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Looking ahead to Crosby’s news conference.


Well, judging from some Twitter comments, there is a general sense of pessimism about the word from earlier today that C Sidney Crosby will hold a news conference Wednesday. I dare suggest that this pessimism is not warranted. For weeks I’ve heard from people – fans, and yes, media colleagues – that Crosby should just clear the air. Well, he’s doing that Wednesday, and even then I suspect he might disappoint people because he won’t be specific enough.

I get that. He is the most well known player in our sport and a lot of people in Pittsburgh (and, candidly, in other NHL cities) have shelled out serious coin to see him play. They want to know if he will be ready for games starting Oct. 6 when the Penguins open at Vancouver.

Based off some phone-talking to people inside and outside the organization on Tuesday, here is what I don’t expect to hear from Crosby tomorrow:

* A specific date for his return to contact practices or games;

* Deep details about his emotional state from the offseason;

* Speculation of any kind.

From what I can gather based off talking to people Tuesday, there isn’t anything B-I-G coming from Crosby in this news conference. No retirement announcement. No declaration of playing before Date A or by Date B. No, “I’ll be back next year” talk. He has been seen by three leading experts about his concussion – one the reputable Michael Collins, Ph.D., of UPMC – and he is getting to know very well what his body can handle in terms of exertion.

My gut says he doesn’t know enough yet to get specific. My ears hear people who know him swearing he wants to have been back, like, yesterday. My eyes have seen a guy who repeatedly over the years has played through breaks, bruises and tears.

Pittsburgh, and the hockey world, will get something from Crosby on Wednesday – and it will be, I’m told, the straight-forward reality as it exists on Wednesday. However, with a concussion, reality changes daily. Remember how it was described to me months ago by a neurosurgeon: “the new normal.” Well, from now on, there is indeed a new normal regarding Crosby. He sustained a traumatic brain injury, and the only certainty about one of those is that there is no certainty.

If anything, take the word I’m hearing that he has resumed skating, that he will attend an NHL press obligation later this week in New York, that he is speaking to the local media Wednesday – take all of this as a positive, but not definitive, sign that he is making some progress.

Read my print story in Wednesday’s Trib, which will post online at midnight, for all the latest that I’ve been able to source.

Lost in the Crosby news from Tuesday:

= Single-game regular season tickets go on sale for Sept. 16 at 10 a.m. at the usual spots, by the usual methods. More than 2,000 are available for each game. Check out, call (800) 745-3000, or visit the Consol Energy Center box office.

= The home game promotional schedule is out:|PIT|home

So, dear readers, I ask: Which item interests you most?

= A really neat story that will get lost in the Crosby stuff this week is the first Patriots Challenge youth hockey tournament dedicated to the heroes and victims of 9/11. The tournament is scheduled for Sept. 10-11 at the RMU Island Sports Center and will feature one team from the New York, D.C. and Western Pennsylvania areas that were directly impacted on 9/11. Representing the locals wills be the Pittsburgh ’99 Pee Wees, with the New Jersey Rockets and Team Maryland also competing.

According to a release today from the Penguins, the three teams will be competing for the “Patriots Challenge Cup,” donated by the family of Joe Mascali, a New York City fireman Rescue 5, Staten Island, who gave his life on Sept. 11 while on a rescue mission at the World Trade Center. Joe’s nephew, Jack Mascali, plays for the New Jersey Rockets.

The teams also will be participating in community service projects leading up to the games. The Pittsburgh Hornets will be preparing care packages for members of the United States Armed Forces to show their gratitude for the soldiers’ service and sacrifice.

A memorabilia auction will be held on both days at the event, with all proceeds benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project. Among the items up for auction will be jerseys autographed by Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin and an American flag that flew over the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Tournament organizers plan to make this an annual tournament, rotating among the three areas affected directly by Sept. 11 – and featuring more teams in the future.

Personally, I can’t think of a better way for area hockey fans to get involved in paying tribute on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. If you attend, feel free to share your stories with me.





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. Sherm says:

    Rob I look forward to your comments on KDKA’s Bob Pompeani #1 Cochran sports showdown. I must admit it was a sad day when crosby could not comeback.
    he was on a record shattering year, top of his game, that being said,

    I think crosby should retire and Ill tell you why.
    his brain took a devestating hit, twice, he should not
    of been cleared to play the next game when he took the
    second hit.

    He will be looking over his shoulders from now on for
    the next head hunter, which will effect his play not to mention
    bring back the concussion.

    Crosby has won the championship in the nhl
    crosby has lead his canadian team to a gold metal
    al kinds of awards that I cant keep up with.

    why continue and damage his brain anymore?
    I love to watch him play and never miss a game,
    But I’m concerned about his long term health!
    the fans should be glad to have him as long as we did.
    Good luck to crosby in whatever he dicides.

    Lets go pens

  2. sabu says says:

    This team recently won the cup. Im ready to get back to that kind of thinking again. They can contend. That team that won it last year is lame…. Sid will be back as soon as he can. Tell Detroit we’ll see them next June.

  3. espo33 says:

    I think the next biggest question now that Crosby won’t be able to play for a bit is what is the health of Jeffrey. I have heard he won’t be ready by camp, he will be ready, he won’t be ready until the beginning of the season, etc. Staal has shown he really can’t handle the 2nd line and Neal did not look good with Staal or Letestu as the centerman. He will probably be with Malkin on 1st line. But if we can have Jeffrey on the 2nd line with Kunitz and Dupius/TK/Letestu/Johnson that would really help out a lot. Then Staal can go back to the 3rd line with Cooke and Dupius/TK/Letestu/Johnson.

  4. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    Actually, being cleared for practice with no contact was the first thing that came to my mind, i suppose because of the timing of his announcement.

    Great news at the least… and a sign of his return being likely sooner rather than later in the season.

  5. In other words, Sidney may well come back sooner than expected, then again, he may not…

  6. sidelinespensfan says:

    I think it is time to move this blog up to D.K.’s level. The preseason is starting, it’s time to get AT LEAST one post on here a day, if not more. Time to raise the bar Mr. Rossi!

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