Pens sign Duff …. and add Comrie too

There’s only so much news that we in the hockey media can manufacture.

While many of my colleagues went on … and on … and on … about Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract situation, it was going to happen sooner or later. That’s the nature of the business sometimes. We obsess over the relatively unimportant while losing sight of the big picture moves that could change the sport as we know it.

Like Sidney Crosby getting a ‘wingman’, literally.

The most compelling signing of the offseason happened in Pittsburgh last week, as the Pens brought in former Disney starlet and Gossip Girl diva Hilary Duff, signing her to a one-year deal. Additionally, they also picked up the services of her now-employed husband Mike Comrie and his 13 goals and eight assists in 43 games, while tucked away in Edmonton last season.

According to Comrie’s agent Ritch Winter, the heir to the Canadian furniture throne will play alongside Employee #87 next season. We don’t know how this will fly with Dan Bylsma, who had Chris Kunitz in that role in 2009-10.

Comrie isn’t going to win anybody over with his play on the ice, but he’s the first star with a legitimate WAG to play with the league’s premier talent. Which means that the Penguins Media Relations Department, who already do a tremendous job in handling all that Crosby commands from us, has another obstacle.

Paparazzi. Lots of them.

While the Mike Fisher/Carrie Underwood nuptials were lavish and highly guarded, at least until People Magazine put them on its cover, Comrie and Duff seemingly flew under the radar, tying the knot last month at the same ranch in California where John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline, spent their honeymoon. This, a far cry from engagement photos that stirred up a storm on the web, showing Duff SMS’ing photos of her bling before seemingly doing something very unDisney.

(Duff caused a stir last fall with this scene on Gossip Girl, which is slightly classier than Jersey Shore)

While Underwood has announced plans to move to Ottawa, Duff will watch hubby play alongside Crosby all season long. Not only is it a far cry from venturing to the decrepit Nassau Coliseum, but what would happen should she want to set someone up with Sid?

Can you say financial goldmine?

Let’s drop the puck on the Mike Comrie era in Pittsburgh and hope it leads to the smartest move of Crosby’s young career. You think Khloe Kardashian was good news for Lamar Odom, what would happen to the NHL if #87 and Blake Lively were to start dating, or better yet Taylor Swift?

You think the folks in Bristol would care then?

And even if it doesn’t, it will make ‘The Kid’s’ job just a little bit easier knowing that he isn’t the only man in the room who commands the spotlight. One of this writer’s favorite stories from the 09-10 season took place during the Matt Cooke-Marc Savard saga, when during the postgame media session, Billy Guerin spotted Crosby all alone for what could have been the first time in his NHL career and joked ….

“Get your one-on-one interviews with Sidney Crosby! Right here! He is all alone and just waiting for somebody to talk to.”


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