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Wakeup Call: Meddling owners? Yes, please!


Brief and to the Point …

>> You call that a vacation?

Thanks to all who tended to the place in my absence, especially Joe with his indispensable links.

>> My Monday column takes a closer look at Sidney Crosby’s BROKEN NECK. Or at least it takes a closer look at his BROKEN NECK than some doctors might have.

>> The Penguins are 7-0 since my last Crosby column, so this might prove pivotal in one direction or the other. Then again, maybe not. My own view is that the Penguins actually started playing better with the 1-0 loss in Washington that was the last of the six-game losing streak that preceded this current streak.

>> One facet of the new column is the hope that Mario Lemieux gets involved in getting the Penguins and the Crosby camp on the same page in his recovery.

Getting ownership involved isn’t a revolutionary idea, which might be good to repeat to anyone howling about Art Rooney II having the audacity to make a personnel move within the company he runs. I have no issue whatsoever with his dumping Bruce Arians, and I say that independent of Arians’ merits. All too often in football, maybe more than other sports, the head coach really gets invested in his assistants, even to the point where shortcomings are overlooked or ignored. Within the Steelers’ structure, Kevin Colbert doesn’t have the authority to make a move like that. Only Rooney does. And he did. Big deal.

>> On the topic of meddling owners, do many of those same critics deride Bob Nutting for not being involved enough with the Pirates?

>> I’m also not buying this notion that the Steelers did something vicious in describing Arians’ departure as a retirement. This is a common courtesy when there is amenable parting of the ways in any workforce, to allow someone to resign or retire. Looks a lot better than an outright firing on the resume.

Go back and look at Arians’ comments in the York paper. He expressly acknowledges going along with this.

>> I had a couple questions for Nasir Robinson after Pitt’s big win over No. 9 Georgetown Saturday …


>> I’ll be back with my weekly TribLIVE Radio appearance today at 11:30 a.m.

>> Later tonight, I’ll be driving out to Indianapolis for six full days of Super Bowl coverage. Always a fun gig to cover the country’s biggest sporting event.


  1. Pensfan says:

    Once again, you have posed the million dollar question. Whether the break occured from Steckel’s or Hedman’s hit would be impossible to determine as the hits were days apart, more than a year ago.

    It seems IMPOSSIBLE that Sid’s breaks occured in his recent comback, as that was such a short time ago, there really wouldn’t have been time for a bone to “completely heal”, and it would be easy to identify as a recent just healing injury.

    Which brings us to your question of just who are these quacks that have been in charge of Sid’s care that they failed to spot a broken neck?

    The fact that the Pen’s are not immediately saying “and we are comparing these CT/MRI’s to the one’s Pen’s doctors performed on Sid immediately after the Steckel hit” is very telling.


    So far, the Pen’s medical staff 1) failed to assess Sid for a concussion after the Steckel hit; 2) sent Sid on to Montreal after the Hedman hit with instructions to ‘be checked for a concussion if he woke up with symptoms the next morning'” 3) diagnosed Sid with a ‘mild concussion that would resolve within about a week’ 4) failed to evaluate his neck for injury despite the torque of the hit and complaints of severe neck painsoreness?

    An average visit to an emergency room by any Joe off the street would have received better evaluation. Sid is suppose to be a valued athlete who has earned the Pens and the NHL millions of dollars. How could they have failed to provide him basic medical care?

    It appears to fans that the only time he has made real progress is when his “camp” i.e. his agent/family has helped him go see specialists like Dr. Carrick, and now the Utah/California doctors.

    I really hope Mario demands answers starting with a complete review of the steps taken by the Pen’s since the Winter Classic. The fact is that the Pen’s collective failures from the Coach’s failure to recognize his player was injured/impaired, to the Pen Trainers, Doctors and team officials inactions may have cost an amazing player his career.

    DK: Fair points all, PF.

  2. Leah Backus says:

    I hope you enjoyed your time off, Dejan, but I’m so glad you’re back to give us your perspective on what I consider to be an absolutely ridiculous turn of events regarding Sidney Crosby. How on god’s green earth do you *miss* a broken neck? I have no other explanation than utter negligence on the part of the Penguins medical staff. When Max Pacioretty (forgive me for mentioning his name) took that horrible hit from Chara last year, it was discovered within days that he’d broken his C4 vertebra. He made an excellent recovery. I have to wonder how much better Sid might have done had he received proper treatment at the time he received the injury. (And I’m sorry, but the Krejci hit was not long ago enough for the fractures to be completely healed. They had to have happened a year ago.)

    I’m just left shaking my head and hoping that some clarity is forthcoming.

    DK: It was outstandingly full of nothing, this time off, Leah. Thanks for asking.

  3. Pensfan says:

    A third question which I am interesting in: Why are Dr. Bray’s MRI/CT’s being “evaluated by an independent specialist over the next few days”?

    Does this mean that the Pen’s doctors have MRI/CT’s to compare them against? or that the Pen’s are questioning Dr. Bray’s reading? or that the Pen’s are taking the stance that Dr. Bray is Sid’s doctor and Dr. Burke is their doctor, and the Pen’s want “an impartial third party” to rule?

    What’s up with that?

    DK: Sounds to me like Penguins are questioning Bray’s findings. Which they should, as the column notes.

  4. SD says:

    This whole Sid saga has given me a headache. Is it any wonder that Kris Letang reportedly sought treatment for his concussion from doctors in Quebec? Do Doctors Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dummer work for the Pens? I’m sick over the fact that we may have lost such a great player through such incompetence. He should have never been allowed to play that 3rd period in the Winter Classic and I blame every coach and trainer in that locker room for that one. If we find out that he played the Tampa Bay game with a broken neck, I may finally lose it.

    However, all of that is water under the bridge now. All we can hope is that Sid gets a clearer picture of what his issues are and a path to recovery. It’s too bad he had to rack up the frequent flier miles to get these answers, but that’s what it’s come to.

    Welcome back DK – missed you.

    DK: Thanks, SD!

  5. Pensfan says:

    Here is the link to the Sportsnet reporter who “broke” the story about Sid’s c1/c2 injury.

    After listening to the ‘breaking news’ I was surprised to hear the reporter say he had this information about Sid’s medical news as early as Wednesday, had emailed the Penguins (including Shero) and Brisson and asked for statements/confirmation of the details and the Penguins/Brisson chose to ignore his request.

    The Penguins PR folks appeared to be caught flatfooted with this announcement. Yet if the Sportsnet reporter is to be believed, it appears it was made clear to them 3 days earlier that the story was about to be reported. Makes no sense why the Pens continually let these stories get out of hand instead of taking the lead.

  6. MBS says:

    Maybe this new information on Sid will generate some questioning of the care Carrick provided. After all, he is the chiropractor. Aren’t they the reputed specialists of the spine?

  7. JAL says:

    7 Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Spring Training Tracker


    8—Pirates Prospects

    Pittsburgh Pirates One Game Wonders

    Winter League Playoffs 1/29 — Gimenez Leads Aragua To Caribbean Series

    9 Hyzdu Headquarters

    Another Prospect List

  8. JAL says:

    10 Rumbunter

    Video: Andy Van Slyke Still Has the Power Stroke

    Has Pittsburgh Pirates Starter Jeff Karstens Figured It Out?

    Clint Hurdle Interview: Fired Up for Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Season

    11 Bucs Dugout

    2012 Should Be A Crucial Season For Neal Huntington

  9. JAL says:


    12 San Jose Mercury News

    Monte Poole: Oakland A’s co-owner Lew Wolff says he cares about team, but it’s a tough sell

    13 Fort Worth Star Telegram

    Baseball’s five biggest off-season winners, losers

    14 Toronto Star

    Perkins: Detroit Tigers bet bank on Prince Fielder–perkins-detroit-tigers-bet-bank-on-prince-fielder

    15 Detroit News

    Denny McLain’s message to Brandon Inge: Get over it

  10. JAL says:


    16 Change for a Nickel

    Cue Black Eyed Peas … “Let’s Get It Started”…

    17 ESPN

    Defining who’s Mr. Average

  11. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    -Behind the Steel Curtain

    Ben Roethlisberger Deserves to Know Where the Steelers Offense is Headed

    Colts Hire Bruce Arians for Open Offensive Coordinator Position

    Four Steelers in Top 20 of ESPN’s NFL Any Era Poll

    -Steelers Depot

    Forecasting the Steelers 2012 1st Round Pick

    -Steelers Gab

    Tomlin Has Meeting with Former Colts Coach Jim Caldwell

  12. JAL says:

    WVU Blogs

    Metro News

    The Big East Can Be Rough

    Missed Call Helps Syracuse Avoid Overtime

    WV Illustrated

    WVU Falls to No. 4 Syracuse Following Controversial Finish

    Big East Mum on Controversy at Syracuse



    “100 Things Penguins Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die” Review

  13. Jandy says:

    it’s fan-tastic to see you back, DK, we missed you. Glad your vacation was full of “nothing”.
    I’m just flibergusted about the latest news on Sid and his BROKEN NECK. Do you think it’s a possibility heads will roll? I mean, the organization looks pretty bad at this point.

    I was expecting a story about GOD, is that still forthcoming??? Some of us were ready to head for the hills if necessary ;)

  14. Stuart says:

    DK Welcome Back! Glad you could “do nothing” for a while, we all need that from time to time. Must say though that my fav place for that endeavor is the Outer Banks of NC on the beach.
    Kudos to Jamie and Dan B. for their contributions to righting their respective ships. Too bad we can’t have more actions to heat up the Hot Stove League rather than words, but hope will spring eternal after all.

  15. Hey DK, Glad your back. You always give us heads up on things great in the burg, Try the Teenie Harris photos at Carnegie, Enjoy Indianapolis.

  16. JMB says:

    Welcome back DK!

    Jal’s Post 9 (#11) is pleasantly surprising. I’ve noticed the more knowledgeable BD’ers finally becoming more critical of NH’s reign of terror.

    Some of us have questioned NH’s GM ability since the Bay trade, so it is nice to see Pirate Nation finally coming together behind a unified thought. It’s way past time for NH & FC to be fired.

    I still dream about Cuban buying the Pirates, but since that is most likely not happening, we just need a new GM & team Prez.

  17. JohnS says:

    I don’t find it odd that Crosby’s injuries are not detailed. It is the NHL’s way. Isn’t this the home of lower body injuries? Don’t you think it is quite possible that all of this was known just not released? To me it all seems business as usual in the NHL and I don’t have a problem with that.

  18. dcpinpgh says:

    I agree with JohnS, the pens have nothing on the government when it comes to releasing info.

    If the team doctor is that bad….why does he still have a job

  19. Drew71 says:

    Oh were you gone?

    THAT snarky comment is cause you stole something from me.


    Capital Letters are MY thing. That’s what EYE do.

    Give them back. NOW.

  20. January 30

    19 days until Pirate Spring Training

    Signing Daniel Cabrara——just the starter Bucs need to get them over-the-top

    Hope “springs eternal”

  21. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    People comparing their own broken necks going undetected — I’ve heard from a handful already today — to Crosby’s situation are assuming they have access to same level of medical care. Really?

  22. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Groat, your hammer is on the head of the nail, as usual. Never an ERA under 5 and hasn’t pitched in the majors in a couple years. Sounds just like the top-of-the-line FA’s we’ve come to know and love.

  23. Jandy says:

    @JohnS and dcpinpgh ~ no way the medical staff knew and didn’t say something. Why else would it have taken Sid and Brisson this long to pursue it in California and Utah? Nahhhh…not buying they knew and just didn’t report it. That doesn’t make any sense at all.

  24. Jandy says:

    Drew ~ yo tell him! You’d think DK would at least give you a TOASTER for stealin your caps! ;)

  25. Dejan Kovacevic says:


  26. Drew71 says:

    I’ve been a PAIN in the neck. But that usually doesn’t go undetected. So nevermind.

  27. scapper says:

    Not sure if anyone looks at, but they have a great headline on their “news” scroll:

    “Penguins team doctor apologizes for not diagnosing Sidney Crosby’s decapitation”

    Really funny website. It’s not quite The Onion, but then again, nothing is.

  28. JAL says:

    Cabrara is minor league signing, to fill a spot in Indy. No risk. Every team does this type of signing. Not even an invite to ST, unlike Duke.

  29. CWalton_67 says:

    Welcome back, Dejan. Hope your vacation was a good one.

    While I agree that the Pens medical staff was negligent to some degree with Sid, he also has to take some responsibility. He has to tell the medical staff how he is really feeling. I am guessing that he minimized his symptoms when being examined, at least initially. This is standard behavior among athletes, simply a part of the culture, especially for leaders. Again, I am not excusing the Pens medical staff, simply saying that they probably got a highly minimized description of Sid’s level of discomfort.

    The other part of this that I find incomprehensible is the apparent utter lack of communication between Sid and Mario. Sid lived in Mario’s home for a number of years. Aren’t they friends? How is is possible that they aren’t communicating about this on a personal level? I’ll say again that I think Sid is getting some very bad advice from his “camp”, specifically from his agent. If there is a villain involved in this entire saga, I am guessing it is Pat Brisson.

    Perhaps we can get a DK column with some information on him?

    If there is any one piece of good news related to this story, it’s the report that Sid and Mario watched the ASG together. Let’s hope that opens the door to some clearer direct communication between the two.

  30. Wallyworld says:

    Pens Medical Staff= ‘Paging Dr Moe, Dr Larry, Dr Curly Joe…’

  31. Milo Hamilton says:

    I think if I played for the Penguins, I’d be assembling my own medical team.

  32. Drew71 says:

    Assembling? Cool. Legos?

  33. Kevn says:

    Jandy – I thought Sid was God!?!

  34. LuckyNKentucky says:

    You mean Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, right?
    Cabrera will be fortunate to pitch at Indy. Prayerfully.

  35. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Should be 2 Howards and 1 Fine. Like God and taxes, The Three Stooges are eternal.

  36. Jandy says:

    Kevin ~ now, why didn’t I think of that??? Silly me!

  37. CWalton_67 says:

    Seth at emptynetters on PG with a nice piece on Pens injury situation and their apparent inability to manage recoveries. When it’s laid out in nice, neat order, like he’s done, the overall situation becomes ever more absurd.

  38. Milo Hamilton says:


    Just read this morning’s column. I was again struck by your recollection of Sid’s press conference following last year’s Winter Classic. “…his dazed eyes visible to most of us in Heinz Field’s news conference room.”

    Just a subtle reminder that the Penguins began botching this situation that very night.

  39. Wallyworld says:

    Thats right, it was Dr Howard, Dr Fine, Dr Howard. Geez…Early onset Alzheimers.

  40. @suckmeter says:

    Sucks I’ve heard some people say they knew about Crosby’s injury months ago. Amazing how they were all able to hold on to that secret until the news finally broke. Commendable!

  41. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Just checking in to welcome Dejan back… and get my new ‘handle’ established here.

    Moved all weekend… but no broken neck…

  42. Arriba Wilver says:

    No offense, JAL, but I hope Pitt beats your team’s butt tonight. It’s a lost season for Pitt, but that would be SWEET!

  43. Eric Bowser says:

    Finally home, finally done working from home, wife is in bed, mom in bed, kids in bed. Just me here trying to calm down and relax, so suffice it to say, not exactly the best mental state (tired & agitated) to read an article about Dan Bylsma speaking for Sidney Crosby.

    In fact, too many people have spoken for Crosby and not the man himself.

    If he’s mad, he should handle it professionally and get it over with because we don’t need another Lindros situation. And where’s Mario in all this, he can’t take an hands-off approach. He needs to demand an immediate review of this whole disaster with their medical staff, trainers, coaches, etc. and make sure this never happens again.

    Crosby, Letang, Michalek, and Asham have had issues and weren’t diagnosed right away – totally unacceptable and yes, I know concussions are not the same but last time I checked, a hit to the hard or hard hit is a pretty good indication a player has the potential and if he starts complaining of nausea, neck pain, balance problems, etc. – maybe you should take the conservative approach and run some tests or take a few days off.

    Unreal, really… and Troy Crosby needs to grow up and let Sidney control his career.

  44. dcpinpgh says:


    you’re missing my point and probably JohnS point. The Drs knew and they didn’t tell the fans. Reread both of our comments. That is why johns used ‘lower bodyinjury’ the team and the DRs know, but we don’t know

  45. Jandy says:

    I didn’t exactly miss your point, I’m saying I find it hard to believe they knew and didn’t tell ANYONE. And I find it hard to believe the fans weren’t told something. If so, why is it coming out now? What was there to gain? Absolutely nothing. I think they all dropped the ball, but that’s just my humble opinion.

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