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Tuesday Wakeup Call: A visit with A.J.

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

BRADENTON, Fla. — Morning, lunatics …

>> The TribLIVE Radio show today — 1-2 p.m. — will feature special guest A.J. Burnett, right here on our station’s spectacular McKechnie Field set.

To listen to the show, just click on TribLIVE Radio. It’s free, easy, no registration. If you’ve got an iPhone, iPad or Android, we’ve also got the TribLIVE Radio app.

Also, TribLIVE Radio host Ken Laird will be the media guest. He’s been down here all week, too, and we’ll pick his brain for his observations of these Pirates. And, of course, the local Twitter legend @suckmeter will offer, in his own inimitable manner, the Suck of the Week in Pittsburgh sports.

I want you involved, too. Email: sportstalk@tribweb.com or call me down here at 412-320-7925.

>> Here’s my news notebook from events yesterday at McKechnie.

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>> There was no earthly reason to rush Evgeni Malkin back.

There was no earthly reason to scratch Beau Bennett.

There was no earthly reason to dress Tyler Kennedy.

Either that, or the sum of the city rushed to judgment on all of the above and forgot that the guys running this franchise usually are pretty good at what they do.

>> Want to know why Mike Lange is in the Hall of Fame?

Move to the 1:40 mark of this audio clip for his call on Sidney Crosby’s goal. It’s a beautiful thing.

>> How does William Gay’s return not portend Keenan Lewis’ departure?

Really been trying to wrap my head around scenarios in which Lewis stays, and I keep coming up empty. Cortez Allen can take over at starting corner and, ideally, add some takeaway dynamic to the defense. Gay can be the nickel back and provide depth. And the money the Steelers might have paid Lewis would go to, say, a wide receiver or running back.

If anything, you can now be positive Lewis wouldn’t stay at market rate. The Steelers will set their price and stick to it unconditionally. Someone will top them.

>> Ladies and gentlemen, the utter disintegration of ESPN within a single 87-second clip …

What, you don’t believe the disintegration will happen?

Well, then, what about actual competition?

That’s what happens when smart business people smell blood.

>> Oh, and happy birthday to that random gorgeous girl in front of Ottawa’s Parliament building last month …

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.

Comments

  1. Mizery says:

    First!!!!!!!!

  2. Eric Bowser says:

    - Kennedy, Glass, and Vitale were empty jerseys tonight so with Bennett deserving of NHL job, gotta think Kennedy is about to hit the press box munchies.

    - Just saw that clip of ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith… this does not surprise me in the least. Can the new FOX channel compete with the Disney giant?

    - Gay’s return has to mean the departure for Lewis… financially, no other choice.

  3. Don says:

    Your blog is infected with a screaming idiot

  4. JohnH says:

    you? me? or someone else?

  5. Boise Bucco says:

    Having a smartphone on me at all times or at least a computer at work, I seriously cannot remember the last time I’ve watched ESPN. Not SportsCenter, not really even any games, nothing. I’ll be watching if the Bucs are on, but that’ll be it. And it’s not because I don’t have cable or something, I just can’t stand the talking heads all the time.

    It used to be that you only got them on that one 1-hour block of PTI and Around The Horn, and that was fine. I really don’t even mind them. But then they started breaking into SportsCenter with them. And now with Bayless and Steven A. Smith, it’s completely unwatchable, and I grew up watching ESPN.

    All the better knowing you get billed $5.15/month for their crap opinions, right?

  6. aglebagel says:

    Am I the only one who is getting a tad worried about the Bucs and is already a little sick of the “Spring Training doesn’t mean anything” line?

    I get that individual players are tinkering, making individual statistics mostly worthless to look at. But by the end of spring training, a team’s record can say SOMEthing. Is it really just flat-out coincidence that the Pirates always suck in spring training AND the regular season? Just start looking at recent spring training records. I could only find the won-loss Grapefruit League records for the last eight years or so, and in that time we’ve had all of one winning record. And it was 17-15.

    I’m not trying to go overboard and say that our 3-7 spring training start means the season is done. Obviously. I mean, we are tied with or ahead of several good teams. I just feel like certain folks are trying to play the responsible, rational grown-up without allowing for any balance.

  7. diehard says:

    I was subjected to ESPN last Friday AM while at the gym running on the treadmill. They showed highlights of one game, then spent the next 15 minutes (literally) talking about the Miami Heat and the Harlem Shake. First of all – how did that become popular? Really bad song with people convulsing to it. I’m confused. Not only that, they followed up with more of it today!
    Beginning of the end of ESPN – when naming the top 100 athletes of the 1900′s they put Michael Jordan – ONE of the best (but maybe not THE best) basketball players of all time at #1. Not Babe Ruth, who changed the game of baseball forever, not Mohammed Ali, who set the bar for athletes who entertain, but the third best guard in the NBA in the past 50 years. (Putting him behind Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson) Credibility has been on a steady descent ever since. Yeah, bring on Fox Sports. Please.

  8. Eric Bowser says:

    I’m more interested in how the team plays in two weeks, that should be a good indication if guys are putting it all together on the pitching mound or at the plate.

  9. aglebagel says:

    Yeah, my DVR is set to record PTI every day and that’s just about all I watch anymore. I used to be an ESPN junkie.

  10. aglebagel says:

    I think we’re all pretty comfortable with some good ESPN bashing here, but your ammunition is the ranking of Michael F. Jordan as the #1 athlete of the century? Who exactly do you watch/read/listen to?

  11. diehard says:

    Just saying that was a starting point for me, personally, in looking at their priorities and how they actually covered sports, events, and non-events. There is a LOT of other ammunition, especially in the past 5-10 years – and my reference itself is going back 13 years. I really didn’t watch much ESPN before the mid-90′s, now I rarely watch it at all.

  12. Ghost says:

    Yeah, you had me until the Michael Jordan stuff. MJ has been the best team sport player in at least my little ol’ lifetime (not quite a half a century). Scotty Pippen was able to bask in Jordan’s afterglow at the time, but really, he was overrated. Rodman was a terrific rebounder for the second three-peat. But that’s just it — Jordan three-peated. TWICE. He never had the supporting cast Magic or Kobe had. Jordan WAS the supporting cast. He pulled everybody around him up to the championship-class level. In fact, if he hadn’t retired in his prime to follow his baseball dreams, who knows how many titles would have been strung together. Oscar Robertson? The Charles Barkley of his day.

  13. diehard says:

    Forgive me for starting a debate about basketball – I really don’t like watching the garbage they play in the NBA anymore (and which the channel in question is obsessed with). Can we maybe change to how they only pay attention to the cities which have their own ESPN sites? More or less ignore hockey? Make up stories or sensationalize things to try to make them into stories? And how that’s why they’re ripe for some competition?

  14. Ghost says:

    Sorry. Didn’t take much to lure me into that debate, did it? You have me again. With all of the above regarding ESPN. And you didn’t even have to mention Chris Berman, the single most annoying ESPN character of them all.

  15. Dave says:

    A few things:

    1. Is there any chance the Steelers decide to try to keep Lewis and dump Taylor?

    2. Personally as long as Bennett is sent back to Wilkes-Barre to play and not sit on the Pens bench I have no problem with his situtation. The thing is that over the last couple of years instead of developing NHL players at Wilkes-Barre the Pens have had to go out and spend money on “grinders” and defensemen. The only players that have played regularly for Pittsburgh the last couple seasons is Vitale and that’s it. Other wise we have management bringing in guys like Glass and Eaton to the active roster and they keep pushing the young talent away from the NHL. It’s either an indication that the developmental team in WBS isn’t getting the job done or the scouting staff isn’t finding talent come draft time.

    3. For the ESPN thing, why are the Heat and Blackhawks being compared? 7 of the teams that Miami has beaten have winning records. 2 of the teams they’ve defeated have winning percentages above .400. I’m not saying what they’re doing isn’t impressive because any kind of 15 game winning streak is impressive. The thing is the NBA’s longest winning streak is at 33 games and there have been 5 winning streaks that are longer then the current run Miami is on right now since 2000.

    Chicago’s winning streak is just flatout impressive because they go out and dominate teams. The only teams that have defeated Chicago in Shootouts are division leading Anaheim, Vancouver, and 2nd place Minnesota. All points considered the Blackhawks streak is the most impressive and it’s not even debate able. Of course the NBA analysis is going to say the Heat’s streak is the most impressive because he’s got to hype up his sport and his sports best players team.

  16. Dom says:

    No way do the Steelers keep Lewis over Taylor.

    I wonder why the Steelers went with Gay over Lewis. I know that money obviously played a factor but it didn’t seem that the Steelers ever attempted to make an offer to Lewis.

  17. MrB says:

    I know better than to even waste one second to click and view the ESPN Jackson clip.

    I love Mike Lange, but honestly this audio call doesn’t strike me as anything special. I watched the game and perhaps it was the TV coverage and angle, but Crosby’s pass to Letang that led to that goal appeared remarkable. What a wonderful display from two superstar teammates within two minutes that took over the game!

    Happy Birthday to your better half!

  18. JoeyBats says:

    19th !!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!

  19. Thundercrack says:

    Does anyone really pay attention to ESPN anymore. Their radio shows are just as bad as the ones on TV. I am always surprised on how much time Mike & Mike spend every single morning on the NBA. (I put the channel on a few times every morning just to hear what they are talking about) Do they know about pucks….or that Spring Training has started.

  20. Thundercrack says:

    DK
    Yesterday on Laird’s show you mentioned you talked with AJ. Is that your interview for today – or will AJ be live?

    DK: The show is airing while today’s actual game is going on, so the main guest interview had to be taped. I spoke with A.J. one-on-one yesterday afternoon following his outing.

  21. radio wave says:

    As far as ESPN’s discussion of the best athlete of the last 100 years it has to be Jackie Robinson had the biggest cultural or effective any athlete in our time

  22. kr70 says:

    As per the picture above, your blessings are not limited to your writing ability.

  23. scapper says:

    That pass was beautiful, but the best part of that Crosby goal was the play he made to gain control of the puck in his own end and then that incredible chip play he made with the puck as he was coming out. Ridiculous stuff.

    And I’m with you on Lange. Love the guy and at one time he was The Man, but uh, I think we all know why he was removed from the TV broadcasts.

    Any Pens fans needs to savor games like last night’s. Those two players doing what they did two minutes apart to win that game? It’s the kind of magic we’ll all remember when we wake up one day and find the Sid and Geno era over, whenever that might be.

  24. JAL says:

    JAL’s Life in the Fast Lane Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fx6qPIC6izM

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    http://gobuccos.com/pittsburgh-pirate-news/

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Spring Training Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/st2013

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Something, Something, Cliché

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/03/first-pitch-something-something-cliche.html

    Pirates Notebook: Clichés Are True in the Short Term, Useless in the Long Term

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/03/pirates-notebook-cliches-are-true-in-the-short-term-useless-in-the-long-term.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Phillies 1-hit Pirates

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/3/4/4064332/phillies-1-hit-pirates

    7 This is Getting Old

    Roster Watch: Charlie Morton

    http://thisisgettingold.net/2013/03/04/roster-watch-charlie-morton/

    8 WHYGAVS

    What does 2013 hold for Jameson Taillon?

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/march-2013/what-does-2013-hold-for-jameson-taillon.html

    9 Rumbunter

    Can We Kiss Jose Tabata Goodbye?

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/03/04/can-we-kiss-jose-tabata-goodbye/

    Pittsburgh Pirates Fifth Starter Power Rankings

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/03/04/pittsburgh-pirates-fifth-starter-power-rankings-2/

    10 Green Weenie

    Phils 5, Bucs 0

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/03/phils-5-bucs-0.html

  25. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Bleacher Report

    Pittsburgh Pirates Team Health Report: 2013 Injury Risk for Every Starter

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1528540-pittsburgh-pirates-team-health-report-2013-injury-risk-for-every-starter

    12 USA Today

    Nightengale: Baseball union targets drug cheaters

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2013/03/03/mlb-union-targets-drug-cheaters-ryan-zimmerman-michael-cuddyer/1961159/

    13 Rant Sports

    MLB Previews: Pittsburgh Pirates Expectations For 2013

    http://www.rantsports.com/videos/2013/03/04/mlb-previews-pittsburgh-pirates-expectations-for-2013/

    14 Bradenton Herald

    Pittsbugh Pirates’ Starling Marte’s fine spring training traced to offseason work

    http://www.bradenton.com/2013/03/05/4420477/pittsbugh-pirates-starling-martes.html

    15 Beaver County Times

    Inge’s latest challenge: Making the Pirates’ roster

    http://www.timesonline.com/sports/pirates/inge-s-latest-challenge-making-the-pirates-roster/article_ba90c3d8-75ed-521a-8719-3128598e24f1.html

    16 Sarasota Herald Tribune

    Tony Dungy visits Hurdle, Pirates

    http://springtraining.heraldtribune.com/2013/03/04/dungy-visits-pirates/

    17 ESPN

    Five young players on the spot

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/33463/five-young-players-on-the-spot

    18 PBC SITE

    Top prospects Cole, Taillon key to defining Bucs’ future

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130304&content_id=42255540&vkey=news_pit&c_id=pit

    Mercer continues learning the ropes

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130304&content_id=42261820&notebook_id=42262396&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    The Secret Life of the American Ballplayer

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19792

    20 Fangraphs

    How Fair is MLB’s Salary Scale?

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/how-fair-is-mlbs-salary-scale/

  26. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Is the Steelers locker room fractured?

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/3/4/4062416/is-the-steelers-locker-room-fractured

    Ben Roethlisberger: Locker room leader?

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/3/4/4059480/ben-roethlisberger-locker-room-leader

    22 Steelers Depot

    -Steelers WR Mike Wallace Sitting Pretty Monday Evening After Recent Moves

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/03/steelers-wr-mike-wallace-sitting-pretty/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Daily Telegraph

    Manchester United v Real Madrid: our players must not fear Cristiano Ronaldo, says Sir Alex Ferguson

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/manchester-united/9908167/Manchester-United-v-Real-Madrid-our-players-must-not-fear-Cristiano-Ronaldo-says-Sir-Alex-Ferguson.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 4th March, 2013

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-4th-march-2013

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Penguins Stars Key Comeback Win over Lightning

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/3/5/4065858/penguins-stars-key-comeback-win-over-lightning

  27. JAL says:

    Life in the Fast Lane Eagles 1976 Joe Walsh, Glenn Frey and Don Henley wrote the song. It was on the Hotel California album and peaked at 11.

  28. Thundercrack says:

    Jon Hamm may have found a role that fits him as well as Don Draper’s suits in “Mad Men.” He’ll star in “Million Dollar Arm,” based on the true story of J.B. Bernstein, a sports agent who signed two teen cricket players, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, discovered in a 2008 reality TV show to find the fastest-throwing phenoms in India. Hamm teaches them baseball and gets them signed to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The feel-good film will probably leave out that Patel was cut in 2010 and Singh is still in the minors.
    ————————————————————————————————–

    Maybe when this film comes out we can all get together and go see it.

    Well, if there isn’t a hockey game on.

  29. BFD says:

    Pirates look like they are in mid season form….. great job BMTIS.
    XXI

  30. TJ says:

    Only thing I look at on ESPN any more is Rumor Central and all that stuff is from articles written around the country. They are too much hype and guys like Stephen A Smith that are more worried about making a name for themselves than anything else.

  31. SJB says:

    Hmmm, I think finding a clip of Stephen Smith that doesn’t sound or feel racist and bigoted to one degree or another is like trying to find a clip of Spike Lee doing the narrative of the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock. I am actually surprised he held back enough to not just flat out say: “Hockey? I don’t watch that white boy, honkey crap!”

  32. TJ says:

    Can I ask one question…

    Do the Steelers have to have the cap room first in order to franchise Mike Wallace? I’m trying to understand why you wouldn’t franchise him and work out a trade with a team that wants to sign him. Obviously not going to get their #1 pick but better than letting him walk for nothing.

  33. SJB says:

    Jackie Robinson’s cultural impact and his degree of athletic greatness are two different things. It could arguably (and truthfully) be said there were better Black and Hispanic athletes than Robinson that never made it to that level of baseball, or football for that matter and there were definitely better athletes after and even during his day. Being the first to do something doesn’t make one the best. The topic is about what athlete’s accomplished in their respective careers, not what cultural barriers they crossed. Jackie Robinson and “Best” are never used together in my opinion.

  34. SJB says:

    They might but who cares? He doesn’t deserve franchise money and I don’t think another team will pay him that either, in addition to giving up their 1st round pick for him. He’ll get big money – more than the Steelers will want to pay him – but not top 5 money.

  35. Jandy says:

    It’s the voices in his head…

  36. TJ says:

    Don’t agree with that statement at all.

    First of all tagging Wallace simply means he would get the average of the top 5 paid. If the team can work out a long term deal they are not required to pay the average of the top 5. And if you don’t think he can get top 5 money take a look at the list of 2012′s top 5 WR’s.

    1. Santonio Holmes
    2. Andre Johnson
    3. Brandon Marshall
    4. Sidney Rice
    5. Darrius Heyward- Bay

    Any team with the cap space will throw money at him. Especially with Bowe now off the market and quite a few teams looking for a deep threat. And as I stated I wasn’t expecting the #1 pick. But something is better than nothing.

  37. Jandy says:

    Dave, love your point on the Blackhawks. It’s well grounded. Gotta give them credit.

  38. Jandy says:

    scapper, enlighten me. I can’t see why Steigy is on television over Lang, not from a viewer/listener’s standpoint.

  39. Jandy says:

    Good stuff, JAL, love me some Eagles.

  40. Jandy says:

    Zing!

  41. Jandy says:

    Happy Birthday to a very lucky lady….she gets to put up with Dejan…

  42. Jandy says:

    OK where the heck is Drew?

  43. Sleeping it off after guzzling all that beer during the hockey game.

  44. Jandy says:

    lol I was drinking my own home brewed iced tea. I didn’t have that problem this morning ;)

  45. SJB says:

    The simple fact is no team is going to trade with the Steelers for Wallace if they franchise him. He’s simply not as desirable as you think and the Steelers don’t want to get stuck having to pay him franchise money either when no one does. Everyone else was watching Wallace’s performance last season too, plus; cap space is an issue for most teams this season. To pay top dollar for a one-dimensional receiver with questionable hands is not something a lot of GM’s (even the dumber or deperate ones) will be willing to do.

    Like I said, he’ll get big money (not in the range of those receivers you listed) but no one will trade for him being a franchised player to give it to make that happen.

  46. SJB says:

    She’s out of DK’s league. Don’t worry Dejan, I’m in the same situation. ;)

  47. JohninOshkosh says:

    I think that was the day the Canadian Parliament was debating whether to grant Mrs. K sainthood for putting up with Dejan.

    Happy Birthday to her. I, too have a March birthday. March birthdays rule!

  48. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Dejan,

    I don’t think your wife would appreciate you taking pictures of random girls in Ottawa.

    Though maybe Drew’s wife would.

    Hope you made it special .

  49. Jandy says:

    hey OshKosh, how old, man? 39?

  50. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    -I agree with the logic in your first point, but I don’t see it happening any time soon.

    -Stephen A. Smith knows everything about everything. Just ask him. And seriously, how many people go around demanding their middle initial be recognized? What a tool.

    -Sad.

  51. JohninOshkosh says:

    Yes. 39 Again.

  52. 21sthebest says:

    Totally agree. I will flick on Mike & Mike though to try and catch interviews with their baseball reporters. Haven’t listened to ESPN National Radio since Tony Kornheiser left.

  53. Lee says:

    And if anyone needed one more reason to avoid ESPN, coming to your TV sets this fall, none other than Ray Lewis, who is joining Monday Night Countdown. The only question is whether he will be required to come into the studio doing his stupid convulsion dance and/or wearing his face paint?

  54. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t have a problem with what Stephen A. said. I hate the shootout and I hate a team getting a point for making it into the overtime. I think they should just extend the regular overtime by a couple of minutes and forget the shootout, although I hate the thought of a tie.

  55. chuck Snow says:

    Nice column…Glad the Pirates aren’t concerned about their slow start….But at the End I believe AJ said he would perfer to do well…As would we all. Yes their is Pro Hockey in my adopted hometown of Columbus Ohio. But the best hockey in town is Ohio State hockey..very fun to go see.

  56. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I’d be so happy if Fox makes a successful sports empire to rival WWLIS. If they do major hockey coverage I’d be even happier- as long as they don’t try the rainbow tail on the puck visual aid thing again.

  57. TJ says:

    I don’t quite understand your thinking. Your absolutely out of your mind if you don’t believe Wallace won’t get a large contract.

    Secondly as stated before he does NOT have to get a top 5 salary if a contract is agreed upon even if he is franchised.

    Your living in Steelers world where we think of him as being a let down this year. This is a quote from ESPN which ranks him the 14th best overall FA on the market and the 4th best WR; one of which has already signed. “Wallace established himself as the league’s premier deep threat”.

    But yeah the 14th best FA and 3rd best available WR isn’t desirable to other teams.

    I get what your saying on the salary point but for some reason I don’t think you quite understand that just because the Steelers tag him that a team cannot trade for him and work out a long term deal for less than the top 5 players. Trading for him guarantees you the best shot of signing him.

  58. Patrick says:

    I used to work Midnights, 11pm-7am. I couldn’t wait during the NFL season to get home and catch the 8am broadcast of Sportscenter with Kenny Maine and Co. Stuart Scott was still fresh. They actually covered highlights of sports and game analysis.

    Nowadays its Stephen A and Skip Bayless yelling at each other about who looks prettier, Lebron or Tebow. (WHich really, how am I supposed to take a grown man named SKIP seriously?) What are you, a 12 year old boy? C’mon, grow up and go by your real name, JOHN) Sportscenter has been tiresome and tedious for years now. For every Hannah Storm there is an Erin Andrews, for every John Clayton a Mel Kiper. The way they butcher news like the Te’o story is laughable. They have become a parody.

  59. TJ says:

    Ray Lewis is not joining Monday Night Countdown; Monday Night Countdown is joining Ray Lewis.

  60. Patrick says:

    I don’t know…Jackie Robinson’s legacy is not something I scoff at or take lightly, but Mohammed Ali did everything Robinson did and a little more, and on a global level.

  61. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I like the shootout as a last-resort means of breaking a tie. But I think it’d be better if there was no single point awarded to the loser.

  62. JohninOshkosh says:

    Agree. A win should be a win and a loss should be a loss.

  63. TJ says:

    I agree the point to the loser is kind of a silly thing but I’d put my own spin on it.

    Loser gets a point that counts toward playoff standings; however once playoff teams are determined that point is removed for the purpose of seed. So if the Pens ended up with 105 points and had 5 OT losses they would only have 100 points in the 1 thru 8 for ranking of the playoff teams.

  64. TJ says:

    I believe she is on the cover of DK’s bid for the Olympics and Superbowl to be brought to Winnipeg; I mean Pittsburgh

  65. Jandy says:

    lol

  66. Patrick says:

    It really doesn’t help Wallace that:
    1) He perpetuated his own biggest perceived failure by disappearing in he second half again
    2) Admitted publicly he lacks focus.
    3) But more than anything, the crop of WR’s in this draft is impressive and deep.

    Don’t get me wrong, I agree that a sign and trade deal would be preferable to simply letting him walk. DEFINATELY a better scenario. But Wallace would have to be amicable to that and chances are he is simply more interested in testing the FA market outright rather than allow the Steelers to dictate where he plays next season. And really I think you might be overestimating how much Wallace might bring in return. Chicago got Marshall for two third round picks, and I don’t think Wallace would get same value.

  67. JohninOshkosh says:

    Playoff seedings, nay playoff victories, should be determined by the number of road goals.

  68. TJ says:

    Could be an interesting first half of the season. Pirates have already made it known they will not be buyers at the trade deadline. That being said should they start slow you could easily see AJ and Wandy being dealt among others for more 26 year old starters in AAA or once promising power hitting prospects.

  69. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Anyone who watched Pens game last night might have seen this new Cutch commercial. I liked it. I get the game every year anyway, but I’m definitely getting this one asap.

  70. SeanAY says:

    You can coach a player in catching the ball and running better routes.

    You can’t coach a player to run a 4.3 40.

    Mike Wallace will be paid, make no mistake.

  71. Iceman says:

    Someone over at Pensburgh made this suggestion for Pens D pairings once Martin returns:

    Orpik – Martin
    Letang – Despres
    Eaton – Niskanen

    I think I really like this setup, but after watching the games this weekend and last night, I have one change I would make that will probably cause me to lose all credibility when talking hockey, but I”m going to say it anyway.

    I think I may substitute Engelland for Orpik. IMHO, Engelland has been playing much better hockey than Orpik the last few games. He is playing the physical type of hockey that Orpik used to play and has actually been playing pretty good positional hockey the last few games. Orpik, oh the other hand, has been out of position numerous times the last few games and many of those errors have lead to goals against. I’m not suggesting this as a permanent change, but at least for the time being so Orpik can think about clearing the front of his net instead of complaining to the ref for 5 minutes.

  72. SeanAY says:

    I like the college hockey system; three points for a win, including in overtime. If the teams make it to a shootout, then each gets a point, and the winner finishes with two points.

    It heavily values wins in regulation, as a team is deprived of all three points, even if they win the shootout.

  73. Patrick says:

    Its only for playoff seeding. Its simply a way to give more context to a teams record for the purposes of tie-breaking. It still doesn’t forgive the fact that Stephen A spoke ignorantly by proclaiming that the NHL still has ‘ties’. The NHL hasn’t had ties in hockey for years and to make the argument for the Heat out of ignorance is stupid. The man is paid to talk about sports and he doesn’t even know the most basic rules of the games he assumes to debate.

    He is a petulant, stubborn and condescending jackwagon. If this was politics he and Skip Bayless would be Bill O’Reilly and Al Franken. That his ignorance and idiocy is spoken with an eloquent tongue and charismatic tone does not make it less ignorant or idiotic.

  74. Arriba Wilver says:

    Cutch did a nice job.

  75. TJ says:

    For some reason I can’t see Letang and Despres together. Both are mistake prone at times and I don’t know if you’d want them together.

  76. Bizrow says:

    Game thread is up

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  77. TJ says:

    You have completely lost me on this one.

  78. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Like. Orpik has a patented move of jamming his stick into a guy’s side and then flailing his arms in disbelief for 30 seconds at the ref when the guy closes his arm around Orpik’s stick.

    And Lecavalier’s hit was totally clean- maybe a chippy interference at best. Orpik has lowered himself to Kennedy success. If Therrien were here, Orpik would be playing LW on 4th line next game. Maybe that’s what he needs along with a healthy scratch. But I don’t see Disco making any such move. Just like Kennedy will not be scratched.

    On a positive note, Engelland played really well- much better than past couple weeks. And Eaton looked like Paul Martin on deer velvet vanilla extract last night. He was quick, decisive, strong on the puck and broke up several plays in neutral ice quite nicely.

  79. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    He really did. All BMTIB stuff aside, it made me laugh when I watched it. Very enjoyable. One of the best recent sports commercials IMO.

    And sorry everyone, thought I was just posting a short link, not the Carmike Cinema-size version.

  80. Iceman says:

    I actually thought about this, but Letang and Despres had success together when they were playing together early in the season. I really liked the way Eaton and Niskanen played together last night and would like to see them stay together. I think Martin – Engelland could compliment each other well. Martin is good with the puck and Engelland can be strong in front of the net (I think this is the idea with Martin – Orpik, but Orpik isn’t clearing the front of the net so it’s not working so well). I think it could work.

  81. TJ says:

    Engelland played very well last night cause he was going up against a guy 6 inches smaller than him. He was being a bully on a small guy. Big deal.

    Bottom line is this defense disappears at times especially around the net. Nice to see Eaton back with the team. Almost makes you wonder why he wasn’t signed by another team. Looked solid and steady.

  82. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I agree on the general premise defensively. But offensively those two have played some of their best when they were paired together, especially Despres.

  83. Patrick says:

    You had me considering it right up until you started talking about substituting Engelland for Orpik. Sorry, but not only would that never happen in real life, its not even remotely logical.

    Orpik has has a couple rough games. I’m not going to deny that. But let’s not bench one of the best all around defensemen the Penguins have ever had for three bad games.

    “Here’s one. ”
    “That’ll be ninepence.”
    “I’m not dead.”
    “Nothing. There’s your ninepence. ”
    “‘Ere, he says he’s not dead. ”
    “Well, he will be soon, he’s very ill. ”
    “I’m getting better.”
    “No you’re not, you’ll be stone dead in a moment.”

  84. Iceman says:

    Eaton appears at this point to be a good pick up for the Pens. It is obvious he still remembers the system from his previous time in Pittsburgh and he is a compliment to the more offensive minded defensemen on the team. He stays at home, plays good position, and knows when to sacrifice to block a shot. He is not going to make highlight real plays and you probably won’t really notice him, but that is a good thing for a player like him. It means he is not making mistakes and the opposition isn’t scoring much when he is on the ice.

  85. NMR says:

    Any sports network that would legitimately rival ESPN will almost surely push the genre even further into a TMZ-esque tailspin.

    Rupert Murdoch doesn’t judge success by making hardcore sports fans happy. He judges success at the bottom line. That means money, which means advertising, which means ratings. ESPN didn’t explode in popularity by catering to a niche, and neither will any network that tries to rival them.

    Just look at Murdoch’s history. Has Fox News elevated the level of discourse and coverage of breaking news and politics in America? Not for a second. It follows CNN and MSNBC right down the toilet.

    Hiring Regis Philbin to host their first studio show should tell us all we need to know about how serious they are.

  86. Iceman says:

    This is why I said it would not be a permanent thing. I think you put the best team on the ice and I think Engelland is the best player right now. If you recall, when Orpik had a similar rough stretch a few years back, Therrien put him on the fourth line wing to wake him up. I think Orpik just needs to have a game or two to do some soul searching and he will come in and play the way we know he can play.

  87. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I’d say Gateway to the West is a pretty important guy to muscle up on, even if he’s not tall enough to ride most roller coasters. I was talking more about just being in guys’ faces down in the corners, blocking shots and breaking up plays. And a lot of that scrumming took place around the net where Gateway has scored a ton of goals.

  88. Patrick says:

    Wallace will get paid, that is assured. But just to make the point that it wont be quite as much as everyone thinks…

    There were FIVE guys in this years draft class that ran an official sub 4.4 sec 40 yard dash. Two of them are rated as second day talents. If someone wants a pure speed reciever/deep threat , they can get one for a lot cheaper than what Wallace will cost them.

  89. SeanAY says:

    My counterpoint would be that Wallace has shown the ability to beat NFL defenses over the course of several years. His body of work – even when considering last year – shows a good track record.

    The guy wasn’t a malcontent prima donna here. He simply had the audacity to ask for more money.

    If he had blown his knee out in training camp, it’s not like the Steelers would have re-signed him out of pity. It was a smart business play.

    He’ll bounce back.

  90. radio wave says:

    In a reply to my earlier post about Jackie Robinson it was stated that Jackie was not that great an athlete. Not true, first four-time letter winner UCLA All-American football baseball rookie of the year baseball MVP six All-Star games and World Series. How much more of an athlete do you want?

  91. Patrick says:

    Yeah and you aren’t alone in this. And it’s kinda obvious Brooks is….I dont even know…his game is just *off. He is either out of position or taking the wrong guy. It doesnt seem to be ONE thing he is doing wrong, just a bunch of weird things that are very un-Brooks like. This came up during the Montreal game. Before I go so far as to bench him i would cut his minutes. Benching him would only serve to publicly embarass him. It would seem like they are trying to scapegoat him. And you simply dont do that to a 10 year Vet that wear the ‘A’.

    Cut his minutes a little first. Instead of 24+ maybe cut him back to 19-20ish. Minutes means FAR more to these guys than we realize. It would serve to ‘wake him up’ as you say without publicly embarassing him.

  92. 21sthebest says:

    I think the ESPN brand is going to be too difficult for Fox to rival.

  93. Patrick says:

    I completely agree. Having Murdoch get into the Sports news game is motivated by profits, not quality of product. If anything he will simply take the “Skip vs Stephen A” debate shows to a whole new level. In fact I’m guessing right now that one of those two will be paid an ABSURD amount of money to jump ship and become Fox Sports version of Bill O’reily.

    This cannot end well. Or entertaining.

  94. Iceman says:

    Fair enough, but I’m not sure I want to “punish” Engelland by benching him when he is playing the best hockey I’ve seen him play. I think I would rather sit the guy who is currently hurting the team with their play.

    Maybe a better idea is to dress 7 defensemen and cut Orpik’s minutes like you say. It wouldn’t be a huge loss to scratch Glass since he is only playing like 7 minutes a game anyway (This suggestion is half in jest and half thinking it might actually be an ok idea).

  95. Jandy says:

    No need for sorries…good stuff :)

  96. Jandy says:

    Agreed, Brad, can’t take away from Engo’s game last night. he played well. And that goon he fought was 30 pounds heavier then he is.

  97. Jandy says:

    Eaton is a Rob Scuderi type. You don’t win cups without them.

  98. Bizrow says:

    Rossi has a post on potential trades for the Pens

  99. Frankie says:

    To show you how bad Mike and Mike Show is, I watch Imus in The Morning……..

  100. Vinny Giardina says:

    Nobody said he wasn’t a great athlete, merely that his contribution to baseball was more cultural than athletic. There definitely were greater players than Jackie Robinson in the 20th century.

    If the award had been for most culturally impactful player of the 20th century, he would win hands down.

  101. Jag7 says:

    Good point, but I don’t need any more reasons to avoid ESPN, it’s a total joke. Thank goodness for the NHL Network.

  102. Dom says:

    How ’bout my man Fleury????

    Greatest goaltender ever.

  103. scapper says:

    Hey Jandy…was too busy to get back on the blog today and just found this.

    I’d rather not answer the question on a public blog, but I’ll just say that when the switch was made, it seemed Steigy was doing a much better all-around job of….announcing the game. Hate to be so vague. I love Mike Lange and he remains one of the great memories of my childhood.

    I’ll just say his work was “slipping” for a good while there and leave it at that. Pretty crappy response to a very fair question.

  104. Sarah says:

    Not fair Scapper.
    Don’t allude to something in public, that you’re not willing to say in public.

  105. scapper says:

    Au contraire, Sarah. I think I’m being more than fair to Mike Lange. Best to let this drop. We all love Lange.

    I wish more people appreciated Steigy.

  106. sarah says:

    Scapper i meant unfair to readers here.
    You were already unfair to Lange.

 
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