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Sidney Crosby’s concussion situation: what in the world is going on?

The Penguins captain went down in a heap again last night and it’s making for quite the confusing situation.

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NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

When Sidney Crosby returned to the Penguins lineup for Game 5 on Saturday against the Capitals, just five days after suffering a concussion on a hit from Matt Niskanen, many eyebrows were raised that he was being rushed back. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan did his best to quell these notions, by addressing the fact that Crosby had passed a baseline test earlier in the day. He played in Game 5, and did not appear to be missing anything from his game or showing any signs of distress.

Last night, in Game 6 at PPG Paints Arena, Crosby went down in a heap yet again.

The way Crosby stayed down for that extra second, looked like he struggled to get up, and just moved slow — not ideal.

Less ideal? The Penguins and Crosby not being on the same page or at least not being on the same page of what they're telling people.

“Mike, were you concerned when you saw Sid sort of slow to get up a couple times in the first, and was he evaluated for a concussion in the first intermission?” a reporter asked Sullivan.

“No … No …” Sullivan said, and he did not elaborate.

Crosby had a different answer.

When Crosby was asked if he was evaluated following that play, the Penguins’ star said, “Yeah, yeah … Pretty standard.” He also did not elaborate or indicate if he was specifically evaluated for a concussion. He did not immediately leave the ice after the play, rejoining the Penguins’ power play for a defensive-zone faceoff.

What the hell, you guys? It gets better though.

Did the Penguins test Crosby for a concussion? Is Mike Sullivan just protecting his players from the information going public like a lot of coaches in sports do? I’m not out here saying the Penguins or Sullivan or Crosby did or didn’t do anything, just suggesting that it might be a good idea to get on the same page.

Now, another matter — what good are the concussion spotters that the NHL has in place if their abilities and what they're allowed to do is neutered?

“Depending on the mechanism of injury, ‘slow to get up’ does not trigger mandatory removal,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told USA TODAY Sports. “The protocol has to be interpreted literally to mandate a removal. ‘Ice’ as compared to ‘boards’ is in there for a reason. It’s the result of a study on our actual experiences over a number of years. ‘Ice’ has been found to be a predictor of concussions -- ‘boards’ has not been.”

I’m sorry, but that is so damn stupid. You, as a league, have spotters who have the ability to identify players that need to be pulled the game and have mandatory concussion testing done — but you also tell them what they can and cannot do and give different situations where they’re not allowed to pull players from the game. Give me a god damn break. This is peak NHL levels of incompetence.

Crosby would go on to finish the game, and to be frank, it was difficult to tell whether his game was off or if he was missing anything, because the Penguins failed to show up entirely.

Come Tuesday morning, Crosby would be on the ice for practice, so it’s safe to assume that he did not fail any type of concussion-testing that may or may not have happened, but given the murky waters of this situation thus far and how confusing the process has been, how can we even guess what’s actually going on here?