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Around the rankings world, and thoughts on Crosby-Bylsma.

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Well, dear readers, it’s been too long. This past road trip was an off one for me, and my intention to blog this morning from practice didn’t play out because of a fender bender on my way to Southpointe. Actually, make it a roof crusher, but enough about me…

Can’t imagine I was a popular guy in the dressing room, given this story: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_708391.html. Stories like that aren’t especially pleasant to write for a beat reporter because the writer knows next-day response will be rough. (This is the reason I regret missing practice because of the accident; it is important to show your face on a day when the room is against you.) Still, there isn’t a lot that needs to be read into that story. It’s pretty cut and dry based of the quotes.

I will be watching closely for the response from the Penguins as a collective group. I cannot forget the reaction to a story I wrote during the 2008 Stanley Cup Final, a story that featured C EVGENI MALKINtelling me he was uncomfortable with his left-point responsibilities on the power play. The Penguins’ response the next day include complete denouncement of my story, accusations that I had misquoted Malkin — those coming from coaches and players alike. It wasn’t until the next training camp that Malkin and leftover players confided they were told to denounce my story. A few of the most vocal critics of me the day that story was published also apologized, with RW PETR SYKORA and D SERGEI GONCHARacknowledging that Malkin told them every quote he provided me was correctly interpreted.

 I remember thinking then that the Penguins would have been better served listening to Malkin rather than trying for next-day spin control, as clearly his discomfort on the power play had affected the power play, which underperformed in that Final series loss.

Anyway, now onto some notes from practice that were passed along to me by PittsburghPenguins.com:

= Malkin and G BRENT JOHNSONreturned to practice. Malkin had left Monday’s session early, and Johnson was sick for that practice.

= C MIKE COMRIE didn’t practice.

Time to hit the rankings circuit, kids:

= The Penguins are down a spot in ESPN.com’s view: http://espn.go.com/nhl/powerrankings

= A big fall for the Penguins at TSN.ca: http://www.tsn.ca/fantasy_news/rankings/nhl/

= It’s No. 14 for the Penguins at USAtoday.com: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/nhl/2010-11-08-power-rankings-jaroslav-halak_N.htm

And, in the interest of full disclosure, my USAtoday.com ballots is below the sign off.

 

Cheers,

Rossi 

TEAMS

1 – Los Angeles

2 – St. Louis

3 – Boston

4 – Washington

5 – Detroit

6 – Vancouver

7 – Philadelphia

8 – Dallas

9 – San Jose

10 – Montreal

11 – Minnesota

12 – Tampa Bay

13 – Chicago

14 – Columbus

15 – Nashville

16 – Colorado

17 – Pittsburgh

18 – NY Rangers

19 – Ottawa

20 – Carolina

21 – Atlanta

22 – Toronto

23 – Phoenix

24 – Anaheim

25 – Calgary

26 – Florida

27 – Edmonton

28 – NY Islanders

29 – Buffalo

30 – New Jersey

MVP

1 – Steven Stamkos, TBL

2 – Jaroslav Halak, STL

3 – Pavel Datsyuk, DET

4 – Brad Richards, DAL

5 – Alex Ovechkin, WSH

GOALIES

1 – Jaroslav Halak, STL

2 – Tim Thomas, BOS

3 – Jonathan Quick, LAK

4 – Brent Johnson, PIT

5 – Sergei Bobrovsky, PHI

DEFENSEMEN

1 – Nicklas Lidstrom, DET

2 – Kris Letang, PIT

3 – John-Michael Liles, COL

4 – Dan Boyle, SJS

5 – Mike Green, WSH

ROOKIES

1 – Jeff Skinner, CAR

2 – John Carlson, WSH

3 – Mark Letestu, PIT

4 – Tyler Ennis, BUF

5 – Logan Couture, SJS

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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.

Comments

  1. Mikey says:

    Mr. Rossi,
    Thank you for your continued coverage of the Penguins.
    I do think there needs to be a correction to your blog post: you mention RW Petr Nedved (a C/LW from 1995 to 1997 in Pgh) when you, most likely, meant RW Petr Sykora.

    On a side note, do you believe there’s a rift forming between the players and head coach Bylsma, aside from Mr. Crosby being the leader that he needs to in backing the team’s struggling #1 goalie.

    Again, thank you for your continued hard work. I hope your fender/roof bender doesn’t cost you too much in the end.

  2. pensfan says:

    Question: Why would you write a story like the one you referenced? The Pen’s season is bad enough, why are you trying to air/stirup a potential Captain/Coach conflict? That would really finish the Pens season.

    In reading the quotes that you attribute to Crosby, and to Dan Bylsma, I can say it is easy to conclude they are both saying the same thing…not disagreeing at all. That is how language is…one tends to read into words what they would like to…which is what i think you did Rossi. And in doing so did a dis-service to the Captain and the Coach.

  3. espo33 says:

    Ross- I think you mean Sykora and not Petr Nevad.

  4. espo33 says:

    And that had to be the 2008 Final loss not 2009 when they won it.

  5. Allie says:

    I realize that it’s really early in the season, but no Crosby in the MVP voting? He’s been, by far, the Pens’ best player so far.

  6. Sherry says:

    Two comments: First, it is clear you are out to divide/split the Pens players and coaches. Your articles recently (very opinioned..not fact based) have suggested that Staal is the true leader of the team [not Sid}… guess that made the lockerroom comfy… then you have twisted and shoehorned your own interpretation of Sid’s response about what it would take for Fluery to regain his confidence into a response and stance on Crosby seeming to try to instruct the coaching staff on goalie selection. Your failure to include Sid in your Hart Trophy list is the final dis to the Captain.

    Secondly, Seems you owe Sid and the Pens an apology is how I interpret your articles.

  7. PenguinsSupporter says:

    In fairness to Sid, here is his response amd rebuttal(pasted from the Pens Report) to your article referenced above:

    On if his feelings on the current goaltending situation have changed since Monday:
    “I was never asked about the goaltender situation. I was asked about “Flower’s” confidence, and what it would take for him to get his confidence back. That’s why I said he needs to get back into the net in order to do that. I didn’t have an opinion on the goaltending situation. As far as anybody’s confidence, that’s usually what it takes, whether you haven’t scored in a few games or whatever the case is. It usually takes to get into the swing of things to get that back. It doesn’t usually take one game, it takes a few. By no means was I taking any stance or push for a certain goalie to play. I was asked a question. I answered it. My quote was my quote, but I don’t think it was interpreted the same way.” by Sidney Crosby

  8. Jon says:

    Might as well addressed this one to the Penguins themselves because I certainly hope this rubbish wasn’t for the readers!

  9. dwf says:

    I have never been a big fan of your coverage of the pens, and am even less so now.

  10. Tim says:

    unsatisfactory practice habits? can you be more specific?

  11. mike says:

    I don’t see the controversy in a coach and a captain disagreeing, even publicly. They’re grown-ups, right? Can’t grown-ups disagree civilly? That appears to be exactly what they are doing. And their issue seems to be a pretty universal one. When a player is playing poorly, he wants to play through it. He doesn’t want to sit. But a coach has to balance the needs of the player with the needs of the team.

    If I were Bylsma, I’d be riding Fleury right of of this slump. Even if it takes a dozen games. He obviously doesn’t want to do that and it’s not hard to see his side either. These points in Oct/Nov count the same as points in Feb/Mar. Meanwhile, Sid is being Sid – honest and straightforward without a hint of disrespect and without drama for the sake of drama.

    So I think “agree to disagree” is a perfectly appropriate headline and not stirring the pot. And something tells me they’ll be alright. Especially if the rest of the team continues to follow Crosby’s lead.

  12. Roy says:

    Rob,

    Few people who read your column realize what true journalism is. You are reporting the facts and not trying to divide this team. Do people really think that you do not want this team to succeed? You have a pulse on this team better than any other media figure in the city so your opinion is valued.

    As for the Crosby rankings , do people really think he is off to a MVP start? He maybe the most valuable penguin but not MVP for the ENTIRE LEAGUE. If you believe he is take off you rose colored glasses and watch some other teams.

    Rob- keep up the good work and giving us true journalism

  13. Ryan says:

    Jouralists and Columnists are in the business of writing articles/ stories that are factual, yet interesting among readers and bloggers. Merely posting Bylsma’s quotes and Sid’s quotes would lack excitement amongst readers. Thus, using said quotes out of context creates higher readership and sparks debate (reference certain comments above). I highly doubt that Rossi is attempting to create a “rift” in the locker room.

  14. tomas says:

    Isn’t interesting that Sid never questioned Michel Therrien pubically on anything but with Bylsma he has no problem in doing so. This might have to do with the two headed coaching disaster of Bylsma & Granato being obsessed with giving fringe & role players far more important ice time than they deserve in games and this is creating discontent in the room. Just a thought.

  15. Allie says:

    Thank you, Sherry. Rob, you took Sid’s words completely out of context. Put two and two together and made a story. I realize that you have to make headlines, but you really threw him under the bus with this one. Other media outlets, not knowing the full situation, took your words are reported that Sid and Bylsma are feuding. In addition, Sid was absolutely ripped on SportsNet last night.
    It’s sad that he has to pay for your crap. He’s decent enough to speak to you and your peers each and every day (sometimes twice a day) and this is what you do to him? Come on, get real.
    Again, no Sid on the MVP voting? I think it’s you that might have a problem with Sid and not other way around. You owe him and the Pens an apology.

  16. Jonathon Bloogiewich says:

    C’mon Sid!!!! Score a goal Siddddd!!!! C’monnnnn Siddddd!!!! (said in a shrieking 13 year old girls voice)

 
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