Sidney Crosby donning the team's alternate classic jersey.
Crosby took shots to the head in back-to-back games in January 2011, and has struggled with concussions and concussion-like symptoms for over a year.
The Penguins superstar returned 20 games into the 2011-12 season and accumulated 12 points in eight games. His return halted when his concussion symptoms returned, perhaps due to an elbow from David Krejci.
“Sid the Kid” has been back in action since March 2012. Since then, he hasn’t missed a beat.
Here are three ways Crosby is proving he’s over his concussion problems.
Crosby takes an offensive zone faceoff against the Devils.
The faceoff is one of the trickier facets in the game of hockey.
The Penguins went and brought in Brandon Sutter to be a key faceoff man on the third line. Even with Suter becoming a go-to faceoff guy, Crosby still stands out as the team's best in the circle.
Because of the timing and focus involved in taking a faceoff, no one would have blamed Crosby if his win percentage dropped after all the headshots he’s taken. That’s not the case—he’s as good as ever at taking draws.
He’s won at least half of his faceoffs in all but two games this season. In the Feb. 10 game against the New Jersey Devils, Crosby was held scoreless but did manage to win almost 80 percent of his faceoffs.
Crosby's game, while the scoresheet might not always show it, adapts to contribute whatever the Penguins need from him.
So even though his head has been rattled a few times over the past two years, Crosby's mental focus on the ice hasn't waned a bit.
Crosby's ability to create plays has played a major part in winning scoring titles.
Before his concussion, Crosby was one of hockey’s best playmakers. After his concussion issues, nothing has changed.
After returning to action for good at the tail end of last season, Crosby averaged just over one assist per game. With 17 helpers in 16 games, he’s on pace for doing the same this season.
Crosby has Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz on each side of him. Both men have had multiple-goal games this year, proving they’re as adept at finishing plays as Crosby is at setting them up.
Then there's the talent Crosby skates with on the man advantage—James Neal, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. Crosby has snipers lined up all over the ice, making the Penguins’ power play among the most dangerous in the NHL.
It took Crosby no time to reassert himself as one of the league’s most elite playmakers—both when he returned from injury and when he came into the 2013 season after months without a competitive game.
Not only does Crosby’s ability to create plays show he’s over his concussion, it’s as if that aspect of his game was never affected.
Crosby celebrates scoring a goal.
When Crosby returned briefly before being sidelined again, he netted two goals and helped on two more in the Penguins’ 5-0 win over the New York Islanders.
However, he only had an assist in his return to action in March. He eventually found his timing and finished the season with eight goals in 22 games.
After spending the lockout representing the NHL Players’ Association in labor negotiations, it took Crosby a little while to get his timing down pat for the abbreviated season. It wasn’t until his third game that he finally found the back of the net.
It didn’t take long for his timing to click again. Since that third game of the season, Crosby has scored six more goals—including one two-goal night.
Crosby’s playmaking skills were seemingly unaffected by his injury, but his timing took a little while to come back. Regardless, Crosby is just as capable of putting the puck in the net as he is making the pass that turns into a goal.
For someone who has missed so much ice time between an injury and the lockout, Crosby looks as good as ever—hardly showing any signs of a concussion.