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Pittsburgh shines for Game 6, and early 2011 odds.

EYES ON THE PRIZE

Well, never let it be said Penguins fans don’t care about the Stanley Cup Final. At least, never let it be said a Penguins fan won’t tune in to possibly watch the hated Philadelphia Flyers lose the Cup on home ice.

Pittsburgh placed fourth among top 10 U.S. television markets with a 9.7 rating and 14 share for NBC’s broadcast Wednesday night of Game 6 between the Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks. The top markets were Chicago, Philadelphia and Buffalo — but Pittsburgh’s showing was most impressive (says me) because the cities above it were all represented in the Final. Buffalo, remember, is the hometown of Game 6 hero and Blackhawks RW PATRICK KANE, who scored the winning goal in overtime.

Oh, by the way: Let the just-wrapped Final be proof to Penguins fans that this was a down postseason for all goalies, not just beleaguered Penguins G MARC-ANDRE FLEURY. I hope some of the Fleury bashers appreciated the saves he made last year at this time while watching the near-dozen suspect goals surrendered in this Final by the Blackhawks and, especially, Flyers.

Anyway, I was texting some media colleagues during the Final and making my case that the Blackhawks and Flyers paled considerably to the Finalists from 2008 and 2009. I’m not sure the 2010 Finalists would have won more than a game against the 2008 Red Wings or 2009 Penguins — and, yes, I know that reads crazy considering that both the Blackhawks and Flyers each won two games in playoff series against the Red Wings and Penguins last season. Still, I’m sticking by my doubt on this one. The quality of play between the 2009 Final and the 2010 Final provided a considerable drop off, and that leads me to believe that with some much-needed rest the 2010 Final might just provide a rubber match between the Red Wings and Penguins.

Speaking of which, some early 2011 Stanley Cup odds from Bodog.com:

Chicago 11/2

Penguins 6/1

Washington 13/2

San Jose 9/1

Detroit 12/1

— ROSSI

Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi has covered the Penguins for parts of every season that Sidney Crosby has played in Pittsburgh. So, since 2005. He has led the Trib's NHL coverage since 2007, when he became the primary Penguins beat reporter. He joined the Tribune-Review in November 2002. Rossi, 35, is local chapter president of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. He also dabbles in radio, as ClearChannel's "Penguins Insider," and TV, as "NHL Insider" for Root Sports Pittsburgh, and as a semi-regular contributor to The Final Word, a Sunday sports show that airs on WPXI. In 2012, Rossi was recognized nationally by Penn State's John Curley Center for Sports Journalism for his coverage of youth sports for a Trib series that investigated concussion protocol. In 2013, he teamed with Carl Prine for an investigative piece about athletes' charities what was honored regionally. A graduate of West Virginia University and Keystone Oaks High School, Rossi was raised in Crafton and Green Tree and currently resides in Brookline. He is currently working on the authorized biography of Evgeni Malkin. Follow him on Twitter: @RobRossi_Trib

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