Sidney Crosby expects to return to ice
Crosby visited the Penguins during Thursday's morning skate for the first time since leaving the team last week to visit his parents.
"I hope I'm back and I hope I play this year," Crosby said. "That's the thing with [concussions], you don't know."
Like any player returning from a serious head injury, Crosby is frustrated by the slow pace of recovery.
"It's out of my control," he said. "You just hope with time, the quicker the better."
Crosby has missed 14 games for the Penguins with complications due to a concussion. He will not be allowed to return to the ice until he is symptom-free. He still leads the team with 32 goals and 66 points and is fourth in the league in scoring.
Crosby, 23, said he left to get away, relax and not deal with the stresses that come with talking about his injury. He said it's impossible to know when he'll be able to play again and that he's just focusing on getting better.
Crosby was sidelined after taking hits to the head in successive games -- Jan. 1 against the Washington Capitals in the Winter Classic and Jan. 5 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. And he's not alone on the injury front.
Center Evgeni Malkin, scheduled for season-ending knee surgery Thursday, won't be back until September. Center Mark Letestu is out four to six weeks with a knee injury that also required surgery. And the Penguins will also play the next four games without left winger Matt Cooke, serving a suspension handed down by the NHL on Wednesday.
The Penguins play host to the Los Angeles Kings Thursday, before a two-game swing through New York, facing the Islanders on Friday and the Rangers on Sunday.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press