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September 12, 2014
by Jason Mackey


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Mackey: McNeill seeing stars

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Reid McNeill has yet to make his NHL debut.

That hasn’t stopped him from having his name mentioned along with several prominent defenseman.

While playing with the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League in 2011-12, McNeill’s regular defense partner was a 15-year-old named Aaron Ekblad.

Sound familiar?

That’s because Ekblad, now 18, was taken first overall by the Florida Panthers in June’s NHL Entry Draft.

“It was a great experience,” McNeill said of playing with Ekblad. “Right out of the gate, the kid was a star. I think he put up about 40 points (29 actually) as a 15-year-old in the best junior league in the world. I tried to help him out as much as I could with my experience in the league.”

McNeill, 22, said he remains close with Ekblad and wished him luck before the draft. Seemed to work out pretty well, no?

McNeill was traded to Barrie after playing with the London Knights from 2009-11. The package deal that sent McNeill to the Colts enabled London to draft current Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta in the 2011 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft; Maatta was taken first overall.

McNeill is a 6-foot-4, 215-pound defenseman who this season added a physical element to his game. After struggling early on with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, McNeill found a comfortable edge and wound up playing in 55 regular season games, finishing a plus-5 with five points and 119 penalty minutes.

“Early on, I didn’t feel like I had a role on the team,” McNeill said. “I sat out a lot at the start of the year. As the year went on, I developed more of a physical edge, something some other guys couldn’t bring. It was something the team needed.”

The mentor role is something McNeill has always enjoyed. He was defense partners with former Knights captain and current Penguins prospect Scott Harrington in London from 2009-11. This season he played quite a bit alongside Harrison Ruopp, who was recently bumped up from Wheeling.

“I was 20 when Aaron was 15,” McNeill explained. “Being such a young kid coming into the league, he did a lot of things that 15-year-olds would do. I just tried to help him out, but he was unbelievable.”

McNeill has kept tabs on Ekblad. He’s monitored his progress. And like many, McNeill said he’s expecting big things from the top overall pick.

“He’s a little more offensive than I remember, but his game is such a two-way game,” McNeill said. “He’s developed so much since he was a 15-year-old. I expect him to do great things.”

>>Associate general manager Jason Botterill, assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald, head coach Mike Johnston and assistant coach Rick Tocchet, among others, watched Friday’s workout at Budweiser Gardens. Johnston stood and watched the practice-ending shootout from glass. General manager Jim Rutherford and assistant GM Bill Guerin are expected to arrive tonight.

“It’s good to see them coming out here to see us,” forward Adam Payerl said. “It shows they care enough to get to know the young prospects in the system. You just want to play your best and try to make a good impression on them when they’re watching.”

Quotable:

WBS coach John Hynes on what he’s expecting to see over the next four days:
“It’s not necessarily pressure that they have to score goals or do something outside of what their skill set is, but they want to be able to impress with their work ethic, how they play. Like I said, we talk to the players a lot about, ‘There has to be something that separates you.’ Everyone comes here with a different skill set. Some guys are workers, some guys are skill guys. But they have to be able to show those things.”

Harrington on sensing an opportunity with injuries to Maatta and Derrick Pouliot:
“I think every year is equal opportunity. It’s unfortunate for some of those guys who’ve had some injuries over the summer. Maybe for guys who have been able to train all summer, it’s an opportunity for us to show what we’ve been able to accomplish. I’m really just focusing on my game and myself, trying to play the best that I can and not get hung up on if guys are hurt or where they are in their situations.”

Be GRATEFUL to each other,

Mackey

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September 10, 2014
by Jason Mackey


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Mackey: Ehrhoff ready to contribute

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When defenseman Christian Ehrhoff learned that the Buffalo Sabres planned on buying him out of his contract, he listed for his agent a group of teams he wanted to play for — ones he identified as having a legitimate shot at winning the Stanley Cup.

Only a few minutes into free agency on July 1, one of those teams landed Ehrhoff for a one-year deal worth $4 million, largely considered one of the better bargains of an otherwise upside-down day.

“I think the biggest thing that happened this summer — and we were very fortunate — was with Ehrhoff,” general manager Jim Rutherford said. “We knew (Matt) Niskanen was going to deserve to get a big contract. It was going to be hard for us to fit him into our cap.

“The fact that Ehrhoff got bought out and was willing to come here on a one-year deal, at his salary, that, as I sit here today, makes me feel more comfortable than going into camp wondering where our younger defensemen are going to fit in.”

The Penguins have a ton of young, talented defenseman, but bringing in Ehrhoff should, at minimum, serve as a solid bridge until those guys are ready.

An all-around defenseman who finished first in power play time for the Sabres and second on the penalty kill, Ehrhoff led all Buffalo players with 27 assists. His 33 points were tops for any Sabres defenseman. Ehrhoff even blocked 119 shots, seconds on Buffalo.

“I’m an all-around defenseman,” said Ehrhoff, who averaged 23 minutes, 54 seconds last season. “I think I can play wherever they need me — power play or penalty kill. I can log high minutes. I’m excited to see where and how I fit in.”

Ehrhoff, 32, has been extremely durable, playing in 587 of 622 games over the past eight years. He set career-highs with 14 goals and 50 points while helping Vancouver to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010-11.

In 692 career games, Ehrhoff has 69 goals and 244 assists and is a plus-51. He has 34 points in 73 postseason contests.

“After I got bought out, I sat down and told my agent some teams that I thought had a good shot at winning,” Ehrhoff said. “The Penguins were on the short list. They called, and everything happened really quick. I’m excited to be here.”

On Tuesday after an informal workout at Consol Energy Center, I asked Ehrhoff, who signed before former Penguins Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik went to Washington, whether he thought about playing with those guys or whether he expected them to be gone.

That wasn’t a huge factor either way, Ehrhoff insisted.

“I didn’t know how the team would end up, how the defense would end up,” Ehrhoff said. “It was kind of obvious that those guys weren’t going to stay, at least it seemed that way. That didn’t really play into my decision. I wanted to be on a good team. I think even with those guys leaving we have a good group of players here.”

Be GRATEFUL to each other,

Mackey

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September 9, 2014
by Jason Mackey


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Mackey: Crosby talks fake arrest, wrist, etc.

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Asking Penguins center Sidney Crosby about his fake arrest was not something I thought I’d ever do on the Penguins beat.

Yet here we were Monday morning, a half-dozen reporters approaching Crosby with that awkward, obvious question: So, um, Sid, last Wednesday was an interesting one for you, no?

I asked Sid how he learned that, while training in Vail, Colo., he somehow managed to steal a Porsche and get arrested in Ottawa — a talented man, this Crosby.

“I had texts from my friends that said, ‘I thought you were in Colorado. What’s going on?’ ” Crosby explained at his locker stall inside Consol Energy Center. “I read (senior director of communications) Jen (Bullano’s) text, and she said there was a false report out there, that it was something to be aware of.

“That’s really the extent of it. I didn’t ask too many questions, to be honest with you.

“It’s surprising that (a story) can be written in that way and I’m not even close to that place. It’s just one of those things … you don’t even bother with it. It’s kind of nonsense. You try to continue about your day, but I guess for five or 10 minutes, it’s something where I had to make a phone call. I didn’t worry about it after that.

“Like I said, it’s not the first time. It probably won’t be the last. There’s nothing you can really do about it.”

What Crosby could — and did — do was move past it. Nearly 20 Penguins players worked out at Consol Monday, a group that included recent acquisitions Nick Spaling, Patric Hornqvist and Thomas Greiss.

Couple them with players such as Olli Maatta and Pascal Dupuis — each rehabbing injuries and looking extremely strong — and Monday’s workout went a long way toward readying for training camp at the end of next week.

“With so many new faces coming, from the coaching staff into all the players, the past is the past, and we want to set goals and build something,” Crosby said. “We have a lot of new guys, so it’s going to take everyone getting comfortable right away. I think that’s more the focus.”

The Penguins will have a handful more of these informal workouts before the organization’s prospects head to London, Ontario for the annual rookie tournament.

Fellow beat man Josh Yohe has Tuesday’s story on Crosby insisting he’s 100 percent healthy from a wrist injury he suffered March 23 against St. Louis, his comments about that wacky story and the fact that he won’t pursue any legal action.

Strangely, Crosby said that wasn’t the most inaccurate thing ever written about him — though he declined, much to our collective dismay, to reveal what exactly ranked above it.

Here’s hoping that neither I nor Josh one day occupy one of those spots.

Be GRATEFUL to each other,

Mackey

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September 5, 2014
by Jason Mackey


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Mackey: A lot on Tocchet?

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Rick Tocchet is not a head coach.

That’s not to say, however, that the Penguins’ first-year assistant won’t shoulder one heck of a load this season.

Especially not after Thursday’s news of forward Daniel Carcillo signing a professional tryout contract.

If Carcillo makes the team, the Penguins’ third and fourth lines could feature Carcillo and Steve Downie, two of the NHL’s nastier players in recent years.

Charged with making sure those two play with an edge but still within the framework of the game is Tocchet, who himself played that style.

I asked general manager Jim Rutherford on Thursday whether having someone like Tocchet made it easier to bring in Carcillo, whose history as a player includes six suspensions over eight years.

“He’s played with a lot of different teams,” Rutherford said. “You wonder why that is. But at the same time, when I watch him with those teams, he’s a very useful player.”

And here’s most cryptic part: “I do believe that with the structure with our hockey staff, we’re very comfortable with any type of player.”

Carcillo acknowledged that he and Downie could form one annoying and physical pair — but admitted that he hasn’t gotten that far in his thinking.

It might be wise, Carcillo cautioned, to worry about making the team first.

“I know Steve’s there,” Carcillo said. “I know how he plays. I think we’d be great together, but I haven’t really thought that far ahead. I’ve just been trying to get myself in shape, mentally sharp and go in there with a good attitude and not look too far ahead. At the end of the day, it’s just a tryout.”

The Penguins have talked quite a bit about being tough to play against. It’s hard to believe this doesn’t accomplish that. Probably quite a bit more.

Whether it works will depend largely on Tocchet’s ability to keep these two on the right side of the law. And who better to charge with something like that than someone who 2,972 penalty minutes in 1,114 career games — but who also notched 440 goals and 952 points.

“He’s an NHL player at this point. Didn’t have a contract,” Rutherford said of Carcillo. “We still have opportunities for spots in our top 13. What he brings to our team is an element that, if he has a good camp and he fits in with the team, we could certainly use.”

It sounds as though the message is received on Carcillo’s end.

“I think it’s just going in there with a good attitude, jelling with the guys,” Carcillo said. “Some of them I know, some of them I don’t. Other than (Tocchet), I’m not too familiar with any of the coaches.

“I just need to go in there, have a good attitude, be a good veteran and push myself. I think that’s what they’re looking for.”

Be GRATEFUL to each other,

Mackey

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August 28, 2014
by Jason Mackey


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Mackey: Rookie tournament roster/schedule

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See yinz in London.

OK, OK, Ontario.

For the Penguins’ rookie tournament with the Senators, the Maple Leafs and the Blackhawks.

The team will play three games in four days Sept. 13-16, and Thursday morning the Penguins formally announced who will make the trip.

I was not on it, though I will be going.

Not many surprises Pens-wise. Defenseman Scott Harrington and Brian Dumoulin will take part. Same for goaltender Tristan Jarry and forwards Kasperi Kapanen and Josh Archibald.

The Penguins’ rookies open with a 2 p.m. game against Ottawa on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Budweiser Gardens, home to the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights.

They play Chicago at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 14 and Toronto at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 16.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach John Hynes and assistant coach Alain Nasreddine will oversee the tournament, per the official release that’s viewable here.

It’s an interesting trip for Harrington, who was a junior player for the Knights and won back-to-back OHL championships in 2012 and ’13.

Harrington tied for second among WBS defensemen with 24 points this past season, his first as a professional.

Kapanen turned quite a few heads at developmental camp, prompting this reaction from assistant general manager Bill Guerin: “He’s even better than I thought he’d be.”

Dumoulin had 12 points in 17 games in the 2014 Calder Cup playoffs. Jarry helped the Edmonton Oil Kings to a Western Hockey League and Memorial Cup championship. And Archibald was a 2014 Hobey Baker finalist at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Be GRATEFUL to each other,

Mackey

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August 26, 2014
by Jason Mackey


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Mackey: Trottier back in coaching

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Got a chance to talk this morning with former Penguins center Bryan Trottier, who was hired a few weeks ago as an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres.

Trottier is 58. His back and joints limit his golf to four or five charity events a year. Buffalo finished with 52 points a season ago, the fewest in the NHL.

So, why get back into coaching?

“When (head coach Ted Nolan) called this summer, I was kind of excited but also, at the same time, doing some introspection to make sure I wanted to be that involved again,”

Trottier said at the 17th Annual Penguins Alumni Charity Golf Classic at Valley Brook Country Club in McMurray. “He convinced me, and I think he was a good salesman on that.

“He convinced me that I still had something to bring, and the more I thought about it, I talked to my family and thought this might be a fun thing. I’m going to go in both feet for the year and have a great time with the young kids up there in Buffalo. See if we can’t build something fun.”

Trottier should have plenty to keep him busy. The Sabres brought in forwards Matt Moulson, Brian Gionta and Andrei Meszaros amid a flurry of offseason moves.
There’s also a young nucleus with center Tyler Ennis (career-high 21 goals in 2013-14) and defenseman Tyler Myers.

Trottier joins a staff that also includes Arturs Irbe, Danny Flynn and Tom Coolen.
This is the fourth coaching stop for Trottier, who played 18 seasons, is in the Hockey Hall of Fame (Class of 1997) and won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 1991 and 1992.

There is, of course, a connection here. Trottier and Nolan were both hired by the New York Islanders in June 2006, Nolan as head coach and Trottier as player development director. The Islanders didn’t renew Trottier’s contract following the 2009-10 season.

Working with players — the same ones over and over, as Trots points out — in a more hands-on role is exciting for Trottier, who might challenge current Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury for the Nicest Man Ever award.

“You have 20 familiar faces every day,” said Trottier, who said he will report to Buffalo next week. “In player development, you’re working with the NHL team, the American Hockey League team, college kids, junior kids. You see something different over the course of a month and a season.

“When you’re working with 20 faces for the whole season, you’re really engaged and you can fine-tune with the players what you want to work on. You’re building their confidence, their skill levels and whatever else I can help them with.”

Be GRATEFUL to each other,

Mackey

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August 19, 2014
by Jason Mackey


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Mackey: Ice Bucket Challenge

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Well, there. That was cold. Colder than I expected, really.

And, full disclosure, this is actually my second ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

I did one Monday night, but realized I misspoke in the video. So the wife and I took a second crack at it this morning.

Kevin Gorman, Chris Adamski and Travis Sawchik … you’re up.

With any luck, the WPIAL will rule Gorman ineligible with cold intent; Adamski will dominate the state … of dumping ice on your head; and Sawchik will calculate the UcR (Ultimate Cold Rating).

Be GRATEFUL to each other,

Mackey

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August 16, 2014
by Jason Mackey


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Mackey: More on Bennett, Zatkoff and Scuderi

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They’re people, too.

That was one of my biggest takeaways from speaking with Beau Bennett, Jeff Zatkoff and Rob Scuderi Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at RMU Island Sports Center.

OK, full disclosure, I’ve talked with Bennett and Scuderi inside the Penguins locker room before.

But as a first-year beat guy — heck, it was my first week on the job — I figured this would be a good chance introduced myself to some of the players, talk a little away from the rink, etc.

Turned out to be quite an experience. Enjoyed it thoroughly.

Got to watch all three interact with kids, parents, the media, all in one.

Zatkoff sat on a bench laughing at all the kids toting iPhones. He meticulously double-checked spellings of names.

“G-R-I-F-F-I-N, right?” Zatkoff asked one kid.

Bennett drew the biggest crowd I saw — to be fair, we talked to Scuderi in the middle of the ongoing youth camp, not after — and he patiently signed sticks, pucks and jerseys while also posing for countless pictures.

He’s 22 years old. The patience I had at that age would have gotten me through, oh, about two or three minutes. Later, Bennett talked about shopping at Whole Foods and how he apparently stinks at cooking.

Zatkoff slipped out of his Penguins warmups to a pair of jeans underneath — how he skated in jeans, I’ll never know — put on a pair of flip-flops and walked alone to his car.

He, like me, worried about awful Pittsburgh traffic on the Parkway West.

Give credit to Bennett. Like I said, I didn’t stay for all of Scuderi’s visit, but I’m willing to bet Bennett was the most participatory. He took part in drills, played in a scrimmage and even got stoned on a breakaway.

Zatkoff laughed when I asked whether Bennett’s performance created an expectation he would try to live up to.

No way, Zatkoff said.

“I said from the beginning that I wasn’t hopping in any of the shooting drills,” Zatkoff said. “I didn’t want to embarrass myself. I’m just sticking with the goalies. I tried to stay in the corner by the goalies, now have to show off too much of my forward skills.”

Scuderi drove the whole real-people thought home for me.

Talk about an offseason all you want. The middle of August means that Scuderi and his wife, Courtney, are dangerously close to sending the kids back to school — and that’s a big deal for any parent, hockey player or not.

“Once your kids get to a certain age, it’s tough to stay away for so long,” said Scuderi, whose big summer vacation was a trip to Martha’s Vineyard. “When we were here in Pittsburgh last time, we came back early just because more of your life is here. You’re here for nine to 10 months of the year. This feels more like home than my home. It’s a great place to come back. We fit in great with the neighborhood. We love the town. We love the area. It’s not like anyone’s twisting my arm to come back.”

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August 12, 2014
by Jason Mackey


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Mackey: An introduction

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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,

(Jason) Mackey

015

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July 22, 2014
by Rob Rossi


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Rossi: Satisfaction

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Change happens. Sometimes it happens without warning.

I’m no longer the Penguins beat reporter for the Tribune-Review. This change came my way Monday morning, and if it is for the better it is not without mixed emotions.

I have never let anybody knows how much this beat meant to me. Here goes.

It’s meant EVERYTHING.

It’s meant opportunity.

It’s meant challenge.

It’s meant commitment.

It’s meant growth.

It’s meant disappointment.

It’s meant tolerance.

It’s meant friendship.

It’s meant wonder.

It’s meant fear.

It’s meant faith.

It’s meant life.

I don’t want to get too specific, for fear of not recognizing something or somebody important. There are people that I’ve worked with – and against – daily for the past eight years, and so many of those people have changed me for the better in ways they probably will never know.

I was a beaten beat boy when Tribune-Review executive sports editor Kevin Smith assigned me to the Penguins beat in October 2006. I had just spent a season covering the Pirates, and most of those nights ended with me knowing I could have done that job better.

I did not cover many games that first season with the Penguins. I wrote about an arena deal I was not sure would happen. Tribune-Review investigative reporter Andrew Conte allowed me to be his partner on that story, and it was so fun that upon its completion I offered our bosses to become a “sort of sports-news hybrid guy.”

I was told I’d be covering the Penguins, and that I better be as good as my bosses thought.

The readers can judge how I did. I think I held my own at the very least.

You’re not a fan when you cover a team, and I was never a Penguins fan during my time on the beat. Readers can’t understand that, but it’s the only way I knew how to operate. I didn’t care about their wins or losses, only the short- and long-term narrative that those wins and losses contributed to telling.

You’re also not a friend to the players, coaches and management. Readers probably think that isn’t true, but it’s something to behold how quickly you’re forgotten by and how quickly you forget the people to whom you spend so much time talking.

This is the job.

It’s a damn great job, too.

I’m a sports columnist now. I don’t know what that means. I’ll find out.

I can’t imagine liking anything more than covering the Penguins, being there for their remarkably quick rise to and fall from grace, chronicling a franchise go from possible relocation to so popular that games are always sold out.

They will win another Stanley Cup with Sidney Crosby, and somebody else at the Tribune-Review will write that game story and it will be amazing; but I’ll always have my moment, from June 12, 2009, and the lede I love so much: Kids, they grow up so fast.

I was 27 when this journey with the local hockey club started. I had energy to burn, but I had lessons to learn professionally and personally.

Now I’m scared and I’m thinking that maybe I ain’t that young anymore.

This beat was my life. It defined me. It crushed me and wrecked me and ripped my heart out, and I’ll miss all of that about it the most. I’ll miss the pressure to be on top of developments at the trade deadline and during free agency. I’ll miss the third-period comebacks that ruined game stories. I’ll miss the moments the readers never see between beat reporters and the athletes they cover. I’ll miss the jokes that only road-weary travelers can understand.

This beat changed my life, too. I made friends that will last a lifetime, stepped on lands I could only have otherwise imagined and saw things I may never believe.

Again, I don’t want to single out people because that isn’t fair. There are people within the Penguins organization who I’ve come to value as friends as much as professional colleagues. They know who they are.

At the Tribune-Review there are so many people that have supported, nurtured and worked with me on the beat – from editors to fellow reporters to photographers to designers to the world’s greatest night desk. I don’t know if anybody is as lucky as I am to work at a place where it feels like family, but I hope that is the case for everybody once.

One person must be named, however.

I met Josh Yohe in August 2009, and I’ll let him tell the story of how that went. Five years later we are as close as any beat partner I’ve known, and his friendship, patience and support has only helped me in ways that I really want to keep to myself.

Josh is the Keef to my Mick, the Animal to my Hawk, the Crosby to my Malkin – and, truthfully, I’ll take our chances against any one of those all-time tag teams.

Josh is the best young hockey reporter I know, and I’ll let that settle that.

Now, look, something else needs addressed before I sign off. That’s all of you.

It’s never been so easy between us has it, dear readers?

The only thing I’ve ever promised is that I wouldn’t pander. I never have, and I am proudest of that during my time on this beat. You deserved sincerity, even if it risked not being popular – and, boy, were there times I wasn’t popular.

I don’t know how we’ll get along in this new role of mine, but I’ll always hold the most special place in my heart for the Penguins. I always felt it was a fair fight with us, and I will miss it terribly.

Thanks for reading, everybody.

 

Be EXCELLENT to each other,

Rossi

Penguins beat reporter (2006-14)

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