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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Already the best?

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Brief and to the Point …

>> My Monday column makes the case for Evgeni Malkin as MVP. And it does so without breaking a sweat. Your views on this are welcome.

>> The Penguins’ blowout of Boston yesterday has to come with a whole bucket of salt. The Bruins very clearly were a tired team, having played the previous afternoon. And Claude Julien’s decision to start Tim Thomas a fifth consecutive game looked bad even before all those pucks started going past him.

That said, all these Penguins do is beat the better teams in the East without Sidney Crosby. Just imagine how Thursday might look in New York.

>> Almost as much as that, I’m looking forward to seeing how Dan Bylsma rolls lines today at practice. The biggest advantage to having Crosby wait the extra few days to play is there will be three full days of practice with his new linemates.

I’m on record as to who I think those should be.

>> One of those, Pascal Dupuis, now has 18 goals, including that tidy breakaway move yesterday.

I teased Dupuis that he’s actually pulled off that backhand move more fluidly in the past, and he was gentleman enough to concede that poor Marty Turco hadn’t played in the NHL in a year. It’s a totally valid point. But nothing should take away from the fine season Dupuis is having.

Let’s remind: This was a throw-in in the original Marian Hossa trade with Atlanta.

>> So Pitt’s going to some made-up, third-rate tournament after being rejected by the NIT. That rejection spurred Ashton Gibbs last night on Twitter to complain with one word — “Unreal …” — as if it somehow mattered.

When discussing this awful season at some point down the road, remember that as the low point.

The final order of the APSE winners came in yesterday. They’re here. I took fourth, and I’m blown away beyond words — for real — at just being on that list. The result a month ago was simply who made the top 10. This breaks it down into top five, then honorable mention.

I work with some excellent people at the Trib, and I’m so grateful they believed I could do this. (Man, I’m starting to sound like Sally Field. I need to shut up.)

Anyway, for those who asked at the time (and I didn’t have the answer), the three columns submitted were the no-autographs column, Crosby’s return column and the baseball sticking it to the Pirates column.

>> I’m leaving tomorrow morning for Bradenton, where I’ll cover the Pirates for 10 days. I’ll do all the usual columns — all baseball — in that span — plus a couple of features I’m hoping you’ll like.

>> I’ll make my weekly appearance on TribLIVE Radio today at noon.

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