In January, Crosby's long-presumed double-concussion was essentially re-diagnosed as a neck injury that was mimicking concussion symptoms (headaches and balance problems) that wouldn't go away because it was being rehabbed like a concussion instead of neck damage.
Today he was cleared for contact in practice and said if he gets through that symptom-free, he could return in a number of days. Optimism is at an all-time high for him because a neck injury (specifically, soft tissue damage) can be (has been?) fixed pathologically with a real timetable instead of the concussion waiting game. And if it really has been a neck problem and not the long-presumed super-concussion, the exponential future susceptibility to more concussions won't be there. Fingers crossed.
Only problem for Sid is that Malkin stole his linemates and there's no givebacks.
I wouldn't think that the SportsCenter coverage would suffer too much. The NHL is still a major sports league and would still warrant as much coverage as its been getting. But, I also think that ESPN will keep its contract with the NHL.