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Rossi: Crosby texts Stamkos, says injured Lightning star can’t be replaced.


Some quick hits for the Dear Readers on this snowy Tuesday…



Captain Sidney Crosby has already been in touch via text message with injured Lightning center Steven Stamkos, who is out indefinitely with a broken tibia.

Stamkos’ season – perhaps an MVP campaign in the making – was halted Monday when his right leg smacked into a goal post in Tampa Bay’s loss at Boston.

“I’ve gone through similar things,” Crosby said, referring to concussion symptoms that wrecked his 2010-11 and 2011-12 NHL seasons. “It’s not a fun time, and it’s nice to hear from guys.

“I saw the replay and it looked like he was in a lot of pain. I just wanted to wish him well.”

Crosby, while careful to not rule out Stamkos from the 2014 Winter Olympics in February, said his Team Canada “could not replace a player like that.”

Crosby also said Stamkos and Washington’s Alex Ovechkin are the two best goal scorers in hockey, and he noted how hard Stamkos has worked to become an MVP-caliber player for Tampa Bay.

Crosby said he is especially a fan of Stamkos’ skating and work in close quarters – attributes that could help Team Canada in Sochi, Russia.

“There are a lot of really good players in Canada, we’re fortunate,” Crosby said. “But you just don’t replace Steven Stamkos. He’s a special player.

“What’s he at – 200 goals in five years? That’s… incredible.”

Right winger James Neal, who trains with Stamkos in the offseason outside of Toronto, said he sent his close friend “a text message right away” on Monday.

Neal and Crosby each said Stamkos, the NHL leader with 14 goals and co-leader (along with Crosby) with 23 points, was on his way to joining that rare group of NHL stars with name recognition to fans of other sports.

“He’s a real humble kid,” Neal said. “He knows how good he is, but he wants to be the best.

“It’s a big blow for his team (Tampa Bay), obviously; but it’s a big blow for the NHL, maybe the Olympics, everybody. Guys like that, you just want them to be healthy and to see them play.”

Look for MORE from Crosby and Neal regarding Stamkos in Wednesday’s Tribune-Review.



  • Defenseman Paul Martin skated before practice on Tuesday, but remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Coach Dan Bylsma said he was not optimistic Martin would play against Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
  • Left winger Tanner Glass also skated before practice on Tuesday. Bylsma said Glass was probable to face the Flyers.
  • Defenseman Olli Maatta missed practice on Tuesday, as expected, to take care of an immigration issue. He will play against the Flyers.

Be Excellent to each other,





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.

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