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Some thoughts before the AM skate, and where to try fish in Pittsburgh.

The Penguins are about to hit the ice for their AM practice before tonight’s game against the Islanders. Some quick thoughts before things get going:

= C JORDAN STAAL (right foot) and RW ARRON ASHAM(left shoulder) skated with strenght and conditioning coach MIKE KADARfor about 45 minutes. Staal appeared to favor his foot slighly. Both players were fully dressed in pads. To update: Asham is out two weeks. There is no timetable for Staal’s return.

= D BROOKS ORPIK (groin) took the ice before the skate. He looks to be testing his injury with wide and long strides. He’s not waring gear; track pants and a sports performance shirt. He has missed the last two games, and four of six counting two final exhibition games missed because of the injury.

= G BRENT JOHNSONis going to start tonight. I’m curious as to if he would play Saturday at Philadelphia if the Penguisn get a win.

= Back to the baby blues tonight for the local club. I’m among a small minority who believes the Penguins should embrace their roots and wear their original colors for the majority of home games. If they win tonight, especially have three losses to open the new arena, how could you argue I’m wrong?

= I arrived way too early for practice today — just after 8 a.m., too early to hit up the Duquesne University Jamba Juice, which doesn’t open until 9 a.m. So, now I’m starving and thinking of lunch — especially with  Consol Energy Center menus scattered across the loge-area counter tops. (By the way; $8.50 for chicken tenders and fries!)

So, with this hunger of mine and the Islanders being in town, this seems like the perfect time for a story from my childhood that will become a shameless plug for a local business.

I’m a typical Pittsburgher in that I love fish sandwiches. Without hesitation I can say there is no better lunch or dinner item, especially on Fridays, when the local bars and restaurants add their special touches to the mighty fish sandwich. (I know a girl who said she had never enjoyed a “Pittsburgh fish sandwich.” That story, which I’ll spare you, ended with us at a restaurant, me thinking it was a date, her thinking my car was too clean. Moving on…) 

Some of my more memorable Fridays were spent tagging along with my grandfather as he shopped for produce Friday mornings in the Strip District. Around noon we’d always hit up Wholey’s for a fish sandwich — fried, of course. I haven’t been back for one in years, but those lunches were always so filling that I didn’t want to eat dinner. Thinking back, I probably fell in love with the fish sandwich more because of those morning trips to the Strip than anything else.

Seafood was a topic of conversation Thursday night when I was catching a late dinner at Mad Mex. Sitting at the bar next to me were two local lasses, Angel Oliverio and Angela Earley. Turns out, they both work at Penn Avenue Fish Company. Actually, Earley owns and manages. Now, I’m not sure fish sandwiches are their speciality, but I’ve been assured their lunch selection of fresh seafood is as fine as any in town. Anyway, now I’m totally going fish hunting for lunch. If you’re reading this and work downtown, perhaps consider their restaurants: http://www.pennavefishcompany.com/

Back to a 7 p.m. start tonight. Woo! to that.

 

Cheers,

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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