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Live from Tampa (some thoughts)…

Some quick-hit notes as I sit in the press box at St. Pete Times Forum. I arrived in Tampa (from sizzling St. Louis, where I’m pretty sure Mizzou fans are still drinking) just in time for a Sunday morning practice, and now I’m at the Predators-Lightning game working on a story to run Tuesday. Why, dear readers might ask, would I write a story about one of these team when I cover the Penguins. Well, for that you’ll have to keep reading…

• You won’t have to keep reading long, though. The Penguins are off Monday, getting a deserved break in the FLA sunshine. They’ve played nine games in 17 games, and though coach Dan Bylsma said today he likes playing a lot of games early in the season, count me as the reporter who thinks three days without a game will do this team some good. I feel even better predicting that after the games at Nashville and St. Louis — two of the better-paced regular-season games I’ve covered. (Actually, I’m not sure that game at Nashville wasn’t the best game I’ve covered in the regular season. Certainly it is a rare one players have talked about days later.)

• The Penguins had 25 guys on the ice today for practice, and it looks like RW Arron Asham (left shoulder) will give it a go Wednesday night. If so, who sits? Well, LW Eric Tangradi doesn’t need to clear waivers, so the Penguins can play it safe and re-assign him to the AHL. They also can chop a defenseman, likely Andrew Hutchinson, because eight practiced today. D Zbynek Michalek participated in a full session, and noted that Monday will be the two-week anniversary of when he sustained the injury in a win at New Jersey. I wrote about this roster situation for tomorrow, and, yes, dear readers, you’ll have to wait to read.

• Two personal notes:

1. Syracuse!!! Uncle. Just, Uncle!

2. A belated HBD to my sister, Lisa, who I’m confident celebrated in grand style on Saturday. My asthma was winning that day, so the blog took a backseat — and thus sis missed her yearly shout-out. I’m sure she was relieved as last year’s version misidentified her age. Clearly, I’m the world’s greatest brother in the world. Anyway, this year’s birthday wish is a day late, but at least I’m not making her a year older than she already is. Or was.

• D Brooks Orpik and I have a sports team in common: the San Francisco Giants. He was born in the Bay Area, and I just adopted the Giants when Barry Bonds left the Pirates to play for them in 1992. This being known, I told Orpik today that I’m Texas Rangers all the way in the World Series. Pittsburgh’s own Chuck Greenberg is a majority co-owner of the Rangers, and the opportunities to use Pittsburgh and World Series in the same sentence are so scarce that I just had to use this blog as a forum for that.

Speaking of Orpik, he told me after practice today that he “felt really good” less than 24 hours after returning from a six-game absence because of a groin injury. “Talk about being thrown to the fire, though,” he said, referring to the swift pace of that overtime loss at St. Louis.

• It used to be that I had trouble seeing WPA’s own Ryan Malone wearing a uniform that didn’t include a Skating Penguin crest. Now he’s not even wearing his own number, having given it to Lightning LW Simon Gagne. Malone is wearing No. 6, which if you multiply it by three gives you the number of his tattoos. I think. I’ll have to ask him what the new count is, actually.

Speaking of tattoos, my left-leg Spider-Man was a topic of conversation for many Penguins today. I’m still not sure if G Marc-Andre Fleury was paying me a compliment or a backhanded insult when he said, “That could be pretty cool.”

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

Comments

  1. Shawn says:

    I’ve been a big Tangradi guy. I saw him in the rookie camp this summer. He was dominant and professional. I knew he’d make the team.

    But, while I think he’s been ok and is probably one of our 12 best forwards right now…he really would benefit from another year or a few months, at least, in the AHL. I think he had 23 goals or so in WBS last year. He didn’t dominate. He needs to go down and get some confidence with the puck.

    Comrie should be the other odd man out once Staal and Asham return. Simply put, Comrie is one of the smallest AND slowest players I have ever seen. He is a bad fit for Bylsma’s system.

    I wonder how good Mark Letestu can be. Patrick Sharp found his way into the NHL at a later age and then just kept getting better and better with a frame and skill set not that dissimilar to Letestu. What if Letestu can become Patrick Sharp-good?

    That would give the Pens the option of using a Kunitz-Staal-Letestu unit as a VIABLE second line while using Dupuis-Crosby-Malkin as a top unit. Put out the Cooke-Talbot-Asham unit and Rupp-Adams-Kennedy to grind the other team down.

    That would scare me if I were an opposing coach.

  2. Shawn says:

    The other option I’ve heard talked about to clear up the roster is to make a trade (presumably for a pick or prospect). The name I keep hearing is Tyler Kennedy.

    Let me toss this out there. Ottawa is reportedly desperate to make a deal to shake up their club. They are having a hard time because of cap issues.

    I was pretty impressed by Peter Regin last year in the playoffs. Hard not to be, since he was the Sens best player. His cap hit is $1,000,000 this year and next. Tyler’s cap hit is $725,000 this year and he’s an RFA next year.

    Both players started this year on bottom lines and only moved up because of injuries.

    Would you trade Kennedy for Regin? Or Kennedy and a 4th round pick or lower for Regin?

    I sure would.

  3. Crosbyfan says:

    So what are the Penguins doing on their days off besides a morning practice? Video games? Beach? Golf? Poolside? Do tell.

  4. Lisa says:

    Thanks… you ARE a great brother- just was never good at math.

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