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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: First … um, place?


Brief and to the Point …

>> The Monday column is a deviously intercepted email from the Pirates to a certain ex-player.

>> First place?

>> A team that’s still dead last in the majors in on-base percentage?

You bet.

One wonders if Pittsburgh — the city and the baseball team — haven’t derailed Aroldis’ Chapman season, even if just temporarily.

>> The question that I put to Clint Barmes about free agents eventually coming to Pittsburgh — you’ll find his answer in the column — also was put to Neal Huntington before the game.

This was the GM’s response: “We’re never going to get every target we want. But I do think we continue to become a more attractive destination because we’re playing better baseball, taking that step forward. The city’s great. That hasn’t changed. The ballpark’s as good as it gets. The fans … you can just feel the fans’ energy right now. The clubhouse, the facilities, the staff, we’ve put a lot of things in place to bring winning baseball back to Pittsburgh. And one of the benefits will be bringing more free agents, no question.”

>> The Pirates are pushing hard for a trade, I’m told, but they will not give up prospects for a rental. Doesn’t mean they won’t give up prospects. Just that they won’t do it for a rental.

>> The Devils already are the first team since 1945 to turn a 3-0 deficit into 3-2 in a Stanley Cup final, but tonight they can make a much, much larger step in L.A.

Don’t rule out that they can.

Remember when the Penguins overcame turned their 3-0 deficit into 3-2 against the Flyers back … what seems like a century ago?

It was Scott Hartnell who said after Game 5 at Consol that the next game would truly be the Flyers’ Game 7, that if the Flyers didn’t win they were toast. Seemed like a bold thing to say, but it comes with a lot of merit. Game 7 would have been back in Pittsburgh, and the Penguins would have had all the momentum. The 3-0 lead, the history, all of it would been tossed out the window.

The Kings had better win tonight.

And if they’re going to win, they’re going to need a ton more from Dustin Brown, from Drew Doughty and, yeah, from my guy Anze Kopitar. They need to get it done on the power play. If not, Darryl Sutter needs to get Simon Gagne out there. Not sure why he hasn’t already.

>> My weekly appearance on TribLIVE Radio is today at noon. It’s online-only. Check it out.

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