The high that Penguin fans had going into Saturday quickly came down after Sidney Crosby took a deflected shot by Brooks Orpik to the jaw. Amongst the jubilation of their 15th straight win that day, and the chocolate rabbits and celebration of Easter Sunday, the team announced that Crosby would be out indefinitely with a broken jaw.
Another tough break for one of the best players in the National Hockey League right now. A high ankle sprain, a concussion and now add the broken jaw to the list of ailments that have kept Sid out of the lineup since 2008.
The reaction to the news has fans down. While they might be dissapointed, it shouldn't spell doom and gloom for this Pittsburgh squad. Unless you have just fallen off the turnip truck just outside the Fort Pitt tunnel, you know that the Penguins have made it through the storm without their captain before.
In 2008, the Penguins lost Crosby to a high ankle sprain. The team pushed on without him and eventually, he returned to lead them to the team's first Stanley Cup Final in 16 years.
The 2011 NHL Winter Classic in Pittsburgh brought on the long, excruciating concussion for Crosby. A concussion that at one point questioned Crosby's future in the game of hockey.
Steckel's hit on Sid in the game sidelined him for over 11 months. A return in November of that year was short-lived as Crosby was sidelined again until March 2012.
While the lockout delayed the start of the 2012-2013 season, fans and the hockey world were excited to see Crosby back for a "full" season. Since the season started up in January, Crosby has not disappointed. While he isn't leading the league in scoring, he is still putting up stellar numbers as a playmaker.
The aquisition of Brenden Morrow and Jarome Iginla gave the Penguins a lineup that fans were dying to see and one that some dreamed about during the trade deadline.
All that anticipation and excitement lasted only 1:28 into Jarome Iginla's debut as a Penguin. All the energy was sucked out of another standing-room only sellout at Consol Energy Center, with a concerned fanbase looking on, remembering Crosby's past injuries thinking "Oh great. Here we go again."
There is no getting around the fact that Crosby gives his team a boost. But even without him, the Penguins should be fine as they make a run for the best record in the league and they have geared up for a long, Stanley Cup run that he may or may not be ready for in late April.
Fans can feel bad for Sid, especially since he can't shake the injury bug after all that he has been through since 2011. But to be upset because he won't be a part of the Iginla and Morrow showcase through the first part of April is silly and shows the narrow-mindedness of even the biggest fan with a high hockey I.Q.
The Penguins have shown they can play with their captain sidelined. This season, they have been better at facing adversity in tough game situations. If yesterday's performance against the Islanders can be repeated with same level of effort, they should be alright.
Be glad Ray Shero is the general manager. Can't imagine the fan reaction if this happened with Iginla in Boston and no Morrow in the lineup.
As a starter, Tony Romo has the same number of postseason wins in his career as Tim Tebow does.
Does that mean Romo has the same talent at quarterback as Tebow? No. Absolutely not. Unlike Tebow, Romo can play quarterback in the NFL. Let me just make that clear before we continue.
Romo's new deal with the Cowboys makes him the fourth highest paid quarterback in the NFL. He'll make $108 million over the next six years and $52 million of that is guaranteed.
There are quarterbacks in the league making less money than Tony Romo who have compiled a better resume in their careers. Romo's contract resembles the contract of a quarterback with postseason success and at least one Super Bowl ring. He doesn't fit that description. Hence why the Tony Romo haters and critics were up in arms Friday afternoon, especially if you go by that outline.
It's not that Romo isn't a good quarterback, he just doesn't live up to the money he will receive. Then again, this has been the offseason of certain names in the NFL making some big bills. From Flacco to Wallace, keynote players are making bank in 2013. So where does Romo fit into that group?
It's ike the old Sesame Street song "One of these things is not like the other." Most can see that Romo doesn't belong. Joe Flacco, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning are your three highest paid quarterbacks (for now). There are reports saying that Aaron Rodgers will take the top spot.
All three have at least one Super Bowl win, and other than Manning and Brees' great runs to Super Bowl XLI and XLIV, their other playoff experience still outdoes Romo's. Let's not forget the quarterbacks that follow him on that list. Eli Manning and Roethlisberger fall at seven and nine, and you can make an argument that Jay Cutler and Philip Rivers should not be in the top ten (we all could for Cutler).
So why is Romo getting this big contract extension that on paper, he should not receive? Is it the Cowboy mentality with big spender Jerry Jones? Was Dallas worried about losing him to free agency in 2014 if he didn't have a deal set for Tony before this upcoming season started?
Everyone can assume what they want. Most of those theories may play a part in the new contract. But it seems like Jones and the Cowboys are putting their trust in him, and have some high expectations for Romo. Sometimes the best way to motivate an employee is to offer them a raise. Tony Romo has been feeling the pressure since he took his first snap as the starter, and while he has come short in key situations (we all remember the botched hold on the field goal against Seattle in the NFC Wild Card Game), perhaps this is Jerry Jones going all in on a player with a handful of question marks, but might find a way to bring a Lombardi back to Dallas for the first time since 1995.
While Romo has the same playoff track record as Tebow, he doesn't play at that same level. He's now making the salary of a Super Bowl winning QB. So maybe we just throw those numbers out the window and see the result of big spender Jerry Jones' gamble. There is no doubt that there is more trust in what Jones expects from Romo, over what he hasn't done in his ten seasons in the pros.
It did not take long for the spotlight to get brighter on the city of Pittsburgh when it comes to professional hockey. The Penguins already had a lineup that could work far into the playoffs and compete for a Stanley Cup. A thirteen game winning streak became the longest current streak after the Miami Heat fell to the Bulls Wednesday night, and acquiring former Stars captain Brenden Morrow on Sunday and Douglas Murray the next day, things couldn't get any better for the Penguins.
If you're a night owl like myself, you saw the franchise get an unexpected surprise at 1:30 in the morning.
General manager Ray Shero worked his magic during the deadline once again and brought Jarome Iginla to the Steel City after we all assumed he was on his way to Boston when most called it a night. Not only that, he got Jarome for a steal!
If the Penguins weren't already stacked, they are now. The Penguins are now a skating analogy in the sport that could be compared to the Miami Heat or the New York Yankees. Love it or hate it, the hockey world will be paying even closer attention to Pittsburgh.
Phrases like "Cup or Bust," or "Cup or Die" follow Shero's latest acquisition. On paper, this team should coast to the fourth Stanley Cup in team history, but many will say that anything less than a title is a failure to doubters and haters of the Penguins.
The Penguins would have been fine even without Iginla. Most would be content with him going to Boston. But because it happened, everyone will be tougher on Pittsburgh, fans and foes alike. It's not every day that a coach and general manager have to worry about shifting around superstars on the offensive lines.
In the end, it's the old "risk and reward" that a general manager deals with. Shero has dealt with fan criticism for some time, especially after being silent during the Zach Parise sweepstakes and letting players like Jordan Staal and Steve Sullivan go. In those cases, the reward has outweighed the risk.
With Jarome Iginla, it's the same thing.
If Iginla's impact on the Penguins leads to a Stanley Cup championship, some will call for a statue of Shero to be put up outside Consol Energy Center. If it's an early exit for the Penguins, he will be the one to take most of the backlash from the media, fans and doubters.
Hello class, and welcome to Bracketology 101. There is no syllabus and much like "syllabus week," drinking is allowed since you're watching college basketball.
Midterms will work like this, if you're bracket is junk by the Sweet 16, let that be a sign that you failed the course and should throw your bracket into the nearest garbage can. It will never get better.
Also, one bracket per student. There is zero tolerance for students who cheat and fill out a "backup" bracket. You will fail the course and will be required to buy the class a round at the bar.
Class, when it comes to making up your bracket, I will blindly lead you into the tournament. As you will learn, or have learned, it's all dumb luck. But I will give you some advice.
-Don't be afraid to pick a Cinderella. There's one or two every year. I wouldn't invest in a 16 seed like Liberty, but take a whack at a 13 or 14 seed. Those Harvard kids are smart, maybe they'll find a way to beat New Mexico, Arizona, and Ohio State (best scenario right now, folks).
-Not all 1's and/or 2's will make the Final Four. Plain and simple.
-Your favorite team will not make it as far as you think they will. I do this with Pitt and Notre Dame every year, class. Then again, you're better to just blindfold yourself, spin around three times and say Dick Vitale three times when making some of your picks.
-Don't bet the house on your bracket. This isn't economics, class, but don't be financially stupid when joining your pools. A $20 pool is reasonable. I'll stop at $50. Unless you have been locked in your basement and have found the formula for a perfect bracket, don't blow too much money during the month of March. Use your tax refund wisely.
Class, I'm not a qualified professor bracketology. Nobody is. The term "March Madness" really does mean something. Fill out the bracket, make a wish, rub the lucky rabbit's foot and hope you get three teams in the Final Four.
Well, a departure date is set, the lawyers and schools will get their share of money, and the Catholic 7 leaves the drawn-out crumbling of what has been the Big East with the name.
The current Big East. You know. The one that will have to choose a new name, is on the bad end of the divorce. They lose the name, the records, the Garden, the dog. You get the idea. This collapse has been over a decade in the making. On June 30, the Catholic 7 pack their bags and move out. Or is it the other way around? In this divorce analogy, they got the house, so the castoff schools have to leave, right? I'm confused.
The old Big East, which will probably rename itself the America 12 Conference, has a good sob story.
With the talk of realignment over the past several years and whispers of who might be going where, and who is gonna be a super conference, the Big East was a wounded animal that would be begging us to put it out of its misery while Pittsburgh, Syracuse, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Rutgers and Louisville will all be gone by 2014.
You can't say the Big East didn't try to save itself. Adding Conference USA schools, Army, Navy and bringing back Temple, it was an attempt to cover the cracks in an infrastructure that would never be up to code. TCU, San Diego State and Boise State saw those cracks, along with the writing on the wall and bailed.
Then there were the basketball-only schools. They won't bail. They'll stick with the conference through this tough time, right? In a perfect world, yes. In a world where money talks, the Catholic 7 wanted out before they got buried in the rubble.
In the process of leaving, they took the name with them, which is fair, and stripped the conference down to an Atlantic 10-style conference. That's not nice, though. Speaking of A10, they'll most likely add Xavier and Butler too.
If there is one school that got screwed the hardest in the divorce, it has been Connecticut. Not with football, but with basketball. The Huskies tried to get out. The ACC didn't want them when they were adding Pitt and Syracuse. Did they beg the Catholic 7 to let them come along for basketball? It must've been a kick in the teeth when Louisville and Notre Dame got the green light to join the ACC. You hope that Connecticut can find a new home eventually.
Today is bitter sweet for Pittsburgh, Syracuse and the Catholic 7 as they wrap up their final game this weekend and then head to Madison Square Garden for the final tournament together.
At least the old Big East will get a $2 million check from Notre Dame at some point. The Irish can get an earlier start in the ACC.