Blogs | Sports | News
Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Extra Saturday column: Disrespect the Penguins? See ya

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Because of the Jordan Staal trade, I wrote an extra column last night at the NHL Draft.

Eager to hear your thoughts all around. Surprised I haven’t yet heard from many of the fans I’m sure are upset to see such a player go.


  1. Justin Werth says:

    It’s a very bittersweet feeling regarding Staal. But at the end of the day, the Pens and their fans can weather Staal leaving. He’s a special player, but not an all time talent like Sid and Geno. I can’t imagine the backlash if this were one of those players who were just traded.

    Great column Dejan. In Shero we trust.

    DK: Thanks, Justin.

  2. Juan Pizarro says:

    can someone kindly point me in the direction of this week’s DK chat transcript? i can’t seem to find it anywhere on the website



    DK: Here you go, Mr. P:

  3. Dave says:

    In a way I don’t blame Staal for wanting to go play with his brothers in Carolina because it’s got to be an awesome feeling to do that. I don’t like the way they played out negotiations though with the agent saying he wanted to play there. It was a classless act by the agent and possibly Staal.

    I also am confused as to why a professional hockey player would turn down a 10-year, $60 million contract when it’s a guarentee that his organization will be challenging for the championship each year and when it’s probably a deal he doesn’t see with his new organization or on the open market. He might see a higher annual salary, but for the length that the Pens were willing to go I think it’s a foolish mistake on his part.

  4. Eric Bowser says:

    Dejan, this was one of your best.

    Hopefully no one minds me bringing over my thoughts on the last blog entry at #50.

    1) Let’s get this out there now, Staal was going to be traded and had to be traded after he turned down a 10-yr deal, reportedly for around $60 million.

    2) Penguins have one of, if not, the best crop of defensive prospects in the NHL with the likes of Despres, Morrow, Harrington, Samuelsson, etc. through solid scouting, drafting, and development.

    3) Staal to Carolina for center Brandon Sutter, Brian Domoulin, and 8th overall pick was not what I was hoping to see for the former Penguins center but I can live with it.

    4) When the time came for the Penguins to pick in the 8th slot, their selection of defenseman Derrick Pouliot was a big time head scratcher for me because he wasn’t even the top rated defenseman on the board and let’s get real, there were some real nice forward prospects available like Filip Forsberg, Mikhail Grigorenko, Radek Faksa, Zemgus Girgensons and Teuvo Teravainen.

    5) Then came the Penguins own first round pick 22 and once again, another defenseman is drafted, this time Olli Maatta from Finland. They passed on comparable forward prospects drafted in the first round like Henrik Samuelsson, Stefan Matteau, and Tanner Pearson.

    6) I would have felt a whole lot better about this draft if they had drafted Forsberg and Samuelsson to have address the lack of skill at wing.

    7) Night wasn’t over as Shero dumped Zbynek Michalek back to Phoenix for a 3rd round pick, defense prospect Harrison Ruopp, and goalie Marc Cheverie. Penguins save $4 million in space as part of the deal. Ruopp had 9 points in 62 games while playing in the WHL with over 120 penalty minutes, so he’s not exactly a wimp but is he NHL quality, we’ll see. Best thing is the team saved $4 million and get another pick.

    8. Rumors are already flying about Zach Parise and Ryan Suter as unrestricted free agents on July 1 but I think the Devils do all they can to resign Parise and I expect Suter to end up in Detroit with the Red Wings as the anchor to their defense with the retirement of Niklas Lidstrom.

    9) This leaves some other options, most notably Anaheim right-handed sniper Bobby Ryan. No idea what the price would be but I’m guessing Tyler Kennedy, Scott Harrington and second round pick is a starting point for the Ducks.

    10) I know some fans seem to think this was a good night for the Penguins, I do not subscribe to that thinking with the selection of two more defensemen in the draft while good quality prospects were on the board at forward and goaltender. It will be a busy and important Saturday for Shero and his staff with 8 picks. If history is any indication, don’t expect an impact forward on day two.

    DK: Thanks, Eric, on both counts. Good stuff. VERY glad you brought this over.

  5. pghboyinca says:

    You can’t be disappointed in the return on Staal when he publicly said he was not open to an extension unless it was Carolina. If I am a Carolina fan I am asking why give up 3 prime assets for a guy they could have for no compensation in 1 year? Do they think they can win the cup this year and the window is closing? Why is that question not being raised with more vigor? If this nets them Parise then it is sheer brilliance……Sid and Parise with Geno and Neal? Yeah, that works……..

  6. Eric Bowser says:

    @pghboyinca – Deal is fine, execution with the draft pick is my disappointment.

    I just finished looking at the Pens organizational depth chart for defensemen, stacked.

    NHL: Orpik, Letang, Martin, Niskanen, Despres, Engelland, Lovejoy
    AHL: Bortuzzo, Strait, Grant, Sneep, Samuelsson, Dumoulin, McNeil
    Prospects: Morrow, Harrington, Pouliot, Maatta, Ruopp, D’Agostino, Velischek

    Morrow and Harrington were solid for young defensemen during 2012 training camp, I can’t imagine the two will regress, so one or both could have real legitimate shots along with Despres to earn jobs in the NHL for this upcoming season.

    Wish I could happily post the same about the forwards but it just isn’t there. There’s a few guys to hope turn into second line forwards and then a bunch of third and fourth line grinder types.

  7. pghboyinca says:

    Eric, That depth at D provides good trade leverage, Shero is far from done…

  8. JayH says:

    Really, really great writing! Your thoughts on Staal seem right on point to me. On a totally different tangent, I found myself wondering about the large disparity between the quality of the front offices in our town. The Penguins always seem willing to take the big step. Always seem in the mix and aren’t afraid to be bold. The Steelers have a storied history of being stoic in the face of flashiness but also have a high success rate. That leaves the poor Pirates – sitting in the corner, at the little kids table on Thanksgiving.

    Congrats to Shero on getting a semblance of value. He was painted into a corner and found his way out. Really looking forward to see what he does come July 1!

  9. dcpfjr says:

    Considering the way Staal and his agent handled matters, that trade was more than I expected. When I first read about the trade, I couldn’t believe that the Penguins got Carolina’s 1st round pick outright because the article never mentioned that the Penguins still had their 1st round pick. I assumed the Penguins and Carolina swapped 1st round picks. So, yes, it ended up being a VERY good trade for the Penguins. My hat’s off to Shero for how he handled everything about the situation, and to you, DK, for nailing it… again.

  10. Vette60 says:

    Crazy night last night for sure starting witht he Staal trade and wrapping up with moving Z back to Phoenix.

    Thinking about it, I do understand Eric’s point above about why not picking a forward with either of the first round picks, but in a way are the Pens stockpiling D-prospects to give them some trade flexiblity to pick up a proven forward? Maybe?

    I think they need skill help up front for sure and I still think need to be a bit more physical overall. We’ll see who they take a run at on July 1. No Jagr watch this year – is it the Parise watch instead?

    Last thing, would love to replace Martin with Suter, but am not sure how that would come about…

    Nice column DK. Hit the nail on the head for sure. Can’t wish Jordan anything but the best in Carolina, but it was kind of tough how it came about. Raleigh’s not all that far from Richmond – road trip?

    Have a good weekend.

    Randy in Richmond, VA

  11. David W. Hannen says:

    I didn’t find out until late last night that Staal had been traded. Thanks to DK, I new it was pretty much a done deal before the summer conclusion. After seeing what they received in return, I’ve been sick to my stomach. Early morning hours have been nothing but regret and dissapointment to see Staal traded. And then I read the “extra column”. If Parise is added come 7/1, hindsight will be a no brainer. The shear possibility has been my Pepto. Actually, my only fear now is what I’ll need if “the prize” isn’t signed to a deal by 7/2. Right now I need something to contain my excitement.

    Malkin and Neal + Crosby and Parise = Unstoppable Offense

    I wish Staal all the best. I can’t fault him for his decision of family. Carolina is my new 2nd favorite team.

  12. David W. Hannen says:

    As for my thoughts on the selections made in the draft, It’s always about Best Available, regardless of position. More defensemen just adds more trade chips to the table. They can be cashed in whenever needed. Plus, if all the freed cap space is used to secure a top notch winger for years to come, there’s no need to draft forwards. Already have the 2 best in the world, Neal, and soon to be Parise. Unless of course he has family in NJ.

  13. Drew71 says:

    Enjoyed the column, Dejan, and appreciated the insights. Nicely done.

  14. Tim says:


  15. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Ditto Drew above. As little as I know about hockey, I learned quite a bit from this. Seems to be a good move. Time will tell.

  16. Drew71 says:

    And since nobody asked me…and completely off topic…

    As a Penn Stater, I have no sense of celebration after the news yesterday, but only out of respect for the victims. That said, from me at least, there is a visceral satisfaction that a monster will be removed. And maybe a healthier sense of satisfaction that the justice system worked.

    45 of 48. To put it in football terms, 45-3. Didn’t even allow a freaking touchdown. The cleansing continues.

    In other places, some have written that Penn Staters must just want this to go away. Some have wondered if justice could be done with so many Penn Staters on the jury.

    This is one Penn Stater who would have paid real money to be on that jury.

    And I do not think I am alone in that sentiment.

    I don’t often talk, write or tweet about this horrific mess.

    Don’t need to. My opinion hasn’t changed from my last writing:
    Let the cleansing continue.

    I am…(still proud to be)…Penn State

    Not because of the verdict. And certainly not in denial of it.

    Just am.

  17. David W. Hannen says:

    With the news that Parise is now in the fold, I am starting to get crazy thoughts.

    As the days pass, I continue to wait for the collapse of the Pirates. With each passing W, my pessimism fades just a little more. If they get through the next 6 games with 4 W’s, the possibilties are endless. Are the playoffs a possibilty? The schedule does set-up nicely. The good teams beat the bad teams and they have a few of them coming up, based on current records. If they are still in contention come Sept, and Cole continues his progression, will he be at PNC?

    Pitt is on the first step of becoming a powerhouse in college football. Shell becomes the next Dorsett. Voytik the next Marino. Coach Chryst fits right in with Tomlin, Dixon, Bylsma, and Hurdle. ACC champs in 2013! Coach Dixon has reached the summit of signing top recruits. Too soon for NCAA championship? I’ll settle for 2013!

    The Steelers will be better regardless of the lost veterans. The added talent on O-line and Rainey? Haley will make the offense bettter. Ben will escalate to the top tier QB class. The DB’s under year 2 of Coach Lake will be a strength. Lombardi in February 2013!

    Lord Stanley in June ’13!

    To top it all off, Pittsburgh is named the best place in the world!

  18. David W. Hannen says:

    Damn, I forgot to add:

    Pirates are World Series winners in 2013!

  19. Stuart says:

    Thanks for the extra column DK. I can’t knock any trade that brings a genuine Sutter. I think there might be an additional story here about how both of the Ds selected by the Pens in the first round had defensive partners in juniors that were drafted by Pens. I suppose it could be just a coincidence, but wouldn’t it be a great story if they were going to be brought along as pairs developmentally? I think this will be worth watching. I’m a little leery about Parise. Not about his unquestioned talent, but about the huge salary he would command, and what that would mean for #s one and two in the future.

    I’m hoping that Blysma and Shero are doubling down on offensive defensemen, with Kris Letang as the archetype. The Kings won with offense, and I’ve always hated the boring defense-first style of the Devils for instance. Although it may have unfortunate connotations in another context, give me “High Octane” offense any day.

    Go Pens

  20. Drew71 says:

    Pirates are 37-32 (.536), alone in second place in the NL Central. They are one game behind Cincinnati, which is in the midst of a four-game-losing-streak-mini-slump, and two games ahead of St. Louis.

    Maybe more importantly, for the TWO Wild Card slots, they are:
    – Two games behind the two leaders, the Mets and Giants
    – One game behind the Braves.

    Interesting that all four teams at the top of the Wild Card race, including the Pirates, are tied in the loss column with 32. Which means, of course, the difference between the teams is the number of wins, as the other three teams have played (and won) one or two more games.

    I can’t believe i wrote this.

    I can’t believe i LOOKED.

  21. RobertoForever says:

    Everyone thought Shero was backed into a corner. That the only options left were to keep him and get nothing, or trade with Carolina and get little.

    He did his job and got what some surmised as not possible – the 8th overall pick AND more. Great job by Shero. As someone said, don’t doubt him.

    Somehow, I am sure the doubting will start, maybe as early as today.

    Seems like its a pattern in Pittsburgh. Any know if Drew Sutton has a good slapshot from the RW?

  22. Chad Hermann says:

    All you need to know about why stockpiling good young defenseman is a smart thing, and also a valid strategy for solving your lack-of-depth-at-winger problem:

    Ryan Whitney = Chris Kunitz

    …and, for the love of God and high holy larceny…

    Alex Goligoski = James Neal (+ Matt Niskanen)

    I’m sticking with Shero on this one.

  23. Arriba Wilver says:

    Roberto—did you do a poll? No wonder you live in Columbus, you don’t seem to have much respect for Pittsburgh fans? Not up to your “standards?”

  24. DemonDachshund says:

    @Drew –

    Actually, for the wild card, the Bucs are:
    – 1 game behind the 2 leaders, SF and NYM
    – 1/2 game behind ATL

    As you said, they are only behind in the win column, and each win and each loss = .5 game.

  25. likeabugonarug says:

    Thanks for the extra column DK. Is sad to see Jordan go, but at the same time I have to believe that he feels that he has the talent to be a name player on a team rather than playing 4th fiddle (Geno, Sid, MAF) at best with the Pens. I’m happy Ray was able to get a very reasonable return. How it turns out we’ll only know once the puck drops.

    As for someone’s comment about drafting a “D” instead of “F” with the #8, maybe the Pens feel more confident about bringing in a top line winger through FA than a defenseman? You would have to imagine that many wingers would love to be able to have the chance at playing with Sid or Geno, of course if the price is right, so why be as concerned about developing them at the present time? And with all these “D” hopefully they’d be able to put some trades together if they need to.

    @JayH – don’t discount the difference between the leagues of the salary cap. Yes, it would be great if the Bucs had an owner who was able to live by the motto of money is no object. And without the cap, I’m not even sure how long Mario and Burkle would have been able to afford a very good team unless that cable channel they wanted to put together would’ve netted huge buc(k)s. But the fact of the matter is that the Steelers and Pens don’t have to worry about a contract like A-Rod, Jeter, and some of those others have gotten from the Yanks and Sox. It will be very interesting on this side of the state to see if Phils can keep winning if Howard is never able to play a full season again and they have to continue to pay him his long term salary with nothing in return. He and Utley have really been missed this season.

  26. Ickythump says:


    I think things are going to get a LOT worse for Penn State before this gets better. The civil suits will expose the cover up by the administration, which is lack of institutional control correct?

    NCAA should come down VERY VERY hard in this.

  27. Drew71 says:

    Yes, Demon. Your math is correct. My computation skills leave much to be desired.

    Cognitive skills too.

  28. Drew71 says:

    By Gordon Edes |

    BOSTON — The Pittsburgh Pirates have two scouts here and, with a possible surplus in pitching, would make a potential trading partner. But it appears the Pirates have little interest in Youkilis; their focus might be on a Sox outfielder, especially with the Red Sox possibly having extra bodies if both Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford come back. That, of course, is still weeks away.

    Interesting. Maybe this was already discussed but I’ve been in Siberia for the past week.

  29. Dave J says:

    Pittsburghers demand two things from their sports stars: Honest effort (take notice, Jose Tabata) and loyalty (remember the welcome for Talbot versus the one for Jagr).

    Jordan Staal was disloyal, not only rejecting a wonderful contract offer, but screwing Ray Shero to the wall with his demand to only be traded to Carolina. I could care less about his desire to be with his family…I know I won’t be invited to the Staal family picnic, so I don’t care how warm and cozy it will be. This is my sports team, not my life, so if I want to boo a disloyal former Penguin, I will do so.

    Hey, Jordan….BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! In my mind, you just put Carolina in the same class with the Flyers and the Rangers.

  30. Thundercrack says:

    Great article DK. It really spelled out all the details of the situation.

    I wonder if yesterday evening right before the draft started if a dead fish wrapped in newspapers was delivered to Staal and/or his agent.

  31. Drew71 says:

    Funny you should write that, Thunder. I was thinking of putting up something like, I wonder if little 12 year old Ray had been smuggled out of Corleone in the back of a cart, sailed to America, recovered from small pox in the immigration center of Neville Island, and grew up to be the capo di tutti capi, the greatest Don in the organized garage league which, rumor has it, doesn’t really exist.

    But you beat me to it.

  32. Evan says:

    I loved Staal as a Pen, but I’m just pumped Shero was able to pull of the deal he did. How can you not trust that guy? He’s got to be one of the best GMs in all of sports. And moving guys around to get money for Parise too? Lose Staal for Parise, Sutter, and that group of young guys? The Pens will be a better team after all the dust settles. Way to go Shero.

  33. Scott says:

    I’m happy with the return Shero got for Staal – it’s more than I expected – but there’s one point everyone seems to be missing:

    At the NHL level, the Penguins today are a much worse team than they were yesterday.

    That’s an indisputable fact. And it means their chances of winning the Cup next year just took a major hit.

    Whether the Staal trade was a good one will depend on what Shero does with the extra cap space he now has. If he can acquire one or two impact players to substantially upgrade the roster, then great. If not, the Staal deal that everyone loves will have been a bad decision. Remember, the ultimate goal in the NHL is not to build for the future – it’s to WIN THE CUP. Keeping Staal would have given them a great chance to do just that. We’ll see how it plays out now.

  34. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t see how the Staal deal in any way, shape or form is a “bad decision.”. Be cause maybe with him they could have had one more unsuccessful run for the cup like the last two years? I think they may put an even stronger team on the ice when all is said and done, but even if they don’t, I can’t see it being a “bad decision” to trade him under the circumstances.

  35. Nate says:

    My only criticism of Shero and Blysma is this. The main hit on Staal’s long term trade value was not giving him top two line minutes and opportunities. I’m of the opinion that keeping on the third line also hurt the team defensively, especially against the Flyers.

    But that’s all gone now. Martin is the only mistake left on the books. Let’s get another winger, tighten up the system defensively, and go for that fourth cup.

  36. MarkV says:

    DK was right again. Since early yesterday he said Staal was gone and probably to Carolina. Why would we ever doubt DK again?

    As to the trade itself, it is a better return than expected. The question in Carolina is why did Rutherford give up so much when he had to know he had the Pens over a barrell? Maybe Jimmy is still part Penguin!

    Blood is obviously thicker than the desire to win championships. The Pens have the better chance of winning another Cup or two than the Hurricanes will have in the near future. Now he will be rememberred for choosing family instead of for winning championships. Champions live on and the rest fade from memory. As a Pens fan his choice is disapointing. Just wish he would have been more upfront about it.

    It will be interesting to see if Jordan gives Carolina the hometown discount on his next contract. I beleive Eric is making 8mil now; what will Jordan want to feel equitably compensated? Maybe Jordan now has Carolina over a barrell.

    As to Parise, great if he comes but can NJ really afford to let him go?

  37. Drew71 says:

    I was checking out Pirates’ stats for something else and stumbled on this.

    Only one player is hitting above .258.

    (of course that one guy is hitting .346, with an OBP of .402, 12 HRs, Slugging % of .577, and OPS of .979. but who’s counting?)

    Still, amazing what the Pirates are doing with so little hitting.

    No idea if that means they’re due for a fall, or due to hit more.

  38. DJ says:

    Sutter is a third line center who will be content with his role and perform it well. Pouliot will be key. If he pans out, Shero is a god. Jordan could become a 30-35 goal scorer with increased role. Then again, he could be sorry in a year that he forced Ray’s hand. ~DJ

  39. gregenstein says:

    I might be a little late on this, but I think Shero did just fine on the return package. A nice 3rd line center, a 4th or 5th defenseman, and the top pick. Seems fair to me. I liked the column DK. Spot on.

  40. Dan1283 says:

    I have to say that I am….surprised, to say the least, at how OK everyone seems to be with trading Jordan Staal, from the cheers in the building last night (MAN was that weird to be there for that) to the comments here and elsewhere today.

    I must have underestimated the amount of good will Shero has built up with the fan base. I simply refuse to believe that this many people think Jordan Staal is this easily replaced. If there was a fantasy draft held in hockey today among all the GMs for every current NHL player, Jordan Staal would be one of the first 10 guys off the board. I truly believe that. I think Toronto would pony up 12 years $80 million TODAY if they had the chance.

    Don’t be surprised when this guy tortures our team this year.

  41. pgherinfl - Carl says:

    Hi all!
    I might be a little late coming to this party. But I guess we don’t have to come up with another name for the “Big Three” anymore.

    Its a shame we couldn’t hold on to Staal but if someone wants to be with their kin, you can’t really stop them. It looks like the Penguins might be okay, on paper anyways, with what they got in return.

    Maybe they can be lucky and get rid of Martin now. Dream big and maybe they can end up with Pariese (sp) and Suter!!!

  42. RobertoForever says:


    Yep, there was a poll. Just go read the comments here and other pittsburgh sites yesterday and the past week. Very pessimistic that anything of value would be gained.

    Even DK doubted that Shero could ONLY the #8 pick from Shero. Just read the Friday column. Its there in black & white for those without an axe to grind.

Other blogs
Sports: Rob Rossi | Steel Mill | Chipped Ice | Bucco Blog | iPreps | Pitt Locker Room | Penn State Sports
News: This Just In | Trib List | ICycle | Flow Back | Stories Behind Trib Stories  

» Top Sports
» Top News
» Top Breaking News