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Wakeup Call: Neal, ‘throw-in’ return to Dallas

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Brief and to the Point …

>> My Wednesday column tries like crazy to get Jamie Dixon to open up about this rough season at Pitt. I can assure you it wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t necessarily successful.

Dixon, by the way, gets my vote from our little poll yesterday about Pittsburgh’s best coach. Yes, Mike Tomlin and Dan Bylsma have won championships, and Dixon hasn’t reached the Final Four. But nothing impresses me more than sustained excellence, and Dixon’s got a few years on both.

I see that at least a handful of your replies yesterday agreed.

>> One thing to watch tonight in the Pitt game is how the Panthers handle the St. John’s matchup-zone defense. Dixon said it will be a rarity for his team.

Might help if Ashton Gibbs sinks his first 3-pointer in, oh, four games now.

>> On that note, let me as another question of those who follow the Panthers: What was most responsible for this team’s downfall in 2011-12:

  1. Gibbs
  2. Injuries to Nasir Robinson and Tray Woodall
  3. Khem Birch walking out
  4. Poor coaching

>> Ben Howland and his UCLA program are expected to get buried by a Sports Illustrated report today. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

>> James Neal makes his triumphant return to Dallas tonight with the Penguins. Imagine what kind of feeling that will be for all concerned.

Say what you will about the Stars finding a nice player in Alex Goligoski, but make no mistake: This was robbery by Ray Shero and his staff. All you need to know is that Shero and counterpart Joe Nieuwendyk had months of discussions regarding Neal/Goligoski, but it wasn’t until Nieuwendyk relented and threw in Matt Niskanen that Shero accepted.

A throw-in!

>> The soccer is coming soon. Seriously. Probably Monday, barring news developments.

I’ll be doing it just to sell hits and/or bring in cheap internet hits.

Comments

  1. aglebagel says:

    I really think Khem Birch walking out was the biggest blow to the Panthers this year. There is just no paint presence whatsoever.

    Count me as very intrigued by what comes out in that SI report on Howland and UCLA.

    @Jandy- I’m an actor in the national tour of a Broadway musical. I’m actually incredibly lucky that the cast is filled with a bunch of other sports fans (not usually the case, as you might imagine), including a couple others from the Burgh.

  2. Nate says:

    Neal is a wonderful player to have, esp. with the Penguins depth at center. They’ve needed that “scoring” winger for a while now. That being said, Malkin’s the leader on that line and it feels like Kunitz does so much of the dirty work. Without Neal, the Pens would still be well in the playoff picture.

    Gogo leads the entire Dallas team in ice time, and he’s played the equivalent of three seasons in the NHL. If the Pens didn’t have Letang, Goligoski would have been far less expendable – and that’s reflected by Shero’s not wanting to trade him. I’d sure rather have Gogo over Martin.

    It wasn’t “robbery”, and that’s kind of an insult to Goligoski. It was as Shero said, “a hockey trade”. Dallas has Benn, Eriksson, and Ryder on the wings. They needed a young puck moving defenseman – Pens needed a young high goal scoring winger. It worked.

  3. Skilliemischief says:

    I think it was the combo of Woodall being hurt and Birch leaving (physically & mentally). Even though he was a freshman that only played in a few games, you could see his impact defensively in the paint. I guess we also have to expect Pitt to have a down year once in a while. But even beyond that I think Pitts biggest problem is not having a real go to guy in the clutch. Gibbs is their best scorer but cannot create shots for himself, and is not the type of player that can take over a game. So much for Taylor being a mcyd’s all American, he has really been a disappointment to me too.

  4. JAL says:

    JAL’s Jumpin’ In The Morning Morning Links

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 Yahoo Free Agent Tracker

    http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=AvN8KLXkNW0TcRjzSCagLIMBbgM6?slug=jp-passan_ultimate_free_agent_tracker_baseball_110211

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Spring Training Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/st2012

  5. JAL says:

    PIRATE BLOGS

    5—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates Bullpen Crowded This Spring

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/02/pirates-bullpen-crowded-this-spring.html

    Kensing, Lincoln Injury Updates

    http://blogs.piratesprospects.com/robinson/kensing-lincoln-injury-updates/

    6 Rumbunter

    A.J. Burnett: Did the Pirates Score the Steal of the Offseason?

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/02/29/a-j-burnett-did-the-pirates-score-the-steal-of-the-offseason/

    7 Change for a Nickel

    High camp, lowdown, Feb. 28: Oops, I did it again

    http://tomsinger.mlblogs.com/2012/02/28/high-camp-lowdown-feb-28-oops-i-did-it-again/

    8 Hyzdu Headquarters

    Wanted: Slightly More than Above Average

    http://hyzduhq.blogspot.com/2012/02/wanted-slightly-more-than-above-average.html

  6. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES

    9 Bradenton Herald

    Pittsburgh-Bradenton ties continue to bloom

    http://www.bradenton.com/2012/02/29/3906875/pittsburgh-bradenton-ties-continue.html

    10 Pittsburgh Tribune Review

    Health holds the key to Pirates starting pitcher Bedard’s value

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/pirates/s_784017.html

    11 CSN Chicago

    Maholm looking forward to bigger stage with Cubs

    http://www.csnchicago.com/blog/cubs-talk/post/Maholm-looking-forward-to-bigger-stage-w?blockID=660188&feedID=10336

    12 The Kittanning Paper

    BUFFONE: What’s in a Number?

    http://www.kittanningpaper.com/2012/02/29/buffone-whats-in-a-number/23969

    13 Sports Illustrated

    Pirates SP Morton throwing without limitations

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/baseball/mlb/wires/02/28/2010.ap.bbn.pirates.morton.1st.ld.writethru.0671/

  7. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    19 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Hightower vs. Poe Becoming a Hotly Debated Steelers Draft Argument

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/2/28/2830175/2012-nfl-scouting-combine-draft-dontari-poe-donta-hightower-steelers

    2012 NFL Scouting Combine Open Thread: Defensive Backs Close the Show

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/2/28/2830198/2012-nfl-scouting-combine-draft-defensive-backs-mark-barron-steelers

    Missing on a Quarterback in the First Round of the NFL Draft Often Proves to Be Costly for Most Teams

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/2/28/2830605/missing-on-a-quarterback-in-the-first-round-of-the-nfl-draft-often

    20 Steelers Depot

    - Steelers Versus Giants Perhaps?

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/02/steelers-versus-giants-perhaps-2012-nfl-season-opener-moved-to-wednesday/

    21 Steelers Gab

    Commentary: Raiders FA RB Michael Bush a Great Fit in the Steel City

    http://www.steelersgab.com/2012/02/28/commentary-raiders-fa-rb-michael-bush-a-great-fit-in-the-steel-city/

  8. JAL says:

    WVU Blogs

    24 Metro News

    Mountaineers Thump DePaul

    http://www.wvmetronews.com/wvu.cfm?func=displayfullstory&storyid=51250

    25 WV Illustrated

    Men’s Basketball: WVU vs. DePaul Game Recap

    http://www.wvillustrated.com/story/17038727/mens-basketball-wvu-vs-depaul-game-recap

    Former WVU Guard Alex Ruoff Rehabbing Torn ACL in Morgantown

    http://www.wvillustrated.com/story/17019624/former-wvu-guard-alex-ruoff-rehabbing-torn-acl-in-morgantown

    PENGUIN BLOGS

    26 Pensburgh

    Five things the Penguins need to do EVERY DAY so we can generate lots of lists and page views

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2012/2/27/2828147/five-things-the-penguins-need-to-do-every-day-so-we-can-generate-lots

  9. JAL says:

    Title Song Jumpin in the morning by Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, 2009. She does classic jazz and blues. She will be at The Berks Jazz Fest in Reading, PA on March 31 and at Blues Alley in DC on April 4.

  10. Maddamma says:

    Dejan, to your question re: Pitt the answer has to be coaching. Though I agree that Dixon has sustained excellence as a coach, this year was not his best. Outside of injuries, the other choices mentioned are all related to coaching; Ashton Gibbs is no point guard, but Dixon tried to force it and wound up with a bad point guard who lost his shooting confidence; Birch should have had more minutes – this, I am convinced beyond all the other reported factors, was why he left the program. Also, Dixon has excelled at getting the maximum out of high-character/good players. Does he have the flexibility to manage a temperamental blue-chipper?

    However, the primary reason for this poor season, not listed above, is Dixon’s inability to get this group of players to play ‘Pitt defense.’ I understand that with the players he has it would be like Bylsma trying to run his system with six Paul Martins, but a coach has to adjust to what he has and Dixon was too late in making adjustments – and he didn’t make many.

  11. Jandy says:

    aglebagel, thanks for the reply. Wow, I bet you love what you’re doing. Sounds like a lot of work but a lot of fun too. Good luck with everythiing. Can I have your autograph? Please don’t tell Dejan I asked for it ;)

    Nate, Pittsburgh got a scoring winger AND a D-man who can play top line match ups, and that’s not robbery? I disagree. But yeah, Gogo fits well in their system. In fact, I think he plays BETTER in Dallas than he did here.

  12. Jandy says:

    JAL ~ that hockey fight in the Pensburgh link is THE BEST EVER!

  13. bdubb says:

    As far as what/who is to blame for Pitt’s struggles this year I can lean on 1 and 2 above. Gibbs confuses me. If he makes it in the NBA he would obviously be a point guard but yet he pouted the entire stretch he had play the position with Woodall out. Stephon Curry made the same move his senior season and did it very well and improved his stock. I would also like to throw lack of leadership as a category. I didn’t see the “Pitt Way” one time this year. On defense I saw opponents drive to the basket and the help defense just got out of their way. That never happened in the past. I also saw very few dives for loose balls. There was a time where the opponent never got a loose ball. Now? Lack of ball handling is the other killer for this team and something they need to find quick for next year. Either that or learn how to not dribble into a trap in the corner just past half court.

  14. Brian says:

    Don’t think you can truly blame this season on Gibbs, the injuries played a bigger part. Would like to think with Woodall healthy all year we wouldn’t have gotten into this losing mentality early on and could be closer to .500 in the Big East.

  15. Steve says:

    I think Birch walking out may have been the catalyst that lead to the implosion. Granted, he hadn’t shown a lot at that point in the season but there were signs he may have provided much more of an inside scoring threat and defense than the guys trying to fill the void. Pitt has been successful for years when they’ve had at least average play from the center position. That isn’t there this year and it’s really impacted the perimeter game.

  16. Sean says:

    The Final Four round of the 4th annual Best Pittsburgh Sports Blog Tournament has started at http://seanramblings.blogspot.com/2012/02/final-four-round-2012-pittsburgh-sports.html

    The match-ups are Behind the Steel Curtain vs. Rum Bunter and Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke vs. Pitt Script.

    Regarding Pitt’s season, injuries were the biggest factor coupled with a lack of depth when the players went down.

  17. Arriba Wilver says:

    Out of the list given, I would pick Gibbs. But I’ve wondered what impact Dante Taylor has had? Although apparently sought after as a recruit he’s been pretty much a bust, hasn’t he?

  18. Sarcastic Sword says:

    Im not a big Dixon fan. I respect his success over the years but most of his NCAA tourney losses have been to higher seeds in which the opposing coach outcoached him. He is not known as a good game planner or good game-day bench boss. Rarely makes adjustments, etc…

    I echo the points about trying Gibbs at point guard..Not playing Birch enough which led to him leaving – a huge void in the middle. Dixon was never able to get Gibbs out of his mental funk from the summer when he desperately wanted to go NBA but got lousy reviews from scouts – he pouted all summber and it carried over into the season.

    Byslma won a freaking Stanley Cup just 5 months removed from toiling in the AHL…Out-dueling Babcock to boot and with his best player sidelined for most of game 7.

  19. stewart says:

    I don’t think there was one thing that doomed the panthers this year,but tra Woodal’s poor year and injuries definitely affected the rest of the team and their chemistry. The lack of an inside game doesn’t allow the guards to have time to set up for their 3 pointers.

  20. Jandy says:

    “Byslma won a freaking Stanley Cup just 5 months removed from toiling in the AHL…Out-dueling Babcock to boot and with his best player sidelined for most of game 7.

    Heck yeah!!!! Spot on SS =)

    I don’t know enough about Pitt Basketball to choose, so I can’t really say.

  21. Bizrow says:

    Somehow, I’m sure, Dixon’s poor season is Nuttings fault.

  22. NMR says:

    “Somehow, I’m sure, Dixon’s poor season is Nuttings fault.”

    False. If Steve Pederson new how to hire a football coach, Pitt would never have had a bad basketball season.
    ________________________________

    The underlying factors of injuries, departures, and coaching may have played a role, but when Ashton Gibbs was Ashton Gibbs, the Panthers won.

  23. Bizrow says:

    Nutting is behind all evil in the burgh, sports wise.

  24. Leefoo says:

    I think it is a tie between #1 and #2.

    ============

    Am I the only one who hopes that collector sues Braun for some big bucks??

    =======

  25. Leefoo says:

    Biz…..on # 25…….lol

  26. Jandy says:

    Leefoo, I hope he does sue…what a mess…

  27. JohninOshkosh says:

    Pirate Countdown

    3 Days Until First Spring Training Game
    36 Days Until Opening Day

    296 Days Until End of the Word According to the Ancient Mayans (So Pirates…I’m just saying)

    Thirty six days until we begin to find out whether PBC is going to stand for Playing Baseball Capably or Playing Baseball Catastrophically.

    I was going to have a countdown question each day but I don’t want to intrude on Dejan’s wonderful topic questions posited in his morning briefing. I am just grateful to play in his sandbox.

    So a comment: the positional player I’m interested in looking closely at during training camp is Rod Barajas. I know most of us loved the competitive nature of Ryan Doumit but Barajas is a guy who caught a Cy Younger last year and also was the backstop for AJ’s best major league season. He seems like he handles a staff well so I am looking at that during camp.

    JAL has a nice post about him (7-14) above. Also, JAL you have posted some excellent articles about the Dodger bankruptcy from some of the nation’s best business journalists. Thanks, it helped me to understand a complex and esoteric story.

  28. tmp444 says:

    DK,

    On the Pitt question, I’m going with option #5: Pitt lost 3 starters from last year’s team (Brown, McGhee, Wanamaker); and lost a fourth when Birch left. Pitt fans are spoiled because in the Howland/Dixon era, each team has retooled fairly successfully. But, it’s hard for any school in the NCAA to be highly successful the year after 4 starters have been lost.

  29. jackdeloplane says:

    My vote goes to #3. The Birch departure really set them back. instead of starting slowly and steadily improving, Pitt never reall found theri stride and, save for the 5 games in the middle of the season, never really showed improvement.

    DK, I defer to your expertise on the best coach and respect the fact that you didn’t pick the coach that was the best and easiest interview.

    DK: Quality of interview would never weigh into something like that.

  30. JAL says:

    JohninOshkosh

    Thanks, I try to find articles that would interest some readers and, hopefully, everyone finds at least one they find interesting.

  31. LuckyNKentucky says:

    JAL,

    You do an excellent job. Much appreciated, including the song of the day.

    DK: I’ll second this.

  32. jackdeloplane says:

    johninOshkosh,

    esoteric….nice!

  33. wally says:

    I think its a combination- and a causal relation- between 1 and 3. Sounds like Gibbs has been self absorbed this season and sulking/ bitching in the locker room about his stats; impetus for Birch to bail. He should have kept his head and stayed, but…

  34. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Had to go to dictionary.com for that one, myself, Jack. Have heard the word, but didn’t know what it meant. Been in KY too long.

  35. JohninOshkosh says:

    @jack and @Lucky: My wife was an English major. I like to throw some big words around to remind her that I am not a complete idiot with the English language!

  36. JD says:

    I like Dixon, but his post-season failures stand out.

    Thanks for the heads up on the soccer column. I’ll be sure to avoid it.

  37. tmp444 says:

    Apparently the UCLA Sports Illustrated article was released early last night to those with the SI iPad app. Here is a link to BruinsNation, a blog for UCLA sports. Take this with two grains of salt: (1) only snippets of the actual SI article are included in the blog post; (2) the author of the post seems to be very anti-Howland, and has been for a while from what I gather from reading the blog post.

    http://www.bruinsnation.com/2012/2/29/2832533/sports-illustrated-exposes-howland-and-guerrero-for-wrecking-ucla

  38. tk says:

    2.Injuries to Nasir Robinson and Tray Woodall

    There is not much experience behind those two.

  39. jackdeloplane says:

    I’ve said it before, I’d rather have to consult a dictionary while reading this blog, than read the drivel like..”Fleury sucks!” on another.

  40. LuckyNKentucky says:

    John in Ryan Braunland,
    I can relate. One of my sons has an English minor. He throws around a “plethora” of words that he knows his mom and I don’t know. Makes him feel intelligent. (I’ve got it on him, though. I have 2 jobs and he currently has none). Then, living here for a while has contributed to an ill-knowledge of English, too. Thank God for blogs so we can keep up with the real world.

  41. Milo Hamilton says:

    @Foo

    Ryan Braun cheated. He got caught. He got off on drug testing’s equivalent to not being read his Miranda rights. Rather than just saying “thank you very much” he launches into a gloating, rambling diatribe throwing everyone in his wake under the proverbial bus including the unsuspecting sample collector.

    When the samples arrived at the testing facility, the seals were not tampered with. And maybe more importantly, leaving the samples sit around for a few days WOULD NOT MAKE THE TESTOSTERONE LEVELS GO UP. I’ve seen 2 different doctors involved in drug testing make this point very emphatically.

    He cheated. He got caught. He lucked out. Now, he should shut up.

  42. Jandy says:

    Jack ~ Amen brother! It’s freezing rain here, I bet it’s 80 degrees there, tho :/

  43. Pitt’s problems this year are “None of the Above”

    They have no internal leadership. A coach can’t dive on the floor for loose balls or “refuse to lose” on the floor. Jamie Dixon has always had a couple players who would sacrifice life and limb to play defense and lead and do anything to win.

    Every once in a while you get a team like this. This team has no heart. Birch was a quitter, Gibbs can’t play point and seems to pout at times, Taylor is like playing with an Imaginary Man in the middle, and Woodall is inconsistent and hasn’t played enough to make a difference. This team has too many “just want to play and jack it up” guys, instead of getting down and dirty on defense. Defense is the big failure of this team. Defense = heart!

    Birch in the middle and Tra not getting hurt would have helped, but this team has no heart between the lines. Just a bad mix of players that is not always obvious when one is recruiting them. Not Jamie Dixon’s fault.

  44. JohninOshkosh says:

    @Milo #43 Yes.

  45. Was anyone else concerned to read yesterday in Rob Beergarden’s stuff that McCutch is looking to “open his stance” a little this year?

    When I’m playing ball, I open my stance when I want to pull the ball more———the 3rd baseman or left fielder is playing well off the line——or there is a runner on 3rd and I’m “going for the jack,” figuring that at worst I get the ball in the air to left and the runner scores on a sacrifice fly.

    McCutch’s hitting problems in the second half of last season seem to evolve from his “going for the jack” in August and September. He quit using the whole field to hit, and hit many, many more fly balls than line drives! I understand his last season’s desire to reach 25 HRs and 100 RBIs, but his change of tactics in hitting failed on both counts.

    McCutch is most valuable, in my opinion, using his legs rather than become power-fixated. I think he will still hit 18-24 HRs if he goes back to hitting line drives in the gaps, and I think he will drive in more runs as a line drive hitter.

    Rob B.’s simple comment has me concerned. Don’t let Cutch do it, Clint Baby!

  46. CWalton_67 says:

    A nice read on Jamie Dixon today, Dejan. I enjoyed it. I agree with you about Dixon’s sustained excellence, but it seems he’s never been able to make the leap to the next level. And I don’t think that not winning a national championship necessarily makes him a failure. It’s the string of disappointing losses in the tournament, year after year, that keep me from seeing him as the best coach in Pittsburgh.

    As for Neal/Goligoski, Neal is the type of player who turns contenders into champions. Goose is a pretty good player but seemed to have a tendency to wilt under pressure. And getting Niskanen, a possible 4 and solid 5 d-man in the deal makes that trade a clear winner for GMRS. In Shero We Trust.

    Go Pens.

  47. CWalton_67 says:

    Also, emphatically agree with Milo in #43.

  48. Milo Hamilton says:

    @Groat

    I thought exactly the same thing. The only thing I’ll say is that Al Oliver used to start open then step into the pitch & drive it the other way. I’ll need to see it 1st.

  49. Sarcastic Sword says:

    @Milo…..I agree 100% with you about Braun.

    I dont hear many people making this point – nationally, its all about Braun conducting himself with grace and dignity in his press conf after the decision. I am glad that the guy who collected the sample issued a statement and that the lab indicated that no tampering was evident when they received the sample.

  50. jackdeloplane says:

    Jandy,

    Nope, 75 and sunny. Nice try though!

  51. Sarcastic Sword says:

    One more thing about Dixon…He never answered the question about how difficult this season has been on him personally…Just kept avoidng the issue – talking about the next game and getting his team ready.

  52. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    DK- For Pitts fall from grace I blame a combination of Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin. I just know they have something to do with it somehow, someway.

  53. JohninOshkosh says:

    @Ryan: Dejan’s zing yesterday at your coach choice with the Tebow remark was priceless!

  54. Jason says:

    Here are my top 4 reasons for Pitt’s downfall this year:

    1. Dante Taylor
    2. Injuries to Nasir Robinson and Tray Woodall
    3. Gibbs
    4. Khem Birch walking out

    If Taylor had developed even to a Gary McGhee level, our defense would be greatly improved, and it would have lessened the impact of Birch quitting. A program at Pitt’s level should have been able to absorb the loss of 1 freshman, even one at Birch’s level.

    If Tray had stayed healthy, he could have been a leader and taken pressure off Gibbs. I think the pressure on Gibbs to be a “complete player”, rather than just the shooter that he is, was too much for him to handle.

  55. mayhay22 says:

    @Groat- opening your stance is really nothing more than a gimmick. Players will say that they can see the ball better if they’re opened to it but it’s just not true. Ultimately, he’ll end up at the point of contact and that will be the same spot he was at without opening his stance. There are 2 possible outcomes when a hitter tries a gimmick like this. 1- they trick themselves into thinking they’re better and gain confidence producing positive results or 2- the extra movement necessary to get to the point of contact messes with their overall approach and produces negative results. Let’s hope for #1.

    On Dixon, the team has looked sloppy all year. Turnovers, late getting back in transition, mental breakdowns. When this becomes a trend like it has it reflects poorly on the coach’s ability to make changes and fix issues. His approach has proven very successful over time, but it has fallen apart this year and he should be accountable for not changing his approach enough to overcome the limitations of the team he has.

  56. NMR says:

    @Milo/Groat – I can think of another player that recently opened up his stance and started pulling the ball: Jose Bautista

    I’m with you, though. Bautista and McC are different players.

  57. Matty G says:

    I’ve loved Niskanen’s play since we got him – I know after he and Neal were here after the trade last year Pens fans were a little rough on them, Niskanen in particular, but I always felt Matt played a solid game that could easily be built on. He’s only solidified my feeling on that front this year – showing that he makes a serious #3 or #4 on this staff (behind Letang, Orpik, maybe Martin or Michalek if they’re playing well). Even if he’s the #5 on this squad, that’s a hell of a #5.

    What’s more amazing though: I never knew that A) he and Neal were from the same draft class, and B) That he was a first rounder, yet Neal was a second rounder!

    Always fun to find tidbits like that out with the magic of hindsight :)

  58. Matty G says:

    @Nate
    I think when DK said it was a “robbery” it was because had Niskanen not been a part of the trade, both at the time and now (with hindsight) you could easily make the case that Gogo for Neal is an incredibly balanced trade. With that understanding, Niskanen was essentially handed to the Penguins for free. Hence robbery.

    Neal’s a hell of a player, so it’s certainly no slight to Goligoski.

  59. pattonbb says:

    Agree with mayhay22 about the open stance. You’ll hear people claim it gives them better vision because they’re not relying solely on their dominant eye to pick up the ball. For the most part, it’s just a timing gimmick. Unless the fail to close up their upper body. Then bad things happen.

  60. tmp444 says:

    I hope I’m not stepping on JAL’s toes with this, because no one can even compare with his daily blog roll. That being said, I ran across this on Pensblog this morning. I have never been to a Pens game in the CEC, so I can’t speak to what this post speaks. What I have noticed on TV/radio, however, is that the building seems much quieter than the Civic Arena did. For the people who regularly attend Pens games, are the sentiments in the post accurate? I can say that the main reason why I have not been to a Pens game is cost — I just can’t afford $175 for my wife and I to sit in the very last row….

    http://thepensblog.com/tpb/feb2012/an-open-anonymous-letter-to-penguins-management.html

  61. mayhay22 says:

    With hindsight we got the better of the Goligoski trade. At the time, however, Niskanen essentially balanced the trade because of the risk that Neal presented. I recall that Neal was essentially a talented, but underperforming winger. There was no way to know at that time that he’d find his game here (after a really slow start).

  62. Jandy says:

    mayhay22 ~ Gogo was underperforming here as well. So, the trade made sense for us in every way. He’s doing great in Dallas. A change of scenery/systems does a lot for some players. Also, here with Letang Gogo would never have reached his potential. Niskanen has performed way better here than he ever did in Dallas. So, hands down, Pens got the better end of that trade.

  63. Rose says:

    At the first game last fall, I thought “oh no, this is the year that we lose to Duquesne.” Then Khem Birch came into the game and the level of play went up dramatically. The loss of Birch tanked the season. My only blame to Jamie is not doing everything he could (or maybe he did) to keep Birch with us. I am seriously liking JJ Moore. He brings enthusiasm along with his basketball ability. I’d like to see him drive it in a little more because he is fully capable of that.

  64. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @John-I know, he nailed it. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t sting a little bit. Especially when his choice is a BASKETBALL coach!!!

  65. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @Biz #23-Good call, but wrong blog…..ha ha

  66. JohninOshkosh says:

    @Ryan You stand proudly by your choice! All of this is, including from our fearless leader, is good natured. That is why I like it here.

  67. Jandy says:

    JohninOshKosh~ yeah, where else can you go, and see basketball, baseball, hockey, and soccer…well, skip the soccer…all in one blog thread and no one is saying Baseball sucks! or hockey sucks! or Basketball sucks!
    I love this blog =)

  68. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @Jandy- its a shame that over on the Rob Biertempfel’s Bucco Blog you only have a couple of DB’s that respond. I thought it was Smizik’s blog for a minute. I like Rob and what/how he writes about the Pirates.

    As you mentioned, one of the good things about this blog is; 1) DK occasionally responds, 2) we do talk all sports, 3) JAL’s links.

    DK: Occasionally? If you mean that I respond to every single Q addressed my way — not the rhetorical ones, obviously — then I guess you could call that occasionally!

  69. Jandy says:

    Ryan, you said it brother! This place rocks and it’s by far the best out there. Heck you all even put up with crazy old ladies like me ;)

  70. Milo Hamilton says:

    Davey Jones has sadly taken the last train to Clarksville. May he rest in peace.

  71. Jandy says:

    RIP Davey, hey hey for the Monkeees!

  72. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @Jandy-Now you that you told us you’re an crazy old lady, the stakes might change!!

  73. JAL says:

    Sad, I just met him a couple of months ago, had a nice talk. Very friendly.

  74. Jandy says:

    Ryan, I give as good as I get…just sayin :p

    JAL, I’ve seen where several people saw him out and about and he was always courteous and friendly. Rare breed!

  75. Jandy says:

    Ryan, besides, I’m a COOL ol’ lady…I like sports and rock music…hard rock! ;)

  76. JAL says:

    Jandy,

    Story says it was a heart attack and the heart often gives little or no warning. Seemed fit as could be when I met him.

  77. Jandy says:

    JAL, isn’t that sad? I sure hope it was quick and he had little or no pain. 66 is way too young to die :(

  78. Jandy says:

    Ryan, I have work to finish up, then errands to run. You can pick on me some more tomorrow ;) Have a nice evening everyone.

  79. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Jandy- I would never pick on anyone……..

  80. JAL says:

    AJ Burnett bunted a ball into his eye and headed to Pittsburgh to be examined.

  81. AJS says:

    Hey DK, just realized the Bucs only really make one big west coast trip this year. They also have a trip to colorado on the back of a trip to Milwaukee si I don’t know if that counts and a 3 gamer with SD after a trip to StLouis. Seems a lot better than any of those multi trip seasons you endured on the beat. It only figures i would change once you switched jobs!

  82. pattonbb says:

    Hines Ward is released.

  83. Milo Hamilton says:

    Hines’ next move – try to land a spot with the Flyers.

  84. Dan1283 says:

    Dejan,

    Gotcha! You didn’t respond to my Q from yesterday! Actually, it was kinda buried at the bottom of my post so I’ll forgive this scathing personal attack. Being that I’m feeling charitable today, I’ll provide another opportunity to respond, because I actually am curious:

    “Missing being at spring training this year, Dejan? Family abscences aside, for the month of March f you lived alone and had no children, would you enjoy covering the everyday stuff with the column up here, covering the Penguins (beat), or being in spring training with the Bucs?”

    Note: My hyperbolism is just an attempt at humor. You just never know how someone’s going to interpret text!

  85. Dan1283 says:

    RE: The Pitt question

    Obviously a season that has become this much of a debacle by Pitt’s standards have many contributing causes. But what is MOST responsible? Gibbs, for sure. The Big East preseason player of the year should be good enough to get his team to the tournament, at least. Gibbs has had an awful season. I look forward to one day learning what led to it for him. I don’t expect the truth to come from him, but maybe one of his teammates or someone inside the athletic department will spill the beans one day.

  86. Vette60 says:

    Checking in from Richmond, VA…hitting the sack soon.

    As for the blog topics.

    1) Interesting column on J. Dixon. As far where blame can be placed, I haven’t followed PItt Hoops closely enough this year to really weigh in.

    2) The SI article on UCLA doesn’t paint a really great image of Ben Howland or the program in general. While many may say, it happens everywhere, it’s still not the type of pub for your program. I found this interesting, but I wanted to find out some additional info on one Reeves Nelson and googled him. Geez, quite the Tattoo progression over a few short years there. That sleeve filled out nicely.

    3) Finally, the Dallas & Pens trade – while it was said to be a “hockey” trade that benefited both clubs, I thought that the Pens got the upper hand, even if Neal was just involved. But, with the additional of Matt Niskanen, it really tipped it the Pens way. Both have settled in well to the Pens system. Nice to see Gogo sign a long term deal in Dallas though, good for him.

    Anyway, ton of developments from…

    1) Hines – wish you well. Top performer for the Steelers all through his career and perhaps the most feared WR when it came to laying a block

    2) AJ Burnett – bunts one off his eye. It’s almost comical the luck of the Pirates – not saying the injury is funny at all and I hope AJ is ok, but geez, talk about not being able to catch a break.

    3) Letang – interesting for me to see on the NBC Sports Network (Vs. was much shorter to type) how Jones and Milbury were all up in arms about the hit and how the Dallas player was at fault and Roenick had to make a huge fuss about how Letang need to learn to take a hit. Come on. Just when it seemed like things were getting on track to have a team pulling into the playoffs hitting on all cylinders, this happens. Hope that it’s not another 20 games out of the lineup. They need him on the blue line…

    I’m out.

    R.

 
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