Sidney Crosby: Welcome to Mario’s Lemieux’s world. Think back to the mid & late 80’s when Mario was clearly establishing himself as the greatest player in the game at that time. Yes even better than The Great One. Game after game Mario was getting hacked, cross-checked, and mugged all game from the opposing teams goons. Guess what, Mario like our young superstar Sidney Crosby had to defend his self. The team and management did nothing about it until the cup years. If Mario could have gotten the Wayne Gretzsky treatment (if you lay a finger on Gretz the whole Oilers team will be jumping the bench coming after you) maybe he doesn’t have the back problem’s he had and i guarntee you if Mario was 100% healthy in the 90’s this franchise ends up with 4 or 5 Stanley Cups instead of two.

So you get my drift. Now don’t you think management would have learned from that expierence, especially since Mario who went through all of that abuse during most of his career is now the owner of this team. Ever since the preseason game against Boston when Hal Gill pretty much suckered punch Sir Sidney right in the chops, it’s been pretty obvious that players were going to come after him. Players don’t want to see a 18 year old make them look foolish play after play. After it happened i was very intriqued to see what Andre Roy or one of the Pens few tough guys would do to Hal Gill during the home opener. Well they did absolutely nothing. Then comes Derian Hatcher who is the biggest piece of trash in the NHL, knock out two of Sidney’s teeth. Sidney comes out in the 3rd ties the game, then scores in overtime. The Pens play the Flyers 3 days later, and the team does nothing to Hatcher. From then on the abuse has been getting worse. There was the Ilya Kovalchuk confrontation. Then Monday it got as bad as it’s ever been. The Canuck’s just were all over him the whole game. The refs weren’t on his side. Crosby didn’t handel it to well, but how can you blame him. He know’s he doesn’t have any protection from his team or the ref’s.

This what is the Pens need to do as soon as possible. Fighting in the New NHL is a afterthought so bringing in fighters is not the way to go. The addition of Eric Cairns is a start. He’s a big tough defenseman at 6-6, who doesn’t skate well but thats not why Craig Patrick has brought him in. He’s going to be Sidney Crosby’s bodyguard. Even strength he needs to be out with Sidney at all times. Put him with Whitney who can break the puck out and you have two big defenseman who will take a shot at someone who is mugging Crosby after the whistle. Craig Patrick needs to get a tough power forward on Crosby’s line. Look at Atlanta for example how they have surrounded there stars Kovalchuk and Savard with Scott Mellanby on their line. He’s a perfect fit for that team and hopefully Craig can bring in the same kind of player for Sindey’s sake.

other Pens news…..
The retiring of Ziggy Palffy was a shock but im not going to bash him or anything. Maybe it was his shoulder , maybe it wasn’t. It doesn’t really matter to me. Ziggy was a player who relied on talent more than anything else. Although he didn’t play with much passion for the game, it still got him over 300 career goals. Sometimes players just lose the love for the game and looks like Ziggy was one of them.

Career numbers – 684 career games, 329 goals – 384 assists – 713 points

Craig Patrick also announced that Marc Andre Fleury will remain with the team for the rest of the season.
my take: I felt it was something they had to do despite the losing. He’s played well behind the NHL’s worst defense and it’s nice to see him have a chance at his bonus money.

NCAA Basketball – #9 Pitt improves to 15-0

Pittsburgh 76 – Rutgers 68

March Madness will be here before you know it …. Here are three cinderella teams to remember about when your filling your bracket out in March

1. Ohio University 10-3 ( 4-1 )
2. Bucknell 13-3 ( 4-0 ) cinderella story from last year, same team intact
3. Kentucky 11-6 ( 1-3) wouldn’t consider them to one but if the tournament started today the wildcats wouldn’t be in it. They have to much talent to not turn it around. Could be a sleeper pick…

Team to stay away from
1. Louisville – 13-4 ( 1-3 ) …. beware of this team , very overrated …..

Check in friday, saturday and Sunday mornings for Steeler Coverage …