Blogs | Sports | News
Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Always a white Christmas here

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My Friday column, penned before I flew up here to hockey heaven, looks at Pitt’s hiring of yet another football coach, the third in a year and six days.

>> As your loyal Manitoba correspondent, I’ll be covering Penguins-Jets tonight — the morning skates, too, obviously — in large part to cut a break for the tireless Josh Yohe. It’s always a pleasure to be here.

Want to know why?

Passport agent at customs: “Pittsburgh, eh? You know, the Pens came through here earlier, and I got to cross Sidney Crosby’s name off their list.”

Me, trying to respond while averting deportation: “That’s … neat.”

Passport agent: “Yeah. Did you know that right now there’s $87 million worth of talent out with concussions in the NHL right now? Saw that the other day. Can you believe it, 87?”

Me: “Awesome. Anything else you need from me?”

I then get outside Winnipeg’s fabulous new airport, opened just a month ago, and get into a cab. Guy’s not listening to the Jets game on the radio, so I figure he’s new here or there’s something wrong with him.

Turned out to be as normal as anyone.

Cabbie: “Bad business tonight. Weather’s too nice.”

Me, still shivering from 10 seconds in the 10-degree cold: “Nice?”

Oh, yeah, you come here this time of year, it’s usually 20 below. That’s when everybody calls the cabs because nobody wants to come here to pick up their relatives themselves. Now, it’s beautiful, and they’re all driving themselves.”

Me: “Beautiful?”

Cabbie: “Yeah, look at the snow. Just one inch. Beautiful, eh?”

In a way, yeah. It’s a neat people that lives in this kind of cold. Really is.

>> If everyone gets suspended three games for the type of hit the Penguins’ Derek Engelland delivered, I’m fine with it. If this is the new standard, I’m fine with it. But it most definitely wasn’t Brendan Shanahan’s old standard. He needs to figure it out.

>> I love local hockey players representing the United States.

>> Still all kinds of conflicting reports about whether or not Ben Roethlisberger will or won’t play against the Rams. Still no firm reason to feel either way, though my inclination remains that he will. And that’s gotten a little stronger now that the Colts beat the Texans last night. If the Ravens drop one of these last two and the Steelers take the division, they’ve got a really good chance at that bye.

Are these gifts or curses that keep coming their way?

>> This was the chat transcript from yesterday. All participation, as always, is appreciated.


  1. Leah Backus says:

    It takes a special brand of crazy to thrive in that environment. Maybe that’s why Arron Asham’s so tough? ;-)

  2. PetroSteel says:

    DK, OMG!!! Pitt nailed it!!! They finally got the right guy for the job!!!

  3. JAL says:



    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

  4. JAL says:

    6 Pirates Prospects Offseason Tracker

    7 Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Spring Training Tracker


    8—Pirates Prospects

    Winter Leagues 12/22 Hernandez Homers

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Top Prospects: #2 – Jameson Taillon

    The Pirates Need Another Starting Pitcher

  5. JAL says:

    9 McEffect

    Pirates Top 20 Prospects for 2012

    10 Rumbunter

    Our Worst Pittsburgh Pirates Photoshops of 2011


    11 Gant Daily

    The Glass Eye: Christmas Wishes

    12 Boston Herald

    Allegations portray a Bill Conlin that a fellow columnist never knew

  6. JAL says:

    13 Annapolis Capital

    Baseball Notes: Orioles seeking new announcer

    14 Oklahoman

    Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp: Ryan Braun is the MVP despite positive drug test

    15 Baseball America

    The Best Baseball Books Of 2011

  7. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    -Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers First to Worst In Field Goal Percentage in Four Years

    Brown Looks To Make Franchise History As Steelers Offense Struggles

    NFL Displays the Value of PR at the Expense of Hypocrisy

    -Steelers Depot

    Terrible Podcast: Rams AP Beat Writer

    -Steelers Gab

    Moore Out For Rams Game; No News on Roethlisberger’s Ankle

  8. Officer Mancuso says:

    The love child of Chryst and Hurdle would be just what the doctor ordered, but that’s 30 years and a few technological developments down the road.

  9. TJA says:

    DK, great exchange with our friends up north. I laughed out loud when i read this. Was in Canada a month ago with cousins from Los Angeles…and they said …this a month ago when it was around 50 degrees give or take…”you mean it gets colder than this?” I said “sure come to Pittsburgh in January and we’ll talk…”

  10. Drew71 says:

    “DK: Where were other people’s ideas? Come on. I’m not coming clean without somebody at least trying!”

    What am I? Chopped Liver? Paul Graham? Jim Harbaugh?

    Give it up Dejan.

  11. Drew71 says:

    Dejan – I think i get the mixed feelings and maybe nuances of your points in the column today. Not to put words in your mouth – since you already wrote them – but my mixed feelings are:

    – A little (or a lot) snarky about Pitt, its AD, its hiring process and the position it put itself in.

    + Chryst didn’t hit a bad note. In fact he hit all the right notes. Didn’t WANT to like the outcome of the process, but Chryst sure makes it difficult not to.

    + And speaking of the hiring process, then does that mean Pitt GOT it right, and more importantly (because there is luck in any hiring), maybe the DID it right?

    – And then I come back to Smiling Steve Pederson and all my inner snark returns.

    He’s just a big ol’ Charity Sign, isn’t he? Blocking the view of everything good behind him.

  12. December 23

    57 days until Pirate Spring Training
    79 days until clock is correct on Dejan’s Blog
    48 days consecutive time has been incorrect

  13. JohninOshkosh says:

    We are so fortunate to share our long northern border with the great people of Canada. In addition to salt of the earth people and hockey, Canada’s third most important contribution to western civilization is, of course, The Kids in the Hall. In honour of DK’s trip to our great northern neighbours, I nominate “Girl Drink Drunk” as my favourite skit:

    What say all of you?

  14. Leefoo says:

    I like the hiring of Chryst. He seems to be what the doctor ordered for Pitt. Now, let’s see if PSU can get a good hire.

    The article JAL linked on Suisham is troubling. I doubt if he’ll be back next year. Kapinos doesn’t thrill me either, even IF he is from PSU.

    Merry Christmas to everyone!!

    Santa Foo


  15. JAL,
    “The prospects traded would have been Taillon, Marte, Heredia, and a lower prospect if the Pirates would given up what the Nats did.”

    Not sure I agree with you. You are listing higher ranked Pirate prospects [#2, #4, #5] on Baseball America’s lists than the Nationals. [#3, #4, #9]

    If we eliminate the top two prospects on each list, and stick with the 3 pitchers and a catcher theme that Nats gave up . . . .
    I would see the Pirates giving up #5 Heredia, #6 McPherson, and #7 Tony Sanchez plus a lower throw-in pitcher, as occurred with Nats. You could replace #9 Stetson Allie for either of the pitchers if you wish.

    An established Major League pitcher, throwing 200 + innings the last two seasons, with a 3 something ERA . . . with control through 2015 season . . . I make that trade in a minute!! Prospects are only prospects, not players!

  16. Drew71 says:

    Kinda hard to make comparisons of prospects on lists because they are JUST prospects.

    So I won’t (can’t) comment on who is more accurate in their comparison, JAL or Groat.

    Instead, not to cast asparagus on their accuracy, but by way of a talent value judgment I’ll say:
    – If I’m PBC and offered Gio for JAL’s list, I decline
    – If I’m PBC and offered Gio for Groat’s list, I accept

  17. Milo Hamilton says:

    Merry Christmas everybody.

    I don’t like throwing the word “prospects” around. I think it should be saved for guys like Marte who have excelled in the minor leagues. I call guys like Tony Sanchez a minor leaguer. Semantics, I know.

    My point is that I doubt they even considered discussing a possible Gio Gonzalez with Oakland. Why ? Because he’d cost them too much in arbitration in the next few years. Penny wise & pound foolish that Ebenezer Nutting. Bah Humbug.

  18. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’m OK with Kapinos, at least over Sepulveda. Sepulveda has never been as good as advertised, even when healthy (although he can tackle). Lee Monday night did consistently what Sepulveda was supposed to be able to do, but hasn’t, and that is kick the ball so it lands inside the 10 yard line and then bounces back towards the kicking team. That guy was GOOD.

  19. Bizrow says:

    Pirates don’t care enough about winning this year to go after someone like Gio. Its not in their “Plan”. I think they almost fell over on Federal St when the 2011 Bucs surprised us all. Although they did actually make trades at the deadline, for a while I really believe they did not know what to do.

    A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, a proven commodity like Gio is worth “prospects” who may or may not get to the show. Sanchez is a big ?? right now, IMHO anyways.

  20. JAL says:


    Depends on who does the ratings. Others had the three Nats at 2, 3, and 5

  21. JohninOshkosh says:

    Farewell, Jenifer Langosch. Pittsburgh’s loss is St. Louis’ gain.

  22. Drew71 says:

    Dejan just tweeted a pic from his hotel…

    Dejan_Kovacevic Dejan Kovacevic
    “Good morning, Winnipeg! The prairie skyline, as seen from my hotel on the outskirts. #Pens #NHLJets”

    The outskirts? I can’t believe he’s not staying downtown.

  23. JMB says:

    I saw that KLaw feels like Huntington “should” be on the hot-seat this season. In year five, he had better be fired if the MLB team doesn’t show meaningful improvement this season. He can take his extra two years of ext. as a bonus for towing the company line these last few years. NH’s botching of his early trades has dooming this team to cruddiness. The next guy will end up trading Cutch, so I hope that guy doesnt botch it as badly as NH blew the Bay trade.

    Langosh is going to the Cards’ beat. She wont have to do as much spinning/shoveling for that group since they actually try to win every season, and I wish her well. It has to be tough to spin FC & NH’s BS into positive rhetoric on a constant basis.

  24. Milo Hamilton says:

    @Mr. 71

    Do they have a Starbucks in Winnipeg ?

  25. Drew71 says:

    Milo – I’m trying to decide whether to respond back to you with something about iced coffee (a commie drink) or StarMoose.

    Both are kinda stupid so I’ll have to get back to you. (just kinda?)

  26. Milo Hamilton says:

    @Mr. 71

    I subscribe to the Denis Leary theory. I drink coffee flavored coffee.

  27. Drew71 says:

    Fine. I’ll stick with my Timothy Leary coffee.

  28. Drew71 says:

    (which explains my posts)

  29. Milo Hamilton says:

    I thought Timothy Leary was dead …

  30. Ya know, when you have a 16 year old pitcher as the #5 Prospect in your system, your system stinks!!!!

    As I sit here in my Pirate pullover, I wanted to be excited!! I want the Bucs to at least TRY to get better at the Major League level RIGHT NOW! I agree with Milo (NOT the lousy baseball announcer) that I doubt if BMTIB even tried for Gio.

    Our “Prospects” are still so far away. Marte is the only one on Baseball America list in top 9 who will open at AAA!

    Signing like Barajas do nothing for me.
    At least Barmes will make us forget the best “sliding into 1st Base” player in baseball.

  31. Drew71 says:

    Oh no. I’m outside. Looking in.

  32. JAL says:


    Partially because they invested in a lot of high school talent. Heredia is so high because he has number 1 starter potential. With Cole and Taillon they have 3 potential number 1 starters. If all goes well should Cole in 2013, and Taillon in 2014.

  33. Drew71 says:

    Anybody ever wonder if we’re gonna get one of those tweets like Jenifer, um, tweeted, except from Dejan, leaving to cover the Winnipeg Jets?

    Nah…not Downtown Dejan. Never happen. NEVER. HAPPEN.

    (But if it DOES happen, I’m gonna call the Jets and beg – BEG – for them to put up a giant Charity Sign and block the view of, what, the prairie?)

  34. JohninOshkosh says:

    You know what you gotta love about Dejan is his admiration for airports. He occasionally tweets the Pittsburgh airport’s twitter address (I don’t think I have ever been so bored as to actually look at that), he takes twitpics of things at airports and mentions, as above, how fabulous an airport is. As someone who traveled a lot in a previous life, and lives in a town with a huge airshow, I can truly appreciate his love of airports. Just for kicks, sometime, give us a list of your favorite airports. Not to be too biased, but I have always loved the fabulous used bookstore at the Milwaukee airport.

  35. JAL,
    “If all goes well,” Pedro Alvarez should be in the Bigs by mid-2010 and hit close to 30 homeruns by 2011. He was close——he had 4! Xavier Paul had more RBIs in less ABs and Bucs released him!

    “If all goes well” . . . when was the last time all things went well for the Pirates?? 1991.

    “Number 1 starter potential” . . . there’s that word ‘potential’ again. Maybe I just have the “holiday blues” but I don’t want to hear about potential and prospects——I want to hear “actualized!”

  36. JAL says:


    last time it went well is patrolling CF–McCutchen has been as good if not better than advertised and still can get better.

Other blogs
Sports: Rob Rossi | Steel Mill | Chipped Ice | Bucco Blog | iPreps | Pitt Locker Room | Penn State Sports
News: This Just In | Trib List | ICycle | Flow Back | Stories Behind Trib Stories  

» Top Sports
» Top News
» Top Breaking News