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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Crosby flying, having fun

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> I spent a good chunk of my Monday with the Penguins, and I can tell you unequivocally that Sidney Crosby wasn’t just skating out there. He was skating.

I mean flying. I mean leaning forward after the drills and sucking wind. He first went really hard on Sunday, and he at least matched that yesterday. Stops, turns, all-out sprints, shooting and passing, you name it.

He didn’t speak with reporters afterward, but it was pretty clear he wasn’t exactly troubled by any of it. He hung around on the ice after practice, playfully tapping pucks in the air and trying length-of-the-rink shots.

Doesn’t mean he’s in the clear. But it can’t be bad, right?

>> Mike Tomlin will take to the podium for his weekly televised news conference, and you won’t be able to count to five before he starts glowing about the Colts. By the time he’s done, if you never looked at the standings, you’ll believe that the Steelers’ opponent this Sunday will face not only Peyton Manning but also Johnny Unitas as backup.

That’s the right thing for the coach to do.

But don’t believe it.

I could point out that they had to drag Kerry Collins out of retirement, or that they rank 27th in passing yards, 22nd in rushing yards, and a really grizzly 29th in opponents’ rushing yards. But I’ll just leave it at this: Two days ago, they lost at home to Cleveland.

>> Tomlin actually has several meetings with the media during the course of the week, and they’re not really all that different in questioning or content than the one that gets televised. It’s a little odd that the Tuesday one has become this big production.

>> Good for Jeff Karstens for finishing his season as he did late last night.

This guy told the Pirates’ management in spring training that he deserved to be a starter, and he asked to be given a chance at some point. He got one in April when his friend Ross Ohlendorf went down, and he grabbed it and never looked back.

It’s not always about the stuff.

>> If you’re one of those people pulling for the Rays to pass the Red Sox for a playoff spot, just remember: This is a labor agreement year. Teams like Tampa Bay routinely get cited as an example that Major League Baseball’s absurdly imbalanced economic system somehow is irrelevant.

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