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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Your tired, your injured masses

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My game coverage of the Penguins’ 2-1 loss here last night emphasizes the really tough schedule they have in the early going. And yeah, I know it’s early, but look at the numbers I have in there.

Never mind that. Just look at the team. If they couldn’t skate with these slow-footed Jets — and man, the Jets had one line out there that looked like it was skating on asphalt — that should tell you something’s amiss.

That said, let’s not lose sight of all the effort it takes for the Penguins to score without their stars. The moment Winnipeg was up, 2-0, the first thought I had was that it would take these Penguins about 42 shots to score the three goals needed to win.

>> On an accompanying page in today’s Trib is my feature on Winnipeg’s NHL return.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed my day here. This is a neat place with some good people. I asked one gentleman directions to a Starbucks, and we walked with me — apparently out of his way — two blocks until he could point to it.

>> Todd Graham is no longer making sense.

Seriously, what did that mean?

>> The Steelers were as lousy in the second half as they were good in the first half Sunday. So, other than the fact that the second half happened more recently, why have I detected an overwhelming sentiment to declare that half the real one?

The other team ranked 10th in defense. The other team adjusted.

There are two teams out there.

>> Have to be up in about five hours to fly to Minnesota, so I’ll depart now and leave you with what the late, great NHL coach Pat Burns once said in discussing Winnipeg’s flatness: “It’s the only city where you can watch your dog run away for three days.”


  1. Jandy says:

    Seriously disappointing game. When does Geno come back? Heck, when does Jeffrey come back????

  2. leefoo says:

    DK……….so…….the other team adjusted. I can live with that. But then it begs the question: Why didn’t we? A better offense would’ve smoked us.

    Doesn’t bode well for the rest of the year, does it?

    BnG Foo


  3. leefoo says:

    WVU and Pitt both get new coaches. WVU’s coach seems to be doing a better job.

    WVU actually has a QB behind center.


    However, as a WVU fan, I am happy Geno plays for the Mountaineers and Tino plays for the Panthers. :)



  4. JAL says:

    JAL’s With or Without You Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3- 2011-12 Pirates Prospects Off-Season Calendar

  5. JAL says:

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Robbie Grossman Keeps Hitting, Jarek Cunningham Having Huge Day

    6 Rumbunter

    Pittsburgh Pirates Horrid Baserunning Trends Continue
    Pittsburgh Pirates Robbie Grossman Leads Arizona Fall League in Hits

    7 The Green Weenie

    Pellas on the Pirates: The Case for Trading (Gulp!) Andrew McCutchen

    8 Why Gavs

    WHYGAVS Top 21 Hitting Prospects: October 2011

  6. JAL says:


    9 Detroit Free Press

    Tigers, Rangers managers set tone of sportsmanship in ALCS

    John Lowe: Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera, Rangers’ Michael Young form perfect parallels

    10 St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    La Russa’s Cards’ teams have taken different paths to World Series

    There’s method to La Russa’s bullpen madness

    Game 1 falls on Carpenter’s turn to start

  7. JAL says:

    11 Dallas Morning News

    Nolan Ryan: Rangers will win World Series, ‘get it done in six’

    12 Fort Worth Star Telegram

    Commentary: Rangers GM won his spurs in a tough spot

    Milwaukee Journal

    13 Brewers have several holes that need to be addressed

    14 Daily American

    Michelle Ganassi: Did the Pirates take a step forward?,0,6312241.story


    15Minor League Ball

    Robbie Grossman: A Hidden Gem in Pittsburgh’s Future?

  8. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    16-Behind the Steel Curtain

    AFC North Round Up: Steelers and Bengals Improve to 4-2, Still Trail Ravens After Week 6

    NFL Trading Deadline: Steelers 2011-2012 Salary Cap Analysis

    17 Steeler Depot

    Roethlisberger Not Commecting With Brown and Sanders

  9. JAL says:

    WVU Blogs

    20 Mountaineer Sports Net

    Miller Nets Winner At UConn

    21 WV Illustrated

    Syracuse’s Marrone: WVU “Best Team” Orange Have Faced



    Early Goals Hurt: Jets Beat Penguins 2-1

  10. Dave21 says:

    “Best part is the kids,” Miller said. “I’ve got a 5-year-old who can grow up seeing the Jets, just like I did.”

    Perfect sentence Dejan!
    In 1967 I was 5 years old and the Pens arrived. That 5 year old has so much hockey love in front of him. Thanks for a great perspective on hockey and life.

  11. Naje says:

    “A good defense adjusted” is now the excuse? Wow… how about your $10M qb completing 1 of his last 9 passes… a qb who admitted how poorly he played… a qb who had a great first 25 minutes of the game and then, along with the rest of the offense and the coaching staff, stunk.

    The team tanked after the 17-3 lead… they stopped playing and Jax didn’t. The team had that look of arrogance… like they were just going through the motions expecting to walk into the endzone unchallenged and untouched.

    Tomlin not using his time outs at the end of the first half was as stupid a move at Heinz field as any over the weekend (and there were a lot of stupid, desperate moves from Todd Graham on Saturday). Jax had the ball with 1:06 left and at their own 21 or 22. And going INTO the wind. They do the Steelers a huge favor by throwing incomplete on first down… 1:00 left. The Steelers hold MJ-D to no yards on second down and inexplicably DO NOT call a time out. The Jags had no time outs left and the Steelers had two. You call a time out in that situation ever time. No excuses. The Steelers could have had the ball at their own 40 or better with more than 40 seconds remaining.

    Coaches let the game go, so did the players. That’s a bad sign from a team still trying to find its footing, its identity.

  12. leefoo says:

    Nage……..I agree with all you said.

    One of the worst was the punt block call with Jax punting into the wind from deep in their own territory.


  13. MarkV says:

    In regards to the Pens schedule, who decided to accept this schedule? Surely someone would have pushed back against the league office knowing that their two top players were coming off injuries and would need extra time to get into playing shape. It seems no one else is playing this insane schedule, so why should the Pens? It would be hard to believe that the Pens were given a worse schedule to start and that this is the improved version!

  14. Woomer says:

    Hey Nate —

    Let it go. The Steelers will be just fine.

    And even if they’re not, your ranting about it here isn’t going to make any difference.

  15. Milo Hamilton says:


    I thought the point of this whole exercise was to provide a forum for people like Naje to express their opinion. A well thought out rant is good for the soul. Maybe you should try it sometime.

  16. Woomer says:

    LOL Milo —

    If he wants to bare his soul re the Steelers in a public forum, I guess that’s ok with me — but I wouldn’t choose to do it.

    But anyway — more importantly, I don’t think the Steelers are a franchise that any of us need to worry or stress about :)

  17. aglebagel says:


    Why do you just assume that “a better offense would’ve smoked us” ?
    What offense has really smoked us all year, other than the heavily turnover-aided Ravens?

  18. Milo Hamilton says:


    Point well taken.

    I just kinda happened to agree with what he said. Something smells a little bit funny to me in Steeler Country, and I don’t mean the protesters.

  19. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    I’m not a Pitt fan so I don’t pay a lot of attention to them, however what I think the Pitt fans need to remember about Todd Graham is:
    1. he wasn’t the first pick that Pitt wanted,
    2. These are not his players (recruits) that he’s dealt with.
    3. He’s learning almost “on the fly” with the currect roster.

    He seems to me like a capable coach, given time.

    I do agree with you DK that he doesn’t make much sense with that last interview. I don’t necessarily agree that swapping QB’s throughout the game, especially at the college level/high school level, hurts the team. If the team needs a boost or to throw off the opposing defense, have at it as long as the center/qb exchange works. I do think that coaches fall into too much love with the starting QB and are afraid to yank them when needed. I’m all for a relief QB.

  20. Woomer says:



    But I think a team with the management structure and the history of the Steelers will identify and attempt to correct any issues or potential issues — as quickly and effectively (if not moreso) as any team in the league.

    That’s why I never worry about the Steelers.

  21. Naje says:

    Hey Woomer…

    Thanks for your opinion… we all have them. That’s why we’re here. I was referring to the DK’s story and specifically to the excuses given for the poor performance of the team as: they (the Jags) have a good defense and that their players get paid to play, too.

    Well, from the top, down, the Steelers stopped playing after 20 or 25 minutes against the Jags… you don’t have to worry. Nor do I. Just pointing out some flaws to the “their player get paid to play, too” argument. The Steelers coaches and players didn’t play very well once they scored their 17 points. Not a good sign.

  22. Officer Mancuso says:

    I’m in favor of Nage rants.

  23. Naje says:

    Admit it, OM, you just want to read more “laborious oaf” rants…

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