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Pens-Sabres postgame: Hot flower and straight shaves



The Trib’s Terrific Trio:


Key stats: 31 saves, 3-for-3 in shootout

Rossi: Since being pulled after allowing five goals at Ottawa on Nov. 19 Fleury is 10-1-0 with a 1.78 GAA and .930 SV%. Up next: A showdown against boyhood idol Martin Brodeur, who’s Devils have tagged Fleury for seven goals on 50 shots in two games.


Key stat: 23 saves

Rossi: He turned aside a couple of sterling shorthanded chances to help the Sabres earn a point – and perhaps establish themselves as a legitimate contender in the East.


Key stats: 6 attempted shots, 1 hit, 1 takeaway, 1 blocked shot, 20:02 of ice time

Rossi: Oh, and another camera-popping shootout goal. When ’Tanger is on in the shootout he has a way of humiliating goalies; and he was on Thursday at Philadelphia and Saturday at Buffalo.

“I thought the game was called pretty evenly. All you ask for is standard to be established… and I thought they did a pretty good job of that.”
HC DAN BYLSMA on eight penalties called against the Penguins, affording the Sabres’ eight power-play chances

Rossi: I’d take issue with the first-period hooking call on Letang with the Penguins’ already down a man, but… It should not go without notice that Bylsma had proven adept at handling all post-game questions aimed at officiating since his hiring Feb. 15. He chooses his words carefully on all matters, often turning an answer into an entirely different topic that he would like to address. I’m not sold that most players read what a coach is quoted as saying in the papers, and I have no idea how much reading NHL officials do; but if reading the dailies is part of the routine for any Penguins player or NHL official then they likely have been disappointed with Bylsma when it comes to having something over which to brood.


As the Penguins were going through a mini-skid to start November, I pulled aside F MIKE RUPP in San Jose to talk shaving; he’d been talking on that west coast trip about needing to find a barber for a straight-blade razor shave.

Often a beat reporter will take the temperature of the room and opt not to press go-to guys, as Rupp has become for quote purposes, about club struggles. A few hours before the Sharks would try to carve up the Penguins seemed like the proper time to talk whiskers with Rupp.

“It’s unbelievable how great they are,” he said then of the old-school face trims. “Have you ever had one?”

I had not, though a few weeks later in Atlanta I found a shop that shaved with modern multi-blades. Nice. Clean. And my goatee had never been shaped more precise. Still, I kept going back to Rupp’s praise of the straight-blade razor shave, and I couldn’t help but think I had missed out on a rite of manhood.

As any of my friends at Smokin’ Joe’s Saloon in Pittsburgh can attest I spent the early weeks of December inquiring about local barbers, hoping to find somebody that knew one who would give me the “Rupp Treatment.”

No luck.

“It’s a lost art,” said JOE’S TOMMY. “Those kinds of shaves are one of those things that have just gone away. It’s a shame.”

He is right – it is a shame, as I can attest after finding a Buffalo barber that scraped my face and neck good on Friday.

ANTHONY FOLINO of Attilio’s Barber Shop in Amherst, N.Y. (suburban Buffalo), gave me the “Rupp Treatment” (including hot towels) at a $12 cost. It was, as I jokingly told a certain Penguins goalie, “glorious.” (Note to self: Find most masculine words to describe shaves.)

Anyway, Anthony seemed shocked when I told him that finding a shave-friend barber in Pittsburgh had proven difficult.

“That’s too bad; but remember it’s not that far from Pittsburgh to Buffalo,” he said.

That begs a question I must remember to ask Rupp: How far is a barber shave worth traveling?

–BY ROB ROSSI (12/20/2009)

YINZ TELL US: Thoughts and questions are always welcome. Send emails to Emails without writers’ full name and current hometown will not be read.




Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

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