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Rossi: Invitation to a hockey party.

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It’s been a long time since we rocked and rolled.

Wait, I’m not even a Zep guy, and this is a Boss Day, no?

OK, so it has been a bit since I filed a blog entry, but I have a valid excuse. Josh Yohe was with the Penguins on their trek through Western Canada – and I was busy working on my Ron Burgundy look, much to the horror of lovely local lady hockey bloggers.

Actually, I did do some writing last week as part of Sean Conboy’s second Hockey Party Round Table for Pittsburgh Magazine’s online site.

Read here: http://www.pittsburghmagazine.com/Best-of-the-Burgh-Blogs/Pulling-No-Punches/January-2014/Mega-Roundtable-Part-III-Should-Ray-Shero-Wheel-and-Deal-at-the-Deadline/

Thanks to Sean – whom I still believe to be the finest young wordsmith to emerge from the local sports scribbling scene in some time – for his hard work in making that thing click.

Also, for not minding me ripping off his concept – kinda, sorta – for a story on Alex Ovechkin that will run Wednesday in the Tribune-Review.

Somebody one said imitation is a sincere form of flattery, but I like to think shameless stealing is even more flattering.

 

>> The Penguins’ fourth line at practice on Tuesday featured Simon Despres and Deryk Engelland as the wingers.

Yeah.

Then again, a year ago, the Penguins were still four days from playing their first game.

Yeah.

 

>> An interesting piece here from another good buddy, Pierre LeBrun, on the Olympic-break impact on the trade deadline: http://espn.go.com/blog/nhl/post/_/id/28775/olympic-break-creates-two-trade-deadlines

How much is this on Ray Shero’s mind?

He is not one to tip his hand. That said, when I brought up the Olympic-year dynamic a couple of weeks ago, Shero did say it changes things regarding the trade market.

Remember, he set the market last season by swinging deals for Brenden Morrow, Douglas Murray and Jarome Iginla in a span of about a week.

This season teams are dealing with a lower cap, but that has been slightly dealt with because of many teams being able to use LTI designations for players that have missed large chunks of time. (Apparently, cramming 48 games into about 100 days, playing a full postseason and then cramming more games into a season that includes the Olympics – well, apparently, this is not good for the human body, which still breaks down.)

Teams have less cap space than at any time in recent memory. Only a few clubs are not realistically in the playoff hunt. There are fewer rental players to be had because clubs mostly sign their better young players to longer-term deals.

All of those factors impact what should be an interesting three-week run to the Olympic break, and that last week before the trade deadline (March 5).

It’s that time of year where one should assume nothing other than expecting to be surprised.

Also, as Shero said to me the morning he acquired Iginla, “There’s no sleeping around the trade deadline.”

Sigh.

Grrr.

Argh.

 

Be EXCELLENT to each other,

Rossi

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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.

 
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