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Better late than never for Pens

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

I am not going to pretend I know a lot about business, or why we as a society all too often wait until the absolute last possible minute to do something we could have done in a reasonable fashion a month ago. So with out further jargon, man am I glad NHL hockey is back!

Better late than never, as my interest in the remaining NFL schedule has dwindled to the point that I am simply rooting against the teams I don't like. And although I am a loyal Knicks fan, I just don't get all that amped up until the playoffs begin.

But hockey always has been different. Factor in the shortened schedule, and each game means a little more now.

Selfishly, I am happy for myself. I don't catch every game, because I often am out covering another game, but I definitely put more emphasis on the Penguins this time of year.

Sure, I like the games for myself, but I am glad for the local businesses that rely on the home games and bars and eating facilities that benefit from all the games. The workers at the arena, the wait staff at places like Shale's and the Super Bowl and any person who makes money as a result (even if in a small amount) from hockey in Pittsburgh.

I know in our house, ordering food out is usually a given when the game is on, and come playoff time, the crowd usually is bigger. I am really happy for all those people because with the economy at the moment, I don't know many people who can miss a day of work, let alone weeks.

Why did it have to take so long? I can't even begin to speculate, but it's on now.

And let's face it: It was fun spending the weekend watching Crosby, Fleury and Geno.

From one Geno to another

Shaler forward Geno Thorpe has been one of the most exciting players to watch in WPIAL basketball during the past three seasons. His solid shooting and ability to make things look effortless is just thrilling. The past two seasons, Thorpe played a significant role on two really good Shaler teams. But this season may be his finest. The Titans probably won't win the section title again this season, and the odds are stacked against a trip to Palumbo Center. But Thorpe's emergence as not just a scorer or physical skill player, but as a leader and a player who has elevated the play of the team around him.

Thorpe is used to being on a deep and talented team for which he could just play his game. Now, he is a leader, a coach on the floor and mentor to the future Titans. He is currently among the leaders in the WPIAL in scoring in addition to improving every other aspect of his game.

Penn State wanted him on its team, and he said that is where he is going. Luckily for the Nittany Lions, they are getting a better player than they initially thought.

Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or jeclark@tribweb.com.

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