"You know what? It's a lot more possible right now" ~ Crosby told reporters when asked if he had considered heading overseas. "A quick end to the lockout is not looking too good"
Perhaps the only thing holding Crosby here in North America, beside his optimism and loyalty is the high insurance costs he'll have to pay to head over to Europe. Crosby would likely have to pay $400,000 per month to be insured for game action with another team besides the Penguins. But Crosby has said it was always his intention to wait till the end of November or early December before heading to Europe in order to give the NHL and his employers every last chance to get the NHL back on the ice.
Although by contract Crosby, Ovechkin and Malkin are obligated to come back and play for their respective NHL teams once the lockout ends, Crosby is the last person Bettman wants to make an enemy with. The Penguins captain was the first overall pick after the 2004-2005 lockout and singlehandedly saved the Penguins franchise and turned them into a top notch dynasty who have a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup every season. Not only did he become the face of the Penguins he also became the face of the NHL. Ask any non hockey fan to name a current NHL player, chances are the first person they name is Crosby. Heck there's even people who don't like hockey but are willing to go to a game too see Crosby. When Bettman looks at Crosby he sees dollar signs; His jersey is always in the top 5 and when he's playing the arena is almost always sold out, even when the Penguins are on the road people flock for a chance to see him play. One could argue he is the most influential player currently in the NHLPA union, he could end the lockout with one phone call to Fehr. Problem is he's fully committed to getting the players the best deal possible not just himself and wont quit until the very end and now he too is jumping ship.
Crosby heading to Europe is bad news for the NHL. Finally he's "concussion" free, his symptoms are gone and he is 100% healthy. Who knows what kind of career numbers he could have put up this season in the NHL? Instead he's been kept of the score sheet by the NHL and this lockout;
"At the end of the day, I'm a hockey player and I love to play. I've been practicing a lot the last few years, I just want to play." ~Sidney Crosby
As of right now the only option for Crosby to play is over in Europe and perhaps his competitive side is finally coming out. Crosby is just that, a hockey player. He's no business man, what he needs to live and function an ordinary life is hockey, he's missed more games than he's played in the last 2 years, he's itching to play and right now he can't get that in North America which is why he needs to head overseas. Could you imagine the KHL with Malkin, Ovechkin, Giroux and Crosby?
To be honest it's remarkable Crosby has stayed and kept quite so long, he's a class act, he wanted to stay loyal to the league which has brought him success. Being the face of the NHL if he does head over to the KHL it's a global story and a flat out embarrassment to the NHL. The fact the league forces their poster boy to head overseas to play hockey is just sad. But as much of a "class act" Crosby is he does have a little resentment towards the NHL; He was injured by 2 hits that he himself thought should have been met with supplemental discipline and now they've locked him out. The best and only way for him to "stick" it to the NHL is to head to the KHL, the league that was created to one day compete with the NHL. Having Crosby play on one of their teams, even for half a season is just the break they've been looking for.
For Crosby to play in Europe it would be a major statement to the NHL and Bettman and hopefully a wake up call. As much as it may pain him to head to Russia he has to do it. He hasn't had the opportunity to play because of injuries during the last 2 seasons, he's healthy now and wants to play. But the NHL should be embarrassed if he heads to Europe.