Sidney Crosby will sit out the opening match of the Pittsburgh Penguins' Stanley Cup title defence due to concussion.
Pittsburgh's star captain has been ruled out for Thursday's home opener against the Washington Capitals after suffering a heavy blow in practice on Friday, head coach Mike Sullivan announced.
Despite the setback, Sullivan disclosed that Crosby has been making progress toward his return. He resumed skating and practiced with the team on Wednesday, albeit in a 'no-contact jersey', after taking some time to skate around on his own.
"He's obviously feeling well enough that he wants to join the team for practice and get involved in some of the flow drills," the head coach said. "We'll take it step by step.
"We're following the guidance of our medical team and we'll go from there. He's certainly making progress and that's encouraging from our standpoint."
Given his troubling concussion history, the Penguins will likely play it safe with Crosby and ease him back into the line-up.
He missed the last half of the 2010-11 season and the first 20 games of the following season after suffering a concussion in early January 2011. The issue resurfaced in December 2011, and he sat out more than three months before returning in mid-March.