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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Monday Wakeup Call: The easiest call of all

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …


>> The Monday column considers the debate between Tomas Vokoun and Marc-Andre Fleury and dismisses it before I’m even a third of the way through.

How do you feel about it?

Even if you agree with Vokoun, do you turn back to Fleury at the first sign of failure?

Would that be fair to Vokoun?

>> The third episode of The Final Word also took on Vokoun/Fleury, as well as other topics related to Pens-Sens and a segment on the Pirates’ bullpen.

We hope you like the show, and we welcome all feedback.

>> If you happened to miss our coverage from Game 6 in Sunday’s paper, this was my column on the Islanders’ effect on the Penguins going forward, this was the game story by Rob Rossi, and this was a look at the history with Ottawa by Joe Starkey.

>> I don’t care how much this sounds like company-man talk, but our Rob Biertempfel had at least as good a weekend in New York as his subject matter. Much good stuff – real detailed, ask-questions-to-learn-more type of reporting — to be found with his byline.

>> I’ll visit with TribLIVE Radio’s Ken Laird and Guy Junker at 11:30 a.m.

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. Scott says:

    I think the goalie situation will probably be handled much like it was with Wregget & Barrasso in 1996. You stick with the hot backup until he starts to cool off, then go back to your Stanley Cup-winning franchise goalie. The backup probably isn’t capable of carrying you all the way through the playoffs, so it makes sense to switch back at some point.

    Of course, ’96 didn’t turn out so well. And if Fleury doesn’t recapture his old form, this situation might not turn out well either. It’s going to be a really tough call. I hold out hope that Fleury will come back with a chip on his shoulder and play his best hockey.

  2. SGR says:

    Love the knowledge on the panel…but let’s lose all the social media stuff. It’s distracting. Don’t really need to be seeing North Hills Nancy’s tweets. Understand why you’re doing it, but aren’t there fan sites for Iron City Joe’s video opinions?

  3. JoeyBats says:

    ** Go with “the hot hand — Vokoun”
    ** Pirate win …Pirate win, again …always great to beat the Mets
    That’s XXI wins and LXI to go ……yes, 82 wins does make a difference! ;-)

  4. John Lease says:

    24/7 putting in the work?

    There’s always a first time, I guess.

    Barmes getting picked off second was classic. I’m sure his range factor more than makes up for that though…(sarcasm alert)

  5. Pucknutz says:

    Ya DK, it is an easy call, you have considered a “debate” and correctly dismissed it.

    In my small circle of Pens fanatics (a very tiny sample to be sure) no one has questioned the fact that you stick w/Vokoun. There have been some questions as to what DB might be thinking but have been quickly “dismissed” as “Nah, you would be crazy to not stick w/Vokoun”.
    Goalies can be, no not can,” are” head cases. Think about it. Who in their right mind would want to stand in the path of 100 mph slap shots. Stick with the hot one. Simple.

    The Flower will be OK. The deeper the Pens go into the run for the Cup the harder it gets for one guy to shoulder the whole load. The Pens are gonna run into some back to back games (NBC will see to that) and possibly some long overtimes. This season the Pens have the luxury of having 2 “good” goalies. They are gonna need them both.

    GO PENS !!!

  6. Drew71 says:

    Dejan posted a response last night re the amount of Pirates talk time on the Last Word…

    “DK: It was a full segment, exactly one-third of the three-segment show. And based on the social media feedback, it’s one more segment than most folks would have wanted on the topic.”

    That’s right. THAT show has a customer base that is much more Steelers-Pirates leaning than THIS blog. The Customers of THIS blog are more balanced to the three Pittsburgh major sports franchises. Including during the Hot Stove League, the baseball offseason, when the Customers of this blog choose to continue to discuss the Pirates. As well as other sports. Not because it annoys people. Simply consumer choice.

    By the way. I recognize that “Balanced” is a word rarely applied to me.

  7. JAL says:

    JAL’s Come Monday Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    Prospect Watch: Taillon and Glasnow Get All the Strikeouts

    First Pitch: The Pirates Should…But the Pirates Will…

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Matt Harvey can’t stop Pirates, who beat Mets 3-2

    Pirates in Week 6: another look at bullpen management


    Game 37: Pirates 3 Mets 2

    8 The Green Weenie

    Pirates Take Series 3-2

    9 Rumbunter

    Neal Huntington Show Continues To Mystify Pittsburgh Pirates Fans

    Jeanmar Gomez Continues To Dazzle For Pittsburgh Pirates

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 3 Mets 2

  8. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 New York Daily News

    Mets can’t muster up offense as Matt Harvey takes no-decision in 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh Pirates

    12 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates Trying to Prove They’re For Real

    Is Pittsburgh Pirates Catcher Michael McKenry Worth Keeping Around?

    13 Bleacher Report

    Pittsburgh Pirates: 10 Pirate Prospects with the Highest Ceilings

    14 New York Times

    Imperfect Harvey Gets Little Help From Offense

    15 Sports Grid

    Mothers Day, Baseball, And A RotoExperts Exclusive Interview With Andrew McCutchen (VIDEO)

    16 CBS Sports

    Milwaukee at Pittsburgh Preview

    17 Sweetspot

    Weekend wrap: Is Jose Bautista back?

    18 PBC Site

    Lucky bounce helps secure victory for Pirates

    Notebook: On Mother’s Day, Bucs get pink pop from Barmes


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    The Week in Quotes

    20 Fangraphs

    Daily Notes: A Brief Review of Francisco Liriano’s First Start

  9. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Ryan Clark: ‘Every (draft) pick was exactly where we needed to go’

    Head trauma, CTE and the future of the NFL

    22 Steelers Depot

    - A Look a Steeler defenders Nearing the end

    Soccer(football) Will T

    23 Daily Telegraph

    Stoke City 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2: match report

    24 World Soccer Daily

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


    25 Pensburgh

    Sidney Crosby nominated for Hart Trophy.

    26 NHL

    Penguins vs. Senators series preview

  10. JAL says:

    Come Monday Jimmy Buffet 1974

  11. JAL says:

    To paraphrase Groucho Marx, I won’t be part of any program that allows me to participate in it

  12. Thundercrack says:

    I could only stay awake for about 2/3 of the show last night. The show didn’t put me to sleep…I just couldn’t stay awake any longer. The TV in my bedroom is just too small and too far away for me to be able to read the tweets on the left hand side of the screen. What I was able to make out from them, just seemed to be the same thing the panelists/personalities said.

    Not impressed at all with the viewer submitted videos. The sound quality of those are poor – sounds like it was recorded in a tin can. Actually I wondered if those people were recording them in their bedrooms…which were in there parents’ basement. Again, I just didn’t think they added anything to the show – no new insight.

    Rossi and DK provided good information and expertise to the Penguin discussion. Rossi was level headed, DK was much more ‘fired up’ that the choice for goalie had to be Vokoun. And I’m still not sure what Philips’ opinion was

  13. Jandy says:

    Love your disclaimer, Drew Dahling

  14. Jandy says:

    I doubt I’ll ever get to stay up and watch one of these shows as I get up at 4:00am for work.

    Vokoun. Simple. No need to even think about it. Go with the hot hand. When he cools, you go back to Flower.

  15. Pucknutz says:

    Sitting here just chuckling at you post, esp “What the heck did Phillips say???”

  16. SJB says:

    As good as Vokoun has been in the backup role, I don’t think there’s anyway the Pens win a cup behind him replacing Fleury. They have to get Fleury back in at some point and the best time is with a clean slate at the start of a new round. They can’t simply wait until Vokoun blows a tire and then throw Fleury back in the mix to bail them out, as he’s not a “bail you out” backup goalie, he’s a franchise goalie as much as it irks people to accept.

    I would let him start the series against the Sens if they thing he is mentally up to it and if he stumbles again, THEN you go to Vokoun as the starter, but it ‘s way too early in these playoffs to anoint Vokoun as the No. 1, as I don’t see him holding up over the long haul and eventually, at some point, Fleury will have to come back in anyway.

    Put Fleury in now and see if a solid win or two can rebuild his confidence…and having the team play better in front him for a change might help as well.

  17. Thundercrack says:

    I think THAT show has a customer base that is much more into the Penguins. Especially last night and especially during that sport’s playoffs.

    Plus if you’re going to gauge things by social media response, hockey will win every time.
    Younger fans…who, well you know, have been early & heavy adopters to this social media thing. (and hockey -especially the Pens- have done a great job of utilizing and embracing social media)

  18. theplanisworking says:

    Hippos dont balance well, either Drew.

    EYE have many “balance” problems. ;)

  19. theplanisworking says:


  20. DJ says:

    I hope HC DB does not overthink this and consider Fleury’s psyche as a motivation for starting him in Game 1. The goal is to win this next series and to have all players understand they need to bring it each game if they are going to stay in the line-up, including our goaltenders. Rewarding those who worked so hard in Game 5 with Game 6 starts sends that powerful message, and it should be no different here. Should Vokoun stumble, hopefully we then have a more mentally tough and focused Fleury — the critical aspects of his psyche — waiting to pick up Vokoun and the team.

  21. theplanisworking says:

    I like the fact that the show has shown some improvement over the first episode.
    The “twitter/fb” panel on the left is like a roulette wheel……… just simply going too fast, but I do like the fact that each panelist has an opinion, not just harumpffing, and saying nothing.

    I do notice that Rossi, and Philips are very laid back. Way too laid back……….like someone needs to poke them to stay awake.

    Vokoun or Fleury? Easy, stay with the goalie that doesnt give up the soffffffffffff goals.

    Awake at 4AM? I sadly remember those days all too well.
    But that is an “episode” of my own. ;)

  22. Jandy says:


  23. theplanisworking says:

    You know, its funny, JAL. I used to feel the same way……… but I figured what the heck, and sent in a FB post to the shows facebook page.

    First episode, Alby is trying to incorporate the Facebook/twitter postings into the conversation. He gets to mine, reads it, says it is interesting, and calls me the wrong name. I laughed really hard, wasnt mad at all, because I am sure it was hard for him to see in a rapid-fire format.

    So I participated, and was called a giraffe instead of a hippo.
    Something to tell my grandkids, I guess……….

  24. Jandy says:

    LOL Hipposter, I actually don’t mind. I get into the office at 6am, half hour lunch, 4:00 quit time gives me overtime. If I choose I can leave earlier, which I will be doing once it warms up. Hubby and I will be taking the Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Meanstreak out and enjoying ourselves a bit. :)

  25. Original Ether says:

    Pitt baseball update (why isn’t there an article on this?):

    #17 Pitt went 4-0 this week and picked up a school record 40th win.

    Ohio 6-5
    Villanova 4-3
    Villanova 12-4
    Villanova 10-2

    Unfortunately, Pitt’s RPI fell to around 65. However, South Florida was swept so Pitt is now in 1st place. 40-11 (18-3)

    Pitt plays it’s final home game against Kent State this Tuesday, then starts a huge series against #10 Louisville on Thursday.

    Pitt holds a 1 game lead over Louisville; 1 win in the series will clinch at least a share of the conference title, 2 wins will clinch it outright.

  26. Jandy says:

    This team has a long way to go to play better in front of either goalie. Therein lies the problem.

  27. theplanisworking says:

    Morning, from chilly, frosty Hippos Pond, Pa. !

    Missed you on the Bucco thread yesterday.

    Brandie has a name for my posts (doesnt she have a name for everybody??)


    She is convinced I was a wrestler in a previous life! ;)

  28. radio wave says:

    Why do the Pens and Sens have to wait? They should start Tuesday, and tonight’s winners Wednesday.

  29. Jandy says:

    lol +1

  30. Jandy says:

    I got to read a bit of that last night just before I went to crash for the night. Busy day. Enjoyable tho.
    Hippomania…priceless ;)

    Glad someone missed me.

    You have to be near Washington, PA…Tanger outlets, right?

  31. Drew71 says:

    Yes. Your first paragraph is sorta my point. Customer base. And also, THIS blog’s customer base does not want to ignore baseball during its offseason. No many how many times that is suggested or implied.

    Shows and blogs that cater to their customer base grow it.

    I have no problem if that show eventually decides that it shouldn’t cater to baseball. Aside from it being too late for me. If that’s what its customers want, give it to them.

    I’m suggesting that this blog’s customers want a more balanced approach. In or out of season.

  32. theplanisworking says:

    Good for you!
    If I were to try to “ride” and vehicle, it would have to be a dump truck! 8-)

  33. theplanisworking says:

    If Hippos Pond was near Little Washington, I would be attending every Pens game I could.

    No, I am out in the south-central part of the state……….. Hershey, Lebanon, Lancaster (home of Tanger Outlets), Reading, Fort Indiantown Gap…………….

    I am visiting the motherland for my cousins wedding the end of this month, so I will be sure to get out, and kiss the ground…… ;)

  34. likeabugonarug says:

    This is my fear, too.

    I think much of MAF’s issues is that he is such a poor puck/stick handler.

    DK, you said last week that MAF was skating around alone on the ice and shooting pucks on the off day that TV was given the nod for game 5. How does MAF look when he’s out there alone, and I presume with a regular stick? Is he still so awkward with the puck then?


    DK: Never wrote anything of the kind, Kevin.

  35. theplanisworking says:

    Miss Jandy, I am outta here………… busy day.

    Will be back for the brewers game……….. we need to beat them like the Reds beat them this weekend.

    Hippo out.

  36. Jandy says:

    have a good one, my friend :)

  37. Pucknutz says:

    I would suspect that NBC has a lot to do w/scheduling right now and the rest of the way out even more.

  38. Jandy says:


  39. Jandy says:

    okies got ya. I have a sister in Mechanicsburg.

  40. SJB says:

    Wooohoo! Nothing like heading down to the Regatta in the morning, a Pirates game that afternoon, then catching some 4th of July fireworks and/or possibly a Stanley Cup finals hockey game later on that night.

    If the NHL and NBC drags it out long enough, maybe we’ll be able to toggle between a Steelers preseason game and a hockey game. ;)

  41. CWalton_67 says:

    I’d rather lose with Vokoun playing his best and it simply not being good enough rather than lose because of MAF’s head case.

    Vokoun is capable of winning. Fleury isn’t.

    Mark Eaton back in the lineup, Despres sits. Simon will be good, but it’s not his time.

  42. stuart66 says:

    Final Word Twit Posters would be better if they accompanied their posts with pictures of what they had to eat.

    Is focusing on the unimportant, (twittery tweets), some sort of counter-intuitive plan for making the show seem important?

    DK did create a monster in creating this blog. Followers here are more like the Leonardo DaVincis of sports fandom. Actually, maybe more like the Thomas a Beckets (Men (and women) for all seasons), following most of the major sports. Naturally I exclude any mention of the NBA as a major sport, and thankfully, the blog is NBA B. Free.

    24/7 missed an opportunity from the go. The new guy has promise, but I would rather have this one site for ALL my sports stuff in the company of Drew, Biz, Jandy, JAL, et al.


  43. Thundercrack says:

    At this rate the Stanley Cup Finals will be delayed…due to the playing of the Winter Classic

  44. scapper says:

    Here’s hoping some people are constantly in Geno’s ear this week in an effort to keep him taking the bait that Neil and Co. will no doubt dangle. They know what that can happen to Geno’s game when he lets all that crap get to him. That Islander tapping 71’s back with his stick is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen during a hockey game.

  45. Jandy says:


  46. Jandy says:


  47. Jandy says:

    Who is commissioned to make the “bug-eyed fat walrus” posters?

  48. hockeymonster says:


    Remember when vokouns shutout streak came to a screeching halt during the season and fleury had to go back in? I got all the respect in the world for vokoun but we can only rely on him for so long…however this will be the ultimate motivation for flower to stay focused in net.

    Overall the style we play in front and rolling 4 lines will determine more than who’s in net.

  49. Pucknutz says:

    Whata ya think we are from Philly. We would never stoop that low now would we????

  50. radio wave says:

    Faster than the NBA.

  51. Damon says:

    He’s the thing though – say you put in Fleury and he lets in a bad goal in the first period. Will the fans boo? Will Fleury rebound? What if he loses game 1? There is a risk-reward to that decision. If Fleury wins and plays even just decent – awesome, he rights the ship. If he loses… I’m not disagreeing with your choice of Fleury, just seems like a gamble. The way Bylsma is pulling all the right buttons lately, I’m OK with whoever he picks…..

  52. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Just throwing out my prediction from last week if the Pens advanced (which dear Lord was that a painful series to watch) that we will see Fleury again. I think Disco will have a shorter leash for Vokoun. You know, one that’s the same length of leash he should have had on Fleury in the first round.

  53. Jandy says:

    I’m sorry, I forget which Hab said, it, but that was hilarious LOLOL

  54. Drew71 says:

    So. How bout that Golden State OT win?

    Thrilling, huh, Stu B. Dru?

    And Jandy. Less than three?

  55. dwf says:

    Even though this should be a “no brainer” for DD, it WON’T! It makes way too much sense to leave TV in goal. And that is exactly why DD will screw this decision up as well. He will see whatever the popular consensus seems to be and go the opposite way. Why you ask, because he is DD and will try to prove how “smart” he is.

    This Pens team, IMO, seems to be less helter skelter when TV is in goal. Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t say they still don’t give up shots. But, they do seem to play a little better for TV.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again MAF is a huge head case and needs to sit on the bench till the pens are eliminated or TV gets hurt. MAF had his chance in goal and well, we saw how it went. The sens forwards are better and will dissect an already fragile MAF. Time for the pens to start thinking about MAF’s long term replacement. I am sure he still has a lot of hockey left in him, but hopefully, he plays it somewhere else!? It appears that the pressure has finally taken its toll on him.

    As for the other changes, this series is going to be brutal! The sens will play physical and dirty every chance they get. The pens will be wise to head to have their heads on a swivel. Especially, Sid and Cooke. As painful as it is to say, I would put Engelland in the line up because he is the only player that will be able to stand up to a Neil, Cowen, or Kassian among others? If this series gets as crazy as it could, I wouldn’t be surprised if they dressed big Mac for a game or two?

  56. Kevin says:

    Thanks for this, SJB. Definitely agree there are reasons to give Fleury another shot. I think you also said it way better than I could have. If you seriously have no confidence in starting Fleury at this point, you might as well bring up Hartzell to backup Vokoun.

  57. Tim says:

    How do you know they play Depres because they want Letang to play a conservative game? Did someone tell you? Or did you make it up? To play a younger, inexperienced defenseman, of all positions, in a series where your veteran d-men are struggling enough as it is, for the purpose of keeping one of your best defensemen, both offensively and defensively, (although, like just everyone else on the team, turned the puck over way too much) borders on incompetence. It doesn’t wash.

    Play the hot goalie. Vokoun’s hot. Play him. If and when he falters, put Fleuy back in. He’s still a good goalie. Maybe this break will help him relax. Maybe not. Time will tell.

  58. Kevin says:

    So then, you don’t even trust Fleury as a backup. Is your next move to bring up Hartzell to backup Vokoun?

  59. AL says:

    Just thinking about how good we’re had it here in Pittsburgh. First it was Mario, then Jagr, then Sid, then Geno. I mean, most franchises don’t even see ONE of these caliber guys ever!
    I also think we’re fortunate to have an announcer the quality of Mike Lange. How many guys can tell you who got traded for who back in say, oh, maybe 1967 and then still be able to broadcast the game on the radio with the unique ability to make you feel like you’re actually there?
    I know there’s alot to analyze about the past series and the one coming up but for me, win or lose, at least it’s been alot of fun to watch and listen since 1984.
    Go Pens!

  60. Jandy says:

    Are you implying that Dejan had one too many Starbucks and is fabricating reasons why Depres was in the line up????

  61. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Haven’t watched much baseball yet this year, but caught some of the #freejordymercer show when he crushed 2 outta the park. Listening to the Fan this am and it sounded like Mercer is going back to AAA so that we don’t have to DFA McDonald.

    So let me get this straight… we have a $5mil a year SS entirely for his glove, a switch-hitting 2B that’s injured every 3rd week while not hitting well against lefties, a 60year old backup SS that’s hitting .067 and a young guy that’s tearing the cover off the ball right now, has at least some potential, and is DIRECTLY helping win games NOW.

    So in order to not lose the incredibly valuable 3rd veteran option above, we send the young guy back. Does anyone else see a glaring problem with this approach? Or am I the only one who thinks an aging backup that shouldn’t bother stepping into the batter’s box should be the odd man out, even at the terrifying risk of losing him?

  62. Jandy says:


  63. Jandy says:

    You’re just a BMTIB hater :P

  64. Kevin says:

    You are absolutely right, let’s put Fleury on DL to get his head looked at and bring up Hartzell to backup Vokoun. Because that makes all the sense in the world.

  65. Jandy says:

    snark alert!

  66. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Since I tend to favor direct, unconventional strategies sometimes, if I were the king of Disco, I would play StevieMac and DEngel (sounds like a Lord of the Rings name) for game one. Get all the bs outta the way early and let them know if they wanna take runs that it’s not gona fly. And it will be flying.

    But I wouldn’t stop there. I’d plant StevieMac in front of the net once in a while, too. We saw how Crankenstein handled himself. Many people were chuckling… but I saw it as a chance to score, or at least something to consider in the future. He basically took 3 guys outta play- 2 D and a goalie. But that’s not really “our game”.

  67. Pucknutz says:

    Rossi’s story on Geno is a pretty good one…

    “An injured left shoulder that may require offseason surgery has prevented Malkin from practicing most of the last two months.
    He has refused to use it as an excuse, but he is equally uncomfortable with a shot that is weakened and the fewer opportunities to fine tune his game.”

    Maye I have not been paying attention but this is the first time that someone has actually come out and said that indeed there are still problems w/that shoulder.

    I have said this before but when Geno gets frustrated he does stupid stuff, That shoulder is certainly frustrating him,

    Geno need to pull back and just play w/what he has got. Geno at even 70-80% is still darn good! He can be the setup man if he feel his shot is subpar – shooters all around him.

    Iggy’s comments are right on the mark also.

    Ya, I shoulda linked the story but I figured yall could find it being on the site and all. :)

    GO PENS!!

  68. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    True. And I don’t pretend to have been paying attention religiously or anything. I’m not even trying to go on BMTIB tirade. But what the deuce?! Is Hurdle ok with this? It seems to me like an SEAL oopsie that he doesn’t want to admit.

    And I don’t even see getting McD as a bad move. Took a chance on a guy cheaply, he didn’t pan out. Oh well. Drop him and move on with the better option.

  69. Kevin says:

    I just said the same thing to 3 people. There’s plenty of reasons to keep going with the “hot hand”. But its not a homerun decision to keep Fleury in the icebox. I would consider it foolish even to not consider the alternative and keep two good goaltenders fresh. At the end of the day, you might still pick Vokoun to go. If you play Fleury gm1 and he falters, the answer is simple. If you play Vokoun and he falters and you are still concerned about Fleury, then what?

  70. Kevin says:

    Yep definitely snarky. Sorry, getting a little frustrated that everybody seems so willing to cast off Fleury, our franchise goalie. Like its a no-brainer decision to just roll with Vokoun until he fails.

  71. Jandy says:

    I don’t want to cast him off, Kevin, but Vokoun has definitely earned the starting game in Round 2. If he has issues, then you naturally go to Flower. Simple, right? :)

  72. Jandy says:

    Geno may have issues with his shoulder, but that’s no excuse to act like a spoiled child and hurt the team with his Genovers and penalties. As you suggest, modify your game. Be the set-up man. Fine. But I’ve seriously had it with this childish shenanigans.

  73. I don’t recommend this usually, but there is a good article on Pirates Prospects, JAL’s link #5, the second part, that has some back and forth on it.

    I don’t normally like the guy’s writing, but he makes some good points in this one. I don’t agree with his bullpen theories though.

  74. Kevin says:

    I agree. They should have scheduled the Penguins already after Saturday.

  75. Kevin says:

    The gut reaction is always simple. I just think we should consider it and not write it off as “the easiest call”. There are other things to consider.

  76. Dom says:

    I wouldn

  77. Dom says:

    I’m not sure why my post got cut off.

    I wouldn’t get my hopes up about Mercer quite yet but it is nice to see him perform.

    However, if he can play at 3/4ths the talent he is at right now for the rest of the year, I’d say we should avoid signing any new SS in the offseason and save the money at another position of need.

  78. Thundercrack says:

    I thought Hurdle offered some good (and honest) insight into their thinking.
    Mercer has options. Those are valuable.

    And to play the ‘what if’ game for a minute, what if you cut McDonald and Walker or Barmes gets hurt again? Say what you want about his bat (does he have one?), Old McDonald plays the best defense out of any of the other middle infielders.

  79. dwf says:


    Why would you want to take a chance with a SOFFFFF MAF in game 1 of such an important series where every game is going to count?? TV has just come off two great games and you want to put the “head case” in??? I like your idea that you posted above, they SHOULD bring up Hartzell to back up TV.

  80. Arriba Wilver says:

    At Link #5 Tim Williams has an interesting look at the Pirates with “The Pirates Should . . . But the Pirates Will . . .

    One of the things is he has a bit of a different take on the Mercer/ McDonald decision. He thinks they should dfa McDonald, keep Mercer and give Mercer Inge’s playing time. That gets rid of one of the Pirates’ arguments for not keeping Mercer—he’d just replace McDonald’s playing time, and sit on the bench most of the time, stunting his development.

  81. Arriba Wilver says:

    Sorry, Lucky. I didn’t see this before I posted mine down below. Great minds . . . :-)

  82. Thundercrack says:

    Thanks for providing that synopsis…I gotta read it later.

    The thing is that I’m not sure he would take away Inge’s playing time at 3rd base. There seems to have been questions raised about Mercer’s arm and if he could play third.

  83. Evan says:

    The viewer videos are pretty grating. Producing video is part of my day job. I’m thinking about doing a submission to the Final Word with special fx, costumes, good lighting, and models. Get ready, DK.

  84. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    How has Barmes been? Isn’t it possible Mercer should split some time with him? Again, I haven’t followed super close so these aren’t rhetorical questions. I hear he’s been hitting little and been below his standard defensively. I would think Mercer could be an “interesting dynamic” at SS.

  85. :D

    That’s about the only time I’m ever accused of having a great mind.

  86. Arriba Wilver says:

    Go for it, Evan. You could do a Chiller Theater type setup. Maybe Terminal Stare is still available. :-)

  87. They say Mercer’s range and arm are a definite problem at short. He failed to turn a DP the other day in one instance and some of the folks on here with pretty good knowledge of the subject noted it immediately. Not just one, but a couple.

  88. Brad, Indiana PA says:


  89. dwf says:


    This will be the 4th year in a ROW that the Pens get eliminated early if you go with our “franchise” goalie. And that makes PERFECT SENSE???

  90. Thundercrack says:

    I think your costumes should make you look like Ron Cook or Mark Madden.

    Do it!

  91. BillyBaduka says:

    Great reference.

  92. Pucknutz says:

    Agree w/ya Saint, pretty much what I was tryin to say. No excuse to act like a spoiled child.
    I am hoping that between the coaches and some of the vets/leaders on the team have a little talk w/Geno and get him calmed down. He is too good a player to keep this up – I think he will be alright going forward. Going forward – sounds like “coachspeak” :)

  93. Arriba Wilver says:

    I agree it is not a “no-brainer.” Fleury is only 3 games away from a shutout in the first game against the Islanders. I’m in the minority and will go with Bylsma’s decision.

  94. Evan says:

    I don’t have a big enough budget to get everyone a perm.

  95. Jandy says:

    NOW see what ya started, Kevin! ;)

  96. Jandy says:

    This is why I can live with Barmes.

  97. BillyBaduka says:

    Brandon Prust. “We really don’t care what that fat… bug-eyed walrus has to say.”


  98. Sarah says:

    I do not think you can win the Cup riding Vokoun.

    I don’t think you can even get to the Cup round riding Fleury.

    It’s a teensy bit of a dilemma.

  99. dwf says:

    Everyone seems to forget that he then gave up 14 GOALS in the next 3 games!

  100. And $5,000,000 says we will. But Mercer would be a better fill-in than Harrison or McDonald, but options will rule in this case.

    I like Barmes as a person and he gives 100% and beats himself up when he fails, but the rest of his career after this season should probably be as a backup somewhere.

  101. Sarah says:

    Bottom line is, if they keep playing this bad as a team on D, they will wear out either goalie.

    MAF will implode a bit earlier than Vokoun. He tends to de-stabilize the team when he does so, whilst Vokoun’s calm helps the team.

    But NO goalie is going very far with the team playing this carelessly.

    If they clean up their act, MAF should be fine, and so should TV. MAF has a better upside. But a worse downside.

    Bottom line, I have not seen them playing responsible D as a team consistently in the last….several playoffs, actually.

  102. Jandy says:

    Ray Shero named a finalist for the General Manager of the year award. In Shero We Trust.

  103. Sarah says:

    Be fair. The team pooped the bed in front of MAF. We had a few other franchise players who were awful too.

    But bottom line, I agree with you. MAF does not have the mental strength to hang in there and stabilize the team when they’re playing awful in front of him. TV does, for a little while anyway.

    But the problem is the careless play, turnovers, open lanes, missed assignments, poor position, all leading to time, room, space, options for the bad guys.

    Until that stops, discussion about G are pretty secondary.

  104. Arriba Wilver says:

    I didn’t forget. And how many of those were “soffff?” 2? No ones arguing he didn’t have a terrible game in Game 4, or that he shouldn’t have been replaced by TV.

  105. Sarah says:

    Actually that is precisely what Madden said last week.
    Depres stabiolizes Letang cos he knows he has to play smarter alongside a youngster.

    So either Madden listened to DK, or vices versa, or that’s been said behind the scenes/lockerroom, whatever.

  106. Arriba Wilver says:


  107. Jandy says:

    But yet, we KNOW they CAN do it…it they WANT to. Look at the 15 game winning streak. What more motivation do you need than winning Lord Stanley? These guys kill me.

  108. Jandy says:

    Hilarious! Thanks Billy, I had forgotten which Hab said it LOLOL! Still cracks me up!

  109. dwf says:


    Good points! I agree, the defense is/has been a huge issue! Might not be a bad idea for the pens to use a trap to slow/frustrate the sens in this one?

  110. Jandy says:

    So then, the Starbucks wasn’t talkin’ ;)

  111. BillyBaduka says:

    No problem.

    Me too. Great timing the pause after fat, I think Prust was thinking POS and went with the far more entertaining “bug eyed walrus”.

  112. NMR says:

    I thought William’s article lacked some basic understanding of how Clint Hurdle uses these players. McDonald is clearly the defensive backup, primarily at shortstop. How in the world could you suggest Inge take his playing time?

    This decision hinges on Clint Hurdle. If Barmes continues to be pinch hit for in the later innings, I think you absolutely have to have a plus defender to replace him. Cannot sacrifice defense when it matters the most.

    If Clint is willing to give Jordy the starts he deserves, isn’t the simplest solution to release Brandon Inge before he turns back into Brandon Inge?

  113. Zico says:

    Whether you like it or not, Vokoun is a 36 year old goaltender with limited playoff experience. He’s been excellent for us all year, and just helped us stopped the bleeding in round 1 and make it to round 2. But, he won’t take us all the way to the glory land. MAF is the one who will do that.

    Let Vokoun continue, but as soon as he falters…MAF has to be our guy, whether the plebs like it or not. Afterall, we are still talking about the TV that was not re-signed by the Capitals last year. MAF = Austin Powers. He needs to get his mojo back.

    I think part of the problem with MAF’s struggles were him, and part were his teammates overall defensive effort. Both of which contribute to more struggles of the other, if that makes sense. Pens need to get back to what they did during that 15 game stretch, protecting their own zone first before taking it up ice. If they do that, MAF or TV would be just fine in net.

  114. Arriba Wilver says:

    2 points:

    1. Tim said it was unclear how the dynamic really worked with Clint and Neal (kinda hard to argue with that),

    2. And he didn’t say Inge should take McDonald’s time. He said Mercer should take Inge’s time. Since Mercer is also a SS, you have to assume he would also take McDonalds backup time there. Inge would essentially be a backup to Mercer’s backup in the infield, other than first, but could also play first and the outfield.

    You’d really keep McDonald over Inge?
    Far from demonstrating a “basic misunderstanding,” I think the

  115. Arriba Wilver says:

    I think the Theme of “Pirates Should, Pirates Will” pretty much covers that.

  116. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    -Great weekend against NY teams. Pens finish off the Isles and the Pirates taking the series against the Mets.

    -I still do not like the Mets; dating back to the late 80’s when they were both in the east. I would like to see them play more often.

  117. That’s an interesting slant on it. They seemed enamoured with Inge in ST and even now. I think I’d rather have him than McDonald at this point, but not at short especially in the late innings, so you make a good point.

  118. Arriba Wilver says:


  119. JohnS says:

    I remember when Mercer and d’Arnaud were in State College. It seemed clear that Mercer was the better hitter and d’Arnaud seemed to be the better SS. All that said Mercer played more SS and d’Arnaud 2B.

    All that said McDonald has to be the guy heading out over Inge or Mercer. They know now that they don’t consider Mercer the SS of the future so they should just be grooming him as a utility infielder/bench player.

  120. Jandy says:

    No Drew dahling, that’s a heart…for sharing love…silly you!

  121. Arriba Wilver says:

    It reminds me of those Bull danglings that some people put in their hitches on their vehicles. But that’s probably just me.

  122. NMR says:

    3rd paragraph, second sentence. “Make Inge the new McDonald”. Seems pretty clear to me, AW, and I’m not assuming anything.

    And yes, if that spot of the roster is to be used as a defensive backup middle infielder, McDonald is clearly superior to Inge. Not even a question.

  123. John Lease says:

    He wants Mercer to take Inge’s time as the platoon guy getting regular playing time, and let Inge take over the role McDonald has.

    I doubt the Pirates do that though.

  124. NMR says:

    I thought Williams was fair in the Hurdle/Huntington discussion, but I disagree with him.

    I feel you have to let your manager manage.

    I don’t want my GM doing the manager’s job. If the GM disagrees with the manager’s decisions, then he shouldn’t employ him in the first place.

  125. Jandy says:

    haha funny you mention that…our daughter bought one for hubby, and we get ALL KINDS of reactions to it when we’re waiting for a red light to change. it’s hilarious ;)

  126. NMR says:

    That’s how I read it as well.

    Which is ridiculous. Brandon Inge cannot take over McDonald’s role.

  127. Arriba Wilver says:

    Maybe Im giving Tim too much credit, but when he said that Inge should be the new McDonald I interpreted that in terms of playing time, not defensive position. Seeing as how Mercer is a SS and Inge hadn’t had one at bat as a SS in his MLB career.

    ” if that spot of the roster is to be used as a defensive backup middle infielder, McDonald is clearly superior to Inge. Not even a question.” Couldn’t agree more if the “if” is correct, but we’re not talking about checkers, we’re talking about the overall makeup of the team. Mercer may not be as good a defender as McDonald, but he can play SS.

  128. Kevin says:

    Someones gotta be “that” guy, right? :D

  129. Kevin says:

    Nobody’s talked about Pedro today. I’m kinda shocked. I was lucky enough that I caught the tail end of the 3-2 win against the Mets on Sunday. I actually DVR’d the ending because I wanted proof for later that Pedro CAN hit the other way. He bopped one over the SS and scored the winning run. It was incredible. Almost as exciting as seeing Melancon get out of the 8th.

  130. Sarah says:

    Well, Jandy, a 7-game series vs the same team and their system(s) is a whole other things than reg season. It’s a game of adjustments, which hits Bylsma’s weakness right between the eyes.

    I would argue he has been unable to crack opposing teams schemes for 3 straight years, and was pretty much countered perfectly by NYI too….but wobbled through this series on superior talent, appaling goaltending by Nabby, and horrible PP by the Isles.

    Destroying MAF in the process, again.

    7 games in a row vs same team is too different from reg season.

    It’s a chess game and for the most part DB is too stubborn/arrogant to play.

  131. NMR says:

    Very, very likely you’re right, AW.

    I took his writing literally, but I should’ve given Tim more credit.

  132. JRay3 says:

    +1…great story indeed!

  133. Sarah says:

    I believe TV had 3 playoffs Ws coming into this series.
    That would be chilling….but at least he’s a vet, and obviously a calming influence.

    He won’t steal goals that MAF, but it will take more for him to break down and start letting in softies.

    NONE of that absolves the team from playing so carelessly with the puck.

    When I see the Pens WIN a Turnover battle (when was the last time that happened?) and keep it under say 4-5 for the whole game, then maybe they’ve picked it up a bit defensively.

    But they look like beer leaguers in their own end sometimes. Don’t even seem to know where they';re supposed to be. Sutter’s been appalling. Doesn’t seem to know who his guy is, til the puck’s in the net… excuses.

  134. JRay3 says:

    Truly a great piece of hitting in that situation, went with the pitch, hit the line drive not trying to do to much with two outs.

  135. Ed says:


    Also, I’ve seen it on here (not by DK) and in other places, that the Pens may consider trading Fleury in the offseason and go with a hot prospect of theirs, whose name escapes me at the moment.

    If Fleury primarily rides the bench, even if Vokoun does manage to take the Pens to the Finals, surely, that will significantly decrease his value.

    If anything, Vokoun has proven that he can do exactly what he was signed for — to be an insurance policy. Being the man for an entire playoff run is another matter.

  136. Ed says:

    Looks like that Mickey Mouse team was able to win the series thanks to a Goofy bounce off the first base bag ;)

  137. NMR says:

    Nice input. You’ve probably seen more of Mercer than most of us.

    If he can man short adequately, yet not well enough to be considered a long term solution, I think the Pirates should treat him like the Cards are with Kozma.

    If he plays short like McKenry catches, then theres no way they can consider him a starter.

  138. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Well deserved.

  139. Kevin says:

    whoa.. ask-eth and ye receive-th. :) I was afraid they’d wait a couple more days.

  140. Ed says:

    He got off to such a terrible start that it’s still dragging him down. Since that 3 for 41 start, he’s hitting .273., .519 SLG, .812 OPS, including 6 HR. If he hits over .250 and hits 30+ HR again, I’m fine with that.

    He needs to cut down on the K’s and draw some more walks.

  141. Thundercrack says:

    I think Jay Bell should make Pedro watch that at-bat before each game.

    On Baseball Tonight last night they did an excellent job at breaking down how Vernon Wells has changed his swing. Pedro might want to take a look at that too.

  142. Thundercrack says:

    Maybe Mercer should also play some outfield in the minors. And a few games at first base. He could be the new super-sub.
    Inge plays all those positions.

  143. Can McKenry be fixed as far as his throwing is concerned? Good Lord, there must be something to do to work with him on his release, steps or something.

    He’s a decent hitter with some power and a fine person. Hate to just throw him on the scrap heap like some.

  144. Jandy says:

    And it helps that the truck sporting the <3 is a dually diesel F350.

  145. Iceman says:

    I loved watching Crankshaft sitting in front of the goalie on the PP. He took at least 6 crosschecks and his feet didn’t move at all. Not to mention he is a big body in front of the net that has to be super tough for the goalie to see around. My only concern with the strategy is if Murray has the speed or ability to get out of the way of shots coming in from the point. Don’t want him to be blocking our teams shots.

  146. He’s tall. He should play some first.

  147. Iceman says:

    Or it could just be that this is what both of them are seeing. Whether it is a strategy by the coaches or not, it does appear that Letang plays more at home when Despres is on the opposite side as opposed to Eaton.

  148. Jandy says:

    Sarah, that’s true, but does it explain ALL the defensive lapses by ALL the guys? I dunno. And yet, if it IS more on DB and it’s his fault for the effect on Fleury, isn’t Fleury better off out of DaBurgh?
    This makes me upset. >:<

  149. Jandy says:

    OR getting hurt by one!

  150. Jandy says:

    You’ve filled the shoes well :P

  151. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    When the dude is hot, he’s hitting to all fields. The problem is, there’s too many cold streaks in between his hot streaks.

  152. Iceman says:

    Don’t know if anyone will know the answer to this or not, but is Hartzell eligible to play in the playoffs? I thought I heard somewhere that he couldn’t play in this years post-season. Maybe I was just dreaming though…

  153. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    On build alone, he reminds me of Cal Ripken Jr. Wish the production was there as well; how awesome woudl that be?

  154. Jandy says:


  155. Thundercrack says:


  156. He might hit like Cal, but folks were truly lamenting his arm the other day.

    I think TC is right about the super sub thing for him. We have enough first basemen now, but who knows down the road. Outfielders, too.

  157. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    He seems to have only one swing.

  158. Iceman says:

    Pens have a couple potentially good goalies coming up through the ranks. Zakoff has been superb in WBS and I am interested to see what this Hartzell kid can do at the pro level.

    I actually think, and have hear others suggest, Shero picked up Hartzell as insurance. If Fleury were to falter and show that he was a one hit wonder, Hartzell or Zakoff could be given the opportunity to be the next big thing in goal for the Pens. I hate to see Fleury go because I love him as a person and he has done some amazing things for the Pens (he holds the majority of goalie records), but these last few playoff series have certainly left something to be desired.

  159. Iceman says:


  160. Jandy says:

    woah! Game 1 with the Sens tomorrow evening :

  161. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I didn’t get a chance to watch the game so I can’t comment on his arm. I thought last year he showed a strong arm with semi-limited range.

    I do like the bat, but utility is probably his destiny.

  162. cmat0829 says:

    Lots and lots of discussion on Pirates backups… my two cents:

    1) Barmes is the STARTING SHORTSHOP, no questions asked. He is very good defensively and now has his average up to .213 or so…on his way to about .230 or .240 with occasional pop. Not great but liveable to go along with his defense.

    2) Inge was signed to play all over the field, mostly against left-handing pitching. He will get a game or two at 3B to spell Pedro, possibly RF (though Tabata has earned that time now), and will play some 2B because Neil as a right-handed hitter is, ahem, not very good. He will NOT, play SHORTSTOP, and I don’t care what anyone writes on the internet saying he can or will.

    3) I prefer Mercer be the back-up SS and occasional start at 2B than John McDonald because I really think JMac is done and yes, if they release him and then Barmes gets hurt, the Bucs can scramble and pick up someone else.

    4) I do NOT believe Mercer is ready defensively to be a starting SS in the majors…

    5) All of that said, hard for me to get really passionate about any move the Bucs make, but if I were GM, no doubt I’d dump JMac and keep Mercer on the team… the team needs to see that if you work hard, earn the callup, and then perform when you get it, you get to stay on the team.

  163. Jandy says:

    LOL Sorry I didn’t see this and posted it below.
    That was fast…ready or not eh?

  164. Jason says:

    Probably so they could get 3 games in this week. I’m thinking Tues/Thurs/Sat, for starters.

  165. SJB says:

    “He is very good defensively and now has his average up to .213 or so…on his way to about .230 or .240″

    And how do we know this? He could be very well on his way to .180 or 190. Is this just more hopeful numbers extrapolation, or did you come to us from the future to share your knowledge? If so; can you give me the Powerball numbers for this Wednesday? Thanks.

  166. SJB says:

    Yup…and normally it seems to be of the Andaswiiiiingandamiiiiss variety.

  167. SJB says:

    Damn. It was hoping they moved them to Wednesday or Thursday. I guess the NHL doesn’t like the idea of 4th of July baseball after all. ;)

  168. SJB says:

    Ooops; meant to say hockey.

  169. Jandy says:

    Likely so…

  170. NMR says:

    Very much agreed.

    As long as the power is for real, he’s a useful player.

    Hard to start

  171. NMR says:

    Good lord. Give the guy a break.

    He have his opinion.

    Now reply with one of your cute little phrases and move on.

  172. Sarah says:

    Great question.
    I find it hard to believe that veterans who WANT the Cup like Morrow, Iggy are not able to seem focussed (in fairness now Iggy’s on RW I expect him to get much better)….

    If the team is sloppy, how much is on them and how much is on the coaches?….

  173. SJB says:

    Cute little phrases? OK how about:

    “don’t say you love me, unless you mean it. cuz I might do something crazy like believe it.”

    Is that what you had in mind? Are we dating yet? Call me, k.

  174. Sarah says:

    YEah it would be a real shame to see MAF go. Great guy. Fabulous goalie and when he’s on his game, amazing to watch.

    But as long as they stay with their current system (and dare I say Coach…) the team has shown itself subject to repeated breakdowns defensively, AND
    MAF has shown himself very mentally susceptible to meltdown when said defensive breakdowns are occurring.

    So, I think if they stay schematically/coaching philsophy as they are, they need a different goalie.


  175. Jandy says:

    C’mon SJB, cmat had a legitimate post there….ease off the sauce, dude :P

  176. Jandy says:

    we may NEVER know!

  177. JohninOshkosh says:

    I know there are some people, like me, on this blog who are interested in the space program and, still many others on this blog who like music.

    So here it is: arguably the coolest thing ever made for you tube!

    Those crazy Canucks!

  178. SJB says:

    I wasn’t trying to be rude Jandy. I just prefer when people at least try back up their opinion a bit with some fact. I like to know how they arrive at their opinion. Just coming out with, “this and that is gonna happen” kinda ruffles my feathers, that’s all. There’s a difference is someone saying they think something will happen, versus a flat out this how it’s gonna be, that’s all. I was trying to be humorous with it but I guess if I offended anyone, I apologize. Ok, Barmes will hit .230 or .240.

    No sauce here…I’d like to have some now and then but they would fire me I think. I’m sorry, was that a cute phrase?

  179. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t know enough to know if I agree or not with your conclusion, but I love the spot-on analysis. :-)

  180. Sarah says:

    Shorter Sarah:
    MAF is not a good fit with the way this team plays in the playoffs under Bylsma.

    Change one or the other.


  181. Jandy says:

    Thanks for sharing that, Oshkosh, I enjoyed it! Crazy stuff indeed.

  182. Arriba Wilver says:

    They beat a pretty darn good pitcher. And they’re winning enough come-from-behind victories that it’s getting hard to say it’s all luck. And winning 3 of 4 in 4 game series. (I know, the Mets stink). :-)

  183. Jandy says:

    Let’s just say the odds of Barmes getting his average up to the .230 – .240 range is waaaayyy better than you or anyone we know hitting the power ball.

  184. Jandy says:

    No way it’s all luck. They just gotta keep their heads on straight. Well, Pedro could GET his on straight to begin with ;)

  185. JRay3 says:

    Clint Barmes BAVG by year:

    ’12 – .229
    ’11- .244
    ’10 – .235
    ’09- .245
    ’08- .290

    There is enough there going back five years to suggest he is capable of finishing the year as a .230-.240 hitter.

  186. Arriba Wilver says:

    I understood it. Different than agreeing or disagreeing. But it makes sense. Better? ;-)

  187. JRay3 says:

    And let’s not short change, Mr. Barmes he is actually up to .219.

  188. NMR says:

    “I just prefer when people at least try back up their opinion a bit with some fact.”

    Oh, the irony…

  189. Great job, JRay.

    I’d take the ’08 year, although I think that was a Rocky Mountain High filling in for an injured Tulowitski.

    I’d settle for .230 to .240. He’s not injury-prone like Jack was and not a head case like Cedeno was.

  190. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Seems to have one swing plane. If a pitcher makes a mistake and hits Pedro’s zone, forgetaboutit, but most of the time they make their pitch, he doesn’t get good wood on the ball.

  191. Sarah says:

    Yes! I am sometimes overly verbose esp when it comes to goaltending issues, having been one myself for decades!!!

    And in my beer league last night, I saw fewer horrible breakdowns than in Game 4!!


  192. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I agree with this assessment.

  193. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Uggg…Next question, who will be the starting SS next season? LOL, too soon?

  194. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    BTW, Mercer sent down in case nobody saw the report.

  195. NMR says:

    Washington Post set the bar for online content with this Bryce Harper feature:

    Incredible work.

  196. Jandy says:

    Bottom line is, I like Barmes. He’s the best option we have at SS now. (have I said that a time or three before?) ;)

  197. JRay3 says:

    Is Alen Hanson ready to jump three levels?

  198. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I like the glove, can’t stand the bat…At SS, I’ll take the D over the O, most of the time.

  199. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Probably not…figure another short term FA before he’s ready.

  200. JRay3 says:

    Wow just saw this stat of the day:

    Jason Grilli and his 15 saves in 37 games are most ever for the Pirates in that time span. He is a perfect 15 for 15, nicely done.

  201. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Just looked at the projected list, doubt DK would be happy if I dropped that list off in here right now…It doesn’t look very promising though.

  202. Arriba Wilver says:

    The way the rest of the lineup is hitting now, I think his offense is less of an issue. Last year it was really bad when Pedro wasn’t hitting and he was followed by Barmes and then Barrabas. (Still gives me shivers.). Add in the strikeouts, no walks and double plays and it was really ugly to watch.

  203. Jandy says:

    You won’t hear an argument about that from me.
    Like I said…best option we have at SS….now…

  204. Jandy says:

    Way to go Cheese!

  205. Thundercrack says:

    I think Barmes and Mercer have very similar stats since Mercer has been called up.

    Of course, Barmes also has a track record of stinking for long stretches of time.

  206. Arriba Wilver says:

    Hey, I read Drew’s posts. Yours seem very succinct to me.

    And you’re my go-to on goalie issues.

  207. Jandy says:

    Eh….we can always dream Jordy will get stronger, right? Actually, why can’t he? Someone get him started on pressing 300 pounds from the bench…weight bench that is ;)

  208. SJB says:

    Wait; so everyone is saying as long as they continue to play poor/undisciplined defensive hockey in the playoffs and give up a ton of shots on net, the goalie needs to change and they need a goalie who’s good at playing behind a team/system/coaching philosophy that doesn’t play said sound defensive hockey? And before someone says Thomas Vokoun, where do they make goalies like that? I know I saw one at Home Depot the other day, and it was hiding in the 4 x 8 sheets of plywood. Cheap too.

    Sorry, but it seems everyone is going in the mode that a lot teams fans do (Philly for instance) that want to hang the blame on the smallest common denominator – the goalie – when the problem is much bigger than that. I know Fleury played poorly, but the root of the problem is the team in front of him, changing the goalie will ultimately only be a temporary fix and not solve things in the long run. You may be able to find a goalie who can have a magical playoff run for one season and stand on his head but luck if you one and how long will he be able to play out of his mind?

    We know Fleury is capable of backstopping a team to a Cup if the team in front of him plays smarter and more balanced, and has the ability/desire to limit scoring chances. Regardless of who’s in net, I would rather they keep the goalie and change the collective mindset of the team (doesn’t cost anything), as I don’t think a new goalie is the long term answer and I don’t think Vokoun will ever take this team to the promised land either.

    If people want to get rid of Fleury because he’s a mental case and breaks down at inopportune times, that’s fine and that makes sense, but don’t absolve the team and coach of responsibility, or think a new goalie will really make things any better in the future. Eventually they will have to change how they are playing, or this problem of giving up more goals than the should will happen over and over, mental headcase goalie or not.

    I think it’s cheaper and easier to get rid of the coach and find another good one, versus finding another franchise goalie. Honestly; at this point, I think both should go.

  209. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Well Played…well played indeed.

    I dont know about the rest, but I was a fan of the promotion for Grilli and the subsequent trade of Hanrahan. I felt Grilli deserved to the promotion and would do well in the closers role. He definetly has the mentality for it.

  210. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    He should change is walk in theme though…

  211. SJB says:

    Excuse my many typing errors. I should have read proof read that a bit first.

    One part should have read: You may be able to find a goalie who can have a magical playoff run for one season and stand on his head, but it’s luck if you find one and how long will he be able to play out of his mind?

  212. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Agree. Same as years past, give up on O at SS and C for better D play as long as the other guys step up…

    So far, can’t really complain.

  213. NMR says:

    What do they say about the definition of insanity?

    When in doubt, do as the Cards do. They’ve had almost as much trouble cultivating a homegrown shortstop as the Pirates.

    Either spend real money and get a guy like Furcal or go with the best in-house option like Kozma and save $4m or so to spend elsewhere.

  214. Jandy says:

    Incredible indeed. The work and the subject of the story. Thanks for sharing.

  215. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Benching 300lbs isn’t the issue with Jordy, that won’t help him defensively.

  216. Jandy says:

    You’ve said mostly everything that Sarah said, but on an even MORE verbose level lol.

  217. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:


    Agree. Plug and play, most lineups/teams have to do that sort of thing. Do we have to model the Cards though? They do produce and I actually compare the Pirates to them a lot.

  218. Jandy says:

    Well, I’m no pro, but if you can’t reach from SS to first, then won’t arm strength help? Just what is the issue?

  219. JohnS says:

    What I really like about the Melancon/Grilli combo is that they throw strikes.

    Melancon 19 appearances 1 walk.
    Grilli 18 appearnces 4 walks.

    You really limit the scoring chances when you aren’t coming in and walking the first two batters.

  220. NMR says:

    @Ryan – Ha, they are just so darn good.

    @Jandy – arm strength, in throwing terms, is not developed by the “big” muscles, ie chest, bicep, tricep.

    That’s why you don’t see bulky pitchers.

    The body is an odd specimen.

  221. NMR says:

    No problem, friend. :)

  222. Jandy says:

    Thanks NMR, so either you have it or you don’t then?
    Well, that sucks!

  223. Sarah says:

    SJB – wow more verbose than me LOL!!!

    To be clear – NOT hanging this on the goalie. I think I’ve said more than once MAF is NOT the root of the problem.

    And I’m with you – MUCH rather dump the coach and get a more D-oriented style than dump MAF.

    You gotta admit though – there’s quite a bit of toothepaste out of the tube by now with Fleury and my only question re keeping him (let’s say we did Fire Bylsma) would have to do with the rest of the team and whether they can be confident in him and play well around him. And sad to say, the recent evidence shows that they start to get even worse when he’s imploding.
    So – I love the guy, but dunno if you can keep him….NOT the same as hanging the blame on him. Far from it.

    And you’re ABSOLUTELY RIGHT – they do NOT make goalies that stand up under this kind of pressure. Not possible.

    It’s true that MAF implodes a bit sooner than most, and far more spectacularly. But the way these Pens play in playoffs will break most any goalie eventually.

    Hence, my preference for replacing the coach and scheme before dumping the G…..but again, just dunno if the team has faith in our boy anymore. I sure hope so.

  224. Kevin says:

    Can we lure back Michel (sp?) Therrien somehow? O.O

    Sarah ++, SJB ++… love you exposition on the topic.

  225. Sarah says:

    Hah! Therrian too far in the opposite direction I fear!!!

    I can’t believe there is not a middle ground between playing Therrian’s style, and giving up 17 turnovers a game.


    (I actually hate MT. You cannot publicly humiliate your players into playing better. Most people don’t work that way. Especially not full grown adults. Who make more money than you do.)

  226. Kevin says:

    Yeah, they tuned him out. Which happens when you keep repeating yourself every game. Oh well. There’s an answer out there somewhere. Maybe the penguins leadership need to form a Coalition of Defensive Responsibility like the Pirates did with their Coalition?? Cause really, it falls on the players to hockey more responsibly.

  227. Sarah says:

    Those guys are hard to deal with in front of your own net!! I can speak from experience!!
    Sometimes if they’re that huge, I just get way down and look between their legs LOL!

    Or, um, put my stick between their legs if ya know what I mean!!!


  228. Sarah says:

    All this makes me (sigh) and wish they’d given Depres a ton more minutes this season to make sure he’s more ready.

    But….I am not a coach.

  229. stuart66 says:

    Drew, I’m confused. Are you referring to an Occupational Therapist named”Golden State” ?


  230. Skip says:

    Will you send that link to Pedro Alvarez, please? Thank you.

  231. likeabugonarug says:

    My bad. Am so used to reading mostly you that I expect everything in my memory was something you wrote. Finally found where it came from.

    But, I presume you have seen him during other practices when he’s been skating around rather than being goalie? If so, how does he seem to handle the puck then? He just seems like he panics too much when there is any opponent around because he isn’t confident in this part of his game, which then causes other issues.


  232. sarah says:

    And the Leafs are actualyy gonna blow this. Good Lord.

  233. hockeymonster says:

    I think we can ride fleury if we keep the trap in our back pocket, roll 4 lines and insulate el soffff-o aka PM. Or maybe he can not avoid contact every now and then.

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