Late Crosby withdrawal raises old suspicions

Sidney Crosby (Paul Sancya/AP)

COLUMBUS – An all-star game without Sidney Crosby? Well, it wouldn’t be the first time.

The Pittsburgh Penguins star has pulled out of this weekend’s All-Star festivities Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford revealed on Thursday evening, the result of a lower body injury that has been nagging at him for some time. As a result, Crosby will be forced to miss the Penguins first game back Tuesday versus the Winnipeg Jets, as per National Hockey League regulations.

There will always be speculation, however, that a player like Crosby is simply seeking a few days in the sunshine rather than putting the gear on for three straights days in wintry Columbus. Especially in this case, when Crosby pulls out of all-star weekend but 24 hours after having played 23:06 in Wednesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to Chicago. When exactly was he injured? In the shootout?

If the league weren’t concerned about players simply faking an injury to get the weekend off, why the stipulation that they miss one further game? Questions abound, not the least if which is, would the Penguins value nearly a week off for Crosby over his participation in one game vs. Winnipeg?

It was 2009 when Crosby pulled out of the all-star game, but attended the weekend and maintained his social and media duties. He was eligible to play the first game back after the all-star break that year. Detroit stars Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk missed the 2009 game in Montreal and were forced to sit out the Red Wings’ next game after the break.

Crosby joins Evgeni Malkin, Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (injured Thursday night against the Jets), Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne, Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, Los Angeles forward Tanner Pearson and Colorado Avalanche defenceman Erik Johnson on the ever-growing injured list.

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