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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: The Crosby interview

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My Wednesday column is based on a one-on-one interview with Sidney Crosby yesterday at Southpointe. Thanks to the Penguins and their captain for the time.

>> I sat with a handful of other players, too, before they left for the swing through San Jose and Los Angeles this weekend. Among them was Chris Kunitz, who might well be atop the list of better-than-you-think Penguins. He’s been skating low and fluidly from the first drop of the puck this season, and the low should stand out for you. When he’s all hunched over and motoring, that’s when he’s going well.

And healthy.

Kunitz talked yesterday of how much the charley horse hurt him in 2010-11.

“Honestly, it just never got any better, and I played through it, but it wasn’t the same,” he said. “I can’t tell you how much better it feels to be going full-tilt like this. I feel great.”

>> Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis are going to be Crosby’s linemates, as I mention briefly in the column. Evgeni Malkin, James Neal and Steve Sullivan will stay together, and Jordan Staal, Tyler Kennedy and Matt Cooke will be reunited once all those guys are healthy.

Let’s dispense for now with all the talk of Crosby/Neal or Malkin/Staal. The three lines you see up there will be plenty good enough, and you know they’ll work.

>> Nice to hear Mike Tomlin acknowledge the obvious, that the Steelers can’t throw 50 times a game against everyone. There’s a tendency to take one game’s blueprint and try to apply it across the board. Doesn’t work like that.

Same goes for the man-to-man coverage for the defensive backs, for that matter. Zone defenses don’t work against Tom Brady, but they’ve been known to confuse Joe Flacco.

>> Is anyone anywhere really taking the Bengals seriously at 5-2?

Is no one looking at the AFC North’s schedule this year?

>> Unrelated to anything, but thoroughly awesome



  1. pensfan says:

    A few comments and questions:

    1) Is your 11.11.11 comment a hunch or based on a tip from someone who would know? I thought 11.11.11 would appeal as a return date given it’s symmetry.

    2) You are an excellent writer. Would love for you to write a book about the Pens. Between your insight and prose, a book would be a good read.

    3) If the Pens are disclosing who will be Sid’s linemates, should we assume they are feeling the return of 87 is imminent?

    DK: In order …

    1. Not a hunch. It was a tip.

    2. Thanks, but no. I’m not a book guy.

    3. The Penguins didn’t disclose anything about linemates. As I wrote, Kunitz and Dupuis are skating alongside Crosby in practice.

  2. Bill says:

    Dk your 11/11/11 tip wasn’t from Mark Madden was it? He has been saying that for months. Also what is your opinion on Sullivan’s play so far?

    DK: No, it was from within the team.

    I wrote about Sullivan on this blog just a couple nights ago. If you scroll down a bit, shouldn’t be too hard to find.

  3. SD says:

    Job well done on the interview.

    I was initially upset when Neal seemed to find chemistry with Malkin, because I always wanted to see what he could do with Sid. However, over the past couple of weeks it became more apparent that the right thing is to play Sid with the 2 guys who were with him for the best streak of his career. I know he enjoys playing with Dupper and Kuni and they know what he likes and expects of them. We are going to roll 3 fantastic lines once everyone is healthy. Add to that a healthy D and Fleury on his game – watch out.

    Can’t wait to see Sid on the ice again. Whenever that may be. No rush.

    DK: Thanks.

  4. Jandy says:

    Awesome. DK, loved the write up on the interview. I was thinking tho, that one day we’ll have to change his name from Kid to… ?

    You had to feel the electricity coming from Sid. I envy you!

  5. JAL says:


    10 LA Times

    Frank McCourt agrees to sell Dodgers,0,4790881.story

    11 NY Times

    Citi Field Fits in With History of Ballpark Changes

    12 Sports Illustrated

    The Reiter 50: Ranking Top Free Agents

    13 USA Today

    Sports museums struggle to draw fans, turn profit

  6. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    -Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers Vs. Ravens: Pittsburgh Looks To Continue Impressive Streak of Recent Divisional Dominance

    Mike Wallace Watch: Steelers WR Averaging an Even 100 Yards Per Game At Halfway Point of 2011 Season

    Two 3rd-and-9 Plays, Two Years, Two Completely Different Results

    -Steelers Depot

    Steelers Six From Around the Web

    -Steelers Gab

    Tomlin Says Harrison Cleared to Practice; Farrior and Woodley Unknown for Ravens

  7. JAL says:

    Pitt Blogs

    Pitt Blather

    WVU’s Lawsuit Could Be Fun if it Reaches Discovery

    Cardiac Hill

    Pitt Vs. Cincinnati: Todd Graham Press Conference Top Ten

    WVU Blogs

    Metro News

    What Excites Fans the Most About the Big 12

    WV Illustrated

    WVU Football Interviews: Louisville Week



    How Are the Pens Doing? Games 4-13

  8. leefoo says:

    DK………since I left the ‘burgh in ’79, I missed a lot of local stuff. So, I really enjoyed the Spirit video. Thx for that.

    I had forgotten about John Sanders. I really enjoyed his style.


  9. leefoo says:

    Now all we need are old newscast videos, so I could once again see the late greats, like Paul Long, Ray Tannehill, et al.

    I’d love to see those “Fix da weddah, Kudzma” spots. I once sold a pair of shoes to Joe Dinardo.

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….the memories…………which can only mean, I AM OLD. :(


  10. SeanE says:

    Foo-if you watch college basketball you will see John Sanders do a lot of the regional games for the Big East. He does a real nice job. Games are usually on Root Sports.

  11. Great piece on Crosby, DK. Once he skates off the ice after that first game back, the entire hockey world will take a collective sigh of relief.

    I am glad you mentioned Kunitz. I don’t know of anyone who is missing Crosby more at this point than Chris Kunitz. He’s had plenty of jump since pre-season, and he looked fantastic with Malkin and Neal. If anything, the three of them were almost doing too much on the ice together. It’s a bit of a sore spot for me why Kunitz is left off in favor of Sullivan, but Kunitz really does benefit greatly from a playmaking center with whom he can work the give-and-go and create lanes for himself. I have no doubt that once Crosby returns, Kunitz will become a fixture on the scoresheet.

    And I cannot fail to mention Crosby’s other linemate, Pascal Dupuis. Dupuis has been quietly having a very solid season. For a guy who dropped quite a few notches down the depth chart last season, he’s really been doing some fine work offensively. To me, he was the Pens best offseason signing.

    @Jandy, Crosby can lose the “Sid the Kid” nickname as soon as he can grow a respectable playoff beard.

  12. Jandy says:

    @RELENTLESS, regarding the playoff beard, you have a point there ;) And I heartliy agree with you on Kunitz and Duper.

    @Foo ~ you’re not old, you’re GOOD. These kids don’t know what they missed out on. When I crack a joke about “fix it good, Kudza” when I want the sun to shine, people look at me like I’m nuts. (It takes a nut to be a Pirate’s fan).

  13. aglebagel says:


    That’s funny you mention Dejan writing a book. I’ve been thinking for awhile that whenever the Pirates have a winning season, DK should be the one to write a book about the infamous streak.

    DK: No book!

  14. Bizrow says:

    Good thing DK is not writing a book whenever the PBC breaks their losing streak,

    He might be a grandfather in his 60’s when that happens, if it does…..

    Not to be critical

  15. pghboyinca says:

    An embryo might not be alive long enough to write a book about the Pirates breaking the losing streak.

  16. Bizrow says:

    Good point pghboy ;-}

  17. Milo Hamilton says:

    @pghboy & bizrow

    C’mon you two. Don’t you know that this group has a plan ?

  18. Can’t believe that Derrek Lee is listed 15 spots behind Carlos Pena (#26 vs. #11) on the SI Top 50 Free Agents above in JAL’s collage.

    I would rather have Derrek Lee 10 times out of 10. Lee fields better and drives in runs better. That fielding short hops is extraordinarily important for any 1st baseman of the Pirates, since we have so few (read NONE) strikeout starting pitchers.
    The only thing Carlos Pena does better than Derrek Lee is strike out!

    By the way, Dejan, I’m really EXCITED to hear you are writing a book on the Pirates breaking the losing streak!!

    DK: What is greater, the chances of my authoring a book or the Pirates acquiring a quality shortstop?

  19. JAL says:


    odds greater of you writing 5 books first

    DK: My first book will be “Luis Rivas, the Glory Days.” Next will be “I Was a Teenage Chris Gomez.”

  20. JAL says:


    When will Starring at Starbucks be done?

  21. Since there is NO chance/zip chance/negative chance of Buccos scouting and then signing, or trading for, a quality shortstop, that only leaves me with this question to ask you:

    “Will you autograph my treasured copy of your book?”

  22. Milo Hamilton says:

    Hot Stove Update.

    Today, the Pirates… did nothing.

  23. LikeaBugonaRug says:

    Hey DK? How about an interview with Paul Child? Seems like he’s still in the Pittsburgh area. Another athlete who comes to PIttsburgh to play and then makes a life here.

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