PERSONAL NOTE: I’ll dedicate this Penguins’ win to my sister, Lisa Marie Rossi, who turned 29 on Friday. Had the Penguins taken care of business before a shootout I might have been able to finish this blog update earlier and buy her a celebratory drink. She’ll have to settle for this shout out.
PENGUINS 3, PANTHERS 2 (SO)
The Trib’s Terrific Trio:
1 – G Tomas Vokoun, Panthers
Key stats: 41 saves
Rossi: Sure, he allowed two third-period goals, but he also faced 29 pucks over the final 40 minutes.
2 – C Sidney Crosby, Penguins
Key stats: 2 goals (1 PP/1 SH), 11 attempted shots, 2 hits, 21-for-36 faceoffs
Rossi: These eyes see him playing the most complete hockey of his career, which is saying something.
3 – C Evgeni Malkin, Penguins
Key stats: 2 assists, 10 attempted shots, 2 takeaways, 2 blocked shots, 7-for-13 faceoffs
Rossi: His keep to set up Crosby’s first goal shows just how badly he hates losing; the Penguins don’t win if Malkin doesn’t make that play.
SAY IT, SIR
“These are points on the board. The way I look at it is these are points in the bank. You’re going to want them tomorrow or in January or whenever.”
–Penguins C/RW Craig Adams, on taking two points after trailing by two goals entering the third period
Rossi: Remember how badly the Penguins needed points late last season to make the playoffs? Remember they’re 18-4 home playoff mark in the past two postseasons? Keep those memories with you when recalling third-period comebacks to earn points.
ON THE BEAT ROAD: Mario Lemieux
I’ve often heard close friends of Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux say his sense of humor is a blend of sarcasm and irony, and that it is a bit dark. I now can confirm this as absolute truth.
As many dear readers are aware I’m sort of the unofficial English-speaking interviewer of Malkin after games – when he speaks, which is not as often as reporters would prefer; but, hey, maybe if they’d ask him a few more questions he would talk more often. Or maybe he wouldn’t. That’s really not the point (though, the lone voice you heard asking him questions after this game belonged to yours truly, so maybe there is another point worth making.)
Malkin spoke after receiving postgame treatment, about 12 minutes after the dressing room opened to reporters.
Often I am one of the first media members to enter the dressing room, and that was the case after this game. I spied Malkin heading toward the training room, and holding my digital audio recorder like a STOP sign, asked him for a few words.
“Not now,” he said. “I need to see the trainer.”
This response didn’t surprise me, but I was caught off guard by laughter coming from behind me.
I turned around and noticed that laughter’s source: Lemieux, who was grinning from ear to ear – either at my expense or because Malkin had artfully dodged another interview request, and maybe both.
Well played, Geno. That’s one way to keep the Big Boss on your side. I trust my cut is in the mail.
–BY ROB ROSSI (10/23/09)
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