Kraft Hockeyville USA 2017

Rostraver is hockey's big cheese

Rostraver Ice Garden has scored the biggest goal (so far) of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

And it's about to become home to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

For a night, anyway.

Still, we can't wait for what promise to be a groovy night for local hockey.

The Ice Garden won a competition to be named Kraft Hockeyville USA for 2017. An announcement was made during an NBC broadcast of the Ottawa Senators-New York Rangers playoff game Saturday afternoon.

For its victory, the Ice Garden will receive funding for facility improvements. Also, it will welcome the Penguins for a preseason game in September.

For more details about Rostraver Ice Garden becoming Hockeyville USA, check out the contest's official web site

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a rob rossi column

Four letters that suck for hockey

The phone rings. The voice booms.

"Rob-ERT! How are things, my friend?"

Things suck.

They sucked for former ESPN employees on Wednesday like they have sucked for former employees elsewhere on days past, like they will suck for future former employees somewhere on days to come. They suck in ways equally insulting and indecent. They suck for everybody involved, and that group includes an audience whose connection to a journalist was suddenly severed. But they mostly suck for the journalist that the audience rarely knows.

Scott Burnside is my friend. And it sucks knowing he'll probably begin our next conversation the way he has started all of them for well over a decade.

"Rob-ERT! How are things, my friend?"

In a past life, Scott often pulled me from an abyss I couldn't help but seek. His arrivals in Pittsburgh as a national columnist for ESPN's web site usually seemed perfectly timed to coincide with a professional drama that was damaging me personally.

Covering the Penguins as the Tribune-Review's beat reporter was my dream job. But I never liked dreaming, so I made a bad habit of trying to turn the dream into a nightmare.

How would I have covered Sidney Crosby had I known about my ADHD? Differently, I think. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)

I can look back on those days without regrets because I know the guy making mistakes wasn't a jerk. Rather, he was an undiagnosed case of adult ADHD and all the good and bad that comes with the condition. He couldn't let go because of his hyper-focus, or his anxiety, or his obsessive-compulsive leanings, or his depression. He couldn't let go because his body couldn't produce the proper chemicals that "other" people who were "normal" might have in abundance.

He still exists. But I keep him at arms-length through counseling and medication, and the only reason that I'm writing about him is because of the friend that Scott was to me a couple of years ago.

The dream gig had gone away, and with it went the comfort of control that had existed.

As a columnist, I was miserable. The variety of subject matter that accompanied my promotion had driven me to a dull despair. Without the Penguins' world to bury myself in, I began to see mine for what it had become.

It had become whatever I could make of it. And the fear of that responsibility sent me home most nights to reruns of sitcoms I had long ago memorized, re-readings of stories I had long ago finished, and re-enactments of scenes I had long ago vowed to forget.

Ron Swanson would not have approved of how often I watched his personal government shutdown. (Getty Images)

It about a year ago this past January when Scott rang after I hadn't returned a few emails. Whether or not he remembers the conversation, I have no idea.

You can surely guess what was first said.

"Rob-ERT! How are things, my friend?"

My answer was full of lies. After the talk, I couldn't let go of my disgust with having lied to a friend who had phoned only to check on me.

Why? All Scott had ever done was be there for me.

He had introduced me to agents when I was an inexperienced, unknown reporter. He had helped me flesh out ideas when I was transitioning towards chasing national stories. He had counseled me when I was covering my first labor stoppage. He had given me responsibilities within the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. He had paid for rounds at Smokin' Joe's Saloon. He had offered his vacation spot as a getaway.

He had been a friend and a mentor and a guidepost and a leader and... well, he had been more than I deserved. And I lied to him when he sensed I needed to come clean with how things really were.

A terrible rest of that day bled into a lustful, lousy night. The next morning, my iPad screen was full with links to profiles of local therapists.

If he would be so kind as to ask again, Scott would be given an answer.

OK, so things are fun, too? (upgruv)

Things are better. Not always great. But better. A lot better.

Things are better for me because of Scott.

I was at a Penguins practice on Wednesday when word came down that Scott, Pierre LeBrun and so many others had been done dirty by the supposed "worldwide leader." A lot of the hockey folks at the Lemieux Complex came up to me and asked if I had "talked to Scotty."

Not yet. Soon

The great thing about a great friend is that you know that person well enough to know when to say what needs said.

Things sucked for a lot of sports journalists on Wednesday. Included in that group is a damn fine hockey writer named Scott Burnside.

But he's a lot more to a lot of people. Hope he knows that more than a few of us in his beloved Pittsburgh are thinking of our friend on another day that sucked.

Rob Rossi is our sports editor

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holy smokes!

Look who's back...

It's Martavis Bryant. And (as of now, anyway) he'll be one of Ben Roethlsiberger's targets when the Pittsburgh Steelers open training camp this summer.

The NFL has conditionally allowed Bryant to begin playing again. He missed all of last season because of a suspension.

In a statement on the team's official web site, Steelers GM Kevin Colbert noted Bryant taking "necessary steps in an effort to get his personal life in order." He also stressed Bryant's reinstatement is "just the beginning" of a longer process.

"We look forward to working with Martavis to ensure
that he is mentally and physically prepared to contribute to our efforts
on the field, while also maintaining the proper balance
to keep his life in order off the field."
— Kevin Colbert, Steelers GM

For details on why Bryant was suspended last season, read this story on the NFL's site

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baseball's new odd couple

Jeb, Jeter hook the Marlins

Baseball's fish have been reeled in by the GOP's one-time presumed presidential nominee and one of those damn Yankees.

A group led by Jeb Bush and Derek Jeter won an auction for the Miami Marlins, a person with knowledge of the deal told Bloomberg News. The person requested anonymity because the sale contract hasn't been signed.

The Marlins are currently owned by Jeff Loria, a New York art dealer. He purchased the team for $158 billion in 2002.

Forbes had estimated the Marlins' value at $940 million.

Other bidders were Quogue Capital LLC founder Wayne Rothbaum, and Solamere Capital co-founder Tagg Romney (son of 2012 Republican nominee Mitt), whose group included former All-Star pitcher Tom Glavine. Loria had been close to a deal with the Kushner family, relatives by marriage to President Donald Trump, but no agreement was reached.

Loria bought the team in 2002 for $158 million. Forbes said the franchise is valued at $940 million.

Any change of ownership requires approval from MLB. It probably won't be an issue for Bush, a former presidential candidate whose brother, former President George W. Bush, once owned the Texas Rangers, and Jeter, a future Hall-of-Famer and Florida resident who has said for years that he wanted to own a baseball team.

For complete details of the Marlins sale, please read this story on Bloomberg's site

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NASCAR losing its biggest wheel

These are Dale Jr.'s last rides

Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR's most popular driver, announced Tuesday that he will retire at the end of the season, the AP reported.

A two-time Daytona 500 winner and third-generation NASCAR driver, Earnhardt has been plagued by concussions the last several years. He missed half of last season recovering from the latest head injury. It's caused him to delay contract talks on an extension to drive the No. 88 Chevrolet, and now he appears ready to call it quits.

Earnhardt turns 43 in October, was married during the offseason and has stated he wants a family. He's become a vocal advocate for research of sports-related brain injuries.

Earnhardt has won NASCAR's most popular driver award a record 14 times. He has 26 career Cup victories, but no series championships. His late father won the championship seven times.

For more details on this big NASCAR story, check out the AP's auto racing coverage

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something to sneeze at?

Possible Steelers' draft pick fails test

Can't say for sure if the Pittsburgh Steelers were looking at him, though some people seem to think that was the case.

Were it, can say the University of Michigan's Jabrill Peppers will probably be around when the Super Bowl era's flagship franchise picks in Round 1 of the NHL Draft.

The NFL has notified teams Peppers tested positive for a dilute sample at the scouting combine, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Monday. Peppers is the second NFL draft prospect to test positive for a dilute sample at the combine, joining Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster.

A source told ESPN's Schefter that Peppers, who has a history of cramping, was ill after flying to Indianapolis from San Diego, so he drank eight to 10 bottles of water as he was the first athlete to run for both the linebackers and defensive backs.

More information about Peppers' situation can be found in this story from ESPN.

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Look at her

Blind cheerleader headed to World Championships

History is headed for the land of thrill rides.

Para-athletes will be part of the ICU World Cheerleading Championships for the first time when the event opens Wednesday in Orlando, Fla. Teams will be scored on how well disabled athletes are integrated into the routines.

England's representative will feature a blind cheerleader, and her story gained national attention over the weekend.

For a video feature on Steph, England's blind cheerleader, check out the BBC's web site

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Pens vs. Caps: a digital history

Stop us if you've seen this series before

If it's spring in Pittsburgh and Washington, it must be a Stanley Cup playoff series between the Penguins and Capitals. This latest renewal of our city's most storied postseason rivalry is a 10th showdown between the Penguins and Capitals. All but one have gone in the Penguins' favor.

1991 Patrick Division final

Series: Penguins won, 4-1. After dropping Game 1 at Civic Arena, the Penguins won the next four games. But what might have happened had Kevin Stevens not done this?

1992 Patrick Division semifinal

Series: Penguins won, 4-3. The Penguins' greatest club (yeah, we said it) closed this postseason with 15 wins in 17 games. And to think that the Capitals had those Penguins staggered. But needing only a win to eliminate the defending champs, the Capitals were caught in a trap — a suggestions proposed to coach Scotty Bowman by, of all players, captain Mario Lemieux — and it resulted in the first of a few come-from-ahead losses by D.C.'s club. Also, there was Lemieux's Game 6 for the ages that threatened to bring down the old Igloo.

1994 Eastern Conference quarterfinal

Series: Capitals won, 4-2. Wait, what?

1995 Eastern Conference quarterfinal

Series: Penguins won, 4-3. Remember all Penguins posing at the NHL 100 celebration? Had you forgotten Luc Robitaille played for the Penguins? (Note: the problem with one team rallying so often against another in the postseason is that some of the comebacks are bound to be forgotten. Take this surge from a 3-1 deficit by the Lemieux-less Penguins.)

1996 Eastern Conference quarterfinal

Series: Penguins won, 4-2. OK, so the Capitals only blew a 2-0 lead in this one. And, really, all anybody remembers is Game 4. For good reason, too. It featured: Lemieux's ejection after a fight, Ken Wregget stopping an overtime-penalty shot, Sergei Zubov seemingly never leaving the ice, and an all-time early-morning moment from Petr Nedved.

2000 Eastern Conference quarterfinal

Series: Penguins won, 4-1. By the end of this one, even the most spiteful of Penguins fans had to admit the hockey gods were kicking the Capitals a little too hard. Higher-seeded Washington went on the road for two of the opening three games (arena scheduling can be a tenant's worst nightmare), dropped a couple of one-goal decisions in Pittsburgh, and went out in five games. But enjoy this OT gem from Jaromir Jagr, because footage of it isn't easy to find.

2001 Eastern Conference quarterfinal

Series: Penguins won, 4-2. So, this is one of those underrated daggers delivered by the Penguins. Towards the end of the regular-season, they actually appeared to seek out the Capitals as their preferred Round 1 opponent. Of course, we all knew why that would do that, but still... tempting fate, no? Actually, no.

2009 Eastern Conference semifinal

Series: Penguins won, 4-3. Possibly the most thrilling two weeks in the storied postseason history of Pittsburgh's Penguins. By Game 3, this series had already produced dueling hat tricks from Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. By Game 7, it had provided a couple of clutch overtime goals from Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin. By the end of a sensational series, a new generation of Capitals fans had been introduced to ghosts that haunted the previous ones, and Marc-Andre Fleury had made his second greatest save.

2016 Eastern Conference semifinal

Series: Penguins won, 4-2. It's possible none of us are far enough removed from this series to truly appreciate what we witnessed a year ago. To recap: Matt Murray stole Games 2 and 3. Former Penguins Brooks Orpik lost his mind. The HBK Line became legendary. And...

For more coverage of the Penguins-Capitals series, check out tribLIVE

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