Column: Giving 'Thanks' To The Sporting World

Happy Thanksgiving to each and everyone who takes the time out of their day to read ‘Grinders Gazette’. I know I have done this before on another website, and wanted to bring it to Grinders Gazette this year.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, a look back at everything I am ‘thankful’ for, with of course a sportish spin. I originally got the idea from Dejan Kovacevic, the former columnist from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, now the owner of

Despite being a hockey website, I included all sports, well just because I can.

I’m thankful for;

That the future of hockey, talent wise, seems to be in more than capable hands. Could argue that it is in better hands than when it came out of the lockout in 2005-2006. Whether it be Connor McDavid, Patrik Laine, Auston Matthews - don’t forget Jack Eichel - there is no shortage of teenage phenoms that appear poised to provide hockey fans with plenty of excitement for the coming years.

The new direction that the game of hockey seems to be turning - pure speed. While there is plenty to work to be done on the finer points of the game, the way the game is being played you can’t deny it is fun to watch. How about that overtime between USA and Sweden in the World Cup of Hockey? That was beyond exciting. If the game is heading that way, how can you really complain?

That despite the fact the game is turning into more of a younger, speed-based game, void of the plodding ‘goonies’ of the old days, there are still some players who made their ‘bones’ by being just that (working on something about that right now, more on that later). Guys like Deryk Engelland and Jared Boll, while not the biggest roles, still have spots on NHL rosters, and while fighting is clearly down, it is always good to see a good old fashion scrap in between players flying up and down the ice.

I am beyond excited about Vegas getting their own team. Vegas Golden Knights. That is so awesome the league hasn’t given up on trying to grow the game in unconventional markets. A lot of people probably want this franchise to fail already, just to prove a point, but here is hoping they are wrong.

To EACH and EVERY player who has ever laced it up, and give their all each and every night, putting their body at risk for our entertainment, a simple ‘thanks’ doesn’t seem enough. The heart and soul you pour into every shift prove each night as to why I love the game so much. Without that, I’d be writing… about nature? I don’t know, what do people who don’t follow sports write about?

On to things other than hockey,

That the Pittsburgh Pirates got the ultimate ‘wake up call’ in not making the playoffs this year. More so, hoping that it is a humbling experience. I get that what they have done has worked, and worked really well, but it was clear that this year they may be bought too much into their own hype, and it cost them a playoff spot.

That the Pirates at least DISCUSSED trading Andrew McCutchen. If it were actually to happen at some point, it will likely go down as one of the most unpopular decisions in Pittsburgh sports history. But it is something that had to be done, and something that should be revisited this offseason. For what McCutchen has done for the team, and city, no return might seem like enough, but it needs to be explored.

That the Pirates are so deep in the outfield, when you actually think about it - McCutchen might be the third best on the roster. On top of that, Pittsburgh has one in the pipeline that could be better than all of them, Austin Meadows.

That Mike Tomlin is the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Let’s face it, whatever your opinion is of the football team’s head coach, the organization can do A LOT worse. Might he have to throw a couple of his coaches under the bus depending on how the season turns out? Possibly. But some fresh air might not be the worst of ideas. Six Lombardi’s skews the views of some fans in just how hard it is to actually win one. Tomlin’s winning record speaks for itself. You can break down any stat to play in your favor one way or another, but in the end, he has a lot more ‘Ws’ than he does ‘Ls’.

That the Steelers finally used a first-round pick on a cornerback and are letting him develop the only way that a player at the position should be allowed to - leave him on an island to fend for himself. Has it cost them some big plays? Certainly. Will that pay dividends down the road? Definitely.

And maybe most importantly, a HUGE thank you to you, the reader. I have done this for a quite a bit of year now, and one thing that has never changed is my complete amazement that anyone would take time in their own day to read anything that I write. For doing so, I am forever grateful. You make this possible.

I hope everyone has a great day, enjoy their time with their families and while I would love to see the views on this explode if it doesn’t I will know people are spending their holiday the correct way.