Blogs | Sports | News
Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Why money deals drag on


Brief and to the Point …

>> My Wednesday column is … well, you’ll see. Suffice it to say I was standing in a snowfall Saturday afternoon and caught up in the moment.

>> The panic at both ends of the Pirates-Yankees A.J. Burnett talks, I can promise you, is not shared by the teams themselves. This is how these things go, as I’ve been writing for a week now. They’ve lasted several months, based on others I’ve covered. And there are all kinds of reasons for that, not least of which is that neither team is in need of a pitcher or a lump of cash in mid-February.

Relax. There’s no sign that it won’t get done.

>> Part of the fun of being a passionate follower of sports is paying at least some attention to the opposition. As well as some appreciation.

The great Teemu Selanne will play in Pittsburgh tonight for possibly the last time. Especially if you’re there, enjoy every shift. And I mean that. Follow him — not the puck — around the attacking zone when Anaheim is in the Penguins’ end. He has one of the most natural, elegant offensive instincts you’ll ever see.

Oh, and he’s still fantastic at 41.

>> Also appreciating an out-of-town entity, the Red Wings added to their status as the greatest franchise in sports over the past two decades by extending their home winning streak to a mind-boggling 21. That record stood in the NHL since 1930.

>> If it’s worth $20 million to West Virginia to leave the Big East right away, why is Pitt apparently willing to passively wait out the two years?

The Panthers owe all involved a detailed explanation if they end up sitting still.

As for the Mountaineers, it’s easy to see it was the right move financially and otherwise, and it’s highly telling that the Big 12 thought enough of this to have chipped in some of the money.

Might the ACC do the same to get Pitt and Syracuse in right away?

As always in college athletics, one move ups the ante for the next.


  1. Eric Bowser says:

    The reaction by some in the media and fans about this perceived delay in AJ Burnett going to Pittsburgh is nuts. We’ve some fans and media ripping the team for even entertaining the trade, some who say we’re giving up too much, and others who are saying it is taking too long. Can’t anymore understand the art of a trade? Those supporting the Pirates should realize, the longer this plays out, the better it should be for the team because New York is the team looking to dump Burnett, not Pittsburgh. The leverage game is advantage Pittsburgh for once, maybe some fans and media don’t know how to take that news.

    Teemu Selanne – What a talent, enjoy it tonight folks.

    When PITT and Steve Pederson do the right thing on the first go round, it will be a first. Why Pitt can’t understand the long-term benefits to a short-term financial investment/expense is beyond me. The basketball and football programs are not prepared for this change to the ACC, so the sooner these programs get acclimated to the opponents and new recruiting markets, it would hopefully help the rebuilding.

  2. Ryan (Nor Cal Stlrfan) says:

    DK-How long did it take for you to come up with today’s article? It was hilarious and I don’t recall reading anything like it before….I mean, a talking building? Who knew?

    DK: In all candor, Ryan, you won’t see another like it for a while. Took me about four days, a ton of caffeine and one really nasty headache Tuesday night. I don’t consider myself an expository writer.

  3. pghboyinca says:

    I play in Teemu’s celebrity poker tourney every year to raise money for his charity, the guy is loved beyond beleif in Southern Cal. He is respected by his teammates as well as opposition, they all show for the tourney. Total class act all the way and a remarkable athlete at 41. After stinking it up for the first 90 days the Ducks are red hot, hopefullly the Pens don’t take them lightly.

  4. Drew71 says:

    Yes. Suffice it. Glad to see I’m not the only one who’s nuts around here.

    Though I have quite a large head start.

    So to speak.

  5. Piglegs Robinson says:

    For those who say Bucs giving up too much for Burnett.

    Braves signed Derek Lowe (Burnett is better) to 4 year, 60 million contract in 2008 when he was 36 years old.
    Even if Pgh pays their maximum of 15 million, its still only half as much as that contract was.
    Not saying it was a good contract, but even 7.5 mil a year is a good deal for a pitcher of Burnett’s caliber and age.

  6. JAL says:

    JAL’s I Believe In You Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

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

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Spring Training Tracker


    5—Pirates Prospects

    No Reason For the Pirates to Cave On Burnett

    A Recent History of the 82nd Win – 1988

  7. JAL says:

    6 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Still waiting on AJ

    7 Rumbunter

    Will Evan Meek Regain His Velocity?

    8 Bucs Dugout

    Rank The Pirates’ Offseason Acquisitions


    9 Coos Bay World

    Weidman’s Pittsburgh pursuit continues

    10 KDKA Radio

    Tigers Manager Jim Leyland: Burnett A ‘Superior Talent’

  8. JAL says:

    11 Houston Chronicle

    Astros radio icon Milo Hamilton to announce broadcast retirement

    12 Naples News

    MLB: Barron Collier alum Chris Resop honored before Cougars’ opener‎—resop_jersey/

    13 New York Times

    Yankees Get Ready to Trade Another Disappointing Pitcher

    14 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Brewers win arbitration case against Veras

  9. JAL says:


    15 PBC Site

    Pirates opt to pass on ex-big leaguer Young

    16 Grantland

    2012 MLB Season Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates

    17 Climbing Tal’s Hill

    The N.L. Central Farewell Tour: Pittsburgh Pirates Edition

  10. JAL says:

    Pitt Blogs

    21 Pitt Blather

    Expansiopocolypse: Finally, WVU Will Go

    22 Cardiac Hill

    Backyard Brawl: Pitt And West Virginia Falling Heading Into Matchup

    WVU Blogs

    23 Metro News

    VIDEO: Breaking Down WVU’s Schedule

  11. IC Heavy says:

    Great article, you have no idea how many times I have had a conversation with an inanimate object. Of course my conversations were not as interesting as the one you had with the Igloo. Great tribute to the old place, it really would be interesting if “these walls could talk”, or what’s left of them. This article should help people reflect and reminisce on their favorite memories at the Arena. It is hard to think what my favorite memory of the place would be as I attended so many Pens games, concerts, truck show, and WWE Events. Much like the imprint Three Rivers has on my mind the Igloo will do the same. Once again, great tribute!

    DK: Thanks, IC.

  12. JAL says:

    24 WV Illustrated

    WVU Officially Joining Big 12 in July


    25 Pensburgh

    Mario Lemieux was much closer to moving the Penguins than he’d like you to think

    26 Just for Wallyworld the WVU Fight Song

  13. Dave.Pgh says:

    In the immortal words of Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh, that column was out there.

    DK: Thanks, Dave.

  14. Hooco01 says:

    Great piece of writing. Especially the Root Sports reference.

    DK: Thanks, Hooco. I’m sure not everyone appreciated it!

  15. Denise says:

    DK, great column and a nice tribute to the Igloo. It actually brought tears to my eyes, although I’m not sure what that says about me other than maybe I always miss Pittsburgh!

    DK: Thanks, Denise. Come home!

  16. Jandy says:

    Quick response here before I read Wednesday’s column…WIld was beating the Ducks last night 1-0 well into the second period. They even killed off a double minor penalty. Harding stood on his head for the WIld. I was watching Selanne…he definitely is underappreciated in the east, as we see so little of him. The Ducks won 2-1.
    I also have to say, I think hockey players are wonderful at doing charity things…these guys are tough athletes but they are also super human beings.

  17. bman says:

    Very much enjoyed the article, DK. Especially the line about Root Sports…

    DK: Thanks, Bman.

  18. Jandy says:

    Ahhhh, I’m dripping tears in my coffee. Salty coffee..yuck.
    DK, you constantly amaze me.

    DK: Thanks, Jandy. Salty coffee is terrible. They’re actually selling that now.

  19. Jandy says:

    Happy 40th Jaromir Jagr.

    3 days until pitches and catchers report to training camp. I’m going to have to get Groat to buy me a beer!

  20. Karen22 says:

    Two thumbs up on your column! (Root Sports…heh heh heh)…

    DK: Thanks, Karen.

  21. kurtzy8 says:

    While the Wings streak is impressive, it should be noted that their “winning” streak should be more of an “unbeaten” streak. Three of the games they “won” came via the shootout. The 1929-30 Bruins and the 1975-76 Flyers did not have the luxury of the shootout to earn the win, and therefore, would have resulted in a tie. Not hatin’ just sayin’…

  22. Nancy52 says:

    Laughter and tears from the same column.
    All I can say is thank you no matter how long
    it took you to write it.

    DK: Thanks, Nancy. That’s really nice.

  23. mayhay22 says:

    I do feel panic about the Burnett situation. Irrational or not, the longer it lingers, the more I fear that it won’t get done. Enjoyed the column. Nice to see some “atta-boy” comments on the board after a few that weren’t so well received.

  24. NMR says:

    Only six sentences on the AJ Burnett trade?

    DK should really stick to the NBA…

    Seriously, you need to write a novel. Don’t tell us you didn’t have fun with that column.

    DK: Coming up with the various elements was fun. Putting them together was work. I have some horrible, horrible rough drafts I could show you.

  25. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Good, entertaining column. Did anyone converse with or cry over the Syria Mosque when it came down? Saw some great concerts there in the late 60’s. Just wonderin’

    Gorkys is my pick for prospect to go for A.J. or Free Brad Lincoln and let that team with the big-teethed native American on their hats have him. Gorkys will never crack the outfield for the Bucs. Free Gorkys!

    DK: Thanks, Lucky.

  26. RightSaidTed says:

    The Pitt/Syracuse/ACC situation is different from WVU/Big 12. The Big 12 was desperate for a tenth team to fill out its 2012 football schedule and was willing to pay half of the exit fee for that. The ACC doesn’t need Pitt/Syracuse this year. There may be an argument that it makes financial sense to try and move now but it has to be something else than a comparison to WVU.

  27. scapper says:

    I don’t know…that Paul Childs was one tough gamer. Heck, one time he got tripped and he lay on the field (sorry, the “pitch”) writhing and twisting and spasming for only 45 seconds or so! Toughest soccer player I ever saw.

  28. radio wave says:

    We often see the screen name Milo Hamilton on this blog.

    Just a note that the real Milo Hamilton will hold a press conference later today announcing 2012 will be his last year of mlb broadcasting.

    I wasn’t here in the 70’s, and I understand he wasn’t well received here.
    But whomever had followed Bob Prince would have had a hard time.

  29. Absolute59 says:

    DK: That was a great piece. For someone who in addition to hockey games attended Spirit indoor soccer and Triangles tennis not to mention concerts including a James Taylor concert where they opened the roof as he sang “Up on the Roof” thanks for the stroll down memory lane.

    DK: Thanks, Paul!

  30. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Milo and Lanny weren’t close. Even the fans knew that. Not much was hidden. Milo was somewhat arrogant when he left, saying how much better his Cubs deal was “in every way”. Our Milo here on the blog is much better.

  31. JAL says:


    Very enjoyable column. If buildings could talk.

    DK: Thanks, Joe.

  32. CWalton_67 says:

    Growing up, a trip to the Igloo was a big deal. Pens games, concerts, even the Harlem Globetrotters once. I am sure there are some who do not grasp the significance, but for those of us who spent our time there, your column today ranks among your finest ever, Dejan. Thanks for making the effort to get into words what many of us are feeling and are incapable of articulating. It wasn’t just a uniquely shaped building-it was the heart of the town where I grew up.

    DK: Thanks, Chris, but I don’t agree. It’s still missing something. Not sure what.

  33. JohninOshkosh says:

    Mr. Civic Arena: I’m sorry you had to learn what the Greeks observed in antiquity: nothing endures but change. Please relay my fondest, sentimental regards to Tiger Stadium, the Montreal Forum and Chicago Stadium in the World to Come.

    Very nice column.

    DK: Thanks, John.

  34. 21sthebest says:

    And I thought I was the only one who went to see the Spirit and Triangles.

  35. tmp444 says:

    Well done, DK. Well done, indeed.

    The Vince Lascheid/John Barbero line did it for me.

    DK: Thanks, Todd. Those were good men.

  36. Sarcastic Sword says:

    Big diff between Pitt/ ACC and WVU/Big12..

    The ACC doesnt need Pitt or Syracuse for the 2012 season.

    The Big 12 had an odd number of teams (Missouri and TX A&M leaving and adding TCU) – they desperately wanted to add another team for the 2012 season and WVU was the only school that guaranteed the Big 12 that they would join them, even if it meant a court battle, which is also why the Big 12 is ponying up $9M of the agreed upon $20M exit fee.

    Plus, if Pitt and Syr stay, it seems the Big East is now saying they wont hold Pitt to the 27 month waiting period since the BE is adding 6 teams in 2013. Pitt would look really bad if they and Syr left which would give the BE a 5 team conf this season.

    DK: Good points all.

  37. Fillet_Mimnaw says:

    Great piece. Reading it not only brought back the events you mentioned but also brought to the forefront many that had settled deep in the memory bank, almost forgotten. Ahh, arena ole friend the times we had. From stepping onto the pitch and playing in between periods of Spirit games to sleeping out for concert tickets in the midst of winter to attending said concerts and events throughout the years. Eventually you will be gone, but never forgotten.

    I realize there were only so many tough guy spots, but no Gary Rissling? “By then his scared face was said to resemble Gerry Cheevers’ goaltendering mask, except that Rissling’s scars were real.” ** **

    Thanks for conjuring up those memories.

    DK: Thing with Riss is that he didn’t play that long. Thanks, Fillet.

  38. Captain of D11 says:

    Even though it came in a loss, I thought the roof shook the hardest Game 7 in ’93 against the Islanders, when the Pens scored 2 goals in about 2 minutes to tie the game late in the third period with Mario in box. That noise was even louder by comparison to the silence following David Volek’s second goal of the game in overtime.

    Maybe that’s why Mr. Igloo didn’t mention it…

  39. Kevin says:

    DK –

    Absolutely LOVED the column today. My father worked at the Igloo from 1976 until his death in 2010 leaving as the head ticket taker and friend of many workers, athletes, GM’s and even sports reporters!

    I will never forget walking into Gate 2 to see him when I did attend various events (the least enjoyable being a Huey Lewis concert), and watching him interact with various players as they came to work “with” him.

    Aside from my father, the one thing that sticks with me to this day is the smell! Stale nachos and beer…A distinct, wonderful, neverending memory that I have with me no matter where I am!

    DK: Thanks for sharing that, Kevin. The faces very rarely changed around the Arena.

    Thanks for the homage to our Igloo!

  40. Sarcastic Sword says:

    Loudest I ever heard the Arena was in 1991 when the Pens beat Boston in game 6 to advance to their first ever Stanley Cup Finals….I swear the cement beneath my feet in section C-7 was moving and Im getting goosebumps writing this – my fav arena moment ever as it was a day I never thought I would ever see,,,

  41. EmpChaz says:

    My best civic arena memory? How about the Club MTV tour featuring tone loc, information society, was not was and the headliner – Milli Vanili. For pure comedy, that will never be eclipsed.

  42. MarkV says:

    DK –

    Great column. Brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye. The line for Lascheid/Barbero captured it all perfectly.

    And when it comes to writing about Pittsburgh, nobody’s better than you.

    DK: Thanks, Mark.

  43. Sarcastic Sword says:

    Your column today was the best work I have read from you. Funny….Nostalgic….

    Best compliment I can give is that its Collier-esque….

    DK: Thanks, SS.

  44. Matty G says:

    DK, great article on the arena. I’ll be honest, at first when I realized it was a conversation with the Civic Arena, I mentally “rolled my eyes”, but continued reading. By the time I finished the article, I was pretty sentimental about the ‘ol arena myself, and hoped like hell this conversation actually took place. I prefer to believe it did :)

    And as for Teemu. Unreal person. I’m glad so many people truly appreciate this athlete’s accomplishments and contributions at his age, but still somehow feel like he’s not being regarded as the modern day icon that he is.

    I also briefly thought how nice if the Penguins could somehow grab Teemu at the deadline if he were to waive what I believe is a stringent no-trade clause. But, along with the clause, I think everything I’ve heard the past few years is that Teemu wants nothing to do with playoffs unless it involves Anaheim, which makes me like the guy even more.

    DK: Thanks, Matt. And I’m glad you shared the eye-rolling experience. Biggest hurdle by far was getting an introduction that wouldn’t lose the eye-rollers.

  45. Bizrow says:

    A lot of new monikers in here, might be time to take another roll call and see where everyone is from

  46. Jandy says:

    Duncansville (near Altoona) PA here
    ::wavin:: Hi Biz =)

  47. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:


    I’ve moved from Mason, OH (scratch that one off) to Liberty Township, OH.

    It’s only 6 miles away from my old home here in the Cincy burbs, but still light years away from the comfort of Pittsburgh.

  48. Kevin says:


    Born & raised in Pittsburgh, currently live in Cumberland County

  49. NMR says:

    “I have some horrible, horrible rough drafts I could show you.”

    Coming soon to DK’s blog: “The B-Sides: Sh*t They Didn’t Publish”

    or something like that…

    The Selanne line is fantastic perspective. Sport as entertainment; regardless of wins, losses, rings, or payroll.

  50. buckeyehba says:

    I agree Gorky’s not going to crack PBC lineup. However, he is too valuable a piece to be involved in the Burnett saga. If this deal gets done the players will be more of the throw in variety.

  51. Denise says:

    I just have to say that I am happy to read that I’m not the only one who shed a tear over the old Igloo in this column! Some times it is tough being a diehard Pittsburgh fan living in Patriot/Bruin country here in Boston.

  52. Milo Hamilton says:

    Another day & another deal Neal Huntington can’t get done.

    DK: Milo, do you never trust me on anything? Relax.

  53. Skip says:

    Re your article today: Awesome piece of writing, DK! That’s the DK I love!

    DK: Thanks, Skip. The one that everyone hates will be back soon enough, I’m sure.

  54. Milo Hamilton says:

    Trust you implicitly DK. But it wouldn’t fit my narrative.

  55. JohninOshkosh says:

    This was my favorite thread ever on this blog. Thanks to all for sharing your thoughts on the Igloo, especially Kevin.

  56. Naje says:

    DK– thought you’d sprinkle in that late December, ’85 OMD / Thompson Twins concert…

    Great column… needs a little workshopping as they say in the theater world, but terrific premise… and memories.

  57. Ace Wilde says:

    Hey DK,

    Great column! I have to admit it has been very painful watching the slow demolition of the Civic Arena. I too believe we owe it alot more. This column reminded me of the time i knew i would be walking out of that great venue for the final time.

    I moved to Myrtle Beach, SC in 2003. The hockey coverage here in the south is less than stellar. Thank Gore for the internet. I along with everyone else suffered through the dark ages and the lockout. I rejoiced with the rebirth of the franchise with the drafting of Sidney Crosby. I have made numerous 3 hour drives (one way) to Raleigh, NC to watch the Penguins take on the Hurricanes. I have sat inside the RBC Center and wondered if the Penguins would ever enjoy a building as nice (Pens fans, if you are ever looking to make a road trip to enjoy a road game i highly recommend this city and venue. You won’t be disappointed). When Mario announced the approval of the new arena deal i rejoiced again. At the same time i knew the demolition of the Civic Arena was inevitable, a thought that brought on sadness.

    I started watching hockey when i was 7 years old in the late 80’s. My family of course are die hard Steelers and Pirates fans. But for me hockey and the Penguins were always number one. The franchise and the building always felt like they belonged to me.

    Fast Forward to 2009. It was a great season as we all remember. I of course took my usual road trips to watch the regular season games. My friend Jared (another displaced fan) watched the playoffs intently knowing that it would take a miracle run by Carolina for us to enjoy a playoff game. We watched the Hurricanes just as much as the Penguins and were surprised when they knocked off both New Jersey and Boston to advance to the conference finals. So of course we both went to Game 3 and enjoyed Geno holding court. The Penguins went on of course to win the Stanley Cup.

    That summer the Consol Energy Center really began to take shape and we all knew it would be the final season for the Civic Arena. It had been several years since i had been home and i decided there was no way that i was going to miss the final home opener and banner raising ceremony. I wouldn’t miss it even if i had to buy tickets on a third party sight and pay the inflated price (those were the most expensive C level seats i ever paid for).

    That evening will always be forever in my mind. The weather wasn’t great. It was a mostly gray and drizzling all day and into the evening. But that didn’t matter. We were going to cap off a great summer of Stanley by raising a banner during the final home opener. Who can forget the roar that arose from the crowd when Paul Steigerwald took the podium and asked “How was your summer?” The ceremony was great, the player introductions were awesome (who would have thought Max Talbot would get the ovation worthy of Crosby and Malkin?) They beat the Rangers that evening. Before the evening was over i walked around the crowded concourses and took it all in. I exited the gate and stood there and looked at the her with sadness knowing it would be the last time. I tried to cement that image. The lights were shining bright and the steel roof was illuminated as always. It still seemed like a moment of sadness though. Then much like the experience you had the building spoke to me. It said “Do you remember the first time you walked up the hill and saw me? Remember the first event you ever witnessed here? I was 11 years old. My parents didn’t have money to spend on Penguins tickets. But i was a member of the Junior Penguins fan club (a $10 membership fee). One of the perks was getting to watch a practice at the Civic Arena followed by an autograph session. I had seen the building numerous times on TV but to actually be walking up the hill and seeing it for the first time was awesome. I remember seeing the ice for the first time and watching my favorite players take the ice. Later on that day I waited in line to enter the Igloo Club to get an autograph from Mario Lemieux (to this day i can’t believe i was that close to greatness).

    The building spoke to me again: Remember every time you walked up that hill toward me.

    It all hit me. It was the same feeling every time. The sun would always be going down. The outside arena lights would be focused on the arena highlighting the Pittsburgh steel domed roof. The crowd would always be buzzing inside and out. It was always a great feeling. Even though it was old and cramped you were always going to have a great time and have a great story to tell.

    The building spoke one final time: That’s how i want you to remember me.

    So that is how i will honor my favorite venue.

  58. Milo Hamilton says:


    I have a picture, pinned to my wall.

  59. Dan1283 says:

    Dejan, GREAT column. Mark this one for your year-end vote. Thanks for giving the arena a proper send-off that wasn’t overly dramatic or sappy.

    My favorite memory? Early in the decade when Alexei Kovalev scored a hat trick against Philly (I think it was the year Mario came back), the Flyers pulled Boucher only to put him back in when Roman Cechmanek was equally schooled, and the sellout crowd started a “We want 10!” chant once the Penguins scored their ninth goal. I was in section B behind the net and I haven’t heard a chant like that since. Those were some fun, fun years!

  60. Jandy says:

    @Ace Wilde ~ thanks for making me cry again!

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