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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Friday Wakeup Call: Big weekend of pucks

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

>> The Friday notes column is led by a talk with Ramon Foster, the Steelers’ first significant signing of this offseason, accompanying a look at this new (and really young) offensive line.

There’s stuff on the Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and Duquesne in there, too.

>> The weekly chat came with the usual rapid-fire smorgasbord.

8557988961_c94fc2fb57>> I’ll be over at Consol all weekend for the first hockey game columns I’ll have done in a good while. Rangers and Bruins both present good tests for the Penguins, as well as good storylines of their own. Looking forward to it.

On Sunday, I’ll be part of WPXI’s On the Ice pregame show before the NBC broadcast picks up the coverage. The Trib and WPXI are news partners, and you’re going to be seeing a lot more of that play out in the weeks and months to come between our people and the TV talents of Alby Oxenreiter, Rich Walsh and Bill Phillips.

They don’t call it ‘Total Media’ for nothing. Between the print product, the online news, the blogs, the videos, the TribLIVE Radio station and these new TV initiatives, I’m fairly confident that at some point or other we’ll be able to take North Korea down.

As always, I’ll keep you updated right here on anything new.

>> Meanwhile up in Toronto, the Penguins took their streak to seven, once again in style …


Pascal Dupuis scored twice, Chris Kunitz set up the winner, Marc-Andre Fleury made a huge late stop, and Sidney Crosby continued to explore interplanetary space only he occupies. Our Rob Rossi reports from up North, as well as offering this update on the team’s trading status.

Here are all the highlights from the Penguins’ site.

>> Tough to see Pitt’s freshmen struggle as they did in the latest Big East bomb. I’ll find it very interesting to see how Steven Adams and James Robinson, in particular, bounce back in NCAAs.

>> Keenan Lewis did the inevitable and signed elsewhere, and Art Rooney II talked cap space in another eventful day for the Steelers, as covered by Alan Robinson.

>> I’ll visit with Ken Laird at 11:30 a.m. today on TribLIVE Radio. Total Media ‘n ‘at.


Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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


  1. theplanisworking says:


    Here is to the Pens kicking more Original Six butt this weekend !!

  2. No column link yet?

    Still gathering tidbits?

    Fill us in——is Travis Snider hitting his weight? Is Pedro hitting half his weight?

    Now THAT’S “to the point!”

  3. theplanisworking says:

    I for one am very glad the Bucs “recycle” failed prospects that still have some “upside”……… i.e. Snider, Sands, Clement, etc. Maybe they get some tax credits for “being green” Maybe playing “fantasy GM” is a lot more fun…….

  4. Ghost says:

    Wow, so Plax goes back the furthest. It doesn’t seem that long ago we drafted him and Hines was telling him to carry his playbook around camp. Really nobody but Ben now on the offensive side to show the rest how it’s done. Maybe Plax, wiser now at his ripe old age of 35 and having once had football and his life taken from him, will provide some perspective and leadership to the kiddies. He’s been to the top of the mountain to the floor of the valley, and back.

    DK: I was impressed with Plax’s presence in more ways than one last season. I wasn’t impressed that the coaching staff ignored him until the meaningless finale against the Browns.

  5. Deb says:


    After revisiting the chemistry Crosby has with Kunitz, what say you about your earlier blogs and your podcast about moving Kunitz back to Malkin’s line? That Kunitz was the winger for Geno/Neal, and Sid could play with anyone?

    DK: What say I? What say I is that I never said the latter thing. I’ve never even thought it. Sid can be a tough match.

    Kunitz very much WAS the winger for 71/18. Now, he very much IS the winger for 87/9. Beau Bennett IS looking good on the second line, something NO ONE knew at the time you’re citing.

    You want to wag a finger over whatever it is you find in all that, hey, go nuts.

  6. officer mancuso says:

    North Korea can wait, take out Dennis Rodman.

  7. JoeyBats says:

    ( yo…if it’s FRIDAY…it must be March 15…please fix typo “14” above DK’s name) :-)

    * Another disappointing DOUBLE BYE performance by PITT in Big East. Let’s see IF the freshman bounce back against some mediocre first round competition in the NCAA first round. Never know with these up & down Panthers.

    * Sorry to see Keenan Lewis go from the Steelers roster. The point is …the team continues to lose roster depth. He is another talented player in his mid twenties leaving the team further depleted of experience and speed. You just have to have 3 good corners in this pass happy NFL. Sorry, “big play” Willie Gay is NOT good enough & Curtis Brown has been a bust, so far — let’s hope they pick up another talented corner in the draft. (……..soooo many needs in this draft).

  8. John Lease says:

    Chase’s thumb torn in baserunning drills?

    Well, scratch him as a possibility. I wonder if anyone has been able to teach him how to bunt for a hit yet.

  9. NastyNate82 says:

    Hopefully not since its not a good idea to do so anyway.

  10. Jandy says:


  11. JAL says:

    JAL’s Danny Boy Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Spring Training Tracker

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: The 2011 Draft is the Exact Opposite of the 2009 Draft

    Prospect Notebook: Seeing Two Pitchers For the First Time; Brewer Hits 95

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates fall, 2-1, to Phillies

    7 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Starling Marte Showing Off All The Tools In Spring

    8 Bleacher Report

    20 Predictions for the Second Half of MLB Spring Training 2013

    9 Rumbunter

    As Jason Grilli Rocked The Sweats In The Bullpen….Team Italy Gave It Away

    How To Win The Pirates Fifth Starters Job By Kyle McPherson

    10 Green Weenie

    Phils Win 2-1 As Bucs Fail To Cash In

  12. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Sarasota Herald Tribune

    <bBaseball stars are buried in Bradenton

    12 Sports Illustrated

    Booms and busts: relievers

    13 Chicago Times

    Pittsburgh Pirates – TeamReport,0,7607840.story

    14 KDKA

    Garrett Jones Ready To Return

    15 Baltimore Sun

    Orioles right-hander Daniel McCutchen feeling his way through new lower delivery,0,4764728.story

    16 Jackson Sun

    Pirates outfielder shares secret to making great bacon

    17 The Good in Sports

    Pirates chairman to be honored by NRDC

    18 PBC SITE

    McPherson delivers five scoreless innings vs. Phillies

    Notebook: Making rotation bid, McPherson bounces back


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    New Arms of the Worldb>

    20 Fangraphs

    2013 Positional Power Rankings: Catcher

    2013 Positional Power Rankings: First Base

  13. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Keenan Lewis signs with New Orleans Saints

    NFL Draft Prospects by Position: Offensive guard

    22 Steelers Depot

    -Keenan Lewis Contract Details Start To Emerge


    23 Daily Telegraph

    Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta hopes victory over Bayern Munich can inspire his team to top four finish in Premier League

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 14th March, 2013


    25 National Post

    Penguins’ third period comeback deals Leafs fourth straight loss

    26 ESPN

    Kunitz’s success shouldn’t surprise

  14. JAL says:

    Danny Boy Celtic Women 2005 Written in 1910 and set to the music of Londonderry Air in 1913 this has become one of the most recorded and best known Irish songs. Celtic Women were formed in 2004 and now have 6 albums.

  15. AL says:

    I’d also include Tortorella and Milbury.
    (remember…….we all suck! and we’re all professors of goonism!)

  16. BillyBaduka says:

    It’s no typo. It’s system driven, not user entered.

    Notice the first comment is 11:48 pm.

    Dejan posts morning blog the night before. The date displays based on the current date when the link is posted.

    This works for all posts except ones intended for morning and posted prior to midnight.

    An edge scenario or uncommon flow in software speak. Since the standard represents date correctly 99% of the time there is little incentive to add a feature that would allow Dejan or a web admin to check a config box to advance the date. This is a design limitation, not a defect or user error.

    A database admin could change the date after posted or a script could be run to change it after its posted. But other priorities would always prevail since there is no real negative impact to the user.

    Once it’s expected to be the prior date to the day referenced in link, you don’t give it much thought. Just don’t use it to determine the date.

  17. BillyBaduka says:

    Great song. I’m not familiar with this version.

    My favorite use of Danny Boy is in Miller’s Crossing (1990 Cohen Bros). Albert Finney in smoking jacket takes out two hit men and the getaway car and crew with a tommy gun. “The old man’s still an artist with a Thomspson.”

    Ok technically Leo uses a pistol on the first.

  18. TJ says:

    DK I must admit I am a little disappointed by the comment concerning criticism toward Jamie Dixon over Pitts loss. By all accounts no coach should ever get criticism based on your statement that he can’t shoot the ball for these young men.

    When does Jamie Dixon deserve criticism then? When does any coach deserve criticism? I don’t know why there continues to be free passes for him. It shows you the major difference in mentality between a school that expects to win in UCLA that has put Howland on notice and a school like Pitt where Dixon will continue to ride powder puff non-conference schedules into tournaments and get beat in the 2nd or 3rd round. I understand Howland had a few rough seasons but he also reached a few final fours. Dixon had the top ranked team and several #2 seeds and has never seen the final 4.

  19. SJB says:

    At the college level, a coach is more responsible for wins/losses/results as he/she generally is the one who recruits/grooms/teaches said players who do the shooting in the first place, as well as deciding who plays and who doesn’t.

    Those unwilling to at least partially blame Dixon for the results of the players and team are delusional.

  20. dwf says:

    Great Pens win last night! They can thank Sid and Fleury mostly for pulling that one out. Oh, and by the way, “The Great Ray Shero” better add another top 4 dman to his “wishlist”. Because Orpik is NOT lookin’ like a top 4 let alone a top 8 dman! He tried soooo hard to give that game back to leafs after the Pens played so hard to finally take the lead! All of his penalties were stupid and he looked really bad on that tripping call. Orpik did even bother pleading his case on that call and skated straight to the box. He is just a “shell” of his former self, IMO. When was the last time you saw him deliver an open ice hit? This is where all the “homers” start coming out of the wood work defending him, bad game, blah, blah, blah! Bottom line, Orpik is not clearing bodies from the crease, is having problems clearing pucks from his end, and keeping pucks out of the net.

  21. Iceman says:

    I”m going to offer some defense for Orpik here. I agree that this year he has not been great and I would also agree that he is looking like he shouldn’t be counted on being a “shutdown defensemen.” However, regarding the huge open ice hits, not everyone in this league is Gary Roberts. Not all players can continue to take the abuse of those big hits into their late 30’s and 40’s. Orpik has faced some injuries in the last year or two and i think he is trying to adjust his game to avoid that. The way he has adjusted is to focus on blocking shots. Last I heard he was second in the league in that stat and the majority of his blocks are coming with his stick, instead of his body, allowing him to avoid that abuse.

    What this does not excuse is his inability to clear the crease this year and his focus on shot blocking has bit him in the butt a couple times because he has screened MAF while trying to block a shot.

  22. TJ says:

    I don’t care of Orpik lays a big hit or not. Sometimes I wonder if he isn’t more worried about hitting a guy in a corner than he should be worried about the guy standing in front of the net.

    Seems to have no problem banging someone in the corner but can’t clear the crease. I’d keep Martin and use one of the amnesty options on Orpik this off season.

  23. Jandy says:

    Don’t forget Brooksie has had two abdominal surgeries. he HAS to play smarter and take care of his body.
    That said, yes, he is taking dumb penalties. But so was James Neal for a while and I didn’t hear anyone bashing him.
    Brooksie needs to clear the crease AND stay out of our goalie’s vision.

  24. TJ says:

    Something I’d like to add to todays discussion.

    I think it only goes to show you the lack of depth that the Pirates have in their minor league system when you have a team like Texas that has two top notch SS’s and the Pirates are not even in the discussion as to having the talent to acquire one of them. The Pirates top need is a SS of the future; yet they don’t have the depth of talent to go out and get one.

  25. dwf says:


    All valid points, but, I don’t want a supposed “top 4″ dman that is trying to reinvent himself. Orpik does NOT look comfortable playing against the other team’s top line! He is starting to turn into a liability out there, especially late in the game. It was obvious from day one the Disco Dan and TGRS were a hopin’ and a prayin’ that Martin and Orpik could fill the shutdown role. Now, it should be painfully obvious to everyone that if the Pens continue to use these 2 in that capacity, then it is going to be another early exit. I don’t care how well the Sid line is playing!

  26. TJ says:

    Jandy…. did you drink too much last night?

    Neal is putting the puck in the net; Brooks is allowing others to put the puck in the net.

    Not only does he need to clear his crease he needs to get in the face of the other team. Never been so aggravated as I was when carrot top was whacking away at MAF and Brooks just stood there.

    As for his surgeries I could easily counter that with saying Crosby missed an entire year because of a concussion and that hasn’t stopped him from throwing his body around.

    I want to go back to those articles of Brooks complaining about the lockout and owners. Boils me every freaking time.

  27. Sarah says:

    For all the world 44 is playing like a guy who is hurt, or who has lost a step. Or both. Hope it is merely the former and he gets a lot better. Soon.

    I think he had 3 penalties last night? That has to stop. Thing is, you take penalties when you can’t get there, you reach, you grab, you trip…. So it’s back to hurt, or lost a step.

    And if our Coach of the Year doesn’t find a way to play Depres every damn game now, well, I dont know what to say.

    Paging Bowser on that.

  28. Sarah says:

    I don’t disagree TJ, but abdominal pain limits you in everything, even just breathing, never mind moving 200lb guys out of MAFs way….. So if Orpik really is still having issues in that regard, well, that explains a lot.

    Doesn’t mean he’s not sucking lately, cos he is. And if he cannot get to 100% soon, he will continue to be a liability….

  29. Iceman says:

    I’m with DK. Bylsma needs to quit with this whole protecting Despres from the physical teams. He laid out one of the hardest hits of the nights last night. He continues to play more physical and is looking great back there. No reason to be benching the kid at this point. He has to keep playing so he can be as prepared as possible for the playoff run.

    If Bylsma really wants to keep Engelland’s toughness on the ice, the Pens should dress 7 D-men. They can put Glass on the bench and would not be losing much. He is playing on the PK and is still getting only 8-9 minutes a game.

  30. TJ says:

    I find this strikingly odd that we are suddenly talking about abdominal pain when there has been no mention of it by anyone until Brooks went into the tank.

    And if this is truly the case I’d say this ranks up there with why didn’t leftwhich tell Tomlin he was hurt.

    I don’t want to hear about pride; if your a team player and can’t do your job you need to either speak up or the coach needs to do something about it.

  31. JAL says:

    Alen Hanson

  32. dwf says:

    If Disco Dan is that worried about Despres safety on the ice, why doesn’t he start thinking outside the box a little and bring up Big Mac to serve as his on ice “bodyguard”? Kind of like McSorely/Gretztky back in the day.

  33. Lee says:

    With the departure of Keenan Lewis, now we can add secondary to another area where the Steelers are weaker than last year. Is there a single unit that has been improved or strengthened so far? Sure, IF the O-line stays healthy and IF Gilbert and Adams develop, then that COULD be a strength, but that’s a lot of maybes.

    I realize you can’t judge a roster this early, but the receivers, running backs, linebackers, and corners are all worse than last year right now, and that team was 8-8. Sorry, don’t think that if they sign Victor Butler and Beanie Wells that gets them Lombardi #7.

    Wait, I forgot Bruce Gradkowski. Look out NYC!

  34. Jandy says:

    Agreed 110% on playing Depres. The kid is fine. He’ll only get better…gotta let him play!!!!!

  35. Chuck Snow says:

    Dear Mr Huntington. Unnerving is being a life long Pirate fan and suffering through 20 straight losing seasons. As a vice president told me one day about one of my managers and I paraphrase( He needs to go to the potty or get off the pot)

  36. Jandy says:

    No TJ, I had nothing to drink last night. YOU were the one going on and on and on :P
    I am saying that Brooksie seems to be changing his game. Whether or not he has pain, I couldn’t say. He is BLOCKING way more shots. His physical game isn’t there. His dumb penalties p*ss me off.
    I didn’t say I like the way his game is changing. Brooksie has always put his heart and soul into playing. I don’t know what’s going on with him now.
    That said, Depres has GOT to play more. The kid’s game is good. He plays more physical and makes good decisions. I don’t understand why he isn’t on the ice more.

  37. NMR says:

    Sorry man, but you’re not paying attention if you don’t think the Pirates have enough prospects to acquire Elvis Andrus. Not to mention the fact that a guy with two year left until Free Agency doesn’t exactly match your “shortstop of the future” description.

  38. TJ says:

    I didn’t say Andrus did I NMR? Your quick with comments; perhaps read the entire comment first. You don’t consider Profar a shortstop of the future? And sure the Pirates have the prospects to get him; and what do they have left after they do?

    Keep the comments coming NMR you’d been rather amusing

  39. TJ says:

    Freaking idiot

  40. NMR says:

    I thought Dejan was done with the “hooey”, but no. He loves this stuff. Can’t keep himself away from it.

    It’s “unnerving” to start a 21 year old kid back in Altoona just because he threw well in three, THREE, starts last year? Please.

    Arriba said it well yesterday, there is plenty enough wrong with this Front Office. No need to go around parsing words and making controversy out of nothing.

    DK: That item was 100 percent about baseball. If you can’t handle even that, that’s on you, not on me.

  41. Jandy says:

    C’mon guys relax.

  42. NMR says:

    You have paper thin skin, my man. Grow up.

    Go find me the last time teams have done a prospect for prospect trade, which is what Profar would be. It just doesn’t happen.

  43. Bizrow says:

    Hanson is a long way away from being the clubs answer at SS.

    He’s a good prospect, but prospects, you know, hope but expect.

    Lets see if he follows up with another strong year before we annoint him ;-)

  44. NMR says:

    So you’re telling TJ that Profar is not a shortstop of the future? Freaking idiot!


  45. Jandy says:

    I LOVE the smiley ;)

  46. Drew71 says:

    By the way. I live for disco

    So I see that nickname as a compliment

    – Dancing Queen Drew

    (I need another theme song)

  47. When the Steelers were at this time last season, Keenan Lewis was a BIG question mark——a much bigger question mark than Cortez Allen is as the Steelers approach 2013 season.

    The Steelers in March, 2013, are NOT weaker in the secondary than they were in March, 2012.

    The way Cortez Allen played the last 3 games of 2012 season is at a much higher level than Keenan Lewis played in 2011 season. And Cortez Allen proved ON THE FIELD that he can take the ball away.

    Don’t start hyperventilating!

  48. TJ says:

    Your right NMR. Your right about everything. I forgot who I was speaking to.

  49. TJ says:

    Who needs to grow up?

  50. TJ says:

    Btw I don’t see where he’s saying Profar is not a shortstop of the future. I believe he was talking about HANSON. Quick with the comments again there NMR. But you’re right I’m the one reading it wrong.

  51. NMR says:

    Put down the bottle, Jandy. I don’t agree with your opinion, so you must be drunk. :)

  52. Drew,

    I told everybody yesterday about you taking me to that strip club in Sarasota. I’m still not over it. (shaking my head, my eyes growing large!)

    Thanks for the experience.

  53. Jandy says:

    OK boys, take it outside! >:/

  54. Jandy says:

    You two obviously don’t mix. So, it’s no mixers for you!


  55. Jandy says:

    You know, Groat, now you mention this, I remember DK talking about Allen doing well. Let’s hope he does do well this season, the Steelers will need it.

  56. TJ says:

    Jandy you know that the drunk comment was because of our lebatts talk last night! Ahh that was such a nice and quiet evening.

  57. Jandy says:

    OoooHhh MYyyYyyy!!

  58. Jandy says:

    Yes I know, TJ, but, well, you have to play nice in here, and you’re being mean. Relax. :)

  59. JAL says:

    Two more down, Pirates optioned Tony Sanchez and Andy Oliver to Indy

  60. Jandy says:

    That’s not true TJ, NMR has come thru many times and said he was wrong. SO, let’s play nice. please.

  61. Jandy says:


  62. JohnS says:

    Orpik is done. He rarely wins a race to a loose puck and now he has resorted to screening MAF as his form of D. If you face facts he has never been anything better than a 4th D-man. Take 44 and 48 out of the lineup and you are starting to get closer to having your best 20 on the ice.

  63. TJ says:

    Not being mean; tired of the comments from a particular individual that thinks they are always right and don’t bother to read the entire comment. I would expect that from the Smizik group not the DK lunatics.

  64. TJ says:

    Another of the quality offseason acquisitions sent down already

  65. Jandy says:

    Disco Duck?


  66. I find it interesting that the Penguins:
    ——have won 7 in a row
    ——have beaten consecutively big bad Boston and excellent Toronto, giving up 2 and 1 goals
    ——have limited shots tremendously in those last two games, playing Bylsma’s system

    . . . . . and all the hockey talk here today is criticism of Brooks Orpik.

    You folks need to live in Cleveland or Tampa Bay or D.C. for a time. Maybe JAL will let you bunk out with him in DC and watch the Capitals. Then you’ll quit whining about Brooks Orpik after 2 and 1 goal defensive games!!!

  67. TJ says:

    I believe there has been criticism of Disco Dan today as well

  68. Jandy says:

    haha. good point Groat.
    But honestly, I have always been a Brooksie fan. I just can’t figure out what’s going on with him. Not whining, just sayin’

  69. Jandy says:

    There will ALWAYS be criticism of the coach. It’s the nature of the beast. :)

  70. JAL says:

    Most of them were obtained to fill the Indy roster. AAA is a collection of experienced players with little or no MLB time and a few prospects on their way up.

  71. Bizrow says:

    No, I’m saying that Hanson isn’t a sure thing.

    Don’t know where the Profar comment came from?

  72. Same comment of winning 7 straight and two straight games against superior teams giving up only 2 and 1 goal, applies.

  73. Patrick says:

    Brooks only has one year left on his contract, and its only 3.5 mil. The amnesty is a one time deal so I’m not sure they would use it on him because it would only save them much, and quite honesly 3.5 mil for a top 4 dmen is pretty cheap.

    Is he top 2? Not anymore. Maybe second pair and 20 minutes against other teams 2nd and 3rd line is more what he needs to be playing rather than 25 min against the top line guys.

    He is still a better option than Bortuzzo, Eaton or Engelland. Lets get this twisted into a scenario where he has become completely useless. If you were to drop him off the top pair, give him fewer minutes.

    The biggest problem with that is who do you put with Letang on the top unit? Martin isnt a good compliment, Niskanen isnt good enough and Despres just isnt ready for that role (yet).

    But regardless, outright releasing Orpik just isnt a good idea. He isnt THAT bad. The unit as a whole has been sub par and guilty of any number of errors. last night on the PP Letang had three plain-as-day, right-to-a-blue-sweater giveaway within a minute. He’s a turnover machine these days. And when he turns 33 and he cant skate like a stud anymore he is going to have to adjust his game, just like Brooks is going to have to adjust his now that he is 33 and not able to blow people off the puck any more.

    Paul Martin needed to adjust his game when he turned 33ish last year and couldnt skate like he used to. Brooks is learning how to play as an ‘old guy’ and someday Letang will do the same. EVERY PLAYER goes through this, about this age too. Look at almost any player in league history and this is about when their play starts to decline.

    Unless you are Ovechkin, then it happens when you’re 28 and discover cheeseburgers.

  74. Drew71 says:

    It was no big deal.

    Just introducing him to my wife

  75. Patrick says:

    Orpik (no c) is by no means done. He might not be a top-2 anymore but to say he is worse than Bortuzzo or Engelland is outright absurd. When veteran players lose a step you dont outright release them you cut their minutes and drop them back in pairings.

    Bryan Trottier wound up a third line center by the end of his career, and he was the heart of a line that won three stanley cups.

    Mark Recchi played third line for a lot of years after his peak.

    Hal Gil wasnt released when he turned 33, he played a ddifferent role. These guys arent horses. You dont take them out back and shoot them when they dont perform to your expectations every night.

    Plain and simple i f you take him out then you have to start either Bortuzzo or Eaton in his place. You really want to make the arguement that either of those two are better than Orpik?

  76. Bizrow says:

    Game thread is up

  77. Drew71 says:

    In other words, “scoreboard”.

  78. National Mart of Records,

    You are receiving undeserved vitriol today.

    Did you used to date his mother in the past . . . . or yesterday?

  79. She kept holding this little dog in strategic places!

  80. Drew71 says:

    Here’s another of same:
    – 40 points leads division; tied for conference lead

    In another season, pointing out that other good teams have two or three games in hand might weaken the argument a bit. But remember:
    1. In THIS crazy, compressed season in which teams are at risk for exhausting themselves, it may not be such a bad thing to have fewer second half games remaining than your competition
    2. As Deep Groat points out, look which team is getting hot as the season progresses. Recent trends usually are, well, trends.

  81. John Lease says:

    Yes, as a speedy guy it’d be terrible to get something for his speed, because bunting is unable to be taught.


  82. Patrick says:

    Depres being in and out of the lineup is one of those old coaching tools some ‘old-school’ coaches use. You see it in baseball too. Sometimes when a kid is physically ready and his skills are mature enough to be brought up (and everyone including him knows it) you leave him in AAA for another week just to see how he emotionally reacts.

    The philosophy being if he freaks out and gets all pissy, then he isnt emotionally mature enough to be a professional yet, and better you find that out in AAA than in the majors.

    Kind of the same thing with Despres, I think anyways. Bench him for a game, just to see how he takes it. And really they have won 7 in a row and the last MONTH they are 11-3 with a 3.21 GAA. Lets not burn the boats just yet…

  83. NMR says:

    I’m sending a box of tissues as we speak.

  84. Thundercrack says:

    Conversations like these make me want Blyslma bashing to start.


  85. Drew71 says:

    I know what you’re thinking. The nasty incontinent poodle.

    But Little Dog is my wife’s very unfortunate pet name for…

    Wait. That is WAY too personal.

    And embarrassing.

    So nevermind

  86. Patrick says:

    You know…I would actually be OK with engelland on the 4th line wing for a few games. truth is he is a pretty good skater. He can move petty fluid. he just loses his place and gets caught to much. He gets confused who his man is in his own end. But it isnt because he cant skate.

    And at this point…why not? Glass couldnt be much more of a disappointment and I doubt Big D could fail any worse.

  87. By the way, I agree with you wholeheartedly about creating hullabaloo over sending a 21 year old back to AA where he has had only 3 starts.

    He can start there and still be promoted after 6 weeks, can’t he?

  88. Patrick says:

    I actiually had to sit next to a group of guys yesterday at lunch that had these gems come out of their mouths:

    “We need a big bruising running back. We shoulda signed REGGIE BUSH”
    “Ben sucks, they shoulda cut him (he was dead serious)….”
    “I would KILL to have Tim Tebow on the Steelers…nobody has ever really given him a chance..”
    “Keenan Lewis was terrible. Ill be glad when he leaves.”
    “Joe Flacco is UNDERRATED…(again, dead serious)…”

    It was comical. was infuriating. And it was pointless to try and correct them. Anyone who thinks Joe Flacco is UNDER rated is obviously not someone who can be reasoned with.

  89. Patrick says:

    Good to see you back BTW. You were in florida correct?

  90. Hey Drew,

    Sorry I missed you at Pirate City. Got sick (pansy) and didn’t make it to Pirate City until Tuesday/Wed/Thursday.

    I looked for anyone holding a fish, but no one stood out. I even looked for you sitting on the back of my Audi by the Pirate bobbleheads in the grass/parking lot, but never spied you.


  91. Jandy says:

    Patrick, you said what tried to say right below here, only way better. But that said, I still think there’s more going on with Brooksie, just not sure what.

  92. JohnS says:

    I would absolutely make that arguement. I would look at 44 as their 7th best D at this point. He adds really nothing to this team not even a physical presence. He has never been higher than a 4th D in his career. Don’t over value him because he is ours.

    I am not suggsting releasing him, only playing him the minutes that are comensurate with his ability.

    Shero should have tried to move him last year while he still had a little value and the team would have him for a full year. He won’t be on the team next year unless it is at a deep discount.

  93. Patrick says:


    And actually aside from two comically poor performances by Vokoun in Montreal and MAF in Philly their entire defense has been above average for about a month now. The last three games they have given up a combined 4 goals and everyone wants to take Brooks to the glue factory.

  94. Jandy says:

    TC, don’t YOU start too :P

  95. Drew71 says:

    Yeah, that was the only day I could make it. I work on the other side of the state and only have a chance to make it there on weekends

  96. Jandy says:

    Did you lose your lunch on them???? Good Lord!

  97. Jim Leland’s Son,

    Being at Pirate City and running on the beach along the waves makes me 16 again every year.

    I love to watch the Bucs take infield practice, work on cutoffs, block pitches in the dirt, take batting practice, play homerun games.

    And I enjoy watching a game or two in McKechnie.

    Better there being a little boy than here in the cold and snow. I love it.

  98. Patrick says:

    There is nothing, nothing, nothing about Eaton or Bortuzzo that is better than Orpik. Orpik plays against the opposing teams top line for 25 minutes a night. Bortuzzo and Eaton play 10-12 minutes against the other teams equivalent of Tanner Glass and Tyler Kennedy.

    You move Eaton or Bortuzzo up to the top line, or even the second pair, they would get SHREDDED. Eaton wasnt even playing a mmonth ago, for anybody. Anywhere. So if you think he is better than Orpik then you are smarter than every GM and coach in every professional league in North America.

    If you want to make the argument Orpik isn’t what he used to be and doesnt deserve 25 minutes, I wont argue. But to say an AHL jouneymen or a guy who started the year in street clothes are better options than Orpik is just crazy talk.

  99. NMR says:

    That’s all I’m sayin’.

    JT pitched lights out in his first few weeks of HighA ball before struggling and eventually improving. Exactly what you’d like to see form a prospect.

    Three good starts doesn’t mean the same thing won’t happen at AA.

    And just to be clear, I don’t have a problem with DK’s outspoken Front Office angst. I just wish he’d own it instead of playing the “tired of it” card like he did all winter. It’s entertaining, he clearly enjoys it or else he wouldn’t be nit picking obscure comments regarding an exhibition game nobody cares about, and he’s right more often than not. Own it, man!

    DK: Going to try to spell this out for you: What I’m tired of is all the non-baseball tripe. That was my sole reference.

    Criticizing or praising the baseball team on baseball matters — or openly and clearly stating that this front office should be replaced — doesn’t have a blessed thing to do with that.

    No idea how you interpreted the “hooey” thing, but that was the intent. These guys will sink or swim based on baseball. That’s what I wrote. That’s what I meant.

  100. NMR says:

    I share DK’s dislike of all that is Florida, but you’re making me awfully jealous. :)

  101. #17 above in JAL’s list makes me sick!!

    There must be $$$ in it or he’s not doing it.

    This is like getting rewarded for wizzing in the urinal instead of in the bushes! That’s what you’re supposed to do!!

  102. Jandy says:

    Fun hockey article here:
    POP comparing Letang to Kobe Bryant

  103. Kevin says:

    Seconded. Go Pens!

  104. Kevin says:

    I said it. I think it is no coincidence that of the top scoring lines last season and this season both contained a canadian-born Chris Kunitz. (for some reason, I thought he was American-born.. thanks for clearing that up DK..)

  105. Jandy says:

    Our company recycles padding and cardboard among other things. And yes, we get so much per pound for it. Guaranteed that’s the case there.

  106. NMR says:

    The Pirates Charities sign alone probably used enough natural resources to cancel out all the recycled water bottles and pop cans at Seven Springs and PNC.

  107. Jandy says:


  108. Iceman says:

    While this idea is crazy, I actually think I like it. Might be interesting to see what Engelland does on the fourth line wing. He’s got a decent shot. Not to mention, by playing a fourth line wing he can be an enforcer without putting the d-corp down a man. Losing a fourth line winger for 5 min is a much smaller loss than losing any defenseman for a 5 min fighting major.

  109. Jandy says:

    Patrick has many unconventional ideas. Maybe he should be coach???

  110. dwf says:


  111. pattonbb says:

    if he’s lucky…

  112. JohnS says:

    Bortuzzo is hardly and AHL journeyman. He is a 23 year old defensemen breaking into the NHL and needs to play much like Depres.

    Its clear that you are a 44 fan and that is fine. Different strokes for different folks. I just suggest you really watch his play. Slow to the puck and doesn’t move it well.

    If you want to play 44 in the last pair instead of Eaton I can get on board with that but I don’t want him playing 25 minutes against the top lines of other teams. It is just a bad match up.

  113. Kevin says:

    didn’t Eaton play with Letang during the 09 cup run? wouldn’t mind seeing that again :)

  114. NMR says:

    Sorry, but I’d be lying if I said I believed you.

    Attaching the GM’s non-baseball comment to a slow-movement-through-the-system narrative(that can easily be debunked) after not saying a word about Taillon’s actual baseball performance (that you apparently care so much about) after it happened doesn’t show me you really mean it.

    That’s ok, though. You do a great job, Dejan. And most of all, you don’t answer to me. Thanks for the reply, and for not backing down from criticism.

    DK: You are completely misunderstanding what I’m saying. That’s fine. The less I address stuff like this, the better.

    Really, really, really tired of addressing/explaining agendas, motives, etc., with every other topic I write about. It’s probably more effective — and smarter — to just let the work stand for itself.

  115. brendan says:

    The Pirates have by most accounts one of the top 5-7 systems. They’re in fact one of the few teams that could offer enough to Texas (in terms of prospects). However Texas has thus far not shown much interest in trading either Profar or Andrus (they turned down a potential Upton deal).

  116. Jandy says:

    +1 just because

  117. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Slow week on Federal St…..

  118. theplanisworking says:

    With this FO, its never a slow week on Federal Street!

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