To say Rob Rossi is "polarizing" is like saying Sidney Crosby is "good". The mention of his name stirs emotions more on the negative side than positive. His controversial (and often questionable) articles laud unpopular opinion, a reflection a machination of discontent and emotion.
I really believe it's all by design, like a classic wrestling heel telling you that your hometown sucks, while you protest through loud popcorn muffled boos. I've interacted with Rob on a few rare occasions and he's always been personally courteous with his time and easy to talk to. This is in no means a personal attack on him. Additionally, I'm not advocating for contrarian journalism, nor am I condemning a person's right to their opinion, I am simply highlighting the words published by Pittsburgh's polemical prince.
10. Trade Malkin! - Malkin paid like Crosby; needs to play like him (1/17/2010)
Actual Quote: They'll be lucky to win a playoff round with this version of Malkin.
Rob picked up his torch after a scoring slump that kept Malkin to one goal over 15 games. Is it reasonable to call it a slump? Yes. Is it reasonable to call Malkin out for not granting interviews, calling him "border-line embarrassing", and not "holding up his end of the bargain". I don't think so. Malkin scored 1.14 PPG in an injury shortened campaign that year but he doesn't do interviews so ....
9. Letang Traded! - NHL insider: Penguins' Shero seems ready to move Letang (6/18/13)
Actual Quote: Shero is fairly confident Letang has become a must-move player.
That is true because Letang is not the consensus best defenseman on the Penguins, at least in the eyes of management and coaches.
Rob was certain this time that Letang was on his way out of Pittsburgh and like a young man who was stood up at prom night he called moving on from Letang "an easy decision really/". He wove the spectacular tale of the Penguins offering Letang 6m a year and him rejecting it due to wanting a non-movement clause. Shortly after the Penguins signed 7.25m a year deal and has been a premier defenseman in the league since.
8. Why even play? - At start, are Pens already finished? (9/16/14)
Actual Quote: There still may be a bust, but the Stanley Cup should not be an expectation.
This isn't that kind of team anymore.
This was written BEFORE the season actually began. Our ever-diligent harbinger of doom and gloom lamented that the Penguins didn't give Fleury a new contract timely enough, Paul Martin was counting down the seconds until he could leave the 412 area code, and that Kris Letang was out the door. The story is sandwiched together with open ended questions with subjective answers giving the reader all the benefits of horrid expectations without the hassle of actually watching the season.
7. Gut the Team! - Crosby, Malkin didn't sign on for this (4/24/15)
Actual Quote: So even though the Penguins don't want to end the Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin era, I'm not sure they're going to have a choice in the matter.
Our pessimistic sooth-sayer is advocating that Malkin needs to be traded because his feelings are irreparably damaged after the playoff loss to the Rangers. In his laundry list of harsh actionables he demanded the Penguins: Get a new GM, "stop selling youth hockey", find wingers ... you get it. This article is like the "YouTube Comments section" of hockey journalism.
6. Screw Safety! I want to spit on the stadium! -Safety nets obstruct baseball's beauty (6/9/15)
Actual Quote: If you can spit on the crushed red brick at PNC Park, you can take a foul ball to the skull, or a shard of bat to the eye.
Intimacy is not without its risks.
What the strangest thing about this article is how out of nowhere this came from. Rossi took a hard-stance against owners of MLB arena installing foul-line nets to protect the spectators from broken bats. Rob drew a line in the sand and proudly crowed that he was OK with fan injuries as long as it preserves the vision of baseball's "illusion".
5. I'm one of you! - As a fan, everything was (almost) awesome (2/23/15)
Actual Quote: The hope was to take in a game as a paying customer and find out if there was any fan left in a hardened former beat reporter.The ever innovative Rob Rossi went undercover as a real life fan to write about what it must be like to be a hockey fan. The details this radical experiment with the intricacies of being at an actual hockey game, the cheering, the gesticulations, the interactions with other hockey fans. Suddenly it seemed that all good journalism came with a steep price as a man asked a child to stop kicking his seat. The injustice permeated out of every inked letter that was printed in the Trib that day as a man enjoyed a hockey game unkicked.
4.Trade Malkin! (again) - How the Pens can win it all next season (5/16/10)
Actual Quote: Shero should start making calls to his contemporaries, and his first words should be: "Make me an offer for Malkin."
This is Rossi's second attempt to rally a Malkin trade in 2010. This article explain how easily it would be in implant Jordan Staal in Malkin's role who was coming off a dazzling 49 point season that year. What ever goal scoring that was left over could be picked up by a "true power forward in the making" Eric Tangradi. The rest is a very basic "how to" in building a Stanley Cup team.
3. Crosby is Old! - The game for Crosby is to change his (2/23/15)
Actual Quote: Father Time is a jerk. His most hurtful prank is sneaking up on us.
Rob, after an intimate conversation with Crosby in the Consol hallway, exchanged pleasantries and gleaned enough analytical data to declare Crosby passed his prime. Crosby, ending the 2015 season with 1.09 ppg, was broken long before we ever noticed with his rickety knees, fragile back, and gnarled feet.
2. Rutherford Upset Me! - Rutherford falling apart, too (4/20/15)
Actual Quote: Rutherford followed the jerk comment with a suggestion to “go sell ice cream now,” then a challenge to look him in the eye, which I did while explaining my role as Trib Total Media's lead sports columnist.This is another heroic tale in which our protagonist took a private conversation between two professionals and made it public knowledge. Rutherford repeatedly cursed at Rob making him feel sad and insecure. Rossi picked himself up from his bootstraps and published the meanest article his soft manicured hand could muster. No one was going to put one over on ol R-Bone, nope, no sir, not today.
1. I Love You Marc-Andre! - A plea for the Flower to stay planted (4/11/16)
Actual Quote: If you're reading this, I want you to think about what we were discussing each time before the topic turned to our concussions.
Rob really nails home his point by using Fleury's children as leverage to his point. Rossi summarized his non-medical opinion into a diatribe on how he knows what's best for the Penguins' all-star goaltender. Using his aforementioned "eye-test" to medically diagnose hockey players, Rossi pleads with Marc to skip the Stanley Cup playoff game Wednesday. He asks Marc several times if he is "OK" by writing it in his column several times before reminding about his family and that hockey is hard.