ST. LOUIS — While covering last night’s Pirates-Cardinals game at Busch Stadium, I also was sneaking peeks at the Penguins-Flyers playoff game on my laptop — no need for Versus; I managed to tap into an Internet video stream of the CBC’s “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcast. The best of both worlds!
Last night, fireworks went off at Busch Stadium at the precise moment Sidney Crosby fired the Penguins’ first goal of the game. Since the baseball game hadn’t yet begun, the Pittsburgh contingent in the press box — three writers and Pirates media relations poobah Jim Trdinich — wondered if someone at the stadium was a Penguins fan or at least a Western Pennsylvania native (you know how we love pretty lights in the sky).
In fact, the timing of the fireworks and Sid’s goal was merely a fortunate coincidence.
At Busch Stadium, they shoot off three or four fireworks above center field about 20 minutes before the first pitch is scheduled to be thrown. The intent is sort of like dimming the lights in a theater lobby before the curtain goes back up intermission. It’s a cue for the fans to pack up their tailgates, hustle to the restroom or get into the beer queue pronto so they won’t miss the start of the game.
For me, it was a cue to start thinking about how the Stanley Cup Finals against Detroit are going to shape up.
One thing working in the Pens’ favor is how they’ve been able to dodge any serious injuries during their playoff run. Unfortunately, the same is not true for the Pirates so far this season.
Last night, catcher Ryan Doumit went down with a fracture at the tip of his left thumb. The severity of the injury will be determined later today, after Doumit is examined by a hand specialist back in Pittsburgh.
Last night, manager John Russell, a former catcher, said he’d seem that type of injury before and that it usually required 14-21 days out of action. So, if it is just a small break, Doumit could be back in mid-June. However, there is a chance the injury could keep him out of action much longer.
Already this season, Freddy Sanchez continues to battle shoulder pain, Jack Wilson has been out for six weeks with a calf injury, Adam LaRoche has been bothered by a dinged-up thumb, Tom Gorzelanny missed a start because of back pain and Xavier Nady has nursed a sore groin.
Doumit’s mishap tempered the good news out of Bradenton, Fla., where Wilson was told he’ll begin a rehab assignment Thursday with Double-A Altoona. If all goes well, Wilson could be back with the Pirates in a week or so.