With no deal in the works, Crosby took a late-night flight back to Pittsburgh wondering what else the players could have done to move things along.
The lockout has become another setback in a maddening two years for the game's most popular player. The 2007 NHL MVP and 2010 Olympic gold medalist has been limited to just 28 games since January 2011 due to a series of debilitating concussions. He is healthy now and signed a 12-year contract extension last summer that would keep him in Pittsburgh until his late-30s.
Yet instead of focusing on getting the Penguins back to the Stanley Cup finals, Crosby has spent the last three months trying to help salvage at least part of the season. The last NHL lockout resulted in the 2004-05 season getting wiped out.
"The foundation (for a deal) is there and I don't think we can move any more," Crosby said. "We've done everything from our side to make this work"
Though any foreign team that signs Crosby would also have to take out an expensive insurance policy, Crosby maintains playing overseas — where dozens of NHL players are keeping sharp, including Penguins teammate Evgeni Malkin — is a "practical" alternative.
"I think I've tried to be optimistic and things like that and given it every chance possible," Crosby said. "But I've got make sure I keep playing hockey. I haven't played for a while."