Hockey is a stubborn sport. Team doctors don't diagnose injuries with "give it some rest" or "sleep on it." They say more matter of factly, "Yes, you can play" or "no, you'll risk further injury."
And even then it hardly stops anyone. Montreal's Rocket Richard won the 1952 Stanley Cup for the Canadiens after suffering a concussion earlier in the night. The guy was knocked out cold and he came back to play. Warrior, defined.
Let it first be said here that I am not comparing Sidney Crosby to Maurice Richard in any way, shape or form. Even as a lifelong Penguins fan I know that to be hockey sacrilige.
What I am saying though is that Sid played hurt last night - obviously hurt in fact after limping away from a Colton Orr hit, and yet still managed one goal and three helpers in a four point night.
Has Sid really had an injury-free season?
Not so much. In his rookie year there was a seperated shoulder injury (labeled lower body for his sake) that only cost him a few games.
Conditions worsened slightly but didn't cause a stoppage of play in 2006-07 when he played through the tail end of the season and first round of the playoffs with a fractured foot/toe.
Last season, need I remind, Sid battled through a high ankle sprain that fortunately found him in peak condition for the playoffs, but down and out for over 30 games.
This season - a mysterious injury sustained against the Phoenix Coyotes earlier this year took him out early, but he returned two nights later against the Blues, adding two assists in the process.
As for the more recent knee injury that took him out late in the game against the Capitals, it almost seemed like a few dark days were ahead for the Pens.
And then there was last night.
Here's to hoping Crosby's name won't enter talks down the line similar to that of the infamous "What if Lemieux was healthy?"
Sure, he's playing hurt but he's making it happen out there. And if Sid wakes up tomorrow feeling 110% then each and every team knows they better stay on their toes.