Sidney Crosby simply can't win right now.
Nearly eight months into his recovery from a concussion, the Pittsburgh Penguins star continues to work out in the hope of a comeback by training camp three weeks from now.
Every rumoured twist and turn, real or imagined, is playing out as major breaking news, even if the story essentially always remains the same.
If the season started tomorrow, Crosby couldn't play.
And it's been that way for some time.
But it's mid-August, hockey news is limited and that leads to the story drawing as much attention and column inches as ever despite the fact definitive information is so scarce.
Outside advice for Crosby, meanwhile, is in large supply.
After the Halifax CTV affiliate reported earlier this week that Crosby had suffered another setback (something that was then refuted by his agent), there were calls for him to retire, at age 24, citing the growing body of knowledge about concussions and just how long he's been out.
A day later, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist Dejan Kovacevic added his two cents, writing that Crosby needs to break his silence and speak up, even if only to his own GM and coach.
What more there is for him to say at this point, however, isn't clear.
It may have been months ago, but Crosby spoke at length at the end of April about suffering a setback in training, giving great detail about what had happened and what was next.
Since then, we've heard only that he's improving but isn't yet ready, that this coming season remains a question mark and if there are any major updates, they'll be provided.
(In this case, no news is bad news.)
Are we really "owed" much more than that, especially with training camp just around the corner and the spotlight about to be focused back in on Crosby's health in a major way? Is another couple weeks of silence, for a young man trying to get well, too much to ask?
To me, Crosby's silence is entirely defensible because he deserves some time away from the sorts of questions he has been facing for almost all of 2011. Life can't be easy at this point, not knowing when or if his health and ability to play will return, and the dead of August can't be the time to have him pick through the unchanged details yet again.
As for the Penguins, the organization seems comfortable enough with the information they have, for the time being.
Everyone else, from fans to media, however, wants an answer on this story, as "Crosby Watch" continues to be big news even without any real news available.
The problem is there are no answers right now, not even for Sidney Crosby.
And no one knows what comes next – other than more speculation, of course.