NHL: St. Louis Blues at Pittsburgh Penguins
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Sports Power Rankings

Penguins hockey is back! Phil Kessel’s hair though…

Plus: Roethlisberger leadership, Gatorade fights, Greg McKegg, “Dragon Ball Z” and Pirates playing golf. And more Greg McKegg.

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Pittsburgh Penguins
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Hockey season is officially back! But do we still have the other, lesser, more lose-y sports that are not hockey? There are many ways to find out the answer to this question, but one is definitely by reading on for this week’s edition of the Pittsburgh Sports Power Rankings.

10. St. Louis Blues

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Pittsburgh Penguins
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It was pretty rude of the St. Louis Blues to come into the Penguins’ arena and ruin banner raising night with an overtime victory. That’s like being invited over to somebody’s house to meet their new baby and then throwing up all over the floor. (Or something like that. On an Analogies Power Rankings, that one would come in no better than eighth out of ten.)

Either way, lesson learned for the Penguins: Only schedule the Washington Capitals for banner raising nights. Last year, the Caps came to town for the opener, saw the Penguins raise a banner and then lost in overtime. The Caps know their role in the hockey world and it is to always make the Penguins look good.

9. Gatorade coolers

Two Octobers ago, Sean Rodriguez pummeled a Gatorade cooler in the dugout during the Pirates wildcard defeat, and then on Sunday, Steelers receiver Antonio Brown took out his frustrations on a Gatorade cooler, as well. It seems Pittsburgh athletes have issues with Gatorade. It might be time for Powerade or All-Sport to make a play in the city. If Pittsburgh can support 96 different subscription-model sports websites, then it should be able to handle more than one sports drink.

8. 2026 World Cup

A joint bid committee between the United States, Mexico and Canada is attempting to bring the 2026 World Cup to North America. Pittsburgh was on the initial list of 41 host cities, but got bumped when the list was cut to 32 cities this week. (Ed. note: Like we told you it would.) Whatever. Pittsburgh doesn’t need a piece of your little tournament, FIFA. Pittsburgh has the furries convention all to itself, and that’s all the city needs.

7. Pirates offseason

Here’s the bad news: The Pirates were bad and did not make the postseason again this year. And now for the good news: Even if the Pirates were good, their season would probably be over by now anyway because the wildcard play-in games are complete and the Pirates usually lose those. Hooray! So 162 games, 163 … what’s the difference?

Of course, now it is the offseason. In some baseball cities, the offseason is an exciting time full of hope in which new players are signed in order to make a run at a title next year. But since this is Pittsburgh, the Pirates offseason will probably be limited to signing some middle reliever named Gary with an 89 mph fastball.

6.  Bandwagon jumpers

If you disowned the Steelers after their anthem protest/non-protest and subsequent loss to the Chicago Bears, linebacker Vince Williams would like you to know that you’re not welcome back on the bandwagon after the beatdown of the Ravens.

5. Ben Roethlisberger’s leadership

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Chicago Bears
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Brown was criticized for his behavior on Sunday, and then Ben Roethlisberger criticized Brown on the radio and then Roethlisberger’s criticism was criticized by critics because he was critical of a teammate in public.

“I’d like to feel as a leader of this team that’s kind of my job,” Roethlisberger said this week in response to the criticism of his criticism. “You have to be able to talk to people, you have to be able to communicate in different ways. I’ve been doing this a long time. I feel as voted as a captain that’s kind of one of the rules of being the captain.”

So is Roethlisberger a good leader or a bad leader? Does it really even matter as long as he plays good quarterback? I have no idea, so I’m going with the super lukewarm take of putting him right in the middle of the power rankings. Hard to criticize that.

4. ‘Dragon Ball Z’

JuJu Smith-Schuster was born in 1996, seven years after “Dragon Ball Z” came out, but that didn’t stop him from busting out a “Dragon Ball Z” celebration on Sunday.

Stay tuned for his next celebration when he does a “Steamboat Willie” whistle dance.

3. Greg McKegg

There has been concern that Greg McKegg is not worthy of being the Penguins third line center. Others believe Greg McKegg is up to the task. Still a third group just likes to gratuitously type Greg McKegg in as many sentences as possible. That’s the story of Greg McKegg.

But Greg McKegg looked up to the task in the Penguins opener, showing great vision on this pass to Conor Sheary — vision someone with the name Greg McKegg may not be expected to have.

Greg McKegg got the assist on the play. It was a good debut for Greg McKegg. And so concludes this section on Greg McKegg. Greg McKegg!

2. Kris Letang

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Pittsburgh Penguins
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Letang played a team-high 26:05 in his first game back from surgery for a herniated disc in his neck. I continue to maintain that adding Kris Letang to a team that won the Stanley Cup without him last year is the biggest offseason acquisition in the NHL. Oh, and it should be noted: Kris Letang’s hair looked great last night, too. But not as great as …

1. Phil Kessel’s hair

The shag that he brought to training camp has been carried on into the regular season. Now the key is that he keeps growing it out. If he does, his hair could be truly special by playoff time. Imagine Kessel, his helmet knocked from his head, flying down the ice for an overtime, Cup-clinching, breakaway goal … with an assist by Greg McKegg. It would be one of the greatest moments in sports history.