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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Capitals block Rangers’ path


Brief and to the Point …

>> Watching the Capitals and Rangers lie down all night and eat pucks made for some pretty lousy hockey. Washington usually doesn’t do it systematically, but New York does. It’s terrible to watch and no fun to play, either.

I’ve covered a lot of coaches/managers getting fired. I’ve never seen a group of players react with as much outright vitriol as when the Penguins fired Kevin Constantine, who had everyone on the team — except Jaromir Jagr – getting worn down by bruises and welts. Players hate it.

>> John Tortorella’s behavior in press conferences all through these playoffs should embarrass not only the Rangers but also the NHL.

This was his latest. It’s hardly an outlier.

On one hand, the league has an executive out there tossing roses toward ESPN after ESPN rips them in public, hoping against hope to be taken seriously. On the other, it allows Tortorella to behave like a petulant 2-year-old in settings that, yes, fall under league rules that are supposed to be followed.

Tell him he has to sit there and answer questions. Part of the job.

>> Stephen Strasburg is pitching in Pittsburgh tonight. Imagine what a big deal that would have been in the Summer of Strasburg two years ago.

Strasburg isn’t quite the freak he appeared to be then, but he’s still outstanding. I covered his big-league debut in D.C., but I’m also looking forward to this.

>> Erik Bedard was hurt. Back spasms in mid at-bat.

I tend to cringe when anyone describes an athlete as injury-prone. Most often, the injuries are unrelated, unfortunate coincidences. Ryan Doumit stood out in this way. He had some really goofy things happen to him, and few of them had anything to do with each other. But every time it happened, people would call him injury-prone.

Really dislike the term.

But Bedard is injury-prone.

>> Good news on our site: On the main sports page, look for my full name on that horizontal bar across the top. That’s the new, easy-to-find portal to this blog.

>> Our weekly chat will be today at noon.


  1. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    I have to imagine the Caps / Rangers series is what early 1900’s hockey must have looked like. A true throwback……that’s not always a good thing.

  2. Nate says:

    I don’t think the Caps/Rangers series is as bad as you’re making it out to be. It’s not as obnoxious as the Pens/Flyers series, but at least there is some semblance of team defense.

  3. Dave G says:

    … and, after the news conference, Tortorella went home, where he opened the closet door and untied his wife, and forced her to cook a comfort meal for him consisting of rusty nails and broken glass, plus a tall glass of vinegar to wash it down…

  4. scapper says:

    Told Caps fans for the past few months that the Caps would make a run this year because they would enter the playoffs with no expectations. If they win Saturday, and I think they will, they’ll cruise by NJ in fewer than 7 games.

    And on a related note…Regarding the ugliness of so many of the Joel Ward tweets, I’m puzzled. How do those people have access to Twitter all the way back there in the 1950s?

  5. JAL says:

    JAL’s Money Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)


    4—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates Bullpen Shows Resiliency in Pirates 4-2 Win

    Pirates Notebook: Lincoln Learning New Role in Bullpen

    Potential Loopholes to the International Signing Period

  6. JAL says:

    6 Rumbunter

    From Justin Bieber to Tom Brady, Five New Hair Concepts for Bryce Harper

    7 McEffect

    5/9 Recap | Pirates 4 Nationals 2

    Batting Fourth and Playing First Base: Pedro Alvarez


    Game 30: Pirates 4 Nationals 2

    9 Green Weenie

    Bucs Take 4-2 Win; Bedard Hurt

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Cutch & bullpen back Bedard

  7. JAL says:


    11 CBS Sports

    Washington vs Pittsburgh Game Preview

    12 Washington Post

    Nationals vs. Pirates: Danny Espinosa and Washington extend slumps with loss in Pittsburgh

    Stephen Strasburg, healthy and ‘one of the guys,’ might be baseball’s best pitcher

    Chicago Tribune

    Pittsburgh Pirates – TeamReport,0,5809580.story

    14 Washington Times

    Too many strikeouts, runners left on base in Nationals’ latest loss

  8. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    20 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Talkin’ Inside Linebackers: A Curious Approach to the Mack and the Buck

    Talkin’ Running Backs: The Battle Is On Heading Into Training Camp

    Report: Steelers and Jets Were Going to Trade 1st Round Picks

    21 Steelers Depot

    - Roethlisberger Says Ankle Still Not Quite Healed & Thinks 49ers Targeted It Last Season

    22 Nice Pick Cowher

    The Steelers, Their Defense, and Their Young and Talented Depth

  9. JAL says:

    Pitt Blogs

    23 Pitt Blather

    Recruiting and Personnel Moves: 5/7/12

    24 Cardiac Hill

    ACC Extends Media Deal, Pitt To Make A Lot More Money

    WVU Blogs

    25 Metro News

    TV Revenue Key To Big 12 Expansion

    26 WV Illustrated

    Krystal Forthan Finds Academic, Athletic Fit in WVU

  10. JAL says:


    27 Pensburgh

    WBS Penguins Game Five Highlights


    28 Sky Sports

    Seasiders seal date with Hammers,19764,11065_3510513,00.html

    29 Daily Telegraph

    Superb striker Radamel Falcao strikes twice as Athletico Madrid claim Europa League with 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao

    30 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: Stories you need to read, May 9th 2012

  11. JAL says:

    Money, 1973, Pink Floyd. Founded in 1965 their first album, Piper at the Gates of Dawn, produced two UK hits but the band, minus mad genius Syd Barrett, hit big in the 1970s. Dark Side of the Moon spent an astounding and record 741 weeks on the charts, from 1971 to 1988 and is one of the top selling albums in history. Dark Side was their 8th studio album and they had another major seller in 1979 with The Wall.

  12. JAL says:

    Erik Bedard may be injury prone but I think back spasms is a condition rather than an injury. Closer to McCutchen being out a few days with the flu than to someone being on the DL with a pulled muscle.

  13. Milo Hamilton says:

    Did You Know ?

    The Pirates haven’t won 3 in a row since July 17-19 of last year.

  14. NMR says:

    Count me as one thats just excited to see Strasburg pitch tonight as I would’ve been two years ago.

    There literally is not another man on the planet that can throw a baseball like he can.

    That’s a can’t-miss for baseball geeks.

  15. Jandy says:

    @ Dave G ~ ther closet thing is hilarious LOL!

  16. twentytwo22 says:

    Here’s some stats (margin of error +/- 100%)
    Attempting sweep (3 or more game series) 1-10 24RS 51RA
    Avoiding sweep (3 or more game series) 1-9 33RS 54RA
    1 sweep in Houston… later swept in Houston
    1 time avoiding vs St. Louis. Sunday afternoon dD’aArnaud sac fly.

    Prediction tonight: Loss

  17. NMR says:

    DK made a comment before this series that the Nationals are much more than Strasburg and Harper. I rarely, if ever, find his opinion on matters of sport is off base.

    So help me out. What am I missing?

    The team that has been on the field against the Pirates the last two nights has hardly outclassed them. Their lineup is only marginally better, and that might be the definition of damning with faint praise.

    Again, I’m not saying DK’s wrong, but this team sure looks like a lot of hype to me.

  18. LuckyNKentucky says:


    I think you’re right. Other than Zimmerman, who’s off to a slow start and Werth, who’s hurt, they have good pitching but they’re the warmed-over Pirates.

    24/7 retweeted a guy saying that is the 11th time in 30 games they’ve had 5 or fewer hits and the 9th time they’ve struck out 10 or more times. Sounds familiar.

  19. Ryan says:

    I do not recall a Q&A session where Torts was classy or obliging (perhaps DK can speak to whether Torts is always this classless in interviews from first hand knowledge?).

    WASH vs NYR last night was boring. Playing team defense is one thing, and acting like the goalie is a President under fire is another. The Pens final two wins in 2009 were 2-1, with excellent team defense, and they were the most exciting 2-1 games (goalies actually had to make saves, not fill space). The Devils’ games were the most exciting in the 2nd round; however, the first 2 Phoenix & Nashville games are a close second.

    Perhaps the pending CBA negotiations are coming at the perfect time (hopefully not a lockout/shortened season). This might allow the players to address the clutching & grabbing that has crept back into hockey. Less of the interference will allow better skaters to make a difference. I appreciate the “grinder” role, pure hustle and effort (Pens last year). But I prefer 60 minutes of hockey from 2006 – 2010 when interference & holding penalties were called.

  20. RobertoForever says:

    I see someone was up EaRLY looking for something negative to say after the Pirates have been beating up on the motherships new golden boy and his team.

    Love these BattlinBucs, winning another series and setting up a chance for the sweep.

  21. Jandy says:

    Pens’ Zbynek Michalek had hip surgery, but expects to be ready for the start of the 2012 season…that’s if the CBA is settled.

  22. AJS says:


    The NHL absolutely HAS to get teh CBA settled ASAP after the finals. No way in the world can this sport bounce back from a second work stopage in less than a decade. Hockey hangs on by a thread on the relevancy scale already.

  23. Jandy says:

    AJS, I’m agreeing with you. But the bullheadedness of the league powers that be is amazing. Hopefully they don’t cut off their noses to spite their faces.

  24. Dave G says:

    So…. I click on the bar at the top of the sports page to try a new bookmark for Dejan’s blog and—lo, and behold— there at the top it STILL says: “Latest News: Flyers end Pens’ brief playoff run”

    I’m really going to have to click on that link one of these days to see if that headline is from 1989, 1997, 2000, or 2012…

  25. NMR says:

    @Dave G – You’re not the only one thinking that!

  26. NMR says:

    Questions for all those lamenting the “boring” playoff hockey caused by the collapsing and shot blocking…

    1. How do you change it?

    2. How do you beat it?

  27. Milo Hamilton says:


    I don’t know how you feel on this, but I have a much higher opinion of Michalek than I do of Paul Martin. This latest news just bolsters my opinion. Who knows how much that hip was bothering him. Not to mention whatever lingering concussion issues he was dealing with. There is a tendency to lump Martin & Michalek together since they came here together. Even though Michalek would be far easier to trade & bring more in return, I hope they hang on to him. I’m afraid this would be a baby – bathwater situation.

  28. Jandy says:

    Milo ~ this news just reinforces that Michalek was playing hurt, as was Letang, but that’s another story. I like Paul Martin, but it was either Leah or Deb who said it well, he plays well under the Devils system, not so much here. I do like Michalek much better. He’s integral to out PK. You also mention the concussion. Who knows for sure if he had any lingering effects from it?

    NMR, that’s the two best questions, and if YOU have the answers for them, the NHL teams will have a bidding war for your answers!

    I say just keep hitting hard shots directly at the opponents. Sooner or later you’d think they’d have so many bruises they start ducking! lol

  29. Jandy says:

    Dave G and NMR, dang, you’re right. That disgusting headline is STILL there!

  30. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Not knowing that much about hockey, is it boring because of the defense being played or boring like a 6-3 football game or a pitchers’ duel can be? I like what Chuck Noll said many years ago when the Steelers were blowing everyone out and someone asked him if he thought the games were exciting enough. He said his idea of an exciting game was a 40-0 win. I guess it’s a matter of perspective. Those 10-3-type games of the Pens weren’t real exciting were they?

  31. Jandy says:

    Lucky, the Pens and Flyers first round playoff series games were exciting. But they were an anomaly. The Devils/Flyers games were so tight defensively not many goals were scored. Not even close calls. That makes for what is called “boring” hockey. Much like the 6-3 football game or a pitchers’ duel.
    The Devils are known for that kind of hockey, and have been. This regular season they opened it up a bit, but come playoffs, they locked it down tighter than ever.

  32. Jandy says:

    I’m wondering where that like button is??? ;)

  33. LuckyNKentucky says:


    Thanks. I guess I’m a boring person overall. People have said some of my sermons were boring, but that’s because they didn’t want to hear some of the stuff. But, to me if it’s not your team, those defensive styles are more boring than if it is your team winning those games. Give me the W. I’ll get excited later. But I understand, even DK, the supreme poobah of hockey was bored.

  34. Ryan says:

    IMO, exciting hockey is a anywhere from 2-1, 3-2, or 4-3, but each team is playing well all around, with good goal tending, a number of chances exchanged, a big hit every now and then and good defense. But good defense, to me, is poke checks, steals, breaking up passes, etc. Not forming a phalanx in front of the net & goalie.

  35. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Good morning all…..

    Missed the Pirates game last night, glad they pulled that one out. I did see the beginning up until Bedard got hurt. Bob Walk was assuming he had a groin injury, which could be worse than back spams.

    The bright side of the game, Brad Lincoln.

  36. Mike C. says:

    not sure if this is the best place to ask, but sadly i can’t RSS the Trib’s sports section like I used to in the past.
    I just want a separate sports section feed.
    thankfully this blog’s feed still works.
    hopefully it’s all fixed soon.

    at least it’s not annoying like the Post. I still don’t know why they have to separate articles into 2-3 pages. annoying when reading on my Iphone.

  37. Jandy says:

    Lucky, you are NOT boring. You crack me up just as much as Milo does…I hope you don’t take that as an insult ;)

    Ryan, good morning to you too, but it’s coming up on noon here on the east coast. lol
    I was happy to hear our Buccos won. Hopefully Bedard and his back kiss and make up soon. Brad Lincoln YES!

  38. LuckyNKentucky says:


    Brad Lincoln like Ja-Miko Navarro, if you haven’t watched the highlights yet.

  39. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    As someone that used to suffer from back spasms, its hit or miss. He could be fine today, but a small glich could bring it back.

    My guess is he’s doing a lot of stretching with motrine. VITAMIN M!!!

  40. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    I don’t get the comparison. No I haven’t seen the highlights. I do see the .63 ERA.

  41. Arriba Wilver says:

    Ryan–Cutch 4 for 4, with a no doubt home run, Just sayin’. :-)

  42. LuckyNKentucky says:


    I meant to say “likes” him. He caught a ball over the wall and saved a HR for Lincoln.

  43. Arriba Wilver says:

    Ryan – that .63 ERA would be very different if Navarro had not caught a home run ball in left.

  44. LuckyNKentucky says:


    What was nice, it was right in front of a Nats’ fan, too. Thankfully, they didn’t interfere with the catch. One guy almost hugged Navarro. Must have been his cousin or something.

  45. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Did he show it off like Bryce Harper.

    AW-Glad to hear it….maybe the benching…….I mean flu brought him back.

  46. Naterosboro says:

    “Did he show it off like Bryce Harper.”

    See I was defending the kid in the “Cole Hamels” situation. Then he goes and does something like that. While a small incident, now there’s precedent.

    Mr. Correia, feel free to buzz (preferably near the chin) Mr. Harper tonight. He wants to show up our fans when he makes a catch that Andrew McCutchen has made routinely?

    Now it’s time to welcome young Bryce to the Bigs…

  47. Vitamin ‘M’ —— mar-jew-juan-a ??

  48. CWalton_67 says:

    RE: Bedard. I have found that those considered injury prone are those who most likely do not take conditioning and strength training seriously enough. While not a professional athlete, I was a paratrooper for 22 years and we trained as if our lives depended on it-which they did. Most of those who suffered chronic injuries or consistent strains and inflammation were those who simply failed to work as hard at conditioning. I certainly don’t know this for a fact about Bedard, just offering an opinion based on experience. Betting though, that he does not have a reputation as a gym rat.

  49. Arriba Wilver says:

    Ryan–I see you have an attitude about Cutch that is impervious to reality. Dude was sick. Happens even to $51 million guys who braid their hair.

  50. NMR says:

    @Groat – Andrew Lambo would advise against using Vitamin M

  51. Walton’s Mountain,

    Ryan Doumit spent more time in the weight room than most. He still had one injury after another.

    Wilver Dornel, Dude was sick, you’re right! Good defense! Lost 5% of his body weight. I appreciated him trying to give it a go on Saturday, but it was obvious he was just dragging. His get-up-and-go just got-up-and-went! We’ve all been there.

    NMR, Andrew Lambo: if I just had his ability . . . . So, you’re saying Ryan’s Vitamin M is not wacky tobaccy . . .

  52. NMR says:

    @CWalt – crazy profession to choose, my friend, but we thank you for it.

  53. albatross says:

    “Now it’s time to welcome young Bryce to the Bigs…”

    Unfortunately, he has a shield around him now. Anyone who hits him will get tossed.

    On another matter (the Tortorella press conference)… why do they (all sports) insist on televising press conferences after games without microphones for the reporters? I’m always trying to infer the question from the answer. Drives me crazy.

    DK: There were mics in all of those Tortorella gatherings. You could hear every question.

  54. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    AW- I have no such attitude towards Cutch….huge fan.

    My Vitamin M is Motrin….the Air Force’s way

  55. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    I honestly don’t have an issue with Bryce Harper’s reaction to the catch last night. It happens, its a game, it should be fun and it was a great catch.

  56. albatross says:

    “I honestly don’t have an issue with Bryce Harper’s reaction to the catch last night. It happens, its a game, it should be fun and it was a great catch.”

    I agree. I saw it more as youthful exuberance than showing anyone up.

  57. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    You know there are some that think since he’s a professional baseball player that he should act like a “professional.” I disagree, I think he’s good for the game and a good story to follow. Something fresh.

  58. Milo Hamilton says:

    Paul Maholm is the 1st Cubs lefty since Ken Holtzman in 1969 to have 4 consecutive starts of at least 6 innings & 1 run or fewer allowed.

    All that & he’ll get to finally pitch in a pennant race this year when he’s traded at the deadline. Good for him.

  59. CWalton_67 says:

    @Groat- didn’t know that about Doumit, but my thoughts above are just general observation. Seems as if Doumit suffered injuries of the bad luck type, which can an do happen.

    @NMR- no thanks are necessary but you are welcome. It was my job; I chose it, it did not choose me. And I loved doing it for many reasons.

  60. Milo Hamilton says:


    You’re wrong. Thanks are necessary. And I add mine.

  61. Baywatch says:

    Afternoon, All. Let’s go nick up Strasburg tonight for the sweep. Whadd’yinz say? Do we have it in us to even get him on the ropes?

    DK: Hi, Bay!

  62. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    Its not going to be easy

  63. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    I add mine as well. 14 years and going strong in the AF. Love almost every second of it.

  64. Baywatch says:

    I agree, Ryan. Strasburg has been sharp, I notice, but he gave up 3 runs last time out. I do predict Pedro goes big fly on him, though. And I figure if Strasburg got 9 Ks in his outings vs. the Mets and the Dodgers – he’ll get 12-15 against us. Gotta feel real good about winning the first two games going into this one, though.

  65. Jandy says:

    CWalton, I have an uncle who was a paratrooper. His hip replacements are hving hip replacements. The joy of improved medical science!
    But you are indeed wrong, thanks are indeed in order, and I add mine as well. Kudos to you, too, Ryan.

  66. radio wave says:

    Good to see you here.
    As a NY Rangers fan, I can’t excuse the coach for his behavior. I already know how that goes being a Pats fan too. At least rooting for the Pirates, you don’t get embarrassed by the Manager.
    Just a hunch, I think the Rangers will win Game 7.

  67. CWalton_67 says:

    Thanks, friends. Glad to be a part of this little group. And thanks, Ryan, for what you do as well.

  68. Jandy says:

    radio, I’m pulling for your Rangers!

  69. Arriba Wilver says:

    DK had an article in 2008 talking about how Doumit wanted to get rid of the “injury prone” label and started working out more in the off season. Still had the injuries. I suspect some of them early on were at least partially due to him being not in the best shape, but he had so many, it wasn’t just “bad luck.”. More likely “bad technique” as a catcher, which led to the finger, wrist and ankle injuries. If Bedard is “injury prone,” so is Doumit.

  70. radio wave says:

    Thanks for the support.

  71. Dejan

    ——”Let me throw this back: If the Pirates don’t TOTALLY blow it on Wieters, does Dave Littlefield get fired? Does the team feel the pressure to make all the amateur signings it has since then, no matter the cost?”

    This comment in the Chat confused me, especially since later in Chat you pointed out that only Pedro on Pirates and Matt Hague at AAA are Neal’s position draft picks!

    It has always seemed to me that anyone with a Street & Smith’s or Baseball America Almanac could have drafted Pedro, Taillon, and Cole. The benefit of being the worst team is that you get to draft 1-2! I give Neal Huntington great credit for drafting/signing Josh Bell and Stetson Allie. I also deduct credit for drafting a #28 ranked candidate at #4 in Tony Watson . . . . similar to Littlefield’s drafting of Moskos over Weiters.

    Presley, McCutchen, McLouth, Walker, Marte, much needed Doumit (guess who signed him to that ridiculous 2-year option that was declined), and Maholm (he of 4 straight 1-run outings) are all Littlefield drafts or signings.

    I’m not trying to bust on Huntington. However, I truly don’t understand the credit you give him for “filling up the minors,” especially with the Major League players he has given away!

    What makes you think Bucs would be worse off with Littlefield?

    DK: I don’t see your point here at all, Groat, and I’ve read this twice now. Where on earth do I give credit to Huntington for the minors when I’m underscoring that there are barely any position players?

  72. Milo Hamilton says:

    Tiger Woods shot a 74 (+2) in the 1st round of the Players today. He’s 9 shots out of the lead and in a tie for 110th. Meanwhile, Jack Nicklaus had a very nice lunch.

  73. Milo Hamilton says:


    I think Peter Noone said it best, “Second verse, same as the first.”

  74. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    Dont forget Brad Lincoln as well to the list.

    Would this team be much different had Weiters been drafted? They still would’ve been in the same positions of draft order i’d guess, but Tony Sachez never would’ve been drafted and knows who would’ve been selected.

    Also, if Weiters were drafted, we wouldn’t have signed Barajas and possibly signed other needed players…

    Holy crap, yea, this team right now, could’ve been totally different. See 2012 Baltimore Orioles.

  75. Nate83 says:

    @ Groat

    What major league players has he given away? I can’t name a one besides Bautista that I would want on the team currently. We raise current Pirates to a height they don’t deserve because we are comparing them to our own players. None have went on to be consistant productive players.

    Also Littlefield had little talent in the majors and the 29th ranked minor league system. He signed marginally good players to horrible contracts and received nothing in return for Aramis Ramirez. Nothing Huntington has done has reached the level of foolishness of taking on Morris’s contract.

  76. Dejan,

    Sorry for inferring more into “Does the team feel the pressure to make all the amateur signings it has since then, no matter the cost?” than you were meaning to say.

    As Tony Watson, Tim Alderson, and Andrew Lambo are proving, AA is a million miles from the Major Leagues.

    To me, the minors are bereft until they begin to produce players. Pirates are approaching their 5th draft with the present regime——Cardinals, drafting much lower, have produced much more during that time.

    I’m tired of hearing the excuse that the money is being spent on minors instead of veterans for the Major League team. Thanks for clarifying that you were not saying that.

  77. Richard says:

    Tortorella is a jerk. His act is old. I wish someone in the media would challenge him when he acts so immature. They need to throw it right back at him.

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