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As promised, USA Today rankings and my ballot:


See the previous blog entry for a roundup of other NHL rankings. The Pens are near the top for USA Today:

My ballot:

1-      VAN

2-      PHI

3-      PIT

4-      SJS

5-      DET

6-      BOS

7-      WSH

8-      PHX

9-      NSH

10-   NYR

11-   LAK

12-   CHI

13-   ANA

14-   TMP

15-   MTO

16-   DAL

17-   CGY

18-   BUF

19-   CAR

20-   NJD

21-   TOR

22-   ATL

23-   CLB

24-   STL

25-   MIN

26-   NYI

27-   FLA

28-   OTT

29-   COL

30-   EDM



1 – Marc-Andre Fleury (Penguins)

2 – Jonathan Toews (Blackahawks)

3 – Corey Perry (Ducks)

4 – Daniel Sedin (Canucks)

5 – Nicklas Lidstrom (Red Wings)


1 – Tim Thomas  (Bruins)

2 – Henrik Lundqvist (Rangers)

3 – Marc-Andre Fleury (Penguins)

4 – Jonathan Quick (Kings)

5 – Carey Price (Canadiens)


1 – Nicklas Lidstrom (Red Wings)

2 – Keith Yandle (Coyotes)

3 – Christian Ehrhoff (Canucks)

4 – Shea Weber (Predators)

5 – Kris Letang (Penguins)


1 – Logan Couture (Sharks)

2 – Jeff Skinner (Hurricanes)

3 – Sergei Bobrovsky (Flyers)

4 – Michael Grabner (Islanders)

5 – Derek Stepan (Rangers)


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.


  1. I applaud the enthusiasm, but ranking the Pens #3, even before the loss at home to Philly seems a bit unrealistic. Yes, the Pens had won four straight but all were shootouts, and, in the last 3 wins they scored a whooping 3 goals, COMBINED. The team since the first game after #71’s season-ending knee injury is 11-9-4 (11-8-4 when the rankings above were submitted). Respectable yes, worthy of a #3 ranking, no. The In evaluating the Pens, they can win one, maybe even two playoff series without #87. But, IMO, to be a legit cup contender, worthy of a #3 ranking right now, the team needs #87 playing at the same level as before the Winter Classic.

  2. Shawn says:

    I don’t get Logan Couture over Jeff Skinner.

    For one, Couture is barely a rookie. He played in last year’s Western Conference Finals. He’s played junior or AHL hockey for years.

    Skinner is 18 and leads all rookies in scoring. He’s a poor, poor, poor man’s version of Sidney Crosby. It should be his award to lose.

    I could definitely argue Bobrovsky over either, but I’m not sure how Couture could be selected above Skinner.

  3. James Rayer says:

    Hi Rob, I am a frequent listener of Puck Daddy Radio and call in often as James in B.C.

    I was dissapointed to hear your MVP pick as a member of the team that you cover.
    If you follow the NHL at all
    you know that a goalie CAN be an MVP – as long as they are worthy of the Vesna in the same year. Fleury is not the best goalie in the east, let alone the league – he stunk at the start of the year. He is not even the best player on your roster.
    Beat writers very often get additional player access when the coverage of the team is positive, with diminished access when the coverage is not as positive.
    This vote stinks of boot licking from start to finish.
    I would hazard a guess that Sid was your 2010 MVP, Gino your 2009 MVP with Crosby again in 2008.
    I’m not saying that beat writers do not deserve to vote, just that they should not be allowed to vote for the team that they cover.
    Honestly, how many Canuck games have you watched start to finish this season?
    This was a great opportunity with Sid and Gino out to show that you understand the concept of objectivity – and you blew it.
    Way to go , Homer!!!

  4. LA Pens Fan says:

    I’m a Penguins fan but you can’t give Fleury that much love.

  5. rich says:

    Like most Penguin fans, I hate the Caps but ranking them seventh is too low. They are better than Philadelphia. I look at the Pens record against the other Eastern division playoff teams and wonder if they can win a series. They are about a .500 team against Boston, Buffalo, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay and Washington.

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