By Allan Muir
It's official: Sidney Crosby will not play for the Penguins tonight in Game 1 in Pittsburgh.
Crosby has been out of action since taking the full force of a Brooks Orpik slap shot to the face back on March 30. He told reporters on Wednesday morning that he failed to get medical clearance from a doctor to rejoin the team and that there was no timetable for his return.
"He said everything looks good, he just wasn't prepared to let me play," Crosby said. "Obviously I would love to have the chance to play tonight but that's not the way it is and (I'll) make sure I'm ready when the time comes."
That's the same report that he's been offering since he got out of the hospital. The thinking was that doctors were holding him out until the start of the playoffs in order to give him enough time to sufficiently heal. Now they've blown past that yard marker. Sure, he's skating with the team and has looked good in practice, but it could still be days, or weeks, before he gets the thumbs-up from doctors. At this point, who knows?
"He didn't give me a date and I'm sure if he gives a date, I'd have pretty high expectations of that date," Crosby said. "I'm sure he's waiting until he feels comfortable." His absence shouldn't be an issue in this series. The Islanders are coming in loose and hungry, but the Penguins are deeper and they're battle tested. They have more than enough talent to win this with or without Sid. But the longer this continues to hang over the team, the more of a drama -- and more of a drain -- it becomes.