Saturday, September 17, 2011
Sidney Crosby at camp opener
By Scott Burnside
PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was met with a hero's welcome as he joined the rest of his teammates for his first on-ice session of training camp Saturday afternoon.
Crosby, who has not played since early January while recovering from a concussion, received a standing ovation from a crowd of several thousand, as he began what was his longest workout since the injury.
"Felt good out there," he said after the 70-minute session. "I worked as hard as I possibly could out there. For that period of time I think that's probably the longest I went at that pace."
Crosby said he felt no symptoms immediately after the workout and that he plans to skate again Sunday morning.
He has not been cleared for contact and will meet with doctors again before he is given clearance for such drills.
Still, it was a significant moment for Crosby, who had to scale back workouts earlier this summer because of a recurrence of symptoms such as headaches when he pushed himself hard.
"It's one day. Glad I felt good but I think that being said, I have to see after the next few days here," he said.
Always a stickler for preparation, Crosby talked about the relative happiness of doing the skating, passing and shooting drills that left him and his teammates dripping with sweat.
"It was a really good pace and I think it was tough but fun to feel that again," he said.
"I was really happy to be back out there and obviously fun to go out there and work hard. Obviously it's never fun when you're tired and you're going through drills like that, but at the same time you miss that, you miss the fatigue and having to battle through it so it was nice to go through all of it."
As for the reaction he received when he stepped on the ice, Crosby seemed touched.
"That says a lot about our fans and I appreciate all of that. I missed being out there and appreciate the ovation I got there," he said. "I'm as eager as hopefully they are to see me out there. I want to get back.
"I'm doing everything I can in my power to make sure that's as soon as possible. That being said there's necessary steps to take and I'm going to make sure I do that."
Evgeni Malkin, who missed the second half of last season with a knee injury, scored on a penalty shot during a scrimmage Saturday morning.
Scott Burnside covers the NHL for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.