Just when it looked like Sidney Crosby was back, the world’s best hockey player has seen his return from a concussion derailed after only eight games. And according to #87, there’s no timeline for his return.
For fantasy owners, the dreaded “DTD” now sits next to his name, where crooked numbers used to be the norm. Hey, at least when the season began, he was listed on IR, where you had the ability to replace him in the lineup. Now what? Sit him in hopes that he can return triumphantly in the new year? Or are we staring at yet another lengthy absence and the possibility of his career eventually being cut short to post-concussion syndrome?
Heck, two weeks ago, I was writing about whether or not Crosby would actually compete to win the scoring race this season. He looked so good after those first five games, scoring 11 points effortlessly, like he hadn’t missed a single beat on the ice despite a 10-month absence.
Now fear is starting to set in. I have always hitched my wagon to Crosby, figuring the 24-year-old stalwart would be my keeper at Center for the next decade and beyond. After receiving an offer to trade him in October of this year while he still sat on IR, I balked, figuring I had waited this long for the Kid to come back and I was about to cash in on the riches of his return. Perhaps it was a major misplay on my part. While Crosby’s fantasy trade value was mediocre then, his stock now is plummeting faster than Netflix.
The sad reality is in today’s NHL, the “next” concussion can prove fatal to a player’s career. Just ask Andy McDonald or Peter Mueller or Marc Savard. And the list of notable players affected is growing. Mike Richards, Kris Letang, Claude Giroux, Milan Michalak, Jeff Skinner and Chris Pronger are the latest All-Stars to be added to the list of concussion sufferers ravaging the NHL right now. If the NHL doesn’t take immediate measures to reduce headshots (Shanahan needs to get his balls back) and provide proper protective headgear for players (yes, at the expense of fighting), then head injuries will soon become an epidemic in the league, if they aren’t already.
The NHL has a major problem on their hands right now and they either don’t know how to or don’t want to fix it. They insist on fighting in the game, yet enforcers like Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak are dying from the effects of brain injuries suffered after years of fighting. Yet, the insistance on “old-time hockey” is decisively the reason why players continue to wear the rinky-dink helmets they do. It lends to the impromptu nature of fighting. Otherwise, you could never justify it publicly. Think of how ridiculous it would look if players had to remove a fully protective helmet and face shield, prior to a fight. It would expose the barbaric nature of the act. But, the truth of the matter is, in a game that’s being played at a speed faster than ever, with less and less respect being shown among players, head injuries are occurring like never before. The time has come to properly protect players.
Yet, Gary Bettman and the rest of the NHL braintrust want you to continue to believe that fighting is a part of the game. Unfortunately, for hockey fans and fantasy owners, that may mean that Crosby and others won’t be.
Assuming you have Crosby on your fantasy team, If you had to choose your keepers for next season right now, would you keep Sid?