Blogs | Sports | News
Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

« Font size »
Decrease | Reset |Increase

Wakeup Call: Can anybody here score?

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> The chat is today at 1 p.m. Bring your tired, your high-ankle-sprained, your fractured-footed, your Twitter-challenged, and let’s have at it.

>> The Penguins looked a ton more competitive last night in D.C., and it still resulted in nothing more than an egg against Tomas Vokoun. Awfully hard to knock a team after they played that hard.

But …

Take a look at these conference standings. It’s easy to say the Penguins are in the thick of things on the eighth-place bubble. But where it gets a little scary is when you look at the teams just ahead of and just behind them. Out of the 6-7-8 teams, the only one I could see nose-diving is Toronto. Out of the 10-11 teams, I could see Winnipeg falling off, but I also could see a talented Buffalo team taking off.

If the Penguins make it, they’re going to need to go on a nice run at some point fairly soon. Beating the Florida teams would be a swell start.

>> Wasn’t able to catch Pitt hoops while on assignment in Denver, but I watched last night against Rutgers and … wow, seriously?

Twelve field goals?

Thirty-nine points?

At home?

Against Rutgers?

And Nasir Robinson doesn’t get his first bucket until midway through the second half?

It’s not a suspicion anymore: This Pitt team is terrible.

>> Ike Taylor appeared on his self-named show on our TribLIVE Radio yesterday, and he didn’t come close to taking the heat off Ryan Mundy despite being given a chance in the interview by host John Harris.

Mundy and Dick LeBeau share some blame, but Taylor was beaten on the coverage, then missed the tackle. It happens, and I’m not suggesting he does something weird like apologize. (In fact, as our Mark Kaboly researched, he actually had a very good overall year.) But he first let Mundy stand there in Denver and field all the questions, and now has blown another chance to take Mundy off the hook.


  1. I was also looking for some reason or someone to blame last night, but the Pens played their hearts out and came up empty. That has to hurt. I’m becoming resigned to the fact that this team will not make the playoffs this season. If they do, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  2. Is it just a coincidence, or does the Pens rash of injuries and nose dive in the standings have something to do with Crosby looking close to returning to action?

  3. JAL’s What You Do With What You’ve Got 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

  4. 7 Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Spring Training Tracker


    8—Pirates Prospects

    Minor League Depth — Pitching, Part 1 (Upper Level Starters)

    Report: Pirates Sign Doug Slaten

    Winter League Playoffs 1/11 — Gimenez Gives Aragua A Win

    9 Rumbunter

    The Pittsburgh Pirates System Stacks Up Well Against Houston Astros

    Pittsburgh Pirates Potential Stars Outweigh Cubs System Devoid of Superstars

    Mathematically Generated Pirates 2012 Lineup

    10 WHY GAVS

    What does Brad Lincoln bring to the table for 2012?

  5. 7 Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Spring Training Tracker


    8—Pirates Prospects

    Minor League Depth — Pitching, Part 1 (Upper Level Starters)

    Report: Pirates Sign Doug Slaten

    Winter League Playoffs 1/11 — Gimenez Gives Aragua A Win


    11 SF Chronicle

    Late-bloomer Vogelsong gets deal

    12 Fort Worth Star Telegram

    Steroids cast shadow on baseball’s Class of 2013

    13 Rockford Register Star

    Cubs’ Theo Epstein says Matt Garza trade talk overblown

    14 Washington Post

    Will: The Little League All Stars who were never beaten

    15 Seattle Post Intelligencer

    Report: Prince Fielder not likely to sign with Nationals


    16 Fangraphs

    Aging Strikeouts: You’ll Never Be This Good Again

    17 CBS Sports

    Selig will leave baseball admired because he refuses to leave baseball

    18 Yahoo Sports

    Happy Birthday Boy! Max Carey would be 122

    19 PBC Site

    Pirates bring lefty Slaten in on Minors contract

  8. WVU Blogs

    Metro News

    Gold And Blue Now: Thursday

    WV Illustrated

    REPORT: DeForest Set to Join WVU Staff



    Pens Can’t Score, Can’t Win. Fall To Capitals 1-0

  9. I’m in the camp that thinks we won’t see Sid until next year. If he is only going to be “skating on his own” on this trip, he’s still a long, long way from rejoining this team.

    It’s tough watching these guys right now, but after the wonderful past five years those guys have provided us fans, guess we have to just endure the rest of this season if they end up not being able to turn things around. I could see it going either way, but no matter what I’ll be along for the ride.

  10. Dejan……In his article, Ike clearly states that Lebeau called a 10 man front and that ‘he rolled with it’. I would say that is taking Mundy off the hook. I would think he’d have to BLAME Mundy first to even HAVE to take him off the hook.

    I have no problem with Ike. Without him, we’re not even IN the playoffs. And, even IF Mundy was out of position, which Ike doesn’t even allude to, it happens. Players make mistakes, just like bloggers, columnists, etc.



  11. Gonna be some interesting signings/releases, etc, on the Steelers.

    Also gonna be lots of hand wringing amongst the fandom.

    Wringing Foo

  12. Dejan,

    Good Morning. Sidney Crosby is scheduled to skate by himself. Whoop-dee-doo. Excuse me while I contain my excitement. Obviously this is a PR response to recent clamouring for answers. This whole situation has grown tiresome and old, even aside from the fact that the team is struggling right now. Just let fans and media know whats going on! I’m not sure why this is such a secret. For a team that over the course of the past few years has been Public Relations dynamo, they are really goofing this thing up.

    I’m speechless about the Pitt Panthers “basketball” “team”. Being an out-of-towner I have’nt been able to see a lot of the games, but it’s obvious that there is not a captain or leader on this team. One would have thought Gibbs or Robinson would be that, but it hasn’t worked out that way. Dixon deserves better, but at the same time these are the types of players he recruits. Aside from Adams next year, he usually picks from the nobody’s and leftovers that he can fit into his mold. I do think he’s a good coach and hope he sticks around for the long haul.

  13. I really liked #10 (WHYGAVS) and hope Lincoln gets a shot. I feel Correia should be the ‘old’ Karsten, aka, swingman.



  14. The Steelers Depot link is a great article on who is costing what on the Steelers and who might go.


  15. You cant be surprised that Taylor didnt come to Mundy’s defense, This is the same guy that had a Steeler official stand “guard” over his him to keep media after Sundays game while Mundy stood a few feet away and answered the media.

    Pitt basketball – where’s all the talk about Dixon being a good coach now. The guy never has been a good bench coach – never a great game planner – now the players are under-performing and the ship is sinking fast and it doesnt appear that the head coach will be providing a solution.

    DK: I was among those being “guarded,” and I was the last to ask if Ike might change his mind.

  16. Welcome back JAL :)

  17. Andrew…your first paragraph? Exactly!!!

  18. Dejan—In response to your headline question, apparently NOT. The hubby and I are in Pittsburgh sports withdrawal right now. Just can’t watch the Pens struggle after the Steelers’ disaster, and, wow, how do we look forward to the decades-long-losing Pirates?? I’m so depressed!

    DK: Rent “Office Space.” Best movie ever. Depression cured, Karen!

  19. January 12

    37 days until Pirate Spring Training

  20. There’s nothin’ like a good-ol’ Florida road trip that makes an injured player suddenly ready to rejoin his team.

    Oops… that’s not fair…

  21. Good news for Steelers fans. Only three more years on Ike Taylor’s contract. H should produce about two interceptions and three tackles during that time. Somewhere, Mel Blount sits just shaking his head.

    Pens are not getting to the front of the net. No traffic in front of the other teams goalie. Very reminiscent of the TB playoff series last year. Grind away on the boards but generate no real scoring chances as a result of puck possession.

    Pretty fair work by MAF last night, but once again, he gave up a crucial goal at the worst possible time. To Jason Chimera. He was left out to dry by both Malkin and Michalek, but the shot was unscreened. No move, just an open shot. By Jason Chimera.

  22. “There’s nothin’ like a good-ol’ Florida road trip that makes an injured player suddenly ready to rejoin his team.

    Oops… that’s not fair…” yeah, its stupid

  23. Where is Tyler Kennedy? He needs to step up. I think it takes someone like this to help right this ship to “get by” team gets back to strength.

    DK: He isn’t scoring, but at least he isn’t showing any grit, either.

  24. Dude rips a slap shot top shelf, corner from inside the circles and its a referendum on MAF?


  25. Interesting story from San Jose Mercury News

    Was Tim Tebow’s game-winning touchdown pass for Denver Broncos an illegal play?

  26. The Pirates signed lefty reliever Doug Slaten to a minor league deal.

  27. I love Fleury apologists. Wow.

  28. Dave g

    Yes, brief story on Slaten signing in link 8

  29. CWalton_67
    January 12th, 2012 – 12:46 pm Good news for Steelers fans. Only three more years on Ike Taylor’s contract. He should produce about two interceptions and three tackles during that time. Somewhere, Mel Blount sits just shaking his head.

    Really CWalton?? Would it be safe to assume you didn’t watch any of their games this season? If you’d have you would have seen Ike Taylor have a tremendous season. One bad game doesn’t take away from the fact that he is the Number 1 cornerback, on the Number 1 pass defense, who regularly covered the opponents Number 1 receiver.

  30. I feel foolish sometimes when I am surprised by Pittsburgh sports fans. Here I am surprised again.

    Dejan’s Chat contained a couple references to Dan Bylsma being fired because of Penguins (substitutes) being so dismal recently.

    People here are dumping on Jamie Dixon after Pitt has first down season in his 8 years.

    Earlier this week and continuing until now folks are calling for the heads of Dick Lebeau and Bruce Arians on a silver platter. And save room on that silver platter for the head of Mike Tomlin.

    I understand the “what have you done for me lately” mentality, but dear gussy . . . . .

    By the way, in reference to your Wakeup Call title——I had a date last night: didn’t score!

  31. JAL,
    #27 Gerry Dulac discussed that yesterday at the big newspaper on the other side of the river. I think Trib did too.

    JAL: Won’t You Come Home, Bill Bailey, (JAL) would have been better!!

  32. Yes, G2M2S…and those same fans will be hurt, shocked and angry when a player or coach bolts for more money.

    For yinzer sports fans, in terms of watching winners and all-time great players, the past six years of Pittsburgh sports have been topped only by the last half of the 70s, and now three weeks of hard losses are upon us and it’s, “Loyalty? What loyalty? These millionaires are disposable parts, they’re of no use to the team anymore, send ‘em packing, hire new coaches, the goalie stinks…”

    But Jagr’s a fickle, disloyal jerk for taking an extra mil or two. Hilarious double standard.

  33. With snow blustering about me reminding me of the savage return of winter, there is Dejan’s weekly chat piercing through the doldrums like a sun kissed summer day.

    Very interesting chat today. Dejan’s referencing of the significance of the Sid Bream play is right on point. I think it is Beloit College that every autumn lists the cultural, political and societal realities of the incoming freshman class. It makes those of us who were freshmen many years ago feel very old. As a Pirate fan it is hard to imagine that anyone under the age of 28, or even older, has no inkling of what a spiritually deflating moment that was. I remember sitting in my apartment in East Lansing realizing that an era was over. Everybody knew Bonds and Drabek were gone. The image of Andy Van Slyke in the outfield remains as vivid an image as anything in my sports memory. I couldn’t even watch the MLB Network’s showing of it last year. To this day, it is the only time my mother has called me to ask if I was doing all right after the end of a sporting event.

    It hurt at the time but I could not imagine that the franchise might be irretrievably broken after it.

  34. Lucky me, I’ve been suffering through migraines for 3 days so I haven’t had to watch much of the Penguins and Panthers or read articles about how certain athletes in this town think they are put off being held accountable.

    If it is so hard, imagine if they were in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas or Los Angeles…. those guys would come running back so quick.

    DK: Your hypothesis that a larger market means a meaner set of sports writers has some rather large holes in it. I can cite many smaller ones where it’s very aggressive (Cincinnati is a great one), and many larger ones where they aren’t (L.A. and Dallas actually stand out). For the most part, Pittsburgh is about in the middle.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.

Other Blogs
Sports: Dejan Kovacevic | Steel Mill | Chipped Ice | Bucco Blog | Sitting Ringside | Pitt Locker Room | Penn State Sports | H.S. Sports Insiders
News: This Just In | Trib List
» Top Sports
» Top News
» Top Breaking News