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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: ‘Really good players’


Brief and to the Point …

>> My Wednesday column questions the wisdom of Mike Wallace taking on the Steelers.

>> There’s an accompanying video with the column over on the right. It is sooooooooo worth your click, if only to watch Mike Tomlin scanning the room while Kevin Colbert talks. It’s like he’s waiting to see which reporter is the first to pull out the heavy firearms.

Seriously, go do it. I’ll wait right here.

>> Ray Shero had all kinds of interesting things to say in the Penguins’ end-of-season affair yesterday at Consol, but forgive me if I couldn’t get past this answer when Shero was asked about the future of Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek:

“I appreciate the question, but both players are really good players in this league. They’ve proven that over the course of their careers. Paul Martin, over the last 20 games of the regular season, was a plus-13. They’re good hockey players. When we talk about defense, we talk about defense as six guys on the ice. Over the course of six games, that failed us terribly. Over the last 11 games of the regular season, actually, failed us. You take a look at the previous 12 games, and we were 11-0-1 and gave up 20 goals. This team is capable of doing that, and we didn’t do it at the right time.”

And this was how Shero concluded that same sequence: “All the decisions we have moving forward will be made over the next couple of months. We’ll see what happens.”

You can look at that as the GM being blind to having signed two bad defensemen. Or the GM knowing he blew it but also aware that he needs to keep up their value for possible trades.

If the Penguins are fortunate, it will be the latter.

>> Of all the exasperating statistics to paint the Pirates’ miserable offense in the early going, this one was the king: Through 15 games, they had exactly one multiple-run hit. That was Neil Walker’s two-run single April 14 in San Francisco.

No, really.

Well, make it two now.

Andrew McCutchen’s two-run double off the center-field fence in the seventh inning sparked that 5-4 victory over the Rockies last night, and I can tell you it had a cathartic effect on the clubhouse afterward. Lots of smiles, laughter.

“I think you could see some of our guys starting to relax,” Clint Hurdle said. “It’s like they can take a deep breath and just get around to having some quality at-bats.”

On deck: Scoring more than five runs in a game. Still hasn’t happened.

But then, the Pirates haven’t given up more than five, either.

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