PITTSBURGH - Say it isn't so. People have apparently been calling talk shows and suggesting that Sidney Crosby is "soft" because he still hasn't returned from the concussion that has kept him out of the lineup since Jan. 5.
The rationale - if you can call it that - is that some Steelers players have come back within weeks from concussions and Crosby has been sidelined for almost three months.
Crosby has been here six years and has never given anyone a reason to question his dedication to hockey.
Don't be fooled by the clinical name. Understand that a concussion is a brain injury. There is a long, unhappy history of hockey players whose careers have been ruined by concussions.
Eric Lindros and Pat LaFontaine are at the top of the list.
It's foolish to think Crosby doesn't want to play, or that the Penguins don't want him back as soon as possible.
It's even more foolish to take a chance with a serious injury that left him with lingering symptoms two months after it occurred.
He'll be back when it's safe. If that's in the playoffs, great. If it's not until the fall, so be it.
In the meantime, there is no basis to question his courage.
Campaign is on
The Penguins have been distributing fact sheets touting Dan Bylsma for coach of the year and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for the NHL's Most Valuable Player.
It never hurts to make the case.
Bylsma seems to have a good shot at the coach award, which is voted on by NHL broadcasters.
But there seems to be very little buzz outside of Pittsburgh about Fleury for MVP.
The name is new
FSN Pittsburgh has officially become "Root Sports."
Don't be fooled by the name change, though. It's the same combination of some games, endless reruns and infomercials that you've come to expect.
ESPN's Sunday night baseball game will have a new sound this year.
The announcing team of Jon Miller and Joe Morgan is gone.
No longer will Miller carry on the romance with his own voice. No longer will Morgan make up information to fit his stories.
Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine will call the games now.
A three-man booth is usually too busy for baseball, but this will be an improvement.
Hard to believe
Five days into the MLB season and still no Yankees-Red Sox games.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org