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Off-day post with thoughts on Michalek, Crosby; cap logic (not mine); and other treats.


An off-day update, dear readers.

First, though, a well-wish to my dad. He underwent double knee-replacement surgery Monday, which is why Josh Yohe was in lovely downtown Newark for the Penguins’ win at The Devil. Watched a DVR of it this AM. Hardly impressive, given the cap-strapped Devils lineup, but two points after two home losses to open the season will do for the Penguins.

=I’m trying to track down information on D ZBYNEK MICHALEK, who appeared to injure his shoulder during the win. Josh has more on that later in this post. Already without C JORDAN STAAL(right foot) for at least the next several weeks, the Penguins must be hoping Michalek’s injury isn’t too serious. Surgery for a separation could sideline him months. Remember, D SERGEI GONCHARdidn’t play until Feb. 14, 2009, when he was injured with a separated shoulder that required surgery in the preseason opener in 2008. No injury is the same, but losing Michalek for an extending period of time, with Staal already out, would severly limit the team’s PK proficiency.

= Something to keep an eye with Staal out is C SIDNEY CROSBY’s PK time. He’s at 56 seconds per game right now, only 3 seconds more than last season. He shouldn’t go much higher, at least if what I’ve always been told — that PK minutes are the most exhausting in hockey, and toughest to recover from — is true. Crosby is without a goal in three games and one with one point. He has missed eight shots already. His avg. TOI is up 46 seconds from last season. I don’t know if any of these numbers are related, but I’m starting to wonder.

By the way, I’d be very surprised if Crosby doesn’t show strong Wednesday night against Toronto. Same with RW EVGENI MALKIN and G MARC-ANDRE FLEURY. For Crosby and Malkin a day off will do them good. The Penguins hadn’t had one since before the final weekend of camp. For Fleury, well, he was a lot better in those two losses then that bad goal in final minutes against Montreal suggested. He’s fine, folks.

= OK, so just brilliant work by Mike Colligan of in breaking down the CBA and how it applies to last week’s baffling roster moves involving LW ERIC TANGRADI and G PATRICK KILLEEN. I’m equally envious of Colligan’s insight and stunned by how few people involved in this sport, including yours truly, really understand the CBA. Clearly from reading this, Penguins AstGM JASON BOTTERILL is at the top of his profession in understanding the cap. Anyway, the article can be found here:

Side note on the cap: Why isn’t the NHLPA raging against the machine with what went on with The Devil dressing only nine forwards because New Jesrey is so close to the cap? I understand there was an emergency designation for that situation, but with two years before the CBA is to expire, I can’t imagine how the NHLPA is pleased with what happened with The Devil. Sure, they weren’t the first franchise to dress fewer than 20 players, but this situation seemed like one over which a players association should take issue.

= Word from some Philadelphia colleagues is that the Flyers will ask the Penguins to play at 5 p.m. on Saturday. Pens play the night before at home, so I’m not sure it is in their best interest to oblige. The Flyers want to avoid playing at the same time the Phillies are set to host the Giants in an NLCS game. All the Philadelphia stadiums are in the same complex, so traffic flow is a concern. Also, though, it’s a nice gesture for the fans not to potentially avoid choosing between games.

That’s all from me, now for some notes from Josh from Newark…

= Michalek clearly sustained a shoulder injury in the second period against the Devils and did not return. Members of the Devils TV broadcast team spotted Michalek with ice on his shoulder following the second intermission. He appeared in a great deal of pain when departing the ice. Penguins coach DAN BYLSMA said Michalek and BROOKS ORPIK, who missed the game with a groin injury, would be evaluated in Pittsburgh Wednesday.

= Don’t believe the attendance figure of 12,880 released by New Jersey officials for Monday’s game against the Penguins. The building might have been half full. Incidentally, there were thousands of empty seats about an hour to the east in Long Island, where the Islanders defeated the Rangers, 6-4, in another holiday matinee.

= D PAUL MARTIN is a serious, quiet guy, but he let out a smile when discussing his empty net goal late in the third period. C/RW CRAIG ADAMS, you see, was about as wide open as a player can be in front of the open cage. Adams, of course, didn’t score a goal during the regular season and probably wouldn’t have minded receiving a pass. Both players had a good laugh about the situation after the game.
Adams said he didn’t really expect Martin to pass in that situation. Martin, of course, played the first seven seasons of his career in New Jersey and was booed throughout the contest. He attempted to produce a couple of excuses as to why he didn’t pass, but then admitted, “It did feel pretty good.”

= LW PASCAL DUPUIS wore what resembled a bullet proof vest while working out after the game. It presumably wasn’t anything like that, but he did give an amusing reply. “We are in Jersey, you know,” he said with a grin.
And this, friends, is why Rob Rossi avoids covering games in Newark, which is only a few miles from the cultural center of the universe, and yet so far away.
(Still working on a witty sign-off…until next time.)

Good one, Josh.




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. eyespy says:

    The thousands and thousands of empty seats in the Greater NYC area probably had a lot more to do with them being afternoon games than anything else.

    Apparently the schedule makers think it’s 1956 and that people still get off work for Columbus Day.

    I was at the Devils game and the place definitely filled up more as the game went on.

  2. PensFan says:

    Regarding Crosby, Just want to note that he is playing EXCEPTIONAL hockey right now. Don’t know why he never gets any credit unless he is scoring. He has drawn penalities, aced the face offs, and created a ton of quality scoring chances. Regarding his scoring, you only have to watch youtube to note the highlight reel “amazing saves” that goalies have managed over the past three games to understand how close he has been to scoring some beautiful goals. The score stats speaks to freak luck, not bad play by Crosby.

    That said, I will suggest that Crosby, who always seems to adapt his game to team needs, is clearly playing more of a defensive role, (with Staal out) backchecking and hitting more than usual for his line.

  3. Shawn says:

    Regarding Fleury…I heard Rob on one of the morning shows (the X, I think) talking about how some fans need an “education” on hockey…because if they knew anything about it, they wouldn’t be turning one of the best goalies in hockey into a knee jerk scapegoat.

    While this is true, I think the blame for this lands squarely on Steelers Nation.

    So many new (bandwagon) fans have started rooting for the Pens in the past 3 years, they have brought their Steeler fan ways…one win and the Steelers are going to win the Super Bowl…one loss and the sky is falling…the quarterback (goalie) is to blame for everything…except for everything the assistant coach (pick one, Arians or Yeo) who becomes the whipping boy is to blame for…

    The same people who call for Fleury’s head are the same ones who wanted Dixon to be the starter over Ben after Week 1 and Batch to be the starter after Week 3.

    They know nothing.

    Penguins fans used to be as astute as any in the US…every bit as much as Detroit or Boston or Minnesota. Now? Not so much…the astute have been watered down.

  4. spiros l says:

    hey rob

    in saturday’s journal de montreal newspaper here in montreal,they had a front page picture of mario lemieux building a $10 million dollar mansion in mont-tremblant.

    u will have a a guest house attached to the main house with an underground tunnel and a heated tennis court

    they said that mario refused to give an interview abouth the house but that he would not be moving back to montreal and his primary residence will still be in pittsburgh

  5. Pete says:

    I understand Newark is not the best place in the world but there are nice places in NJ

    Pens fan in NJ

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