I'm proud to announce that we've hired Hall of Fame writer Dave Molinari to cover the Penguins full-time for DKPittsburghSports.com.
And when I say proud, I'm guilty of unimaginable understatement.
As longtime readers can attest, anytime I've been asked to identify a role model in this industry, I've always responded only with Dave's name. We began as partners on the NHL beat for the Post-Gazette in 1997, and we wound up tag-teaming that for eight extraordinary years of covering the brilliance of Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr, the bankruptcy and rebirth of the franchise, and so, so much more.
And in 2009, exactly 10 years ago to this date, I had the honor of being asked to cover Dave's richly deserved induction into the Hall via the Elmer Ferguson Award for excellence in hockey journalism. My piece ran in the Post-Gazette. This one, by Tom McMillan, currently a VP with the Penguins, ran on NHL.com.
Giving Dave a full introduction feels silly. He's been covering the Penguins since 1983-84, the pivotal season before Lemieux was drafted. His byline's appeared on your doorsteps or laptops ever since, in The Pittsburgh Press and then, for nearly three decades, in the PG. He's won awards, broken big stories, and he's formally recognized as the very best to ever do his job in our city's history.
When one walks into the PPG Paints Arena press box, they're greeted by two plaques: Dave's and Mike Lange's.
I mean, what's to add?
I'll just go with this: In addition to all of the above, Dave's been a friend in all that time. He's competitive to the core, and that didn't change after I left the PG. (He still doesn't follow me on Twitter!) But that never crossed into the personal. This time last summer, when I most needed it with my dad's passing, he and other co-workers, past and present, came to show support. I had no idea Dave would come. I'm not sure how he'd even heard. But I'll never forget that man standing by my side through all of that. It reminded me of a lot of what really matters in this world, but it also reminded me how special this particular relationship's always been in my life.
This, too: The night before this site launched, just before the trigger was pulled, I called exactly three people seeking a final word of advice: McMillan, Molinari and my dad. All three thought I was nuts -- I vividly recall Dave being bluntest of all -- but all three also expressed faith in my ability to make it work. If even one hadn't, I'm not sure I'd have proceeded.
For the two of us to be on the same team again, for us to cover the Penguins again and, above all, for Dave to look and sound so energized, so passionate to get back to the job he's always done better than anyone ... yeah, it's a good day here.
I also might want to mention, for anyone who might not already know, that Dave just might be the funniest man alive, as exhibited again yesterday in this Twitter exchange with our man Jerry Wolper, who wished him a happy 10th anniversary on the Hall induction:
Was one of my proudest moments, when I received the Ferguson after really nailing the swimsuit competition. https://t.co/LPyH6nZYQl
— Dave Molinari (@MolinariPG) June 2, 2019
Dave will start for us June 16. A couple days later, he and I will fly together to Vancouver to cover the NHL Draft.
As ever, I'll be in comments with you.
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