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Birthdays galore and Geno having some fun


Some late Sunday thoughts:

• First, a happy 50th birthday to my uncle, Bill Oliverio. It was at his house that I watched in horror as the Penguins dropped Game 7 of the 1993 Patrick Division final to the Islanders. We were equally stunned. He tried to cheer me up. “Don’t worry, they’re going to win a lot more Cups,” he said. Sixteen years later I was on the ice as they took turns holding the next one.

• Speaking of happy birthdays: D BROOKS ORPIK (30) and LW CHRIS KUNITZ (31). One claims his age isn’t old. Another says he was wise even in his 20s. Care to guess who said what?

• C EVGNEI MALKIN has been making a point to speak more to the media this season. I hope he sticks with it, because there is a side of Malkin that more people need to see. One of my favorite new Malkinisimsis the way he looks downward and cracks a left-corner smile when saying something that amuses himself. He did it today during a response to my question about Columbus RW RICK Nash’s assertion that Malkin was slashing all throughout an exhibition game Saturday night. Malkin joked that the game, so far as he knew, had two referees and that he wasn’t called once for slashing.

Some of Malkin’s teammates have confided to me they think he will be a star of the HBO series “24/7″ about the Penguins and Capitals. I can’t say I disagree.

• Speaking of that HBO seires, the coordinating producer on the Penguins end is a local lady: Bentley Weiner of Squirrel Hill. She claims to read this blog. This is a test.

• First practice of camp at Southpointe was on a SteelersSunday and still the stands were full. Mostly with kids and parents. I’m just saying….

• Some help from dear readers. If you could ask just one question to The Big Four (Crosby, Malkin, Staal and Fleury), what would it be? I’m looking for suggestions. Email And keep it clean, obviously.



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.


  1. Jill says:

    I’m hearing that the ice at CEC is not that good. (A player confirmed this at SP practice Sunday.) How could this be in a brand new “state-of-the-art” $350 mil facility?!!!! Please tell me it’s not so that everything about CEC is perfect EXCEPT THE ICE!!

  2. espo33 says:

    Jill-I was thinking of others, but the ice question to those 4 is good enough. Although I would look to see if there was an event on that Sat night that could have messed up the ice production. And if that were the case, Rob, I would see how many are scheduled during the year to know when we can expect bad ice…

    But Rob, in case they defer and be nice on the question, how about there has been a lot of blog talk with the fans on hiring Fehr as your NHLPA director and there is a great fear that he gets elected, because he is one of the main reasons why baseball has been destroyed and few teams can’t win anymore. The NHL has always been about the fans involvement and there has not been 1 single endorsement from fans with Fehr. Do you think given the history of Fehr with the MLB that he will do the same thing to the NHL in ruining the game?

  3. diane says:

    Brooks was probably wise at 10 years old. Chris Kunitz will be the one who says 31 isn’t old.

    Two questions, one serious, one fun. Did they look past Montreal last year? 2nd one, what athletic skill, from another sport, do they wish they had?

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