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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 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.

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