Sidney Crosby: Pro and Cons of Penguins Star Playing Overseas During NHL Lockout

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent ISeptember 16, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13:  Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins meets with the media following the NHLPA meeting at Marriott Marquis Times Square on September 13, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has been one of the leaders for the NHLPA during the entire CBA process, and he has shown that he's committed to helping the players get a good deal.

Speaking of commitment, how committed is Crosby to playing overseas during the lockout?

Crosby has yet to make a decision on where/if he will play in Europe during the current work stoppage, but the best move for his NHL career—and the future of the Penguins—would be for Crosby to rest during the lockout.

A shortened season could benefit Crosby because he wouldn't have to go through a full 82-game schedule, and he would be able to have a few extra months to build up his physical strength.

That doesn't mean he can't skate and play in some local leagues, but playing competitively in a league such as the KHL could be disastrous.

Let's look at the pros and cons of Crosby playing overseas during the lockout.


Pro: Crosby Can Help NHL Brand Grow Internationally

Having a major Canadian star of Crosby's stature play overseas and help elevate the NHL's brand recognition in Europe would be a real positive for the league.

As one of the most popular and talented players in the world, Crosby has a commercial appeal that few players can match.

Succeeding overseas could also help Crosby boost his marketability for future endorsements in Europe.


Con: Crosby Could Get Hurt, Put NHL Career in Jeopardy

The worry for Crosby playing overseas is that he could get hurt, and as a result, his NHL career, and the future success of the Penguins franchise, could be ruined.

When Crosby came back to the NHL last season, not too many players were willing to check him very hard. Would players overseas show Crosby the same deference and respect? Probably not as much as NHL players would. This is something Crosby has to consider when making his decision.

The risk of getting hurt overseas is too big for Crosby. His NHL career is too important.


Pro: Crosby Would Make a Lot of Money Overseas

Since Crosby could lose some or all of his $7.5 million salary depending on how many games we miss this season due to the lockout, the Penguins star could make up any lost salary by playing overseas.

Crosby probably doesn't need the money, though, since he has made $36 million in salary over the past four years, and he does well through endorsements.

But the chance to make a lot of money overseas might be too good to pass up.


Con: Insurance for Crosby's NHL Contract Would Be Quite Expensive

After signing a 12-year, $104.4 million contract earlier this summer, Crosby would have to get insurance on that contract if he ever wanted to play overseas during the lockout.

Given his injury history, such insurance could be very expensive, so it would be wise for Crosby to stay put.


Pro: Crosby Going Overseas May Force Owners to Get a Deal Done

If Crosby were to go overseas, perhaps many of the league's other stars would join him. In that case, the owners may get worried and make a stronger effort to get a new CBA done.

Even though the KHL isn't as physical as the NHL, there's always a chance of injury when playing competitive hockey at that level, and the owners won't want multiple stars from their own teams risking their NHL careers by playing overseas.

Having the face of the NHL leave North America to play overseas would be tough for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, and his ego, to take.