Penguins Q & A: Rob Rossi Answers Your Questions

Article excerpt

Tribune-Review Penguins writer Rob Rossi answers questions about the Pittsburgh Penguins. Read older questions in the archives.

Do be sure to check out the re-vamped "Chipped Ice" blog -- which is updated often during the playoffs with links to stories making news in enemy territory and around the NHL. As always, questions for the Pens Q&A can be sent via e-mail.

Q: Was that a fun ride or what?

-- Bennett Daykon of Jeanette

A: I get that question a lot -- at least, the "or what?" part -- and I'm never sure how to answer. What is the "or what"?

Poorly conceived jokes aside -- yeah, the Penguins run to get within two wins of the Stanley Cup was fun for me to cover, and I'm sure fans had fun watching over the past two months and I believe that the players will eventually look back fondly upon everything. But they are hurting right now, and they should be. Detroit was the better team, and that was evident throughout the series. However, the Penguins really gave them a series after the first two games at Joe Louis Arena, and had they scored on two 5-on-3 chances -- one in Game 4, the other in Game 6 -- I honestly believe they would have hoisting the Stanley Cup late Wednesday night.

I honestly believe they will hoist that Cup sooner rather than later.

But we have all summer to discuss that and other Penguins- and NHL-related topics.

I thank all the dear readers for their questions since September. Please keep them coming over the new few months. There is never a so- called off-season in the NHL, and the Penguins figure to have a busy summer. I am erasing the Q&A in-box today and starting anew tomorrow with questions moving forward. As always, the best of the bunch will be addressed in the still-unnamed (somebody gets this forum a sponsor!) but wildly popular Pens Q&A.

To borrow from the Rolling Stones: 'Till the next time that we say goodbye, I'll be thinking of you...

Q: Why is Jordan Stall receiving the lion's share of ice time that players such as Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Marian Hossa should be getting? Staal is a darn good player for his age, but he's dead wood in terms of making things happen in the playoffs. Hockey sense is something you can't buy. You either have it or you don't, and he's too inexperienced to have it.

-- Sean Germanowski of "Parts Unknown," Ohio

A: So, a guy at my favorite South Side tavern -- Smokin' Joe's Saloon -- asked me once, "Rob, do you like it when readers email you?" I said, "Actually, it's my favorite part of the job." He responded, "Really, because I would imagine you get a lot of ridiculous emails from fans." I said, "Not really, only a few have ever made me just shake my head in disbelief."

This rates among the few -- figures it originated from Ohio.

Allow me to recap a recent conversation with an NHL executive, who shall remain nameless at his request:

RR: Forget Sidney Crosby. He stays. If you could pick one player off the Penguins to add to your team, who would you pick?

NHL guy: Jordan Staal.

RR: That was quick.

NHL guy: What have other guys said?

RR: You're the first one I've asked.

NHL guy: I bet a lot of them say Staal.

RR: Not Evgeni Malkin or Marc-Andre Fleury?

NHL guy: The Penguins have a few kids anybody would take. I'd want Staal. Have you seen him during the playoffs? His game translates to winning playoff games. He's a winner. You win with Jordan Staal. And he's only 19. He has -- what? -- (nine) playoff goals before his 20th birthday? He's a big, strong center that will grow into 30-goal scorer, and he'll be a plus-20 player for about 12 years. His performance against the Flyers, after his grandfather died, was as good as it gets. And he's been really good against Detroit, too. Numbers don't tell you how good Jordan Staal has been.

RR: I'm not sure a lot of people in Pittsburgh even appreciate him. …