As the prospect of saving the NHL season fades with each passing day, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has been giving more consideration to playing in Europe. Should he go overseas, the KHL would not be an ideal place.
"You know what? It's a lot more possible right now,” Crosby told Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I probably hadn't thought about it quite as much as I have the past few days.”
As if this didn’t give appropriate insight into the nature of the recent bargaining talks, Crosby added that things “aren’t looking too good.”
Let’s hope that Crosby is looking into leagues other than the KHL.
It would be different if Metallurg Magnitogorsk wasn’t already maxed out with three NHL players on their roster. Getting the chance to play with teammate Evgeni Malkin could have done wonders in keeping Crosby on top of his game.
Also, a KHL meeting between Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin is something for hockey fans to drool over.
If he isn’t able to skate alongside Malkin, playing in the KHL isn’t worth the risk for Crosby. He’d be much better off taking his talents to a less physical league.
After all, Crosby’s next concussion could be his last. It would be tragic, to say the least, if he suffered a career-ending injury playing abroad during the lockout.
The Post-Gazette article noted that Crosby’s agent has been speaking to clubs in Switzerland, among other nations.
Crosby would be a good fit in a Swiss team. His quick skating and flashy offense have always been cornerstones of his game. He’d have a lot to contribute to the free-flowing style of Swiss hockey.
Even more importantly, he’ll be challenged in both of those areas. It will be interesting to see how Crosby keeps up with Swiss skaters.
In addition, defense in Swiss hockey may test Crosby’s puck handling and shooting skills. Considering that they’re two of his fortes, having to adapt to take on a different defensive style will help him as a player.
Traveling abroad to take on a different crop of hockey players has a lot to offer to any player looking to become the best he can be.
Switzerland’s free-flowing offensive style could lead to Crosby finding some like-minded players. If that’s the case, he could end up bringing some new tricks home with him.
No matter where he ends up, he’ll be staying sharper than if he were to stick around for the CBA negotiations.
It goes without saying that Crosby has a lot to offer to any hockey squad. As the face of the NHL, he’d bring a lot of attention to any team he signs with.
So long as he doesn’t get hurt, taking his services to Europe would benefit the Penguins, too. Whenever the NHL and NHLPA reach an agreement, the Pens would certainly rather have a sharp Crosby in the lineup.
By staying put, Crosby risks burnout from the labor negotiations.
If and when he decides to play in Europe for the time being, Crosby would fit in much better in Switzerland than he would Russia—in addition to being safer from injury in a less physical league.