NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sidney Crosby has resumed on-ice workouts in his comeback from a serious concussion, giving the Pittsburgh Penguins and National Hockey League (NHL) a boost of optimism about his return for next season.
Crosby, who has not played since January 5, is training near his home in Halifax, Nova Scotia, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, which said it confirmed the development with the Penguins and Crosby's agent.
The 23-year-old Crosby, a former NHL Most Valuable Player and the league's top drawing card, missed half of last season when his campaign was cut short after he was slammed into the end boards by Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman.
The Hedman hit came four days after he was caught off guard and knocked to the ice by Washington forward David Steckel.
At the time of his injury, Crosby led the NHL with 32 goals and 34 assists in 41 games.
Crosby last tried some on-ice workouts in April during the Penguins' first-round series in the Stanley Cup playoffs but was shut down because of headaches. Pittsburgh lost that series in seven games to Tampa Bay.
The workouts do not guarantee Crosby will be ready for training camp in September, and he has yet to receive medical clearance for physical contact, yet word that he was back on the ice renewed hopes for his return next season.
Crosby, drafted first overall by Pittsburgh in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, has lived up to the hype and his nickname of "Sir Sidney" as NHL royalty.
He helped lead Pittsburgh to a Stanley Cup triumph in 2009, their first title in 17 years, and his overtime goal won the gold medal for Canada at last year's Vancouver Olympics.
Crosby has been a points-producing machine since joining the Penguins for the 2005-06 season, recording 215 goals and 357 assists for 572 points in 412 regular season games.
He has also shined during the postseason with 30 goals and 52 assists in 62 playoff games.
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue and Julian Linen)