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Chat transcript: Bylsma’s mix and match

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Here’s today’s chat transcript covering the Penguins’ pending line shuffle for Game 2, the Steelers’ remaining vacancies after the draft, and the Pirates’ still-glaring lack of starting pitching, plus more.

Thanks to all for participating.

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. NMR says:

    I understand Dejan’s logic in treating the Collins story for what it is, no big deal.

    But, I have a hard time accepting that to be the truth. It would seem to me that if sexual orientation in male sports wasn’t a big deal, you wouldn’t have players – professional all the way down to youth – still afraid to come out.

    The general population may think being gay is as different as being left handed, but I really, really doubt that sentiment extends into the locker room. Hopefully Collins bravery opens the floodgates, but I still get the feeling that it can’t hurt to discuss.

    DK: I think you might have misinterpreted what I wrote. If you look again, NMR, I’m not coming close to suggesting the event itself isn’t a big deal. No one could dispute that. I’m just applauding the fact that it really didn’t make much of an impact, didn’t make anywhere near the talking point that most seemed to think it would.

  2. 21sthebest says:

    I’m holding off on the bravery for now. He probably knew he wasn’t getting a contract anywhere next year before be came out. And if he doesn’t, oh how the league and owners will be vilified.

    Martina Navratilova was far braver than he ever was 32 years ago.

    DK: I’ll second you on Martina, Mr. 21, because tennis stars — especially living legends like her — make the bulk of their money from endorsement deals. Those apply even after retirement. By any reasonable estimation, Martina had more to lose by coming out than Collins.

  3. Nate83 says:

    Agree, about Martina. Not so sure about Collins. I don’t think he has any alternative motives in the timing. I think he just thought that it was time. He has made good money over his career and is extremely intelligent. I think he would have gotten a league minimum veteran contract regardless. He is still a good player and plays the right way. Great guy to have on your team for younger players to work with and learn from.

  4. NMR says:

    Poor wording on my part, Dejan. I think you explained yourself very well.

    DK: I appreciate your listening to my explanation.

  5. NMR says:

    I hope I’m the one that is wrong and that I’m making a bigger deal out of the locker room mentality than there really is.

    But I personally think there is a big difference between the mind set inside and outside.

    The only two negative comments I’ve seen about the Collins story have come from football players. I hope they’re isolated in their ignorance, but I expect they’re not.

  6. Patrick says:

    I think it has a lot to do with the ‘locker room’ mentality, but not strictly in a homophobic way. If Collins had been say, an integral piece of a high profile team rather than a bench warmner at the end of his career, then everyone on the team would have to shoulder some of the media crush.

    Every city they went too, every interview would be the same 5-6 questions over an over and over….every Loss would be viewed through the context of “is the gay guy being a distraction”. Every slight mistep in grammar or joking comment would be painted as something it wasnt meant to be.

    In short, a gay player comes out would negatively effect his whole life and his whole team. Even the players who couldnt care less and probably already knew would have to put up with some type of annoying media crush. Imagine what it would be like if E! network sent Perez Hilton into an NFl network with a microphone? Dont laugh. stuff like that WOULD happen.

    But thankfully, like DK said, none of that seemed to happen. So maybe now more men/women will come out when its given the big “Meh”

  7. Ghost says:

    Navritilova was truly courageous. I could be wrong but I don’t think hardly anybody was coming out on his or her own back then (Billie Jean King was outed), and certainly nobody of Navritilova’s stature. That said, it absolutely still was courageous of Jason Collins to step forward this week. For the remainder of his career there will be the little daggers thrown his way by the trash-talkers on the opposing team. And there will CERTAINLY be the idiot fans who will taunt him from the stands, in the hotel lobbies, and everywhere else he goes. If these fans can get their thrills by waiting behind a cordon just to yell “diarrhea!” at Chan Ho Park, you know they will taunt Collins. Collins had to know that this, among other far uglier realities, will forever now be unreversible, yet he made his decision and went forward.

  8. Patrick says:

    The biggest hurdle will be an active NFL player I think. A lot of giant egos and bravado in those locker rooms as oppossed to other sports. Lots more ‘machismo’. Simply the fact that their are 50+ players on a team as opposed to 20-25 like other sports doubles the chances of one guy (M Wallace) saying something stupid.

  9. Ghost says:

    I see in some of the remarks above a developing theme of “who is more brave?” or “how Jason Collins isn’t/wouldn’t be as brave as…” Come on people. Appreciate how hard this must have been for him as an individual and leave it at that. Do we really need to start a Bleacher Report-like ranking of “Who’s the bravest to come out?”

  10. Patrick says:

    This is sports. By next week I’m sure there will be some advanced metrics on the level of gayness. Probably a show hosted by Skip Bayless and Greg Louganis on the WWL.

  11. Ghost says:

    “I’m sure there will be some advanced metrics on the level of gayness.”
    Excellent! 10 +’s.
    But seriously, I get how we come to this place to hash things out and compare and basically enjoy chewing the fat. It’s in my blood too, as a sports fan. However, we might want to take a step back on just this one and let it stand for what it is. We can get back to the barstool debates on all the other stuff.

  12. JohninOshkosh says:

    “For no other reason than that it’s got the best opening 20 seconds in punk history.”

    No, sir. That belongs to the first 20 seconds of “London Calling.”

    That opening ranks with the discovery of fire’s use as one of the most important developments in human history.

  13. TJ says:


    Just an update. My status for comments on the blog the next couple days will be listed as day to day with an “upper body injury”. Decided to stain the deck today and got some Malkin burn.

  14. I’ll counter with the first minute of Baba O’Reilly

  15. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t know if it’s the “best” first 20 seconds, but this Volbeat song is in the running:

  16. JohninOshkosh says:

    Should be an interesting series between the Caps and Rangers, Ovie v.King Lundqvist.

    I’ll take His Majesty over the Russian.

    I didn’t know Ovechkin was engaged to Maria Kirilenko.

  17. JohninOshkosh says:

    Sorry, Arriba. Did not mean to put that post as a reply. But since I am here, Volbeat is currently on tour, play Madison on May 16. A friend of mine is going.

  18. JohninOshkosh says:

    I couldn’t get used to hockey on CNBC. Now, I get it. You go from Jim Cramer yelling at you to Mlke Milbury yelling at you.

  19. Milo Hamilton says:

    To 100 year old Bob Cole doing play by play. Yessss.

  20. Milo Hamilton says:

    OK I lied, he’s only 80.

  21. Drew71 says:

    My walk up and fall down song is Heroin.

    Great first 20 seconds.

    And the next seven minutes are a real trip.

  22. Arriba Wilver says:

    If I tried to go, I think they would turn me away as too old to go. :-)

  23. Pucknutz says:

    Drew did ya mean “wake up” and fall down.
    Just curious, because I have that problem once in a while. I blame it on strong local gravity storms . Has absolutely nothing to do with large volumes of liquid bread consumed the prior evening. :)

  24. JohninOshkosh says:

    Just once I would like to hear a player say “YOU go have fun” back at Regis.

  25. Brandie says:

    What is the timetable on your return? What kind of equipment will you wear? Do you know when you will be ready for full contact posting?

  26. Pucknutz says:

    Rangers score 1-0 late first.
    Caps gettin way to much zone time and shots – Lundquist keepin them in the game.
    Hate the Caps – Go Rangers.

    Lovin this playoff hockey – good games almost every night!

  27. Brandie says:

    Enthusiastically second the Go Rangers part.

  28. Pucknutz says:

    Thanks for the second Brandie – nice to have a “wingman” or woman in your case coverin the blind side! :)

  29. Drew71 says:

    interesting. I’m enjoying some liquid bread right now.

  30. Drew71 says:

    I despise them both. I hope every one of their games goes to 7 overtime periods so that it doesn’t matter who wins the series.

    So there.

  31. Drew71 says:

    80 what?

  32. theplanisworking says:

    Can we hope for ties, and both get eliminated??

  33. Drew71 says:

    im sure they wouldn’t turn you away.

    they’d call 9-1-1.

  34. Brandie says:

    You are the straw that stirs the drink. :-)

  35. Drew71 says:

    And EYE appreciate that you appreciate that he listened to and appreciated your explanation.

    (how do i make puking sounds without offending everybody?)

  36. Brandie says:

    Such a pot stirrer.

  37. Drew71 says:

    and EYE am the straw that sucks.


  38. JohninOshkosh says:

    I get the feeling Tortorella likes to pull the wings off butterflies. Seems genuinely mean.

  39. Milo Hamilton says:

    Sail on Silfverberg, sail on by.

  40. Drew71 says:

    Wow. How did you know my wife’s maiden name?

    And my wedding vow?

  41. Milo Hamilton says:

    Canadiens has 41 shots through 2 periods. Five minutes into the 3rd, they trail 3-2.

  42. Milo Hamilton says:

    That’s Canadiens had.

  43. Milo Hamilton says:

    Don’t you remember, I played the accordion at the reception.

  44. Drew71 says:

    That’s Canadiens Habs

  45. Milo Hamilton says:

    How did Erik Karlsson ever win the Norris Trophy ?

  46. TJ says:

    So does Mr Melnyk think that Gryba should be tossed out of hockey after that hit on Eller tonight?

  47. Milo Hamilton says:

    Hope Lars Eller is OK. But there should be no suspension there. It wasn’t even a penalty. Lousy result, good hit.

  48. Milo Hamilton says:

    As a matter of fact, the league should rescind the game misconduct.

  49. TJ says:

    He was head hunting; I agree shouldn’t be a game misconduct but its a dirty hit. Those types of hits should be banned period. Its like hitting a defenseless receiver in football. But Gryba’s intent was obvious.

  50. TJ says:

    The caps are going to be a very dangerous team if they keep winning like this. The could be this years LA Kings

  51. Drew71 says:

    sure. until they meet a good team.

  52. Drew71 says:

    Ah. The Beer Belly Polka.

    For my wife.

  53. TJ says:

    I’m sure everyone thought the same about the Kings last year; something to be said about a team getting on a roll at the right time. Its happened before.

  54. TJ says:

    DK thanks for marking my tweet as a favorite!

  55. TJ says:

    If you go to youtube and watch the video of the hit on Eller my favorite part might be Subban standing up and pointing at the Ottawa bench. Kind of makes me chuckle. Is he going to leg stomp the Senators?

  56. BillyBaduka says:

    Both are great openings. I would throw The Stooges “I Wanna Be Your Dog” in there for best opening 20 seconds in punk history.

    I don’t think I could choose between these three.

    I’m not a big Stooges fan but if I had to play one song for someone to convey “punk”, that could be the song. Not that I’m ever asked to do that.

  57. BillyBaduka says:

    That did not show up where I expected…

    As Gilda Radnor would say….never mind

  58. BillyBaduka says:

    That is the right thread, thrown by posts immediately above.

    Long day.

  59. Milo Hamilton says:

    He wasn’t headhunting, he bodychecked the guy. Eller was playing the puck.

  60. BillyBaduka says:

    Great opening too. Doesn’t fit the punk category. And I’m guessing that’s part of your point.

    If I can go outside punk and opening 20 sec, first 1:20 of Don Caballero “Fire Back About Your New Baby’s Sex”.

    Instrumental band, I have no idea what the title “means”. Not having lyrics to tie the title too, they have a lot of obtuse titles.

  61. BillyBaduka says:

    I like the ska influence.

    Haven’t heard of these guys.

    Thanks for sharing.

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