The lockout, as it continues it's long and slow crawl, is forcing more and more players to play overseas who were hesitant about doing so. Even the drudgery and not having an end in sight has gotten to hockey's biggest star, Sidney Crosby. It was thrown around when the lockout was in its early days, mostly by teammate and current KHL-er Evgeni Malkin, that Crosby would leave to play overseas to keep in game shape. He's missed 101 regular season games over the last two years due to concussion-related symptoms, so his desire to stay in shape makes perfect sense (you know, aside from that whole "basically the best player in the world" thing the league likes to sell so much).
Thanks to those concussion-related symptoms, it's also going to be hard for Crosby to get overseas. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the cost to insure Crosby for a season would be around $200,000 to $400,000. Presumably, it'd take a bigger club to cover that cost, pro-rated as it might be. Where are there teams that have some spare cash like that laying about? The KHL, of course.
At the start of the lockout, Crosby's teammate Evgeni Malkin tossed around the speculation that Crosby would join him in playing for Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Obviously that would be a huge coup for the Russian team, and with the KHL's larger rinks and more fluid (read: less physical) style of play, that could be a good match for him.
Crosby's frustration and need to play is understandable. The concern here is what if he gets re-concussed? Granted, that'll be a problem if the regular season was still on and he was playing for the Pens right now, But if that were the case and he were re-concussed, he'd be on the Penguins when it happened, not a team in Russia. That doesn't matter to Crosby or to his health, but it would probably matter to the pundits and people in the league who would rather not have their hockey poster child turned into the poster child for improving KHL concussion regulations. There's a lot of risk involved if Sid goes overseas, but he's a big boy and can make his own decisions. Hopefully he'll come out of it all none the worse for wear.
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