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Latest USA Today rankings, and my best Bill Guerin story.

I’m knee-deep in Winter Classic preview stories, so Josh Yohe is covering the game tonight against New Jersey. Also, I took on the story of RW BILL GUERIN’S retirement. Allow me a quick story about Guerin after I urge you to look Sunday for a one that involves one of my musical idols.

The Penguins had dropped Game 5 of Round 1 during the 2009 playoffs. A series they opened with  2-0 lead had become 3-2, and they’d been shut out at Civic Arena. In fact, they weren’t looking a lot like the better team.

In the dressing room after Game 5, I posed a question — something about a sense of urgency, I believe — that Guerin redirected by delivering a speech about something entirely different, a subject of his own choosing. This wasn’t the first time he’d done that in the series.

Sometime in the next round I had a few moments alone with Guerin during an off-day at Washington. He had said something that made me laugh, and I cracked wise about that being the first exchange we’d shared recently during which he actually appeared interested in hearing my thoughts.

Him: What do you mean?

Me: Oh, it’s just that I keep asking you questions and you keep not answering them.

Him: I answer them, buddy.

Me: Well, yeah; but you go off on a tangent about something all together different than what I asked about. Makes me think I need to work harder at coming up with questions.

Him: No, they’re good questions… but I’m not going to answer them honestly in the playoffs. I know how that goes. You say all the right things in the playoffs. This isn’t my first rodeo.

Me: Ahh, I see.

Him: Ask me them in the regular season and I’ll answer them.

Me: Really?

Him (laughing): Probably not.

In that moment I realized what was so special about Guerin. He has a gift, as C SIDNEY CROSBY said Monday, and that gift is a wit quicker than anybody I know aside from local radio star Mark Madden.

OK, dear readers, this is the spot on Chipped Ice where you get some rankings. These are from USAtoday.com, a voting pannel of which I am a part. Check out my votes after checking out this link: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/nhl/2010-12-06-power-rankings_N.htm

 

ROSSI’S RANKINGS

1 – DET; 2 – PIT; 3 – BOS; 4 – MTL; 5 – PHI; 6 – VAN; 7 – WSH; 8 – NYR; 9 – DAL; 10 – LAK

11 – ATL; 12 – TBL; 13 – PHX; 14 – CHI; 15 – COL; 16 – SJS; 17 – NSH; 18 – STL; 19 – BUF; 20 – ANA

21 – CLB; 22 – MIN; 23 – CAR; 24 – FLA; 25 – CGY; 26 – OTT; 27 – EDM; 28 – TOR; 29 – NJD; 30 – NYI

 

MVP

1 – Sidney Crosby, PIT

2 – Tim Thomas, BOS

3 – Steven Stamkos, TBL

4 – Brad Richards, DAL

5 – Nicklas Lidstrom, DET

 

GOALIES

1 – Tim Thomas, BOS

2 – Carey Price, MTL

3 – Jonathan Quick, LAK

4 – Sergei Bobrovsky, PHI

5 – Ondrej Pavelec, ATL

 

DEFENSEMEN

1 – Nicklas Lidstrom, DET

2 – Kris Letang, PIT

3 – John-Michael Liles, COL

4 – Mike Green, WSH

5 – Dustin Byfuglien, ATL

 

ROOKIES

1 – Sergei Bobrovsky, PHI

2 – Jeff Skinner, CAR

3 – Tyler Ennis, BUF

4 – John Carlson, WSH

5 – Jordan Eberle, EDM

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. Jim says:

    If Fleury and the team continue playing the way they are now, any hope of him winning a Vezina trophy?

    He’s been playing phenomenal lately.

    Just hoping I guess.

  2. Craig says:

    I really enjoyed your exchange with “Billy” Guerin. He is truly one of the most gracious people I have ever met. I am a born and raised Pittsburger who has known Billy since 2003, he has always demonstrated a humble demeanor and great sense of humor. Busting stones was Billy’s way of saying I’m just one of the guy’s. I knew Pittsburgh would embrace his work ethic and regular guy approach. In your story Billy say’s “I answer them, buddy”, which means “I’m serious, and you better have a good explanation or this interview is over”. It made me laugh, picturing him delivering his responses and yes he does have a gift. He makes everyone feel welcome and welcome in a way all seasoned Pittsburger’s can appreciate. He makes you feel welcome in the same way the Rooney’s make everyone in Pittsburgh feel like one of the family.

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