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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: How would Penguins have fared?

Brief and to the Point …

>> The Wednesday column puts the onus on Lawrence Timmons to boost the Steelers’ takeaway total next season. Judging from what he told me after practice, doesn’t sound like he’ll take issue with that.

At the bottom of the column, you’ll find a video of our chat yesterday.

>> Neat stuff from Ike Taylor about Mike Wallace right here in our TribLIVE studios: “Will they work something out? I think for sure.”

>> No one likes doing this, I’m guessing, but at least consider as you watch Game 1 tonight how the Penguins might have fared against either the Devils or Kings in a playoff round.

Yeah, yeah, moot point, I know. I’m not remotely suggesting they deserved to be there after how they folded against the Flyers.

Rather, I’m looking at how they might have matched up.

Here’s what I hacked out in a hurry …

Goal: 1. Jonathan Quick. 2. Martin Brodeur 3. Marc-Andre Fleury. Sure, Fleury’s capable of outplaying either man, but this is the combo of this regular season for Quick, long-term history for Brodeur, the Flyers series for Fleury.

Defense: 1. Kings. 2. Devils. 3. Penguins. There’s a large gap between two and three here. You know why.

Centers: 1. Penguins. 2. Kings. 3. Devils. Similarly large gap between one and two here. The Penguins win this battle against any team, maybe from any era. Don’t take it for granted.

Wingers: 1. Kings. 2. Devils. 3. Penguins. The key to L.A.’s run has been Daryle Sutter’s addition of big wingers and a thick forecheck, and the Kings also have Anze Kopitar. Ilya Kovalchuk and the Devils’ bigger guys have done quite well, too. The Penguins had James Neal, Pascal Dupuis and a lot of little guys.

Power play: 1. Kings. 2. Devils. 3. Penguins. But this one’s tight.

Penalty-killing: 1. Kings. 2. Devils. 3. N/A

>> Puckheads might find this New York Post column interesting. Looks at the pros and cons of the Rangers’ shot-blocking style, something we’ve been discussing here.

>> Don’t know how much clearer it can get that college football’s four-team playoff will not be based on conference champions.

>> What I was hearing from the Pirates about Charlie Morton before another blah start last night was that he’s just not doing much of anything with conviction. Nothing more complicated than that. Some of it stems from coming off the hip surgery. Not that he’s not healthy. He is. But it took him a while through spring, plus the usual questioning of himself, to get comfortable. Next is getting confident.

Should that happen in middle relief?

We’ll know when Jeff Karstens rejoins the rotation.

>> Still think .500 doesn’t matter?

I say it again and again and again and again: It’s the goal until it’s not the goal.

>> My weekly appearance on TribLIVE Radio will be today at noon.

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