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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: It’s J-Day for Penguins

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> For those of you who usually see this thing right when it goes up after midnight, apologies for the delay. Some technical maintenance apparently going on overnight.

>> Today is J-Day for the Penguins. In my eyes, they did their part. They went to Jaromir Jagr with what, by all accounts, was a respectable offer. Or “respectful,” as Ray Shero called it. That sounds like it’s no lowball, no incentive-based deal that would insult a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Now, probably today, we’ll see if Jagr was sincere in wanting to return.

My inclination all along has been to believe that Jagr’s genuine motivation in all this was to return to this city and make things right, as well as having a chance to win another championship, and I still feel that way. Remember, Mario Lemieux got involved here. He spoke with Mario. He knows that, if he turns away from this for an extra bit of money on top of the nine figures he’s already earned in his career, he’ll be essentially slapping the face of the man he claims to respect more than anyone other than his own father.

I still think it will get done.

>> I loved what Alex Presley did, loved what Joel Hanrahan did, but Jose Veras won that game for the Pirates last night in T.O. Sure, there was some luck involved in that lineout double play. But the fact is, he entered an inning earlier than usual, got a quick double play, then pitched a perfect eighth.

That’s just outstanding. And he’s been doing it all season.

A tremendous find by Neal Huntington, who has consistently built good bullpens, even when he wasn’t doing much else right at the major-league level.

>> Come on, admit that you really wanted to see Hanrahan face Jose Bautista, the man on deck during Toronto’s final out.

How cool would that have been?

>> Reminder: We’ll have our weekly chat Thursday at noon.

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