How many concussions and months of downtime does it take to get a free pass on the hockey world championships?
Sidney Crosby, hero of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, is defending his decision to sit out the world championships in May, now that his Pittsburgh Penguins have been eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Crosby told reporters Wednesday he needs to go through a full summer of preparation following time off due to head injuries.
For a time the brightest star in Canada, Crosby has suffered from repeat concussions. Those head injuries have cost him more than 100 games over the past two seasons, as well as the 2011 playoffs.
It’s worth mentioning that until fairly recent times the world hockey championship, held in Helsinki and Stockholm this year, was not highly regarded for its competition and was an afterthought for NHLers.
But the fire burning for hockey in Canada has ramped up pretty much any competition, including world junior championships, to issues of national importance.
It’s in this environment that Crosby made his decision to put the team that’s paying him, as well as his own wellbeing, ahead of a championship that only the diehards will remember a few months after it’s over.
With his overtime goal in the 2010 Olympics and struggles to come back from head injuries, Crosby has earned the right to sit this one out.
His lingering problems, as well as other Canadian athletes suffering head injuries — notably Canadian superstar baseball player Justin Morneau — have shown recovering needs to be taken slowly and may take years. Even then it’s uncertain, as witnessed by another Canadian baseball great, Corey Koskie.
Hockey needs Crosby and other talented players, for the long haul, which includes the 2014 Winter Olympics. No amount of shaming by fans looking to kill time in front of the tube in May should get him on the ice in Europe.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.