Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby returned to the ice Thursday, skating with teammates Conor Sheary and Carl Hagelin at the Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, Pa., as he recovers from a concussion.
During a conference call with reporters, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan described the status of his top-line centre as a "day-to-day process" and didn't reveal Crosby's availability for Saturday's Game 5 in the NHL Eastern Conference semifinal in Washington (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7:15 p.m. ET).
Crosby missed Wednesday night's 3-2 victory over the visiting Capitals that gave Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Crosby, 29, suffered the concussion in Game 3 on Monday after defenceman Matt Niskanen, a former Penguins teammate, cross-checked him to the head early in the first period of the Capitals' 3-2 overtime win.
Niskanen's stick connected with Crosby's head at 5:24 of the first period after the Penguins forward had been knocked off balance by an Alex Ovechkin high stick to the upper body.
Niskanen received a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct, but wasn't further disciplined by the NHL.
Crosby's concussion history
- Jan. 1, 2011: Took an elbow to the head from Washington forward David Steckel.
- Jan. 5, 2011: Hit from behind by Tampa Bay defenceman Victor Hedman. He wouldn't return until Nov. 21 of that year.
- December 2011: Played eight games before being removed from lineup with concussion symptoms, the result of a suspected elbow to the head by Boston's David Krejci. Crosby returned to the lineup March 15.
- October 2016: Missed first six games of the season after sustaining a concussion in practice.
Crosby, who hails from Cole Harbour, N.S., has missed 167 NHL regular-season games due to injury, including the first six of this season with a concussion he suffered during a pre-season practice, and losing Crosby for an extended period would greatly affect the Penguins' chances to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.
Crosby is fourth in team scoring in these playoffs with 11 points in eight games after leading the NHL with 44 goals in the regular season and the Penguins with 89 points.
Sheary, 24, also left Monday's game after colliding with teammate Patric Hornqvist at 2:24 of the second period and was diagnosed with a concussion. Sheary has two assists in eight games this post-season.
The Penguins are already minus defenceman Kris Letang (neck surgery) and goaltender Matt Murray (lower-body injury).