There they sat, side-by-side at a table, two men at the top of their profession.
The day before the Penguins’ Game 7 against the New York Rangers this past spring, franchise centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin spoke to the media.
They appeared calm, cool and collected, confident this wouldn’t be a pivot point in the franchise’s history — only a steppingstone to the Eastern Conference final.
Yet as those two uncharacteristically took to the podium, it was two other men, Trib beat guys Rob Rossi and Josh Yohe, who made the biggest impression on me.
The relationship these two cultivated and the coverage they provided made me stop and take notice.
Sure, I grew up a hockey fan — I debated opening this thing with how I memorized “One from the Heart: The Story of the 1990-91 Pittsburgh Penguins” as a kid or how I collected sticker books (nerdtacular proof below) — but this was something more.
Organization, teamwork, hockey and writing? Count me in.
I continued working, and when Rossi got the chance to step into a larger role, I was lucky enough to get a spot on the team.
I will be working alongside Josh, and I couldn’t be more proud to join the Trib’s Penguins beat team.
If I were listing the five nicest people I know and the five most knowledgeable about hockey, Josh makes both lists. Easily.
At the same time, I hope to take a slightly different approach, to find bigger-picture or off-the-beaten-path stories.
Oh, that news thing, too. That’s important. Let’s say we both do that.
This upcoming journey, though exciting, isn’t without its challenges.
Meeting and working with a whole new regime when it comes to the Penguins.
Replacing the heaviest of hitters in Rossi.
Capturing the narrative of what will likely be as pivotal a season as we’ve seen around here in awhile.
None of it will be easy, but I’m unbelievably lucky to have someone like Josh here to help. Same with Rossi, whose glasses will surely be watching and my every move.
The blog will remain a go-to source for information. Maybe it even increases a little. Responsibilities and frequency of blogging will develop over time.
Also make sure to follow along on Twitter (@Mackey_Trib), if you don’t already.
As you’ll see, I’m a Grateful Dead fanatic; suggested shows are always welcomed. Ditto for great local restaurants and coffee shops.
Experience-wise, I’ve done a little of everything at the Trib: college wrestling; high schools; random fill-in for Pitt football, Pitt basketball, Steelers, Power; local golf and tennis.
To be totally honest, I’d be lying if I said this new assignment didn’t scare the crap out of me.
I’d also be lying if I said it wasn’t the most exciting thing I’ve experienced outside of my wedding day and the birth of our son.
Rob and Josh did an exemplary job covering your local hockey club. Big shoes to fill and match, for sure.
I will do everything possible to make sure there’s not a drop-off.
Hey, maybe we’ll even see an improvement. Who knows.
Be GRATEFUL to each other,