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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Will Duquesne support new coach?


Brief and to the Point …

>> My Friday column is about the Penguins needing to move forward tonight. And I’m not just talking about moving forward from the Game 1 debacle.

>> Spent part of the day at the Penguins’ and Flyers’ practices, then went about a block and half across Uptown to the Palumbo to meet Duquesne’s new basketball coach, Jim Ferry, at his introductory news conference.

Here’s a video snippet of our interview.

Ferry is an accomplished coach, as his background demonstrates. And he’s done a ton of winning in the past two seasons with — as he reminded — a potentially third consecutive strong group at LIU-Brooklyn due next season. Two NCAA tournaments in a row is an achievement, no matter the conference.

All that, and Ferry comes across — as I hope the video illustrates — as an earthy, no-nonsense guy. Not much flash, but a serious demeanor befitting the son of a transit cop. (His father was in the audience yesterday.)

So, what’s a guy like that doing coming to Duquesne?

Why, other than a $600,000 paycheck that surely represented a raise, come to a school where the administration is famous for not caring about its basketball program?

Time will tell. As you can see in the video up there, Ferry spoke highly of the administration and its commitment, though he obviously wasn’t going to do anything less. We’ll see if the Dukes can go from the ninth-highest spending program in the Atlantic 10 to one that takes its national scouting coverage, facilities and other costs more seriously. One would think that will happen if only because athletic director Greg Amodio just hitched his wagon to Ferry not only having a winning record — remember, Ron Everhart was getting those — but also contending for an NCAA berth.

That won’t happen next season, not with the terrific recruiting class that was lost. Not with Ferry stating bluntly yesterday that players from LIU will not be following him to Duquesne. It’s going to be a rough class.

The very least the Duquesne administration can do is to give Ferry and his staff the resources to recruit to the max. But then, the very least is usually what one can expect from Old Main.

>> I could go on and on about the Pirates’ offensive struggles, but anyone who stayed up late last night and watched the end of that game … ah, I’ll stop here.

Or not.

It’s not just Pedro Alvarez. It really isn’t. This team has six regulars batting .190 or lower. Not bench guys. Regulars. Neil Walker is 1 for 18 with one walk. I don’t care if you’re facing Sandy Koufax, Steve Carlton and Fernando Valenzuela, that’s terrible for a major-league team. Or a minor-league team.

Chris Capuano, whose fastball wouldn’t bend a soggy paper towel, struck out five of his first eight batters. Four of them were caught looking!

>> The NHL has done a lot of good things under Brendan Shanahan’s oversight as discipline czar. But there’s no rational way for the league to justify letting Nashville’s Shea Weber off with a $2,500 fine for slamming the head of Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg into the glass like a pro wrestler. Not once but twice.

It was deliberate, malicious and dangerous, and the ruling is an absolute joke.

What’s worse, it now sets the precedent for what qualifies as suspendable in these playoffs.

>> Here is yesterday’s chat transcript. Thanks to all for participating.

It will be all pucks for me from now until … what, two months from now?

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