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Sidney Crosby followed up his first spin on the ice in more than two months by making the most dramatic pronouncement of his young NHL career - calling on the league to ban all deliberate hits to the head.

The Monday afternoon call came just after the NHL's 30 general managers opened their annual meetings in Florida with concussions as the No. 1 topic on their agenda.

Crosby, 23, waffled a little on the subject of banning all hits to the head but made it clear he thinks deliberate hits should be outlawed. Rule 48, which was brought in after last year's GM meetings, calls for a major penalty, game misconduct and an automatic league review for further punishment for all blindside hits to a player's head.

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"No matter if it's from the blindside or straight on, if someone targets the head, then yeah, I think that should be banned," Crosby said in an interview posted on the Penguins website. "But when you're looking at accidental contact and stuff, well, that's going to be up to people making those disciplinary decisions whether or not it was targeted and things like that.

"But as far as deliberate head shots, yeah. You're not going to lose anything from the game if you take that away. I mean, if a guy has enough time to line someone up, then he's got enough time to decide whether he can hit him in the head or not. I think that's pretty realistic."

Crosby said discussions among those responsible for changing the NHL's rules, which includes the NHL Players' Association, are needed to decide how to determine a standard for what is considered a deliberate hit.

Crosby ventured on the ice for 15 minutes Monday morning in full equipment at the Penguins' arena, the first time he has skated since he was sidelined on Jan. 5 with a concussion from head hits in two consecutive games. He played around with some pucks and took a few shots before heading back to the dressing room.

"I feel good. It's really early. It's just part of progress and trying to get better," Crosby told the Penguins website, "I felt pretty good doing some light workouts. I was told I had the opportunity to skate. I went out there for 15 minutes to see how I felt. No real plan going forward. I felt good, so that's a good sign."

Crosby said he has been free of symptoms for a few days. But it still is not known when he will be able to participate in a full Penguins practice, let alone a game. Crosby told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review he has no idea if he will be able to play again this season.

"That's impossible to say," Crosby said. "It's progress. I'm nowhere close to [playing] I just want to get through [Monday morning's workout]without getting a headache let alone [worry]about my conditioning."

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This is still cause for celebration in Pittsburgh, although Crosby said he does not know if he will even be able to skate on Tuesday.

"I may not feel great this afternoon and not be able to skate tomorrow," he told the Penguins website. "The only reason I was able to skate today is because I've had some good days here, done a little bit of exercise and got through that. That doesn't mean there are any guarantees. It's just a progression."

Penguins general manager Ray Shero said no one is going to rush Crosby back into the lineup.

"I knew he was feeling better just from seeing him the past couple of weeks, the look in his eyes and him being back on the bike," Shero said. "We'll just go day-to-day. As I said before to [head coach]Dan Bylsma we'll just see how it goes. Getting back on the ice is just that first step.

"There's no timetable at all. He got back on the ice on his own, which is a good step. We'll see how he does, how he progresses. The most important thing is that he gets his life back in order and feels good about himself, which he does recently - so that's the good news."

The Penguins web site has video and a full transcript of a question-and-answer session with Crosby here.

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About the Author
Hockey columnist

A native of Wainfleet, Ont., David Shoalts joined The Globe in 1984 after working at the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun and Toronto Sun. He graduated in 1978 from Conestoga College and also attended the University of Waterloo. More

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