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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Want stability? Stick by your lines


Brief and to the Point …

>> My Friday column is about Paul Chryst’s effect, both visible and audible, on Pitt football. If the piece doesn’t give you the impression that I came away highly impressed, then it will have failed.

>> Dan Bylsma hasn’t made many mistakes since becoming the Penguins’ coach, to say the least. He’s pushed as many of the right buttons as anyone behind any bench. But not last night.

How do you ream out the team one day for not playing a more consistent, more systematic approach, then rip up all the forward lines the next day?


Even if it had worked, it would have been a bizarre way to go about it. But it clearly didn’t work, as the Penguins again lost to the Islanders and again looked out of sorts in doing so.

I’m not one of those who’s going to shriek from the top of a building over this. Anyone who isn’t noticing that the Islanders have legit speed and skill up front is probably in the infancy of watching hockey. It’s not a bad team, and these aren’t bad losses. But the Penguins certainly are capable of playing far better than this.

And they would, if only Bylsma would follow these lines …

Chris Kunitz-Evgeni Malkin-James Neal (Call it the Duh Line in honor of stupidly splitting them last night.)

Jordan Staal-Sidney Crosby-Pascal Dupuis (Sorry, can’t let go of this one.)

Matt Cooke-Richard Park-Tyler Kennedy (Park’s played center before. All kinds of speed, grit here.)

Steve Sullivan-Craig Adams-Arron Asham (Adams can take draws, superior defender.)

From there, whether it’s this or whatever, Bylsma needs to stick by it. Not much time left for jelling.

>> That said, heard and read way too many complaints last night about the five-forward power play. With Kris Letang out, who exactly from the defense corps do you want to add?

Simon Despres came out on the second unit. That’s about right. There’s no one else.

>> To repeat from that Pirates analysis Sunday, James McDonald concerns me. There’s close to nothing in his history that he can consistently pitch deep into games. If that doesn’t change in 2012 — and it sure looked like a rough one yesterday — this could be a case of management getting excited over a multiple-pitch repertoire rather than real information.

>> Here’s the chat transcript from yesterday. My plan for the weekend is highlighted by a whole lot of nothing until covering Penguins-Flyers on Sunday, followed by KDKA-TV’s “Showdown” later that night.

Oh, and thanks for all the suggestions yesterday for the blog. Trust me when I tell you that all were read, not only by me but also by people far more important than me.

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