Apparently sometimes Grantland.com actually posts decent articles. We were surprised too. Today Katie Baker posted a piece called "The Timetable: Sidney Crosby's Lost Year." It generally tells us facts that we already know as Penguins fans and Crosby fans, but it's interesting to read the entire thing in a timeline. Reading everything that has happened since the Winter Classic broken down day-by-day just goes to show you that no one has any idea when Crosby will return and that all speculation and rumors were just that. Nothing is truly known for sure right now.
It's funny reading a Tweet or a post from a journalist or an insider one day and then hearing the exact opposite thing from someone else one or two days later.
Case in point:
April 16: With the series tied at 1-1 and nothing but silence from Crosby and the team regarding his status, Toronto Sun columnist Rob Longley wonders: "Could the official silence from the club be a playoff ruse and Crosby be much closer than most believe?"
April 17: Hockey Night in Canada's Cassie Campbell tweets, "No Crosby at pitts morning skate … at hotel SPECULATION is he was seeing doctors … wait and c … I still have hunch we'll c him back!"
April 19: Crosby is absent from practice for the third day in a row. Rob Rossi reports that"Crosby's confidants stressed that his absence … is not a sign that concussion symptoms, specifically headaches, have returned." The NHL announces that it has signed a blockbuster 10-year, $2 billion deal with NBC Sports. It is an enormous coup for the league, which only five years ago had to all but beg NBC to show their games for free. The Winter Classic is widely praised as contributing to hockey's turnaround.
April 22: With the Penguins up 3-1 in the series, Dan Bylsma tells the media that there is no timetable on Crosby's return, and the Penguins emphasize that "he is not getting ready for next fall's training camp and he is not being used as a decoy. Nobody knows when the next step will come."
April 28: The Tampa Bay Lightning defeat a still-Crosby-less Pittsburgh team 1-0 in Game 7 to eliminate the Pens from the playoffs. (Tampa goaltender Dwayne Roloson, asked if he ever thought he'd win a Game 7 in a shutout, fires back: "Do you ever go in there writing an article and figure you're going to win a Nobel Peace Prize?")
April 29: Crosby admits to NHL.com that his symptoms had returned as he attempted to get back in shape. "I started trying to ramp things up a bit … I had a setback, all the stuff [headaches] that goes along with it." He adds that he may never know if he was actually concussed in the Winter Classic or not, and says that he will accept nothing less than a complete return.
It also takes a shot at Ron Cook that we approve of:
April 3: Sidney Crosby participates in his third practice in as many days with no symptoms. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ron Cook pens a bizarre column that begins, "Heard all of the reasons Penguins star Sidney Crosby shouldn't play again this season. Not buying a single one."
It's a long piece, but it's worth reading. He'd almost forgotten about all of the hysteria whenever Crosby did or said (or didn't do or didn't say) absolutely anything. The hockey world has been desperately hanging off of this story for so long that any little bit of information has been treated as earth-shattering news.
It makes sense. People want closure. They want this story to end somehow, either with Crosby making a triumphant return or (hopefully not) with Crosby announcing his retirement. As long as we remain in this limbo stage people will be grasping at straws and jumping at conclusions. People really don't want to admit that no one knows when Sidney Crosby will return to hockey. There is no timetable and there is no easy answer.
We have to just wait. And waiting sucks.