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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: So long, Aaron, James and Hines

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My Wednesday column calls on the Steelers to issue some painful goodbyes.

I promise you I don’t write stuff like this lightly, nor for a cheap attention-getting headline. Watched this team up close for several months, and it’s time for a change.

>> Went to the Penguins’ loss last night and, aside from a really poor period by Ben Lovejoy, there wasn’t a whole lot wrong with it. I know the 5-1 score doesn’t show that, and I’m not in the business of justifying lopsided losses. I just saw a little more to like than maybe some others did. A couple of glaring lapses aside, they skated more aggressively, created more offense and really took it to a pretty hot group of Senators.

We’ll see if that means anything on this trip to Washington and the two Florida teams that begins tonight, but I didn’t see it as the end of the world.

Judging from the crowd’s reaction, though, I’m guessing a few did.

>> Was told that James Neal is playing through no small amount of pain with that foot fracture, even if it isn’t at apparent risk of worsening.

But don’t forget, too, that Craig Adams looked like he blew out his knee Sunday at practice, then was right back out there last night.

They’re hockey players, eh?

>> So, Paul Maholm took a one-year, $4.75 million deal from the Cubs?

Was that really too much for the Pirates, or did they lose confidence in the strained left shoulder that ended his season in late August?

Never underestimate how much baseball management teams weigh future health into such equations. Maholm has an excellent history. The DL stint was the first of his career. But nobody knows the insides of a player’s body parts quite like the team employed him.

>> Pitt plays Rutgers tonight. Huge. Seriously.

The Scarlet Knights are 1-2 in the Big East — yeah, better than the Panthers’ 0-3 — and the bulk of the conference’s better teams come next on the schedule. If the tourniquet is ever going to get applied, it had better be in this one.

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