible to predict those kinds of things. All that you can do is kind of put yourself in the right situation to heal and do the right things, but there are still no guarantees sometimes. I know that there is always a want or a need for information on what was going on with me and I understand that. But I’d be telling you a different story every two days. It’s not as easy and not quite as simple as saying that there’s a date and I feel better. It’s a difficult thing to go through, and trust me, I’d love to have answers myself sometimes when I was going through that. But it’s not as easy as that.

On if he was mentally prepared for his injury to take this long to heal and if so or if not, what his level of frustration was when he continued to have symptoms:

Crosby: I think it’s like anything. You can always prepare yourself and think you’re ready, but when you go through it, there are obviously times of frustration. These are things that seem to come so easy, things we do every day that’s not as easy as we think it is sometimes when you’re going through this. I would say yeah, there were different points where I was definitely frustrated and just as positive as you try to be, it definitely takes a toll. It’s mentally draining as it is to go through this. It’s a roller coaster. The only thing is when you talk to guys who have gone through this, it’s nice because you know that they can relate and that they understand and as much as we can sit here and talk about what it’s like, it’s hard to really understand unless you’ve gone through it. I think that’s why the importance of educating people and just making sure that you maybe can’t understand what it’s like, but you can prepare for it and make sure you do that part. I think there are strides and that the education has gotten better, but I think we can still do more.

On if the fact Crosby took two hits made this worse, on what specifically are the steps from here in terms of return to play protocol and if he could complete those steps by Oct. 6:

Dr. Collins: Regarding your first question, as I talked about, this is an extraordinarily difficult injury to assess. The types of symptoms Sid had, although they’re the most harmful and predict the worst outcome in terms of length of recovery, they’re also the hardest to articulate. That first injury – it certainly didn’t help the situation. What I see in clinic everyday is exactly what happened to Sid Crosby. You have repetitive injury without ever being aware there was something going on in the first place and there being no outward signs of there being difficulties going on. This is an invisible injury, a lot of times. It’s just a very complicated, convoluted, cryptic thing to go through. But it took a perfect storm to get in this situation. The types of symptoms Sid had, the biomechanics of the hit, repetitive injury – it just took a perfect storm to get in this situation, but we’re doing well. We’re moving forward.

Is he going to be ready by Oct. 6? I have no earthly idea. There’s a process here that we have to go through, and I’m not putting any timelines on it. Sid’s not putting any timelines on it. The Penguins certainly aren’t putting any timelines on it. I’ve worked with a lot of different organizations with a lot of different athletes that have concussions, and I’ve never seen a group of individuals more committed to making sure this is done right. So it will be done right. And there’s no timelines on it. The process is getting Sid reconditioned, making sure at that 80, 90, 95, 99, 100 percent level of conditioning that Sid doesn’t have a flare up of symptoms. It’s measuring this with ImPACT over time and making sure we’re not seeing any decrements in functioning, that it’s reintroducing light contact and moderate contact and then measuring and assessing the whole way and making sure that the cows are back in the barn. We’ll know as we go. It’s a fluid process.

On Hockey Canada instituting a zero tolerance policy for all headshots in minor hockey and if he thinks the NHL needs to do more about headshots and concussions:

Crosby: I’m totally in agreement with that. I think that’s very important at grassroots. This is what kids are going to know. It’s all they’re going to know when they start playing hockey now. I think as a league, as a union, I think everyone – we’ve all educated ourselves a lot over the last 6, 7 months and really looked at this. Like I said earlier, I think we can go further. I think at the end of the day, I don’t think there’s a reason not to take them out. I read a stat that there was 50,000 hits in a year, and we’re talking about 50 (headshots), maybe. To take those out, the game is not going to change. As players, we’re professionals. The odd time, maybe there’s accidental contact. But for the most part, we can control what goes on out there. For sure, it’s a fast game. But we’ve got to be responsible, too. Guys have got to responsible with their sticks, why shouldn’t they be responsible with the rest of their bodies when he’s going to hit someone. Whether it’s accidental or not accidental, you’ve got to be responsible out there. At the end of the day, it could do a lot more good than what it’s going to take away from the game or possibly take away from the game. It’s great, it’s fast and it’s as physical as it’s probably ever been and it’s just going to get better. But we’ve got to kind of adjust with things too, and I think it’s an important thing to really look at.

On Eric Lindros, Keith Primeau and Marc Savard and if they came back too soon and their opinions on that:

Dr. Collins: I’m not very familiar. It’s something where every case is individualized and different. We know that clearly, an athlete who is not fully recovered has an increased risk of revisitism and worsened outcome. It’s medical fact with this injury. We’re going to avoid that in this situation. We’re going to do the right things. I’m not familiar enough with those cases individually to fully understand the complexities and where they were at when they went back to play.

Dr. Carrick: I haven’t examined either of those people. Really, you can’t comment on the degree of such an injury without a hands-on physical examination.

On Crosby not being listed as injured going into the TBL or MTL game and if he felt an obligation to try to tough through everything initially and then realize it wouldn’t happen, or if it all hit him at once, and if he has any emotion regarding coming back without setting a timetable:

Crosby:
I think, as far as the injury, a lot of things were felt to come from my neck. I had pretty bad whiplash and that’s not uncommon. You get a pretty sore neck sometimes when you get hit and different things happen. That was the thought process. Like Dr. Collins said, these are tough to gauge. We see it so often, so that’s why I think it’s important to be educated about it. But yeah, I think I was feeling a little bit sore in my neck but I didn’t think anything of it. Obviously after the Tampa game, I was feeling some symptoms. At that point I came back here and got evaluated.

On if Crosby thinks it is more likely or unlikely that he will play this upcoming season:

Crosby: Likely.

On if Crosby’s progress becomes substantial enough that he could play, if it will come to the point where there will be no evidence that an injury ever occurred, and if he will be more susceptible to further head injury even if he recovers from this one:

Dr. Collins: Yes, there will be no evidence that this injury is there anymore, or we wouldn’t put him back to play. The brain wants to recover from this. It will recover over time and with the right therapies. It was a more significant event, but we’ll get there. We’re getting there. He’s made tremendous progress. Our research – and many others in this field, and we’ve come a long way with research – understands that if you have full recovery, the outcomes are far less in terms of revisitism and problems reoccurring. And I expect that to occur in this case. I’m very optimistic that we’ll see Sid have a very long and fruitful NHL career.

Dr. Carrick: I think that we’ve got some markers now that we didn’t have before on Sid Crosby and his brain function. Our goal is to make his brain function better than it has been. So hopefully he’ll have a better functioning nervous system than he had before, and certainly we don’t expect any sort of sequalae.

Shero: This is just one thing from the team standpoint, from talking to the doctors and dealing with Sid all summer on this, the 80-90 percent we hear about, he will not return to play until he is 100 percent. Here is a player that is, over my five years with him, has played less than 80 percent with injuries as many athletes do. But there is no 90 percent returning from a concussion. So just to be clear what the team’s standpoint is, and Sid is aware of that, and we’re all on the same page, which has been beneficial to all of us through this whole process.

On what symptoms Crosby is facing right now and where he’s at in terms of his workouts, and how Dr. Collins can guarantee Crosby will make a full recovery to play again when it is such a hard injury to gauge:

Crosby: As far as symptoms go, I’m dealing with a little bit of headaches right now. Trust me, that’s a long ways from where I was in January. Even I can answer a bit of your question for Dr. Collins, too. When you see that type of progression, for me personally, I’m sure Dr. Collins can comment on this, but when you go through all those things and you’re able to see how you’ve progressed and all those different symptoms and how they’re starting to go away, it seems pretty good. So that’s a long ways and I can’t speak for Dr. Collins, but for me personally, I’ve seen that.

Dr. Collins: I agree. If you knew where we were and where we are now, it’s pretty evident that this is tremendous progress. The main thing (for guaranteeing Crosby will make a full recovery to play again) is experience. I see 4,000 cases a year of this injury and put a lot of athletes back to playing and have had very good outcomes from it. I expect no difference here.

On psychotherapy played a big part in Eric Lindros’ recovery from a concussion and if that is something Crosby is incorporating into his and the mental and emotional toll of what he is going through:

Crosby: The whole process is basically that. It takes its toll. At this point, it’s much better. I feel a lot better. There’s no doubt that’s part of the challenge, part of the battle. But I haven’t really talked to anyone in particular, but I’ve been really lucky to have a good support system around me. My family and the team, the group of doctors, the agency, everybody has been unbelievable. It’s important when you’re going through anything in life, whether it’s this or anything else, to have that. I’ve been lucky enough to have that. That’s a big key in anything and getting better. That’s certainly, I think, been a big factor for me.

On the impact on the team with Crosby being the captain and the best player and the options from that standpoint in terms of the roster and what Shero could and couldn’t do considering the uncertainty, and how this impacts Crosby’s role as captain when he can’t be around the team:

Crosby: I think you can lead in a lot of different ways. Sometimes you’re playing bad, but you’re still expected to be a captain. So I think you can show leadership by the way you’re looking at a lot of different things, whether it’s being there for other guys, whether it’s the way you handle yourself or handle the situation. There were days where I’d come to the rink and I didn’t feel great, but I didn’t want to sit there and mope around and feel sorry for myself. I had to be there and be supportive and be optimistic and positive. That’s a day-to-day thing and that doesn’t change. It’d be easy to change that if you’re playing bad or things aren’t going well, but that’s part of being a captain and I understand that responsibility. I feel like I can still show leadership and be there for each and every one (of the guys) the same way as if this didn’t happen.

Shero: Just from the team standpoint, there’s no replacing Sidney Crosby as we know. We look forward to Evgeni Malkin’s healthy return, Jordan Staal having a healthy training camp. Going back to last year with Sidney, he’s the captain of our hockey team. Even after his injury, he was a go-to guy for me in terms of getting his feedback, no differently than the other year in terms of the team. That’s a general manager-captain relationship, I think, that you have to have. As we know, during the stretch run of the playoffs, he helped the coaching staff and was in the press box helping out in that respect, but he’s definitely a better player than coach. So we’re looking forward to having him back and as I’ve said before, he will be worth the wait. He won’t be rushed. As we sit here today, we’re very pleased with his progress and we thank everybody for attending.
CONSOL ENERGY CENTER EVENTS
Founding Partners CONSOL Energy Center CONSOL ENERGY PNC Wealth Management UPMC FedEx Ground Verizon Dick's Sporting Goods 84 Lumber American Eagle Outfitters Highmark