TribLIVE
Blogs | Sports | News
Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

« Font size »
Decrease | Reset |Increase

Thursday Wakeup Call: Those amazing Hawks

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Morning, lunatics …

>> Before we begin, the amazing, stupendous, ridiculous Chicago Blackhawks, the No. 1 story in sports …

Wow. That’s the first 24 games — half the 48-game schedule! — with no regulation losses, no overtime losses, just the three in shootouts. Nothing else in sports compares right now. Nothing else is close.

The NHL must air every game Chicago plays nationally until it ends. It’s an incredible opportunity, a godsend for a league constantly in search of ways to cross into the mainstream. Luckily, the next one — Friday at Colorado — is on NHL Network.

>> The weekly chat will be at noon today, as always. All topics welcome.

>> Our Karen Price will take over the Pirates coverage for a few days, beginning this morning. I’ll have one more piece on baseball — a collection of utter randomness — in tomorrow’s paper, then get back to the more seasonal stuff.

>> My news notebook focuses on Joel Hanrahan, who will be missed more than most seem to realize.

And here’s video of some of our talk yesterday outside the Red Sox clubhouse …

>> The concept of scratching Simon Despres when the Penguins face a physical opponent needs to be put to rest today in Philadelphia. Either Dan Bylsma and Todd Reirden trust the kid to play in the NHL or not. Can’t cherrypick his spots.

Here’s a look at the matchup of two teams who really hate each other’s guts.

And here’s Joe Starkey’s column at the near-midpoint.

>> Losses don’t get much worse than blowing a 17-point lead with 10 minutes to go, but Duquesne somehow managed to pull even that off last night. Awful.  Just awful.

If Greg Amodio had hoped to extend his tenure as AD by pushing back the goal posts — in firing Ron Everhart, he cost the Dukes their best class in a long time — well, mission accomplished on the latter. Amodio set the program back years.

>> Hope to have you in the chat. If not, remember, transcripts go up right here on the blog.

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 more, including 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 top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.

217 Comments

  1. What the heck is THIS?? 7 pm morning thread?

    Next you’ll be eating dinner at 4:00.

  2. What you lose track of time Drew?

  3. Morning?? Daylight Savings Time happens THIS weekend…and we only move the clock ahead one hour. Must be Florida jet lag…

  4. All that much closer to the Pens game.

  5. So. Duquesne looks like they might win a game and no one here wants to play.

  6. “I’ll have one more piece on baseball — a collection of utter randomness — in tomorrow’s paper, then get back to the more seasonal stuff.”

    Dejan, I believe you know that to long term, long suffering Pirate fans, there is NO more seasonal stuff than spring training. No matter how much hope we hope we hold, somewhere in our twenty year core, we each believe that it is all downhill from here.

    This is the one time when we’re not losing. At least not for real.

    This is the time when we’re all living in Florida sunshine. No matter where we live.

    You can suggest that this time of year is less seasonal for baseball fans, but you’ve been a Pittsburgher too long – like all your life – to believe that.

    And i think you know this. That there is no more “seasonal stuff” than spring training to a Pirates fan.

    There is something pathetic about that. But pathetically true. Isn’t it?

  7. Dinner at four, isn’t that the Florida way?

  8. Congrats to the Blackhawks on 21-0

    Just for kicks, thought I’d poke around Skip Bayless’ Twitter, just to see what he wrote about. God, it’s like Justin Bieber’s. OMG SKIP U ARE THE GOD OF SPORTS everywhere. You’ve got to be kidding me.

    On a more serious note though, with all the backlash the Redskins have got over their name for being racially insensitive, how is it that the Blackhawks have escaped it so far?

  9. Joe Starkey sums up the Pens quite well.

    DK: Agreed. Really enjoyed the piece myself.

    • Paul Martin is back to being Paul Martin??? Does anyone else see the connection between Martin being out and the defense being much more solid and adequate for playoffs? He’s better with the puck but he’ll cost us in front of the net in the playoffs…AGAIN!!! And can anyone imagine the disaster it would be to lose letang and being stuck with martin? We need to trade him for cap purposes as much as defensive purposes!!! Especially while his trade value is still pretty high.

      • see my response below.

      • You mean the game the gave up 6 goals in Montreal? That defensively solid performance? Or Orpik and Engelland watching Stamkos stand in the blue paint for a tap in Monday? They’re doing a great job in front of the net, aren’t they?

        Ah, yes, Kris Letang, who had 4 assists in Montreal, but was on the ice for 5 of the 6 Habs’ goals. Offensively gifted, defensive nightmare — especially paired with Orpik.

  10. I agree 100% on Depres needing to be in the lineup. He has looked more sound defensively every game, and is every capable offensively. I think he is clearly the Pens 5th best defenseman, and might be pushing Matt N. for a spot in the top 4 before the end of March.

    I understand hesitating to place too much responsibility on a young defenseman, but it isn’t as if this defense core is tearing it up. 20th in the league in goals allowed means you need to get your most talented players in the lineup, regardless of their age.

  11. I know Joel Hanrahan has never been anyone’s Ichabod Crane, but that picture of him doing flat-ground work has him looking mighty thick around the middle. Hope he didn’t overdo it celebrating getting out of Dodge on the Allegheny.

  12. Thanks for the replay of “what could have been @ Duquesne” …DK.

    It’s tough to revisit….how some of the potential recruits are excelling @ other places ==> (recent updates since your article)

    * Coty Clarke, the 6-7 junior @ Ark., had a season high 18 points & 7 rebounds vs. Florida a couple of weeks ago. Brandon Taylor, the 5-11 freshman point guard @ Utah is now starting there for the past 10 games…he had a season high 21 points and 6 assists vs. Oregon St. If these guys can do it against SEC and PAC-12 competition….I guess they would have faired pretty well…playing here against the “feared” Atlantic 12 ?

    Last night….another 2 steps backwards vs. Charlotte. :-(

  13. I’m feeling better about the Pirates this morning, just a little.

    Don’t ruin it for me, Pirates.

  14. Dejan, why would you jinx the Hawks by suggesting they air every game until they lose. They’ll lose for sure :P

  15. JAL’s Breath of Life Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0EVEXX9kpk

    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

    Gerrit Cole Named One of Baseball America’s Top 20 Rookies For 2013

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/03/gerrit-cole-named-one-of-baseball-americas-top-20-rookies-for-2013.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Travis Snider or Jose Tabata for right field?

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/3/6/4072262/travis-snider-or-jose-tabata-for-right-field

    7 Red Machine

    2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Preview

    http://blogredmachine.com/2013/03/06/2013-pittsburgh-pirates-preview/

    8 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Wednesday notes: Bucs bash Sox

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/03/wednesday-notes-bucs-bash-sox/

    9 Rumbunter

     VIDEO: Pirates Gerrit Cole Talks Progress

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/03/06/video-pirates-gerrit-cole-talks-progress/

    10 Green Weenie

    Bucs Take 9-3 Win Over Bosox

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/03/bucs-take-9-3-win-over-bosox.html

  16. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Bradenton Herald

    Recap: Boston vs. Pittsburgh

    http://www.bradenton.com/2013/03/06/4423281/recap-boston-vs-pittsburgh.html

    12 Rant Sports

    Second Leg Of A.J. Burnett’s Comeback Tour With Pittsburgh Pirates Not Going Well In Spring

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/03/06/second-leg-of-a-j-burnetts-comeback-tour-with-pittsburgh-pirates-not-going-well-in-spring/

    13 Bleacher Report

    Pittsburgh Pirates Season Preview: Catcher

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1555445-pittsburgh-pirates-season-preview-catcher

    14 New Pittsburgh Courier

    Inside Conditions…Just my imagination

    http://www.newpittsburghcourieronline.com/index.php/sports/11097-inside-conditions-just-my-imagination

    15 KDKA

    Cole, Taillon Best Friends Off The Field, Future Of Pirates On The Field

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/03/06/cole-taillon-best-friends-off-the-field-future-of-pirates-on-the-field/

    16 Yahoo Sports

    Erik Bedard’s latest injury — strained butt

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/erik-bedard-latest-injury-strained-butt-174050486–mlb.html

    17 ESPN

    How about a Porcello-Venters trade?

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/33545/how-about-a-porcello-venters-trade

    18 PBC SITE

    Snider looks to wipe slate clean with Pirates

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130306&content_id=42348140&vkey=news_pit&c_id=pit

    Locke takes step forward in rotation audition

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130306&content_id=42348406&notebook_id=42370770&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    6 Ways We’d Change the WBC

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19765

    20 Fangraphs

    Infield Flies, FIP, and WAR

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/infield-flies-fip-and-war/

  17. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    The NFL Draft: An allegory of American Society

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/3/6/4069330/2013-nfl-draft-analysis-steelers

    Roethlisberger acknowledges injury affected him at the end of last year

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/3/6/4070400/ben-roethlisberger-steelers-injuries-2012

    22 Steelers Depot

    -James Harrison Contract: Pay Cut versus Restructure

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/03/james-harrison-contract-pay-cut-versus-restructure/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Daily Telegraph

    Manchester United ready to seek £20m summer deal for out-of-favour striker Wayne Rooney

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/players/wayne-rooney/9914106/Manchester-United-ready-to-seek-20m-summer-deal-for-out-of-favour-striker-Wayne-Rooney.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 6th March, 2013

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-6th-march-2013

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Yahoo Sports

    Pittsburgh Penguins Trade Rumors Begin, but Team Has Insurance for Letang in Simon Despres

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/pittsburgh-penguins-trade-rumors-begin-team-insurance-letang-073900826–nhl.html

  18. Of the past couple of days DK has raised some concerns with the bullpen –at least some issues that should be taken into consideration.

    During his first year with the Pirates I think I was one of the first that said Grilli had the potential to be the next closer. (that sound? that’s me patting myself on the back).

    Now that that has happened, I am keeping my eye on it. It could be a concern. If Grilli is ineffective —-then what? Melancon?

    If Grilli stumbles early and starts blowing saves, this team (and its confidence) could be in big trouble.

    • That’s not exactly your back. Close, though.

    • Options, options, options–if Grilli ineffective (not really an issue as that is a concern with all closers) then Melacon, Hughes, Morris all possible and probably others.

      • Don’t you think it is more of an issue with a player that has never been a closer?

        Would you feel comfortable with Melacon, Hughes or Morris? And by the time they turned to one of those guys, the season could be doomed already.

        • Now, TC, hope springs eternal in Spring Training!

        • “And by the time they turned to one of those guys, the season could be doomed already.”

          See, I think this is perfectly opposite of what SHOULD happen, and is one of the positives of not going into the season with a high priced “proven closer”.

          Nobody should be forcing the position on Grilli. He struggles, he goes back to set up and somebody else closes. Simple.

          Joel Hanrahan struggles, making $7m and apparently unable to pitch in any single other situation during a baseball game, and you’re forced to sit it out and continue blowing saves. See John Axford for the Brewers last year.

          Closers break. Closers fail. That’s part of baseball. The more flexible you can be at the position, the better.

          • The thing about a closer, though, is the way you find out he can’t do it is by blowing saves, which usually equates to turning a win into a loss. How many does each have to blow to be replaced? If you have to go through each one, that’s lots of losses in winnable games. I think that was TC’s point.

            • Every single team enters every single season with this point.

              I don’t understand how it is any more relavant for the Pirates than the Reds or Cards or Cubs or anyone.

              • Last season at this time most everyone was confident that we had the 8th and 9th innings under control. Maybe for the first time under this management team, and for lots of the time before. Therein lies the difference.

              • So the difference is in fan confidence?

                Ok, we agree on that. Good thing that is completely meaningless.

              • AW gets my point…which maybe I should have been clearer on.

                If this team starts blowing leads in the ninth I think the PLAYERS’ confidence will be shaken. Just another thing to distract them. Heck, people thought they got distracted from Cutch being hit in July or an 18 inning loss.

                Start blowing leads early and the thinking quickly turns to “here we go again, another sub .500 year, and the FO will blow it again at the trade deadline”

              • @TC

                Aren’t you mixing fan confidence and player confidence?

              • No. I am talking about player confidence.

              • The difference is on the field, NMR.

        • J, you beat me (pause) to it.

          Thunder. It was just a couple of weeks ago that YOU asked ME to tell people who worry too much NOW to look at the calendar.

          Look at the calendar.

          • This isn’t about Spring Training results. I didn’t say this because Grilli is stinking it up – or lighting it up – in Spring Training.

            I am looking at what could be an area to keep an eye on in the regular season.

        • I worry more about getting to the closer than the closer. Wandy should be fine and AJ might not be as good as last season but should be ok. After that the rotation is all question marks–Was the real JMac first half or last half? Can Karstens stay healthy. When will Liriano be able to pitch and how effective will he be? Can Locke and/or McPherson pitch effectively?

        • Looking at the front to back entirety of the bullpen vs same time last season…

          I believe that the back end is weaker.

          I suspect that the front end is deeper. And may get deeper as starters get healthy, pushing Locke or McPherson into Lincoln’s former-last role.

          I don’t think the front offsets the back if the back fails. But that’s not to say it will.

        • You don’t realize the value of a closer until you don’t have one

          • I agree Biz. And I go back & forth about the value of one. Sometimes I think it is a bit overblown (no pun intended).

            And then I look at the Tigers and think “you spent all that money on your roster and you are going to risk it all with a rookie closer”

            • Tigers are rethinking that, or so I’ve read.

            • You watch. The rotation and bullpen will be lights out. But the lineup, which we expect to improve, will hit, like, .227 through May.

              I am always amazed how many seasons we are surprised by individual outcomes, both good and bad.

            • The Tigers are the absolute WORST example you could use for your argument.

              The Tigers “proven closer” blew up in their face in the middle of the playoffs and guess what? They didn’t miss a beat.

              Why? Because they had a good bullpen.

              Teams that “miss their closer” only do so because they have crappy bullpens. It’s a false logic.

              No different than any other position, what so ever.

              • No different than any other position? Really? As I understand your argument, the Pirates are better with more options for a closer than having an established closer (Hanny). So if all positions are the same, are you saying the Pirates would be better off with more options for Centerfielder than having Cutch? Better off with more options for 2B than having Walker? Better off with having 10 options for SP’s than having 3 or 4 established starters?

              • Right. But if the Tigers’ closer had blown up in their face in the middle of the season, it could have been a completely different story.

              • @AW

                Um, yes. Isn’t that terribly obvious?

                Why in the world would any team choose to have a single option over multiple ones?

                @TC

                You mean like the World Champion Giants?

                Every single 2012 divison winner lost their “proven closer” at some point before or during the season. Think about that.

                If the “proven closer” mantra had any legs, how do you possibly explain that?

              • Good luck in your fantasy baseball league.

              • Um, I think you’re confusing narratives, AW. Not surprisingly.

                The only reason “proven closers” are held on a pedestal is precisely because of statistics. If “saves” weren’t counted as they are today, “proven closers” wouldn’t even be a thing.

                They’d be called relievers.

                Like they were for the first hundred or so years the game has been played.

              • We are on different wavelengths, and not surprisingly, I think you are the one who keeps shifting the narrative. Have a nice day.

  19. The Yankees have a ton of injuries to key players. Not to mention a ton of years on the roster.

    Texiera, Hughes, ARod, Robertson, Granderson…and the return of Jeter. (and M. Rivera)

    Dare I be the first to ask: who wins more games this year, the Pirates or Yankees?

  20. Love the headline to link 16
    ‘Erik Bedard’s latest injury — strained butt’

    Hey, he was a pain in ours for most of last season.

  21. Truly amazing what the Hawks are doing… That being said I would imagine anything less than a Stanley Cup would be a let down in Chicago. All fun and games now.

  22. PLEASE stop referencing that Duquesne column. Please. Only two of those guys were signed. None of the others even verbally committed. Your main source is a current colleague who is, rightly so, going to defend his former boss. But let’s not gloss over his extreme bias in this case.

    In addition, let’s go through the guys you mentioned in that column:

    The ones who actually had signed:
    Willie Moore is getting 7.4 minutes per game at Oregon, averaging 2.2 ppg and 0.7 rpg. Am I upset he didn’t stay? Yes. I like Moore and he might have been a star at Duquesne.

    Donovon Jack is playing 6.6 minutes per game for a bad Penn State team, averaging 1.7 ppg and 1.0 rpg. Big men take longer to come around, but it doesn’t appear he would be a breakout star.

    OK, that’s it for the recruits who actually had committed to Duquesne. The other three had not. You say they were “sealed,” but there’s zero actual proof of that.

    Coty Clarke is outstanding as a JUCO guy. He would have been fantastic at Duquesne. But he hadn’t signed anything. He’s averaging 19.7 minutes per game, 7.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg.

    Brandon Taylor is now running the point at Utah and averaging 6.0 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 1.9 assists. Utah stinks. I’m not sure Derrick Colter isn’t better. I’m happy how this one turned out.

    Kahlil Johnson can’t get off the bench at Cal. Only appeared in six games all season. Why should I think he’d be excelling at Duquesne?

    Plus, those three guys never signed anything to say they were coming to Duquesne.

    Amodio has hitched his wagon to Jim Ferry. All Ferry has done is recruit three very good freshmen in Colter, Jeremiah Jones and Quevyn Winters, all of whom will be impact players over their four years on the Bluff. In addition, he has commitments from Isaiah Watkins and Jordan Robinson, a pair of highly rated 6-8 forwards with different games (Watkins a slasher/shooter/scorer and Robinson a bruising rebounder) who, when added to Ovie Soko, the UAB transfer, next year, will make the Dukes much better in the frontcourt. And Ferry isn’t done. He’s in on a couple of guys who could be impact starters right away. If he gets one, then it’s a top-five A-10 class without question.

    This year has stunk, for sure. Last night might have been the worst of it. But what’s most impressive is the level of energy hasn’t dropped. Ferry hasn’t lost the team at all. People who truly are watching this program knew this year would be bad, but also see what Ferry is doing. He’s going to win at Duquesne, goalposts be damned.

  23. Anyone see the clips of the Toronto-Ottawa fights last night? They were on Sportscenter, shockingly enough (right below the Miami Heat are on a winning streak be all-end all banner). One guy got knocked out cold. Pretty crazy. Reminded me of that Petrovicky(spelling?) fight from a long time ago.

  24. Starkey did a nice job with the Pens article. However I would have to question the statements made by Maguire concerning the team defense. He mentioned that leaky defense was often mentioned around the team when he was a coach and once the playoffs came around everyone played team defense and they won cups. The thing that bothers me with that statement is that our leaky defense became extremely obvious in the first round of the playoffs last year and has continued this year. They did not play team defense in the playoffs last year and there is no predicting that they would suddenly decide to do so this year with essentially the same team.

  25. Did my own “Madden” version of Pirates opening day on new MLB13 the Show last night- I (Bucs) won 5-2. AJ 7.1 IP 6K 1BB 2ER; Pedro, Legend and Martin HR, Cutch 2-4, SV Grilli.

    Z-guy for Cubs 6 .2 IP 8K 0BB. Stinkin Starlin Castro 2-R HR ruined my shutout.

    Home plate ump was very bad.

    So there’s my electronic prediction for opening day.

    • was the ump Jerry Meals????

      • Sure seemed like it. Pitch before the Castro homer was completely inside the clearly visible strike zone for strike 3 and was called a ball- next pitch gone. EA sports used to make MVP Baseball where you could send the manager out to argue calls- it was awesome. Not sure if that’s possible on this game.

        Granted it has no basis in reality, but I’d take an opening day like that.

  26. Is this weird?

    I’ve worked for this firm for 11 months.

    Today I’m moving for the fourth time into my fifth work space.

  27. Paul Martin is back to being Paul Martin??? Does anyone else see the connection between Martin being out and the defense being much more solid and adequate for playoffs? He’s better with the puck but he’ll cost us in front of the net in the playoffs…AGAIN!!! And can anyone imagine the disaster it would be to lose letang while being stuck with martin? We need to trade him for cap purposes as much as defensive purposes!!! Especially while his trade value is still pretty high! Futhermore, reasons for trading Martin are similar to why we needed to trade goligoski. Goligoski was great offensively and a world class skater but occasionally get out muscled in d-zone.That combined with decent depth at defense led to trade…and considering return we got for him you got to think return for Martin would be significant too!

    • Please don’t blame Paul Martin for the overall team playing lousy defense. Please.

      • It’s Paul Martin’s fault.

      • Ya what she said. It is hard to blame one guy for a whole team playing bad defensively. While Martin was getting 25 minutes a game, there were still 35 other minutes that he was not out there where the team defense was still stinking and stupid penalties were still being taken in the offensive zone.

        Hopefully the Tampa Bay game is signs of the defense turning around and the team taking less stupid penalties. The real test comes tonight against the Fliers. If the Pens can keep their cool in this game and play some solid net front defense, I think they can do it against anyone.

      • And really Martin and Orpik played against the other teams top line. their best players. Most teams actually DO have talent. The Pens haven’t cornered the market on players that can score. Not every goal against is the fault of the defense or Fluery being out of position. On occasion the other team actually does make a good play.

        This idea that the only time a team scores on the Penguins is because the Pens did something wrong is insulting to the players on the 29 other teams.

    • I cannot fathom how you even made the connection of Martin being out and the defense being “more solid”. Since he has been out they are 2-2 and giving up 4.5 goals per game. Specifically because they were getting mauled in front of their own net, just like they were when he was in the lineup. Paul Martin has been as good as any defensemen they have had all year.

      And nobody is going to want to trade for Paul Martin. And they aren’t going to trade him. They are already short on playoff ready D-men as it is and they aren’t going to trade one of the few ones they have away for another winger. Goligoski brought great return because he was 25 and a low cap hit. Martin is 33 and costs 5 mil for the next 3 seasons.

      • Patrick you watch montreal game with martin out? Vokoun gave up3-4 softies and against tampa with martin out team looked best it has all season defensively against a good offensive team. And going back to philly series with martin and michalek out pens won games 4 and 5. See a pattern?

        • “Vokoun gave up3-4 softies…” and this is Martin’s fault how? Or the 13 soft goals Fluery let in last spring?

          One of those goals in MTL had Jeffrey next to the net while Niskanen had already started up ice anticipating the rush. He played like S**T last spring too. Where are the torches and pitchforks for Niskanen?

          Look, Martin. The point is they ALL DO. Letang has been a turnover machine. At times Brooks has looked more like a turnstile. Engelland and Niskanen are guilty of staring at pucks and being up ice FAR to often. If you want to upgrade the defense, fine. Getting rid of PM isn’t going to accomplish that.

          And don’t worry about the salary cap so much. The plain truth about that is Shero knows it better than anyone else in PIttsburgh. If he thought he needed cap relief, he would have done something. The man knows simple math. He can add and subtract. Trust the fact that he has a plan for 58 and 71.

    • Let me get this right….

      Your complaining about how Paul Martin is playing defense and then expect to trade him a significant return?

      Do you happen to work in the Pirates front office by chance?

  28. JAL,

    I thought there was going to be St. Patty’s day music countdown… gettin close to crunch time. Continued thanks either way!

  29. “I’ll have one more piece on baseball — a collection of utter randomness — in tomorrow’s paper, then get back to the more seasonal stuff.”

    DK…Oh, that hurt!

    Mr Nutting, we need another number 1 or number 2 starting pitcher and we can compete for the division. Can you take care of that for us before opening day?

  30. @Jandy, Patrick and Iceman:

    If you watch replays of goals against you’ll see martin making mistakes that others dont. Its one thing to get out muscled in front of the net but martin isnt willing or refuses to lift sticks and box out. I’ve been complaining about this since last season and it cost us in the playoffs and will again. I wanted michalek traded cuz he wasnt worth the 4M and now im saying martin needs to go to. Im sure he’s a great guy but on the ice pens can not win in the playoffs with him. I agree that age difference between martin and goligoski can amend return but offensive d-man have value and martin is only under contract till he is 34 or 35….and if you guys believe martin is playing well than why wouldnt pens get a decent return? Besides look at cap situation…letang needs a raise, malkin and dupuis both need to be re-signed, cooke and kennedy need to be replaced after this season AND the cap is going down. What am i missing here?

    • Your missing everything we already said:
      1) He isn’t playing bad. He has 4g/11a and -2, but Ryan Suter has 1/14 and a -6. He costs slightly more and I doubt anyone in Minnesota is worried about his +/-.
      2) Defensemen get beat. Other teams ARE ALLOWED TO SCORE. Not every goal against is a mistake by a Penguin. Sometimes, JUST SOMETIMES, other teams actually make a good play.
      3) Who do you replace him with? Bortuzzo? Eaton? If you think either of those two are even CLOSE to the quality of Martin…well, then this conversation is pretty pointless actually. Anyone suggesting those two are adequate replacements really shouldn’t be talking about hockey out loud.
      4) And mostly you are forgetting that sellers (See Columbus and Calgary) make deals at the deadline are usually trying to dump salary and/or get younger. Why would any team trade away a younger/cheaper player for an older/more expensive one?

      And beyond that the number of ‘sellers’ is much lower this year. there are usually 5-6 teams already eliminated from playoffs by now, right now there are 3, maybe 4. The sellers can command a much higher price for the few decent players they have. A lot more than Martin and TK.

      • Patrick I agree fully with you that defenseman occasionally get beat because other teams got legit talent. Believe me i understand that concept extremely well. Im just saying that certain mistakes can not be acceptable if winning the cup is your goal. Not lifting sticks in front of the net is one of them. Not boxing out at least a little is another. And for the record i’ve been saying this since early last season about martin. You hear what marty st. louis told orpik on the ice during tampa game? Pens defensive has been a punch line throughout the league…point is martin cost us before in the playoffs and he will again….no reason for us to test definition of insanity when Martin is top 5 in points and could get us a decent return in the form of solid positional d-man and a forward if precedent means anything. Not once did i suggest bortuzzo or eaton was solution. Id like to see us get chris stewart and roman polak while moving martin and kennedy…or some variation of that. 3 team trade scenerio might be necessary to get it done but Martin must be replaced with solid physical defensemen for pens to have a chance to make deep run in playoffs. Funny you mention who should be talking hockey if you think our defense as constructed is adequate for cup run.

        • I never said it was good enough. In fact I’m pretty sure I made the point to say they have all played like crap. Individually and as a group. They do need an upgrade, which is why I don’t understand how you think getting rid of PM will be an upgrade.

          Like I said, any players that are going to be better than PM are going to cost much, MUCH more than they normally do. To get a player better than PM is going to cost PM AND draft picks AND another defensive prospect(s). By simple logic if you trade away PM the best you could expect is another player of his level. If you want to upgrade on PM its going to cost more than just PM. Thats not hockey, thats economics. You cant trade a Volkswagen for an Audi. Not straight up anyways.

          And no, precedent means nothing. The Goligoski trade is nothing short of highway robbery. Expecting that level of return for a player that is 7 years older and costs twice as much is asking a bit much, even for Shero and his magic wand. That’s like expecting Sid to score a hat trick every night.

          And lastly (and this is the last ill argue about this) I couldnt give to flying *@(#@ what Martin St Louis says about the Pens defense during a game. Mostly because players say all kinds of crap on the ice, that doesnt make it true. But mostly because despite having the best pure goal scorer in the league and two other top 20 forwards those clowns in TB cant even make the playoffs. The Pens D is a joke? PUUHleease…. that entire team and organization is a joke. They have the mental toughness of 13 girl. They’re so soft they should change the team name to the Tampa Bay Marshmallow Unicorns.

          • Orpik was the one who quoted marty st louis…you wanna question orpik about whether or not he was truthful? I dont :) And with PM its addition by subtraction. And im not suggesting we get another offensive dman. Im suggesting we trade martin for someone like roman polak whos a positional dman that can be physical when necessary and costs less than martin. Im still not hearing if you want to lose letang and orpik and then still have martin? With cap going down and letang due a raise i think its necessary to trade PM for cap purposes.

            • i dont doubt he said it, i couldn’t care less if he did, and neither should 44(nor do I think he does care)

              Look, we can do this all day. PM does a lot of things well. He flat out just isnt is bad as everyone thinks he is. Just isnt. I would need to sit down, watch a game with you and show you what I see when I watch these guys play.

              And like I said, don’t worry about the cap. If Shero thought he needed to dump salary he would have. He was an agent, he knows the market and he knows what 58 and 71 are going to cost. If it comes down to it he can buy out Martin in the summer and clear his 5 mil of the books that way. Trust me, Shero knows what hes doing when it comes to cap management.

              • Oh so now we’re talking about a burkle buyout? But i thought he was playing so well? :) Easy to spend other peoples money isnt it? :) And i watch closely too which is why i was 100% correct when i predicted an epic exit in playoffs last season while others who will remain nameless(DK) where predicting the cup….turns out their exit was even more epic than i thought it would be. And now im saying that if martin is getting legit minutes its going to be lights out at Consol Energy!

              • Monster, you’re being obtuse. I’m done. sheesh!

          • Thank you, Patrick :) Well said.

    • I see Letang making mistakes that others don’t, as well. Does that mean we trade him? Umm no. This entire team needs to buckle down defensively. The offense is there to score the goals. The team need to play better as a whole to prevent goals. To blame that on one defenseman is just wrong.
      I think Patrick was very good at making the points, and I agree with him.
      Malkin continually passes the puck to the opponent, shall we trade him too? I mean, he makes more than Martin.
      Like I said, to pin the team’s defensesive woes on Martin is out of line.

      • Oh so now we’re comparing martin to letang and malkin?!?!?! HAHAHAHAHA!!! Ok so you guys all believe team is good to go for cup run? If not, tell me who we trade to get better? Jeffrey, kennedy and bortuzzo? Come on…

        And with the logic im hearing we can never trade anyone who is under contract for more than one season and we can never trade someone who is doing better than previous seasons…interesting…lets hope shero sees things differently.

        • This is why Shero manages the team. He obviously knows a bit more than we do. Patrick has a good grasp on how things work in the NHL. You laugh, go ahead. Sometimes you just can’t trade…you gotta have a partner…and no one is likely to take Martin, especially if he’s as BAD as you say he is. They would LAUGH in your face.

        • And no, I’m NOT comparing Martin to Letang and Malkin. I’m just saying that not one player does everything right, not even Sid. He’s been making boneheaded back passes like Malkin does, and passing instead of shooting the darn puck. I just made the point that we don’t want to trade them because they aren’t “perfect”.
          Sure, the team needs an stay at home defenseman, but just because you want to trade Martin, doesn’t mean it will happen, and like Patrick said, you’ve gotta have a buyer.

          • Ok but you guys cant have it both ways regarding PM. Either he’s playing well which would result in decent trade value or he’s not playing well. You’re telling me we cant trade him cuz no one wants him but in the same paragraph you’re saying he’s playing well…so which is it? Personally i want the media to start asking for details pertaining PM’s no trade clause because to recognize trading wont be easy but VERY VERY necessary.

            • Im not explaining it again. I don’t know how else to explain it. Read it all again if you are still confused.

            • *I* didn’t say Martin isn’t playing well, don’t put words in my mouth, Monster dude :P
              I like the way Martin is playing. He’s one of the most dependable d-men the Pens have right now. YOU’RE the one says he isn’t playing well. I don’t want to trade him, YOU do.
              I agree with you that we need a stay at home defenseman. I just don’t see teams wanting Martin’s $5M cap right this season.

              You sure are picking, Monster.

              • I wish there was an ignore or block feature on this system. Some people just don’t know when to stop and give it up Jandy!

              • Yeah, TJ, almost wants me want to take aim with my size 9 wides ;)

              • “makes me want to take aim”

                friggin typos lol

              • Ha…i get your points perfectly. You all believe that if the team defense tightens up as a whole with PM than everything will be peachy and pens will be in good shape for playoff run. All im saying is that if PM is playing top 4 minutes that isnt possible. I guess we can just wait and see.

        • Well…seeing as how they are leading their division and fourth in the league in points I don’t see how its CRAZY talk that they are a legit playoff team.

          And she didnt compare them to each other. She made the point that everyone has made stupid defensive mistakes. If really wanted to watch film with me I could show you Martin has actually been better defensively than Letang this year. Letang has skills that mask his careless play, skills that only 2 or 3 others in the league have. But that’s not an excuse, and he and Orpik and all the rest have played like crap.

          If you want someone better than PM it is going to cost you more than PM. To get the aformentioned Polak would probably cost PM, Bortuzzo and a pick. Like I said, things are going to cost more than usual this year. And from looking at his stats he has never averaged more than 20 TOI in a season. I dont know about him enough to even know if his style fits in the Pens system. Leopold and Michlaek are both very good defensemen, they just didnt fit in with what Disco wants.

          And I doubt highly STL would be willing to give him up regardless.

          • What Patrick said! Yes, actually as much of a Letang fan as I am, right now Paul Martin isn’t making near as many mistakes and has been positionally more sound than Tanger. Martin is just fine where he is. It will be tough to get a d-man that is a Scuderi type, and that is what the Pens need. If they as a team would play better defensively, cut the crappy passes, the stupid penalties, we could win a lot of games with our scoring.

          • Oh and Polak MOST DEFINITELY will not cost PM, bortuzzo and a pick….polak and chris stewart who would be perfect for crosby would definitely cost PM, bortuzzo, kennedy and a pick.

          • Patrick, im not worried about the regular season. They’ve been regular season warriors the last few seasons…im talking about being ready for the playoffs!!! And Polak is much more physical than michalek and leopold. And i’ve seen polak play quite a bit…they guy battles for every puck and every inch. He’d be a big help. And i know EVERYONE makes mistakes but PM’s mistakes are the consistently repeating themselves due to his lack of physicality and unwillingness to do basic things in front of the net. If we dont trade him i hope he improves but I think thats a risk we can not take.

    • Man if you want to call someone out for not clearing the crease, look at Brooks Orpik. I can recall several goals where Brooks was so far out of position that an opposing player could just tap in a rebound into an open goal. The difference between Martin and Orpik is that with Martin you get someone who is contributing offensively and you also have someone who can run the point on the PP, something the Pens have been severely lacking with him out of the line-up.

      I’m not going to say that Martin is perfect and I’m not even saying that there is no way the Pens trade him, however, if you are going to try and say that the Penguins defensive woes are primarily because of Paul Martin, I think you are missing something. I would not be upset if the Pens traded Martin for a tough defensive minded defenseman, however, the Pens aren’t the only ones out there looking for this piece of the puzzle and I don’t think there are many of these types of players on the market. Not to mention, not all defensive minded defensemen fit into Disco Dan’s system. Sure Scuderi and Gill worked out great, but Michalek was supposed to be that defensive minded player and look how that worked out. He is not a bad player and is actually doing quite well in Phoenix this year (+8 and averaging just over 21 mins per game). I worry about losing what Martin gives us (offensive vision, decent positionally, PP) and get someone with no offensive capability that will struggle in Disco’s system.

      • Amen Iceman!

      • Iceman i agree with what your saying…and orpik had a few bad games but its not the same pattern as it is with PM. And Michalek wasnt a good fit because he got used to playing behind the trap in phoenix…much like Martin who got used to playing behind the trap in jersey. This is something i noticed last season and led to me to predict the spanking the pens got in playoffs. Martin is playing better than last 2 seasons WHICH is exactly why we need to capitalize on his increased trade value to get the pieces we need.

        • What pattern? Orpik has been bad for the last few years. He’s always out of position, offers nothing offensively. He’s the first to have something to say to the press, but is guilty of the same thing he’s accusing everyone else of.

          You obviously just don’t like Martin. That’s fine. His play last year was putrid.

          • Referring to pattern of PM not manning up in front by being shoulder to shoulder with his guy and not lifting sticks around the net. And im not being mean or stubborn about this…I’ve just seen enough playoff hockey to know what playoff defense looks like. And we dont have it right now with PM playing big minutes. I agree Orpik could be better on a more consistent basis but he’s been playing hurt last few seasons and this year he’s been pretty good but the last few weeks he has been shaky. But for whatever reason i think orpik wont be a problem in playoffs but PM will. Again.

            • I agree the Penguins do not have playoff caliber defense.

              I don’t think removing Paul Martin improves it, though.

    • This might be the longest string of comments and replies since the new blog’s birth. Original from hockeymonster all the way back at 11:01 am.

      Why don’t ya just get a room already…

  31. Now that the Catholic 7 are taking the Big East name; the remaining members shall be known as the America 12. About as bad as the Big 10 division names.

  32. Iceman posted this link on the other thread. It’s a great article on making TRADES that even those with the ability to read and understand can follow:
    http://thehockeywriters.com/penguins-primed-major-trade/

  33. and here’s an interesting tidbit backing up Dejan’s fame that hockey is flourishing in Pittsburgh, even over NBA:
    “In February, three of the top seven (and four of the top 15) selling jerseys in the NHL were Penguins. Sidney Crosby (No. 3), Evgeni Malkin (No. 6) and James Neal (No. 7) round out the top seven. Kris Letang’s jersey ranked 15th (higher than Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos). “

  34. Test take, I quit counting

  35. Used gravatar. Still no image. Computers are such fun!

  36. Confirmed grav image. Is the 97th time the charm?

  37. Pffffffffft

  38. Gravatar test take 7

  39. Success! :)

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.


Other Blogs
Sports: Dejan Kovacevic | Steel Mill | Chipped Ice | Bucco Blog | Sitting Ringside | Pitt Locker Room | Penn State Sports | H.S. Sports Insiders
News: This Just In | Trib List
» Top TribLIVE.com Sports
» Top TribLIVE.com News
» Top TribLIVE.com Breaking News