WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …
>> My Friday column, penned before I flew up here to hockey heaven, looks at Pitt’s hiring of yet another football coach, the third in a year and six days.
>> As your loyal Manitoba correspondent, I’ll be covering Penguins-Jets tonight — the morning skates, too, obviously — in large part to cut a break for the tireless Josh Yohe. It’s always a pleasure to be here.
Want to know why?
Passport agent at customs: “Pittsburgh, eh? You know, the Pens came through here earlier, and I got to cross Sidney Crosby’s name off their list.”
Me, trying to respond while averting deportation: “That’s … neat.”
Passport agent: “Yeah. Did you know that right now there’s $87 million worth of talent out with concussions in the NHL right now? Saw that the other day. Can you believe it, 87?”
Me: “Awesome. Anything else you need from me?”
I then get outside Winnipeg’s fabulous new airport, opened just a month ago, and get into a cab. Guy’s not listening to the Jets game on the radio, so I figure he’s new here or there’s something wrong with him.
Turned out to be as normal as anyone.
Cabbie: “Bad business tonight. Weather’s too nice.”
Me, still shivering from 10 seconds in the 10-degree cold: “Nice?”
Oh, yeah, you come here this time of year, it’s usually 20 below. That’s when everybody calls the cabs because nobody wants to come here to pick up their relatives themselves. Now, it’s beautiful, and they’re all driving themselves.”
Cabbie: “Yeah, look at the snow. Just one inch. Beautiful, eh?”
In a way, yeah. It’s a neat people that lives in this kind of cold. Really is.
>> If everyone gets suspended three games for the type of hit the Penguins’ Derek Engelland delivered, I’m fine with it. If this is the new standard, I’m fine with it. But it most definitely wasn’t Brendan Shanahan’s old standard. He needs to figure it out.
>> I love local hockey players representing the United States.
>> Still all kinds of conflicting reports about whether or not Ben Roethlisberger will or won’t play against the Rams. Still no firm reason to feel either way, though my inclination remains that he will. And that’s gotten a little stronger now that the Colts beat the Texans last night. If the Ravens drop one of these last two and the Steelers take the division, they’ve got a really good chance at that bye.
Are these gifts or curses that keep coming their way?
>> This was the chat transcript from yesterday. All participation, as always, is appreciated.