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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Hines’ march to 1,000

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My Monday column is an odd collection of random conceptual gifts for local sports personalities, many of which are sure to be sent back.

>> All kinds of actual football relevance will — and should — dwarf Hines Ward’s bid for his 1,000 career catch Sunday in Cleveland. But I get the sense it’s become fashionable to bash Ward and/or the Steelers for paying attention to it.

That’s unfair and shortsighted.

Ward has given a ton to the Steelers. He’s played an integral role in two Super Bowl victories. He’s had a Hall of Fame career as a receiver even while establishing himself as one of the best blocking receivers in the game’s history.

Part of what makes the Steelers what they are is continuity. It’s maintaining a legacy of greatness. Taking care of their great players is part of that. Those players look at how a Ward gets treated near the end, and they want to commit to the Steelers just as much.

Don’t misunderstand: I want to see Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery. But I’m not about to dismiss how much it would mean to Ward and the Steelers to produce that 1,000th catch.

>> Heard in Winnipeg that the Penguins’ coaching staff felt that Ben Lovejoy has played two of the better games of his career since rejoining the lineup. Good for him. Quality player and person. Great fit for what Dan Bylsma does with his relentless aggressiveness on the puck and seamless skating.

>> Sidney Crosby will be just fine. He’ll be back before long.

>> I reference this in the column, but it’s worth adding a link here. The Robert Morris hockey team has a big game Friday vs. No. 4 Ohio State. It’s surprising to me that, with all the love of the sport in this town, not many people know of how good the Colonials’ program is getting under Derek Schooley.

Any city will support a good NHL team. They did that in Tampa and Raleigh. But the next step for this region is supporting the sport with actual attendance at all levels.

>> I appeared on KDKA-TV’s Showdown last night.

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