Pittsburgh Penguins All-Star centre Sidney Crosby isn't sure when he may have suffered a mild concussion, but he is sure of one thing; the injury is serious.
''It's a little bit different than a shoulder or things like that, that you can play through in the course of the season,'' Crosby said following Saturday's morning skate. ''It's pretty serious.''
Crosby was reportedly injured Wednesday night in an 8-1 home win over the Tampa Bay Lightning when he was hit from behind into the boards by Victor Hedman. He finished the game and consulted with doctors afterwards before flying with the team to Montreal.
However, the Penguins could not confirm if the injury might have been sustained from a blindside hit from Washington Capitals forward Dave Steckel during the NHL Winter Classic.
''Who knows when I actually got (the concussion),'' Crosby said. ''Wednesday during the game, I just didn't feel right. Does that mean that I had all these huge symptoms? No. There are just times when you play and you feel there's a difference. I would compare it to when you're sick; you just feel a little off. That's when I went to the doctor after the game and told them that things felt a little off.
''At that point, my head was starting to hurt me a little bit more. But leading up to that, it was a lot more neck than head. And that was to be expected considering what happened (at the Winter Classic). You're hit a lot in hockey, and you have neck soreness; that's pretty typical. Wednesday when it started to get more in my head and I felt a little off, that's when I saw the red flag.''
While there was clear contact made to Crosby's head on the Steckel hit, the NHL viewed the incident as more of a collision and believe Steckel tried to get out of the way at the last second.
''It's really tough to decide if he meant to or didn't mean to (hit me),'' Crosby said. ''I feel he could have gotten out of the way and avoided me. Whether he tried to hurt me, only he knows. We'll never know that, but you still have to be responsible out there. I don't see anything - he sees me there. He sees the whole ice and he doesn't avoid me. I don't think that's responsible on his part. He's got to be the one to try to avoid me in that situation.''
The Penguins captain said he thought that both the Steckel and Hedman hits were clear examples of the NHL's crackdown on shots to the head.
''I didn't like them,'' Crosby said of both hits. ''You talk about headshots and dealing with them; that's something that's been a pretty big point of interest from GMs and players. When I look at those two hits and we talk about blindside - that's a big word - unsuspecting player, there was no puck there on both of them. It was a direct hit to the head on both of them. If you go through the criteria I think they fit all those.
''I know it's a fast game - I've been hit a thousand times. When you get hit like that, there's nothing you can do. There's no way to protect yourself. Those are things that hopefully they pay more attention to. It's easy saying that being in this situation, but those are two hits I can't say I should have done something different or had my head down. I wouldn't change anything.''
Steckel was not penalized for his play and Hedman received a boarding penalty for his hit.
Crosby, the league's scoring leader with 32 goals and 66 points, is expected to be sidelined at least a week.
''I think it's kind of a process. You just go based on your symptoms,'' said Crosby. ''Hopefully, soon I'll be symptom-free and be able to start doing exercises. If I can get through that, I will go to the next step and start skating. Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.''