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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Thursday Wakeup Call: Additions to my role

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media columnist

Morning, one and all …

The weekly chat will get going at noon, though you can begin submitting entries as soon as 6 a.m.

Going to try something a little bit different with these. That ‘Tampa Bay Lightning round’ thing we usually do for the final 20 minutes — quick questions, quick answers — will be the whole thing now. Allows me to get a lot more questions and topics considered, and I think it’ll keep it moving at a faster pace, too.

That’s but a tweak of a few things I’ll be adding to my plate, beginning next week:

>> I’ll be adding a Sunday column to my current Monday/Wednesday/Friday rotation.

The first of those will be Feb. 10. This gets me into our biggest-circulation paper, and it allows more chances to bring you live coverage of college football and other Saturday events.

>> The Friday column will now be what’s known in the business as a ‘notes’ column.

This allows a chance to offer views on matters that might not merit a full column on their own, as well as material on sports that might rarely get such treatment such as the Riverhounds or Duquesne women’s basketball. Doesn’t mean those will be the lede. Just that they’ll be in the mix.

>> I’ll appear more often on TribLIVE Radio. The weekly show, sponsored by SportsYapper, will remain 1-2 p.m. Tuesday. But I’ll also be on a few other times during the week as guests with other hosts at our station.

That allows me to do more on radio without affecting any of my writing, travel or anything like that. And best of all, it keeps everything under the Trib banner.

I’ll still visit with Mark Madden, Joe Bendel, other local hosts and, of course, Winnipeg’s TSN 1290. But the goal here is to focus more on TribLIVE Radio.

Basically, it boils down to one more column and a little more radio. Nothing else will change.

Hope to hear from you in the chat.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.


  1. Drew71 says:

    Well. My, um, lucky day. Since both flights were delayed by three hours, I made the connection and reached Florida.

    NOW what do I do?

  2. Stuart says:

    Well, it wouldn’t do for you to have too much time off!

    So far, except for some things like numbering comments, and enlarging the avatars, the new blog format gets a “thumbs up.” Oh yeah, also having JAL’s links post when written, instead of hours of “moderating”.

    Some concerns remain about having a “baseball only” thread/blog if you are not going to sponsor it personally.

    DK: I’m pretty confident that JAL’s links will go up immediately this very morning, but there’s no way of knowing at this extremely early (or late hour) until he tries to post.

    Really don’t know about numbering or bigger avatars.

    As for your final point, not sure exactly what you mean, Stuart, none of Pittsburgh’s three major sports will ever be treated differently than any other on this blog. And that goes for the most popular (football) or second-most popular (hockey) in our town, just as it does for the third-most popular. We do all sports here and, in fact, I’d say the commenting threads we’ve had here the past 3-4 weeks have been some of our most varied since this blog’s inception.

  3. Stuart says:

    Thaw out!


  4. Drew71 says:

    I will. 71 degrees.


  5. Drew71 says:

    It appears we lost our ability to line space between paragraphs.
    DK: Yeah, I did, too, actually, which is why I forced those garish gaps up there in the main post. I’ve brought it to our folks’ attention.

  6. Drew71 says:

    Testline two. Trying

  7. Drew71 says:

    That Didn’t work.
    Can do it manually by inserting periods

  8. Drew71 says:

    And let me add…I think one of the key benefits, in fact one of the points of the new reply feature is that we no longer have to complain about what we want to post about.
    So if it is a hockey thread in May on a Pirates off day, or the reverse, GO for it. That’s what the reply function allows. Separate imbedded conversations.
    No longer do i need to ask if this is where we talk baseball. It is.
    No longer do Puck-Heads have to complain about baseball or NBA or SEC Football or Tennis or soccer (well, maybe) or competitive tattooing.
    The reply function truly makes this a multidimensional and diverse sports blog that can support and even encourage multiple conversations on one thread.
    The blog has graduated to the big time. So I suggest that we not act like it hasn’t. No need to chase away conversations or make ANYone feel like a second class citizen on ANY thread.
    DK: Well put, Drew-man.

  9. 21sthebest says:

    “And that goes for the most popular (football) or second-most popular (hockey) in our town”


  10. Jandy says:

    Change those thermal underwear ;)

  11. Thundercrack says:

    Who are you kidding. On a Pirate day off in May, we’ll talk about the Pirates.

    We’ll have a ton of posts about what they’re doing on their day off….or what the players are being forced to do on their day off.


  12. Thundercrack says:

    It has been varied. But it was also mentioned / suggested to us that we wait a few months until we talk about baseball.

    I do like the improvements to the blog. And as Drew has pointed out, it allows any topic to be brought up and the reply function will determine if anyone else is interested. (but hey, you still can get your point across & thought out there to everyone).

  13. Thundercrack says:

    Competitive tatttooing.

    Should we start a fantasy league for that?

  14. Jandy says:

    I think Stuart meant that once in a while some posters will pick about posting hockey or football on a Pirate’s article. Not that Dejan ever said not to do it. It’s always been a SPORTS blog where talk about all sports was welcome any time.

    I like this format too. If we could just get that LIKE button I’d be happier ;)

  15. JAL says:

    JAL’s Snow Day Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Spring Training Tracker

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: MLB Has Two Major Problems, Only Cares About One

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Top Prospects: #3 – Gregory Polanco

    6 Bucs Dugout

    MLB draft picks aren’t like bags of tomatoes

    7 WHY GAVS

    Arbitrary end points

    8 City of Champions

    MLB Top 100 Prospects: Pittsburgh Pirates well represented in latest rankings

    9 Rumbunter

    Pittsburgh Pirates Hire Osiel Flores

    10 PBC Site

    Pirates announce six Social Media Nights in 2013

  16. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Bleacher Report

    Predicting MLB’s All-Breakout Team for 2013

    12 Washington Post

    Toronto Blue Jays agree to minor league deal with INF Andy LaRoche

    13 The Outside Corner

    Which contracts would MLB teams love to void?

    14 Viva El Birdos

    the national league central position players, by ZiPS WAR

    15 Stanford Athletics

    Appel Content with Choice to Return

    16 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Doc: What gets your entertainment dollar?

    17 New York Times

    Blocking Path of Baseball’s Drug Inquiries

    18 Sweetspot

    World Series vs. Super Bowl: Which wins?


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Four Sentences About Strikeouts

    20 Fangraphs

    Freddy Garcia and the Value of Broken Starters

  17. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Reload or Rebuild: What can the Steelers afford to do?

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Steelers New Offensive Line Coach Jack Bicknell Jr. Wants Linemen Who Can Move


    23 Daily Telegraph

    Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi reach scoring milestones with hat-tricks
    24 World Soccer Daily

    FA Cup spilleth over: shocks aplenty keep the competition alive


    25 Pensburgh

    Group Therapy: The Penguins are struggling because

  18. JAL says:

    Song is Snow Day Lisa Loeb 1992 This off her first album, which was cassette only. The album was re-released as a two disc CD in 2008. In addition to singing she has done film, TV, voice-overs, and children’s recordings. Her 10th album was released this week.

  19. Jandy says:

    YAY LinkS!!!!!

  20. JAL says:

    Yay, morning links went up when posted.

    Heading home today.

    Everyone have a good day.

  21. Jandy says:

    McDonald from the islanders got a 2 game suspension for boarding Lovejoy. Wow. A nobody got a suspension of 2 games. Good job Shamahan.

  22. Jandy says:

    Safe travels, JAL :)

  23. JAL says:

    Thanks Jandy

  24. Steve says:

    “Ravens Provide Steelers with Blueprint for Winning” Really? I think not.

  25. Steve says:

    Excuse me – “Winning Blueprint” I was so taken aback by the headline I couldn’t even quote it properly.

  26. JaxBuc says:

    “Winning Blueprint” and “Ravens” in the same sentence. The Over/Under on that was “NEVER” and I had the OVER.

  27. Stuart says:

    Thanks Jandy. that is what I meant.


  28. Stuart says:

    Danger Will Robinson sarcasm detected!

  29. Dom says:

    I wonder if Todd Haley gave DK the idea for the new quick strike chat format.

    I’m just kidding of course. I think it’s a great idea.

  30. Karen22 says:

    How about the ability to edit our own comments?

  31. Karen22 says:

    Or delete them?

  32. Stuart says:

    that’s reassuring. No one said it, but I was getting the feeling that there would have to be a separate baseball thread in the future. I like the diversity here also. thanks for causing the links to be fixed.


  33. Drew71 says:

    And now, with the reply function, we can talk about any sports topic on any day on any thread. And it is good.
    So it was written.
    So it shall be.

  34. Bizrow says:

    I’m up for it

    I’m pretty sure Drew will win it though

  35. Too many cooks…

    I read Josh Yohe’s notes this morning about the Pens power play unit. Bylsma tweaked the setup and put Malkin at the point, but the lineup on that first unit remained unchanged. I saw this a little against the Islanders and it still didn’t work. To put it simply: Malkin is just not a point man on the PP any more than James Neal.

    Dejan mentioned something yesterday about going back to what works. He was referring to Kunitz alongside Neal and Malkin, but you can extend that line of thinking to the man advantage. When Crosby was getting ready to return, one of the big questions was where to put Sid with respect to the PP. At that point, Malkin had been centering the first unit, Neal had a plethora of points, and the PP was effective. The consensus from Bylsma at the time was that he couldn’t put Sid anywhere but the top PP unit because, well, he’s Sid.

    Bylsma is still trying to find a way to make it work with both Sid and Malkin in the kitchen and it’s been a recipe for nothing but frustration. You can’t simplify a Power Play when you have two centers who like to create magic from the RW half-boards. Player’s Coach or not, it’s time for Bylsma to take Sidney Crosby off the top unit.

  36. Jandy says:

    i kinda figgered so ;)

  37. radio wave says:

    Drew: Glad to see you survived the Eastern Iowa Regional airport.

    Big game tonight for my Rangers again. Looking for a different outcome this time around.

  38. Jandy says:

    Haha! Ya think so ;)

  39. Jandy says:

    Split them up! NOW!

  40. JaxBuc says:

    Today’s Google doodle shows Jackie Robinson, on what would be his 94th birthday. Nicely done, even though Google is not a baseball blog.

  41. Dom says:

    The link on this blog to the weekly chat directs me to the DK’s article from yesterday. Does anyone know of another link to the chat?

  42. 21sthebest says:

    It seems kind of cumbersome to me though, to have to go backwards to see if someone is replying to your post and continuing a conservation.

  43. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I don’t know that I want Bowsma axed. That said, how long is he going to have to show that he can actually coach and adjust? Right now the cup win looks like an anomaly. The PP is in trouble (again), the D isn’t close to being what it was in ’09 and all the while it seems many of the problems have been recurring for several years now.

    The losses to Tamba Bay, Montreal and Philthy seem to be more a lack of adjustment that anything. And switching lines every third shift does not count. I haven’t see any change in Sid and Geno blindly throwing passes around like candy at a parade. Right now that’s killing us more than anything IMO. Our best guys are taking themselves outta the game.

  44. LuckyNKentucky says:


  45. zivkov34 says:

    Yup same thing here… Also the last two columns are dated Jan 19 and Jan 20, respectively… This new website is starting to remind me of all the Great changes “That other paper” made.

  46. 21sthebest says:

    Conservation! Looks like my dlxyesia kicked in!

  47. wally says:

    Brad- my feelings exactly. There is just never any adjustments- in-game, game to game , or, seemingly, season to season…Whats up wit dat?

  48. Dom says:

    Help us JAL!!!


  49. Bizrow says:

    MLBTradeRumors has a report saying ARods career with the Yankees might be over. I’m pretty sure JAL has already posted a link to that site.

    Who’da thunk it??

  50. Dom says:

    I disagree with that. I read that it was VERY unlikely that the Yankees would be able to void his contract so I doubt the Yankees would want to eat $114 million.

  51. Drew71 says:

    The weather front has hit Florida.
    Last night at 1:00 am? A comfortable 71.
    But 10:00 this morning?
    58 and partly cloudy.

  52. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    And the curious thing about ’09 is that Therrien coached for half the season and is more defensive minded than Bowsma. Not giving Therrien sole credit for the Cup, but some of his style was obviously ingrained that year.

  53. NMR says:

    Feel free to question Bylsma. He’s not above doubt.

    But it’s completely unfair to lump all three of those playoffs series together as his fault. Each one was a totally different scenario.

    You cannot blame lack of adjustments when you lose the two best players in the world to injury. You cannot blame lack of adjustments when Halak stands on his head and turns in a legendary performance.

  54. JoeBucco says:

    Whoa… work’s been crazy busy for me, plus the lack of Pirates commentary has had me not checking in here for a while.

    I return today and see threaded comments. How come nobody told me? I’ve been waiting for this since DK came over here to this place. :)

  55. stuart66 says:

    JAL link #5 was a thoughtful, but chilling piece. Talk about a competitive disadvantage!


  56. JoeBucco says:

    How do you deal with such drastic changes in climate, Drew? ;)

  57. NMR says:

    The best defensive hockey this team has played since the lockout was the second half of 2010 without Sid and Geno.

    That was Bylsma’s system on full display.

  58. Dom says:

    Does anyone else agree that Sid and Malkin should not be split up on the power play?

  59. pattonbb says:

    He’s done. More than likely it will be “retirement”.

  60. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    Blog looks better and DK gets a regular space in the Sunday paper.
    Fish don’t fry in the kitchen, beans don’t burn on the grill……

  61. Drew71 says:

    Jack Daniels

  62. zivkov34 says:

    Try as they might – but no way is that going to happen… However I do have a suggestion for A-Rod… Hire the Fehr Brothers as private consultants albeit with a non compete clause against any professional sport league… save Arena Football…

  63. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    AMAZING things happening here…amazing things

  64. NMR says:

    I see Chase Headley settled for $8.5m for this season. Just the latest illustration of how criminally cheap Andrew McCutchen is in the baseball world.

    There’s almost no question that this Front Office’s best move will go down as locking him up until he’s 32.

  65. JoeBucco says:

    Jose Tabata is even cheaper. Now if he could just put up Cutch numbers, he’d be a crazy steal.

  66. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Agreed, NMR, and the worst one was not trading for Headley at the deadline last season when they had the chance for almost nothing.

    Hindsight says, with the second half he had, if it translates here, we’re a wild card, minimum and 8.5m is a steal for this season.

  67. LuckyNKentucky says:

    See any comments by Jandy over the last week. :P

  68. Bizrow says:

    Like + 1

  69. Bizrow says:

    PBC would have to dump a couple of players to be able to “afford” him

    Or so they would say

  70. 21sthebest says:

    Seems to me that voiding a contract would be extremely difficult in this case without an admission by ARod or without lengthy litigation.

  71. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Isn’t that what Martin got?

  72. radio wave says:

    Hurry up and get some warm weather going. Arriving Saturday.

  73. JHadar says:

    If we get the ability to edit them, all we have to do to delete them is ******* ***** ***** ****** etc.

    Now if we could only take back all the things in real life that we said that we wish we hadn’t, eh?

  74. Karen22 says:

    Ohhhh yeah! :>)

  75. Bizrow says:

    Good point, wonder who the PBC would have picked up then?

  76. 21sthebest says:

    Headley has a one year deal. Cutch’s contract is through 2017 with 2018 as an option year. Seems like an apples and oranges comparison.

  77. JHadar says:

    One degree out on the prairie with a wind chill warning in effect until the middle of March.

  78. Brad, Indiana PA says:


    Not saying they were all entirely his fault. Halak was incredible and the whole team played like crap against Philthy. But you can’t deny that it contributes to it either. What I noticed in watching each of them is a consistent lack of major adjustment in coaching. Bylsma continually, whether right or wrong, defends his system. Don’t have a problem with that. But sometimes the system just doesn’t work and major adjustments need to be made.

  79. Bizrow says:

    From what I’ve read, the Yanks have about 85% of his contract insured. That may be the way they handle it

  80. Ryan Cetner says:


    Great news about the increased radio time. TribLive is far and away the best sports talk in Pittsburgh. Internet radio is about 1-2 years away from totally taking over terrestrial radio. Pretty soon every car will have full time internet access in the dash and internet radio will explode. TribLive is ahead of the game. The PG’s getting moldy and stale.

  81. I’ll agree with NMR: I’m willing to give Bylsma a clean slate to start with this season now that everyone is healthy.

    That being said, the team that I watched systematically dismantle the Flyers in the opener bore no resemblance to the team that got owned by the Islanders. I’ll give a little bit of latitude as Niskanen’s injury forced the defensive pairings to shift, but that’s no reason for the team to look totally despondent.

    I’m really concerned that the wheels are coming off this quickly. The Pens used to draw momentum from their special teams, now they’re only draining it faster. With the talent with a man advantage and a man short, there’s no reason this team should struggle in either scenario. Right now, special teams are the petri dish for the Pens destiny: fix the PK and the PP and everything else will fall into place.

    I alluded to it earlier, but Bylsma is a “player’s coach.” Those types are great foils when taking over after a strict disciplinarian (Therrien), but sooner or later discipline and accountability have to reign. Bylsma can’t be afraid to make the tough calls that his star players may not approve of. It starts by going back to what worked before Sid returned…

  82. Naje says:

    Lucky… doesn’t matter what he got in arb now, it’s what SD wanted for him back at the deadline… and I do believe that they wanted 2 of our top 3 pitchers, Marte and another top 15 player. Trades don’t happen in a void as DK points out, and losing that many top prospects, at that time, apparently wasn’t worth the risk.

    When you trade prospects, you have to have guys ready to take their place or you just keep depleting your chips (for lack of a better word).

  83. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Again, I’m not saying get rid of him right now. My major point is that when other teams are giving them problems with something like getting across the red line on the PP and they are still having the same problem at practice the next day, there’s more to be done than moving a couple guys to different spots on the unit.

  84. LuckyNKentucky says:

    I don’t remember them wanting that much for him, Naje. Not saying you’re wrong, I just remember DK saying he could have been had for very little. If they wanted Marte and another top 15, that is too much IMO.

  85. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    I was at 2 of the 3 games the Padres played in Pittsburgh in early August. I want to say he hit something like 4 dingers alone in those 3 games and had at least 7 RBI’s as well. Kinda made you really wonder what could have been.

  86. 21sthebest says:

    Makes sense. And the difference between the 85% and trying to void it could be legal fees.

  87. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I disagree NMR. I think the best was under Therrien- it was just as good if not better, and it was sustained over a longer period of time. That was one of the most remarkable aspects of their games from late ’07 to ’09- it was constantly covered in the media and by the league. Bylsma captured that for a little bit, but it’s not where it used to be. And while Crosby and Geno are prone to turnovers, they are both excellent defenders as well- I can’t bring myself to say Pens defense is better without them.

  88. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Right, Playoffs. And he had a torrid 2nd half after the ASB. It does make you wonder.

  89. Damon says:

    I agree that Sid and Geno should definitely be on the same power play unit. You have to two most talented players in the world, and they have had success playing together on the same unit in the past. Geno has an awesome one-time shot from that point which Sid and Letang can set up. Also you may see Geno rotate down to the circle and Sid to the right post at times which Sid has scored from during the cup years. Why thin out your talent on two units? Plus even though Sid and Geno wouldn’t say it, they do have egos and they both want to be the best player in the world, so who goes on the first unit? I think just reading the comments in the paper they understand that they need to keep it simple, and I can see things turning around tonight if they take that advice.

  90. 21sthebest says:

    There were reports that they wanted a return similar to what they got for Latos, three top prospects and a starting pitcher, all of whom are currently on the big league roster.

  91. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I agree with this assessment 100%. I would much rather see Bylsma fix the stuff than be canned. But looking at the same problems that seem to appear annually I’m not sure he can. He probably should be screaming at Sid and Geno for some of their major oopsies, but he won’t.

    I’m hardly ready to throw in the towel, but they definitely need to fix some stuff soon.

  92. buggee says:

    How do we get an avatar/image uploaded? I’m so corn-fuzed

  93. LuckyNKentucky says:

  94. Bizrow says:

    Go to and follow the instructions

  95. buggee says:

    can we get a “Dislike” button too? (I’d use it all the time for anything Ray Lewis)

  96. NMR says:

    Sorry Lucky, you’re misremembering if you think that San Diego wanted him for “very little”.

    Marte, Tailon, and Lincoln/1st Rd Draft pick.

    That is not very little, by any stretch of the imagination.

    Besides, he’s a 3rd baseman. NOT an outfielder. The trade would’ve worked if you were putting tofether a fantasy team.

  97. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Absolutely Sid and Geno should be on the same PP. Bylsma needs to figure out a way after all this time on how to utilize their talents. He need’s to steal the Jordan Staal “big stick” (thank you Bob Errey) and knock some sense into them.

    I wonder if maybe all this talk about a D-QB on the PP isn’t doing more harm than good. Instead of basing passes off the D, let’s just start blasting shots from the point and get some dirty goals. Can’t turn out much worse.

  98. buggee says:

    JAL, you’re the best mano. Thx for dem dere linx

  99. NMR says:

    Headley’s deal just avoided arbitration for 5th out of 6 seasons San Diego has on his entry level contract.

    Cutch’s equivalent would be his 2014 salary of $7.25m.

  100. JHadar says:

    With the baseball season coming up it’s time for the irrational and illogical optimism to kick in. I still think there’s a hole at shortstop, the bench is weak but not as weak as last year, and the pitching somewhere in the range of either slightly better or slightly worse.

    What has to happen is for Alvarez to add to his average without losing power, Cutch and Walker need to continue to improve. McCutchen’s potential is MVP and HoF and I hope we’ve only seen the learning phase so far. Marte has to show he’s more than an every day outfielder, and one of the potential laden but so-far-disappointing right field candidates has to show up.

    Catching and first base should be adequate (I hope) but not spectacular and if Jones has another 30 dinger season we can tolerate the fielding.

    Still too many unproven unknowns — put the possibilities are fascinating. Who knows, Barmes may recover and hit over .240. Or maybe a shortstop will show up at spring training.

    Sad thing is that even if they’re five games ahead in the middle of August those last two seasons will be gnawing away at us.

    Finally, it’s difficult to imagine that hockey could be more popular than baseball. I get that winning is more popular than losing — but if you go more than 50 miles from Pittsburgh the Pirates fans overwhelmingly outnumber the Penguins fans because it’s baseball.

  101. Damon says:

    Shots are the key – definitely. My fear is that they are having a lot of shots blocked, and now are reluctant to shoot unless they have a wide open shot. Another problem I see is that Geno and Neal are the only two that shoot off the pass/one-time the puck. Everyone else stops it, then shoots which in turn allows the other team to get in place to block the shot. Passing needs to be better too. All these things are correctable.

  102. buggee says:

    totally agree with this assessment, RF. The question then becomes who rides with Sid on PP unit 2? Kennedy’s a good choice b/c Sid can stay low where he prefers while TK shoots from every conceivable spot in the attacking zone. Tanger needs to start teaching Despres point responsibilities b/c there’s no reason why that kid can’t handle point and do it effectively. Add a banger to that 2nd PP unit like Sutter/Glass/Cooke and that just might be an effective PP change-up from the Malkin/Neal/Kunitz line.
    There’s no way Sid and Malkin should be on the same PP unit, nor should Malkin be on point.

    Let’s see what shakes out tonight

  103. LuckyNKentucky says:

    That is way, way too much, NMR. I figured we’d have him at first and Jones in right. Those other guys would be on the pine. Snider, Tabata, et al.

    My memory is suspect, believe me.

  104. buggee says:

    Like + 2. Good one

  105. NMR says:

    San Diego wanted less for Headley than Cleveland wanted for Choo, so in that sense your memory is right on.
    I think DK was fair in his analysis. He pretty much said the Choo deal was ridiculous but Headley would’ve been the correct “all-in” move. I don’t have a problem with that.
    My problem with the deal was always that Headley’s 2012 was so far better than anything he’d done in the previous four seasons, even at the time of the deadline, that you were taking an enormous risk expecting him to continue that production.

  106. radio wave says:

    Mr. Hadar:
    Good to see you here again. And the Cyclones fell short last night. Haven’t won at Stillwater since 88. I must admit, even though baseball is my favorite sport, I like this contracted NHL season. Action every night. Too many injuries, which is what I was afraid of. Groat will give us the st countdown, can’t wait.

  107. NMR says:

    Fair enough, Brad.

    I’ll admit that I’m sensitive to giving previous coaches credit for championships, a la Cowher and Tomlin.

  108. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Very true.

  109. Jandy says:

    I think Cookie would be great on a PP with Sid, buggee, excellent idea!

  110. Dom says:

    Looks like you gentlemen are correct. When I did a google news search on th topic, most people agreed with you all.

  111. Jandy says:

    Hey, don’t scream at them. Let them ride the pine for a game or two. Attitude adjustment.

  112. Jandy says:

    Went from 62 yesterday to 29 today, with howling winds and blowing snow.
    I *HATE* winter >:/

  113. Jandy says:

    I’m waiting for the LIKE button ;)

  114. Jandy says:

    LOL! I’m quite vociferous about it ;)

  115. Jandy says:

    Sid and Geno are like oil and water on the same PP….no mix

  116. Jandy says:

    Por Spunky, he suffers from CRS

  117. Arriba Wilver says:

    DK said “Chase Headley for a No. 5 prospect, a compensation draft pick and a third piece-the Padres’ price . . .” I think that’s what you’re remembering, Lucky. That was, of course, hotly disputed by the blogs.

  118. Jandy says:

    Ha! makes Bettmann look really good…

  119. Arriba Wilver says:

    JH—couldn’t agree more with your last paragraph.

  120. Jandy says:

    Thanks, Dom :)

  121. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Thanks, AW. Whatever CRS is, I hope I don’t suffer from it.

  122. Jandy says:

    Relentless, DK just said in the chat that,…well…here is what he said:
    “Anyone calling for that — and I haven’t heard much of what you’re describing — needs to be made aware that second power-play units exist in fantasy land only. The top unit is going to be out there for about 1:10, maybe longer if things are going well. If you can think of something dumber than having one of the world’s two best players sitting on the bench for two-thirds of a power play, I’m all ears.”

    SO I guess we’re dumb. >:/

  123. Jandy says:

    CRS = Can’t Remember Sh*t lol

  124. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Probably true, then.

  125. NMR says:

    What a great lead in to an article I read yesterday!
    Fangraphs ran a column on San Diego’s Edinson Volquez, who has a high strikeout/walk style remarkably similar to our newest bathroom-challenged left handed pitcher:
    Volquez 8.7 K/9 4.9 BB/P, Liriano 9.1 K/9 3.8 BB/9
    The article was focused on the enormous split between his success at home(2.95 ERA) and on the road(5.60 ERA). They attributed this to Petco Park and reducing the number of homeruns allowed.
    Not so coincidentally, Liriano’s two best seasons were also the ones in which he allowed the least homeruns. The optimism comes in when you see that PNC Park is actually significantly deeper to left field than even Petco.
    People have mentioned before how they thought PNC could help Liriano, but this article was a great example of just how much difference it COULD make.

  126. JRay3 says:

    Living out here in Phoenix, this has to be one of the strangest sports items. A beautiful hockey arena built in the wrong part of town. A league owned team for four years which makes it extremely difficult to build upon what fan base the team does have which is passionate albeit smaller.

    The NHL has robbed cities like Quebec, Hartford, Winnipeg once, Minnesota once, to try and be in bigger more mainstream “Professional” markets. And I do hope the people of Quebec get a team back as I grew up a fan of the old Nordiques thanks to a netminder by the name of Mario Gosselin.

    However, selfishly I do hope the Coyotes can get something worked out as with the state of pro sports here with the Suns, and Cardinals this was their first chance at potentially more success coming off of the Western Conference Final if not for this vast unknown.

  127. Jandy says:

    Odd thing, but Pens took Boychuk from the Hurricanes off waivers. Saw it on the chat…
    here’s a link:

  128. Jandy says:

    JRay, i know how the fans feel…Pittsburgh was in that boat once…but i do hope they find a way to stay there…that said…some of those citites you mentioned would love to have a team again…

  129. Bizrow says:

    Any word on who the Pens dropped?

  130. Jandy says:

    no not yet

  131. Jandy says:

    Well, that’s good news…when does spring training open? lol

  132. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Jandy, they’d probably prefer screaming or the pine instead of your backslapping.

  133. Jandy says:

    LOL b*chslapping…does not invovle the back at all ;)

  134. NMR says:


  135. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I hear that. Bylsma certainly won the Cup, I just think some elements of Therrien’s system helped. My concern is mainly that he hasn’t been able to have them play as defensively sound as they used to and his adjustments just don’t seem to carry onto the ice year after year (if he makes them at all). I just hope they figure out how to solve these various woes yesterday or it could be a long short season.

  136. Jandy says:

    Is Ryan Callahan out? I hear he has a dislocated shoulder.

  137. Jandy says:

    Just saw…out for 2 weeks. That will hurt, radio.

  138. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    But if you heat oil up to 500 degrees celsius it turns into water….

    No, not really. I can’t back that up.

  139. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    …please be Paul Martin, please be Paul Martin, please be Paul Martin…

  140. Nancy52 says:

    Writer from the other paper tweeted a report Niskanen put on IR.

  141. JP says:

    No one. Niskanen on IR. Saves them from dropping someone for now.

  142. Jandy says:

    Thanks, Nancy, that actually makes sense.

  143. JP says:

    Yeah, drop a top 4 defenseman for a forward who couldn’t crack the Hurricanes’ lineup. Great idea.

    Paul Martin, aside from the Islanders’ game, has been very good this year.

  144. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Well excuse me for keeping it PG, TV-7, Y with elemnts of AC, AL, V or however the rating systems work now. Speaking of which, Modern Family was pretty funny last week with how they weaseled the profanity in.

  145. Jandy says:

    Groat?!? Where ARE you???

  146. Jandy says:

    lol brad, you’re killin’ me!

  147. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I agree. Not sure how exactly they should do it, but they need to force the issue more in general. Crash the net, set up one-timers, charge the box and outlet to the wing, something, ANYTHING other than having one guy enter the zone at half speed while the other 4 are standing still or going horizontal.

  148. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I know I know. It was a joke.

  149. JP says:

    Missed the sarcasm.

  150. DK: Anyone still defined by a gray silhouette can get a free, easy avatar at

  151. JP says:

    Anyone else think Shero saw how well Grabner worked for the Isles and figured, “Eh, why not?”

  152. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I have it in for Martin, I’ve admitted that. I personally don’t view him as a top 4. But I am glad he hasn’t been a liability so far this year and would like to see him continue what he’s doing.

    I also didn’t think two weeks ago the offense would be this dismal.

  153. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I don’t see myself as “defined by a gray silhouette”. Though sometimes I think my kids do.

  154. Jandy says:

    well, even if that were true, you’d melt the ice :p

  155. Jandy says:

    JP, that is true. I hope Paul Martin continues this play…we shall see tonight!

  156. Jandy says:

    It’s only a problem
    1)When Niskie comes back and…
    2)Boychuck plays his way onto the roster

  157. Jandy says:

    yes…it’s called being aggressive!

  158. Or living in fantasy land, Jandy. ;)

    I’d be willing to give one more option a try with Crosby: move him to the right point. Geno has to be back in that RW slot where he’s most deadly. Sid can’t be crowding him below the RW goal line because he limits Malkin’s options.

  159. JHadar says:

    Radio — Both the Hawks and Clones are going to be way up and way down this season. Hoiberg’s got more talent at Ames but a lot of transfers and juco players that haven’t played together. McCaffery is bringing Iowa along — but his real talent is a season or more away. Quite a bunch of freshmen there, but their shooting is agonizingly poor. Best floor play I’ve seen in years — but if the ball doesn’t go in the basket it doesn’t do much good.

  160. Reading says:

    Congrats DK on the expanded role! Additions to a role are certainly better than subtractions.

    DK: Thanks, Reading. Well, there are a couple subtractions, too, but they’re not anything anyone would notice.


  162. Damon says:

    Sid and Geno generate a lot of offense and chances on the same line 5 on 5, and the Pens were 4 for 8 to start the season on the PP. There is no reason this shouldn’t work, and I think the premice that they can’t work together is an idea that is snowballing. It worked in the cup years. I’m going to just agree to disagree on this one.

  163. For better or for worse, Bylsma is not that kind of coach. I’d love to see more accountability and discipline from the Pens, but I remain highly skeptical that Bylsma can deliver it.

  164. Jandy says:

    There’s Groat :)

  165. Jandy says:

    We can dream, right?

  166. madturk says:

    Sorry groat I didn’t hear that How many days lol

  167. Agreed. I was really hoping Niskanen would be able to find a permanent role on the PP, but his injury created an opening that Despres shows propensity to fill. Despres was putting every puck that came his way on net against the Isles. His shot selection and accuracy were excellent, and his release is deceptively quick for a blueline shot.

    As for the second unit, I’d give TK a shot and along with Joe Vitale. TK likes to shoot and has a knack for finding loose pucks in the slot. Vitale has been quietly impressive offensively on the fourth line making sound decisions with the puck, showing lots of poise, and setting the table quite well for his linemates.

    And Malkin is a waste on the point. He’s just not programmed for that type of role.

  168. Jandy says:

    I guess fantasy land is bigger than I thought ;)

    I don’t like those two together and I won’t change that until I see it working. Then I’ll gladly eat my words. Until then…SPLIT THEM UP! lol
    Your option MAY work, but I remain skeptical.

  169. Arriba Wilver says:

    Mad–any news on Ugly Ken?

  170. Dom says:

    Who is ugly-ken?

  171. madturk says:

    I haven’t heard from hm in a long time

  172. JHadar says:

    AW —

    My personal, and slightly offbeat, opinion is that the only thing that keeps baseball from being more popular than football is that football televises way better than baseball. And TV ratings have a way of determining popularity..

    The camera’s ability to get in tight on the ball carrier makes a 2-yard gain look a lot better on the screen than it does from the stands — but while you’re sitting in a baseball stadium holding your breath in anticipation wondering if a ball is going to go in or out TV is showing an outfielder standing there for a routine catch or to watch the ball go over his head into the stands.

    And so on. At the game you have a huddle between every play where nothing happens. TV shows three different replays of the last play. In baseball while you’re waiting for the pitch you’re watching the runner(s), the positioning of the fielders and so forth while TV is showing you a head shot of the pitcher shaking off the catcher.

    Nonetheless baseball teams have 81 home games a year compared to 8 for football teams, so they outdraw football in terms of paying customers and still have way more empty seats in the house — especially on Tuesday afternoons.

    Football will be more popular for quite a while, but unless they solve the head injury problem (and you can’t make a helmet that will do that — the rules have to change. Ever wonder why rugby doesn’t have the head injury problem?), parents aren’t going to let their kids play. At least not the way they do now.

    Not that baseball isn’t without its problems, but it’s plenty healthy for a Civil War veteran.

  173. madturk says:

    You know barbies guy friend

  174. 12 DAYS . . . . . a dozen . . . . . a number sometimes associated with “Dirty” . . . . . the number of disciples Jesus had . . . . . the number of the tribes of Israel . . . . . the number times itself that equals gross . . . . . the number of days Drew spends at home in a month . . . . . the number of pitchers that will travel north with the Pirates . . . . . the number of Krispy Kreme donuts I prefer to eat each day . . . . . the number by which eggs are sold . . . . . drummers drumming . . . . . the number of days to celebrate orthodox Christmas . . . . . the midnight number . . . . . Clint Barmes.
    Holy Cow!!

  175. madturk says:

    Groat Thanks I think I got it now lol

  176. madturk says:

    Arriba, I sent Ken an email, If I hear back I will update you.

  177. Hey Iowa Hadar,

    I loved your comment at # __ (11:23). Good analysis.

    Not only do Pirates need more O-ffensive production from shortstop———they need more D-efensive production from 3rd base.
    The left side of Bucs field is spotty at best, including the 1st full year for the young leftfielder who is NOT a Leadoff man.
    What a team full of “IFs”!!!

  178. Jandy says:

    lol see, that’s why we miss you when you don’t show up, Groat :)

  179. Arriba Wilver says:


  180. “They” made me work too hard this morning.
    Left me no time to ____ or type.

  181. Arriba Wilver says:

    A blogger from the early days at the PG. Good guy.

  182. Dom says:

    That means you email a doll????

  183. Jandy says:

    “They” are MEAN!

  184. Jandy says:

    Do we have GI Joe too???

  185. Dejan,

    I am looking forward to your Sunday columns. Makes too much sense.

    Also excited about your Friday “Notes” columns. My favorite Smizik columns, and before him my favorite Phil Musick columns, were notes columns.

    Sydney Harris used to entitle his: “Thing I Found While Looking Up Other Things.”

    DK: Thanks, Groat. I think you’ll find my intro line to be very familiar.

  186. JHadar says:

    Actually, I think Pedro moves pretty well for a big guy — although Bautista at third and Pedro at first … nah, don’t go there.

    Of course I didn’t mention that the division will be a lot tougher this year, too.

    I guess I prefer “only hopin'” to “having no hope.” What I’d like and what I expect are still still quite a ways apart.

  187. Naje says:

    Groat… remember, that leadoff hitter is the guy who at one time was able to steal a base standing up.

  188. JHadar says:

    Groat —

    Meant to reply to your comment above (at least for now)… eventually we’ll all get used to this software.

  189. Dom says:

    Steelers hire Danny Smith as special teams coach

  190. NMR says:

    Lack of a true leadoff hitter could be mitigated if somebody in the 8 hole could draw a freakin walk. What Marte seems to lack in OBP skills he more than makes up for in power, at least relative to the leadoff spot in the order.
    Martin paired with a guy who can get on base in the 7/8 spots would give Marte plenty of RBI opportunities. I’ll take that over a .350 OBP slap hitter at #1.

  191. pattonbb says:

    ….the number of different lineups used by the Pirates in their first 12 games.

  192. The Gunner says:

    Scabata doesn’t deserve to be sitting in a major league dugout. He hits like a little girl. What a lowlife!! No wonder the Yankees unloaded him on us.

  193. Kevin says:

    Gotta say. Do NOT like the new blog post format. Everyone is starting their own topics and replying to everyone’s topic. It kinda explodes and makes things hectic and difficult to read. You also lose chronology which is important if you don’t regularly check this page multiple times throughout the day.

    What I think instead is that, when you post, you should be able to categorize your post. For one thing, it forces the poster to make a meaningful comment based on the category. You can then order the comments by category. Say.. I hop on here and want to see every hockey comment. I just click “order – category – hockey” and poof. I have all the hockey comments with chronology.

    Just some thoughts. I don’t know how long blogs been like this. I tend to pop in the afternoons on random days when work days going too slow. Like today. Hope everyone is having a good day. :)

  194. madturk says:

    And GI Jane as well
    That’s you

  195. madturk says:

    We did have a Jersey Joe, I beleive you know him Janny

  196. stuart66 says:


    Good Q in the chat about the PP, and potential coach/specialist. Also glad DK brought up EJ. I remember how prolific the PP was in the 80s.

    If Bylsma’s smart he gives EJ a call. I think he is still on the payroll?


    DK: E.J. is around the team all the time for home games, including right in the locker room area.

  197. stuart66 says:

    Groat “Things I think I think” was a classic.

    DK can handle it too.


  198. JHadar says:

    I don’t know if I’d like “being forced to make a meaningful comment based on the category.”

    Anyway, the blog’s only been like this for a few days, and it will get easier as people get used to it.

    My suggestion is to learn how to use the F3 key if you want to limit yourself to a single topic. Go through it once with “hockey” and once with “Pens” and you’ve probably got 90% of the serious stuff on hockey. Search for your user name if you want to check on replies to earlier posts.

    Speaking as a computer programmer (but database not web programmer) it would be very difficult to design software to sort out the variety of topics here where you can get a few hundred comments in day — some of which are neither meaningful and serious, some of which are multi-sport like the PEDs discussion, and even others that would require a plethora of subtopics to describe.

    The trick in designing software isn’t so much getting it to work, it’s to keep it from breaking when people start using for things it was never intended to do.

  199. AJS says:

    This hasn’t always been the case. During the cup run Sid, Geno, Kunitz, Gonch, and LeTang were the PP men. That PP did just fine. The wild card is Neal. How do you get Neal, Malkin, and Sid all on the ice in positions that make sense?

    I struggle over the idea of taking Crosby off the ice because he is the best play maker in the world. I also look at the pre-Crosby return PP from last season and wonder why in gods name you would want to disrupt that chemistry. In the end you gotta put your best players on the ice and find a way to make it work.

  200. AJS says:

    I agree. Forget martin. Should have gotten Healey and played Fort this season. You could have found another plug and play catcher to go with him.

  201. AJS says:

    I seem to remember this as well. That would have been one heck of a price. I always maintain though that we heard prices like this early and walked away before the bargaining ever started. Teams often get players the Pirates coveted for far less than what the Pirates claimed the other guy wanted because other teams stick around and wait it out where as the Pirates just bail at the first sign of a percieved slap in the face.

  202. Arriba Wilver says:

    Excellent point, AJS.

  203. Big Stu/Strangeglove,

    “Things I think I think” is one of my favorites of all times.
    I use it every so often in my own writings!

  204. Dejan,

    Thanks for correcting the spelling of Phil Musick’s name. As soon as I saw it in print, I knew I had left the ‘c’ out. Thanks!!

  205. TJ says:


    With the extra responsibility did the trib include a wardrobe allowance?

    Your getting big time… Hope you hired Boras as your agent

  206. TJ says:

    For the PP I think Mario could lace them up and play on just the PP. What I wouldn’t give to see that. Would be like the Lakers when Kareem was at the end of his career… Lakers would be in their offensive set and 5 seconds later you see Kareem finally making it across half court. Mario may have slowed down but bet he could still put it in the net

  207. JAL says:

    Sorry to bring in baseball but Pirates announced they reached agreement with Walker and JMac, so no players going through arbitration. No details yet

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