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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

On location: Penguins 2, Bruins 1

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

8557988961_c94fc2fb57Looking ahead to faceoff …

Game: Penguins (21-8) vs. Boston Bruins (19-4-3)

Time: 12:38 p.m.

Site: Consol Energy Center

TV, radio: NBC, WXDX-FM 105.9

Here is the official live box score.

Here is TribLIVE’s Penguins page. Rob Rossi, Josh Yohe and I are covering. And all three of us will be part of WPXI-TV’s live pregame show that starts at noon.

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. Eric Bowser says:

    Malkin skated this morning, Cooke expected to play after blocking a shot off the skate and always an interesting development when learning what scouts or General Managers are attending games involving the Penguins.

    Today, Coyotes GM Don Maloney is in Pittsburgh to watch the Bruins-Penguins game according to Nick Cotsonika (Yahoo Sports). If Phoenix decides to become sellers at the deadline, I think the Pens could be interested in center Boyd Gordon as 4th line center to address the team’s struggles on the penalty-killing unit and seems Bylsma doesn’t really trust Vitale with the lack of SH time even though he’s outstanding on the faceoffs, quick skater, and has played the PK in the minors.

  2. Sarah says:

    I’m still hoping for a physical D. And possibly some Line matching to protect the 4th line….

  3. Thundercrack says:

    Do the Penguins have a 5th line?

    The 4th line is obviously not getting it done

  4. Bizrow says:

    Fantasy Leagues
    Everyone is welcome
    All Yahoo
    ID – 25576
    Password – 1203
    ID – 25595
    Password – 1203

  5. Drew71 says:

    This must also be the Pirates game thread.


    I see that Irwin Pucknutz is starting to day.

    (Ok so it changed from Irving. So sue me.)

  6. Bizrow says:

    Dejan is on TV right now, Channel 11

  7. Eric Bowser says:

    Bylsma strikes again… Despres out, Engelland in.

  8. CWalton_67 says:

    Big test today. Go Pens.

  9. tpbco says:

    I assume you watch yesterday’s game and all that the Rangers got away with. If you want to argue that somebody else other than Depres sits, fine. Engelland, IMO, has to play against philly, boston, islanders etc. This team has no deterrent when he is out of the lineup and Depres, for all his talent and potential, does not bring any physicality to the game at all – especially for his size. When he does, I believe you will not see him sitting again.

  10. Eric Bowser says:

    1-0 Pens
    Dupuis owns Chara… tenacious checker, quick, fast stick, and boom goal for Crosby!

  11. Sarah says:

    Really? He laid some hits last couple games. I think Engallend step down from Depres defensively. Big step down.

  12. Sarah says:

    Why is Crosby out v Chara again?
    Oh yes, no line matching……

  13. Eric Bowser says:

    tpbco – What game are you watching with regards to Despres? He’s a big man 6-4 and I’ve seen him take his man out plenty of times along boards that allows the D partner or forward to pick up the puck and start breakout.

    Just because Engelland is a willing combatant (fighter), it doesn’t mean he’s stronger around the net, along the boards.

    Frankly, Bylsma’s system should want more guys like Despres, not less of them. He’s big, mobile, and has puck skills.

    Let’s see how often Engelland gets beat wide, soft around the net, fails to lift a stick, loses position along boards, etc. – it happens every game.

  14. Sarah says:

    ….and 1-1 game….ugly bounce.

  15. Sarah says:


  16. Eric Bowser says:

    2-1 Pens
    Bad rebound, Vitale scores….

    4th line scores!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Sarah says:

    Wow what a bad cheat b y Rask….

  18. Sarah says:

    Bump that PDO!!

  19. Arriba Wilver says:

    Nice NBC piece on Kunitz.

  20. Eric Bowser says:

    Did someone kidnap Milbury and Jones?

  21. Sarah says:

    Thanks Eric….I sent my reply downstream by accident.
    It’s clear the coaching staff does not consider Depres to be ready yet physically.
    I’ve no idea why. The nbrs when he plays/does not play are overwhelming.

    Add this to the many things DB does that mystifies me.

  22. Sarah says:

    I hope so.

  23. Drew71 says:

    Me too. Like win.

  24. Eric Bowser says:

    Pens lose Letang, appeared Brad Marchand chopped Letang’s hand and he hasn’t played in second period.

    Great to see Engelland’s physical presence deterred the big bad Bruins.

  25. tpbco says:

    Obviously we watch different games or games differently. He has been knocked on his ass more times than I can count. Just getting in someone’s way and calling it a check, is not physical play. Note that does not suggest that, in another year or two I don’t think he couldn’t potentially be a top 4 D. Engelland is borderline NHL “talent”, but fills IMO, a significant role.

    Regardless, and what you didn’t address is – Who else to sit besides Engelland? I am well aware of his weaknesses. My point was, given the lack of sandpaper on this team and the fact that the only other player who is even willing to drop ‘em is Tanner Glass, the “other” roleplayer, doing pretty much what they hired him to do (NOT score 20 goals) is leading the team in hits and gets nothing but abuse from some of the fan base.

    This team is going to struggle in the playoffs against a gritty team over the span of a 7 game series. They need to acquire a couple of guys like that OR guys like Depres have to step that part of their game up and THEN sit Engelland. That is all I’m saying.

  26. Sarah says:

    Weak call. Boychuk lifted crosbys stick into his own face. At least the angle I saw….

  27. Arriba Wilver says:


  28. Sarah says:

    I certainly agree they need a physical shut down D….just don’t think that guy is Engelland. I’d put him on 4th line if physical presence that necessary, before I would sit Depres. Depres may be getting knocked on his azz (I don’t agree it’s been an issue) but they win with him and lose without him.

    And totally agree in their current make up they will struggle in playoffs. Their roster and scheme will be issues IMO…..

  29. Eric Bowser says:

    Worse is the first shift for Crosby after penalty and Boychuk is holding Crosby all over the ice. How is that not obstruction?

    Lucic gets away with a gloved punch to Neal but even more stupid is Neal’s reaction to punch back when his team is about to go on the power play. Teams know they can get into Neal’s head by physically antagonizing him.

    For most part, Pens did a good job to ignore Bruins attempt to play like the big bad Bruins.

  30. Eric Bowser says:

    That shot on Krejci, ouch.

  31. Sarah says:

    Gang it’s looking a lot more like playoff hockey last 5 games…..

  32. Eric Bowser says:

    really nice game by Pens as Vokoun had to make some good saves and defense had to mix-n-match with the loss of Letang after the first period.

  33. Pucknutz says:

    Sure is. Well played third held on to a 1 goal lead.
    Go Pens!!

  34. Sarah says:

    Do we have word on the Letang injury?

  35. Sarah says:

    Are they 5 GA last 5 games?….

  36. MadTurk says:

    I see DE and DB are the whipping boys of the day. Nice win and winning streak no mater who is on the ice. Something must be going right.

  37. macchamp74 says:

    Looking at Letang play, to me it looks like his heel might have been clipped by skate.

  38. Sarah says:

    Really? I thought it was his wrist or hand….but I only saw one replay….?

  39. macchamp74 says:

    Pens calling it lower body injury.

  40. Sarah says:


  41. macchamp74 says:

    I hear ya, but as with all Pens injuries, we may never get straight info.

  42. Sarah says:

    Hah! DB is on hot seat IMO since last spring!!! I like DEs toughness, but not at the expense of sitting Depres….

  43. TJ says:

    Tough to see Letang get injured; hopefully it won’t be too serious or it might further the rumors of a Johnson trade from Columbus.

    As much complaining as I do about this team I really got to say I can’t believe the weekend they just had. Shutout a team that is desperate for points and bounce back and beat one of the best teams in the league less than 24 hours later. Great job all around.

    Looking at the Pens it looks like they have played 2 or more games than most every team in the league. Hopefully they have a couple days off coming up soon.

  44. Sarah says:

    Yes they have earned a well deserved rest! These last five games have been what they need to do in playoffs. I am still not convinced they have the roster or scheme to survive four rounds….but this last few games goes a long way to show that it is at least possible.
    Go Pens!!!!

  45. Eric Bowser says:

    Pens are saying lower body injury and saw it posted on Twitter that he tweaked an existing nagging injury. The Penguins defense was noticeably worse bringing the puck up the ice with Letang out of the game as they had a season low 18 shots on goal, only 8 in the second and third period when Letang was out.

  46. Eric Bowser says:

    Pens have played 30 games and Crosby still stuck at ZERO game winning goals.

    Interesting little stat.

  47. MadTurk says:

    I don’t always like it either, but hard to argue with success.

  48. MadTurk says:

    I would like to see more of Depres s well and with Letangs injury we just may

  49. Pucknutz says:

    Eric, sorry man but “game winning goals” is another of those “stats” while they may be interesting can be somewhat misleading.
    Take yesterdays game – the first goal was the “Game Winner” but was it really more important than the 2nd or the 3rd which actualy ices the game ?
    Interesting little stat but what does it mean – if anything?
    My eyes glaze over every time TV guys start spoutin obscure stats just because some guy in the truck is feeding them an obscurity just because they have the data.
    ie: ” Sid has more backhand goals when he trims his nails on Monday than when he waits till Wendsday so he trimmed on Monday so we should see a backhander today for sure”.
    So I ask you, what does that “stat” tell you about the future -if anything?

    Love ya Eric – you are certainly a hockey nutz but sometimes the stats drive me nutz!
    LOL Go Pens!

  50. Drew71 says:

    Bylsma strikes again. Right?

    Has a coach ever been fired on a nine game winning streak?

    You’d think so if you read this thread.

    But. How many in a row would they have won if he had played Despres?

  51. Drew71 says:

    And by the way. How did the fourth line do today.

    I’m just curious.

  52. Drew71 says:


    So those posts today never happened.

    Nor worries.

    They’ll appear again tomorrow.

    On a thread discussing the last of 9 straight wins for the conference leading Pens.


  53. Pucknutz says:

    Drew I love ya man,
    You would make the famous semanticist S.I. Hayakawa proud!
    When I implied that you may be sarcastic I was not even close.
    The rhetorical questions you post above beg for answers and I suspect they will go begging.
    Mildly ironical or merely argumentive I cannot confirm or deny .

    Irving PutzNutz is growing on me! LOL

  54. Drew71 says:

    Thanks, Putz. That made my day.

    Almost as much as the Pens win.

    Despite the, you know, bad coaching.

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