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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Friday Wakeup Call: Saving the Capitals

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media columnist

Morning, lunatics …

>> The Friday notes column opens with yet another little reason to be really annoyed with the NHL, as well as stuff on the Steelers’ running backs, the Pirates’ Tony Sanchez and the outrageous futility streak for Pitt women’s basketball.

>> I’ll visit with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m. to discuss the column with the fellas.

>> The chat transcript from yesterday covers a lot of ground, too, albeit in smaller bites.

>> Man, the Capitals stink.

I’m all for crediting the home team, and the Penguins earned their victory last night. Not taking that away. But that Washington team had the sad look of one of those Columbus-type teams that pass through occasionally and all you do all night is shake your head.

I’d be very surprised if not only Adam Oates but also longtime GM George McPhee aren’t on a very hot seat. Ted Leonsis finally has built up a big fan base in D.C., but the owner can’t afford to risk it all on some total rebuild. That means moves aimed at fixing things right away, and that almost always points to the front office and coaching staff.

>> The child in me really hates Ilya Kovalchuk

No one should ever make any aspect of hockey look that easy. That was short-handed, and it led the Devils to victory over the Lightning.

The Penguins, of course, get a double-dose of Kovy & Co. this weekend.

>> Reminder: My new regular Sunday column in the Trib begins this weekend. I’ll put up a post here that morning with the link.

>> Unless we all perish.

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:

    I don’t get the concept of a wakeup call when I haven’t gone to bed.


    DK: Go to bed, Drew.

  2. Dan1283 says:

    Question for DK or anyone else:

    For a while, we’ve heard about how Shero kept drafting and developing and just generally acquiring defensemen for the purposes of collecting “valuable assets.” Assets that could be moved to help the rest of the team later, be it to acquire draft picks or package for a forward for Sid or whatever else.

    Now, the first part of the plan seems to have worked. The Penguins didn’t just acquire a bunch of talent at defense, they developed it, too, and created the logjam that they envisioned. But in the last 30 days we’ve seen that logjam cleared by releasing Strait (who just got a multiyear deal with NYI) and trading Lovejoy for a mundane 5th-round pick.

    True, there’s not much that can be done when the whole league knows you are forced to make a move. And it’s not like the Penguins are going to desperately miss either of those guys, especially not in the immediate future. But isn’t it fair to have expected something more would have been done with these “assets” they took such care to collect? If you let them contribute at the NHL level, and you also let them walk for essentially nothing….what was the point? Why not collect a few forwards instead?

    I’m pretty sure I’m not as bright as Shero is, nor do I have the long-term plan in front of me that he does. But hindsight would seem to say that the Pens maybe overplayed their hand with the defensemen and could’ve had something other than just Beau Bennett sitting in the pipeline at forward.

    Amd I way off here or not?

    DK: I find these to be very fair discussion points, but I’ll bow out and let the group have at it.

  3. DMFH says:


    I just read an article on ESPN saying that the Padres should try to trade Chase Headley and that the Pirates had a moderate chance of pulling it off. Do you think NH would pony up for that kind of trade?

  4. Thundercrack says:

    DK, I agree with you about Ahmad Bradshaw and Reggie Bush. But I also think the Steelers need to find (draft) a longer term solution at running back.

  5. Jandy says:

    Dejan posted in his Friday column how the NHL botched Kunitz’s 4 goal game, by not announcing it until the next day…he said:
    Which is to say, really, that the league’s biggest event that day wasn’t important enough to have a couple guys sit down and glance at a 10-second video clip.

    Maybe they were busy cleaning out the garage.

    is this why they call it The garage League?


  6. Ace McTasty says:

    Some fair points, but at the same time I never got the impression that Lovejoy or Strait were regarded highly enough to fetch any significant return on their own. Both nice young players, but I wonder if either profiles to be anything more than a bottom-pairing defenseman at the NHL level.

    That said, many of the current group of young D prospects are more valuable assets than Lovejoy or Strait ever were, and if nothing else, maybe the situation Ray found himself in to begin the season will serve as a cautionary reminder that it might be best to pull the trigger on moving some of these guys sooner rather than later in order to avoid a similar problem down the road.

  7. JAL says:

    JAL’s Smokey Joe’s Café 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: Why Advanced Stats Are Better Than Traditional Stats

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Royals show yet again that for Pirates fans, it could be worse

    7 This is Getting Old

    Roster Watch: Andrew McCutchen

    8 Hardball Times

    Card Corner, 1973 Topps: Dock Ellis

    9 Rumbunter

    Pittsburgh Pirates Coaching Changes Can Impact 2013

    10 Green Weenie

    The Pitching Shuffle

  8. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Greenwich Times

    Stanford’s Appel ready for another college season

    12 San Jose Mercury News

    Stanford pitcher Mark Appel defends Scott Boras, rejecting Pirates’ offer

    13 MLB Reports

    Pirates Payroll In 2013 And Contracts Going Forward

    14 Chicago Tribune

    Pittsburgh Pirates – PlayerWatch,0,4859950.story

    15 Winnipeg Free Press

    National League Central teams at the start of spring training

    16 USA Today

    Baseball union head: Too soon to make PED judgments–union-ped-miami-clinic-alex-rodriguez-gio-gonzalez-melky-cabrera-bartolo-colon-nelson-cruz-ryan-braun-jhonny-peralta-michael-weiner/1900855/

    17 New York Times

    Doubts About Players and Suspected Drug Provider

    18 Sweetspot

    Mariners had to sign Felix … and they did


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    The BP Wayback Machine 2003 PECOTA Preview: The American League

    20 Fangraphs

    The 10 Best Transactions of the Off-Season

  9. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Ben Roethlisberger extension: locking him up now would provide cap relief

    22 Steelers Depot

    - The Terrible Podcast – Talking Steelers Salary Cap, Rule Of 51, Player News & More Episode


    23 Daily Telegraph

    Chelsea set to offer Frank Lampard new Stamford Bridge contract

    24 World Soccer Daily

    10 stories you need to read, 7th February, 2013


    25 Pensburgh

    Pens Pound Caps 5-2

  10. JAL says:

    Smokey Joe’s Café The Robins 1952 A couple of members of The Robins became part of the Coasters in 1955.

  11. Pete says:


    You are more right than you know regarding the Caps. I live in DC and always thought its hockey fandom was more tenuous than Pittsburgh’s – they liked the Caps because the Caps were successful and the Nats, Redskins, and Wizards were all terrible.

    With baseball approaching fast, Harper/Strasburg & Co. will take most people’s attention away from an unsuccessful hockey team. RGIII talk will overwhelm hockey next year, too, unless the Caps right the ship FAST.

  12. Pete says:

    Oh, and regarding Kunitz’ 4 goal game, the Pens got him the final goal (3rd or 4th, depending on when you start counting) by feeding him on the PP in the last minute. Not sure that would have happened if he already had the hat trick.

  13. AL says:

    This whole situation wouldn’t even be occuring if the NHL didn’t have this entry/re-entry waiver rule. It’s like the league penalizes GM’s who draft well by forcing them not to be able to keep all of their talent. Why can’t we just move players freely at will between the AHL and the NHL?
    I think waivers were created for league parity but I really struggle with this. It’s like giving bad GM’s a free pass to stock up on others talent.
    Just my two cents worth.

  14. Dan1283 says:

    I don’t have a problem with the waiver system. It’s good for the players. Eliminating it wouldn’t quite be like baseball’s reserve clause all over again, but it wouldn’t be very fair to be that guy driving 6 hours between your NHL and AHL team 10 times a year because it’s convenient for your club to use you like that.

  15. Dan1283 says:

    Sorry guys, that sentence should say “if you DON’T let them contribute at the NHL level…”

  16. bdubb says:

    In regards to your article I wouldn’t want Reggie Bush on my team. He has had one half of a season as a good rushing RB. I wouldn’t mind him on my team but he just can’t be the primary back. And if the Pirates were hesitant to sign Karstens based on injuries I would hope the Steelers feel the same about Bradshaw. No need to throw big dollars at an 8-10 game back. Plus the way he runs can he have much tread left?

    Funny you mention Suzie McConnell in the same sentence with Agnus. I don’t know a lick about women’s hoops but don’t you think Suzie should be next up at Pitt? Maybe the ACC will help with Pitt women’s hoops recruiting.

  17. jefft says:

    Dejan…I have always liked these type of bullet-point columns, so hats off to you for starting them for your Fridays.

  18. mjp1542 says:

    Pretty great stuff from Kovalchuk, but goodness, that was some awful goaltending. He wasn’t even close to being on his angle. That’s like a layup for a guy like Kovalchuk.

  19. mjp1542 says:

    Incidentally, playing devil’s advocate (and after that Devils comment, this is maybe too much for me), your lead note, DK, while it’s a great one, may not have even been an issue. If Kunitz was credited with the first goal, he already has the HT and may not be out there on the PP at the end. At best, the Pens aren’t constantly trying to set him up, as they were in that situation as it unfolded.

    So many hypotheticals involved, though.

    Enjoyed the column. Really love notes columns, since you get to do quick hitters and touch on more stuff.

  20. TJ says:

    As I stated last night… The only thing that can “save” the Capitals season is Ray Lewis

  21. Dejan,

    Love the “Brief and to the Point” tagline. Have missed it.

    Just a “Brief and to the Point” note . . . . . . when we in Pittsburgh have to turn to the WINNEPEG FREE PRESS to get our baseball fixes (JAL’s #15 above)——approximate time until baseball weather in Winnepeg 3 1/2 months——it’s time for Fearless Leader to start talking about the Pirates.

    How ’bout dem Pens!?!?!

  22. Iceman says:

    I’m with Dan on this one.

  23. Iceman says:

    I really enjoyed Josh Yohe’s article about the local hockey boys thriving in the NHL. It is really great to see Pittsburgh producing some high-end talent. Watching Reese last night, I didn’t see anything spectacular, but I thought he played solid and sound defense without any big mistakes which is pretty good for his first game with the team.

    Loved this quote from MAF about Crosby, “Yeah, he’s not bad,” goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said after making 23 saves for his fifth win. “Wait until he gets hot.” If Crosby is on a six-game scoring streak and is still not hot yet, teams in the league should be terrified.

  24. JAL,

    Really enjoyed your song selection today. Great sax, piano, guitar, vocals. Thanks!

    Also nice get on the Winnepeg Free Press Bucco Window.

  25. SJB says:

    I don’t see why everyone is surprised about the Capitals and Ovechkin, especially the later. They are trying to inject a responsible, defense first system into a team designed and built for hot dog, pond hockey and compared to what Bylsma did to Therrien’s system, it’s a lot harder to reel in the horse versus letting them loose. As for Ovechkin; this is more or less what I predicted would happen to him. He’s a one trick pony (two trick if you included the head high, late runs at people) and I originally said when he came into the league he would be short prime and probably see no more than 7 good seasons before he petered away into mediocrity. How long has he been in the league now? I think I may have hit it correctly on that one. It still amazes me how teams allow him to loiter so much in obvious areas when I’m sure if Crosby did the same, he would draw instant attention.

    As far as what some call his “passion” for the game that translates into 4th grade bully tantrums of running people long after the fact the game has been decided and giving one word pouting answers to questions after the game; Sorry, I don’t see that as passion, I see it as a spoiled brat acting out at being upset he doesn’t have the spot light on him anymore and he is suffering the consequences of not being able to free wheel and play a different game than everyone else on the team. He’s suffering and the team is suffering now because of it. Sorry if I don’t cry for them. Karma is a bitch, huh Ovie?

    You can’t pick your spots to be passionate. He needs to play the same way all game/season long instead of acting out in sporadic fits of frustration in ways that border on illegal and unsportsmanlike. I’m sure many of us have known an Ovechkin type person at some point in our life and can generally say this isn’t a person we would think highly of or feel the need to defend the character of.

  26. Drew71 says:

    Thanks for the lullaby, Dejan. Slept like a baby. Meaning i was up crying every hour.

    Now for the topic of the moment. What EYE know about hockey could fit inside a puck. And they’re not hollow.

    So more strategically – if we accept the premises:

    1. Shero set a strategy of acquiring an abundance young of D talent to keep OR trade
    2. He executed on takent acquisition and development reasonably successfully, BUT
    3. The strategy did not work as envisioned…

    Then ipso facto (that’s “Thundercrack” in Pig Latin)…that’s not such a terrible thing.

    What it tells me is that:

    I. Shero CAN execute on a plan
    II. Adjust the plan, not the man

    I’ll leave it to puck heads to determine if it is a minor adjustment on the plan (Ace: do it again but trade assets earlier), or a major adjustment (more balanced drafting).

    Sure. I’d prefer the first version of the plan had worked. But it does not alter my confidence in the Pens’ leadership team to execute. And they have retained all the team’s major assets so they can adjust at will knowing they have not squandered the short term opportunity.

    Compare that to the Orlando Magic of THREE years ago. Very good team. Traded some of their MAJOR assets to try to get better and take the next step with Howard…only to make the team worse, eventually lose the star they were trying to build around (and keep), and now they stink. And have no assets.

    Compare that to the Pirates who have had (I thought) a GOOD strategic plan but cannot seem to execute it well. Polar opposite. I have some confidence in the plan’s DESIGN but NO confidence in the management team’s ability to adjust and make it work.

    So. I wish Shero’s Version One plan worked. But I lose no sleep, thanks to Dejan (hmmm) and thanks to my belief that Shero CAN execute.

  27. dwf says:

    Once again, IMO, Ray Shero gets way more credit than he deserves! As I posted on this site yesterday, Shero is quickly taking a strength of the Pens and turning it into a weakness by basically not getting anything in return for these Dmen. Why does this management team think that drafting/developing a scoring forward is so difficult? Maybe they should take a closer look at the scouting staff? I would have to say that Greg Malone was doing a lot better job at the scouting thing than Ray’s “stellar crew”!

    Oh, and I love how DK so eloquently bowed out of this discussion! Proving once again that it is physically impossible for him to say anything negative or controversial about his idol, the Great Ray Shero!



    {6 days until I leave for Pirate Spring Training——the day after Ash Wednesday}

  29. Jandy says:

    Most experts agree it’s best to draft the best player available. Be it defenseman, wing, whatever, unless you have a specific, glaring NEED. The Pens do NOT have a glaring need.

    Drew, dahling, you know MUCH more than you’re letting on. But that’s ok, I don’t mind playing this game with you. (emoticon omitted just for you)

    Shero COULD draft a winger, since Kunitz isn’t getting any younger. But I bet he picks one up prior to the trading deadline.

  30. LuckyNKentucky says:


  31. Jandy says:

    dwf, we hashed thru this all day yesterday. Dejan is a busy man, why are you trying to color him yellow?
    You have your opinion on Shero, fine. I have mine, fine.
    Move along, nothing to see here :)

  32. Jandy says:

    don’t be short-changing my Pens! :P

  33. Jandy says:

    Reese was solid, I agree. Glad to see him play fine at home…likely relatives where there.
    Crosby still isn’t in full gear…the league should be skeered! lol

  34. Drew71 says:

    If you like THIS game, I have a few others we can try

  35. Jandy says:


  36. Jandy says:

    haha! I play to win, Drewster ;)

  37. Patrick says:

    Everyone makes a case for Ovechkin, and rightfully so. He has disappeared and seems woefully inept at being the captain of a floundering team. But what the hell happened to Nick Backstrom? He has gone from outstanding two-way threat to a marginal player that seems vaguely interested in making an effort. Mike Green has never learned to be defensively responsible. Honestly if I’m McPhee…I start with those two. They still have value and could bring a return. Their contracts would be tough to move but trading Ovi, even such as he is, just isnt an option for Leonsis ( BTW am I the only one who thinks Sweaty Teddy kinda looks like The Undertakers manager, Paul Bearer?).

    If you are going to operate a defensive system yo might want to get some..i dont know…defensive minded players.

  38. stuart66 says:

    Groat, some would call that Valentine’s Day!


  39. Quote from Greenwich Times (#11 in JAL’s Chronicles above):

    “Appel received advice not just from Boras but also his parents and a number of people in his close circle. If he is unpopular in Pittsburgh, that’s OK.
    “If they’re going to boo me, then so be it,” he said. “I’d love to sit down and have a meal with them after the game.”

    Ergo, I’m looking forward to sitting down with Mark Appel in 2 years and discussing this like men.

    If he’s paying for that meal after the game it will be at Ruth’s Chris . . . . . . if I’m paying it’ll be at Wendy’s!

  40. Pittsburgher in winnipeg says:

    I’m not a big fan of the way our d-men have disappeared for little to nothing the past few weeks, I feel like shero messed up a good bit with them. But I also think we need to keep in mind that this strategy has been happening longer than the past two weeks. So far the results of this strategy have been an excellent young defense group, with more prospects waiting in the wing AND Chris Kunitz, Eric Tangredi, James Neal and Matt Niskanen. Ray goofed up a bit these past few day but they weren’t with the high impact guys, they were frustrating but realistically fairly minor moves.

  41. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Never happen with DK. ;)

  42. TJ says:

    If it were not for Ray Shero the Pens would have won 5-1 last night!

  43. Big Stu,

    Some would call that “You Better Come Home With Some Dang Gift Or Else” Day

  44. Jandy says:


  45. Iceman says:

    I don’t get it…

  46. Jandy says:

    Ovie and Backstrom feed off each other. They live or die together.

  47. Drew71 says:

    Good. Some men like that.

  48. TJ says:

    I think I know whats going on with Ovie. The engagement to Maria Kirilinko was a hoax; it was Mike Milbury on the other end of the phone all these years

  49. Arriba Wilver says:

    There was an article earlier in the year, albeit from Stanford, that made him sound like an upstanding young man, rather than the cartoon villain we see as Pirate fans.

  50. Jandy says:

    it’s called snark ;)

  51. TJ says:

    Sorry Iceman. Jandy and I had a 832 message debate yesterday. Figured I’d throw that out there to start some trouble today

  52. radio wave says:

    Like the new Friday format.
    Will Tim Thomas report to the Islanders?

  53. Iceman says:

    I’m looking at Ovi play and here is my questions for Oates. The idea of playing him on the right wing doesn’t seem to be working, why not put him back on the left where he was comfortable and successful? Also, why in the world did he split up Ovi and Backstrom? Those two seem to feed and play well off of each other. In his current line, Ovi just doesn’t have someone setting him up like Backstrom always did.

    Not that I’m complaining about any of this because I love to see the Caps as bottom feeders.

  54. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Wonder what he expects. Everyone to give him a rousing standing O for staying in school?

    Any city would boo him for turning up his nose to them. It’s good that Philly didn’t draft him.

    Have a meal with them. Like all major league ballplayers do that. By the time he gets to the bigs, milk will be $7 a gallon. He’ll have to budget his salary.

  55. Jandy says:

    What do YOU like, Drewster? Winning or losing??

  56. Arriba Wilver says:

    The Dude (or Dudette) who wrote that forgot about McDonald.

  57. Dwarf,

    Ray Shero’s Pens have won 5 straight and are in 1st Place in the Eastern Conference.

    Why the rancor? Did your mama not breast-feed you when you were a baby?!

  58. Drew71 says:

    And PS. That was NOT a veiled attempt to compare everything to the Pirates. I thought the analogy of opposite images was fitting. As I thought the opposite squander-assets analogy with the Magic was from a different perspective.

    That Pirates disclaimer aside, this DOES sum up why I have faith in one management team and not in the other.

    (If this is still too baseball related, I’ll take Groat’s suggestion and say I confused this blog for that of the Winnipeg Free Press.)

  59. TJ says:

    He will never travel to New York. Simply a way to add money to their payroll so they can reach the floor of the salary cap.

  60. stuart66 says:

    Groat, I hear ya.

    Envy your trip. I have a honey-do as long as your arm here.

    Stonefingers Stuart

  61. TJ says:

    Anyone know when the Pens are traveling to NJ? With this storm coming starting it could make for a difficult home-home for the Pens/Devils

  62. Iceman says:

    Maybe it’s because he has scoring forwards already. He has proven scoring talent in Malkin, Crosby, and Neal who all have had 40+ goal seasons. He as a winger for Crosby who not only finishes his checks hard, but also scored 4 goals in a game and had a bunch of goals last season (the number is failing me right now). I agree that a few of their wingers aren’t getting any younger, but there is promise with Bennet (as long as he stays healthy) and after watching the Black and Gold Game, I’m seeing alot that I like in Jayson Megna as well.

    I’m not saying that Shero hasn’t made his mistakes, but so does every other GM.

  63. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Can’t remember you ever “veiling” anything, Drewmeister. :P

  64. Wilver Dornel,

    I personally am TRYING to forget 2nd Half James McDonald! He does NOT exist for me!

  65. Iceman says:

    They took a charter plane out this morning and are going to have practice today in NJ.

  66. Iceman says:

    As ridiculous as it is, this is a great move by NY. They are able to bring their salary up to the required floor with a player that they will never have to pay (beause he has already said that he won’t play this year). They are showing that they have talent with the players that are there already and are in the playoffs by spending underneath the floor (we Pens fans cant relate to this because in recent memory, the Pens are always spending to the cap). Come next year, the Islanders will have 3 goalies (if we can still count Rick “Brent Johnson just rocked my world” DiPietro as a goalie) and will be surely able to move Thomas for some added talent (I say they move Thomas becuase nobody in their right mind will take on DiPietro’s contract).

  67. 21sthebest says:

    He had a choice and he played within the rules. Still, there’s something disingenuous to me about being a first round draft pick and then not signing when the offer is reasonable.

  68. AJS says:

    One could argue that all of those defensman were the best players available. Or at least within a pocket of talent felt to be equivalent.

  69. Reading says:

    How about Ray Graham? Don’t care about his knee injury. The guy is a great back.

  70. TJ says:

    I don’t have an issue with Appel. His choice; and based on how he pitched in the college WS I’m not all that bummed. What really aggravates me though is this so called “advisor” running his mouth months after the situation is over.

    Your an advisor; you gave your advice they made their decision now shut up and go away.

  71. TJ says:

    You realize they gave up a conditional 2nd round pick for a player that will never play for them? A SECOND ROUND pick.

    Thomas is done playing and DiPietro will be one of the contracts bought out.

  72. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Boras tried to bust the new rules, and he will probably will eventually, but the Pirates couldn’t risk being so far over slot.

    I don’t pretend to know all about the new system, but he just seemed to think he was worth so much more. He may have a poor season and have to use his Stanford education sooner than he would like. God bless him either way.

  73. Jandy says:


  74. AJS says:

    unfortunately Second half james mcDonald seems to be the real mcdonald. first half James McDonald was some kind of abberation. maybe he felt slighted by the All Star snub and got all depressed on us and shut down.

    Mark my words, this season is going to be a total catastrophe.

  75. Jandy says:

    you tell him SPunky….but seriously, Drew, talk all the baseball you wish..Mother Theresa allows it :)

  76. LuckyNKentucky says:

    They may be there for a month.

  77. Jandy says:


  78. Jandy says:

    fair assessment

  79. Patrick says:

    Bylsma isnt getting enough credit for his good work with his lines this year. Last year he got roasted for not micro-managing his lines enough, specifically in the playoffs when he didnt do enough to get Geno away from the Cotourier line that was obviously frustrating him. Count that as a lesson learned because he has done a much better job getting the matchups he likes. It can be frustrating to see him mix-n-match forwards at times, but if the end result is Geno/Neal/Option D against the other teams 4th line for a long shift I think its worth it.

  80. Jandy says:

    well said…and don’t forget, Duper can score, as can Kunitz and Cooke. When you have two of the best forwards in the world, it’s hard to afford more elite forwards. Our guys do just fine.

  81. AJS says:

    When Green played in Hershey we had a nick name for him. Mr. Minus Two.

  82. Jandy says:


  83. Jandy says:

    Aint’ biting LOL!

  84. TJ says:

    The thing that has impressed me the most this season is their face offs. I have never seen the Pens win face offs at the rate they are now. And not just winning them but drawing them back for a one timer on the net which got Cooke a goal last night. They’ve been tremendous this year.

  85. Patrick says:

    You get to have lunches with MLB players?

  86. TJ says:

    Ray Lewis will save them.

  87. AJS says:

    I would love to see Appel struggle this season and fall in the draft and have the buccos scoop him up. Guarantee he signs this time. Its either that or go play Cape cod league. That would be karma.

  88. Jandy says:

    Patrick, yes, Bylsma is doing something right this season so far.

    TJ, Malkin has picked up his face-offs, I believe yesterday he had the best overall percentage. Loved seeing Sutter and Cooke mimic Malkin/Neal face-off quit hit for a score.

  89. Jandy says:

    Ok gotta get some real work done. The new computer system needs a user friendly manual. A co-worker and I decided to make our own. Later on, guys.

  90. Patrick says:

    Two years ago who would have ever thought they would see the day when Matt Cooke is blowing one time wrist shots past goalies right off the face off?


    I honestly have so much respect for Matt as a player for being willing, able and dedicated to becoming a different player. I mean One-timers from the top of the left circle!?! C’mon..

  91. Bizrow says:

    I wonder what the “condtions” are that are attached to the pick?

  92. AJS says:

    i dunno. They looked pretty bad at the dot in the second and third period in Washington on Sunday. In fact I think last night was the best they have looked. it all hinges on Geno. Sid and Sutter are going to win their fair share and so is Adams. Geno has always been abysmal. He was 63% last night. that’s impressive.

  93. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t know. He fell because others didn’t want to risk Boras not signing him under the new rules. As I recall the slot for #1 was something like twice the slot for #8. And we were all told at the time that this year’s draft was deeper, leading us to believe that he might not go even as high as 8th this year. Well, he’s still listed (at this point) as a 1 or 2, I think, and we’ve heard a lot since that the draft isn’t deeper at the top anyway. So, right now it looks like his choice was at least rational rather than disingenuous. And the offer may have been reasonable from the Pirates standpoint, but not his under all the circumstances.

  94. SJB says:

    I agree. Oates is messing with too much in an attempt to put his stamp on things and probably in an attempt to get Ovechkin to see things differently and make them more diverse but when you only have a couple things that work and the changes have only made things worse, then it’s time to go back and try another approach. That said; I hope they don’t change a thing any time soon and Ovie breaks something trying to take out his displeasure on other players. ;)

  95. Thundercrack says:

    I don’t have a huge problem with Appel. He had an option of staying in school and he did.

    I would probably feel better if he came out and said what we all feel is the case: “I decided to go back to college and get drafted next year – when I hope to be drafted higher and make more money”

  96. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Good points.

  97. SJB says:

    Probably something like; if the Isles reach the 2nd round of the playoffs.

  98. LuckyNKentucky says:


    Seems to be a fine person, like AW said. Just needs to be forthcoming, like anyone does.

  99. JAL says:

    All the Pirates lost was a year of development. Last year they had the 8th pick, Appel was still there so why not try to get a player rated as number 1 with the 8th pick. By not signing him they get the 9th pick in a deeper draft plus their regular pick, which is 14th this year.

  100. dwf says:


    Your breast feeding comment is very “original”. Is that the best response you got? Perhaps you and Jandy can put your heads together and come up with something a little more original?

  101. Naje says:

    I’m certainly no expert at hockey, and I very much enjoy the hockey brain-trust in this forum. Just thinking that maybe the coaching staff was trying to do a little too much tinkering in the brief pre-season practices. Seems like the team is on better footing and definitely looks like they’re getting used to working together. Maybe it just takes a couple of games like they’ve had recently to find a groove.

  102. scapper says:

    I think you ask a fair question, DWF. Not sure I’m with you on the DK thing, as he can’t get highly involved in every discussion on this blog, but you make a good point. Guess people are testy because you bring it up during a five-game winning streak.

    Ask this again the next time they go into a scoring funk and you’ll get a slew of huzzahs and hurrahs.

  103. LuckyNKentucky says:

    More good points.

  104. Iceman says:


  105. Iceman says:

    I think you meant Vitale, not Adams.

  106. Damon says:

    Exactly right, Iceman. And Shero makes far fewer mistakes than other GMs. I’m not sure where the venom is coming from for Shero – he’s built a team that can win the cup every year, they lead the league in scoring last year and were one point away from getting the #1 slot in the playoffs. Neal and Niskanen trade by itself should have everyone singing his praises. Got more for Staal than anyone expected they could. He got what he could for Lovejoy seeing he was in a tough position (everyone knew they would have to pass him through waivers). Wilkes Barre consistantly has a great record. What else do you want him to do dwf?

  107. Arriba Wilver says:

    Did he say something different than that?

  108. Damon says:

    In theory makes sense, but Headley will command a huge contract – more than Cutch. Therefore the Pirates probably won’t even attempt to make that deal. In my opinion….love to see it though.

  109. Thundercrack says:

    Lucky, I do realize that it would be a rarity of someone did come out and say that. So I don’t really hold it against the young man.

  110. Bizrow says:

    Hey, maybe the PBC can hire Ray-Ray??

  111. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t think anyone was criticizing the Pirates for picking him (at least today). And is the draft deeper? Seems like there are varying views on that now. At least for myself, I was trying to look at it from Appel’s perspective.

  112. Drew71 says:

    Thank you. I’ll do just that. Especially since pitchers and catchers are a weekend away.

    Can I add any more sun to my avatar?

  113. Arriba Wilver says:


  114. Iceman says:

    I do realize this, but here are a couple thoughts related to that. It is a conditional 2nd round pick, I’m not sure what the conditions are, but that word is important here.

    Second, I think the Islanders think they have a team that can compete in the playoffs this year. Maybe the second round pick isn’t as big of a concern.

    Third, the Islanders don’t have the pockets to spend like other teams. If they think they can compete with the team they have, why not pick up a guy that will cost them no money this year to get them over the floor.

    Fourth, I’m not convinced they will buy out DiPietro. I’m not convinced they can afford that much up front to buy him out at this point.

  115. Jason81 says:

    Let’s also keep in mind that Ray Shero has fleeced a couple of teams when it has come to trading his defensemen.

    Ask yourself this question…who got the better of the trades with Anaheim and Dallas? Other GM’s pay attention to these things and it makes it tougher to acquire quality in return unless you are willing to give up more than you want to.

    Shero wasn’t going to get much anyhow for Strait or Lovejoy. Strait didn’t clear waivers, which I think everyone thought would happen and if you seriously think he was going to get more than a draft pick for Lovejoy then you are over-valuing what he brought to the table. Strait would have brought something similar in return if he had been traded.

    I also agree that in the draft, you take the best player available, especially when you are drafting later. Beau Bennett looks like the real deal, but since he isn’t here, I guess people need something to complain about.

  116. Bizrow says:

    Well, it was a gamble, and I think the guy that was rated second on the PBC board after Appel had a real good start to his professional career.

    It was a gamble, like I said,

    Drafts, thats what its all about.

    If I understand correctly though, Boras noted he was not contacted prior to the PBC making the pick, for whatever that is worth

  117. TJ says:

    What is really nice is the Pirates have 3 picks in the top 40 thanks to that lottery pick they won for not going over budget on signing draft picks.

    Oh wait… we decided Gabby Sanchez was worth more

  118. dwf says:


    As you probably already know, the real season starts when the playoffs begin. And while during the past few regular seasons the Pens have played great, they have also had VERY early playoff exits! IMO Shero hasn’t done nearly enough to prepare them for a Cup run. Regardless of what the sports writers will tell you, the Pens haven’t had a serious shutdown D pairing since Scuderi and Gill were donning the black and gold. And, no, Orpik and Martin are not a shutdown pairing. It has taken Martin three years into a five year deal to decide that he is “ready” to start playing some D? I think it is only a matter of time before he starts to wilt and refers back to the Paul Martin of years one and two.

    As for Shero’s deadline dealings…can anyone say Kovalev, Poni, Leopould??? I will use Holmgrin as an example, love him or hate him, the guy is not afraid to make a trade. If he sees that his team needs something, he goes out and makes it happen. I can hear all the “homers” now, look at Philly’s record! Blah, blah, blah. Bottom line, Holmgrin gets it done!

    Also, how about a more balanced approach to drafting across the board? Shero’s philosophy on hoarding D men and using them as trade bait doesn’t seem to be working out quite like he thought it would of late (Strait/Lovejoy)? Why leave it up to the kindness, or the stupidity (read Stars deal) of other teams to develop your future forwards/players?

  119. 21sthebest says:

    I have no problem with the Pirates drafting Appel but saying that all they lost was a year of development doesn’t account for the potential of the player. What they lost was anywhere from nothing in the way of a production to a stud pitcher.

  120. TJ says:

    God doesn’t reward bad people

  121. TJ says:

    That is straight from the book of Ray-Ray chapter 3 verse 11

  122. Bizrow says:

    Bottom line is they didn’t sign him, so it was a loss for that draft year.

    We were the only ones that failed to sign the first rounder

  123. Bizrow says:

    Thats two days in a row Jandy has used that “w” word

    I know, thinking about it, its performance appraisal time ;-)

  124. TJ says:

    Your right the term conditional is the key here. But I’m just not sure under what conditions you start off with a 2nd round pick for a guy you need to meet your cap floor. I don’t see him worth a 2nd round pick if he wanted to suit up right now at his age and salary

  125. 21sthebest says:

    Maybe disingenuous wasn’t the right word. I think his choice was rational for the reasons you cited AW but I feel that any player getting drafted in the first round, especially that high, that gets a reasonable offer owes it to the team and the fans to sign. His choice, I understand that, but something about not signing bothers me. Now maybe Boras told the Pirates not to draft him.

  126. 21sthebest says:

    No but he retexted a Hokay Hey column, didn’t he?

  127. tpbco says:

    Or even better…”Based on the Pirates history of developing pitchers over the last 20 years…they don’t have enough money to pay me to play for them”.

  128. Patrick says:

    You misspelled ‘stab’

  129. chuck Snow says:

    Well since I live in a suburb of Columbus it was really nice to be reminded how bad the Blue jackets suck. Glad Im a Pittsburgh fan. I wont even take tickets offered in a box to watch that team.

  130. tpbco says:


    Have to disagree on your Steeler/raven comment. The ravens have far outclassed the Steeers in FA. Bouldin, Vinta Leech, Matt Birk, McKinnie, Pollard and JAcoby Jones – all starters and significant contributors.

    Steelers – Clark, Cochtery (sp?), Burress (who was wasted) and the immortal Leonard Pope.

    Light years of difference.

  131. Damon says:

    OK – what did Shero give up for Kovalev, Poni and Leopold? And how is it Shero’s job to get the team ready – how much better of a team can you assemble? Most people picked the Pens to win the Cup after the season ended and before the playoffs started. How can you say the team isn’t balanced or that it favors D too much – they have one of the best offenses in the league? Second in the league in scoring. Afraid to make a trade? The Pens are always making moves at the deadline – all of them attempts to make the team that much better. There are about 26 or 27 teams in the NHL that wouldn’t swap teams with the Pens right now. Orpik and Martin aren’t a shut down pair? HAVE YOU BEEN WATCHING THE GAMES?!? You really think Hal Gill and Rod Scuderi are better? I’m sorry, but Ray Shero is doing a marvelous job and will keep doing a marvelous job.

  132. Arriba Wilver says:

    Yep, he did. And that was wwwaaaayyy over analyzed by some. I just figured he was catching s**t from his buddies about turning down $2.9 mil.

  133. Nate83 says:

    Bizrow I don’t get that argument. The day of the draft if they didn’t draft Appel most if not all would have been all over this front office for avoiding Boris. It was a calculated risk that till this day we still won’t know if it was a good move or bad move. They now have the luxery of having 2 first round picks and maybe they can go safe with the second and underslot him and use the savings to draft someone at 9 that drops this year and pay him overslot with that money.

  134. Arriba Wilver says:

    And that was 3 months later.

  135. Arriba Wilver says:

    Well, I guess only a month from signing day, but still . . .

  136. Drew71 says:

    Sixty-six: Nobody who’s married calls it that

  137. Nate83 says:


    We can only redraft him with his permission. I don’t know if we will ask or if he would give permission.

  138. Drew71 says:

    Groat, I will be at Pirate City Saturday, Feb 16. Possibly 15th, too, but not as certain as Saturday.

    Just letting you know in the event you want to take out a restraining order.

  139. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I think many are overvaluing Lovejoy and Strait. Neither was going to fetch much more than a draft pick. They just weren’t top prospects like Maatta, Pouliot and Dumoulin and Morrow are. Neither were very young, nor making a significant impact. Right now Bortuzzo would probably yield a better return than LJoy or Strait in a trade.

    I’ve said before Shero’s weakness isn’t drafting- it’s free agency. Specifically, undervaluing his own free agents and overvaluing others. Bad losses like Gill, Talbot, Malone, Bissonnette, Scuderi, Gonchar (all of which could have been had for the right price, which was no worse than some salaries being wasted right Kennedy. I mean, now). Pickups like Martin, who is playing better, but 2 years at 5mil so far have been a huge bust, Michalek, Asham, Kennedy, Park, and Comrie have been huge disappointments when taken in the context that they were signed as capable, sometimes cheaper replacements. Martin/Michalek replace Gonchar, Scuderi and Gill at nearly a higher cap hit for 2 players rather than 3. Talbot was let go because they didn’t want to commit to 5 years at less than 2mil. Bad decision. The FW’s mentioned were/are just awful.

  140. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Backstrom, Backstrom, Backstrom….

    Isn’t that a goalie in Minnesota?

  141. 21sthebest says:

    Overanalyze? Us? Never.

  142. Damon says:

    Most of those losses you state were due to cap constraints. Malone got more than he deserved. Who knew Talbot would score like he did last year, and he had a history of injury. I agree Martin and Michalek weren’t as advertized, but everyone in the league praised Shero for those two signings when they went down. Sometimes things don’t work out. Martin has been playing very well this year though, and remember Gonchar took until the third year into his 5 year deal to start looking like the player they wanted when they signed him. Shero isn’t perfect, but I am happy he is the Pens GM. Park, Asham and Comrie were low risk moves, and the first two contributed to the 4th line like they were brought in to do.

  143. SJB says:

    Regardless of wins and big scores, I still don’t see enough defensive play in the neutral zone…too much backing in and letting the other teams get off shots on goal and allowing plays to set up in their own end. By contrast, even Washington was able to pressure the Pens at their blue line and force them to dump whether it was even strength or shorthanded. Until this team starts to force turnovers at center ice and take it away more often with a more aggressive back check, I’ll still think this is last years team and they will be susceptible to the same results we saw late last regular season and in the playoffs. The PK, even though they haven’t allowed as many goals recently, still isn’t aggressive enough and allows the other teams to keep it too easily. too much stick waving and not enough checking…especially at the points. Time to force some mistakes and get some short handed chances. Basically what I’m saying is this defense and PK is still too passive.

  144. TJ says:

    Ice another reason I have a bit of a problem with this is because the Bruins acquired a conditional draft pick to free up cap space. Even though Thomas wasn’t playing he was still counting against the cap. So in essence the Bruins acquired cap space and a conditional pick for a player who likely will never play again.

  145. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Like +2

    Agreed, Naje and I’m no hockey expert either, and it’s hard for me to understand people griping so much about Shero when he works in the same town as Neal Huntington.

    I realize it’s apples and oranges, but, for shear ability no matter what sport, it seems to be a no-brainer.

  146. TJ says:

    Looks like the Pirates are not the only team having problems with a pitcher passing a physical. Looks like Jurrjens deal with Baltimore is in jeopardy due to a problem with his knee. I’m going to throw out a name from the past…. Jose Silva. This guy couldn’t walk to the mound without getting hurt.

  147. TJ says:

    Huntington actually works in Pittsburgh? I thought he was like Costanza…. leave the car in the parking lot so people think your the first one in and the last one out

  148. Jandy says:

    rub it in, I’m waiting on the storm to hit here :(

  149. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Jurrjens has been hurt quite a bit of his career. Probably the reason everyone but Baltimore took a pass. Shame, he really was highly touted and had some early success.

    How about another name? Carl Pavano. Beloved in New York for his years there. Hurt the entire time he was there and hurt again this season.

  150. Jandy says:

    No need, Dwf, you’ve already earned the ignore button :)

  151. Jandy says:

    I’ve never been one calling for Shero’s head…whether the team is winning or losing. Like severalpeople already pointed out. No one is perfect. He’s fielding a winning team season after season.

  152. TJ says:

    These guys pull and tear more muscles than I have

  153. LuckyNKentucky says:


  154. LuckyNKentucky says:


  155. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I know there was some Ovechkin talk earlier so sorry to bring it up again, but what a douchebag that guy is! “Passion”? Seriously Errey?! That guy is the antithesis of passion and the definition of a low-class player. He sulks. He cherrypicks. He puts as much effort into defense as Tyler Kennedy. He’s been leaving his feet and making blows to the head repeatedly for about 50 years now. He’s been suspended for his play yet still does the same crap. Cooke changed (for better or worse), why can’t Neandertool?

    And for God’s sake, he is not THAT big. He’s an inch shorter than Geno, yet weighs 25 lbs more. I saw him without a shirt on 24/7- it’s hardly all muscle. Even I could knock some guys over if I have a 50ft running start and leap at their head while they’re standing still. He has one of the laziest conditioning programs in the league.

    His stats have dropped steadily and they’ll continue to fall. He has 7 whopping points so far and all his goals are PP. What a passionate performance in even strength. He’s got some incredible innate ability, but he wastes it. He can’t pass. Someone said earlier- he’s a one-trick pony and that’s absolutely correct, though he’s nowhere close to a pony like Brett Hull.

    I’m just sick of the praise for this guy. He’s highly skilled. Great. Beyond that he’s about as trashy as you can get on the ice. You want to praise guys, save it for ones that deserve it like Tavares, Okposo (mainly for putting up with the Islanders), Eric Staal, Kopitar, anybody that doesn’t play like a half-ass cheapskate like Neandertool and Fartnell.

    Passion. Come on.

  156. Jandy says:

    That’s silly, Drew dahling, my hubby calls it that…he spoils me, but then I spoil him too.

  157. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    That’s one element of Bowsma’s “style” that I think has disappeared. When he came here it was all about forechecking and keeping the puck in the offensive zone as a method of defense. Now they have one forechecker and the other team get’s the puck in our zone pretty much at will. I don’t see the aggression that was there when Bowsma took over.

  158. Arriba Wilver says:

    Good point.

  159. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    -A four-goal game is equivalent to??

    a. 4 TD passes
    b. 4 HR game
    c. 40 Point BB game
    d. None of the above

    DK: e. A four-goal game.

  160. Jandy says:

    The isles certainly do have a team that compete in the playoffs. They are building , but they have the talent.

  161. Jandy says:

    like +10

    Cookie has come a long way and deserves a lot of credit. Let’s see some of these other thugs do that.

  162. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    A 50ft start might cause some to collapse before getting to the intended person.

  163. Jandy says:

    Like +3

  164. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Ah, probably because they use them more….

  165. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Ha Ha, nevermind, read that wrong…

  166. Jandy says:

    nah….we don’t have much in the line of job reviews. But this new system is driving everyone insane. The manual is 4 binders that are 2-3 inches thick. Very inconsiderate of the powers that be to expect everyone to just jump in and know what to do. It’s not working :/

  167. LuckyNKentucky says:

    So it’s safe to assume, Brad, that you don’t have a man crush on Ovechkin?

  168. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    The entire team, not just the coaching staff could’ve been trying to do too much or were still too rusty.

    Sid looks like the rust has been knocked off.

    Does anyone in the league skate as fast as that guy?

  169. Jandy says:


  170. AL says:

    Stop beating around the bush Brad; How do you really feel about Ovechkin?

  171. TJ says:

    None of the above.

    a. NFL is becoming pass happy — not what it used to be but still impressive
    b. Only 16 players have ever hit 4 HR in one game so I’d say this is a larger accomplishment
    c. Does anyone play defense in the NBA any more?

    A 4 goal game is impressive but to put it into perspective when it comes to HR in a game; the Penguins have had one player score 4 or more goals 22 times in their history alone. Take away Mario and they still have 11. But in all of baseball history 4 homeruns in one game has only been done 16 times.

  172. Jandy says:

    Hitting up the four hottest girls in high school…

  173. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    I thought you had work to do!!!!

  174. DMFH says:

    Yeah, he will. But he’s already under contract this year for I think 8.5M. I could be wrong, but I would think that’s affordable and NH is under pressure to win this year. I’d love to see them get him, slide Pedro to 1st, put the Legend back in RF. Pretty potent lineup.

  175. TJ says:

    Honestly I can’t remember the last time I saw anything praising Ovie. The national media certainly doesn’t see him the way they used to.

    There were a couple of plays last night that really shows how dirty he is like the arms to the head of glass while leaving his feet, the slew foot of bortuzzo behind the net. I don’t know why people are afraid of leveling him one time.

    Maybe its a mental thing…. maybe he feeds off the attention and it raises his game. I don’t know but I think he fits perfectly in baltimore/dc where the rest of the perfect citizens live

  176. Jandy says:


  177. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Oh that’s nothing Jandy…I did that on a daily basis.

  178. LuckyNKentucky says:


    but not holding my breath

  179. Jandy says:

    I do, and I’m goin back to it!

  180. DMFH says:

    I was thinking the same about Bradshaw when I saw he was available. I’d love to see them draft Graham, too. Heck, get ‘em both. I’m sure they’d perform better than this year’s crew did.

  181. Jandy says:

    pfffftt!! fairy tales ;)

  182. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    First, Gonchar was a Patrick signing. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have many gripes about Shero. Not even saying he’s terrible at the FA game- Lord knows he can’t be worse than Neal the SEAL. Steve Sullivan was a good pickup IMO and I like Glass.

    But it’s ignoring the results if we don’t recognize that it is his weakness. I’d trust him with trades with my eyes closed- even if the player acquired doesn’t pan out, our losses have been moderate to unimportant and we’re always buyers.

    I know most were cap casualties, but it’s how the GM manages those casualties. Malone or Talbot would have been a good keep compared to TK’s 2mil salary. My point is that other players, namely in the D department, were given equal to higher salaries and haven’t been an upgrade when the guys we lost fared better than our acquisitions over the past few years.

    As much as Shero may have been praised for Martin/Michalek, he should have been criticized equally for letting Scuderi and Gill go. For Talbot, I don’t even care so much about his scoring. That’s a bonus. For the same salary as TK, who is also injury prone, we could have a role player who does PK, faceoffs, reduced PP and better offensive talent. His low risk signings may have “contributed” but what sticks out is nothing from Comrie and Park, Asham having a panflash one playoffs and playing cheap the next.

  183. Drew,

    Wear a red carnation——I will find you.

    Driving down, so won’t arrive until Friday evening.

  184. TJ says:

    I would redo the survey —

    -Which is the most impressive

    A. 5 TD Passes in a game
    B. 4 HR in one game
    C. 50 PT BB game
    D. Getting away with murder, growing antlers, and becoming God
    E. Jandy referencing work 2 days in a row

  185. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Touche. I could probably pull off 25ft safely.

  186. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    You are correct LuckyNSpunky.

  187. Iceman says:

    This is a great point. I am not happy that Boston got away with what they did. I hate to see anything go Jacobs way. In the end, they do end up with the better side in the trade, but I still think it was a pretty smart move for the Islanders for this exact moment in time.

  188. DMFH says:

    Yeah, probably too good to be true. I’m sure that some GM that understands that winning isn’t cheap will trade for him.

  189. Bizrow says:

    Like +3

  190. Iceman says:

    That Michael Grabner from the Islanders is stupid fast. Unreal watching him pull away from people.

  191. I agree with Clemente and Wide Receiver Nate. BMTIB did nothing wrong in drafting Appel. Vast odds were that he would sign: 31 others did. I agree with BMTIB here 100 %.

    I still think it was brilliant move by BMTIB. Not every brilliant move works. Just like drafting DeCastro, then he tears up his knee. Even the best moves aren’t guaranteed.

    Now move on to Plan B.

  192. Bizrow says:

    Obviously the powers that be don’t have to use it.

    Happens all the time here ;-)

  193. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Kinda what I figured with the 4 HR thing, maybe more like a 3 HR game. It happens, not that often, but does happen.

  194. Dude, you are hot today!!

  195. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Doesn’t mean it worked.

  196. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    It was Errory and Stagerwalled’s “passion” comments that knocked me outta my chair. I get the whole hate/respect thing in sports, but guys like Neandertool only warrant one half of that ratio. To be fair, I’m sure Cooke was in that category before. And yes, he does fit in perfectly there.

  197. Bizrow says:

    Most definitely E

  198. Iceman says:

    F. Being Ray Lewis and still having people around the country still admire you.

    How the heck does one admire/idolize this man. What a joke…

  199. LuckyNKentucky says:


  200. Arriba Wilver says:

    With FA’s, in any sport, it seems the “internal value” is sometimes less for your own guys than others will put on them. I always assumed it was partly because the other teams may have a particular need. I don’t know enough about hockey to know if that was what was happening with the guys lost. The Steelers seem to be the best at keeping their own guys, but then trades are pretty non-existent and they don’t have many big FA’s.

  201. dwf says:


    I am very disappointed, I expected a much more witty response from you? :)

  202. Iceman says:

    I’m with you Brad. It seems like the NHL is still treating Ovechkin like he is one of the great ones and superstars of the game, even though he is getting mostly negative coverage and hasn’t really been doing anything lately. When are they going to stop treating him like a superstar and actually call a charging penalty against the guy.

    Errey is sitting there praising Ovechkin’s hit on Neal during the game in the midst of saying that he made a beeline for Neal straight out of the penalty box. Last time I checked, you had to take more than a couple strides to get from the penalty box to the other side of the ice. Errey needs to decipher the difference between passion for the game and a desire to be the center of attention no matter what it takes (even if that is cheap shots and bad hits).

  203. Arriba Wilver says:


  204. LuckyNKentucky says:

    If it’s any consolation to you, I liked the Goatboy moniker. Funny. Something Groat himself would come up with.

  205. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    And I’m the biased one?

  206. Damon says:

    Fair points, although my comment about Gonchar was to compare him to Martin – both 5 year deals, both finally panning out in the third year of their deals. Agree about TK, but it was tough to sign him for less when he just scored 20 goals and was a fixture on Staal’s line. I would have rather signed Scuderi than Michalek, but hind sight is 20/20.

  207. Damon says:

    At 8.5M I’d do it, and move everyone around like you say. I just wonder – why have the Pirates set their payroll ceiling to 70M? Why couldn’t they bring in Headley, forget Liriano and have their payroll around 72-73M?

  208. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Newsflash- Chris Kunitz is closer to the Art Ross than Zach Parise.

    I’d be satisfied if that held through the season.

  209. dwf says:


    Too bad there aren’t more people posting on this site that are as knowledgeable on the Pens and the “big picture” as what you are writing. Most of these “fans” are basically regurgitating what they read on the Trib. Most of these people don’t get that you can have the best regular season stats/record but if you can’t transfer that into post season success then what is the point? Sorry, but I don’t consider first round exits in the playoffs a successful season. I don’t care what anyone says, its all about winning Cups!

  210. TJA says:

    Just heard a few moments ago that the Pirates are considering changing their logo for the 2014 season. Heard discussions will begin next week on that topic. Just wanted to toss this out. Don’t know anything else. I have no problems with changes and a new identity (Lord knows they need one!). But, if this is indeed the case…I am very much of a purist and like the “P”. Gotta keep the “P” somehow.
    Have a great weekend everyone!

  211. Drew71 says:

    They don’t grow carnations in Florida.

    Palm tree? Orange? Gator? Sand? Grouper?

    I like the grouper.

    Nothing says “I’m Drew” like a dead fish.

  212. Bizrow says:

    You know, I’ve been thinking (not always a good thing)

    One of the nicest things about the Roberto Clemente statue is that it was built in part due to fans donations. We sent $63 in for it (3×21 for me, my late wife and my son) in tribute to the Great One. I think I have a letter somewhere thanking us for that.

    So as a community of lunatics, maybe we could send somethings to help Baltimore build the Ray-Ray statue?

    Any ideas? It doesn’t have to be limited to $$

  213. LuckyNKentucky says:

    How about a black dahlia?

  214. cosmo says:

    good one!

  215. Damon says:

    I’m sorry dwf, but most of this Pens roster has gotten past the first round on the way to winning a cup before, and just because they don’t win it every year, doesn’t mean they aren’t a team capable of winning it. First round playoff exits do suck, but they ran into a hot goaltender against Montreal in the second round (and were probably overconfident), didn’t have Sid or Geno against TB and took it to 7 games, and last year Philly got into their heads – admittedly their fault, but not because they weren’t good enough. Everyone – not just the Trib – considers the Pens a powerhouse team that was the odds on favorite in Vegas to win the cup this year. This FAN isn’t regurgitating anything.

  216. cosmo says:

    heck with Ray, How bout a DK statue in front of Trib Offices?

  217. cosmo says:

    Gotta keep the P

  218. AB says:

    I was at the Pens-Caps game on Sunday sitting high above where Kunitz first goal was scored. It was very obvious that the puck was deflected into the net by Kunitz.

    as a side note, it reminded me of my favorite hat trick ever. Jaromir Jagr on hat night. The fans were on edge waiting for it, and when it happened it looked like the stands threw up gold hats. just an absolute explosion of projectile hats.

  219. AJS says:

    About the article DK…

    I see what your point is. However, the vast majority of the time it doesn’t really matter who scored that goal. It was Kunitz’s first goal of the game. So at that point they can afford to let it sit. Once he scored what they thought was goal 2 but was really goal 3 then maybe it should have caused some urgency to determine if it the first one was his. But even then, that should still fall on the in house staff and not on the NHL. The NHL has to be able to trust in house decisions and not review every single goal on the spot. As far as missed drama about a 5th goal his final goal came with 8 seconds left in the game. There would not have been a lot of drama waiting to see if he scored number 5.

  220. Dejan and/or IT Guys,

    Any chance the 1st in each stream of comments and replies could be numbered? You know, the original comment closest to left margin?

    It is so cotton pickin’ hard to follow comments and additions here. Some kind of identification system would sure help!

    Thank you in advance for your kind consideration.

  221. DMFH says:

    I agree on Liriano. Why all the fuss about getting him signed? They already have a logjam of sorts in the competition for the rotation anyway. And although none of them are Greg Maddux, neither is Liriano. If they want a better pitcher so bad, perhaps they should call the Tigers and see what they want for Porcello.

  222. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I’d send the 5 antlers I have hanging on my wall, but they’re too important to me. Plus the velvet is long gone.

  223. AJS says:

    i did not know that. that’s interesting. i feel like if you are in the draft you should be fair game. MLB has some of the oddest rules.

  224. WVStarship says:

    A new white suit?

  225. AJS says:

    I did. Though Adams is a center by trade and has centered the third line in the past. So I think the mistake was based on that.

  226. Damon says:

    I like Porcello, but I am also curious to see how McPherson looks in camp. It looked like he had potential last year. Not proven, but you can always make a deal later in camp if he doesn’t look ready.

  227. AJS says:

    I agree with this. i was watching an episode of In the Room last night and it was the first of the season. They showed Bylsma not being very happy about the play in the Black Gold game and even said to Shero that he keeps telling these guys they are trying to play like it is mid season and that they still have all kinds of chemistry that was likely lost over the off season and lock out and that typically they would have camp to figure all of that out. he explicitly pointed out Geno and said he keeps telling him he can’t keep trying those blind drop passes or passes through the crease. Nothing that worked in game 75 last year is going to work in game 1 this year. We still see those types of things from both him and Sid(does anyone stop up at the dot as much as Sid has the past few games?) but I feel like there are less of them.

  228. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Quadruple Amen.

  229. AJS says:

    See I used to like Lucky. Now he goes and uses a Buckeye avatar. Do not like +1000000

  230. AJS says:

    As for firing Oates, I don’t think that is going to happen this season. You took a team that was already struggling and replaced the coach. You then gave him what essentially amounted to a 3 day training camp to install his system. The season is also only 48 games long. You have to figure in a normal situation a coach is given half a season to show some signs of movement in the right direction. Surely Oates has to be awarded that benefit right? this full season is equal to a normal half season.

    The GM is another story. And if a new GM is hired then Oates may go as well at the hand of the new GM.

  231. LuckyNKentucky says:

    I had to counter that Blue Devil that John In Oshkosh uses in honor of Groat, AJS. John is a Big 10 countryman and has that blue thing on there. Besides, it’s colorful, right? :P

  232. JAL says:

    Ken Rosenthal ✔

    Liriano passed physical. Deal with #Pirates finally official.

  233. AJS says:

    I an’t really coment on that. i don’t really follow college basketball much anymore but when I was in my teens and early twenties I was a big Blue Devils fan. I mean heck, the school I live and die with barely new what basketball was. I had to choose someone. And when you are a 12 year old looking for a team to pull for with no home team of any value, you typically hop on the best team out there. at that time it was Duke who had just made back to back championship games and won a title.

  234. Arriba Wilver says:


  235. Bizrow says:

    Per MLBTradeRumors, the Liriano signing is a done deal

  236. Bizrow says:

    OOPS, sorry, didn’t refresh before I posted

  237. Milo Hamilton says:

    This courtship reminds me of Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton. On again, off again. On again, off again.

  238. Milo Hamilton says:

    Are we allowed to talk baseball yet ?

  239. Arriba Wilver says:

    There was a Pirate item in the Notes column. I think we’re safe (at least today).

  240. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Sidney Crosby hit a home run?

  241. Bizrow says:

    So what does the PBC payroll currently stand at? (if I’m in hot water for talking about baseball, well, ok)

  242. Bizrow says:

    That is an outstanding idea.

    Love the thought of pidgeon poop on it

  243. Milo Hamilton says:

    Counting Liriano it’s $82.5 million – with the Pirates responsible for $69 million.

  244. Bizrow says:

    Thanks Milo

  245. LuckyNKentucky says:

    So no Clint Barmes for Chase Headley deal will go, huh?

  246. Naterosboro says:

    Thoughts on Dejan’s Thoughts (Notes) Column…

    * Oh what drama was missed in Chris Kunitz not getting, yet getting, his 4 goal game…I think we’re going a bit over the top here. Who cares when they changed the goal? They got it right in the end and that’s all that matters. I’m sure the producers at NBC aren’t too happy…I’ll bet they didn’t even know.

    * Kunitz is a great vet to have on this team. Say what you want about Shero’s move to move Lovejoy for only a 5th rounder, the man has acquired some darn good players via trade. He should be enshrined in Toronto (right, that’s where the Hockey HOF is…right?) for getting James Neal & Matt Niskannen for Alex Goligoski!

    * Had no idea what the 668 was. But, congrats Jaromir on the achievement. While the speed and stamina may not be there, his hands and skating ability aren’t going anywhere.

    * There’s no way Joe Flacco should be paid $20million per. He’s gotta do it again next season for me, and you need to have him throwing downfield more. Too many times he dumps to Pitta or Rice. That’s fine if that’s his read, but I feel like he uses the safety net too often, and his skill players have made his numbers look better than they are. That said, he had an unbelievable post-season run. But not $20million unbelievable. This is the NFL. Not the MLB.

    * While the Steelers 1st rounders of recent times (Hood, Heyward, DeCastro) haven’t exactly set the world on fire (and DeCastro was due to injury), it’s not like they’ve been drafting stiffs. Timmons, Woodley, Mendenhall, Wallace, Sanders, Brown, Pouncey, etc. (that’s just what I can think of off the top of my head). They were just in the Superbowl 2 seasons ago (well, 3 now). They’re right there with Baltimore. Bet that.

    * You definitely have to take a look at both backs (Bush & Bradshaw). With Mendenhall not coming back, there’s a big void at the RB position. I’m not comfortable turning it over to the Redman/Dwyer combo. I think they went missing too often last season. Me, I’d look hard at Reggie Bush. Redman & Dwyer are “power backs” per se, while Bush would be a change of pace back. Bradshaw would just bring you more of the same.

    * For the sake of the Franchise, the Pirates need Tony Sanchez to get to bigs ASAP and stabilize the position. The stop-gap veterans haven’t been getting it done. I’m optimistic that Russell Martin can have a better year than Rod Barajas or Chris Snyder, but it’s not the same as a franchise catcher.

    * I don’t really do Pitt Athletics. I’m not from there (my family is, but I’m South Jersey born ‘n raised) and I didn’t attend, so the only memories I have is of the Panthers screwing me by losing earlier than expected in the NCAA tourney! And to tell you the truth, our family was more of a Penn State family anyway!



    And thanks. Good stuff, as always.

  247. 21sthebest says:


  248. Jandy says:

    Here, Dwf, have some tissues, I can’t stand to see a grown dwarf cry ;)

  249. Jandy says:

    like +1

  250. Jandy says:

    Glad you admit it, Brad ;)

  251. AJS says:

    Sid actually did hit a home run when he was allowed to take BP with the team a couple years ago.

  252. buggee says:

    Regular season is when the GM functions to build a strong contending team.

    Playoff is coaching, plain and simple. The failures over the past three early exits sit with the coaches. Period.

    Credit goes to Bylsma this year though as he seems to be more flexible in the use of the resources at his disposal.

    AND, let’s not forget the remarkable value Vokoun has brought to the goaltending. That was a masterstroke FA signing on a par with the Neal signing, so kudos to Shero for that spark of brilliance. Vokoun has stabilized the oft-erratic MAF and both are playing at steady, consistent levels of excellence.

    Much also needs to be said for how this team hasn’t missed a step without their star DMan Letang playing last night. This team looked flat-out dominant (after the first period). That’s also on Shero.

    I wish TBMTIB was only half as competent as Shero; then we’d be hoisting the Jolly Shuttlecock much more often.

    “Goatboy” sweet!

  253. Bizrow says:

    Breaking news from ESPN

    It was an ELECTRICAL DEVICE that caused the SuperBowl blackout.

    Who woulda thunk that??

  254. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Oh that’s no fun DK, I have to translate hockey stuff to other sports.

  255. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    usually how those things work….I love ESPN.

  256. LuckyNKentucky says:


  257. Bizrow says:

    Just another reason why they are #1 ;-)

  258. Milo Hamilton says:

    I was expecting them to blame repeated blows to the head.

  259. Steve says:

    Boomer still making sure everyone OK.

  260. Iceman says:

    Is there anywhere to go to get good sports news TV anymore. ESPN is becoming more and more of a joke and NBC Sports makes me have to listen to Jeremy Roenick. I’m getting to the point where the internet is the only place to go for sports news and I can find clips online of the highlights I actually want to watch.

  261. JAL says:

    Some Cutch on a winter day

  262. 21sthebest says:

    I get almost 100% of my news, sports or otherwise, on the internet. I find TV news to be just so bad anymore.

    DK: I enjoy the league-based networks, but solely for highlights.

  263. Arriba Wilver says:

    Looks like he was aiming at the Pirates Charities sign. :-p

  264. JohninOshkosh says:

    Thanks JAL.

    Sure hope that his immense talent will someday be on display in the postseason.

  265. Bizrow says:

    Diamondbacks sign Barrabbas per MLBTradeRumors

  266. 21sthebest says:

    Aren’t we all?

  267. Milo Hamilton says:

    Still nothing from the Pirates on Liriano. Probably nothing official until they make a corresponding roster move. Assuming it’s a major league deal, of course. Then again I’ve never heard of a $12-$14 million minor league invitation. I’m going with Jeanmar Gomez on this one.

  268. Thundercrack says:

    I thought they would blame it on the light bulbs

  269. JohninOshkosh says:

    It is almost 5:00 on a Friday afternoon with a wicked nor’easter bearing down. Seems like the perfect time to announce it.

  270. Milo Hamilton says:

    Or contract extensions. Nothing here today John. Just some rain late this morning & now some flurries. Lucked out on this one.

  271. Bizrow says:


  272. Arriba Wilver says:

    They’re probably busy working on their speeches to open Spring Training. Although FC may just be looking for cool sunglasses.

  273. cosmo says:

    He’s waiting for his Calzone from Pisano’s

  274. dwf says:


    That ‘a girl! You are a girl? Or, are you a dude writing like chick? Or, are you a chick writing like a dude? Or,…oh, never mind much better effort this time with the witty response:)

  275. Bizrow says:

    Like both

  276. MadTurk says:

    Arriba, just wanted you to know I spoke with Ugly Ken, all is well he just never came over from the old blog and quite posting there as well when it went to pay. Said to say hello to all the old posters still around. I posted this the other day but with the new format not sure if you ever saw it.

  277. Bizrow says:

    Thanks for the update MadTurk

  278. 21sthebest says:

    Where does that put the Diamondbacks payroll?

  279. Bizrow says:

    Don’t know, but probably still a bit above ours ;-)

  280. Arriba Wilver says:

    Thanks, Mad. And I didn’t see it before. I appreciate it. Last I had heard he was ill, so it’s good to hear he’s doing fine.

  281. MadTurk says:

    He said he may stop in this blog at some time to say Hello himself some time.

    DK: Best wishes to Ken from us all, MT.

  282. Drew71 says:

    Thanks, Turkle. Hope he does.

  283. zivkov34 says:

    Neither was Matt Moulson and how bad would we love to have him back…

  284. Dom says:

    Let’s be thankful that the 10Lbs Tony Sanchez put on was of muslce and not fat.

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