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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: More pucks, please


Brief and to the Point …

>> The worst thing anyone can say about these Stanley Cup playoffs is that they’ve really lacked the vital element of suspense.

Maybe the Devils finally injected a little last night.

Maybe not.

It’s been a weird postseason in that the most anticipated matchup of all was Penguins-Flyers, which immediately turned into this bizarre flashback to the ’80s and fizzled almost immediately. Yeah, there were some Game 7s after that, but none that really captured the imagination across the board. Certainly not the way Sidney Crosby vs. the Flyers should have.

It’s already terrific for the league, I think, that Los Angeles is experiencing this. The U.S. No. 2 market spending even two weeks buzzing about hockey is a dream situation. But the one thing that’s been missing — especially for fans of the Kings — is that playoff angst, that nail-biting, that pacing back and forth, that feeling that even you as a fan had to suffer for your team to win.

New Jersey taking Game 5 on Saturday night ought to accomplish that.

>> Columnist Joe Starkey looks at Tomas Vokoun’s possible effect on Marc-Andre Fleury.

>> Hurts the Pirates in more ways than one that Brad Lincoln lasted only four innings.

Yeah, the loss is lousy in that it tosses out the possibility of a sweep in Cincinnati that would have brought a tie for first place. But the bigger loss is that the rotation could have looked a legit seven deep if Lincoln fared well, now that Jeff Karstens will be back soon.

Maybe Lincoln will bounce back. Worth the benefit of the doubt, since he took a 1.04 ERA into this game and, really, a couple of the Reds’ hits in their big inning came on pitches almost in the dirt.

The Pirates should hope so. Starting depth is the No. 1 trading chip.

>> So Sean Kugler, the Steelers’ offensive line coach, says the coaching staff wants to have the line set before Latrobe. And rookies David DeCastro and Mike Adams not only will be in next week for minicamp but also have been studying the playbook off CD-ROMs for a while now.

Two plus two = These kids are starting.

>> Our weekly chat is at noon today.

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