TORONTO - There is no shortage of sympathy for Sid around the NHL these days.
News of Sidney Crosby's latest health setback spread quickly through dressing rooms and prompted many to pass along well-wishes for the Pittsburgh Penguins star on Tuesday morning. More than anything, Crosby's peers hope his return comes quickly.
"This guy's got a drive for the game like no other," said Maple Leafs winger Colby Armstrong, a former Crosby teammate. "It's what he loves to do, I think it's probably where he feels most comfortable—when he's on the ice—as a person. I think obviously when you get that taken away from you it's frustrating and tough.
"All the money in the world can't fix that. I think everybody in the league, whether you know him or don't know him, hopes he comes back and he's healthy."
Crosby announced Monday that his comeback had been stalled indefinitely following a recurrence of concussion-like symptoms. It came just three weeks after the Penguins captain made a stunning comeback with two goals and two assists against the Islanders in his first game since Jan. 5.
In all, he had two goals and 10 assists through eight games before getting injured during a game against Boston last week.
"I feel bad for him," said Leafs goalie James Reimer, who missed six weeks this season with a head injury. "Concussion, concussion-like symptoms—anything to do with your head it's (awful). It's honestly the worst injury on earth because there's nothing you can do for it. You feel pretty helpless. You feel bad for (Crosby) and at the same time you feel bad for the game too because he's arguably the best player in the league.
"Fans love to watch him play and we, as athletes and people who play the game, we like to watch him play too. He makes the game exciting and he's great for it."
The issue of concussions in the sport has been making major news for the second straight season. On Tuesday, the Philadelphia Flyers announced that forward Claude Giroux—the NHL's leading scorer—had suffered a concussion. Flyers captain Chris Pronger, Penguins defenceman Kris Letang and Rangers defenceman Marc Staal are among the others currently sidelined with head injuries.
Staal's brother Eric, who delivered the hit that injured him, acknowledged that it's tough to ignore the rash of concussions.
"It seems like a lot of guys," said Eric Staal, the Carolina Hurricanes captain. "You can't play the game being scared, you can't play the game being worried about getting hit. That just gets you in trouble and get you hurt. ... Unfortunately, some things like that happen and you deal with it when they do."
Maple Leafs defenceman Luke Schenn agreed, noting that it seems to "happen all the time now." His younger brother Brayden—a rookie forward with the Flyers—is nearing a return from a concussion.
Schenn added his voice to the ones hoping that Crosby isn't far behind him.
"You feel bad for him," he said. "You never want it to happen to anyone and especially the best player in our game. It's tough to see and you wish him a healthy recovery as soon as possible."