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Pens fans wrong to mock Fleury



Some quick observations and notes off the Pens’ 2-1 home win over Ottawa in Game 1 of the EQF on Friday night:

— G Marc-Andre Fleury deserves a lot better than a sellout crowd at Mellon Arena sent his way early in Game 2 after his first save. Yes, Fleury started the series stopping just 16 of 22 shots. However, he also has made 19 straight saves to close an oft-pivotal Game 2 — teams that win it are well over 70 percent in series victories. D Brooks Orpik said he “didn’t understand” the mock-cheering from Fleury’s home fans. Neither do I. Performances like from Penguins fans are the reason I often wonder how the Penguins once called them “the best fans in hockey.”

— C Sidney Crosby won 13 of 19 faceoffs, including his last seven. He went 11 for 22 in Game 1. Yeah, Crosby is crazy competitive. I get that. How about some love for C Evgeni Malkin, not often referred to as, uh, interested when in the faceoff circle. He went 7 for 12 in Game 2.

— Orpik dished out nine hits, setting a tone for 52 from the Penguins. I’m real close to dubbing him “G.I. ‘O’: The Penguins’ American Hero.” Thoughts?

— Speaking of fine Americans, C Mike Rupp landed four hits in under seven minutes. Efficiency is a beautiful thing. Just think what Rupp might do when presented with early-morning coffee from Tim Horton’s in Ottawa — a favorite spot for him and me in Canada’s capital city.

— Reason the Penguins agreed to pay D Kris Letang $14 million over the next four seasons: In his club’s biggest game of the season, Letang attempted eight shots — yeah, he connected with only three, but those attempts indicate a willingness to accept responsibility to contribute offensively — and blocked four shots, plus he delivered five hits. Oh, and a winning goal.

— OK, dear readers who kept reading past my Fleury rant, the lovely drive to Ottawa for Games 3 and 4 begins Saturday afternoon. Joy! If any of yinz are heading up, drop me a note with your story — pictures welcome, so long as they are PG — at




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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