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Thursday Wakeup Call: Two pictures, 2,000 words

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, lunatics …

>> The weekly chat begins at noon, and the platform will be posted right here on this blog. As always, you can begin submitting entries as soon as you see it.

It’s not like we’ll have any shortage of topics to discuss after a really fun night of Pittsburgh sports which … well, let’s leave it to the Trib photographers to tell the tale of two events …

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That’s Brenden Morrow going all Gordie Howe on P.K. Subban and the Habs last night as part of a two-goal, one-assist, one-fight, new-folk-hero night at Consol. The photo is taken by our Chaz Palla.

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That’s A.J. Burnett going all Nolan Ryan on the Cardinals, pummeling them in his own way with a gesture to the visiting dugout. This photo is taken by our Christopher Horner.

The Trib has a neat way of distributing its photographers, believing that each excels by being assigned more to specific teams, though there is some crossover. Palla is with the Penguins most of the time, Horner with the Pirates all through spring training and beyond. (Both do Steelers, which always take all hands on deck.)

That’s how you get shots like these. They know to be waiting, watching in certain situations, seeking out the best angle and snapping at just the right time.

>> As for the events themselves, I was up at Consol and shot this video with beat writer Rob Rossi

>> Here’s the game story from Consol by Josh Yohe, with priceless material from Morrow. And here’s columnist Joe Starkey’s look at Brooks Orpik’s place with the franchise.

>> And here’s the game story from PNC by Travis Sawchik. If you haven’t heard the name, that’s because he’s a new hire from the Trib. He’ll be working with Rob Biertempfel on the Pirates beat.

I think you’ll like Travis. We passed him through our agenda-o-meter, and he emerged clean as a whistle!

>> It’s a shame the two games were played at the same time, really, especially for the Pirates who will always fall short in that duel with attendance and TV ratings. But it’s also neat that it played out as it did.

>> A peek inside the box at Hunter Gilstrap, the Riverhounds’ experienced (and animated) keeper, by our Jerry DiPaola.

I’ll save the rest for the chat. Hope to see you there!

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.

338 Comments

  1. Wow, I’m up for a post

    Before Drew

    I want to thank you all, especially Drew, for making this blog someplace special

    Its a Burgh/cake-eaters/poodle/dachsy thingie

    Good tidings and they will catch those bas&&^&%s that wrecked havoc and sorrowing to our nation

    Folks, gotta be all in to stop that

  2. Note on the AJ picture (based on his interview with MLB network) – he was shushing the Cardinals bench, under the impression they were chirping at Martin, who AJ had “thumbed” with a slider. When he realized that they were chirping at the ump, and not his teammate, he responded with a “my bad” and was apologetic for the gesture (saying “That’s not me” – showing up the opponent).

    But MAN, what a game he pitched.

    So which gesture are you a fan of more – 2013′s “Shhhh” or 2012′s “STFD!!!”

    • Good question. Okay, I’ll vote for “Shhhhh” then. Not really a fan in general of when people — especially wannabe tough fans — yell “STFD.” Everyone has to sit down about seven out of every ten times. Except for the loudmouth fans. They belong sitting down at all times because they’re ruining the game for the people seated behind them.

  3. Dude,

    18 bucks for two coffees. NO drink is that good!!!

    • “NO drink”? I dono about that. I’d pay 18 bucks for two Hendrick’s martinis and feel like I had gotten more than my money’s worth.

    • Groat, did you go to Starbucks????

    • After a prolonged at seas deployment in 1994 we landed in the Sailor’s paradise, Australia. It had been 58 days since I had seen eaten (food that wasn’t reconstituted, drank (more than water that didn’t still have the faint taste of desalinization) or been merry (whatever that means to each of you).

      In Australia they don’t care for hard liquor, mostly beer drinkers. They don’t have to many American flavors either, so they are fairly expensive. So in 1994 I paid 32 for a double Johnny Walker Black. Totally worth it.

  4. Very impressive night for AJ Burnett and Co. The Pirates have belted 38 hits in their past thee games and this lineup is beginning to look very formidable. Even the bench of late with Fort, Tabata, Sanchez and tonight Presley have been coming through when called upon.

    Now just imagine how scary it can look if Pedro gets hot, which he will at some point. One positive is he only has 3 K’s in his last 15 AB’s.

    Pretty impressive that the Pirates are 6-2 in their last eight and have done so against the Reds, Cardinals, and Dbacks all above.500 teams who many predict to be contenders. In three of those contests the Bucs had starters fail to go five innings, twice fail to go three innings.

    @diehard- my vote would still be for the ’12STFD moment, I believe that is an attitude AJ has brought and will be carried over to this season.

  5. DK, what’s the “agenda-o-meter?”

    DK: Welcome to the blog!

  6. Morrow looks like Bobby Clarke in the pic … with teeth.

    DK: Yeah, you never know what’s real when it comes to hockey teeth.

  7. Bucs and Pens both win on the same night.

    I am so glad Shero is on our side.

    Pirates need more nights like last night……………………. good pitching, scrapping for runs, and no stupid mental errors.

    Love the quote about the agenda-o-meter.

  8. Enjoyed the shoutout to the staff photographers. Last year I went to the Newseum in Washington, DC and they had an exhibit on sports photography. They had footage of several photographers talking about some of the most famous shots in sports history. It was really interesting listening to the guy who took the famous SI photo of Ali standing over Liston (one of my favorite sports photos).

    Dejan, do you have any idea how many pictures the photographers take each event?

    DK: It’s not that simple. They get a really high number of exposures for each snap. (Is it called a snap? No idea.) So every time they, um, snap the camera, they have their choice of exactly the right moment. And they’ll shoot every play, every kick, pass, swing, catch, shot, save, you name it to search for them.

    • + 1. I thought the same thing about the photographers. Outstanding work! And, as others have said…a good night in the ‘Burgh.

  9. What a night for Pittsburgh sports. Congratulations AJ, Jarome, and Morrow for bringing a gritty vibe to the city. Here’s hoping for even better things to come. Thoughts and prayers go to those dealing with the tragedy in Waco, TX today.

  10. I know that the Beef Jerky monster can hit .086, and he has a lot more power than PA., and he won’t strike out as often.

    So let’s try to improve “a bit” at third base ASAP

  11. WIDE RECEIVERS for the NFL draft:

    Don’t forget about the Alan Robinson article highlighting the draft…..today he focused on receivers…..which still is an important need for the Steelers. Manny Sanders is supposedly outta here after the 2013 season…and PLEX will be celebrating his 50th birthday…. ;-)
    .
    http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/3826943-74/catches-patterson-steelers#axzz2QWG75dGn
    .
    If the Steelers don’t select a defensive player in Rd . 1 (OLB Jarvis Jones or S Kenny Vaccaro)…and focus on a receiver. If Tavon Auston and Cordarrelle Patterson are both available….it leads to an interesting debate in the Steelers war room. Take the small, quick guy from WVU …who has great production for the past 2 years, but is labeled “too small for the pros” …..OR, take the tall athletic dude from Tennessee who has great potential, played only 1 year @ a major college …but could be boom or bust. If it’s me making the pick…I want Tavon Austin …for his production and game breaking ability in both receiver and kick/punt return . I love what Mel Kiper sez about him ….”no one can put a hit on this guy.”
    .
    Couple of other receivers to look out for (not mentioned in article):
    .
    Terrence Williams…Baylor…6-2…208….4.48 40yd.dash
    .
    Markus Wheaton…Oregon State….5-11…190….4.40 40 yd dash
    .
    Marquise Goodwin….Texas…5-09 …..185….4.25 in 40…..former Olympic long jumper

    • If Steelers didn’t have so many needs this year, I’d take a flier on Denard Robinson from Michigan. I don’t the Steelers can afford to take the time to convert him to receiver though.

  12. Is it time to set up the playoff rotation?

  13. Under the weather again with a sinus infection the last couple days. Watching the Pens last night…well, let’s say I forgot all about it. Words cannot say how much I despise PK Subban. Pure and simple…he’s a punk. Brendan Morrow, the new hero. He’ll be bigger than Billy Guerin. Don’t know if he can surpass Gary Roberts…that’s huge hockey skates to fill. But I’m pulling for him!

    • Jandy,

      wasnt it Subban that injured Staal in the Pens playoff series against the Canadiens a few years ago? A dirty play if I recall?

      • You are correct my friend. One can make a case it was accidental. I reserve my right to call it dirty!

        • Comforting to know I cannot remember what I had for dinner last night, but CAN remember that.

          Go figure.

          Yeah, Subban has a reputation around the league, it seems.

          But at least he isnt “soff” ;)

          • Plan, you remember what is more important ;)

            Subban not soft? What he is, is a ^uss^ for getting Morrow in a head lock and not fighting like a man. Morrow let him have it for that!

    • I made a comment when the Penguins got Morrow that he’d quickly become a fan favorite: he hasn’t disappointed. And, it’s not even the playoffs yet. Morrow is… relentless.

  14. Just turned on the news. You know. The real news.

    Looks like our prayer group is needed again. This time in Texas.

    Horrid week, huh?

    Circle Of Love time.

    Seriously.

    • Drew +101.

      It goes to show that even though we jokingly call this place “the asylum”, and most are “lunatics”……………………… aint even close , compared to that big, scary blu marble we live on.

      “We have met the enemy, and it is us! ”

      See you guys later………. busy day today.

      “And just be careful out there.”

    • Amen, Drew. This is just heart breaking. Sending up prayers!

    • Indeed…what a week. My wife said this morning, that this is just too much of a reminder of 9/11 and all the crazy “follow-up” stuff that happened. PRAYERS!

    • Definite prayers sent their way. I can remember when the fireworks factory blew up around here several years back. My family and I were driving by as it happened. Was terrifying. Can remember large pieces of debris falling behind our car as we were driving away. Can only imagine the people in TX experienced the same thing. Prayers to the families and the community.

  15. JAL’s I’ve Been Everywhere Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoIfglXAbh0

    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 Stats

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsjN0zO-DxI0dHVOMzdPYm9wUEJtdVJ0WWUzVWhFc2c#gid=0

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: A Great Day of Starting Pitching

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/first-pitch-a-great-day-of-starting-pitching.html

    Prospect Notebook: Zack Von Rosenberg Switches to a Two-Seam Fastball

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/prospect-notebook-zack-von-rosenberg-switches-to-a-two-seam-fastball.html

    Pirates Notebook: Top of the Lineup Heating Up

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/pirates-notebook-top-of-the-lineup-heating-up.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates defeat the Cardinals 5-0 on a milestone night for A.J. Burnett

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/4/17/4237476/pirates-defeat-the-cardinals-5-0-on-a-milestone-night-for-aj-burnett

    Taillon and Kingham dominate

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/4/17/4237014/taillon-and-kingham-dominate

    7 WHYGAVS

    Game 14: Pirates 5 Cardinals 0

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/april-2013/game-14-pirates-5-cardinals-0.html

    8 The Green Weenie

    AJ Almost Perfect; Bucs Roll 5-0

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/04/aj-almost-perfect-bucs-roll-5-0.html

    9 Rumbunter

    Jameson Taillon Still Has Some Things He Could Improve

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/04/18/jameson-taillon-still-has-some-things-he-could-improve/

    Is the Free Michael McKenry Campaign Really Going To Be A Thing Again in 2013?

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/04/17/is-the-free-michael-mckenry-campaign-really-going-to-be-a-thing-again-in-2013/

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 5, Cardinals 0

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/04/pirates-5-cardinals-0/

    • I’ve Been Everywhere Johnny Cash The original hit was by Hank Snow in 1962 but Cash’s version was used in a commercial and probably most widely known

      • My boss has this great photo in his office of Johnny Cash, guitar in hand, flipping off the camera. Great photo. True icon, but Snow’s version was better.

        Despite all the technological wonders developed in the last 25 years, still nothing can capture an emotional moment like a simple still photograph. The photography out of Boston this past week proves that once again. Thanks for giving the photographers their just due, Dejan.

      • One of those things that you don’t think much about at the time but upon reflection turns out to be life changing: I became a Johnny Cash fan when he came out with a cover of Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe.”

        Two great artists — same words, same thought; two entirely different styles. It bridged the generation gap, when generation gap was a new phrase in our colorful language. I started listening to country instead of exclusive rock and roll, and hey if one new experience is good let’s try another. I discovered classical, folk, swing, and jazz — and the passion that runs through good music made me realize that people are more alike than you would imagine from examining their opinions.

  16. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Minor League Player Suspended For Incident With Fans

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/04/17/pittsburgh-pirates-minor-league-player-suspended-for-incident-with-fans/

    Evolution Of Travis Snider Starting To Yield Results For Pittsburgh

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/04/17/evolution-of-travis-snider-starting-to-yield-results-for-pittsburgh-pirates/

    12 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Cards one and done against Burnett

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cards-one-and-done-against-burnett/article_23a805cc-9a9d-5f4c-8ed8-8602927938dc.html

    13 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates rotation struggles signals biggest early concern

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/04/17/pittsburgh-pirates-rotation-struggles-signals-biggest-early-concern/

    14 KDKA

    Walk On Wednesday: What Is Going On With J-Mac?

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/04/17/walk-on-wednesday-what-is-going-on-with-j-mac/

    15 Sporting News

    Brandon Inge battles abusive heckler in minor league game

    http://aol.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2013-04-17/brandon-inge-heckler-peanut-beer-fight-indians-mud-hens-tigers-pirates

    16 CBS Sports

    Atlanta-Pittsburgh Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130418_ATL@PIT

    17 Sweetspot

    A.J. Burnett outduels a young A.J. Burnett

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/34978/burnett-outduels-a-young-burnett

    18 PBC Site

    Burnett flirts with history in shutting down Cards

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_04_17_slnmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap_home&c_id=pit

    Notebook: Burnett notches milestone with 2,000 Ks

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130417&content_id=45054662&notebook_id=45074752&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    8 Choo-sing to Look on the Sunny Side

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20137

    20 Fangraphs

    Pedro Alvarez and Kyle Seager and Degrees of Bad

    http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/pedro-alvarez-and-kyle-seager-and-degrees-of-bad/

  17. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers Draft 2013: If the Steelers are interested in Eifert, a trade down makes sense

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/4/17/4233932/steelers-draft-2013-trade-down-value-scenarios

    Steve McLendon visited with the Green Bay Packers

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/4/17/4236726/steve-mclendon-visit-green-bay-packers

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Former Steelers RB Merril Hoge To Announce Pittsburgh’s Second & Third Round Draft Picks

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/04/former-steelers-rb-merril-hoge-to-announce-pittsburghs-second-third-round-draft-picks/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Daily Telegraph

    England manager Roy Hodgson criticises growing number of foreign players in the Premier League

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/england/10002082/England-manager-Roy-Hodgson-criticises-growing-number-of-foreign-players-in-the-Premier-League.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 17th April, 2013

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-17th-april-2013

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 USA Today

    Pittsburgh Penguins rough up Montreal Canadiens 6-4

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nhl/2013/04/17/penguins-rough-up-canadiens-6-4/2092231/

  18. agenda-o-meter is my cousin.

  19. Are my eyes deceiving me or did I see Vitale on the PK last night?
    Any word on his injury?

  20. OK one more then I have to get some work done. Pascal Dupuis has been invaluable since Sid went down and even before that. Last night he played Center, and did it well. While he only had one assist, it seemed like he was everywhere opening up lanes, blocking shots, and forechecking and backchecking. Very under rated player.

  21. Link #11 has an interesting look at Travis Snider. I either wasn’t aware of, or had forgotten, that they totally revamped his swing.

    • Yeah, didn’t they do that as soon as he came here?

      • Yes, according to the article it started as soon as he came here, and is ongoing, and is a good part of the reason for his lack of power. It explains it a lot better, though.

        • Thanks for the heads up, AW. I never read the Rant articles, but that one was pretty good.

          Do you think Pirate fans will ever let the “dripping with power” jokes go and appreciate the on-base skills, or is this a case of feeling like we were sold something different than what we bought?

          • And note that I’m far from saying the Travis Snider of the first month is going to be the Travis Snider of the next four years. Preface that question above with a big “IF”.

            • Understood. Me too.

              IF the Pirates win, and he continues to hit around .300 with some decent RBI’s and 15-20 HR’s (like the article suggests he might), probably won’t hear much about the “dripping with power.” Otherwise . . . ?

              My own opinion is he would have been a decent off-season pickup and a lot of the angst over him is about the timing of when he was picked up.

              • Thanks for the response.

                I was asking myself the same question last game and pretty much had the same answer.

                Funny that Travis Snider may be turning into what we hoped Jose Tabata would be.

              • I don’t find it odd, I was pulling for Snider from the beginning ;)

    • It’s one of those things that you hope will continue to work out — get the outfield settled and then start concentrating on fixing Pedro’s swing, the shortstop problem, and catcher.

      OK, it’s early in the season. Martin may still work out. Better than Barajas, anyway.

      OH yeah, and DK said something about starting pitching.

      I hope Locke has something to prove against Atlanta.

  22. Gotta appreciate DK supporting the Trib’s photographers and graphics people now and in the past, especially when he does it by name.

    Those guys truly do put on a heck of a production and it’s nice to see the pretty face show them some love!

  23. In the 5 games since the trade deadline the four main acquisitions (Iginla, Morrow, Murray and Jokinen) have combined for 9 goals and 9 assists.

    Also since the trade deadline the NJ devils have scored 7 goals, as A TEAM.

    Of course the Pens are also now 17-1 since they yanked Eaton off of the couch and slapped a sweater on him.

    After last night Brandon Sutter has 2 more goals than Staal while averaging 34 less minutes and almost no PP time.

    Anyone who needs more proof as to the importance of the Vokoun pickup only needs to look around at everyone elses #1 goalie right now. Price was floppiung around last night. Bryzgalov has fallen apart. Ward is hurt. Ryan Miller just looks tired. Even Broduer is cracking.

    I have a vision of Ray Shero standing at a podium, looking out across the other league executives and saying:

    “I don’t always take other teams players players, but when I do, I prefer to take their Captain.”

    “Stay losers, my friends.”

    • Patrick, great post. I for one was afraid we would miss Staal a lot more. I’m happy to say I was wrong.

      Ryan Miller looks tired as soon as the season starts. On another team, he’d be a lot better.

      In Shero we trust!

    • “Dos”-Like!

      Where is the Shero for the Pirates?

      Stuart

    • Really like the pickups made and Morrow especially – seems like he is feeling more comfortable and nice to see him scoring a bit too.

      Loved him jawing at PK from the box last night – lots of fun there.

      Really looking forward to the guys coming back soon and getting settled a bit before the playoffs start.

      This team has a COMPLETELY different vibe, in my opinion, than the group the past couple of years. Think the addition of the “older” guys who haven’t won a Cup really is making a difference in terms of their tenacity and approach. Let’s hope that carries through a long run, ending with the Pens hoisting their 4th Cup!

      Let go PENS!

      Randy in RVA.

    • This X10. Wonderfully stated.
      Morrow is the player the Pens have needed for the past three years.
      Jokinen, Vokoun, and Iginla tell you everything you need to know about how lucky we are to have Mr Rejean Shero.
      Mark Eaton. Yes, Mark Eaton might well be Pens MVP.

      Is it possible that I might actually get to watch the Pens win a Cup?

    • ‘I don’t always take other teams players, but when I do, I prefer to take their Captain”
      “Stay losers, my Friends”

      Nominated for quote of the day. CLASSIC

    • Like – all the above.

  24. Correction: “averaging 3-4 less minutes”. Not 34.

  25. If AJ is still pitching like this by the trade deadline and we’re below .500, would anyone be in favor of dealing him? The only reason I ask is b/c his contract is up at the end of the season.

    • Not I, AJ has already stated he will either retire after this season or play for the Pirates. He doesn’t want to go anywhere else.

      • But Dom’s question pertained to the last two months of this season. I’d rather keep him unless the trade offer is too good to be true and we’re well below .500.

        • I would humbly suggest we keep him, no matter what.

          1) If he pirches well and we are in contention, its a no-brainer.
          2) If he pitches well, and we are out of it, trading him will send a message to the other players that winning just doesnt matter. I say keep him, and re-sign him for another year or 2.

      • I second that.

    • No way. Brings way to much to this team and will continue to as long as he is here.

    • Wouldn’t that also depend on whether we’re buyers or sellers at the deadline?

      This team could go either way.

  26. If Shero is doing such a bang-up job, why didn’t Vokoun show up on the score sheet last night?

  27. Morning everyone-

    Missed the first period last night but I’m freaked out by the idea of this team missing 4 of its top players and still playing at this level. Where would this team be without the additions of veterans like Iginla and Morrow. Could you imagine how our lines would look??

    Kunitz-Joikenen-Dupuis
    Bennett-Jeffery-Kennedy
    Cooke-Sutter-Glass
    Adams-Vitale-Minor league player

    Ugh how nasty would that be? We’d be rushing Neal, Crosby and Malkin back from injury and potentially making things worse.

    • I still think, despite Bylsma’s comments on the issue, that Crosby, Malkin and possibly Neal will be back for Saturday’s game. He can talk about how’s it’s not important to get in a game before the payoffs, but that’s nonsense and he knows it. They don’t want all the lines to be juggled to start the playoffs, no matter how much talent and confidence there is and they certainly don’t want to throw 3 big minute players into the mix all at once and have everyone finding their comfort level when every shift is important. Bylsma a$$ is on the line this season and he sure doesn’t want to be playing line games come May 1st unless he’s comfortable with looking for work this summer.

      Plus; I know Crosby wants to get back ASAP, regardless of what Bylsma thinks. I said he’d be back Saturday and I’ll stick with that.

    • To hazard a guess, I’d say Geno and Neal next week…but no earlier than this Saturday.
      Sid will be after those two. He’s had no contact yet. Maybe next Thursday.
      Martin will come back for the playoffs.

      • I predict Sid practices with the team Friday, game day skates on Saturday and plays that night. If not, then he probably won’t do it on the road (especially against Boston) and we won’t see him until the final game against the Hurricanes. With as well as they are playing, he can play less minutes just to get comfortable in game action wearing the shield. All he needs is one contact practice to know if he can manage the injury in a game. The last thing he wants is keep waiting and come back cold into the playoffs wearing headgear after sitting out a month. IMO and probably his, at this point, if he can practice, he can play. He’s got the special protection and it’s not like he’s slowly rehabing a typical body injury. His jaw really has nothing to do with his hockey skills and capabilities.

  28. Eric Tangradi had a Gordie Howe hat-trick last night as well.

    Well, minus the goal and the assist.

  29. Another thing worth mentioning when talking about Staal. He may have more points than Sutter but he’s a -19. Brandon Sutter +2. I’m not sure Staal is playing like a 6+ mil player right now.

  30. First of all, great night for Pittsburgh sports fans. Only go to watch the last 6 minutes of the Pens game, but great to see big wins for both the Pens and the Bucs.

    Great stuff by the Trib writers today as well.

    - I loved Starkey’s column on Brooks Orpik. We have been a bit hard on Brooksie this year and he has certainly deserved it at times, but talk about a man who is the Penguins. It is amazing to think about when he first came here and how bad the Penguins were, but he has stuck it out and has surely been rewarded for his tenacity. It is a great reminder to think back on so many of his great and honest interviews (something we so rarely get from professional athletes), his many phenomenal hits, his defensive prowess, and of course “The Shift.” I still get chills thinking about that game. Great stuff to hear about why “Free Candy” stuck around when he could’ve gotten more money elsewhere. Might we say thank you once again to the legend, Gary Roberts.

    - And speaking of Gary Roberts, Pens article compared Morrow’s play in the last few games and last night to Gary Roberts, and I have to say that Morrow is the closest thing we have had to Roberts since he was here. Plays with the same grit every shift just as Roberts did and he brings some serious leadership by example. The Gordie Howe last night just adds to that and I cannot wait to see what this man is going to bring to the playoffs. If I’m playing against him, I’m a little scared.

    - What a night for AJ as well. He has brought some passion to this club that I haven’t seen in a long time. We may be hard on the BMTIB, however, this was a huge pickup and we have to give them credit for that. If the rest of the team can feed off his passion and drive, we could see the Buccos moving in the right direction.

    - Oh and Marte-Partay. Wow…

  31. I don’t know if I’m overreacting, but that photo of AJ got me to thinking that AJ takes over the place more than any other Pirate since Stargell, and arguably Dave Parker, too. Despite the great teams of the late 80′s and early 90′s, I can’t think of any one player that did that. It’s like a combination of talent, leadership, personality and character. And this is only his second year.

  32. My couple thoughts…

    -Pascal Dupweeee has become one of the most underrated players in the NHL. Just can’t say enough about his play. Not even just this year. Pretty much the whole time he’s been in Pittsburgh.

    -Tyler Kennedy still sucks. Ok, he played alright last night. But when everyone’s back he has no business suiting up for anything other than a 4th line role. I’ve never seen a player take so many stupid shots through 12 miles of traffic and then pass up a 15 foot open lane chance.

    -I was never too worried about Staal leaving. Especially at his price.

    -Bennett continues to impress me. Now if he’d just start shooting the freakin puck.

    -After 9 games, Douglas Murray is now only 8 points behind Tyler Kennedy. Peanut averages .26 PPG and Murray is averaging .33 PPG. Just sayin.

    -For me, if we don’t get to the conference finals then the ball has to drop on Disco. He’s been given way too much depth and talent to not make it at least 3 rounds deep. I’ve said before he’s a great regular season coach. This will be his 5th go-round in the playoffs where, aside from one season when he inherited a Therrien team, he’s traditionally underperformed as bad as any of his players.

    Many people like to paint the Tampa series loss as a lack of Crosby/Malkin even though they finished the regular season 2 points out of 1st place in the Eastern Conference, had the most wins in the conference and had 3-1 series lead. Anyone think the lack of depth excuse should hold this year? I don’t.

    • My last point was a worse-case scenario where Geno and Sid didn’t make it back in time for playoffs…

    • Brad did you hear them mention during the game that Despres has started working out with Dupuis? Thought it was great that Dupuis was taking on a mentor role in terms of conditioning.

      • I did- after how Simon played last night he might want to move in with Pascal. Which, for better or worse, his name always makes me think of the little chameleon dude from “Tangled”. Kids are ruining my thought processes.

      • And I’d like to point out that (and I have no idea how he does it) Dupweee is the best in the league at slashing and hooking without getting called for it. Pretty much every shift he has I’m thinking how does he get away with that?! But I guess if it aint broke, don’t fix it.

      • Brad, agree with you. I was never a Staal fan, thought he was terribly overrated, couldn’t believe how much Shero got for him. As for Kennedy, was at game last nite and he’s worse in person than on tv. He’s so weak on the puck, I’m a chick who has no clue how to skate and I bet I could steal the puck off of him. Benneet should be in lineup over him, but Disco won’t b/c he hates rookies. Thankfully i didn’t have to watch Engelland lumber around the ice last nite.

  33. Not sure how many of you caught DK’s tweet from last night:

    WWBMD?

    Priceless, from several perspectives.

  34. Happy Birthday, Superman!

    75 Years ago today Action Comics #1 released. Created by two kids out of Cleveland, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, making Superman the best thing to come out of Cleveland besides Lucky’s wife.

    It’s a genuine Nerd Holiday.

  35. Video of Dejan and Rob Rossi:

    4:50 long— about 4:30 of it Rossi.

    Loved Morrow’s ‘P.K.’-O of Subban last night.

  36. I dont care (actually I do) what AJ does the rest of the season, but his attitude is EXACTLY what the Pirates have been needing for years.

    The fact that he backs up his talk, or finger gestures, is fun to watch. I wish I was able to watch the game last night.

    Gotta have that fire in the belly. I think a lot of baseball players have lost that outer fire in them. As DK mentioned, Nolan Ryan had it, AJ has it.

    Who else does?

    • I especially appreciate a pitcher with that attitude. The “here’s my fastball, what can you do with it” type of attitude and then, as the great Giants announcer, Mike Krukow says, “grab some pine meat!”

      Need that swag…

      • I think Starling has it and you’ll see it come out the more comfortable he gets.

      • Seconded + 1

        • Agree…a little too early for him to show it, but I think its there. Where Cutch is the calming effect, I think Marte might be the fire.

          I really do think Marte will be as good as Cutch, in about 2 years.

          • Hate to harp on this while he’s so hot, especially because I am starting to believe Marte has the skills to rival Cutch, but there’s no way he gets to that level with his plate discipline issues.

            And no, they haven’t gotten any better.

            If he continues to mash to the point of pitchers taking notice, he’ll never see enough strikes once they realize the ball doesn’t need to be over the plate in order to get him swinging. And missing.

            • I won’t complain if he turns into Vlad Guerreo (I can’t spell that!!!)

              And yes, you do continue to harp on his plate discipline.

  37. Does anyone know if you can still access chat transcripts from Dejan’s years across the river.

    I have tried to Google using phrases and monikers I used, but nothing is coming up.

    Did that paper expunge that stuff from the internet? Because if they did, I don’t find that something a newspaper of record should be doing.

  38. Saw in the other paper that Jerry Sands was suspended for 1 game for going into the stands and defending Brandon Inge against a fan who was heckling him. Check NHuntingtard’s reaction to the incident.

    • From Michael Sanserino at the paper across the river:

      “[Tuesday] night in Toledo, there was a verbal dispute between a fan and Jerry Sands, during which Jerry briefly entered into the stands,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said in a statement. “The situation was quickly resolved without further incident as the fan was ejected for his actions. We do not condone Jerry’s actions, and support the league’s decision to suspend him for one game.”

      What exactly is wrong with it?

      You don’t honestly think the general manager should publicly CONDONE a player entering the stands, do you?

      • Not that I would agree with entering the stsnds., at least support his wanting to defend a fellow player.

        • I give Sands credit for having the Chutzpah…something NH would never understand.

          • Oh come on, ladies!

            Can you really picture Ray Shero supporting Simon Despres jumping the glass in order to confront a fan? You never, ever leave the playing field.

            Huntington gave the blandest, most cliched approval one could. No benching or team suspension. Just a blurb for the papers.

            • Still have to give Sands some credit for it.
              Though I will agree, you just shouldn’t do it.
              That’s conflicting, I agree, but oh well.
              It’s like secretly admiring him for doing something I don’t have the guts to do.

              • Haha, oh don’t get me wrong, the fan in me could give two craps about Sands doing this.

                I was just objecting to the thought of ANY baseball executive actually publicly supporting that kind of action. Just would not happen.

              • I agree, NMR, that it can’t be publicly condoned. Just saying, I feel there was more than just normal heckling going on, and I envy Sands for having the Chutzpah to do what he did. Not making him a hero or anything :)

    • Jerry will be up early running through sandpits for that one. Along with a heavy dose of blasting cold water right at his… upper thigh area.

      Way to defend your players, SEAL. I don’t condone players going into the stands by any stretch, but when fans are throwing stuff at them, what can humanly be expected?

      I’d support MLB suspending toolbox GM’s for a game or 2.

      • “I don’t condone players going into the stands by any stretch, but when fans are throwing stuff at them, what can humanly be expected?”

        I’d like to believe that Brandon Inge and Jerry Sands aren’t the first two players in baseball history to be heckled and have peanuts thrown at them. Why hasn’t there been a rash of players entering the stands throughout history, it’s what “can humanly be expected?”

        • Babe Ruth did it. Maybe not a rash, but it’s happened. Hardly unprecedented. It’s reasonable to humanly expect the possibility of something like that happening.

          Again, I’m not saying it’s right. But with all the talk about leadership and having each other’s backs, you’d think the GM would at least acknowledge in his statement that it wasn’t some unprovoked incident that occurred over just a verbal exchange.

          • IT WAS A HECKLING FAN THROWING PEANUTS.

            “While we don’t condone Jerry leaving the field of play, presumably to beat the snot out of a fan, we are encouraged that he’s ready to defend his teammate from common heckling by use of violent force. Having come from a different organization, we’re pleased that he’s already developed a bond with his teammates.”

          • It’s inexcusable to leave the field. Sands is lucky he didn’t get 20 games.

            I’m all for taking up for teammates. But if someone enters the stands, you’re just begging for big problems.

            • EXACTLY. You never, ever leave the playing field.

              • If you’re concerned for someone else’s safety, you leave the playing field. I’d have to know exactly what Sands thought the fan was doing.

                If I was a player and saw fans doing something to my family, I’d be in those stands faster than a jack rabbit on a date.

              • I’m agreeing with JHadar, it likely wasn’t just the run-of-the-mill heckling. That’s why it was only one game suspension.

          • Sean,

            I never once said what Sands did was ok. Never said Neal should praise him. All I said was Neal could have been a little more supportive for a young player who made a mistake. Not saying the suspension should be disputed or anything of the sort. If we are going to play the “what if” game, what if Inge or Sands was hit in the eye by something other than a peanut? What if you or I were in that situation?

            This comes from a GM who’s quick to throw everyone but himself under the bus on a regular basis. I openly admit I don’t like Huntington or how he handles himself. If something I wrote suggested Huntington condoning a bayonette charge into the stands then I must’ve missed something.

            • You didn’t suggest a bayonette charge into the stands (a phrase, which I admit, did get me to chuckle), but you did suggest that Neal should have said something to the effect of rationalizing Sands’ actions.

              My stance is that there is no rationalization of Sands’ actions. I can’t imagine any general manager of any team in any sport saying, “Look, I know what the player did was wrong, but you have to understand, that heckler was REALLY mean.”

              Granted, I do not know what was said to the players. Maybe there was a heinous threat that could invalidate my theory of this being just some really mean-spirited heckling. I’ll admit my argument isn’t perfect in that respect.

              But I can only imagine the media circus if Huntington said the player entering the stands was OK. That’s asking for trouble.

              • I’ll certainly concede that last point. I think my gripe just harkens back more to SEAL’s personality than anything else.

                Glad you liked the bayonette charge. I come up with all my wonderful idiotic imagery in my head when blogging. Such as the Tyler Kennedy peanut salesman skit from a few weeks ago.

              • I love your imagery, Brad, keep it up lol

    • It must have some provocation. There were apparently another player (Pie) or two that had to be held back or they would have been in the stands, too. And, after all was said and done the fan was ejected and the suspension seems pretty much like a slap on the wrist. It would have been a lot different if he had made contact with the guy, of course, but imagine the brouhaha (ha ha) if Huntington had said that entering the stands was ok.

      I read his statement, “The situation was quickly resolved without further incident as the fan was ejected for his actions.” as going about as far as his position would let him go in defense of Sands. While not condoning the action, he made it a point to mention that the loudmouth was ejected.

    • One game? For going into the stands? Seems pretty light to me.

      I have no idea what was said or done, but if a player leaves the field and goes after a fan, I think a double digit suspension is in order.

      Just adding my 2 cents.

  39. Why is it that some folks think that because they pay a few bucks to watch a game that they can say anything and do anything and it’s all OK?

    Those aren’t robots they’re heckling but real people with real families, problems, etc. of their own.

    I don’t think ballplayers should have rabbit ears by any stretch of the imagination, but, in those minor league stadiums you can hear a lot sometimes.

  40. You are quite the comedian Dejan with that forensics comment. You’re on a roll!

  41. “And Saturday? All I do is sit around and think hate-filled thoughts about a fourth outfielder.

    Until next week!”

    Dejan, I don’t think that poster meant that YOU hated on Snider. But a LOT of fans certainly do, as it’s perceived Snider was to be a power hitter.

    • Does that mean DK is “dripping with hate” ?? ;)

    • Yeah, I also didn’t read that as the person actually insinuating people hate Travis Snider, as DK apparently did. More in the opposite of “show him some love” slang. Nobody says that expecting people to actually love a person.

      But it is interesting in this context that three times in the same chat Jose Tabata was put above Travis Snider. Once by a commenter for his defense, once by Dejan for his leadoff skills, and once indirectly by Dejan for Snider “being annointed the right fielder this year” (which of course never actually happened, but don’t ruin the narrative).

      Even if you think back to the Jose Tabata of 2010, which really was the only good Jose Tabata, what skills does he have that Snider hasn’t shown this year? Is he really a better defender? Better arm? Speed?

      DK: The Pirates — Huntington and Hurdle — stated repeatedly and on the record that right field was Snider’s job. By mid spring training, Huntington downgraded that a bit by saying it was “Snider’s job to lose.” That’s not narrative. That’s fact. Those are direct quotes. He entered this calendar year as the default choice for right field.

      Why would anyone lie about that?

      • I thought the most interesting answer by Dejan concerned whether the Pirates front office had animosity toward him. His response was that he could care less.

        As media types like to say: He answered the question but he did not deny it either.

        DK: Deny what?

        There’s nothing below the surface here. When you call publicly for four people to be replaced at their jobs, it isn’t going to be all hugs and kisses with those four people. There’s no secret in that, no revelation.

        My point in the chat is that it isn’t a concern. If I wanted a job making friends, I’d go work at a puppy farm or something. This job is about serving my editors and readers.

        • We get that you don’t give a rat’s patootie whether or not the front office loves you. OshKosh just said that you didn’t deny that they hate you. Tell Chip to cool it, Dejan. Sheesh!

          • No worries here, Jandy. I think his answer to me was straightforward. Not chippy at all. I appreciated the response. It still blows my mind, quite frankly, that he is so willing to engage his readership. Don’t know anyone quite like him in his business. That’s why I am here-along with enjoying the other folks who are here.

            • Oh don’t get me wrong…but i do think Dejan gets the wrong impression from things on here….which isn’t hard to do….things get misinterpreted without emotions and body language.
              Dejan is by far my favorite blogger, and I’m proud to admit being a lunatic :)

            • I think DK engages us to give the ambulances (and white coats) more time to get to us.
              Just sayin’

        • Puppy farms are horrible places! Why not just work at PetSmart or somewhere like that?

          • Have you ever seen that Conan O’brien bit where Satan and his minions are portrayed by adorable puppies? Hilarious. I would supply a link but don’t want to interrupt the blog with a huge image.

      • I remember hearing Neal say during a spring training telecast that Snider was his right fielder and his saying that surprised me. But who really cares. It’s not like the things they say are always backed up by their actions. And in this case it looked to me like they changed their minds on Snider until Snider started doing a little something. His .290/.371 is good enough to me to keep running him out there over any other combination right now.

        DK: And that was the sole point of noting those one or two times that I bothered commenting on Travis Snider, that he was the Pirates’ default choice to be the right fielder despite having done nothing to earn it. That’s it.

        What a thoroughly nothing topic this is.

        • I’ve never really looked at putting a team together based on whether or not someone “earns” it. I think they all pretty much work hard and when the organization has done a pretty poor job for this long and you still have holes years after year, you just try to make the best decisions based on what you didn’t acquire and based on what you’ve got. Couple of years ago they thought Jeff Clement could be that guy. This year is Travis Snider I suppose.

      • When I think of someone being “anointed” as anything, it has to actually happen in order for it to be true.

        Snider was never given anything. Didn’t start the year in RF, wasn’t even given preference as Tabata got starts as well.

        Just seems so much ado over, literally, nothing.

        DK: What ado? Where? Who even talks about Travis Snider?

        • :;wavin:: I DO!!!! :) :) :)

        • Seriously?

          How many times have you talked about Travis Snider WITHOUT mentioning that he was handed the starting RF job without earning it.

          You use that line all. the. time.

          Even when it didn’t actually happen.

          DK: Three whole references, all before the season. Here you go:

          http://triblive.com/search/?search=dejan+snider&btnG=Search

          Nice try, though. And don’t bring up the blog or tweets, because I barely blogged or tweeted three syllables about the Pirates in general over the winter.

          • I know you put out a TON of work in all forms of media. I’m sure you don’t remember everything.

            But it amazes me that readers can point out things you do repeatedly and you act like you’ve never heard of such a thing.

    • One of the best things about Snider’s season is that Brad Lincoln has an ERA of 6 only in relief appearances in AAA. 

  42. I feel accomplished today.

    1) I actually got home in time for DK’s chat today. First time. :)
    2) I actually got my question answered………….. First time. :)

    This technology thing is getting to be a piece o cake. ;)

  43. As far as Sands is concerned, at least Huntington didn’t release him. If Milo was GM, he would be gone, as Milo feels he “stinks”.

    And Milo’s generally pretty close to right.

    :)

  44. McLendon signs a three year extension with the Steelers.

  45. And now… I actually get to correct the record for JAL! (Not sure the need for this has ever arisen before).
    “I’ve Been Everywhere Johnny Cash The original hit was by Hank Snow.”

    Actually, the song was an Australian song and the original was by Lucky Starr.

  46. Hey Plain, let’s see if this post goes in both camps.

    DK I am saddened by this quote you make above: “This job is about serving my editors and readers.”

    I thought your LunAtics would be first. :-(

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