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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: The Crosby column

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

. Crosby says a bad word. -- AP

>> My Friday column is about Sidney Crosby. I hope you have a chance to read it.

If anyone has questions about it, the comments section is below. If there are any newcomers, please know that there is a delay for anyone’s first post. After that, they go up automatically.

>> My deep appreciation to the many people who helped with the information that led to the Crosby column. Been seeking answers to some of these things for a while, and they wouldn’t have happened without the trust and cooperation of some good people.

Also, let me give a shout here to Josh Yohe, our new Penguins beat guy. He’s doing fine work.

>> Speaking of Yohe, here’s what Ray Shero told him yesterday: “We’re making the playoffs.”

Might sound like bravado, but Shero is right to be disappointed with this group and its six-game losing streak. Talk all you want about the guys who are missing, but the guys still there are better than this.

>> The NHL All-Star Game comes with a low profile even within the hockey world, so it won’t generate much ire that James Neal was left off the rosters announced yesterday. Only Evgeni Malkin was chosen.

So, let me be a lonely voice of ire with this deeply researched, intricate case for Neal’s qualifications: He’s No. 6 in the league with 21 goals.

There. That’s it. Didn’t take much effort.

>> Not much matters for the rest of the Pirates’ offseason more than Charlie Morton’s recovery from hip surgery. Rob Biertempfel reports from Bradenton that it’s going well.

>> Troy Polamalu got some serious roaming charges dropped. Good for him.

>> I’ll be skipping Monday’s column, then return Wednesday. Just taking the weekend off. But again, I will be around today here on the blog to address any questions and stuff.


  1. Deb says:

    Your column left me very disgusted with the Pens players. The players who led the 45 minute insurrection against Sid should be sanctioned by management. No wonder they can’t win games. Players are too busy back-biting their Captain they don’t have time to look themselves in the mirror. Hope they offer Sid an apology. And that Shero doesn’t renew their contracts.

    Those moron players that held the meeting….what did they think? They would REPLACE Sid as Captain? REALLY? Do the players not understand Sid’s appeal to fans? His stature? I would really like the names of players who attended the meeting. Makes me disgusted with these players. They should publicly apologize to Sid and fans.

    I so hope that Sid regains his health. When he did return, after a game or two I could tell he wasn’t right. Falling, running into Kunitz wasn’t “Sid-like.” My theory was he was showing symptoms after he had ramped up to game level with contact (just like he did in the summer) and that he just needed to rest, give it more time….like he did in the summer.

  2. Mike says:

    How many players were involved in the mutiny and how did HCDB react?

    DK: The information that I have is up there, Mike. Anything else would be speculation, and I’m not going there.

  3. Jessica says:

    What teammates discussed the temporary captaincy???

    DK: See my answer to Mike right above this, Jessica. Three sources said it occurred, and two others confirmed it. One other, as you can see, completely denied it happened. No reporter gives out his or her sources.

  4. Allie says:


    Fantastic but also very troubling article on Crosby tonight. What I want to know is what in the world gave some of Crosby’s teammates the idea that he’s slacking off or that he should be playing? All we ever hear about is how he’s the fiercest competitor, the hardest worker, a student of the game to the most extreme extent…it goes on and on. Is he not around the team much or something? I can’t think of any rational reason why any of his teammates would have the mindset that your article says they have.

    DK: I actually do mention that in the column, Allie. There are two reasons given. But it’s important to note: Those reasons don’t represent my position on this. My position in the column is clear.

  5. Spamrahan says:

    I’m pretty sure the only reason he was left off is because he was banged up. NHL ASG isn’t like the MLB ASG where players still get selected when they are hurt.

    I also have absolutely no idea where the Crosby and Pens bashing comes from. Dude has concussion like symptoms. Why is it a question if he is cleared to play or not? People need to use common sense.

    DK: Actually, they ARE selected, then replaced. Neal easily could have been named. Especially since he’s actively in the Penguins’ lineup right now.

  6. katie says:

    if hes still having problems with balance why is he starting to skate

    DK: He hasn’t yet, Katie. If all goes well, he could try this weekend.

  7. Patrick Neville says:

    If the third Mighty Ducks movies taught us anything, it’s that you don’t have to have the “C” on your jersey to play like it. That shouldn’t even be an argument. They need less feeling sorry for themselves and more listening to Hans.

    They’ve put out some strong efforts. They’re getting shots. They just need to close out some chances and they are right back to respectability.

  8. Andrew says:

    Excellent column, Dejan! You could not have said it any better. I hope the Pens players can understand that when he is ready to play, he will play.

  9. Allie says:

    To follow up with what Katie asked, I’m also curious to know how or why he’d be skating if he’s still having balance issues. Seems like he’d have to gain some sort of medical clearance to skate, so he must at least be feeling a little better right?

    DK: Right. The symptoms aren’t perpetual. If he feels fine, he feels fine. What’s more important in the long run is a sustained period of being symptom-free.

  10. MrB says:

    DK – Nice column and thank you for it. I agree that Sid, his people and the entire Penguins organization need to do a better job from a communications standpoint.

    I’m simply astonished that Crosby’s teammates are both questioning him and quibbling about a temporary C. May I respectfully suggest that said teammates get their collective heads out of their….well, lets say “crying towels” and focused on the ice…specifically the opposing net.

    My question for you as a follow-up is what do the medical expert(s) involved think about this balance trouble that Sid is currently experiencing? Who is treating him now anyway?

    Will probably be in attendance at Tampa, though IMO the team always seems to have a letdown in Florida. Personally, I think they have too much fun down here. The only really good Penguin hockey I remember down here (and this goes back to Lemeiux’s playing days) is when Bylsma first took over and they went on that run. That Penguin team contested every puck in every nook and cranny of the ice that day. (Well, the 2OT playoff win last year wasn’t bad either.)

    DK: As noted, they don’t have answers yet. The medical team is unchanged, though he has yet to visit the chiropractor, Ted Carrick. My understanding is that Mr. Carrick is out of the country at the moment, but that’s not fully confirmed.

  11. Leah Backus says:

    I’m far more dismayed to hear that Sid has teammates who would question his work ethic than I am to hear that some of them had a meeting to discuss an interim captaincy. I think the former is flat-out ridiculous (and I have some ideas about who would say such a thing). However, I think the latter is a very normal reaction to having a leader who is out with a long-term injury. There has been precedent for that in the history of the NHL. The Rangers, Lightning and North Stars had interim captains at one point or another. Besides, it was a meeting to *discuss* the idea, obviously nothing came of it.

    I’m extremely troubled that there seems to be division in the locker room about Sid’s ability to play. I have to wonder, if we still had those character guys Max Talbot and Mike Rupp, if this would be happening. I’m not going to ask who would say such things. It’s not my business and I doubt you’d answer anyway. What I would like to know is do you think this is just a hitch in the works or a real problem in the room that needs to be addressed with formal discipline or a trade? With Crosby and Staal both out, who has emerged as the strongest leader in the room?

    DK: There’s a problem, Leah. How the Penguins work it out is all in the future tense.

  12. Deb says:

    No wonder this team has lost the last 6 games. What losers. Splitting behaviors like ‘team meetings to replace the Captain’ is an indicator that this group isn’t going to win anything. It also isn’t the actions of a team I want to follow or root for.

    Shero should ship the participants to AHL and ice a team of players with integrity who hold themselves accountable, instead of second guessing, undermining and gossiping about their Captain.

  13. amanda says:

    Any chance of a trade involving Orpik, i feel that hes creating a lot of unneeded drama in the locker room.

    DK: I don’t know that, Amanda.

  14. Dave says:


    Good article. A question I have is: Are there people in the Pens front office that are leary of signing Sid long term after his contract is up next season because of the amount of time he’s missed recently due to his on going concussion issues? Also would the funds be better spent elsewhere on a player who although might not be in Crosby’s league in terms of quality of player, but a player who is in the lineup?

    DK: The Penguins are not remotely leery of signing Crosby.

  15. Bob says:

    If you dont feel like you can give out the names of the traitors, uniform numbers will do.

    DK: Nice try.

  16. SD says:

    DK – great column. Where is Bylsma in all this? Mario? Ray Shero? At some point does management have to step in and tell these guys to get their acts together? And to stop questioning whether Sid is really injured? It makes me mental that anyone (especially a teammate)could question Sid’s dedication to the game. I am gobsmacked.

    DK: Maybe that’s already happened. Agree that it would be for the best, if not.

  17. Derek says:

    I guess I don’t see the problem. I didn’t take away that the Pens wanted a new captain or anything. They could use a little structure during these hard times. They need a spokesperson and a motivator right now if their captain is unavailable. Someone to hold people accountable. Nothing wrong there. Malkin probably can’t do it due to his grasp of the language. Obviously Orpik has been very vocal like he always is, and they need someone like that. I doubt they literally want to throw the C on his chest, but they need a little structure as a team until they get their captain back.

    DK: I can see your viewpoint, Derek. I’ve thought about that. It’s just that having the C come up right before two totally dog games against the Rangers and Devils … there were other priorities. And if anyone in that room was thinking about how they’d be such a great leader, they sure didn’t exhibit it over that weekend.

  18. Deb says:

    Completely disagree with Derek. You don’t have a meeting and discuss “the C” when all you are looking for is leadership. If you are men, and want structure, you have a meeting and discuss what you need to to do better and what you wnat to contribute. You ask for feedback from your team mates about YOUR action/effort. You discuss the “C” when you are throwing your Captain under the bus. You discuss if he is healthy or not when you are WHINING and BACK BITING.

  19. T says:

    Nice article Dejan, thanks for it. The only comment I have is in regards to this: “it’s time he applies his trademark maturity toward handling adversity a little better and calling more of his own shots.”

    I’m not sure how possible it is for Crosby to make many decisions right now, simply because of how under-wraps everything is being kept by the team and everyone involved. Obviously I have no inside information, but from what I’ve gathered (at least from the first concussion) the team and Brisson don’t allow him to talk much. I don’t think Crosby would have a problem with stepping out and addressing the media on a weekly basis; he proved that during much of his first layoff.

    Fans and other media members *cough* Roenick *cough* got sick of hearing nothing was new in his progression. He and the Penguins caught crap for always providing the same “updates.” Now that he isn’t addressing the media regularly, he’s getting shellacked for it. Seems like a no-win situation to me, but I think Crosby would keep everyone up to date if he could.

  20. Officer Mancuso says:

    Not good. Well, the column’s good….

  21. Denise says:


    Excellent column – although it paints a poor picture of the Pens since a team with inner turmoil some times can’t get out of its own way or ego to win games. They can turn it around but only if they step up as you said. Sad to see how they may be heading.

    As an aside, I always read your columns but have never commented – you do a great job.

    DK: I’m glad you showed up, Denise. And thanks.

  22. Thundercrack says:

    Great article.

    A few weeks ago you were adamant, including on the Sports Showdown, that Crosby was going to be fine.
    Now in regards to your 3 points, I don’t think you need to talk directly to Crosby to know that he desperately wants to play and that he loves Pittsburgh. But who were your sources in regards to your first point – that he isn’t fine…not yet anyway?

    If that didn’t come directly from Crosby, then who do we believe. I probably won’t believe anything else unless I hear it come directly from him.

    DK: And you’ll just ignore the evidence that shows concussions and their symptoms are eminently unpredictable?

  23. JAL says:

    JAL’s Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind? Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3- 2011-12 Pirates Prospects Off-Season Calendar

    4 Pirate Offseason Stats

    5 Yahoo Free Agent Tracker;_ylt=AvN8KLXkNW0TcRjzSCagLIMBbgM6?slug=jp-passan_ultimate_free_agent_tracker_baseball_110211

    6 Pirates Prospects Offseason Tracker

  24. JAL says:

    7 Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Spring Training Tracker


    8—Pirates Prospects

    Minor League Depth — Pitching, Part 2 (Upper Level Relievers)

    The Under-Represented Middle Class of FA Pitchers

    Winter League Playoffs 1/12 — Hernandez On A Roll

    9 Rumbunter

    Scabs & Scars: Are the Pittsburgh Pirates Healed and Ready for 2012?

  25. JAL says:

    10 WHY GAVS

    Digging deeper into Brad Lincoln’s 2011


    11 Kansas City Kansan

    T-Bones southpaw headed to Pirates organization

    12 Stanford Daily

    Beyda: One wild-card team per league is enough

    13 Pontiac Daily Leader

    Eating breakfast can be a dangerous event

  26. JAL says:

    14 Chicago Tribune

    Manny Ramirez wants to return to baseball,0,7497526.story

    15 Albany Times Union

    Fenway at 100: They play baseball there, too


    16 Fangraphs

    Hitters Age Like Wine — Power Like Cheese?

  27. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    -Behind the Steel Curtain

    Now that the Steelers are Out of the Playoffs, What Team do You Want to See Take Home the Lombardi?

    Terrible Towel Talk, Episode 23: Steelers Season Ends in Denver Edition

    An Homage to the 2011 Pittsburgh Steelers

    -Steelers Depot

    Steelers Could Have 2012 Salary Cap Wiggle Room

    -Steelers Gab

    Tomlin Doesn’t Regret How Team Defended Broncos

  28. meglasdad says:

    Just my 2 cents worth, but, the C on a sweater is just a letter. If your not a leader no one is going to follow you anyway. Secondly, from the sound of your article, putting the C on someone else is a waste of time. It doesn’t sound like there is anyone to put it on. Leaders don’t allow meetings like you described to happen.

  29. Aaron says:


    I understand the Penguins have stated publicly that they have not considered sitting Crosby for the season. While I certainly don’t want to see him out for the rest of the season do you think it would best to shut him down much like Pronger? I can’t help but think longterm it might be in the best interest of Sids health and career.

    DK: If the Penguins have a chance to enter the playoffs with the best player in the world in the lineup — they do — you don’t shut him down. Surprising so many people bring this up.

  30. BPpensfan says:

    As someone familiar with sudden migraines and vertigo problems (w/o a concussion), I can attest that the symptoms lasted for many, many months until totally resolved. Vertigo can be totally incapacitating as it can effect every aspect of your daily life. Walking, reading, watching TV, etc. can be a challenge let alone the nausea that can come with it. Physical therapy for vertigo was helpful but it took daily therapy at home, plus many office visits for several months for the vertigo to go away. Can’t imagine making a living as a hockey player and trying to deal with balance issues and a concussion. It will take time, he will get through it. But patience is key!

    Thanks for the great story! The team has the right captain. I also believe it has some other leaders — men who address accountability and responsibility on the ice – and follow through by their ACTIONS on the ice. Those who particpated in the private meeting aren’t leaders – leaders dwell on how to improve their game, NOTon how to get a letter on their shirt!

  31. @suckmeter says:

    Great column. Sucks that fans and some Penguins players are hitting the panic button. How an organization handles adversity is what sets great teams apart from good/bad ones. You can look at the number of former athletes in contact sports (football, hockey, boxing) who have died relatively young, no doubt in some part to head injuries sustained over a period of time.

    “Rub dirt on it and take a lap” doesn’t cut it anymore.

  32. Bman says:

    Excellent column, DK. I don’t see how anyone could quesiton Crosby’s committment to the team, to hockey, to wanting to play. And the fact that some of that questioning is coming from within the locker room – that’s very troubling.

  33. Susan says:

    The Pens have bungled this whole situation. If he’s having balance issues why all the secrecy? They let this get out of hand with the fans.
    As for the players, if their lack of effort recently is due to their feelings that Sid should be playing, that is something management and coaches need to take care of. There are plenty of guys on this team who should be spending their time thinking about how to score goals, not worry where Sid is.

  34. Rob says:

    Hi Dejan, good article (not great),

    To me this article sums up the problem by what I don’t see in it with one simple word ignorance. The ignorance displayed by everyone involved (including the author). The ignorance pertaining to the evolving treatment of head injury, and what is known currently about concussions. This is the single most misunderstood element to the whole Crosby injury.

    The fact is most people, including the team, fans, management, and reporters do not understand the new understanding and evolving understanding of head injury. I don’t completely understand all of the aspects involved, but what I do know is that thankfully concussions are now being diagnosed and treated in a much different way than just a few short months ago.

    Dejan there is a need for someone to do some reporting here. Dr.Ted Carrick (the chiropractor) yes he is a Doctor, was a prominent figure speaking at the news conference over the summer for a reason. Crosby’s Team brought him in because he has been using a revolutionary approach to all types of head injury and brain dysfunction for decades, and beyond the fact that he is a “chiropractor” he has forced conventional neuroscience to listen to his approach. And, this is part of the problem as much as it is thankfully for Crosby, and all involved in Penguin Hockey something we should all be grateful. That is if we don’t want to see more examples of players retiring before their rightful time.

    I get the sense that most people (including Crosby’s teammates) and definitely those who are now questioning Crosby’s commitment and dedication could use a dose of education concerning the new understanding of head injury, treatment, and evaluation. The fact is head injury treatment is not a one size fit all series of procedures like knee surgery or any other broken bone, torn ligament, or muscle sprain. Each individual head injury and each individual who suffers a head injury is unique.

    The old time hockey mindset of get out there you woos and play through it needs to be thoroughly crushed, and the ignorance needs to be eliminated. An investigative report about Dr Ted Carrick and his successful treatment of brain dysfunction and head trauma would go a long way to eliminate the veil of ignorance which your article so blatantly displays by everyone involved with the subject of concussion.

  35. scapper says:

    I remember reading comments by two Pens veterans back in the fall, and after each attributed quote, I thought, “Wow. There’s something behind that quote.” I won’t go tossing out any names here, but after reading this article, I think I was right to think that these players were expressing some veiled irritation with 87.

    I know we’re not “in the room,” but man, when it comes to grit and desire, 87 has been unassailable since his first game. Wonder if this stems from something personal.

    Whatever…the luster is finally off this team. Good luck to that Pens P.R. department after this one.

    And I imagine DK will be getting some calls from NHL Network and 37 Canada outlets for live interviews.

    DK: I only do local and Winnipeg. That’s it.

  36. Ryan says:

    At first this seemed off subject. Since you congratulated Yohe as the Pens new beat writer, I must ask why Rossi is no longer on the Pens beat? With the Pens successes, that seems to be a fabulous job that no one would relinquish. I mean no disrespect to Josh as I enjoy his writing too.

    Rossi and Yohe have been splitting time, it seems, on the Chipped Ice blog. Was Rossi grooming his successor?

    DK: Details to come.

  37. January 13

    36 days until Pirate Spring Training

  38. scapper says:

    Thanks G2M2S…and I didn’t think I could get more depressed sportswise.

  39. Pistol Pete says:

    Wonder how Shero feels now about signing Cooke and Kennedy instead of Talbot and Rupp in the off-season – I know character/leadership can be oversold but sure seems like Max and Rupper would have helped fill the leadership void with Sid on the side-lines and Cooke/Kennedy add nothing on that front – especially troubling because (as could be seen on on 24/7), those two former Pens are now integral parts of upgraded locker rooms and the Rangers and Flyers are well ahead of the Pens in the standings.

  40. jackdeloplane says:

    No doubt that there are a multitude of similar meetings throughout the sports world that go unreported. Kudos DK for uncovering this one. Without ANY info being divulged to ANYONE, including the players, its logical that the players want to develop a plan going forward on who will lead them internally until 87 gets all the way back. I have no problem with that. I would have a problem with NO plan. This team is trying to figure out how they can win without 87 for the rest of the season because they know they can’t count on him due to the latest setback. The problem is, they aren’t constructed to win without him, and the players know that. It has to be disheartening to know in your gut you could be on a Cup team, then realize you have no shot.

    Shero should NOT be forthcoming on Crosby’s health with the public at large if they don’t want to, but they should at least let the players know what the situation is. Maybe that’s the source of the frustration with the players. NO ONE, Crosby, Shero, or 66 are telling them anything. So they get frustrated. Of course they mgt isn’t saying that Crosby is done for the year, or else you’d get more NY and NJ-type efforts the rest of the way, its human nature. Professionals or not, its hard not to feel a let down when you realize you are undermanned and have no legit shot. Even with Crosby, defeating Boston would be tough. Without him, Malkin plays differently (worse) and the rest of the team loses heart after a while.

  41. Eric Majeski says:

    I think Rob (#37) nailed it. I think a lot of fans have the perception that most, if not all, pro athletes are absolutely immersed into their sports and that’s just not true. I’m sure there are a lot of hockey players that get as far away from the game as they can on off days. To think that just because concussions are a hot button issue, all NHL players are interested in knowing as much as possible is folly. To hear that there might be some players in the Pens’ room that think 87 could play does not really surprise or outrage me that much.

  42. Naje says:

    Hockey ignorance may well be ignorance of the highest kind.


    If I ever wanted to introduce someone to your professionalism, I’d give them this column. Really well done.

  43. JohninOshkosh says:

    Very nice column, Dejan. I have always admired intensely the ability of reporters to hold inviolate their sources. Geez, I would so be babbling to at least my wife!

    This has been one of the best comment threads this blog has seen. Thanks to any newcomers. As to the captaincy issue, I have no problem whatsoever of the players discussing a temporary captaincy. All organizations require a succession plan for leadership in the event of incapacity for any reason. Athletic teams are no different.

    And to Groat: despite being contrary to reason, your countdown to spring training always gives me pause to smile.

  44. Clint says:

    A lot of the leadership from the Cup team in 09 is gone. Gill, Guerin, Talbot, and Scuderi were all varying forces of leadership on that team to go with Crosby and Orpik. With the exception of Brooks, it seems no one wants to step up and be a vocal leader, or even let their play do the talking. Orpik walked the walk after his weekend statements with a great game vs Ottawa.. his teammates however botched the job from there.

    With all the injuries this year, the Pens have no chemistry. Last year, they took on the us against the worst mentality with Sid and Geno gone, but this year, you have had multiple players out for long stretches, revolving door to Wilkes Barre, and the crushed feeling of.. we had Sid back and now he is gone again.

    Mario, Shero, and Bylsma I am sure have talked to this team about the nonsense behind closed doors, but they also know the players have to take care of business on their own. If someone is unwilling to buy into the program or isn’t on board, I can certainly see them being shipped out in the next month.. After all, we are NOT Montreal, and we actually have a plan that we stick to

  45. SouthSideBucsFan says:

    Quite frankly, I think a lot of people are jumping to the conclusion that this alleged locker room meeting about a temporary captaincy was some kind of insurrection, when in fact there’s no evidence of that at all. No information is given about the meeting other than the fact that a temporary captaincy was discussed … and honestly, I have no problem with that at all.

    The key word is “temporary.” If and when Crosby comes back this season, the “C” belongs to him. But while he’s out, what’s the major issue with giving it to Orpik or someone of that caliber? The captain is an important player on the ice — he gets the most room to talk to officials about certain calls during the game, and that’s certainly important. Who takes that role when nobody with a “C” is playing? One of the alternates? If so, which one?

    By the way, Ron Francis wore the “C” for part of the ’94-95 season when Lemieux was out. If “Le Magnifique” can be temporarily replaced as captain, so can Sid the Kid.

  46. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Although hockey is a distant 4th on my list of major sports, this piece creates great interest. Hockey players seemed to me less greed and ego-centered than the other 3, but maybe that was a misconception on my part. Although I don’t know a blue line from a 2-line pass, I’ve always rooted for the Pens and like to see them excell, but this brings them back to humanity for me. Excellent column.

  47. SouthSideBucsFan says:

    Oops. Forgot to address the other issue in the column: The fact that teammates are apparently questioning Sid’s desire to play. That I do find fault with, as these guys more than anyone should know that he lives and breathes hockey. To know that there are some questioning whether he is actually injured … well, that is ridiculous.

    I do wonder whether they’d be more understanding if they knew more about his condition, or if they did see him around more often. It was huge news that he was on this trip with the team — why was it such huge news? Has he been avoiding his teammates? The locker room? If so, I can understand why — he doesn’t want to cause a distraction — but I can also understand why the other guys would be a little frustrated, especially because I’m sure they get asked about Sid quite a bit.

    I remember when Rashard Mendenhall broke his shoulder in his rookie season, and there was a report late that season (I believe from Bouchette) that some of the team’s veterans weren’t thrilled with Rashard because he was spending little time at the Steelers’ facility to do his rehab. The Crosby situation, to me, seems like it could be along those lines.

  48. NMR says:

    I think anyone brushing off the temporary captaincy meeting should revisit the context of the article. DK clearly, IMO, states that there is dissention in the ranks.

    The meeting, from how I interpreted the article, was evidence of the overall hypothesis, not reason for making it.

    I certainly don’t want to purposely change the focus of your article, so correct me if I’m wrong.

  49. Naje says:


    Big difference between an indifferent rookie not rehabbing a broken shoulder and the greatest player in the world… who has only led the team to two Cup finals, winning one and winning a gold medal.

  50. radio wave says:

    Thanks for the Pirates mini camp coverage.
    The other paper in town hasn’t covered it.

  51. Sarcastic Sword says:

    While I am no endorsing the temporary captaincy meeting, the reason for that meeting shouldnt be brushed aside – which is a frustration on the part of the players with regards to them being kept in the dark.

    Regarding the article, the only quibble I have is that Dejan stopped short in the last major paragraph in the story where he talks about Crosby being 24 and needs to handle adversity better. I want to know what DK thinks he is lacking in this department and how he could improve. This written prose made a general point but my guess is that it wasnt specific so as to not be too negative towards #87.

    One point I think that he needs to improve upon and dovetails into the players-only mtg is that he shouldnt disappear for weeks on end and be with his team..Be at the games..At the practices. Allow his teammates to talk to him. Just be there for the room instead of retreating back to Nova Scotia – I cant imagine hes in Pgh and stays at home. He probably just leaves and that is wrong.

  52. dickyp23 says:

    Prob the best thing I’ve ever read from you and I consider you the best writer in town.

    Sid is the man by all accounts ranging from sick kids families to diehard autograph seeking weirdos.

  53. MarkV says:

    Haven’t heard any reason for the Pens waiving MacIntyre. In light of DK’s column, should we be reading between the lines here?

  54. PhillyJake says:

    I didn’t read many responses here – a lot to read. So, forgive me if this has been asked already –

    What is management thinking in terms of a contract as it pertains to the concussions? I’d not be getting ready to sign a guy who has recurring problems. I imagine they’re going to wait as long as possible before starting negotiations. I also imagine he’ll be hard to insure.

    If they sign him to a long term contract, and he can’t play again, how does this affect the salary cap ?

  55. Arriba Wilver says:

    Maybe I missed it, but if Josh Yohe is the new beat writer (NBW) for hockey what’s Rob Rossi going to be doing? I thought Rob’s coverage and knowledge of the subject was great (no offense to Josh).

  56. SouthSideBucsFan says:


    Absolutely there’s a difference between Mendenhall and Crosby. But the point I was trying to make — and one that was more articulately made by Sarcastic Sword a few posts later — is that it would certainly help with the players’ frustration if they at least saw him once in a while. As I said in my post, it shouldn’t be huge news for Crosby to be seen with the team, as it was when he accompanied them to Washington and Florida.

    I just think bonding as a team can be a big deal in sports. Obviously, it doesn’t trump everything else, but a tight-knit team with less talent can certainly beat a dysfunctional team with more talent.

    And on that note … what happens if Crosby does come back this season? Are these current issues forgotten? Do they get swept under the rug, laughed off? Or do they cause a problem? I’d certainly hate to see 87 come back and have these current whispers be something that derail a Cup-caliber team.

  57. Ryan says:


    I was thinking along those same lines. Granted, with no willing combatants, his roster spot is wasted. However, he was waived shortly after these events took place. It could be coincidence but with the information from this article, I would say you are correct.

  58. Tim says:

    I want to start by saying I have no idea what is going on with Penguins when it comes to management and the locker room. My sources are the media and some times after reading articles I am more confused/frustrated than I was before hand if I knew nothing. When you say “There are problems, Leah. How the Penguins work it out is in the future tense,” it frustrates me, because now I am left with that feeling when you have an argument with someone and they say, “I know what you did,” and you’re like “what did I do?” and they say, “I know what you did, don’t pretend you don’t know what I am talking about.” Meanwhile I have know idea what they are talking about and it infuriates the heck out of you. I mean we are left to partially believe, speculate, and in the end are no closer to the truth than if we didn’t know. Not saying your wrong, but I am saying if you lay that out, you have to go the distance. Saying “trust me, I know” does not help. If you go this far, complete the deal.

    I love Sid and I have no doubts about his dedication. None. But the handling of this thing has been shoddy. First, if you are the captain, then you should be around the team as much as possible, in any way possible. It’s the right thing and the fair thing to do. You can’t leave your teammates hanging to dry having to answer over and over questions about something you know nothing about, because the organization has chosen to protect Sid. The players have enough to focus on, they have their own issues, having to answer questions about Sid and his commitment and what he means to the team and how much better you would be with him, etc. would grate on anyone, whether you are tight with Sid or not. Why not make him available to the media once a week and get it over with. Tell the media you have ten minutes to ask questions, (I mean how many times can you ask the same five-eight questions?) and move on.

    I can understand everyone’s frustration (including mine over the vagueness of the article, which, once again, I am not blaming you, you are doing the right thing by not naming sources, but by not naming the players……… either you are willing to go the distance and stick your neck out or you are not) but I think management needs to end their cryptic handling of Sid. It’s not doing any one any good.

    DK: No reporter gives up sources. Ever.

  59. Pat says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but players out for extended periods of time don’t generally travel with the team. It was a big deal that Sid was on this trip because its possible that he’d start skaing while on the trip.

    The players are angry that they are being left in the dark about Crosby’s status. Staal already hinted at that during an interview when Crosby was preparing to return the first time.

    As much as I’d love to see Crosby back, the team desperately needs Letang back. Without any threat from the blueline teams allow the Pens to cycle the puck down low knowing that the Pens’ fowards cant do anything with it if defense just pack it in around the net. Shots need to start coming from the blueline to open things up downlow.

  60. jackdeloplane says:

    Interesting to read the comments then go on to SI and see that a snippet of DK’s article got picked up in their discussion section and most of the comments are about how the Pittsburgh media is nothing short of a tabloid rag.

    IMHO, there is a big difference between the beat writer and a columnist who’s job is to take the reader one step further than a recap of the previous game.

    DK is demonstrating he has made the leap from beat writer to columnist with this latest. All of us want to take a peek behind the curtain or to be a fly on the wall in the locker room. This article certaintly does it

  61. JT says:

    I think from top to bottom in this organization there seems to be a lack of communication. I am completely suprised to be writing this. I do not understand, under any circumstances, why this meeting would take place. I can’t imagine Dan Bylsma would be happy about it taking place at all. Brooks Orpik has been the vocal leader of this team for a while now. I hate to get into speculation, but its hard to imagine him not being the guy behind this. He has been very vocal about the Pens problems of late and seems extremely frustrated, as he should be. This team is filled with what I thought was a lot of high character guys. What exactly did they think this meeting would solve? Did they think a group of players were going to make the decision to take the “C” off Sid? What would that solve? I have read that even though Crosby has been injured he has still been around the team a lot. How could this go on if that was the case? How do you think Sid is going to feel about his teammates, who are supposed to have his back, now that this meeting happend.
    To me this seems like the players and management/Sid are not on the same page at all. And with a great owner/GM/coach, i dont understand how that can happen. Who knows maybe one win solves all these problems. But there seems to be a lot more issues off the ice, than there are on…and that is a really bad thing.

  62. JAL says:

    Talking about this story on Tony Kornheiser’s show this morning and also will on PTI this evening.

  63. Jason Rice says:

    I just want to see Pittsburgh’s CAPTAIN feeling like himself, then get back on the ice. As Ray Shero put it, there is enough talent and leadership in this locker room that “winning” should be on the forefront of players minds. Pens fans expect a high level of play on the ice. Wanna question someone, Tyler Kennedy, where is your goal production? Time to start earning your money! 5 goals for what your making? Really? Love ya TK, but step it up son. To most everybody on the team, way to put alot of shots on goal, now how about not missing the net on the quality scoring chances! Take a note from Geno and YOUR captain and learn to be patient with the puck, instead of missing the net or shooting of f an opponents leg! Crosby haters beware, when the man is back, it will be with a vengeance! Sounds like some players who don’t know Sidney’s character and may have only played a handful of times with him want to start a mutiny in our locker room! You should be thankful Dejan won’t call you out! You haven’t heard boo birds or seen disrespect yet, but trust this, in todays day and age, it won’t be long until we find out! Dejan, great article! CAPTAIN Sidney Crosby, get well soon. Pens, let’s get this ship righted and play hockey, instead of whining about Sid! That whining gets you nowhere! Case in point, remember when Marion Hossa banked on having a better chance of winning a cup in Detroit after only playing a half season with Sid and the Pens? Maybe you players that don’t believe in Sid or this franchise need to sniff around some other teams and take you poison there! How dare you! For the players that are still believers, this franchise belongs to you! Let’s go Pens!

  64. Deb says:

    Those glossing over the significance of a clandestin meeting among players to discuss “the C” need to understand hockey culture. First, the Coach appoints the C…and/or names Alternates…not the players. Second, the Alternates are there to “fill-in” for the Captain in the event of season ending injury, leadership is already in place, no coup is needed.

    To have a meeting to discuss removing the C is to convene a coup. It is an insult pure and simple. It is NEVER about “leadership continuity.” The Alternate Captins are there for leadership continuity.

    If an Alternate Captain was part of this ‘discussion meeting’ about the C, that was a power grab pure and simple.

  65. Clint says:

    On the Pens Facebook page, all the Pens at practice this morn have a C on their chest for team unity with the Captain. Dejan, did players have their meeting, and then whether it was other guys, Mario, Bylsma, Crosby himself, lay the law down and make things well again

  66. JohninOshkosh says:

    Thanks jackdeloplane for directing my attention to the SI comments. Wow.

  67. Iron says:

    Hi Dejan.

    Enjoy your work…

    Some quick thoughts on the Pirates and very interested in your opinion…

    Did the Pirates really lose a lot of traction when they lost their bidding war with the Twins over Miguel Sano? Was he not the type of player they were going to start landing as a result of their “rec center” in the DR? Should they have bid more to win?

    It just seems as though Sano is the type of power bat that this organization needs so desperately at one of the corner spots, or even one of the corner OF spots. We just seem to lack power within the organization despite some talented prospects.

    Also, doesn’t the fact that they have not been able to work out any type of extension with McCutchen essentially prohibit them from signing a prospect like Cuban OF Jorge Soler, despite alleged interest, let alone a player like Yoenis Cespedes?

    Thanks and Happy New Year to you.

    DK: Same to you, Mike. You’ll have to Google Sano and my first name. You’ll turn up a ton of stuff. And no, the international budget always is separate from major-league payroll.

  68. Dejan,
    The Pens all wearing “C” at practice an amazing response to your column and work.

    Sorry you couldn’t be there to see it. Sorry I couldn’t be there to see it!

    Good job, Dejan.

  69. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    Crosby spoke today… here’s a link to the transcript:|PIT|home

  70. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    A couple of excerpts from Crosby today, from the Pens’ website:

    On his response to what the media has been writing:
    It’s tough to even answer it because it’s so far-fetched. I would say that I’m not surprised that it’s when we’ve lost five or six in a row. If we would have won five in a row, I don’t think any of that stuff would have started. And let’s be honest, the Steelers are out and the Penguins are what there is to talk about. And anything that can be brought up or started, especially given the situation, is a pretty easy fit. I’ve been around hockey long enough to know that this stuff seems to come out when you’re losing. So as long as guys don’t get caught up in it, I think we’re much better off not even listening to it.

    On if he has any indication that anyone in the organization is questioning his situation:
    No. It’s too bad we even have to sit here and talk about it, to be honest with you. It’s not even really worth talking about.

  71. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    Anytime someone writes something nice about a column or article, I’ll go through and put up individual thanks. Let me today just leave it at one cumulative, all-encompassing but somehow individually heartfelt thanks.

  72. CWalton_67 says:

    Not sure that the alleged meeting by some Pens players regarding a stand-in team captain is necessarily evil. Given the lack of information on Sid’s status, or perhaps misinformation, they may have simply thought they were doing right for the team. Or not, but I’m not willing to condemn anyone over that. Very surprising to hear some players say they thought Sid should be playing though.

    Pens organization and Sid’s “camp” (whatever that is) have handled this entire situation very poorly from a communications standpoint. And I think Dejan is right, Sid may need to take a bit more of his own counsel, rather than from his “camp”. I find it very difficult to believe that anyone in the Pens organization thought it right to withhold information on Sid’s status from the public, and especially other Pens players. Leads me to believe that Sid’s “camp” has been less than forthcoming with management.

    The biggest shame though is reserved for some alleged Pens “fans”. They are deserving of criticism for a six game losing streak, but this team and organization should have some well deserved support capital in the fan bank. Criticize, discuss, even curse a bit, but too many jumped off the bridge over a minor losing streak. Particularly, a couple of those who post at the highly influential Pensblog. Very disappointing.

    Despite the poor handling of this situation from a media/public relations standpoint, I believe in Mario, Ray Shero, and Dan Bylsma. They’ve earned the support. And so, for that matter, has Sid and the rest of this team.

  73. I am shocked by this article… It is amazing to me,the complete ignorance & total lack of understanding,about the game of hockey,as it relates to Sidney Crosby,and his injury… The total stupidity,displayed by what has to be a very small number of clueless fans,(who probably watch NHL hockey,solely for the fighting) is utterly unbelievable… I am ashamed to be associated with these “mental midgets”,solely due to the geographical proximity of the Penguins playing in “The Burgh”… They clearly know very little,if anything at all,about the game of hockey,and even less about concussions,and their lingering effects… They are probably Jaromire Jagr fans,and cheered for him,in his return to Pittsburgh,cause he sounds just like “Their kind of Gutless,selfish player”,the polar opposite of ALL that Sidney Crosby is as a player,and a person… It is an absolute shame,for Penguins,and for the ENTIRE NHL,that his injuries could be career ending,and could have far more serious repercussions,to his general quality of life… Mario Lemieux was the absolute Greatest of All-Time,he was Blessed with all the intangible tools,and physical gifts,that anyone could ever need… Sidney Crosby,is 5′-10″ and 200 lb.s (soaking wet), He has provided this city,and anyone who appreciates terrific non-stop, selfless play… He does ALL the little things,that do not show up on the stat sheets,but are critical to his teams chances of winning… I am not surprised by this article,I am very surprised by the complete lack of class,and knowledge of the game… It is a black-eye to the entire city,and region,that these few knuckle-heads are granted the platform,to display their bottom-less pit of ignorance,toward a terrific young man,who by the way,saved NHL hockey,in the City of Pittsburgh… He does NOT DESERVE this mindless critisicsm,and the City of Pittsburgh,certainly should be nothing BUT GRATEFUL,to this young man… The people responsible for the ignorance of this article,should be named,and publically ridiculed,or (if we could get away with it) Whipped with Cane switches,until they’re a bloody mess… Killing them is over the top,besides,they deserve to be “Bartmanned”,the guy who went for a fly-ball,in foul territory,costing the CUBS,a chance to LOSE IT ALL,in the World Series…..

    DK: Welcome, Scott!

  74. MadTurk says:

    Thanks JAL PTI is on now.

  75. Dan1283 says:

    I’m pretty dismayed by this report, Dejan, mostly because it’s coming from you. If this came from anyone but you or Molinari I would even suspect the writer is getting played, but I know the respect you have earned with that franchise and I know you wouldn’t risk your reputation reporting something like this you couldn’t almost totally confirm. It sounds like 5 combined sources confirmed this…that’s a lot. I just hope that management gets a handle on this.

    Haven’t they learned anything from the New York Jets? ;-)

  76. Jandy says:

    wow. Just wow. I was sick all day and just read your Crosby column. What the heck would anyone be thinking to kick Sid when he’s down? or the players even talk about a temporary captain? They have one and he needs their support. Shame on the ones who had the meeting. The guys in the room NEED to keep this together and get a win. And another. Things will turn around.
    Great Crosby column, Dk, and I mean that. it’s well said and perfectly timed. Keep up the good work.

  77. Gary Donatelli says:

    Dejan, first of all I am an admirer of your work and a fan forever (here comes the but), but I just don’t understand the reason for or reaction to Friday’s Crosby column.I feel as if you manufactured a crisis to create a column.You allude to a “few” players who expressed these concerns and doubts about Crosby… a “few”…is that 1, 3, 11 players?? What’s that mean? If nothing significantly has changed with Crosby or Letang, what’s the media obsession with updates, particularly in a league where injuries are fraudulently represented daily?? Why react to ignorant fans who have no knowledge of Crosby’s management and medical team, their concerns or their future contract strategies? I just feel there is a “talk radio” aura about this piece… fabricate or exaggerate a situation to instigate reaction…hey, but that’s just me. Thanks.

  78. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    As a participant on this blog, I usually don’t respond quickly to most issues. I prefer to sit back and absorb information and others’ opinions before creating my own.

    Dejan’s powerful article has served its purpose well, whether you agree or disagree.

    A reporter’s job is to solicit reads and reaction and DK has certainly accomplished both. The above comments, obviously, verify that point.

    Now we can look back at what happened Friday in Sunrise, Florida.

    Certainly aware of this article, the entire team wore a “C” on their sweaters in practice; the cohesiveness of the team was cemented; and the players demonstrated unity and purpose in winning an extremely important game.

    I give Dejan credit (and thanks) for providing some of the sparks that made it all happen. I can also appreciate the value of the article much more from this day-after perspective.

    To me, Dejan is a consummate professional, and when it comes to integrity and the quality of the content of his work, #DejanShootsHigh

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