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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: A center towers over Centre


Brief and to the Point …

>> My Wednesday column calls Sidney Crosby’s apparently imminent return an absolute must for the Penguins in the playoffs. It’s frankly surprised me to have heard so many in recent weeks voice the contrary.

>> First couple of paragraphs of the column reference the Mario Lemieux statue unveiling today.

Those interested can watch the ceremony live on Root Sports at noon.

For those who haven’t seen the leaked pics on the Web of the model, here’s the video of the goal for the moment being captured forever …


Say what you will about the goal choice. I’ll wait to hear what all concerned have to say. Obviously, there were many, many far bigger goals in Mario’s career than this one on Dec. 20, 1988, against the Islanders and poor defensemen Richard Pilon and Jeff Norton. But you have to love it for sheer symbolism of execution. A lot of fans will recall Lemieux only from his “second” career, during which he was primarily a passer or a bad-angle shooter. The Lemieux of his prime was this guy: The best one-on-one player on the planet with the best finishing touch on the planet.

I wasn’t nuts about this model when I first saw it, but it’s growing on me. Really is. And I can’t wait to experience it in person today, same as that special Sunday outside PNC Park when Bill Mazeroski’s statue was unveiled. Great stuff.

Let’s give it a chance.

>> The massive Toronto media corps will be on hand all day, with the Leafs here tonight. It will be fun, with the Leafs scheduled to have their morning skate at the same time of the unveiling, to see how many blow it off to go outside and watch.

>> Sure sounds like Neil Walker is next on the Pirates’ radar, according to this plenty informative piece from our Rob Biertempfel in Bradenton.

Any contract parameter suggestions from you?

Bear in mind, yet again, the team owns Walker’s rights the next four years regardless.

>> Pitt fares better in its first Big East tournament game than it did the previous two years, as you can read in John Grupp’s coverage from the Garden. Next up, today at 2, are the Hoyas, another team the Panthers have handled well.

Liked this quote from Jamie Dixon: “We’re still around, and we’re getting better.”

>> Finally, as a little bonus on this special day, here is my personal greatest Mario moment …


It was Lemieux’s last home game before retiring in 1997, and he knew it. You had to be in that building to believe the complete inevitability that he would score on Garth Snow in the closing minutes there. Nothing like it once he did.

Turn the sound up as you watch.

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