Everyone wants to know the current status of Sidney Crosby. That's obvious and it's also completely understandable. The fans and the media – those who follow the Pittsburgh Penguins every day – are anxious to be told whether or not the team's captain will return any time soon. Again, it's completely understandable. As fans we really want to know.
Everyone is also interested in finding out more information on Kris Letang's injury, but very little information has been given out in that case as well. Letang is clearly important to the team, as is Crosby, and yet the Penguins are saying nothing. Why not?
Because an update doesn't change the situation at all, at least not for the better.
Other than satisfying our curiosities and giving the media an easy story for the day, releasing an update on Crosby or Letang isn't the right thing to do at this point. Why not?
There is clearly a reason for the silence from the Pittsburgh Penguins. The team has no problem saying that Jordan Staal is out 4-6 weeks, so why does it have a problem in announcing a timetable for Crosby or Letang? Because, as we all know by now, concussions are a completely different story. It's tough to come up with an accurate timetable.
The Pittsburgh Penguins could come out and say that Sidney Crosby will miss the rest of the season. Why won't they? Because there's a possibility of him coming back. There's no accurate way of determining exactly when the symptoms are gone for good.
The Pittsburgh Penguins could come out and say that Sidney Crosby will definitely play again this season, but that wouldn't be accurate either. Again, there's no way of knowing. The only accurate thing to say at this point is "We'll know when we know," but that isn't the answer that everyone wants. That won't satisfy anyone.
One important thing to note is that just because Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins haven't released any details publicly, that doesn't mean they haven't had discussions in private. You would have to assume that Ray Shero, Dan Bylsma, Pat Brisson and Sidney Crosby have talked about the various scenarios with each other. If Ray Shero is working "under a cloud of concussion uncertainty," it's because no one knows the truth, not because no one is talking. Sure, Crosby and Brisson probably want to have the upper hand in the contract negotiation process, but that's no different than any other agent/player relationship.
Remember all of those "there is no update on Crosby's condition" non-updates we got over the summer and at the beginning of the season? There were so many of them, and they were so useless, that people started to get annoyed. Why didn't Crosby or the Penguins release more details? Because they didn't have any more details.
Remember Kris Letang?
That's what you're dealing with when you're faced with a serious concussion: No one knows. You can either issue a "no update at this time" statement or you can say nothing. You're in between a rock and a hard place. People want concrete answers but there are no concrete answers to give out.
Remember that video of Crosby skating for the first time post-concussion? People jumped on that like crazy. That one video caused everyone to say "CROSBY IS PLAYING TOMORROW" and "CROSBY WILL BE BACK SOON!" and what happened? Nothing. All it did was start more rumors. The video didn't prove anything other than the fact that Crosby was still alive.
Of course, not releasing a statement starts rumors as well, but sometimes that's preferable and even beneficial.
If opposing teams don't know when Crosby or Letang will return, they have to assume that they will return. Assuming they won't return is too dangerous as you'll be left off guard. Remember how Guy Boucher repeatedly said that he knew Crosby was coming back during the Penguins' series with Tampa Bay? Not having a clear update on Sidney Crosby's return forced Boucher to come up with a plan to stop Sid even though Sid was in the press box eating snacks. If the Lightning knew for sure that Crosby wasn't coming back, the team wouldn't have to even think about Sidney Crosby at all. Not knowing made them focus at least some of their attention in a different direction.
On that same note, other general managers will quickly raise their prices if they know that Ray Shero has to replace Crosby or Letang long term. If the rest of the league knows for sure that those two players won't return this season, they certainly won't do the Penguins any favors. Why would the team risk giving out valuable information that could hurt them in a trade situation?
The media is upset that there is no news because "no news" means "no story." It's hard to write a newspaper article or a radio piece on nothing. It's easy to discuss an official statement made by the team.
The fans are upset that there is no news because they care about this hockey team and the players on the team. Fans want to know as much as they can because it's interesting. We'd love to know what Sidney Crosby ate for breakfast today if we could, but that's not going to happen. HBO's 24/7 is such a great program because fills the need for more inside information that all of us have as fans. Unfortunately, we're all just fans. We don't actually NEED to know anything, we just WANT to know things. Does knowing that a player is at 82% exertion level or 76% exertion level change your enjoyment of the game? It doesn't. At least it doesn't change ours.
Plus, we can see a lot of people choosing not to go to game or watch the Penguins on television if they know Sidney Crosby won't be in action. We're not saying it's right, but that's what will happen. It hurts interest in the team if everyone knows Sidney Crosby won't be back.
There are three other choices for the Penguins other than no updates at this point: The team can say "the player in question is recovering and will play when he is ready," the team can make concrete promises that will likely end up being incorrect or the team can say "we have no new updates at this time." None of those options are any better than saying nothing.
We'll all just have to wait until there's actually something concrete to report.