Penguins' Crosby to miss Game Four with concussion

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[May 03, 2017]  By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) - Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has been diagnosed with a concussion and will miss Game Four of the second round playoff series versus the Washington Capitals, the NHL team said on Tuesday.

The two-time league most valuable player left Monday's game after a controversial cross-check to the head from Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen in the first period and did not return.

"Sid has been diagnosed with a concussion," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan told reporters after Tuesday's practice. "He will be out for tomorrow's game. We will evaluate him from there."

Crosby, who has a history of head injuries, was skating to the Capitals' net when he was clipped on the arm and helmet by the stick of Alex Ovechkin, and appeared to twist his knee as he lost his balance just as he was hit in the head by Niskanen.

After the game Niskanen, who was ejected from the contest but will not face further disciplinary action, said he was "absolutely not" trying to injure Crosby, who earlier in the day was named a finalist for the league's MVP award for a sixth time.

The injury to one of the game's best players could prove a massive blow to the reigning Stanley Cup champion Penguins, who lost Monday's game in overtime as the top-seeded Capitals cut Pittsburgh's lead in the best-of-seven series to 2-1.

This marks at least the fourth concussion of Crosby's NHL career and will likely revive the question of how long the 29-year-old Canadian can continue to play.

Crosby's first concussion came in January 2011 and sidelined him until November of the next season, missing 68 games in all. His comeback lasted eight games as another hit kept him out for 40 games until March 2012.

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Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) is helped off of the ice by Pens trainer Chris Stewart (R) after Crosby suffered an apparent injury against the Washington Capitals during the first period in game three of the second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The former first overall draft pick also missed the opening six games of the current season after suffering his third concussion in training camp. He still led the NHL's regular season with 44 goals and was tied for second with 89 points.

Sullivan said Crosby, a two-time Stanley Cup winner who also has a pair of Olympic gold medals and a slew of individual awards, remained positive.

"He's very upbeat and positive," Sullivan said of Crosby, who had 11 points from eight playoff games this year. "We're very optimistic and hopeful we'll have him back in a timely fashion."

Game Four is on Wednesday in Pittsburgh.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)

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