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article imageOp-Ed: Have We Seen the Last of Sidney Crosby?

By Luke Vermeer     Aug 23, 2011 in Sports
According to reports Sidney Crosby has suffered yet another set back in his training as he attempts to recover from a concussion suffered in January of this year.
His agent is denying that Crosby has suffered any sort of set back but the possibility remains that Crosby could miss the start of the season, and, depending on the severity of the concussion symptoms, possibly the entire 2011-2012 NHL season.
Now I'm not here to suggest that Sidney Crosby's career is done but there is a very real chance that he will never be the same player that he was before he was injured.
If one takes a look at the two most remembered incidents involving superstars and concussions you can see a definite cause for concern.
The first, and most obvious, example would be Eric Lindros. From the beginning of his career in 1992 to his first concussion in 1998 he scored a total of 507 points in 360 games, a points per game of 1.41. From 1999 until his retirement in 2007 he scored 358 points in 400 games, a points per game of 0.90. That's a drop off of just over half a point a game, which, in the NHL, is an astronomical number. Anyone who watched Eric Lindros before and after the injury would tell you that he was a vastly different player with in the second half of his career. The power forward was gone and was replaced by a man who played timid.
Now obviously Sidney Crosby is a very different type of player from Eric Lindros but the in certain areas they are very similar. Lindros was one of the best players in the game, so is Crosby. Lindros was an MVP, so is Crosby. Lindros was a point scoring machine, so is Crosby. Because of these similarities the fact that Crosby has suffered a concussion on the level of the one suffered by Lindros should be a giant cause for concern for fans of hockey.
Another example would be that of Paul Kariya. Prior to suffering a serious concussion in 2003 Kariya recorded 669 points in 606 games, a PPG of 1.10. After the injury his PPG dropped to 0.83 after 320 points in 385 games. Now while the drop for Kariya was less than that of Lindros it is still a substantial drop in points per game when you are talking about a player of the caliber of Kariya, Lindros or Crosby.
Now currently Crosby has 572 points in 412 career games, a PPG of 1.39. That number will almost certainly drop even if he does eventually return to his MVP form. A player who returns from a injury of the severity that Crosby currently suffers from will undoubtedly have some sort of drop off in the immediate time after his return. The question is will David Steckel, the man who administered the concussion causing elbow, gain the level of infamy that follows Darius Kasparaitis and Scott Stevens, the men who injured Eric Lindros and Paul Kariya respectively. Will Sidney Crosby follow the path laid down by Kariya or will he follow in the footsteps of his World Junior Championships teammate, Patrice Bergeron, and rise back to former form.
As of right now no one can say for sure what the future holds for Sidney Crosby but there is one thing that is assured. If Sidney Crosby turns into a shell of his former self then all of hockey will suffer for missing his brilliance.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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