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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Fair is fair with cheap shots

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My Friday column is on Pitt’s Todd Graham, who is being buried ridiculously prematurely. I am eager to hear your views on this, especially as it relates to Graham’s handling of Tino Sunseri and the quarterback position throughout the season.

>> This cheap shot happened late in the Penguins-Capitals game last night …


That’s Washington’s John Carlson clearly taking aim at Matt Cooke’s head, then felling him. It’s the textbook definition of the play the NHL has said it wants to abolish. It happened near the puck. Four officials were on the ice. None called a penalty, even though all four have the right to call a major.

Brendan Shanahan needs to make up for that.

And I couldn’t care less that Cooke has been a dirty player. If anything, this is a chance for the league to send a strong message that fair is fair. Shanahan had such a chance earlier this season when Calgary’s Cory Sarich similarly felled Cooke, but Shanahan blew it that time. Here’s his chance to get it right.

>> Something stinks with the Capitals, and not just their play.

>> Here is the chat transcript from yesterday. Thanks to our friend Milo for the “softball!”


  1. David W. Hannen says:

    Hey, DK thanks for the you tube clip. The 6 Carlsen clips after the cheap shot clip were great. What were you browsing on you tube? :)

    DK: A reader tweeted that one my way.

  2. JAL says:

    JAL’s Battle of Evermore Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3- 2011-12 Pirates Prospects Off-Season Calendar

    4 Pirate Offseason Stats

    5 Yahoo Free Agent Tracker;_ylt=AvN8KLXkNW0TcRjzSCagLIMBbgM6?slug=jp-passan_ultimate_free_agent_tracker_baseball_110211

    6 Pirates Prospects Offseason Tracker

  3. JAL says:


    7—Pirates Prospects

    Winter Leagues 12/1– Unearned Runs From Martis And Ascanio

    Trade Analysis of a Non-Pirate Trade – Iannetta for Chatwood

    Pirates Will Have a $9 M Draft Pool in 2012

    Pirates Announce 2012 Minor League Staff

    8 Bucs Dugout

    MLB Draft: Pirates To Get $9.3 Million For First 10 Rounds, According To Report. UPDATE: Or Not

    9 WHY GAVS

    Lyle Overbay is still finding work

  4. JAL says:


    10 Chicago Sun-Times

    Matt Garza’s fate will signal Cubs’ direction

    11 MAINICHI Daily News

    Baseball: Sanada posted to 30 major league clubs

    12 TV Geek Army

    Baseball Wives, “Episode One”: cleat chasers

  5. JAL says:


    13 Beyond the Boxscore

    All True Pirates Team

    14 MLB

    Signing-bonus constraints to impact Draft

    15 PBC Site

    Bucs could use Meetings to prep for later moves

    16 Miro Sports News

    Sports Great Announcers, Part II

    17 Bleacher Report

    MLB 2012: Predicting the Record of Every NL Team Next Season

  6. JAL says:

    WVU Blogs

    Metro News

    Gold And Blue Now: Friday

    WV Illustrated

    Attitude Allows WVU to Overcome Mistakes, Win as Team

    WVU Defeats South Florida 30-27, Clinches League Title



    Locking it Down: Pens’ Defense Helps Secure a 2-1 Win Over Capitals

  7. Jandy says:

    I saw that cheap shot on Cooke and I was furious when there was no penalty. Shanahan had better step up and hand down a suspension or he will look like a major hypocrite. Anyone want to place any bets that he does/doesn’t step up?

  8. leefoo says:

    Graham will fail miserably. Despite Holgersen’s rough PR start, he will turn out better than Graham.

    Of course, I’m a bit biased being a WVU fan. :)

    PSU & WVU Foo


  9. Dan1283 says:

    I watched the game at a bar and had the sound off but it looked to me like #74 of the Caps came thisclose to replaying the Steckel incident with Sid all over again in the first or second period. Sid had his head turned and the guy hit him real rough shoulder to shoulder as they passed each other, and it was just inches from his head. Any word on that?

  10. Arriba Wilver says:

    “You don’t make significant moves like calling up a first-round draft pick for any reason other than that you feel the player is legitimately ready. Anything else is stupid and short-sighted.” DK in 12-1-11 Chat

    Could this be describing Pedro Alvarez also? I’ve thought since the day he was brought up in 2010 during that long losing streak that Neal was overruled from above (Frank and/or Bob) because of that losing streak. This was re-confirmed (to me) at Piratefest last year when Neal said, without mentioning any names, that they erred in bringing up players too early and wouldn’t do it again.

  11. Dan says:

    For Graham, I think much of the fans’ disappointment relates to the hyping / over-hyping when he was hired. But that was necessary for recruiting. He needed to create excitement to have something to sell to recruits. That fans were disappointed because they expected more this season is too bad, but secondary to getting his recruits.

    As far as how he handled Sunseri / the QB position… That is a tough one. I think he could have handled it better and not thrown Sunseri under the bus. But then, the QB position play was HORRIBLE. No way to get around that. So he could have handled it better from a PR perspective, the fact of the matter is Pitt doesn’t have the necessary talent at QB currently and Graham simply expressed that publicly without much tact or subtlety.

    Will be interesting to see any suspension from the Cooke hit. I’m rooting for progress.

  12. Bizrow says:

    @AW – good point, but if a guy has it, isn’t it going to show sooner or later? I know baseball is a lot mental, but Pedro had chances to bounce back last season and he pretty much failed miserably.

  13. Skip says:


    And based on what we’ve seen from Alvarez he STILL should be waiting for his first call-up. The dude is just lost at the plate.

  14. Bizrow says:

    Grahams management and people skills reminds me quite a bit of what you see coming out of the bunkers on Federal Street. He and the BMTIB need a couple of Dale Carnegie classes.

    Not to be critical…..

  15. Arriba Wilver says:

    On Graham, I know he has been criticized for throwing Tino under the bus, and that Tino has been criticized as being not very talented for a Division I quarterback, but one thing I heard for the first time on KDKA’s Sports Showdown last Sunday was the very strong hint that Tino wasn’t very coachable. Kind of like he was resistant to Graham’s attempts to have him improve, whether through just arrogance or lack of knowledge/ability. And Paul Zeise was on the panel (although I can’t remember for sure he was the one who said it, but if he didn’t he didn’t dispute it).

  16. Drew71 says:

    I have no idea if Graham is any good. But I am inclined to hold judgment.

    If the team doesn’t take a step backwards NEXT season, then I would go three (and two recruiting classes) before passing judgment.

  17. MarkV says:

    As for cheap shots, why has nobody noticed that every hit by the Great 8 ends with him leaving his feet and launching into the opponent, especially on the boards. Isn’t that the defintion of boarding? I wish the NHL would apply the rules equally to all players. The Pens definitely need to have the league office review the cheap shot to Cooke. As DK said, fair is fair.

  18. Daniel says:


    Something I’ve been thinking about. Do you get reports on where your blog/article traffic comes from?

    I’m curious to hear what kind of traffic you get from social media (Twitter especially) vs. the traditional page view through the site.

    DK: There aren’t exact numbers, but the rough percentage is that the vast majority goes right through the site. Twitter doesn’t penetrate much. Only 8 percent of the public is signed up, and less than that uses it. I’d say about 3-5 percent of the traffic goes through Twitter.

  19. Milo Hamilton says:

    Rob Biertempfel tweets, “Pirates have interest on Yoenis Cespedes, but will quickly back away if bidding starts to get crazy.”

    Gee Rob, whatever gave you that idea ?

  20. Milo Hamilton says:

    OK kids, I guess Matt Cooke just doesn’t count. No suspension, no fine, no hearing. No onions Shanny.

  21. Dan1283 says:

    DK, a bit late, but I really enjoyed the Graham column. I’m glad not everyone in town is so quick to tar and feather this guy and put him on the railroad tracks out of town. I did and still do think he was a good hire and that he will make something work here. They had to take a step back to take two steps forward. Sure, they could’ve finished 8-2 or 7-3 and won the big east then lost the BCS game, but isn’t the reason we fired Wannstedt to get over that hump?

    Pitt should be patient with Graham just like WVU should be patient with Holgorsen. Although one thing I might disagree with is starting Sunseri on Saturday. I’d start Myers and show the rest of the players that they will be held accountable. The problem with Sunseri isn’t that he can’t execute the playbook. It’s that he is fundamentally awful and limited by a weak arm. I don’t care if they have to cut the playbook in half to play Myers, he should at least be able to make a completion 10-20 yards downfield on occasion.

    Anyways, good column. Oh and maybe tomorrow you could elaborate on your thoughts about whatever it is that you think stinks about the Capitals? Is it a front office problem? Locker room? Organizational mentality? We’d be interested to hear you expand your opinion!

    DK: Thanks! And I’ll save the Caps thing for some other day. It’s not hockey-related.

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