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Friday Wakeup Call: Definition of insanity

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

>> The Friday notes column is a collection of final observations from my week in Florida, notably my support of the Pirates’ apparent plan to not use Gerrit Cole at season’s outset.

Based on what I’ve heard and read from readers to date, most won’t agree, so I’ll obviously welcome any responses down there in the comments.

>> I’ll visit with TribLIVE Radio today at 11:30 a.m. to talk about that and more.

>> The chat transcript delved into Jason Worilds’ apparent irrelevance with the Steelers, the tolerance public service ads by Brooks Orpik, the gap between Duquesne and Robert Morris, plus several other topics. Really enjoyed this one.

>> There’s something about Penguins-Flyers that brings out the ridiculousness from both teams …

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls

In this case, it was the visitors overcoming a huge early mess — passive penalty-killing, lack of discipline, loose D and, oh, yeah, a 4-1 deficit — to somehow pull one out.

There was a lot to not like, but the spirit of the outcome propels me instead to stress that Beau Bennett was a terrific fit on the second line, Tomas Vokoun entered with no margin for error and made none, and Chris Kunitz now has as many goals as the number on his back.

>> NHL realignment is final. For a year, anyway.

>> Taking a couple days (somewhat). I’ll be back Sunday night from Consol. Be good.

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.

299 Comments

  1. The morning links, Where’s drew?

  2. I haven’t read the column yet, since it isn’t on yet, and don’t know your reasoning but I completely agree with not using cole yet. Wait till later on so we can keep him under team control for another season. Even if this is a year for the pirates to compete they can’t throw all their chips in to one season in april and may of any year. Missing him for a dozen starts this year is well worth having him for 30 starts seven years from now.

  3. Just woke up from a nap. Fell asleep at 6:30.

    Did I miss anything?

    • The Pens won!

      • What a crazy-azzed game that was! Bennett is out-friggin-standing! With all the great karma out of last night’s win, far be it from me to cast any kind of a pall, but I surely do like how Despres plays.

        Despres, Bennett, Bortuzzo… time of the Kiddie-Patrol baybee!

        Raise it… you know what i’m talkin’ about… that’s right… the Jolly Shuttlecock

  4. Since you brought up the word insanity in the blogs title. Any word or followup on last years training involving the retired navy seals? Any thoughts from the guys in the minors after a few months to think things over?

  5. When is the last time the Pirates brought a prized prospect up north to start the season? I can’t recall. How about trying something different? Always the cheap way.

    • Don’t know if he was the last, but I believe Jose Guillen jumped from AA to the Pirates in 1997.

      While he had a nice career, some claimed that the early promotion led to immaturity, some wasted potential, etc. totally unprovable but a reasonable proposition.

    • If they wait a mere 5-6 weeks, which is basically 5-6 starts since April has so many off days, they gain an entire year of player control down the road. I’m sorry, but I’m willing to risk that at least to have control of him down the road. Wait another 6 weeks, and then you can complain about them taking the cheap route, which they will have passed the “super 2″ timeframe. I’d say that’s pretty likely, but I’d still rather they did that than have him start the year with the big club.

      Last time I recall a prospect coming north was Chad Hermansen in 2000. Unless you count all the fabulous Rule 5 picks…

  6. I don’t know if it’s cheap or not; it’s accepted to leave a prospect down in AAA until June. Honestly, I thought that was the plan all along, doesn’t seem that crazy to me. If it wasn’t Gerrit Cole, maybe, but the Bucs have a lot invested in him. I’d want to keep him as long as possible too.

  7. I definitly agree on Cole. If they can wait a short time to hold off arbitration it should be a no-brainer. However, why doesn’t this team go after Kyle Lohse? Even on a 1 yr agreement with a larger contract. Make him play for a long term deal. Giving up the 1st round pick ( you have 2 this year), should be nothing to add some stability to rotation. Plus if he signs this year then leaves after 1 year, you get the pick next year.

  8. I am on board with Cole not coming until mid-summer. I might even make the AAA all-star game his final exam. He tends to blow up in the more high profile games.

    And it isn’t about the Pirates being “cheap”. Pretty much every MLB team takes this approach with their best prospects.

  9. I’m ambivalent about Cole. If there’s remotely anything to gain for his development by having him start the season in Indy, then I’m for that. But if he is now ready for the next step… Though I appreciate the argument that a team on a budget like the Pirates should place a premium on years of control of a talented player, it is precisely because the Pirates must be a team that “catches lightning in a bottle” that I feel the Bucs should consider maximizing the here and now. In 2019, we have no idea in what shape the team will be. We also have no idea what kind of pitcher Cole will be six years into his career (see Jonathan Sanchez). Right now we have Cutch, Walker, Burnett, Rodriguez; then Alvarez and Marte hopefully, along with JMac and a few others on the bubble. Whenever it is that Cole is “ready,” I say go for it. I realize we’re dealing with “the best management team in baseball” here, let 2019 take of itself in 2019.

    • It’s actually pretty unlikely he’ll be on the team either way. I suspect he’ll be traded in 2018 or so if he’s been dominant…it’s too hard of a thing to pass up for a team on a pretty tight budget. Still though, I would rather him prove he can do well at AAA before he’s brought up. The couple starts he had at that level didn’t exactly light the world on fire.

  10. Talked to a lady today who told me an interesting story about her uncle. His name was Roger Wolff and he finished his career with the Pirates in the late ’40′s. He was a knuckleball pitcher and he first got called up to the Athletics for two games in ’41. His second game was a complete game loss against the Red Sox. But his outing was notable for holding Ted Williams to one hit in four at bats, causing Williams’ batting average to dip below .400. As we all know, Williams’ manager wanted Williams to sit out the last day of play because the rules would have allowed Williams’ average to be rounded up to give him .400 for the season anyway if he sat out. But Williams would have none of that and played a double-headed on that last day, going 6 for 8 and finishing at .406. Still, Roger Wolff was the pitcher that knocked Williams below .400 and set up that heroic final day.

  11. Wow. A baseball notes column. Brings to mind the smell of the well worn baseball glove. Grass clippings. Hope.

    Almost makes one think that it’s seasonal stuff.

    Nonsequitor alert. I loved this:

    “>> Taking a couple days (somewhat). I’ll be back Sunday night from Consol. Be good.”

    Any other writer, I make fun of an unintended ambiguous phrase. As in: Going to Consol for your time off?

    In your case, I believe it.

  12. This could be the Reverse Rotation season.

    During the last two campaigns the rotation started strong and faded in the second half.

    This season, look at the pitchers who could feasibly-potentially join the rotation sometime after the season starts…

    Karstens
    Liriano
    Morton
    Cole

    Some fairly early, some later, maybe some not at all.

    Just pointing out a potential (I said Potential) factor.

    So the questions Consol Dejan and many others asked over the last few days are right on target…

    Forget collapses for the moment. Can they MAKE it to the point of relevance by mid season when these assets could potentially (Potentially) play?

  13. Ashame they have to think about losing Cole before he even gets here.
    2019, 26 losing seasons?

    Milo:
    Nice win by Drake.

  14. Cole needs some time in AAA. Bring him up for the Memorial Day double header.

    Assuming there is even one double header this year.

    • What, no doubleheaders?

      I remember when we were kids, playing five games in a day.

      In the snow.

      Walked five miles to get there.

      Uphill.

      Both ways.

      • And had to shovel the basepaths between innings while waiting for the frozen hot chocolate to be drinkable.

        And hated the pitchers that threw the occasional snowball that exploded all over your face when you hit it.

        • The Labor Day doubleheader was always bittersweet. 2 Pirate games, but then you had to go to school the next day.

  15. Drew:
    Drake u., first round win in missouri Valley tourney. Number 9 seed. Milo has a friend on the team.

  16. So would you rather have a couple months of Cole now or a full year of his prime at age 28?

    I was just thinking about this the other day, and I was all for Cole starting this year in the minors. But then I thought what would it matter having Cole for a full year at age 28 if the rest of the team stinks? They have more pieces to win now than they’ve had in a long, long time. So why not take advantage of the kid now?

    This year would Cole be better than whoever is going to be the #5 starter? Do you believe that he isn’t going to burn out the bullpen during his starts?

    Of course in his prime at 28 he may be very valuable on the trade market.

    See what this team has done to me?

  17. *Cole – If he’s ready to pitch, not throw hard, then he should be here to start the season. I suspect the Pirates will say he’s got a few minor things to tick off their checklist before he’s a major league player.

    *Bylsma – Last night’s 5-4 comeback win against the Flyers was the first time I can recall a distinct change in the team’s attitude on the ice and more importantly, tactical changes with the breakout.

    *Fleury – Stop it people (not here) about Fleury, he’s fine. The Penguins played like crap in the first period and Fleury matched that performance. The hate for Fleury is absurd.

    *Eaton – Penguins are now 3-0-0 with him in the lineup, what a solid positional defenseman.

    *Engelland – There wasn’t a worse player on the ice than Engelland during the team’s terrible first period. One of my biggest complaints of Bylsma and Shero is their handling of young players to have them prepared for playoff hockey. History has shown Bylsma extremely limits Engelland’s ice time in the playoffs, which is a detriment to the other five defensemen, yet he thinks that’s a better option than playing Simon Despres. The team is making a huge mistake in the way they’re handling Despres. How can you say he played a great game, then the next game, put him in the press box? Makes no sense now or long-term for the playoffs.

    *Crosby/Kunitz – On fire, what else is there to say.

    *”Go get a top 4 defenseman” – Nothing drives me nuts more than reading Twitter comments from media and fans saying the Penguins need a top four defenseman and should be able to get one, then mention no names or trade cost. The Pens don’t need another Letang (Jack Johnson) type, he and Niskanen are just fine. I think the Pens already have a fine defenseman to put into the top four, his name is Simon Despres.

    *Defense pairings should be Orpik-Martin, Despres-Letang, and Eaton-Niskanen. If you want to improve the size by dealing Niskanen in a package for a bigger veteran defenseman, then I’m all for it but the team already had a solid top four, they just need to get with it and stop avoiding the youth.

    *Still waiting for that significant turnover of the Steelers roster like Kevin Colbert said would happen. Change….

    On a final note, sports are just a minor blip on the radar and there are many more important things in life. This place is a distraction and get away, don’t forget to appreciate what you have and who is with you in life. Life threw a Randy Johnson fastball about two weeks ago for my wife and today, she’ll be having surgery and I just hope I can come back to here with good news. I’m not good at hitting a curveball.

  18. JAL’s My Life Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85sIJcC8zbs

    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

    The Transformation of Phil Irwin From a 21st Round Pick to a Legit Prospect

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/03/the-transformation-of-phil-irwin-from-a-21st-round-pick-to-a-legit-prospect.html

    Draft Preview: Bryant Continues To Hit Homers

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/03/draft-preview-bryant-continues-to-hit-homers.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates lose 4-2 to Rays

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/3/7/4076538/pirates-lose-4-2-to-rays

    7 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Surprises that could crack Bucs Opening Day roster

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/03/07/pittsburgh-pirates-surprises-that-could-crack-bucs-opening-day-roster/

    8 CANOE

    Former Blue Jay Travis Snider still a fan favourite

    http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Baseball/MLB/Toronto/2013/03/07/20638381.html

    9 Rumbunter

     Tony Sanchez Talks Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Offense, and Twitter

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/03/07/tony-sanchez-talks-gerrit-cole-jameson-taillon-offense-and-twitter/

    10 Green Weenie

    Too Little, Too Late: Bucs Fall To Rays 4-2

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/03/too-little-too-late-bucs-fall-to-rays-4.html

  19. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Bradenton Herald

    Recap: Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay

    http://www.bradenton.com/2013/03/07/4425007/recap-pittsburgh-vs-tampa-bay.html

    Spring training | Gaby Sanchez showing Pirates what he can do when healthy
    http://www.bradenton.com/2013/03/08/4425530/spring-training-gaby-sanchez-showing.html

    12 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen Returning To Roots In Search of Career High in Steals

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/03/07/pittsburgh-pirates-andrew-mccutchen-returning-to-roots-in-search-of-career-high-in-steals/

    13 KDKA

    Jeff Locke Proves How Gullible Starkey, Miller And Mueller Are

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/03/07/jeff-locke-proves-how-gullible-starkey-miller-and-mueller-are/

    14 National Geographic

    Picture Archives: Louisville Slugger Factory, 1932

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/03/130307-baseball-spring-training-sports-louisville-slugger-united-states/

    15 Chicago Tribune

    Pittsburgh Pirates – TeamReport

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/sns-rt-bbo-pirates-teamreportmtze938beo0ua-20130307,0,3001982.story

    16 Washington Times

    Column: World Baseball Classic a flawed tournament

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/mar/6/column-world-baseball-classic-a-flawed-tournament/

    17 ESPN

    The sacrifice bunt isn’t dead yet

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/33556/the-sacrifice-bunt-isnt-dead-yet

    18 PBC SITE

    McDonald throws four scoreless in loss to Rays

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130307&content_id=42396506&vkey=news_pit&c_id=pit

    Bucs’ organization rich with high-level Draft picks

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130307&content_id=42420900&vkey=news_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Baseball, the Internet, and the Ease of Accuracy

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19833

    20 Fangraphs

    With Fox Sports 1 Launch, Baseball Disappears Further From Network TV

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/with-fox-sports-1-launch-baseball-disappears-further-from-network-tv/

    • My Life Billy Joel 1978 Reached number 3 on the charts. Background vocals by Peter Cetera and Donnie Dacus of Chicago. Song was theme for TV show Bosom Buddies , which was the start of Tom Hanks career. Song is not on DVD of the series or in syndication due to licensing issues.

      • It has been a long time since I’ve seen the show. I remember the Wendi Jo Sperber character knew that the Hanks and Scolari characters were, in fact, men. But, I can’t recall, were we supposed to believe that the Donna Dixon character did not know they were in drag? Anyone remember?

  20. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    NFL Draft Prospects by Position: Quarterbacks

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/3/7/4074408/2013-nfl-draft-prospects-quarterbacks

    Projecting a Steelers roster for a championship run in 2013

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/3/7/4071452/steelers-roster-depth-chart-2013

    22 Steelers Depot

    -Terrible Podcast: Talking Free Agency and Contracts

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/03/the-terrible-podcast-talking-free-agency-wallace-harrison-contract-worilds-lewis-more-episode/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Daily Telegraph

    Tottenham Hotspur 3 Inter Milan 0: match report

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/europa-league/9916109/Tottenham-Hotspur-3-Inter-Milan-0-match-report.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 7th March, 2013

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-7th-march-2013

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Playing Hockey Wins Hockey Games. Pens win 5-4.

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/3/7/4076984/playing-hockey-wins-hockey-games-pens-win-5-4

  21. Primary reason that I would want Cole up this April is to get him away from toy-soldier wannabe Kyle Stark. Stark only messes up guys with his stupid mind games and training ideas. Less time anyone with serious talent spends with Stark is better for everyone except Kylie the wannabe…….

    • I say we keep him in the minors as long as possible. Maybe into September if possible. Let’s delay his arbitration clock as long as possible.

      • Clock doesn’t work that way, once a certain date is passed, usually mid-June, you gain nothing by waiting. Bring him up July 1 and it does not count as year or bring him up Sept 1 and it still doesn’t count as a year. From either date the arb clock starts the following season, if he stays in the majors.

  22. Good news! After last nites game, the Pens have still lost as many games with Despres as without him.

  23. If I truly believed this team is a championship contender, then I’d want Cole up to start the season, but it just isn’t likely that Hurdle’s 95 wins is going to happen.

    If the team starts slowly, there is an argument that says Cole should stay in the minors until June 2014.

    Cutch sounds worn down by his endorsement schedule, and we all saw how bad this team is when he isn’t carrying the O on his back.

    We will all know a lot more about this team on May 6th — after 32 games.

  24. As much as I hate to say it, it’s a good business move for the Pirates to wait. And, after all, it is a business.

    Milo figured April 12th or so for the earliest callup. It would be crazy to bring him north for a couple weeks. Like MH said, a no brainer.

    Of course, some of the FO has been accused of having no brains and seems to have shown that at times, but this is really academic.

    • I know most don’t care, but why then does His Nealness say things like if he’s one of the best 25, he’ll go North with the team? Oh . . . I know.

  25. Regarding Cole. It is an acceptable MLB practice to keep prospects in the minors a few weeks to delay free agency by a year. This is what the Angels did with Trout and the Nationals did with Harper last year.

    Just because he is one of your five best starters doesn’t mean he is major league ready. Why have him work out the kinks in Pittsburgh? It makes no sense to start his service time clock in April.

    • And what are we rushing him to the majors for anyways? It’s not like we’re going to compete for a division title. The last three spots in our rotation are going to just be awful and at the moment at least one spot is MIA. I’m really having a hard time coming up with anyone who can start the season in at least one rotation spot. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t Liriano, McPherson, and Karstens all dealing with injuries? Even if one of the guys can be ready at the start of the season, doesn’t that still leave one spot open? Who will round out our rotation? Locke? Sanchez? Sounds like a recipe for a disaster.

      • From DK’s analysis and his results, Sanchez will be fortunate to have a job at any level to open the season. Liriano and Karstens haven’t even pitched yet. Looks like Locke will be number 5.

        Your “awful” assessment may not be far off if those 2 vets don’t get healthy ASAP.

        • If Locke is #5 then who will be #4?

          AJ
          Wandy
          JMac
          ???
          Locke

          Am I forgetting anyone?

          • Karstens and McPherson will both be ready by the start of the season.

            Barring another injury, of course. But that could be said about any of the bunch.

          • Lirano, Karstens, Locke.

            Battle of those 3 for 4 and 5, right? Or if McPherson is healthy, he’s in there.

            Not much confidence in Locke from the masses. Many believe him to be AAAA or less.

            And AJ says JMac is gonna do the job.

            • Liriano will likely start the season on DL. That leaves McPherson and Karstens, who may be stretched out by then…and may not.

              PS…from watching live, close up, McPherson has good, live stuff.

              Not making any point of readiness, baseball maturity or comparison to others. Just sharing observation from watching him throw in Pirate City practice from 10-15 feet behind the catcher, and watching him throw in a game at McKechnie, sitting in 7th row behind home plate. (Me, not him. That would be a heck of a throw from the seats.)

            • What if by some chance Mcpherson and Karstens still cannot start the season? McPherson and Locke too for that matter really should start the season in AAA even if he is ready to go. I’m think we may lose 90+ games or so

              • I think you have to look at the severity of injury, Dom.

                None of these guys have anything serious. Opening day is still almost a month away. We’re talking about only a handful of starts missed by Liriano and Karstens.

                Current injuries will not cause this team to lose 90 games.

              • Dom–should Neal and Frank just be fired now?

              • I think we should wait toward the end of the year.

  26. I’m going to say it again as I said last night. I have seen numerous people say that Paul Martin should be gone. I want to make the argument that Brooks Orpik should be the one that they use the amnesty option on this off season. He’s throwing his body around which is great but he doesn’t do it in front of his own net and has no desire to even stand up for his own goalie.

    For all the complaining he did during the off season about the owners demands during the lockout I think the least he could do is earn his pay check.

    • Tonight surely proved your point, TJ, and I’m a Brooksie fan. He’s blocking shots, but not taking the body. I dunno what’s up with him. Wish I knew.

      • $3.5 million for a shot blocker and goalie screen. I’m sure at some point, like the past two seasons, we’ll hear he was playing with an injury. All the better reason to ship him out.

        • And before people jump on this as me thinking shot blocking is not important, that’s not what I’m saying, just saying that’s all he’s good for anymore and the other areas he’s lacking in cost the team easily as many goals as he helps save them. I’d like to think for a $3.75 million cap hit, he’d be more than that.

      • Orpik is playing like he’s tired, old, injured, or All of the Above.

        • Honestly, Sarah, I wish I knew what was going on inside Brooksie’s head. He’s always been so dependable. This season it’s like he forgets how to play half the time.
          I love the guy.

    • “He’s throwing his body around…”

      Very true, of course. But all my normal sarcasm aside, has anyone noticed the number of missed bodychecks he’s thrown? The count has to be near his missed shots at least.

      I think he’s just starting to decline, unfortunately. He may pull it together some this year, but he’s not a kitten anymore. Unless you’re Timmonen and are 64 but have only played 15 games the last 3 years, 30ish seems to be an age where this happens for many defensemen.

      • I think you are both onto the same thing I am with 44. He isnt a spring kitten anymore. And he HAS been missing his checks.

        I think he is trying to be more positional and get stick on stick rather than just blowing a guy off the puck. I think he is trying to adjust his game to something he is more physically suited for at this point of his career and hasn’t quite polished the finer points yet.

        I still think eliminating him from the roster would be a mistake. He is 33, not 43. He has alot of good hockey left in him and to think otherwise is kinda silly, really. Is he a 25 minute a night defenseman still. Doesnt look like it from the last 4-5 games. But thats all it is really, 4-5 games. He played 500 something good games before that and I think deserves the benefit of the doubt for a little while longer before we cast him out like a leper.

        • I tend to agree with you, after reading your reasoning, Patrick.
          It could be he is trying to play smarter for his body, especially with a short intense season. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • I’ve been hoping for an Orpik trade for the last two years now…

      “When the puck goes back to the point, if you have a guy and you let him go, a lot of times the puck finds that guy. Our goalie has the most equipment on, so let him be the goalie. We don’t need three or four goalies like the Rangers do it.
      “I think it’s really just identifying guys and trying to box them out.” – Orpik

      Does Brooks have two heads or what? This is Orpik’s game exactly! What’s next, Malkin stating that the Russian centers on the team shouldn’t keep making stupid drop-passes to the opponent?

      • SJB I have no idea what games you’ve been watching but if this is Orpik’s game he shouldn’t be in the game. Every time you see a rebound goal you’ll likely find Orpik right behind the guy that just scored.

        And your observation of not needing guys like the Rangers to block shots really makes me wonder if you watched last nights game.

        So based on your theory; let the goalie be the goalie. I’m guessing the other teams won’t attempt to block Fluery or attempt a deflection right?

        Did you even watch the second period of that game last night? A total of 3 shots on goal I believe and its not because Philly wasn’t shooting. Happen to see that awesome effort by Bennett to hustle back and get his stick down in front of Hartnell’s shot?

        Keeping as many shots away from your goalie wins games. All you have to do is go back to the Stanley cup year.

        • Umm, I think you read me wrong. Orpik’s game is letting the guy go to stand in front of the net and goaltend, many times interfering with and screening our goalie…the very thing he was complaining about. I was saying that Orpik was describing his own game as the very thing he had a problem with. As far as his shoot blocking, I don’t have a problem with that, shot blocking is good, just pointing out his other flaws.

    • Last night I saw Paul Martin pick up a man near the left face-off dot (Briere I think) and force him wide, around the back of the net all the way around to right face-off dot. He skated with him stride for stride without ever leaving his hip, leaning into him, forcing him to guard the puck.

      Stride for stride, hip on hip, stick on stick, through the whole defensive zone. Eventually when Briere was pointed the wrong way he was forced to send the puck up to the point to Grossman. He promptly turned it over. One of the finest defensive plays you will see any player make. But yea….”he sucks”.

      We should definitely trade that guy.

      • I don’t think anyone has a problem with Martin this season. Last season was a different story completely. This season Martin is the Martin we though he should be…and Orpik is Whitney.

        • SJB, if you read this blog, you will see quite a few who still call for him Martin’s head.

        • @SJB

          I had a fairly long (and as it turned out completely pointless) discussion of the merits of one Paul Martin on this very blog just yesterday.

          One of the most frustrating things about hockey is the lack of hard numbers/stats to prove a point. Its like trying to talk about what makes one Offensive Guard better than another.

          • Key word. Pointless.

            lol

          • Yesterday wasnt pointless…i was able to vent my frustrations from the last 2 seasons. :)

            And anyone notice the 2 own goals by PM last night? On the 1st one he let a cross ice pass go right by him on the pk then get deflects it in with his stick. Then on the 4th goal he sees the puck coming to him and instead of turning his skate horizontal to get control he kicks it in. His instincts around the net was abysmal. Only Engelland looked as out classed as PM.

      • This is not a knock on Martin and my thought is based on a very small sample size, but personally I think Eaton has been the better of the 2, at least defensively. He’ll never really display the passing intelligence Martin does in the O-zone. But I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with Eaton.

        • I’m happy with Eaton as well

        • Totally agree with Eaton. He never flashes anything that I can point at to young kid or another hockey fan and say “THAT. That right THERE is a great hockey play!”

          But he never does anything BAD either. He doesnt make mistakes. He forces opposing players to the outside and into bad shooting angles. In fact, really his best quality is knowing where to STAND. last night the Pens were standing around FAR to much for the first 20 minutes. But Eaton has a knack for positioning and gap. Its so impossible to explain that to some people without showing film. He really is a perfect #5.

          And I love that he is so CALM. So in control. Its only three games but he has been a great addition so far for sure.

          • This is what I’ve been saying about Eaton. If he is playing well, you are mostly going to not hear much of his name. He is going to play good positionally and he is going to block shots. He won’t be making big hits or offensive plays, but he will be blocking shots and be in good position. So far this is how he’s been playing and I’ve been happy. After last night’s game, I’m saying that the number 5 d-pair has to be Despres – Eaton and Engelland get’s the scratch. Eaton can help bring along and develop Despres like he did with Letang years ago.

            • You NEED guys like Eaton to win the cup. Calm. Cool. In position.

            • Double-edged sword, I say and I agree. Problem is Engelland out takes 2/3 of team toughness out. I think even today’s game still needs some form of enforcer.

              I see Engelland as a good 6-7 D and an enforcer. Playing him with better defensive options available is dumb. If you have to use a roster spot strictly for toughness, why not use a 4th liner who’s only gonna play 3-4 minutes at best anyway? I guess Disco has a retort to that, though.

              • I was talking about this lat night and honestly i think some guys rely to much on Derek to do the heavy lifting when needed. Some of them have forgot that they are 3rd and 4th line guys and try to keep up with the top two lines rather than know their role. Scratching Engelland (who is one of my fav players BW.) might help to remind some guys *cough Glass *cough what their role on this team is.

              • Coughing glass sounds extremely painful :-). Engelland is one of my favorites, too and I don’t like to admit it because I think he played very well last year. But it hasn’t carried over consistently this year.

        • Agreed.

    • PM only had 2 own goals last nigt…maybe he is coming around after all :)

    • Orpik saved a goal early on during a 2 on 1…orpik may need a game or 2 off but he’ll be fine.

  27. I could say alot about last nights game, but I’ll leave it at this: Beau Bennett played a fantastic game and has shown that he can play and deserves to play with the second line. On top of that, did anyone see the amazing defensive play he made at the end of one of his shifts. He looked like he was so tired that he could barely make it to the bench, but instead he sprinted back into the defensive end to give up his body to block a shot. I wasn’t sure his legs would still work for him to stand up and get to the bench. Total effort and incredible heart. Can’t wait to see what this kid can do.

    • + like.

      • I saw that! I yelled to hubby “did you just see what Bennett did?” but he was snoring away… lol

        • On another rookie note, I heard Despres didn’t play because of a fingernail issue, but that was all I heard. Not sure what to make of that- if it was some lame excuse to keep him out or if it’s a legit injury. I don’t think he had the same fingernail issue as that guy in “The Wind that Shakes the Barley”.

          • Yeah, that was supposedly the “official” reason, interesting they didn’t just call it an upper body injury or something like that.

            • Very fishy to me. I don’t like Disco’s handling of most young guys. They make a mistake and they’re finished. Vets make a mistake and seems like they see increased time. Not crazy about how he’s handled Bennett and Despres so far. Very Jim Tracy-Chris Duffy-like.

              I give Disco credit for the win last night, but I’m still not convinced he can get us through a 7 game series.

              • Its not fishy at all. Its a coach thats trying to win now. He knows his job is likely on the line and wants to win every game. He’s not worried about next year.

              • Apparently it was Vokoun who got up and “had a chat” with the team in between 1st and 2nd periods. Seems like it helped. I was only listengin on radio so I could not see what if any schematic changes were made, beyond Not Sucking.

              • That’s sort of my point though is that these 2 young guys are helping the team win now. Much more than some of the vets are.

    • He looked nothing like a rookie playing in his first Flyers game, thats for sure. Good to see he is confident enough to not let the situation get to big for him.

      Good composure, confidence and instincts.

      Now all we have to do is feed him about 2,000 extra calories from carbs and get his weight over #190. They have him listed at 205. Unless they weighed him in full gear holding a cinder block that number is slightly exaggerated.

      I’ve heard Mrs. Malkin makes a decent borscht.

  28. Yesterday’s chat was one of my favorites. Ton of good stuff there from Dejan.

    I really appreciate DK sticking by Jose Tabata. The criticism has been there when deserved, but never resorting to the fat/lazy cliches. You get the feeling that Dejan has actually gotten to know him on a personal level and is willing to go to bat for him.

    Now if only he’d stop forcing the desparate GM narrative…

    • Oh, and thanks for the trip down memory lane back to the Jim Tracy days. Excellent job of tying a current situation to an old one. Makes me grateful to have Clint in the dugout.

      And if you have a minute…did you hear much (or have your own opinion) about Phil Irwin while you were in Bradenton?

      DK: I saw Irwin pitch one inning. He was very effective. Hammer curve. Still projects as reliever. But good enough to make it to majors that way. Always kept a special eye out for Irwin because he was signed by Darren Mazeroski, and Darren and I have had many talks about him over the years.

    • NMR…
      I think what DK and some of us have gotten to know about Tabata is that when he is healthy and confident at the plate, he wields a mighty good bat and is an on-base machine.

  29. Who’s pitching tonight? I heard the game is on Root Sports?

  30. Grilli got the save for Italia yesterday. Hit a guy. Bases were loaded before getting last out. Hope this is not an omen for adventure 9ths this season. Then again, 1-2-3 9th inning saves are overrated.

  31. I believe tonight’s bucs game is on TV Root sports here in Pittsburgh.

  32. Hey Oshkosh,

    Your buddy Coatsey is on 93.7 in Pittsburgh right now. In case you didn’t get enough of him last night. :)

    • Darn! In the car and can’t access the internet feed.

      Getting a cat for the kids later today. Maybe I’ll name it Coatsey.

    • Speaking of The FAn, forget who it was on air after the game, saying Ride Vokoun, he’s the Hot Hand. WTF? He stopped like 12 shots last night, after sucking 2 of 3 last outings and rarely surpassing mediocre this year. Now he’s the Hot Hand?

      Nearly drove off the road on 79S.

  33. Sorry, but I have to do it. Even though he played a (cringing and wincing in pain)… pretty good game (that hurt), Tyler Kennedy is still garbage. One goal every 10-15 games over the last 2 years just doesn’t cut for me at 2 mil a year with no other major contributions. Throw him out on the PK and let him block shots and I’ll change my assessment. There is no justifiable reason he makes more than Dupweeeee.

    • Agree! Speaking of, did you see Duper flying all over the ice last night?
      That man sometimes looks (and skates) like he’s possessed!

      • If only he could stop like he was possessed. :-) He does everything warp speed, but Crosby set up that goal- and maybe this is just me- but I actually had time to yell “Shoot the *&#@% puck!” before he actually let it go. It probably was much quicker than that, but I swear I had time to start sweating before it crossed the line.

        • No Brad, you’re right…Duper kinda hesitated a fraction of a second before smacking it in. Weird for him lol.

        • I know what could fix that problem…Iginla.

          • What problem? :P

          • From what I am reading the cost to get Iginla is going to be pretty steep. So few sellers has the cost of players very high. Legit superstar players like Iginla are probably going to be to expensive for teams like Pittsburgh.

            Which sucks. Iginla is the best hockey player nobody ever talks about. So much of what a hockey player is supposed to be can be demonstrated by watching him play.

            • Starkey ‘n ‘em were talking about it on the Fan. Said he’d probably at least command Morrow or Despres, first round pick and maybe a supplemental pick. I’d make that trade all day as long as it didn’t involve Despres.

              • Maybe Dumoulin. Though if it came down to it i would keep Morrow over Despres. I hear really really good things about Joe Morrow.

                And it would only be a rental. Its tough to really justify that much for a team that really doesnt need help scoring goals. But man would that guy look good on Sid’s wing. I’m not gonna lie…Iginla has been one of my fav players for years.

      • Did you see his face after scoring that goal? That was the most intense I think I’ve ever seen Dupuis. You could see true passion and desire there and hopefully that will continue and other players can feed off of it.

    • Even a squirrel finds a nut. TK makes too much for a player that produces so little to consider him a good player or worth keeping around. Maybe the Pens can work a deal with Columbus for Letestu who seems to have done well there. So far 5 goals this season and 11 goals and 25 points in 62 games last season.

    • TK played a pretty good game all around. I cannot remember the last time he took a shot from the middle of the ice instead of from the wing. That thing was wicked. If this is a turn around game for him and he can continue playing like he did last night, it leads to one of two things. Either he 1) becomes less of a liability and we aren’t freaking out every game he plays or 2) he raises his trade potential so the Pens can get something other than a 4th round pick for him.

    • Ha! Kennedy finally scored another goal! Just another sign that the philly game was crazy last night. Vokoun looks like a sieve in last couple games and comes out and pitches two scoreless periods in net. The penguins actually gain and hold a lead for an entire period against the flyers.

      Therefore, my question is… a) Bylsma adjustment or b) inspirational vet talk that completely changes our game between periods 1 and 2.

  34. Regarding Cole and any other decisions, I think it’s time for the front office to go George Costanza and do the opposite. If every instinct they have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.

  35. My last coherent thought for the day-

    I don’t think the Pens NEED a winger for Crosby. He seems to be doing just fine with the 2 he’s got. Kunitz is sucking and everything, but Sid will survive. That said, IF Iginla would come here in exchange for draft picks and a prospect NOT NAMED DESPRES, then pull the trigger, Ray.

    Trading Despres right now is/would be stupid unless they are getting a league top 5 D in return. Even then, cap issues are going to be abundant this offseason and trading a really promising player who will play cheaply the next year or 2 is just dumb. I think they definitely need more grit on D, but use the waiver wire or some low round draft picks for a rental.

    I’d be indifferent if they traded Martin, mainly because I think Shero blundered terribly on the contract terms. But if he’s not going anywhere, which I’m also ok with at this point, don’t add some 4 mil a year guy without moving one like Martin or Orpik.

    They could also use a better 3rd line winger. A Dupweeee type with some size.

    I’m not Miss Cleo or anything, but my crystal ball tells me trading Despres will eventually become the geographic equivalent of the Bay of Aramis Bautista.

  36. The comeback win was great yesterday, but I gotta say this…I hope SOMEONE sits James Neal down and tells him to knock the crap off. He could have cost us the game yesterday.
    That is all.

  37. And if anyone is seriously doubting Fleury after last night, just look at the 1st period shots on goal. Paints a pretty clear picture of what was going on.

    I had a hunch that Vokoun was going to do ok after he blockered first shot into the corner- looked steady and composed like he did during his first couple games.

  38. Cole absolutely starts in AAA, you know, where he has started exactly 2 games and one sucked. He has April and May to prove he is ready. SO’s against Spain don’t count.

    Wanny is what I said he was last year at the trade. Live near Houston and watch/read about him and every start is the same…one pitch from the showers from the first inning on. Some times he makes, sometimes not. A #4 starter at best.

    When Bennett adds ten pounds…look out…and maybe before he adds all ten.

    Engelland HAS to play. No other deterent on the roster. Glass will drop ‘em, but he is NOT a deterent. McIntyre is only of value unless he is on the big team AND dressing. Do you want that every nite?

    Unfortunately, that means Depres is odd man out, pending injury or trade. Still only have way thru season, lots yet to play out.

    • Dave Wannstedt pitches for Houston?

      You certainly can’t be talking about Wandy Rodriguez, the guy who posted five straight sub 3.60 ERA seasons for the Astros while averaging 200 IP over the last four years.

    • Cannot understand the apparent Pirate fan love affair with Wandy. He is an average at best pitcher which makes him a #3 at best. His stats don’t support him as a #2. He is a leftie and consumes innings, but we have others who have done that. He maybe forced into the #2 role here, but he is a 3-4 on almost any team other than the Astros. What am I missing? Saw him pitch at PNC several times last year from behind homeplate and saw average stuff……

      • You’re missing the way he’s pitched throught his entire career, apparently.

        Go find a list of pitchers that have averaged a 3.47 ERA and 187 IP over the last five years and tell me how many of them are “3-4 on almost any team other than the Astros”.

        I’ll be waiting.

  39. If I’m the Pirates I’m calling the Yankees right now and dangling Jones and or Sanchez. With the spring Sanchez is having he could fetch something decent in return.

    I don’t see this team winning regardless and they have other options that they could use including one of their 10 OFs to fill the spot created by trading Jones or Sanchez.

  40. Also, IMO, everyone with 20-20 hindsight who wants to jump on Shero about the Paul Martin deal (which remember was applauded around the league at the time) should ALSO be required to say in the same sentence that Shero is the GM who traded Gogo for Neal AND Nisakenin.

    • OK, but what does the Houston Chronicle think about it ?

    • I have no problem with the player at the moment, just the contract. And the Michalek contract. And the Kennedy contract. And the offered Parise and Suter contracts.

      No more-Goalagoski was a great trade.

      But Ray also traded for Alexei Ponikarovsky and Alex(ei) Kovalev.

    • I thought the Martin and michalek signings were great at the time too…But then when i saw them play i realized that they both got accustomed to playing behind the trap and having more time and space with the puck with forwards breathing down their necks less often. Here with Disco Dan the dmen need to be flying up and down the ice with forwards right on them when they go back for the puck. This is not the Jersey system from PM’s days there or a staple of any trapping team. Once i came to that conclusion last season i wanted them both traded. PM’s trade value is sky high right now compared to last season…lets make the move to get his 5M off the books so we can address the depth we need AND make legit room for despres.

      • Although I don’t have a problem with Martin and the way he’s playing this season, he’s neither a great offensive defenseman, or a blueline stud either and for $5 million a season, I think that could be better spent elsewhere. I don’t mind vanilla ice-cream but I wouldn’t spend $5 for a scoop of it. As much as he’s turned it around this season, I’d be looking to free up his contract somehow in the summer if I were Shero.

        • SJB: i couldve used the backup yesterday regarding this matter :)

          But how about not waiting till the summer and trading him now? Who else can we trade and get the physical dman and forward depth we need? Despres? I certainly hope not!!! Any dman we get back for despres wont have as high a ceiling and will probably cost more. Bennett? Perhaps but only if the return is goligoski trade like. Kennedy, jeffrey and bortuzzo? HA! For anyone who wants a trade I would love to hear who else we could trade if not PM? Maybe DK has some insight.

  41. So this idea on the surface is sort of a crazy and probably a highly unlikely scenario considering the parties involved, but I’d like to see Wayne Simmonds come here in a trade.

    I hate the Flyers, but I really like how he plays.

    • I’d much rather have BigFugginUgly

    • He would certainly add grit and the net front presence the Pens are missing. He knows how to get in a goalie’s face and make him uncomfortable and he can put the puck in the net.

      Dismissing the fact that the Flyers probably aren’t trading and I have no idea what we would have to give up to get a player like him, I’m not sure where he fits in on the current team. I think he is too talented to play on the third line and the only other solution I can come up with is putting him with Crosby and Kunitz and moving Dupuis to the third line. Problem with that is I think our top two lines are set and I don’t really think adjusting needs to be made for this year.

      • Yeah I don’t know where he would exactly fit either except on 3rd line at the moment. But I think that’d be a pretty formidable 3rd line (Simmonds, Sutter and Cooke) and he could fill in for injuries on top 2. Bennett can be prone at times as well as Kunitz. Plus having a guy like Simmonds to line shuffle is never a bad thing.

        Like I said, probably a snowball’s chance it would ever happen. But if I could tell Shero what I’d like to see…

        And I’d be thrilled to have Buff-lynn too. But he falls into that expensive D category .

    • Problem is; would the Pens and Bylsma know what to do with a player like that? As much as the fans complain about the lack of a big body with net-front presence, how much does the Pens game lend itself to that kinda player actually being successful? Kinda like being a big, bruising RB in a west-coast offense. I think Simmonds game is more indicative of how the Flyers play than anything else. If he wasn’t there, they’d have someone else in there doing the same thing…maybe not as well, but the same.

      • Sounds to me like you guys are envious of Simmonds and would gladly replace him with Kunitz. Isn’t Kunitz our net-front guy (usually)? Which obviously fails when you run into a 6’6″ goalie who just looks right over Kunitz head.

  42. Would everyone just please shut it about the WBC. I’m sick of all the fan hype about it. I just watch it for the commercials.

    • ZING!

      Get that cat yet??? :P

    • From Wiki—”Among those to have been recognized by the WBC as world champions were the undefeated Rocky Marciano (49-0), Roy Jones, Jr., Wilfred Benítez, Wilfredo Gómez, Julio César Chávez, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson, Salvador Sánchez, Héctor Camacho, Marvin Hagler, Carlos Monzón, Rodrigo Valdez, Roberto Durán, Juan Laporte, Félix Trinidad, Edwin Rosario, Bernard Hopkins, Alexis Argüello, Nigel Benn, Lennox Lewis, Vitali Klitschko, Erik Morales, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.”

      I don’t get the hostility, except for Don King.

    • Leading candidate to “just shut up” has the be Blue Jays 3B Brett Lawrie.

      He aggravated an oblique injury that kept him out for a good chunk of last season playing for team Canada in this pointless tournament. He also called out Russell Martin for opting to stay with the Buccos.

      Good call, Brett.

  43. Agree that Bennett looked very good last night and appears to be a great fit. He does not change the status quo, however. This team is one and done in the playoffs.

  44. Even if Cole came out pitching like Strasburg or Verlander the value is pretty marginal. You’d be talking about maybe a win or 2 in the 12-14 starts he missed. We’re also assuming he’d be one of the best pitchers in baseball the minute he takes the mound. I have absolutely no issue in waiting at least a month to get an extra year, if not until mid-June to avoid a Super 2 and the $8-10M that could cost.

  45. From reading all the banter today, and enjoying the reading, I would say that Drew is definitely rubbing off on other lunatics in this place ;-)

  46. And for this week’s version of Sing It, Tom Singer…

    “Bucs’ organization rich with high-level Draft picks”

    I don’t even know where to start with this one. Delusions of grandeur is as good a place as any.

    • “Gerrit Cole stands atop the PNC Park mound, begins his windup and bends a wicked breaking pitch into catcher Tony Sanchez’s mitt.

      Andrew McCutchen’s home run and Travis Snider’s two-run double give Cole a lead that he protects through six innings. He’s helped out of his biggest jam early in the game by third baseman Pedro Alvarez, who makes a diving stop with the bases loaded and tosses to second baseman Neil Walker for the inning-ending forceout…

      So? So every one of the 11 players mentioned above is a former No. 1 choice in Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft, an uncommon collection of blue-chip talent that could be the team’s springboard from under .500 this past season into years of high orbit.”

      Tommy Boy must be playing MLB13 The Show a lot while getting into orbit mode.

  47. Just read this in the comments of another site. Considering this is coming from the comments section, it’s validity has to be taken with a grain of salt, but if it is true, David Clarkson is a class act. Here is the comment:

    “A few things about Clarkson. I was watching the NHL Network the other day they showed a few clips of him donating hockey equipment to kids in Newark. They showed the whole room clapping for him when he entered and the smiles on their faces were priceless. Then a few days later, I was listening to Scott Laughlin’S Power Play show on SIRIUS. He said he’s hosted a separate radio show on occasion and every special guest / Co-host accepted their paycheck for it (which is totally fine) except one person…David Clarkson. He said it was a privilege to be there and to donate his pay to charity. Along with his play on the ice, now that’s a guy I want on my team.”

    This is the type of role model we need in professional sports. Wow.

    • I think you’ll find most hockey players are like this. They are not selfish. The only problem I have with Clarkson is he plays for the Devils lol

  48. Reading this week that both the Dodgers and Tigers are looking to possibly deal starting pitchers.

    In March.

    Doesn’t it seem late in the offseason to now realize you have more guys than you want to carry?

    DK: Apologies for slow reply to your Phillip Irwin question above, but it’s there now, NMR. Did radio, then a couple meetings upon (finally) waking up today.

    • Thanks for the reply, as always, Dejan. Enjoy your couple days off!

      P.S. Headed to Kaya tonight. Great recommendation.

      • I checked out the menu online. Nice. I like living in a small town, but having a dearth of fine restaurants is certainly a major drawback. Enjoy.

  49. Milo:
    Halftime Creighton 33 Drake 26

  50. For you guys who’d like to follow hockey plays a bit more…here’s something useful and easy to follow:
    http://www.faceoff-factor.com/1pittsburgh-penguins/4735/ff-telestrator-epic-comeback-edition

  51. Slow day here

    I wonder if this guy is related to Drew??

    http://now.msn.com/liam-marsh-pumps-gas-naked

  52. When an emotional equivalent of a locomotive hits you, I’ve heard people say they are left with an empty feeling, sense of loss. For the past two weeks, I’ve tossed and turned in my attempt to ignore the fear of what I was going to hear from the doctors.

    Two weeks ago, my wife Kristin Bowser, 37-years old, mother of two, daughter, sister, cousin, aunt, niece, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law… was told she had cancer.

    My immediate thoughts were, I can’t do this alone, my kids need their mother, and my wife needs to see her kids grow old and have kids themselves.

    Writing that last paragraph, made me cry and I’ve been thinking these things for the last two weeks. Why me, why her, why us and why them.

    My soul wasn’t empty, it was filled with fear.

    My wife is the love of my life, she is a ‘Love of a lifetime’, which was our wedding song. As sappy as that song was, big hair band from 80′s and all… I just couldn’t deny my wife, she was right. She is my ‘Love of a lifetime’.

    Today, she went through an hour long procedure called Mohs surgery that involved my wife having 3-inch long chunk of skin removed and examined for cancer.

    After sitting in the waiting room for close to three hours after the procedure was finished, I got the great news. Tests confirmed the chunk got all the cancer.

    I am ever so grateful to my friends, co-workers, and family for their love and support because cancer sucks and to the doctors and nurses for their outstanding skill and care of my wife.

    Even as the scoreboard reads Kristin 1 Cancer 0, we will forever have to be careful with her exposure to the sun and make sure we examine any moles for changes in size, texture, and color.

    Today, we know we were lucky as over 7 million people die from cancer each year. Some are not so fortunate, so please visit one of these sites to help donate in the fight against cancer.

    https://www.cancer.org/involved/donate/donateonlinenow/index

    https://www.mariolemieux.org/donate/

    ———————–

    Thank you to Jandy, Drew71, Ghost, Pat4PGH, SJB, LuckyNKentucky, TJA, Bizrow, Iceman, Nate83, Brad (Indiana PA), Naje, Arriba Wilver, hockeymonster, JaxBuc, Dave G and tcb for the well wishes, prayers, and positive thoughts.

    DK: Beautifully worded, Eric. Thoughts, prayers and so much more, man.

  53. at Milo:
    Late update, Drake lost 65-53.

    At E Bowser:
    All of our prayers and best wishes to you and yours.

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