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Sunday column: Sid vs. Mario? Beyond compare

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

The Sunday column goes a little extra distance to address any Sidney Crosby-Mario Lemieux comparisons one might attempt, given Crosby’s rediscovered dominance these days.

Had a lot of fun with this one. Hoping to hear your take right here.

Also, a bit of my talk with Pascal Dupuis after win No. 8 in a row. Guy’s doing some pretty creative things with the puck these days, and I couldn’t help but ask …

Rob Rossi, Josh Yohe and I are covering the Bruins game today. And all three of us will be part of WPXI-TV’s live pregame show that starts at noon.

Finally, here’s our Sunday sports section cover …

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and more, including his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.


  1. Sid is great, but he’s no Mario. Yet.

  2. Mario played thru so much back pain, and all the radiation treatment side effects.

    His back pain was so bad, he couldn’t even bend to put on his skates. But he was out on the ice to help his team win.

    Don’t get me wrong. Sid has battled concussion. But there’s still no comparison.

  3. The article is spot on. Very difficult to compare Crosby and Lemieux. Lemieux dazzled with his skill and Crosby dazzles with his determination (his skill can dazzle too). If you’re looking at styles of play, Lemieux and Malkin would be easier to compare. I’d still take a healthy Lemieux over either of them, and I’d probably take a healthy Lemieux over Gretzky too. Simply the most talented player I’ve ever seen.

    One (very) minor comment on the article. Outside of Pittsburgh, there aren’t many people comparing Brady to Bradshaw. Comparing Brady to Montana is probably more common, but I understand the Pittsburgh angle. The overall point of this is well taken.

    • Wow, aren’t we a football obsessed-culture. I stopped reading the column when I saw the Brady/Bradshaw reference just to come back to the blog to see if someone had already commented on it. And lo, and behold!

      Ok, now I can go back to the column.

  4. Regarding Brady v. Bradshaw, I happen to live out west and I can report that Brady is NOT necessarily so highly regarded, at least in my neck of the woods. Like the Yankees and Red Sox overkill on the MLB Network, Brady has garnered a lot of Northeast-generated coverage. But his star will fade with time, just as Montana’s has, Aikman’s has, and yes, Bradshaw’s has. But for those who legitimately can remember, the quarterback for the ages in the Super Bowl era was Montana , the very best. Bradshaw was next. Proximity to Pittsburgh has nothing to do with it.

    • So if Montana was the best, then it would be more appropriate to compare Brady to Montana, as I suggested? Or are you arguing that Dejan should not have used Brady for his NFL comparison?

  5. I am guessing that DK was comparing Bradshaw to Brady because Glamor Boy does have three rings (never mind that they are tainted). Your mention of Montana was apt, however. I personally believe that he was the best quarterback of the Super Bowl era, with Bradshaw coming in second due to also being 4-for-4 in the Big One.
    One could reach back to the pre-AFL merger days and include Bart Starr. That opens up a few other cans of worms, though. Not willing to hash that out today, but I don’t think Starr measures up. But let’s just say, in the SB era: Montana is #1, Bradshaw is #2. Guys like Marino, Manning and Tarkenton were great… in the regular season. That’s all.

  6. DK,

    Great column!

    I have been truly blessed, as a sports fan, to have seen here in Pittsburgh 2 great players, who are tough, determined, driven to succeed and persevere against illness and injury. Both capable of taking teams and the city on their backs and pursuing Lord Stanley’s Cup.

    The issue as you make clear is not to compare them. It is to watch in awe as they did/do what only they are capable of doing.

    DK: Thank you.

    • Crosby grinding behind the goal whilst taking those incredible shots and making ponpoint passes may well be my lasting memory of him. Mario’s power moving up-ice and those unstoppable shots he took is how I’ll remember him on-ice.

      Off the ice, I hope Crosby can do a portion of what Mario has done for charity…..

  7. My Sunday was made reading that John Gibbon thinks Travis Snider could be the next Jose Bautista. A good hearty chuckle is always appreciated.

  8. Hey Pucknutz if you’re out there…I just want to tell you that, in all seriousness, I think you have a great “name”.

    I misread it when I first saw it and thought the first syllable was a Yiddish word that’s almost the same and rhymes with nutz. Which was cool.

    But once I saw my mistake I realized that you musta used your real name as I do.

    Cool. Irving Pucknutz, right? My full name is Drejan Drewovich.

  9. DK,

    Very good article!

    DK: Thank you.

  10. I think there’s indeed no comparison Mario v Sid early in their career for work ethic. Sid in a landslide there.
    His rookie year 66 couldn’t bench press half his weight, or run a mile. He was a heavy smoker. He rode his talent, and was still incredible. But he could have been better early on. To his credit he got religion late and became a hard worker.

    But Sid gets the Work Ethic nod IMO for the early years. Can anyone even imagine Crosby with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth after a game?

  11. Crosby doesn’t have the size to look magnificent like Lemieux or play in an era of pond hockey to pile up points like Gretzky.

    What Crosby is to the history of the NHL is a work ethic unmatched by anyone.

    When I compare Lemieux and Crosby, most nights I know the Penguins are getting 100% of Crosby.. that was always the case with Lemieux.

  12. More to the point, their styles cannot be compared.
    Nor can the game. The goaltending is completely revolutionized (hat tip to 33).
    Check the video on Mario’s first goal v Boston’s Pete Peeters. Today a decent HS G would make that save, the position has been totally re-written.
    It is SO much harder to score now, and the schemes and reffing add to that. Plus the goalies are huge now. Just SO much harder to score.
    And Sid may surpass Mario’s numbers anyway.

    But it is indeed apples and oranges. For my money, the comparison should be 66 and71.

    Sid is an original.

  13. Both are great players within their own styles. Good article, right on point. Really no comparison.

  14. Made it to Florida
    No sign of the Penguins 4th line down here.

    Going to see the Bucs vs Yankees today.

    I still may predict that the Pirates will win more than the Yankees. Maybe more than both NY teams. Combined.

    • I’d pay money to see that.

      Well. Since I pay for my tickets, I guess I paid to watch some of that 57 win debacle in 2010, too.

      And welcome to Dejan’s second home.

    • I’m in Cocoa Beach this weekend.

      So you’re safe.

      For now.

      • For now

        Well aware of that.

        • Just leaving the beach, where I watched a crane try to fight off two fisherman for a fish on a line.

          The bird lost.

          Kinda reminds me of Market Square. And the pigeons.

          Except in this case the bird lost.

      • What are you doing in Cocoa Beach for the weekend?

        • Hiding from Thunder.

          My wife works this weekend so I figured I’d hang out, do the beach thing like Dejan and get some work done. There’s also a great, very real Irish pub (Nolan’s) that I can walk to from my condo. And, well. You know.

  15. I really enjoyed the column today DK….

    Comparing those 2 is like picking your favorite child, it can’t be done.

  16. Great article. Well said. They are completely different styles and the comparison of apples to oranges is fruitless,

  17. I see the muckety mucks who run this blog are starting to (finally) show some discretion.

    My last post was sent to moderation.

    BTW. Yesterday “somebody” referred to me as sarcastic.

    I say pucknutz to that

    • BTW I believe the reference was to “lack of talent for sarcasm” whitch becomes sorta like a box within a box within a box…….
      And that starts to make my head hurt so I will continue to rolf.

  18. My father in law just informed me that he would like me to drive back from Bradenton after the game.

    Buzz kill! I am on vacation!

    Any Starbucks near the ballpark?

  19. In a related matter (sorta).

    My brother is on his third marriage. (He’s just better at it than I am.)

    So. One more and we can talk about his fourth line.

    • As the last wedding ended, a friend of the family, one of those old ladies who has no filters, hugged me goodbye and whispered “I’ll see you at the fourth”.

      I wish EYE had said that.

  20. Here’s my hockey contribution. Glad the Pens got rid of that wussy cyber-Penguin logo from Mario’s day.

  21. We can compare mullets. Mario takes the cake. End of story.

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