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Feeling the pinch: Penguins forward buys discounted bread

Nov 16, 2012, 12:32 PM EDT

Joe Vitale

Having missed a few paychecks due to the lockout, Pittsburgh’s Joe Vitale is getting frugal.

Just how frugal? Here’s Dave Molinari of the Post-Gazette to explain:

[Vitale] has just gotten established as an NHL regular. He was paid $525,000 last season and was scheduled to earn the same amount in 2012-13.

While that obviously is far more than the average wage-earner pulls in, Vitale doesn’t enjoy the same financial cushion that some more experienced — and better-compensated — teammates enjoy.

Consequently, while he certainly isn’t being forced to choose between, say, paying his electric bill and buying groceries, Vitale acknowledged that he has been a bit more prudent about some purchases lately.

“You just obviously have to prioritize a little better, as far as getting the on-sale bread instead of the whole-grain,” he said. “Little things like that. But that’s the only change, financially.”

At the risk of taking Vitale’s bread choice too seriously, here’s hoping other players don’t follow suit with these types of comments.

There’s nothing wrong with being price-conscious, or fiscally responsible. Let’s make that clear.

What is problematic, though, is someone who made a half million dollars last year correlating a couple of lost paychecks with tough grocery decisions.

As the piece mentions, Vitale is just establishing himself as an NHLer. But at the same time, his fellow locked-out union brothers have openly discussed their favorite seamstresses at Barney’s New York, how much noise their Ferraris make while starting up and the good times had at the Real Madrid-Barcelona game.

There are people out there that have to pass on the fancy bread because they legitimately can’t afford it.

Joe Vitale isn’t one of those people. None of the players are, and none of the owners are either.

Update: Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says Vitale’s comments were in jest.

You can judge for yourself re: context. Molinari’s piece is excerpted above, and makes no mention of the comment being a joke.

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