Malkin’s patience, Keisel’s beard, and extra-long handshakes: Pittsburgh Sports Power Rankings

DJ Gallo’s weekly — and definitive — Sports Power Rankings is an ode to spring. And beards.

Hello, springtime. Hello, candy. Goodbye, beard.

Hello, springtime. Hello, candy. Goodbye, beard.

Mark J. Rebilas/USAT; Inset: Twitter,

Pirates pitchers and catchers have reported to spring training, and so the fourth edition of the Pittsburgh Sports Power Rankings has arrived, as well. Feel free to read this week’s list as you stretch lazily in the sun.

10. Artie Burns

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

A survey conducted by We Are Fanatics had football fans rate the attractiveness of NFL players on a scale of 1 to 10 and Steelers rookie cornerback Artie Burns came in tied for fifth overall.

The findings read: “The rookie cornerback was among the highest graded rookies for 2016 among all first-round picks. With his natural ability and stellar good looks, the future certainly looks bright for this young man.”

So why is Burns only tenth in these rankings? Because the survey found Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to be the most attractive NFL player – really – and any time a Steelers defensive back gets beaten by Joe Flacco it’s very bad.

9. Spring

Temperatures are supposed to be in the sixties on Saturday and Sunday, and the Pirates are in the news. That all would sound great if was Memorial Day weekend, but it’s mid-February and the NHL is currently trying to install ice at Heinz Field for the Stadium Series game on Feb. 25.

Good luck to all those who attend the public skating sessions scheduled for the Heinz ice on Monday. There’s no better way to teach children about global warming than trudging through two inches of water during a day off from school.

8. Home ice history

Eight months ago the Penguins had the opportunity to win the Stanley Cup on home (indoor) ice and lost 4-2 to the San Jose Sharks. The Penguins ended up winning the Cup on the road – same as the team did in 2009, 1992 and 1991.

On Tuesday night, Sidney Crosby had chance to score his 1,000th career point at PPG Paints Arena, but got stuck at 999. If history eludes the home crowd again Thursday against Winnipeg, the biggest event to ever happen on home ice in the city of Pittsburgh will remain Jean-Claude Van Damme defeating a band of terrorists at the Civic Arena in 1995. Sad!