Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby has been cleared for contact as he continues to recover from the effects of a concussion suffered in January.
Crosby was on the ice Thursday with teammates for the morning skate prior to the night’s contest with Washington. He has been practicing with the team, but had been wearing a white helmet to indicate no contact. On Thursday, he was wearing a black helmet like the rest of his teammates.
There was no contact in Thursday’s session, but Crosby said after the workout that he has been given the go-ahead by doctors.
“I’m cleared for full contact,” Crosby said. “It’s a good step in the right direction. We’ll see how it goes in the next little bit.”
Crosby hasn’t played for the Penguins since January 5, when he took a hit from Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman. He had also absorbed a hard check to the head four days earlier in the Winter Classic against Washington.
There is still no timetable for a return, but doctors and the former MVP had previously stated that he would only suit up when 100 percent recovered. When Crosby and doctors met with the media on September 7, it was fully disclosed that contact in practice would be a step before returning to game action.
“I’ve got to get hit at some point during practice, but we’re playing [games] so much that it’s pretty tough to get that in right now,” Crosby remarked. “I’m getting closer [to returning] and just want to make sure that I respond well to everything in the next however long it is.”
Crosby appeared in just 41 games last season and still led the Penguins in points with 66.
Semyon Varlamov stopped all 30 shots he faced and Milan Hejduk provided all the scoring with a third-period goal in Colorado’s 1-0 win over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.
Varlamov, acquired from Washington during the offseason, recorded a shutout — the fifth of his career — in his second game with the Avalanche.
“He was controlling the rebounds, he’s just so calm back there,” Avalance center Paul Stastny said of Varlamov.
Colorado failed to generate any offense in Saturday’s season opener, a 3-0 home loss to Detroit, but was able to slip the puck behind Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask, who finished with 35 saves.
The lone goal began with a clean faceoff win by the Avalanche in the Boston zone. Matt Duchene sent the puck to the point for Jan Hejda, who quickly dished off the boards to Hejduk. The veteran forward then beat Rask with a wrister from the middle of the left circle at 7:57.
“I was screened, but I saw the shot going where I thought it was going, but it just deflected off of something and went in,” Rask said of the goal.
Colorado, which failed to convert consecutive power plays, including a brief 5-on-3, early in the contest, denied Bruins head coach Claude Julien a chance to earn his 300th career win.
“We got outworked by a team that was a lot hungrier than we were,” Julien said.