Mario Lemieux, Heather Lyke, Gregory Polanco, Crosby’s goal and … twerking: Pittsburgh Sports Power Rankings

We didn’t make Crosby’s goal all 10. We thought about it, though.

The Incline Illustration

It has been more than a full day now since Sidney Crosby scored his one-handed goal against the Sabres, which means it’s probably time to take a brief break from watching the highlight on a loop to cleanse the palate.

Let the Pittsburgh Sports Power Rankings be your sorbet.

10. Twerking

The NFL is developing an employee training video to educate players on what is and is not considered to be “appropriate” celebration activities.

Like all employee training videos, it will undoubtedly only be available on VHS and played on a TV that is strapped to a metal cart. But what’s even more likely is that the video includes multiple appearances by Antonio Brown in the “inappropriate” section. Sad!

9. Cap space

The Steelers currently have more than $19 million in salary cap space for the 2017 season, a great figure to have at the start of the free agency period, but less so now when the market has been picked clean. At the risk of getting too technical with football jargon, $19 million in football terms is considered to be even more space than what the Steelers defense gave New England receivers in the AFC title game.

But at least we all can now mix our complaints about the Pirates not spending with complaints about the Steelers not spending. Always good to keep the complaining fresh.

8. Grudges

It was a tough week for those in Pittsburgh who still dislike Jaromir Jagr. But it’s probably always a tough week for those who dislike Jaromir Jagr, as he’s pretty much impossible to dislike.

7. Netting

The Pirates are extending the protective netting further down the baselines at PNC Park in a proactive measure to keep fans safe.This is good for people who don’t want to be hit in the head by projectiles flying over 100 mph, but bad for those who think ducking in fear is an American right. It’s a debate you can have with your friends at the stadium this year, content your conversation won’t be interrupted by a baseball off the noggin.

6. Jose Osuna

Jose Osuna

Jose Osuna

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The 24-year old Pirates minor leaguer wasn’t really considered a threat to make the big team at the start of spring training, but he has proceeded to hit .436 with five home runs and a 1.418 OPS. Now the Pirates will be forced to make a tough roster decision that could see a veteran player get cut. Mr. Osuna, if you could kindly let management know if you are actually good at baseball or merely on a brief hot streak, it would really help. Thanks.

5. Millennials

A study by Lending Tree found that Pittsburgh leads the nation in percentage of mortgage applications by people 35 and younger. That’s great news for the growth and vitality of the city. And realize that the No. 1 ranking comes without the Steelers and Pirates spending any money to bring new players to town. Loud complaining!

4. Gregory Polanco

Gregory Polanco

Gregory Polanco

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates left fielder hit .579 in the World Baseball Classic, the second-best mark for anyone in the tournament with more than 10 at-bats. Even better: he didn’t get hurt playing in a meaningless pre-season exhibition. Oh, wait … the United States ended up winning the whole thing, huh? What I meant to say is: Thankfully Polanco didn’t get hurt playing in what is a very meaningful baseball tournament that undoubtedly proves which nation is superior to all others across the globe.

3. Mario Lemieux

2. Heather Lyke


Pitt has a new director of athletics, and it’s Heather Lyke from Eastern Michigan. Is this a good hire for the program? I have no idea. We will find out in the coming years. Anyone who claims they know with certainty that it is good or bad is either lying or is an expert on the athletic directors of the MAC conference and that’s not an expertise that exists, so they’re just a liar. But she is the first woman to fill the role, so no matter how she does, Pitt made history.

1. Crosby’s goal

You have undoubtedly watched this goal a hundred times already, but here it is again.

While it’s not creative to put Sidney Crosby’s one-hander against the Sabres at the top of the Power Rankings, what else could legitimately go here? In fact, if I didn’t put it No. 1, I could lose my certification from the prestigious International Sports Power Rankers Association, and this column would be deemed as unlawful as Antonio Brown’s dances. Can’t risk it.