Sidney Crosby production dip likely

Sidney Crosby's production stands to take a big hit when he comes back. Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

When Sidney Crosby spoke with the media in Pittsburgh for the first time in months a few weeks back, the tone was optimistic but cautious.

"It's a manageable injury," explained concussion expert Dr. Collins, who assessed Crosby prior to the press conference, and was pleased where he is at from an activities standpoint. Dr. Collins did caution Crosby was "nowhere close" to playing with contact right now. While there is some speculation Crosby could be closer than Collins first thought, his immediate future remains cloudy.

Sid the Kid, who was in the midst of an MVP-caliber season before the injury, suffered his first concussion during the Winter Classic after an accidental collision with Washington Capitals pivot David Steckel. Crosby finished that game and played the next at Tampa Bay four days later, when he was hit into the boards by the Lightning's Victor Hedman. Crosby finished that game, as well, but he did not return for the rest of the season.

When asked if it was likely or not likely that he would play in the upcoming season, Crosby answered in the affirmative. However, is that the right course of action? And even if he does suit up, will his production approach his sensational pre-concussion levels?