Sadly, concussions remain the top headline for the first half of the NHL season. Several standouts have recovered, but several more remained shelved with post-concussion syndrome.
Here is an update:
Sidney Crosby, Penguins: The good news on Sid the Kid is he is continuing his light exercise work. The bad news: His concussion symptoms are lingering. Doctors first diagnosed him with a concussion nearly a year ago, on Jan. 6. After sitting out more than 10 months, Crosby returned to action on Nov. 21 and played eight games. But recurring problems forced him off the ice again and he has not played since Dec. 5.
Chris Pronger, Flyers: The battered Philly defenseman will sit out the rest of the regular season and postseason with severe concussion symptoms. Pronger, 37, has been sidelined since Nov. 19. Given all that he has been through, retirement has to be an option, right? On the plus side, Philly got top gun Claude Giroux and young gun Brayden Schenn back from their concussions.
Kris Letang, Penguins: His concussion symptoms have begun lessening, but he still hasn’t resumed skating. He last played on Nov. 26. Until he is able to resume skating a full speed, the team won’t be able to project a ballpark return date.
Jeff Skinner, Hurricanes: Could this offensive catalyst miss the rest of the season? New Carolina coach Kirk Muller had no opinion on that. “It's really in the hands of the doctors," Muller told the Raleigh News & Observer. “Until he goes to them and gets results it's pretty much step by step. It's not like a shoulder (injury) where it's a three-week thing and you can pretty much calculate it. "I don't know. I get reports day to day and I'll just find out how he is. ... It'd be great to have him back but it's really in the hands of (the doctors).”
Andy McDonald, Blues: He has resumed skating for the Blues, but only for exercise purposes at this point. His next step will be to return to practice. Once he is cleared for contact at practice, he will finally be able to target a return date. His extensive concussion history will inspire team management to handle him gingerly. Fortunately the team got playmaking winger David Perron back from his serious concussion to bolster the offense.
Simon Gagne, Kings: He got rung up Monday during the first period of a 4-3 victory over the Coyotes. He tried to resume playing in the second period but had to shut down. Given his extensive a serious concussion history, he is looking at a long-term absence. He scored 17 points in 34 games this season. Fortunately Los Angeles got Mike Richards back after he missed eight games with a concussion.
Shea Weber, Predators: A heavy, high hit by Stars defenseman Mark Fistric left Weber reeling. Weber’s agent, Jarrett Bousquet, told the Tennessean that his client tread carefully with this injury. “We want what’s best for Shea long-term,” he said. “We want to get it right and make sure it doesn’t happen again, and Nashville wants to exercise on the side of caution, as do we.”
Joni Pitkanen, Hurricanes: The workhorse defenseman remains sidelined by a concussion. He has been sidelined since Dec. 6 and has yet resume physical activity.