Sidney Crosby: Pittsburgh Penguins Captain Addresses Rumors, Symptoms

James ConleyContributor IIIJanuary 13, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 23:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins gets ready to take a face off against the St. Louis Blues on November 23, 2011 at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. St. Louis defeated Pittsburgh 2-1 in overtime.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Sidney Crosby skated alone for 27 minutes following the Penguins pre-game skate in Florida Friday morning ahead of an evening matchup with the surprising third-place Panthers.

Crosby confirmed that he is still experiencing some light and occasional symptoms but that he is progressing slowly and will continue visiting concussion specialists Ted Carrick and Mickey Collins in his recovery.

Penguins Report has the full transcript of Sid's comments available online.

The press conference was some of the first news regarding Crosby that the team has made public in the month since sustaining his last concussion in December during a puck battle with David Krejci.

News about Crosby's status (or the lack thereof) spun most of the media into a headline-grabbing frenzy. An excellent Friday column from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Dejan Kovacevic confirmed a few things that had somehow come into question, including the possibility that Sid was able to play and choosing not to. Kovacevic wrote:

He isn't fine. Not yet, anyway. He's still experiencing trouble with balance, and he isn't sure why. He doesn't even know if it's related to a concussion. More than anything, he's exasperated by a lack of answers.

Many wondered loudly whether Crosby was indeed cleared to play and staying publicly mum on the matter. Head coach Dan Bylsma has begun every media scrum for the last month by stating there is no change in Crosby's status. Still, six-game losing streaks create angst. The questions became louder and came from all angles.

More from Kovacevic:

"It's preposterous to even type such a thing, but sadly—and stupidly—there are people accusing Crosby of skipping out on playing, both in the public and in the Penguins' locker room. Ray Shero actually felt the need to address it Thursday, saying, 'This is a player [who's] not medically cleared to play.'"

There was even talk of a rift between the "Crosby Camp," or Sid's agent Pat Brisson and father Troy, who works closely with Sid and the Penguins organization. Before the Friday presser, Kovacevic put that rumor to bed as well.

Crosby's father and his agent do keep close tabs on him, and that rubs some the wrong way. But my understanding is that the issues between those men and the team have been hugely overblown.

There was word that several Penguins had privately discussed a temporary captaincy in the midst of Sid's indefinite absence and the Pens' indefinite losing streak. Friday morning, Penguins players skated with homemade, friction-tape "C" pasted to the top-right corners of their jerseys in a show of solidarity for Crosby.

Only two players didn't wear the patchwork "C": Crosby, who skated alone after the practice, and Evgeni Malkin, whose "K" represented the Cyrillic character for "C."

Crosby himself addressed most of the aforementioned issues during his presser, even taking an uncharacteristic, overdue dig at those in the media who blew the situation out of proportion.

It’s tough to even answer it because it’s so far-fetched. I would say that I’m not surprised that it’s when we’ve lost five or six in a row. If we would have won five in a row, I don’t think any of that stuff would have started. And let’s be honest, the Steelers are out and the Penguins are what there is to talk about.

That is not a quote that Sidney Crosby offers. Ever.

His acknowledgment of the losing streak as a culprit in the unrest is a direct answer for the media and fan angst that has grown in Pittsburgh during the course of the two-week, six-game losing skid.

That he was willing to address the matter head-on and that the Penguins were willing to make a very loud proclamation of their solidarity and support of Sid in the midst of so much scrutiny and misinformation is a great sign.

The Pens need something to galvanize themselves around. Even with so many injuries to so many key players, a lack of focus and diminishing confidence have been very visible in each of the last six losses.

Against Washington on Wednesday, the Penguins played with a purpose and just couldn't catch a break.

Given Friday's events, they should have received the extra shot in the arm they need to pounce on the Panthers, end the slide and restore some normalcy to Penguin land.

Normalcy is what is needed in the midst of so many injuries, losses and media irresponsibility. If the standings are any indication, the team needs to get back to winning.

If Sid's comments are any indication, we all need to get back some proper perspective.

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