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USA Today power poll with some PGH love

Quick in-game note, dear readers. I’ll post some stuff after this exhibition tilt:

• I’m honored to have been asked to contribute to USA Today’s weekly rankings for this season. Some respected scribes are part of the group, led by PHWA president Kevin Allen. Anyway, take a look:

Poll: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/nhl/2010-09-28-power-rankings-first-vote_N.htm

Award predictions: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/nhl/2010-09-28-power-rank-prediction-chart_N.htm

• I’m writing about D SIMON DESPRES for Wednesday’s print edition. Fans might be surprised to find the team hasn’t ruled out him playing some games in the NHL. A preview from GM RAY SHERO: “He’s earned this second game, basically. He’s practiced well. Coaches like what they see. It’s another step for him.”

I can’t get anybody to tell me Despres definitely is going back to his junior team in the QMJHL. I also can’t get anybody to say that somebody has firmly gripped control of the Nos. 6 of 7 defense spots. I’d be shocked if Despres played all seaosn in the NHL, but as I wrote over the summer, seeing him wear a skating penguin crest at some point this season wouldn’t shock me in the least.

He can play nine games without this season counting against his arbitration status.

— 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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