The news that Sidney Crosby has begun skating and that he's travelling with his Pittsburgh Penguins teammates on road games is obviously good news for all hockey fans, but does it mean that a return to the lineup is imminent? No, according to Penguins general manager Ray Shero, who clarified a few things to the media on Thursday.
"I'm happy he's joining the team on the trip," Shero said. "Sid is a hockey player and he wants to play hockey. He wanted to join our team because we're in a tough stretch. He badly wants to play and be out there. But he's not cleared to play. We want to be very careful. Once he's cleared to play, he'll be the most excited guy on the ice."
The clarification from Shero shouldn't really be necessary, but there are some around Pittsburgh who have questioned Crosby's desire to be around his teammates and on the ice.
Columnist Dean Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote about those concerns Friday morning. They're wide-ranging, from fans questioning his desire to remain in Pittsburgh to teammates apparently discussing a temporary captaincy. It's all a little silly, considering the topic of debate is the best hockey player in the world, and the point Kovacevic tries to make is that the speculation is unfounded.
But again, when it's the best player in the world and he's not on the ice, this is the sort of thing that happens, for better or worse. In the meantime, Crosby will continue to to move along in his recovery, and he won't be back on the ice until he's medically cleared to play.