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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wednesday Wakeup Call: Objects faster than they appear

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Wednesday column off Game 1 loves how cool and composed the Penguins look when they’re not chasing a bunch of children all over the rink.

Here’s our full coverage, led by beat man Rob Rossi, along with Josh Yohe and Kevin Gorman. And I should remind more often that our team also includes many talented people more behind the scenes, such as night editor Mike Palm for his design of that front page you see up there, as well as photographer Chris Horner for the great capture of Pascal Dupuis’ shorty.

It’s very much a team effort at the Trib, and we’re proud of that.

And here’s a sampling of some quick conversations I had in the Penguins’ room afterward, beginning with the player I felt was their best on this night: Chris Kunitz

And Tomas Vokoun

And old Iron Jaw himself …

Really fun night at Consol. And a good vibe in the room. I particularly liked this line from Dupuis: “We’re going to enjoy this. That’s one thing I don’t think we did against the Islanders, enjoy our victories enough.”

>> If you missed it, this was the TribLIVE Radio show podcast featuring the Penguins’ Brenden Morrow and Yohe. The opening rant on Canada going 20 years without a Cup was caught on video …

>> If a walkoff homer happens in the woods, does it make a noise?

Either way, for those who didn’t stay up or never changed the channel, the Pirates had to go 12 to take down the Brewers, and Rob Biertempfel has a sharp account.

>> Below was the difference between the fans outside Consol watching on a big TV at the same time as you can see the number at PNC Park …

>> Jose Angulo keeps finishing for the Riverhounds, who probably should have had an easier time handling RWB Adria than they did in going to penalties. More attack still needed.

>> I’m going to mostly shut down here before Game 5 Friday, then a few days up in Canada’s capital.

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. Naje says:

    Iron Jaw…

    Is that a superhero or a Canadian city?

  2. Naje says:

    DK…question for the stats folk you know: PBC were 0-15 w RISP tonight and get a win. Some kind of record, maybe?

    DK: I doubt it. I’ve covered more than a few double-digit 0-fer RISP games. But I suppose it’s possible. Sure is odd.

  3. theplanisworking says:

    Its my second cousin at the buffet line………………… ;)

  4. Arriba Wilver says:

    Tabby worked out pretty well, didn’t he? ;-)

  5. Ed says:

    Really fortunate to win with that sort of ineptitude bringing runners. But hey, they won! Against the Brewers! In walk-off style to boot!

    I’ll be enjoying the view tomorrow from Sec 117 :)

  6. Mizery says:

    McCutchen is a beast. Four walkoff HRs already in his career. Impressive! The Pens also impressed. One step closer to the Cup, gentlemen.

  7. Ghost says:

    So in the world’s game, the Riverhounds’ opponent was a club of amateurs out of Chicago? That’s an eyebrow-raiser. But why not? Once upon a time American football matches were put together the same way. Maybe someday artifacts of this game will be part of an exhibit in the Pro Soccer Hall of Fame.

  8. Reading says:

    Maybe the Pens game should have been moved to PNC Park, and the Pirates game to Pitt’s baseball field?

    If, and this is strictly hypothetically speaking, the Pirates ever do bring home Championship number 6, the parade will dwarf that of the Pens. Hypothetically. Maybe.

  9. Brandie says:

    Dear Blog Father (DK) and all Lunatics,

    Good night for Pittsburgh sports teams. Was not awake to see the end of either big game as 2:30 in the am (husband’s wake up time and by association, mine) comes mighty early.

    I was impressed with the Pirates ability to not lay down and die in front of the Brew Crew and the Pens ability to not let the mental lapses take them out of their game.

    That’s it for now. Everyone take care. May you all have a pleasant day.

  10. JoeyBats says:

    5 wins down…11 to go !!!!!
    Let’s go Pens :-)
    Any Pirate win over the Brewers is always welcome. Beat Em’ Bucs.
    PS: DK….since you brought it up. Ummmmm, looks like there were at least 11,557 on the LAWN @ CONSOL…….1 more, or so, than there were “paid” at the Bob Nuttings’ place. ;-) ……………….Attendance for the year in 19 dates is 383,233 or 20,170/date.

  11. Drew71 says:

    Malkin had a goal and an assist. Which is no surprise in itself. I was surprised to read that in so doing, he extended his points streak to seven games. He takes a lot of guff for a guy on a seven game point streak.

    I only watched through two, at which point i did that fall-asleep-with-the-TV-on thing. I don’t know hockey like some of you puck heads, but to my eyes, Vokoun often looked uncomfortable for a guy only having given up one. This morning I read that he said he felt butterflies as he approached the start (don’t care what he “feels”). But in the same article: “Vokoun overcame some shaky moments early to settle down.” So maybe the ESPN writer and I are both nuts. I mean, it wasn’t a New York team so maybe he wasn’t paying attention. I mostly had the sound muted so I didn’t hear what the TV announcers were saying. (I was afraid of hearing a few Tabataaaaaaa‘s)

    Sarah, you out there? Did V look shaky early to you or am I smoking bananas again?

    Now THERE’s an even comparison. Empty seats at an early season game vs a second round playoff home opener. I get the valid part of the point. An early season Pens game is far more packed than an early season Pirates game.

    See? I admitted that. So see how easy it is to be fair?

    I also admit as a baseball-first guy that I was paying MUCH more attention to the Pens’ PLAYOFF game.

    And if you also reverse the circumstances and paint the example to the Pirates’ favor…in other words…I am sure that if the Pirates make the playoffs, win their first round, and open their second at home, the place will look and feel a bit different.

    See? That wasn’t so hard.

  12. Kris says:

    But it should be titanium jaw! /pedantic

    (Leave me alone, I have a cold and I feel awful, I’m allowed to be cranky about stupid things.)

  13. Drew71 says:

    “He” = ESPN writer, not V.

  14. Kris says:

    I think some of that is just how Vokoun plays – sometimes he looks a bit shaky but he still makes it work? But I’m sure it took some time to settle in, too – starting in goal in a series seems like it’s a different sort of job than coming in to a series as the backup, even if you are a professional.

    That said, there’s something about his play in general that I really like, and have since the Black and Gold game. Maybe it’s that he seems pretty good about not letting bad goals and mistakes go to his head, so even if he does have a less than fantastic start you can expect him to get better as the game continues. Flower by comparison is amazing when he’s on, but I think he can also mind game himself out of even a solid basic performance. (I hope Fleury can get a handle on that mental aspect, I think he really needs to for his own development as a player.)

  15. Jandy says:


  16. Jandy says:

    feel better, Kris

  17. Jandy says:

    Ahhhhh that splains it….2:30am sucks big time :/

  18. Jandy says:

    Sarah can speak for herself (and she’s mighty good at it too, I might add), but you’re correct in saying that TV was shaky at the start. As the game went on her was more “settled”. But you’re still nuts ;) :P

    I have to admit, I’d REALLY love to see the attendance and the parade for the Pirates when they win their next world series. Just to see which fans show up more…but it’s a Burgh thang so bottom line is, it doesn’t really matter. I just want to see the Buccos win.

  19. Thundercrack says:

    I really hate these comparisons of Penguin playoffs and Pirate regular season games. And I didn’t want to be drawn into it, but here goes:

    1) Penguin hockey is really popular in this town. Can we all agree?
    2) My forensic lab studied the two pictures of the crowds (above) and it doesn’t look like they were taken at ‘the same time’. It looks like the Pirate game was taken later in the night…..when it was going extra innings and it was pretty chilly out there. But yes, not many at the Pirates game last —-and yes, lots of people into PLAYOFF hockey. And a lot of people like to sit outside and watch it on tv for free.

    3) I am surprised there weren’t a few more at the Pirate game because of the discount on tickets from all the strikeout in NYC. I took advantage of it and bought tickets for Thursday & Friday.

    4) In my house the TV was on the Pirate game for over 2 hours and the Pens game for about 3 minutes. I forgot to take a picture of it.

    5) Imagine the conversation when a columnist tells his editor that he is going to early regular season weekday Pirate game instead of a Penguin playoff hockey game.

    (disclaimer: none of the comments above were meant to be attacks on the columnist who runs this blog. {smiley face emoticon omitted} )

  20. Jandy says:

    Dejan, I think it’s cool that you give the Trib staff kudos. I have to say, I was really impressed with the “perception” reflection layout of Cookie yesterday and the “Special Effects” cover with Duper isn’t too shabby either ;)
    Your home turf and its crew are First Class.

  21. Jandy says:

    did someone wiz in YOUR Cheerios too?
    (if so, dump them out)

  22. JAL says:

    JAL’s Wednesday 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

    First Pitch: Taking the Jordy Mercer Approach With Tony Sanchez

    Prospect Watch: Tony Sanchez Hitting For Power; Alen Hanson Hits First Homer

    Horseshoe Is On the Other Foot as Pirates Walk Off on Brewers

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Andrew McCutchen’s walk-off homer keys 4-3, extra-inning win against Brewers

    Why are Pirates so concerned about Jordy Mercer in 2014?


    Game 39: Pirates 3 Brewers 2

    8 The Green Weenie

    Bullpen, Cutch Walk Off Enough To Grind Out 4-3 Win In Twelve

    9 Rumbunter

    Pirates Andrew McCutchen Walks Off Brewers, Gets Pied

    The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Jordy Mercer Reality

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 4, Brewers 3

  23. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Late-inning struggles doom Brewers

    12 Rant Sports

    Are Teams Interested In A Pair Of Pittsburgh Pirates Pitching …

    13 New Jersey Com

    Mets’ Collins takes swing at fans after Valdespin plunking

    14 Fake Teams

    Prospect Profile: Tyler Glasnow

    15 The Atlantic

    Hey, 42: Why All the Hate for the Pittsburgh Pirates?

    16 CBS Sports

    Milwaukee at Pittsburgh Preview

    17 Sweetspot

    Red Sox could use Melancon right now

    18 PBC Site

    McCutchen hits walk-off homer as Bucs win in extras

    Martin thwarts Brewers’ run game in return


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    10 Interesting Excerpts from Scouting Reports

    20 Fangraphs

    The Absurdities of Batter/Pitcher Match-Up Numbers

  24. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Colbert talks about Reggie Dunn, Sean Spence

    Max Starks talking to Arizona Cardinals

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Colbert Anxious to See If Dunn Can Handle Punts

    Soccer(football) Will T

    23 Daily Telegraph

    Manchester City move for Manuel Pellegrini takes step closer as Malaga confirm coach can leave at end of season

    24 World Soccer Daily

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


    25 Pensburgh

    Shock and Awesome. Pens Strike Early, Often in 4-1 Win.

    26 CBS Sports

    Penguins rout Senators, take Game 1 of Eastern semifinals

  25. JAL says:

    Wednesday Tori Amos

  26. Naje says:

    AW…. guy eats Loshe’s pitches for breakfast.

  27. BillyBaduka says:

    For what it’s worth (until Sarah chimes in with her well written and insightful comments)

    Vokoun looked a little shaky at the start. He played a solid game.

    Vokoun is a steady positional goalie, a steady Eddie. He doesn’t make many spectacular saves but is generally in good position to stop shots.

    Pens did a good job of clearing the puck and bodies in front of the crease.

    A good game by Pens in all facets and they can do better. This is not a knock. This is just acknowledging that they still have room to improve. That’s a great thought as a Pens fan and should be a scary thought for the opposition.

  28. JAL says:

    When I was in graduate school I was known for questioning why some studies were done since the answer seemed obvious. Like measuring blades of grass before and after mowing and discovering Aha, blades are shorter after mowing. That was my thought after seeing the two pictures. What is the point of them? Obviously more people will be interested in playoff game than an still early season baseball game. Take the same pictures in October if Pirates are in a playoff game and Penguins have an early season game and see what you get.

  29. Thundercrack says:

    Us Pirate fans already have our excuse ready for why the Pirate WS parade will draw less people than a Penguin S Cup parade:

    – Pirates’ parade will be in November…cold outside and kids are in school.
    -Pens’ parade will be in July…warm outside and in the middle of summer vacation

    Plus, in November there will probably be a Pens game on TV.

    For you: :-)

  30. Jandy says:

    TC, I’m not picking, I’m actually thinking the same way you are (scary eh). I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Pirates’ parade outdraw a Pens parade. Even if it is in November and it’s snowing. DaBurgh loves its Buccos.
    For you: :-D

  31. Jandy says:


  32. Drew71 says:

    You are correct.

    To be fair, in an even comparison, early season game to early season game…OR…second round playoff home opener to SRPHO, the Pens will likely have higher ratings and more overflow.

    But as you noted, that is not what was compared in the thread.

    And while the Pens might have MORE in head to head comparison, the Pirates would have PLENTY.

    In a head to head comparison, SOMEbody has to win. But that doesn’t mean there would be anything wrong with a strong second place.

    If the Pirates make it to the second round, the city would just pop.

    And wouldn’t just be spectacular to find out?????

  33. Jandy says:

    Good reading on match-ups and stuff between Pens and Sens here:

  34. Jandy says:

    Are we onto something for a new nickname for Sid? I’m so utterly sick and tired of “The Kid”

  35. Jandy says:


  36. Thundercrack says:

    Mark Melancon

    In his last 10 appearances (each for one inning) he has only faced the minimum 3 batters 2 times. ( 9 out of his total 20 appearances) Eventually that is going to come back and bite him. I looked this up because it seemed to me that he was never having a 1-2-3 inning.

    Did I just write something critical of a guy with a .45 ERA ?!

    DK: Impossible to criticize Melancon. Also impossible to not be concerned. I raised this red flag a couple weeks ago.

  37. theplanisworking says:

    :thwap: yourself! :)

  38. theplanisworking says:


    You’re welcome. ;)

  39. Officer Mancuso says:

    Badenhop is one of the greatest baseball names ever. In a perfect world, he’d play shortstop.

  40. Jandy says:

    You’re so mean.

  41. theplanisworking says:

    Mornin’ Jandy!

    Just saw your link to faceoff-factor.
    Good stuff.

    This changing weather, from warm to cold, to rainy has this Hippo under the weather. Have a great day. Brandie too. Everyone else too.


  42. Jandy says:

    Mornin Hipposter. Hope you feel better! if you have a sore throat,…get ZIcam , it works wonders.

  43. theplanisworking says:

    Agree 100%.

    I dont know of anyone else that is so willing to share kudos, and praise people.

  44. theplanisworking says:

    No, more of the aches and chills. Nothing major, but I will take this as a day of rest.

    Had a great night last night.
    Pens won.
    Pirates won.
    No one burned me at the stake on the Pens thread again. ;)

    So I will maybe look in on the Bucs tonight.
    If not, enjoy your day/s Lunatics.

  45. CoachWard says:

    I agree that Vouky looked shaky. The guy does battle though. I’m gaining more and more respect for him everyday. We can always relate to that gruff hard working guy that might not be the most talented, but works his butt off. He never seems to lose focus and gives everything he’s got. My feelings on Fleury have been the same since he’s been drafted. I know he’s ultra talented, but I get tired of the sheepish grin and how aloof he can be. There’s no grit there. No evident burning desire to win. I’m a big intangibles guy and never liked what Fleury brings to the table there.

    DK: Keep hearing and reading that Vokoun looked shaky. But 35 of 36 is pretty steady, especially with relentless traffic.

  46. CoachWard says:

    Was going to point this out as well. Classy…Also wanted to put out there how cool yesterday’s Cookie Cover was.

  47. NMR says:


    Some guy for the SOCCER team got more mention than the face of the baseball franchise hitting a walkoff extra inning homer against the teams most hated divisional rival.

    But look at the FANS!

  48. CoachWard says:

    Just a follow up to my question about whether the CEC Crowd would be juiced early yesterday. Definitely thought they made their presence known. Sounded like a playoff game in there. Any first hand accounts?

  49. NMR says:

    And DK does this all the time, too. Love that about him.

    DK: See reply below to Naje. Hard to cover what you aren’t covering, but proud to say its being covered VERY well by our Rob Biertempfel. That’s why I linked. When I got over there Monday (unassigned), I gave you everything I had.

  50. Arriba Wilver says:


  51. Arriba Wilver says:

    The real question is, will either one draw more than Hines Ward’s Dancing With the Stars parade?

  52. Naje says:

    wonder what the crowd was at highmark park?

  53. Jandy says:


  54. Jandy says:


  55. Jandy says:

    Gotta call in the forensics team to answer that one ;)

  56. Naje says:

    Really seems like absolute disdain for the PBC in the notes above. Mr. Cool drills, and I mean drills, an extra inning walk-off home run and nothing really good to say about it. Is it that difficult to talk about or mention a good streak of well-played baseball by the PBC?

    DK: Hope you enjoyed the extensive notes (and photos and video) when I went over to PNC Park on Monday (unassigned) to try to catch up with a team I hardly even see anymore. I don’t recall hearing here of any ‘disdain’ that day.

    The Pirates sure looked like they had a nice win last night. I didn’t see it, and I didn’t get home to start writing the blog until about 1 a.m.

    As noted above, I thought our beat man gave a vivid telling, and so I linked to it.

    Can’t be everywhere. This is Stanley Cup playoffs, and this is Pittsburgh.

  57. +1 on both of yinz.

  58. Jandy says:

    haha yeah! he can chew up the opposition and spit them out

  59. Kris says:

    I think we should revive “Squid” – it amuses me. (That may be the cold meds talking.)

  60. Nate83 says:

    The best part about the walk-off win last night in my opinion was the absolute joy Tabata showed when it happened. Really seems like the guy might be hungry. A strong Tabata makes a huge difference for this entire team. It allows him to move to lead off which allows Walker to bat 2nd and Marte 5th. Tabata is really hitting to the gaps with authority right now. Ihope he can keep it up.

    Cutch was interviewed on MLB Network last night after the game and commented that he has been hitting well with some bad results. A lot of line drives going right at people or to the warning track. He may be close to putting together a nice stretch of games. Couldn’t come at a better time with some home games against mediocre and poor teams. Good teams come out of this 10 game stretch 8-2 or 7-3.

  61. Kris says:

    Thanks. Fingers crossed this is one of those ones where you feel awful for a couple of days and then get better quickly.

  62. CWalton_67 says:

    Pens defensemen need to close their gaps on rushes. Still giving the opponent entirely too much room, though they appeared to improve somewhat as the game progressed. 35 shots is simply too many to give up in any game let alone a SC playoff.

    What will we see Friday? A rerun of the first series? Or can this team bear down and play playoff style hockey? The jury is still out on this team despite that win.

    Vokoun was a little shaky at first, but the important thing was there was no panic after the first Sens goal– by him and by extension, the skaters. Had that been MAF in net, this game would have had a different score and there would be a lot of angst and hand wringing in here this morning.

    Any thoughts on Engellands play last night? I believe they need Eaton back in the lineup. Another stabilizing influence.

  63. Where in the world is Milo?

  64. Jandy says:

    I think DB wanted Engo in to counter the physical play of the Sens’ goons. He was limited on time, which led to Tanger having a lot of time. That can wear on ya. Maybe switch him and Eaton for a game and see how it goes.

  65. Jandy says:

    We asked that yesterday with no answer. I really hope that troll the other day didn’t piss him off so bad he isn’t coming back.

  66. Jandy says:

    Fleury? Aloof? You’re kidding, right? He’s as open a book as they come.

  67. We’ve already lost Foo, Groat and some other good ones. Hope Milo ignores it and comes back.

    DK: Neither Groat nor Milo have gone anywhere, to my knowledge.

  68. Iceman says:

    It truly is hard to be critical of Melancon, but I agree. His arm is going to get tired if he has to keep facing 4, 5, 6 batters. Do they have another set-up guy who can pitch in the 8th with any sort of confidence? (Serious question).

  69. Iceman says:

    I understand what you are suggesting here with moving Tabata to 1 and Marte to 5, but how do you take Marte out of the leadoff with the way he is getting on base in the first so often.

  70. Iceman says:

    I actually didn’t think that Engelland had too bad of a game last night. Didn’t see him giving up some of the bad rushes he sometimes does and also wasn’t turning over the puck. With Neil, Kassain, and Smith in the Sens lineup, I actually like the d-pair of Engelland and Murray. You have those two out there and the Senators seemed to cower a little bit.

  71. Contreras, Morris, Watson all have been found wanting at times. Wilson would limit a lefty, but could do it. He’s thrown more than one inning most of the time.

    Melancon will enjoy the All-Star break for sure.

    Wish Milo was here to dispute the “over-use” theory.

  72. NMR says:

    Justin Wilson and Bryan Morris have both been successful and fit the late-inning hard throwing profile.

    I’d imagine they’ve both moved ahead of Tony Watson who has been struggling.

  73. NMR says:

    Mark Melancon has the 11th lowest WHIP in the National League.

    That would lead one to believe that he’s facing less batters than most, not more.

    It’s a great thing when we have to make up problems in order to find things to worry about.

  74. Iceman says:

    Here are my thoughts from the game last night:

    – First, Orpik looked like playoff’s Orpik last night. He was hitting everything that moved and hitting very hard. That hit on Gryba was wicked. I don’t wish anyone getting hurt and I hope Gryba isn’t seriously hurt, but wow that hit. He also was clearing the front of the net and seemed to be playing much better positionally. This bodes well for the Pens.

    – The top 6 looked wicked last night. They play like that and this team is hard to beat. They were playing great offensively, hitting hard, and they were all backchecking.

    – Did Niskanen play out there yesterday? Hardly remember seeing him at all. Guess that’s not necessarily a bad thing because it means he wasn’t having costly turnovers.

    – TV was good after a bit of a shaky start. Greatest thing to see was him give up a weak goal and shake it off to play solid after that. I don’t think MAF could’ve come back so good from that weak goal.

    – Why didn’t Kennedy play like this all season. He has kicked it up in the playoffs and has been a great player on the ice. If he plays like this all season, we aren’t complaining about his contract so much and everyone is happy (ok everyone but Brad).

    – Lastly, thought it was really funny that Chris Neil waited until Murray was no longer on the ice before he started to pull his goon work. I don’t know what Murray said to Neil after that sketchy hit going after the icing, but it must’ve put the fear of God into Neil. My guess is that Murray buries Neil at some point during this series.

  75. Patrick(RI) says:

    +1. But I think Tabata should be left in the 2 spot, due to Marte’s obvious comfort there, and also his superior speed(more SB’s, pressure on the pitcher and scores on gap shots from either Tabata or Cutch. Imho, next season is the time to find Marte a power position in the line-up.

  76. NMR says:


    Tabby has earned himself starts, which he should get regularly, not one or two at a time. But moving Marte all the way down to 5th? No way. You get that guy as many at-bats as possible. No lower tha 2nd in the order.

  77. SeanAY says:

    To be fair, the Pens are in the playoffs right now, and I don’t think DK has covered all that many games in person lately as a result. Which is totally fine, because the Pens are and should be the story this time of year.

    But yeah, it is kind of odd that the only thing that can be offered about a come-from-behind walkoff win was, “Look how many more people like the Pens than the Pirates!”

  78. Jandy says:

    Engo’s game was fine, he ended up with 13:30 of ice time. A bit more than I originally thought. Morrow, TK and Vitale had less….10:31, 11:20 and 10:44.

  79. Jandy says:

    me too. He should just do like I do

  80. NMR says:

    Reminds me of people mocking pictures of Heinz Field before a noon PITT kickoff against an early season cupcake opponent.

    We get it.

    In other breaking news, the sky is blue.

  81. Arriba Wilver says:


  82. Jandy says:

    Nisky actually had 18:44 TOI, and he played decently. Like you said, sometimes invisible is good as it means no mistakes or turnovers.

    I can only DREAM that Crank shafts Neil into next season, preferably in the next game.
    (I’m so mean)

  83. BillyBaduka says:

    Hope he comes back too. I enjoy his posts. Great avatar too.

  84. Jandy says:

    it’s grey here :/

  85. Arriba Wilver says:

    Actually, Foo has been trying to post, but says he is blocked.

  86. Arriba Wilver says:

    Didn’t get that one, either, Jandy.

  87. Jandy says:

    I do believe he was banished by our fearless after some…well, you know. I wonder if the ban could be lifted?
    I miss Foo.

  88. Naje says:

    If Marte is not playing, Tabata, as he’s currently playing, is a solid leadoff choice. But very difficult to move Marte from that spot right now or any time soon. I always thought Tabata was the best leadoff option for the Bucs…until Marte showed up. Is Marte a leadoff hitter for years to come? Not certain about that. But this year, he’s earned that leadoff role.

    Tabata and Snider are both producing some strong OBP numbers in the two spot. Production from those two guys just improves the lineup significantly.

  89. Arriba Wilver says:

    If memory serves, Bonds and Cutch started as lead-off hitters for their first full year. No rush to move Marte.

  90. Some banishings are for the best, but Foo was apologetic for his sins.

    Milo didn’t do anything to get dissed, so it may have ticked him off temporarily. Hopefully temporarily.

    Milo’s one-liners are sorely missed by many of us. Plus he knows his stuff.

  91. Thundercrack says:

    I Amit that MM is great. I noticed though that he doesn’t seem to have many 1-2-3 innings lately. That was my point.

  92. You mentioned on the game thread last night that McDonald got hurt. What happened to him?

    Is he CL-bound?

  93. NMR says:

    And mine was that it is not normal for pitchers to always have 1-2-3 innings.

  94. NMR says:

    Milo has actually been posting.

    They’ve just been showing up 12 hours after he hits “submit comment”.

  95. Nate83 says:

    I understand what all of you are saying and I do not think Marte should be moved at this time. He will eventually not bat .500 to lead of the game. I think at sometime this year we will find ourselves wanting a more prototypical number 1. Tabata doesn’t fit that perfectly but I think his on base percentage fits the role better then Marte. I don’t want Marte to be the spark plug. I want him to be the engine.

    I would rather have Marte’s extra base hits bringing runs in then having him stranded on the basepaths because our hitting with RISP has been so bad. Walker has hit well in the second spot in the order in the past so I would like to see him hit there.

  96. Jandy says:

    Are you serious, NMR?

  97. Skip says:

    Amazing the results McCutchen can have when he’s willing to hit the ball to the opposite field: game-winning home run to right-center.

    Unlike his at-bat in the 3rd inning with a runner on 2nd and nobody out: first pitch groundout to deep short. Dare I say, selfish?

    It’s troubling that he would say he’s been hitting the ball well but right at people. No, Cutch, you’re trying to pull everything (like Alvarez) and hand-flipping ground balls to the left side all day.

  98. Kevin says:

    I’d like to know the TIME OF POSSESSION stat if anyone has it for that penguin-ottawa game last night. Just seemed to me that after the Ottawa fluke goal, Ottawa had the puck far too much. And they seemed to gain possession by always being in the path of the puck. Pretty sure they also led by a decent margin on FACEOFFS.

    Don’t get me wrong. The penguins won. And after that one soft goal, Tommy V stopped everything. But, the penguins did a much better job clearing traffic in front of him also and limiting the 2nd chances. Ottawa seemed determined to get some bounces their way by sticking bodies in our crease.

    Ottawa plays rough and tumble. I swear they each have the football (soccer) script for embellishment and how to foul without getting caught. I realize penalties were pretty even and also complaining about penalties is a slippery slope. I still haven’t found a good way to complain about penalties without getting trapped into that “it goes both ways” rebuttal. Chris Neil gives a lil extra head shot with each hard check… always seem to get his hands up.. which I was sure is illegal.

    It’s the little edgy stuff at the end of plays that doesn’t called that bothers me. Like giving Murray a push into the boards on an icing call. Or taking out Dupuis’ legs at the end of a scoring chance. Or the punch to the Crosby chin guard.

    I guess the long of it is the penguins won but they can definitely do better.

  99. Nate83 says:

    I think he’s earned the role to be a run producer. I don’t see being moved off of the leadoff as being a demotion in his case. I see it as the pirates having two guys that could be spark plugs at the top of the line up but one of them has more power and strikes out a little more. It just seems logical to put the guy that only can be lead off hitter because he’s never going to be a high RBI guy at the top of the lineup. I’m not exactly sure what Tabata’s numbers are with runners on but it seems like he hits better with the bases empty.

  100. Iceman says:

    I heard back injury of some sort. Not sure of anything beyond that.

  101. Iceman says:

    But Matt Cooke is a good and the Sens are saints…

  102. Arriba Wilver says:

    Clint said after the game his back locked up running out the “hit” that Braun robbed him of. Don’t know the prognosis.

  103. Patrick says:

    Problem with Neil is the same problem with Matt Martin:

    In order to get a good hit on him, he has to have the puck first. Those two dopes couldn’t carry the puck with third arm and a butterfly net.

  104. NMR says:

    Haha, sorry Jandy. That was meant to be sarcastic.


  105. Patrick says:

    yeaa. where has Groat been? And wasnt Milo just commenting the other day?

  106. Arriba Wilver says:

    Here’s one of the things that kind of gets me. As soon as someone does well in a certain position there’s this knee jerk reaction to moving him. It doesn’t always work. Like I said, Bonds and Cutch seemed to work out OK without moving them right away. Let’s see how things work out for a while.

  107. Jandy says:



  108. Arriba Wilver says:

    Actually, I was thinking the same thing Cutch was, and it wasn’t just last night.

  109. Groat got upset at DK’s short-lived limitations on chastising the BMTIB and hasn’t been back. Saw him a couple times on the Bucco Blog.

    I don’t frequent the others to see if he goes there. He is missed here, though.

    DK: Groat and I are absolutely fine. Now more than ever. Trust me on that. He’s as valued as any contributor here.

  110. NMR says:

    At some point don’t you have more Cheifs than Indians?

    Amazingly, the Pirates do not lack middle of the lineup bats.

    Cutch-Jones/Sanchez-Walker-Martin all deserve to be exactly where they’re at.

    Walker would be the only one who might not fit the mold at this point, and do you really want Marte on the bases behind Jones/Sanchez?

    The top of the lineup would seem to have more of a need than the middle.

  111. Jandy says:

    if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

  112. Jandy says:

    valid point lol

  113. Dom says:

    Does anyone know why if the Buccos attendance is greatly lower than last year and if so, why?

  114. Amen. The careers that Bonds and so far Cutch have had shows it didn’t hurt them to lead off for a while.

    We’ll get another true leadoff hitter some day. And it won’t snow in Wisonsin some winter.

  115. Jandy says:

    And I’m Mother Theresa ;)

  116. Not summer yet. Deeper playoff run for the Pens. Scepticism after 2 epic collapses. All of the above.

  117. Where is he then? (Just a question, not a crack)

  118. Or maybe Wisconsin. Sorry, John.

  119. Kevin says:

    The sens are certainly not saints. Also, there’s a big difference between grit and edge. I would say the penguins play with lots of grit whereas the senators are super edgy. The stuff Neil does is kinda obvious. Almost expected? I did not expect Conacher to be as edgy (got called out on a penalty twice).

  120. Nate83 says:

    I don’t think it needs to be done in the next week or even month but at the beginning of last year Tabata was supposed to be our lead off. Marte was thrown in there because of a lack of other options. Tabata now looks like an option.

    Why assume that making the change after Marte regresses to more normal production wouldn’t make us a better offensive team from the top of the order to the bottom? I’m simply suggesting that when Marte cools off (which he will) to put the players where you projected them to be most productive.

    The move seemed to work out for Cutch and Bonds once they were made. Who’s to say it wouldn’t have worked if done earlier? I’m sure some thought it took to long to move Cutch down in the order. It’s simple if you think Marte is 1 of your 3 best players at getting RBI’s and you have another option to lead off (Tabata) you move him to the middle of the order.

  121. hockeymonster says:

    My job is done!

    Pens implementing trap especially when they have the lead so that defense isn’t facing as many high speed rushes, all 4 lines and all 6 dmen are being used so fatigue doesn’t lead to stupid penalties and turnovers and PM isn’t avoiding contact like a matador in a bull fight.


    Hockeymonster out!

  122. NMR says:

    Tabby has been playing decent ball for two weeks. We’ve seen Tabby play decent ball for a few weeks many times in the past two years before eventually turning back into Jose Tabata.

    I think it is great that people still believe in him. But come on.

    We’ve been down this road before.

  123. Nate83 says:

    I agree with your comment about being on base behind those guys. That is very good point. Maybe 2nd in the order is the right place to be.

    That being said we always look at things in terms of the guy in front of you being on base when you get a hit when in reality back to back hits happen rarely. It often would be Cutch, Walker orTabata in front of him. Right now he often has Alverez, Barmes, pitcher or PH running in front of him. A lead off hitter only leads off the game after that he is batting behind slower runners.

  124. Dave Glass says:

    DK, could not agree more with the point about the Islanders and the speed. VERY noticeable difference between them and the Senators. That team will be VERY dangerous in 2014 and beyond if they make the right ancillary moves.

    Everyone has been hammering the Pens for their play last round – and there’s some merit in that – but maybe the Islanders really WERE that good (or at least that fast)?

    Also, Considering the Pens now have 3+ goals in every game and 4+ in 6 out of 7, maybe it WASN’T all Nabokov’s fault – maybe the Pens really are the best offense in hockey? It’s early, but if Anderson is giving up 3 or 4 every night let’s credit the Pens instead of knocking the opposition.

    Finally – I have a lot of Cap fan friends, and they all were DREADING game 6 and (especially) Game 7 last round. What a terrible way to ‘enjoy’ a sport. Let’s enjoy this, these Pens have a chance to do something special and their firepower means they are in every game against any opponent.

    DK: The woe-is-me meter is off the charts with Caps fans, year after year. It’s like sitting by the side of the highway and munching popcorn while waiting for the next horrific crash.

  125. Jandy says:

    Iceman, you forgot the ;) and some will miss the snark

  126. Kevin says:

    I agree with all but especially echo your last thought. Still waiting for Patrick to show up and laugh at me. I had predicted 7-1 which really wasn’t that far off. If the penguins had controlled the puck a bit more, they could have easily scored more goals.

    Also, NBC and everyone makes a big deal on the offensive stats. When you score 4 goals every playoff game like the penguins have been doing, you’re going to get some fun stats. For example, Iginla has a point in every (7) playoff game so far and that’s a personal best playoff streak. Malkin continues to rack up points but he still doesn’t look like the indomitable beast of 08-09. Maybe its just me. :\

  127. Jandy says:

    What about Foo?

    SO, I’m guessing Groat is just tired of the “extracurricular activities here then”…

  128. Nate83 says:

    Agree completely. My original post said I hope he can keep it up because a strong Tabata allows for the possibility of these moves to be made. I do not think or want to see Tabata written in as the lead off hitter for todays game or any game the rest of this month.

  129. NMR says:

    Absolutely agree with your last point, Nate.

    This offense would really benefit from Pedro back up around his career 10% walk rate and an 8 hitter that could get on base at a decent clip as well.

  130. Kevin says:

    I not miss the snark. Just wanted to extend my point about the edge-n-sketch sens.

  131. Kevin says:

    hockeymonster, the senators still put 35 shots on net. They just did not get enough bounces. The stats should show that they kicked our ass in shots, possession, and faceoffs. The penguins don’t need the puck that long to do remarkable things.. especially on the power play. Also note, we only scored one goal 5 v 5.

    DK: Paul Martin’s quote in column really telling, I thought, about those 35 shots.

  132. Bizrow says:

    Lots of early home games, I think, more than last season. We’re on a 10 game homestand right now

    Just sayin

  133. Arriba Wilver says:

    Who are the other 2? Cutch, of course. Pedro? Jones/Sanchez? Walker? Martin? And you seem to be assuming he’s one of the three best now, but he will cool off. Isn’t there a bit of a disconnect there? I’m just saying, no rush. Let it play out. Everything would be “simple” if we had crystal balls to see how it works out.

  134. CoachWard says:

    Definitely forthcoming in interviews. He has a carefree heir about him that just rubs me the wrong way that’s all. Aloof was probably the wrong word choice.

  135. Arriba Wilver says:


  136. Jandy says:

    that’s where my :yawn: comes in handy ;)

  137. Jandy says:

    You’re welcome, DK :)

  138. NMR says:

    Nah, I got you there buddy.

    You’re covering what you should be covering, and doing it well as usual (although I did selfishly hope the good content from the other day would precede a column snuck in between the Pens work).

    I think people are just objecting to the fact that you DID add SOMETHING more than the game, and it seemed a bit petty. No big deal. We still love you.

  139. Jandy says:

    CoachWard, you are definitely taking Flower the wrong way. To be a goalie, you HAVE to be able to shrug off a bad outing. But believe me, Fluery beats himself up more than we do when he has a bad game.

  140. For sure was supposed to go here.

  141. Jandy says:

    I save it just for trolls. Not you, Spunky dear :*

  142. NMR says:

    Not sure what your point is.

    That people have more games to attend, which is spreading them out? I only ask because you have season tickets. Has it been noticeably different this year?

  143. Patrick says:

    All goalies are “characters”. Some are relentless and uber serious (Broduer, Price) some are barely contained balls of rage ( Barrasso, Hextall) and others are just crazy (Roy, Thomas).

    If you criticize Fleury’s persona you would have to criticize all of their personas. There is no “right way” to act as a goalie. The position is full of enigmas and personalities.

  144. Patrick says:

    Its tough to say what “shaky” looks like. Every goaltender is so different. I thought Vokoun looked fine. He has always been a great first save goaltender. He almost never gets beat by the original shot, usually its the rebound. His rebound control has always been his greatest weakness.

    And he did face 36 shots, which is waaaay to high. Lost in the victory was the fact that for the 5th time this postseason the Pens got outshot.

    I wouldnt say he was “shaky” as much as he was just very, very busy.

  145. Arriba Wilver says:

    DK– the “shaky” that’s been referred to has almost totally been regarding the very beginning of the game. Started out “shaky” then settled down. That was what I saw, too, and the 35 of 36 doesn’t really change that.

  146. Patrick says:

    We might have to come up with a different acronym for Melancon. I thought you meant Mark Madden for a minute..

  147. CoachWard says:

    Incredible that, throughout the years of losing, that the Pirates have been able to have some really good talent come through their bullpen. Somehow they always seem to have a decent set up man and closer. Grilli, Hanrahan, Dotel, Capps, Gonzalez, Mesa, Williams, Loiselle, Miceli, (Baseball Reference. com) have all had decent to great years. For Williams (46 ’02), Mesa (43, ’04) and Hanrahan (40, ’11) to crack the 40 save mark during this stretch of futility is pretty impressive. Going to look back and see the return when we’ve gotten rid of some of these closers and their set-up men.

  148. Kevin says:

    I agree.. was a very good quotable. And Tommy V did give up the rebounds. That must be why people think he looked shaky. We just did a good enough job boxing out that the rebounds didn’t hurt us.

    “They just want to get pucks to the net, from the boards, behind the net, wherever,” Martin said. “It’s our job to clear people and clear rebounds. We can always do better.”

  149. SeanAY says:

    Cool article on Grantland about the art of framing pitches, and how it’s a teachable skill.

    Relevant to us, in that Russell Martin is described as one of the better “students” of the art, according to one coach that works on it a lot.

  150. CoachWard says:

    Fair enough. I mean, he’s obviously had a lot of success and it’s easy to get down on him after getting pulled. Agree you have to be an even keeled guy to do what he does, kind of like a closer in baseball. Having a short memory is key. Kind of new to the blog here and notice your one of the more knowledgable fans on here so I’ll take your word for it. Nice to interact…

  151. CoachWard says:

    Might just be a personal thing. We all have players we relate to and root for more than others. I like the intensity that some goalies wear on their sleeves.

  152. Kevin says:

    or crazy as in Bryzgalov.. afraid of bears in the arena.

  153. Arriba Wilver says:

    I think Biz’s point is there are a lot of early home games this year when the weather typically is not as good, and this year the bad weather seems to have coincided with the home games. I know, because Biz still hasn’t thawed out from the opener. :-)

  154. Kevin says:

    That was definitely missed. Also missed was the perfection of the penguins powerplay against what was a VERY good (hyped?) Senators powerplay. Another thing missed.. the penguins held the best 3rd period team in the playoffs scoreless. Senators were +12 entering last night’s contest in 3rd period goals.

  155. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I think if the Pirates won the WS, I would fly back and go to that parade. I’m sure I’m not the only out of towner Pirates fan that would feel the same way.

  156. Jandy says:

    Well I don’t know how knowledgable I am, but I do know the Flower cares a lot. Keep contributing, and if you haven’t yet…let Bizrow know your city and he’ll add you to the list of Dejan’s Lunatics Asylum inmates ;)

  157. Jandy says:

    +1 agree

  158. Kevin says:

    bah I meant penalty kill*… Also, when are you going to admit that you were underrating Ottawa’s overrated-ness?

  159. Nate83 says:

    I’m not saying make the change now. Tabata needs to continue to prove this is what he will give us for the entire year. I would say another 25-30 games.

    He will cool off. Nobody hits .500 to lead off the game for the entire year.

    I do believe he currently would be one of our top 3 run producers along with Cutch and Jones/ Sanchez platoon. Alverez and Martin are not as consistant and do not hit for as high an average.

    Again everyone thought Tabata would lead off last year and stay there for a long time and nobody thought Marte should lead off this year. It’s not as if what I’m suggesting should happen is coming out of left field and I have stated numerous times I do not think it should happen immediately. Travis even wrote a blog about this exact subject a couple weeks back.

  160. Skip says:

    No doubt there are probably many others thinking the same as you.

  161. Reading says:

    I was an early advocate of moving Marte out of the leadoff spot if all the team wanted him to do was look at pitches and draw walks. That, in my opinion, would completely waste his hitting prowess. Since he hasn’t been so limited, and has been aggressively hitting the ball all over the yard (when he isn’t being drilled by some pitcher- BTW, can Morris retaliate for some of those Marte HBPs also), I’m all for him staying at leadoff.

  162. Jandy says:

    good stuff

  163. Naterosboro says:

    I’ve been remiss in posting, but b/c of the wins last night…

    These are my Pittsburgh Sporting Thoughts on a What’s Up Wednesday Morning:

    * Has to be my first thought…SUCK IT, MILWAUKEE!

    * Alvarez with a great heads up play to nab Gomez at 2nd when he dared him to throw to 2nd (thank you MLB App). Would hate to see what would’ve happened had Alvarez asked for truth.

    * TC suggested above that Melancon isn’t having 1-2-3 innings very often. NMR countered with the fact that Melancon’s WHIP is 11th lowest. Well, that WHIP is 0.75. He’s giving up less than 1 hit & walk per inning. Considering that you’d like to see relievers with a WHIP around 1, I’d say Mark Melancon is doing just fine.

    * Tabata seems to be recapturing the form that saw him have the most hits in the majors (after his call up).

    * It’s odd, but I’m actually liking the platoons going on all over the diamond. While it may not allow a guy to get in a rhythm, I also think it allows everyone to stay “game ready”.

    * I hope Dan Bylsma got in James Neal’s face last night after the game. No excuse for taking penalty after penalty with the lead in the 3rd period. Oh, it would also be nice if James could score a goal or two…

    * Tomas Vokoun gave up a softy. Similar kind of goal that got Fleury benched (although he gave up about 4-5 of those). But, he then shut everything down, not allowing a goal the rest of the way. That’s what you need from your goaltender. That, and a sturdy post.

    * Erik Karlsson v. Kris Letang. Seems like Karlsson makes more sound decisions with the puck & hits the net with his shot more, but Letang is a better skater & playmaker (both defensively and offensively). But, I’m not authority. You discuss.

    * Who is this man that seems to look and sound like Pascal Dupuis, yet is leading the playoffs in goals? Some throw in, eh?

    * The cross ice pass from Sidney Crosby to Kris Letang to setup the Penguins 3rd goal was a thing of beauty. He stayed strong on the puck, and made the perfect pass. It won’t show up on the stat sheet (as I think Letang & Iginla got the assists on the goal) but that goal never happens without that pass from Crosby. He really is that good.

    * I dislike Jeremy Roenick.

    * I dislike Mike Milbury even more. The word detest comes to mind.

    * Nothing against Brian Engblom, but I need Pierre between the benches.

    * There’s a football team in Pittsburgh (no, not futbol). Do they play music at their practices? B/c the team in Philadelphia does now. Just thought everyone would like to know. That was apparently “news” to the Philly sports radio crowd. I’m already starting to tire of Chip Kelly.

    I think there’s enough there. Seems like a good place to end.



  164. Jandy says:

    haha this is quite a post…lol

  165. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Back issues and Inge went to SS. He truly was robbed of a double by Braun….man I hate that guy

  166. Jandy says:

    I knew I wouldn’t get an answer. Some things are Top Secret ;)

  167. Jandy says:

    “* Who is this man that seems to look and sound like Pascal Dupuis, yet is leading the playoffs in goals? Some throw in, eh?”
    Most underrated player on the ice.

  168. Thundercrack says:

    The red flag that I raise is that Melancon hasn’t seemed to get a lot of 1-2-3 innings. My eyes raise the red flag. And I didn’t look up the WHIP. I complained about the same thing with our closer last year.

    I have no problem with the number of appearances he has had – or the results.

    But if you keep allowing a base runner or two in the 8th inning of tight games, then it is eventually going to bite you. And it also makes him throw more pitches.

    I have the same criticism of other Pirate relievers.

  169. Arriba Wilver says:

    That’s another +1 to your 11:09 comment, Jandilicious.

  170. Sarah says:

    Speaking for myself, TV was VERY shaky. Not just in the first but a bit after that as well. But credit to him, he fought off the pucks successfully – AND got loads of help from his D clearing rebounds when he didn’t know where the puck was….DO NOT discount that. There were 2-3 times where TV was still searching for the puck…..if a Sen gets there first, it’s in. But his D got there first and cleared. That didn’t always happen with MAF. So it’s a GOOD sign the D is now more alert and in position, no matter who is in the net.

    As for the goal, I know there was a bit of discussion….bottom line, TV let a puck from no angle get beteeen his skate and the post. That can’t happen. Could his D have helped him and boxed out the Sens so he could flop on it? Yes, but they didn’t this time. So IMO, bad goal.

    Was it as breathtakingly spectacular as some of MAF’s bounce shots off his arse and in the net LOL? No!

    Anyway – shaky for TV, but ALL CREDIT to him and the D they kept the rubber out of the twine.

    And I expect him to settle down for Game 2 .

    Will MAF get back in? I hope so, if only to keep him a bit sharp should he really be needed later….which I think he will be.

  171. Sarah says:

    Shaky and 35/36 are not mutually exclusive.

    Solid and letting 4 goals a la Anderson happens also.

  172. Kevin says:

    speaking of sturdy posts… +1.

    Also, there’s only one good NBC guy and that’s Keith Jones. And I’m not sure if he’s that good or if its just that the rest of them are so grating on the ear-holes.

    Very difficult to compare Letang and Karlsson. Karlsson does seem to have much better puck control while Letang is the stronger skater (maybe Karlsson isnt yet 100%?) I wouldn’t compare their shots though. Letang has a wicked one-timer from the point too.

    I disagreed with several of the penalties but I agree with the Neal one. That one was kinda obvious even without Karlsson’s masterful embellishment.

  173. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Marte stays put at #1. Tabata to the 2 hole is fine by me.

  174. JRay3 says:

    +1, priceless

  175. Kevin says:

    Yay a Sarah post! +1 (thousand)

  176. JRay3 says:

    Good thing the pictures were not taken in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, or many other US cities, would not have had same effect.

  177. Kevin says:

    And I echo your last hopeful sentiment as well.

  178. Patrick says:

    With every goal Super Duper is making himself more and more unlikely to resign. Some team (like the Islanders) are going to throw a lot of money at him. With Geno and Letang being higher priority its unlikely he will wait to see if the Pens have enough left to match it.

    And at 34 its the last big deal he is going to get. Nobody should be upset or begrudge him anything when he moves on. Hope he stays…but…20 goals in 48 games? 6 goals in 7 playoff games? PP and PK capable? If he signs for less than 3yrs/15 mil he should fire his agent.

  179. Arriba Wilver says:


  180. JRay3 says:

    Great point, concerning that Watson has given up a run in six straight appearances, that will get you relegated to blow out appearances or situational left on left appearances in a hurry, or worse someone replacing you from the many options down in Indy.

  181. SeanAY says:

    No, Jones is good because he got that good Western Michigan education, of course!

  182. Arriba Wilver says:

    We can always hope he hires Gary Sheffield as his agent.

  183. Sarah says:

    Also I can tell you from personal experience, there are times when the damn puck looks like an aspirin tablet, and somehow they all hit me somewhere and stay out.

    And times it’s a beachball, and for whatever reason I wind up pulling 6 out of my net.

    There are times I’m completely out of position, flail sideways and somebody shoots it into my glove. Great save? Not really.

    There are times I am perfectly square, and the effin thing hits a shin pad, my elbow, my ear, and drops in the effin net. Bad goal? Not really.

    What I’m saying is, they don’t always connect.

    I think the puck was an aspirin tablet for TV for about the first half of the game, gradually became a basketball….and thanks to alert D, whenever the asprin tablet or basketball was loose, it was cleared.

    That is simply the way it goes sometimes.

    Bottom line, 35 of 36 stayed out. Good on TV, and good on the D.

    That speaks nothing about whether TV was struggling, which IMO he was for about half the game.

    He’ll be more settled Game 2 I have no doubt.

  184. Nate83 says:

    This is an excellent point. He would be missed and I believe he is more important to this team then we sometimes realize. Really good locker room guy as well. He very well may play himself into a good contract for a 34 year old if he hasn’t already.

  185. Naterosboro says:

    Speak for yourself.


    A bit presumptuous if you ask me….

    Did you ask?

  186. Patrick says:

    And you arent supposed to like JR. Or Milbury. For some reason the NHL still has this WWE mentality that heels are good for ratings. Don Cherry has been working the “tune in to see what the crazy ex-coach says next” routine for 25 years…But that only works because they only other thing on TV is a documentary of how lake trout mate and Red Green re-runs.

    Honestly ESPN’s non-coverage of the NHL is better than Milbury’s “commentray” that sounds like something Red Foreman would say.

  187. Naterosboro says:

    Or Jay-Z

  188. Naje says:

    DK– (from your response above)

    Of course I thoroughly enjoyed all that you brought to us from Monday’s visit to PNC… so much so, that I’m begging for more. Understand you can’t be everywhere, especially during a terrific NHL playoff run, just asking you to throw us a good-natured bone about the Bucs every now and then in the meantime. Your baseball work is too good and we all miss it. And that’s not to diminish your hockey expertise and columns…they’re national caliber and tend to set some trends. Keep rockin’….

  189. JHadar says:

    Went to visit my grandkids this last weekend and instead of bringing up baseball, my son-in-law the Cub fan brought up the Black Hawks. First time ever he’s mentioned hockey in all the years that I’ve known him. Winning on a big stage creates interest in the local team, no matter what the sport. (See US Gym team, Olympic vs. Non-Olympic years). He wanted to talk about the Penguins, and thanks to DK and the blog I was able to hold my own. Of course, it was a low-level and basically uninformed conversation.

    No offense to the serious fans intended here. Just like there are fans who have been supporting the Pirates through the awful years, there will be those who follow the Pens no matter what, win or lose, and fill the losing years if they come with memories of the glory years. Enjoy them while they last.

    Personally, I just hope that we can see a picture of a Pirate playoff crowd. And soon. I don’t think that the crowd pic comparison this morning was to say that one sport is better than other, but to show the effect of fielding a winner on the average fan.

  190. Drew71 says:


    Great insight, Sarah.

  191. NMR says:

    The door is right behind you, Nate.

    I’ll never understand the people who get so boned up about Dejan yet come back for more everyday.

  192. Iceman says:

    Speaking of Don Cherry, anyone see his rant on HNIC last night. How is this joke allowed to still be on TV. You’d think that with the NHL’s “You Can Play” initiative, they would jump on those comments and work to get that goof off the air.

  193. NMR says:

    I couldn’t take the suspense!

  194. Drew71 says:

    Stake? I use a gas grill with a wood chip smoker.

    Stop over.

  195. Naterosboro says:

    Western Michigan has education?


  196. Drew71 says:

    Maybe he can pitch, too

  197. Reading says:

    Watched about two minutes of the Pens game (every other time I switched over between innings the hockey game was in a commercial or intermission), saw 25 from Sens trying to rough somebody up, thought to myself that somebody from the Pens needs to goon that guy, and switched back to the Pirates game. There’s my hockey insight. You’re welcome. I’ll watch a few more minutes on Friday and provide an update.

  198. Kevin says:

    hey, I’ve followed the penguins since ’89. There’s been some abysmal years. Paling in comparison to the pirates of course but still.

  199. Iceman says:

    Someone posted on Twitter last night the question, “If #Pens have $4 million to spend next year and can only keep one RW, do they keep Dupuis or Iginla?” First of all, I think if you get either to sign a contract for $4 mil, you are giving them a discount. Second, I don’t think this is even a question. Dupuis has meant so much to this team for a long time and has now stepped it up to a new level. If they can afford it, the Pens need him here. Ignila has been a nice addition and I would love to keep him, but force to choose, I choose Dupuis.

  200. Jandy says:

    Good job, Sarah

  201. Naterosboro says:

    “I don’t think that the crowd pic comparison this morning was to say that one sport is better than other, but to show the effect of fielding a winner on the average fan”

    +1 or 2, but not 3

  202. Jandy says:

    LOL I’d love to see you play!

  203. First time at short for Inge in his career, right?

  204. Jandy says:

    NMR was speaking for me as well, hence the “we” :) :) :)

  205. NMR says:

    Interesting quote from Orioles GM Dan Duquette, who’s team is having starting pitching issues:

    “They only have to pitch six good innings because our bullpen is so good. We ought to be able to find guys who can get it to our good bullpen.”

    The Orioles starters have average less than 2 outs per start more than the Pirates.

  206. Jandy says:

    lol leave it to Drewster ;)

  207. Iceman says:

    Love having you around here to offer the goalies perspective. I cannot even imagine playing hockey goalie so it is good to hear from someone who’s done it before.

  208. Iceman says:

    Great point here Patrick and I agree that all goalies are personalities. CoachWard hit the nail on the head comparing them to closers in baseball. They all have their unique and usually exaggerated personalities, but my belief is that those personalities are what help them cope with the extreme pressure they face ever time they step onto the ice/diamond.

  209. Jandy says:

    Aw, my biggest fan <3

  210. Jandy says:


  211. More? Where is Paul Maholm and his eight innings per start when you need him? I know. Atlanta.

    Before somebody corrects me and tells me he only averages 6.2 innings per start, I was just being obnoxious.

    Duquette doesn’t have Jeanmar and Locke, the 5-inning guys in his rotation. Jeanmar had his back stiffen up and Locke has efficiency problems sometimes, but you would think the other 3, even with Lirano’s small sample, would average it out.

  212. Jandy says:

    +1 no brainer

  213. Jandy says:

    Cherry is an unmitigated azz.

  214. Jandy says:

    Keith Jones is the lesser of three evils, so he “sounds’ better lol

  215. Patrick(ri) says:

    A belated comment about the two crowd photos above: paltry PNC crowd, to be sure, but I was more stunned by the one the night before. Why on earth, if you care at all, would you not show up to see AJ pitch? I don’t care if it is 30 degrees and your kids are flunking out — go see this guy pitch. (Of course, those with precognition missed a horrible game)

  216. Naterosboro says:

    +1 for Jandy

    + 1 for NMR

  217. Pucknutz says:

    Have not had a chance to put my 2 cents in yet today, and I see last night Pens game has been thoroughly dissected as expected. Lot of good points pro and con, don’t have too much to add but I will throw 2 cents out there…..

    I know I am in the minority and as I have posted before, I am not really worried about the Flower. I did not think he played all that bad – sub par to be sure but not catastrophically bad. Switching to Vokoun was the right move, sticking w/him also correct.

    Now what I would do is this – Start Vokoun Fri, the Flower Sun. No matter the outcome of game 2. Tell them both and the team beforehand that this is the plan. If he starts to get his mojo back in game 3 , wonderful. If he starts to wilt – well, we got a problem.

    My 2 cents- for what it is worth. :)

  218. JHadar says:

    Was just looking at baseball reference dot com.

    They give the overall record of the Pittsburgh Alleghenies/Pirates since 1882 as 9983-9874. (Unless I misunderstood the site and it’s the beginning of the season record) we should be coming up on our 10,000th win this season.

    DK: The franchise’s official inception is 1887, with its joining the National League.

  219. SeanAY says:

    I’m not sure I understand everyone’s desire to get Fleury back in based solely on conjecture.

    “Well, Fleury is a Cup-caliber goaltender. Vokoun isn’t.”

    How about the coaching staff reward the guy that’s actually played like a Cup-caliber goaltender in these playoffs?

    And how exactly does the team react if Vokoun stands tall on on Friday? I would think there would be a lot of disillusion.

    This is no time of year to care about a guy’s psyche, or to prop him up. It’s time to win games. Based on what we’ve seen so far in these playoffs, Vokoun is giving the Pens the better chance to win. You at least have to wait for him to throw a stinker before your consider returning to Fleury.

  220. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Why does this sound like a basketball report?

  221. Sisyphus says:

    In his last 10 appearances Melancon has pitched 10 innings, allowing 9 singles, two doubles, and 1 walk. That’s a WHIP of 1.20, compared to the average reliever’s WHIP of 1.28. While I am worried that he’s being used a lot, a 1.20 WHIP is a sign that a pitcher is doing pretty well, not a red flag.

  222. Reading says:

    Here’s the real question: Had the Pirates game been a sellout, would comparison photos been posted glorifying Pittsburgh as a multi-faceted sports town? I say yes.

  223. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    The Penguins are more popular in Pittsburgh than the Pirates.
    I get it. We all get it.

  224. Jandy says:


  225. +1

    And the Pirates are more popular than the Power and the Petticoats (or whatever that womens’ football team is) and, dare I say, the Riverhounds?


  226. Is it Passion? Sorry, over 60 memory and didn’t want to Google it.

  227. Jim S. says:

    He (Vokoun) doesn’t try to do too much in front of the net. He doesn’t wander behind the net thinking he’s another defender or something. As a result, he’s usually in proper position and makes all the saves he should. Fleury makes more spectacular saves, for sure. But, Fleury gives up so many God-awful goals, especially in the playoffs, that I think he often crushes momentum and that is difficult to come back from for the rest of the team.

  228. NMR says:

    The point is that a successful GM seems fine with getting 6 innings out of his starters.

    Something many here seem to be worried will lead to the demise of the bullpen.

  229. Jim S. says:

    The more talented player is not always the more effective player. That rings true in all of team sports. For goalies, you just look at the stats over time and see the truth. Fleury is more talented, Vokoun more steady. Anyone who thinks Vokoun is not ready for this is missing it, in my opinion. He has spent a career prepping for it. With all of the strong, veteran personalities and superstars on the Pens, wasn’t it Vokoun who we read stepped up in the locker room at one point and read his teammates the riot act? He had been on the team for only a short period of time then, and he proved he was already a locker room leader. Doesn’t sound like a guy who is suddenly going to implode to me, despite what hopeful idiot commentators on NBC think.

    Fleury was very good in the playoffs early in his career, but he has faltered badly for 2 years now. He was awful in the first 4 games this year, and fortunately the Pens were tied at 2 games apiece. I think Vokoun realizes that with this team he does not need to do more than be steady and solid, and the guys in front of him will do the rest.

  230. Right. Not Milo, though, wherever he is.

    I think some of us older folk remember too well when starters threw numerous complete games in a season and the bullpen wasn’t a specialty item as much as now.

    A quality start would be 8 2/3, not 6.

  231. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    Not at all trying to be hostile here, so no one please take it that way.

    But it’s kind of comparing apples and oranges when you compare the Penguins and Pirates.
    One is run well, rewards it’s fans with constant success.
    The other is run…well we all know that story.

    I don’t see why it is such a shock that the good one is popular and the other one plays third fiddle.
    I also don’t see why it constantly needs to be hammered home.

    I’ll hang up and let you all answer.

  232. I did Google the Passion, and they must be run well. Their overall record is 66-24 since their inception. I should have shown more respect. Just can’t wrap my head around women playing football.

    Wonder where they rank on the popularity list.

  233. NMR says:

    You know what’s a good sign for the Pirates?

    That Jeff Locke pitching his 4th quality start in his last 5 appearances gets absolutely no mention.

  234. Reading says:

    I guess I’ll just take my Pie Traynor 1933 Goudey card and go home.

    Maybe, you can work a Pirates attendance figure line tonight into your pre-game postings?

  235. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    I would hope so.

  236. Jandy says:

    I like them both, though hockey is my passion. However, I didn’t take any offense (from you nor from Dejan). Life is short. Enjoy it :)

  237. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    I love that card!
    I’ve thought about doing an attendance related line, but I’ll wait until fireworks/concert season starts.

  238. Jandy says:


  239. Reading says:

    Actually, I don’t agree with your premise that the Pens are more popular. That is why I posted earlier today that a Pirates Championship Parade would dwarf a Pens Parade. Of course, we’ll probably never see a Pirates Parade, but hey, it sounds good.

  240. Jim S. says:

    There are a lot of Fleury fans in Pittsburgh, as there should be. He seems like a great guy, and has done a lot in goal for this franchise. So, he has a loyal and earned fan base. But, he stunk in goal vs. Philly last year and let in some of the softest goals you will ever see in 4 games vs. NYI this year. The change was not made to give Fleury a chance to get his head right or let things slow down for him, or any other nonsense I have read. You don’t swap out your franchise goalie lightly. Not in the playoffs. The change was made because Byslma & staff (+ Shero, I assume) rightly concluded that this ultra-talented team might not make it to Rd. 2 with Fleury in goal. Vokoun was signed for this very reason, and thank goodness for that foresight. He has done exactly as was expected of him in the past 3 games, and he is now your playoff starter. There are some very good questions to be answered in the off-season regarding Fleury’s future here, but that can wait for Mr. Shero. I will speculate that it is very tough to reinstall a guy as your franchise goalie the next season once he has lost the confidence of the coaching staff and management, and possibly the team in the current playoffs. In my opinion, and it’s just a guess of course, if the Pens get to Rd. 3 or better, and there is no Vokoun implosion that Milbury & Co. anxiously await, then there is a very good chance Fleury is dealt over the summer. And, I don’t see that Vokoun implosion, by the way. As I said earlier in this blog, Vokoun has been prepping for this moment for his entire career. He established himself as a leader of this team full of forceful personalities early on, and I would be very surprised if he suddenly fell apart. I likened him to the AJ Burnett of the Penguins awhile back, and what I meant is he is a strong, veteran presence. He has figured out leadership at this point in his career, and he is not going to waste whatever precious few opportunities at a championship he might have left by being afraid to lead or afraid to take on big moments. Just my opinion. I could be wrong. I think Vokoun will continue to be steady, which is all they usually need to beat any team.

  241. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    DK, is reporting on the right team and doing a damn fine job of it.
    It’s May, and the Penguins are making a championship run.
    It’s May, and the Pirate still have 4.5 months left to play.

    However, it was good to see him spend some time at PNC on Monday.
    Not gonna lie, his baseball work is what won me over years ago, and what I enjoy the most.

  242. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    I’m just going off what is reported.
    In my abode the Pirates are the only “game in town.”
    But my homestead is a very small sample size :)

  243. Sarah says:

    Hah! Dunno about that!!! You like sitting in cold hockey rinks at midnight LOL????

    My Sunday Beer League recap: Stopped 3 breakaways 1st period, finally burned on a giveaway/1 timer right side of the net, GREAT first left pad save sliding left, rebound pops out and the guy jams it in. Ugh.

    Stopped 2 more breakaways/odd-mans 2nd period, then the dam broke. Burned on the next 4 straight breakaways/2 on 0s 2nd and 3rd period for an ugly 6-3 L.

    So it’s hard to evaluate. Made several great saves. Allowed a hard wrister 3rd period through a screen off the heel of my glove, hip, in.

    The others, all breaks or odd-mans…. Well……could have used more help. Could have stopped a couple more,.

    Some bad goals? Yes. Some great saves? Yes. Was I getting hung out to dry? Yes.

    It’s always a gray area.

    I thought Anderson was solid.
    That Kunitz goal for ex) Great redirect through traffic by Malkin, Andserson stops it with right pad. Nobody on Kunitz to his right, Kuny chops it one timer back at him while he’s flailing, he NEARLY stops it with the paddle, it pops up, hits him (in the face maybe?) and dribbles in.

    Nearly an outstanding save/rebound save with ZERO help from the D.

    Frustrating? YES.
    Bad goal? I don’t think so.

    I didn’t see anything from Anderson in the Fleury Category, and nothing that should Break him.

    Nice to score 4 though, no doubt.

  244. Bizrow says:

    + 1

  245. SeanAY says:

    While the thought about the parade is likely true, that’s probably due more to the long wait and long period of futility and not because they’re actually more popular.

    How anyone can look at the viewership the Penguins pull in – a mark that ranks among the best non-NFL teams in the country, if not THE best (I know it’s better than any other NHL or NBA franchise) – and say, “the Pirates may still be more popular,” is curious.

  246. Sarah says:

    Oh no doubt Voky is Ready for this.

    Whether he is Up To beating Chicago for instance, I doubt it.

    But maybe he’ll surprise us!

  247. SeanAY says:

    But that was also back when bullpens were mostly staffed by washed-up starters. Now they’ve got studs in there, who exist solely to blow away three hitters a night.

    Personally, I think the nostalgia for the “good ol’ days” of baseball when pitchers didn’t have any regard for pitch counts, innings, or bullpens is misplaced.

    Managers have found a better way to win games. The game evolves.

  248. Jim S. says:

    I would say the Pens are more popular now, and that is because they have earned it. The truth is, they basically do just about everything right in running a franchise. As a fanatical Pittsburgh fan, whose career has taken him and his family away to Chicago, I am so thankful for the dramatic stabilization of the Penguins franchise by this ownership group and the management team they have installed. They and the Steelers give me so much to root for so far from home. People like winners, and I know there is more to it than this, but the Penguins are now perennial winners.

    I also love the Bucs, and unlike so many, I actually feel they are slowly headed in the right direction. They still are not anywhere the equal of our other 2 teams in how they run their franchise and market their product, but I recognize some progress (at least I think I do) and I am hopeful for what the next 2+ years will bring. I have the MLB Pkg on DirecTV to catch as many Bucs games as possible this year.

    The passion for our teams is not a zero-sum gain. When the Pens get more popular, it does not have to come at the cost of the Pirates. That is just happening now because the Pirates have made it easy to have it happen for the last 20 years. The Pens will continue to stay strong, and if my hopes for the Bucs are accurate, they can actually both be immensely popular at the same time.

  249. JHadar says:

    DK — Certainly explains why there’s no hoopla on the horizon.

    Otherwise (not to be contrary but your reply prompted a little more research, so thanks) the AA was a major league in the 1880’s and their champions played the NL champions although there was no regular format for the series then.

    If you wanted to argue for the sake of arguing you could contend that the club history is different than the “franchise” history, and have all sorts of interesting points of view and some nifty but pointless positions on whether Milwaukee’s franchise history begins with their joining the NL and Houston’s now with the AL. Not that anyone here would take a position just for the sake of arguing it out as far as it might go.

    Still I might have a quiet sip of an adult beverage when they hit 10,000* (asterisk and all)

  250. Jim S. says:

    I agree, NMR. I have been thinking for a few weeks now that he is starting to figure it out. Maybe he can be a solid 3/4 as time goes on.

  251. Sarah says:

    Don’t disagree with anything.

    I have said before, that as long as Bylsma is the coach and playing this system, which for the last 4 yrs (yesterday not withstanding) has shown itself capable of breaking down into EXTREMELY sloppy positional and defensive play through neutral and in the D-zone, MAF does not have the mental make-up to withstand getting hung out to dry the way he has been.

    Give him a solid D-system, he is fine.

    Give him this type of crazy-sloppy D, he is a Meltdown in Waiting, which brings the whole team down even more, and he is FAR MORE likely to do it than for ex) Vokoun, who is Fleury’s lesser in every category but Mental.

    I think if they keep this system, keep Bylsma, they may as well try to move MAF in the off-season. I don’t know who they could bring in who would be better. I don';t think Vokoun can win a Cup FInal.

    But I think there’s too much water under the bridge with MAF at this point.

    And I LOVE the guy. Seriously hope I am wrong.

    I just think under this coach and this system, and the idiotic way they seem to play in the playoffs, he is broken.

    Very sad to see.

  252. JHadar says:


    I was going to mention in a thought I had about whether last night’s win was a shifting “Why can’t we beat Milwaukee” to “Why can’t we hit for AJ”.

    But I thought better of it.

  253. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    “…and that is because they have earned it.”

    I couldn’t agree more with you on that.
    Very well said!

  254. Jandy says:


  255. Naterosboro says:

    I totally forgot to include Mr. Locke in my thoughts earlier today…

    Would’ve looked something like this:

    * Jeffrey Locke pitched a nice game last night. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he is a real live breathing big league pitcher. But that’s if I didn’t know any better…

  256. NMR says:

    Some people said last year that Jeff Locke’s biggest problems were homeruns and getting out of innings.

    Some people also said that there was a decent chance we’d see improvement out of Jeff Locke because he historically did not have an issue with these areas in the minors.

    Turns out Jeff Locke is allowing less than one homerun per nine innings and stranding the same percentage of runners he did over 170 AAA innings. Sure enough, Jeff Locke has an ERA hovering just over 3.

    Now I don’t expect it to stay there, but as long as Jeff Locke can do those two things – keep the ball in the yard and limit the big inning – he looks like a decent back end starter.

  257. Excellent points.

    I would still like a Bob Gibson with 250 innings or a Bob Friend, even.

    Now it’s more Bob Kipper.

  258. My hat’s off to the guy. And Ray Searage for Mayor. Of somewhere.

  259. Naterosboro says:


  260. Thundercrack says:

    Well McDonald on the DL and they recalled Mercer.

    I guess that answers my question from yesterday – if there was a 10 day waiting period for players sent to the minors to be recalled.

  261. :D

    I think Bob and Neal ought to sign him to a lifetime contract. He’s head-over-heels better than Dave Kirby.

  262. Patrick says:

    Sometimes i think the point is being taken the wrong way. I dont think most people are “hammering it home” as they are lamenting the lost love of baseball. It shouldn’t be this way. It doesnt have to be baseball OR hockey.

    We all want baseball to be every bit as succesful as hockey. I dont think anyone is taking enjoyment in pointing it out.

  263. JAL says:

    McDonald (the infielder) to 15 day DL and Mercer back up and starting at SS tonight

  264. I think they waive it when injury is involved, TC. JAL probably is more versed on it.

  265. JAL says:

    There is a 10 day waiting period but it waived if an injury occurs on the 15 man roster.

  266. JAL says:

    make that the 25 man roster

  267. JRay3 says:

    And quickly reinserted back into lineup batting 8th playing SS.

    Marte, Tabata, Cutch, Sanchez, Walker, Martin, Inge, Mercer, Rodriguez.

    Surprised no Jones or Alvarez against the right hander.

  268. Arriba Wilver says:

    Good point. I’ve come to detest the “quality start” statistic, but Locke has been pitching darn well. I didn’t really realize until last night that AJ had taken him under his wing this year. And AJ gave him a big bear hug after the game in the tunnel. Smart boy, that Locke.

  269. JRay3 says:

    Well Alvarez is 0-15 versus Yovani and Jones is 5-21 compared to Sanchez who is 7-19.

  270. JRay3 says:

    Don’t think so.

  271. Thundercrack says:

    Thanks for the clarification on the rule.

    I forgot about the injury waiver part

  272. Jandy says:


  273. Skip says:

    Is the Penguins’ crowd at Consol as quiet as it comes across on my tv? Maybe it’s the placement of microphones in the arena, but it doesn’t sound like the fans make very much noise.

  274. Jandy says:

    I’m sure you don’t give yourself enough credit, Sarah. Breakaways? I’d run OUT of the net and hide LOL! bet it’s a lot of fun tho!

  275. Jim S. says:

    0-15 is pretty compelling evidence.

  276. Arriba Wilver says:

    +++ (but we’re old)

  277. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I thought Mercer had to wait 10 days before being called back up?

  278. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I should’ve read others comments before I made mine below.

  279. Arriba Wilver says:

    A Bob Gibson pitched game was a thing of beauty, and that’s even when he pitched against your favorite team.

  280. Jim S. says:

    I would love to bring my wife and kids to see it. Hopefully, I’ll get that chance while they are still “kids” and they don’t have to bring me!

  281. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I agree. I was never a fan of him but I will give credit where credit is due. I didn’t get to see his whole start yesterday, but early on I saw a nasty breaking ball that acted like a change up.

    Very impressed with his ability and I believe he makes a good 4-5 starter, continued success and possibly take over for Wandy. (big step, I know)

  282. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    I believe it was the Fonz who said, “Reading is for nerds…AYYYY!”

  283. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    +1. Like it…

  284. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    That is a very good sign.

  285. NMR says:

    If Jones is sitting in place of Sanchez because of those numbers, Clint has lost his mind.

    This should be absolute proof that he controls the major league team, not Neal Huntington.

    Nobody with a high school understanding of statistics would make a roster move based on those numbers. Just plain wrong.

  286. Jim S. says:

    Good post, JAL! I think it was because some people/media outlets will never stop taking the easy cheap shots at the Bucs until they get to 82. If the Bucs slip far below .500 late this summer (which I doubt, BTW) ESPN will breathlessly count down the days until they get to announce #21 is at hand. I don’t think the Bucs will give them that chance in ’13, though.

  287. +1 both of the above

  288. Jim S. says:

    I was at the Bulls/Heat game in Chicago the other night. Biggest game of the year, and although it was a packed house at the start, when the Heat pulled away in the 3rd quarter the place emptied out pretty quick. Would have made for a bad side-by-side comparison vs any point of any home Blackhawks game.

  289. Jim S. says:

    Live by the mantra “There’s no limit to what we can accomplish as long as no one cares who gets the credit.” It’s an old quote used by many politicians from Truman to Reagan over the years, and it works for a sports team, a business work group, you name it. It is so easy to give credit when it is due, and it goes so far. I know DK just did it because that is who he is. But, it is always a good policy.

  290. Jim S. says:

    I read in a tweet by someone from Pirates Prospects, I think, that we don’t need to be so concerned yet about Melancon’s workload due to the fact that he has been remarkably efficient – getting out of innings with relatively low pitch count so far. Same with Grilli, for that matter.

  291. Jim S. says:


  292. Jim S. says:

    Mario said it best a long time ago: “Garage League.” The NHL really needs to stop its commentators from ripping apart certain players and teams. I’m not saying they should all be shills, but they give way too much credence to mouth-breather fans that shout stupid things like “Crosby sucks” for 3 straight periods. In other sports you still have those fans, but the announcers ignore them for the idiots they are.

  293. Bizrow says:

    And the positions also have to match up

  294. Arriba Wilver says:

    You should read “Blink.”

  295. Jim S. says:

    I can vouch for what you say about the Blackhawks fans, since I live in Chicago. When they were so horrible about 6 years ago, no one cared. Suddenly, they are super trendy, and everyone that was born and raised here has suddenly been a fan forever. I’m sure the Pens get some of that in Pgh as well, and the Pirates certainly added fans last year. The nature of the beast with sports fans is a lot are fickle. I’m not saying it is good or bad, just a fact. Not many people today have the time to stay devoted to all of the teams in a city 24/7/365. Those that do, like so many of us here, my hat is off to you!

  296. Jim S. says:

    Plus, AL pitchers get the occasional extra inning when they are losing simply because they don’t need to be pinch hit for in a game.

    Personally, I think if we can get Karstens back healthy for 20 starts (I know, definitely not a given), our starting staff will be ok to good, and the bullpen will get some rest more often. That said, I think our minor leagues are loaded with several more flame-throwing relievers champing at the bit to get to Pittsburgh.

  297. Jim S. says:

    I appreciate that sentiment, but I only think you take Vokoun out now if he has a couple of bad losses in a row. Fleury got himself into his current predicament all by himself, and he is going to need to wait now.

  298. Jim S. says:

    Well said.

  299. Jim S. says:

    Not so sure about that. For most people, I will agree with you. Some fans want to rub every shortcoming in the Pirates’ faces.

  300. Jim S. says:

    The truth is, all 3 of these teams get great local ratings and 2 of them (and 3 for parts of some recent seasons) have great consistent attendances. Yes, even the Pirates had great local ratings last year, and I think that is an ongoing trend. There should be no argument at this point that the Steelers are far and away the most popular NFL franchise, so I won’t bother to belabor. As DK has pointed out in an article that I think made him Public Enemy #1 in Toronto, the Penguins are also the most popular NHL franchise. The Pirates are far more popular, at least in my opinion, than they deserve for their recent history. I think their turnstiles will explode to the tune of 2.8 million the year after they get to the playoffs. I am hopeful that year is coming by 2015, and maybe even this year if things keep heading in the right direction. It is ok to be #3 locally for the time being, if the competition is the Steelers and Pens.

  301. Jim S. says:

    Thanks. Blind squirrel theory. Haha!

  302. Jim S. says:

    I said last week that Tabata was hardly ever hitting the ball hard, and I was not optimistic about him getting back to being a good hitter again. He immediately went on a tear. I am glad to say I was hasty in my judgment of Tabby. He needs to keep doing it, but this is the best he has looked in about 3 years.

    I also mentioned a lot of concern about Pedro. So far, that one has not been straightened out. 1 out of 2 ain’t so bad!

  303. Jim S. says:

    I agree that Jones should not be pulled from the lineup tonight.

  304. Naterosboro says:

    Or Joe Kerrigan

  305. NMR says:

    Jim, he’d your own advice.

    If you were hasty in judging Tabby’s performace over the first six weeks, you’re also hasty in judging his performance over the last week.

  306. NMR says:

    Ha, *heed

  307. Patrick says:

    That sentence would be factually correct if you replaced the word “fans” with “infantile jack-wagons”.

  308. MadTurk says:

    I thought he had a mouse in his pocket

  309. MadTurk says:

    oops forgot the :-)

  310. MadTurk says:

    Someone called?

  311. MadTurk says:

    You will sure here it when he throws a bad game though.

  312. Jim S. says:

    I gotta say I think DK has his priorities right. I often tweet to him that I am amazed at how many events he gets to. I don’t think he has a job where you can get away with phoning in the hours. In fact, I think my wife would have divorced me by now if I put in as many evening and weekend hours as he does. I think he rightly has to be all over the Pens right now. Not even a realistic option to do otherwise.

  313. Jim S. says:

    The SABR guys have been saying Cutch is hitting in bad luck so far this year. He is doing a better job than last year, believe it or not, in terms of only swinging at balls in the strike zone. The results will get better, and Cutch could actually be better than last year w/o getting as good of results. As my best baseball coach once told me, “All you can do is square it up, and then where it goes is out of your hands.” Cutch is still very much getting better as a hitter. That is a very good thing.

  314. Sarah says:

    Oh and I’ve been meaning to say – poor Sidney looks positively gaunt.
    Really worried that the grind is already wearing on him. And will only get worse.
    It’s an incredible physical beast, these playoffs.

  315. Jim S. says:


    I’m new here, but I thought your Avatar was a selfie! Got that word from my daughter, BTW!

  316. Jim S. says:

    Is it really lower, or do the last 2 nights just make it seem that way? The city has Pens fever, rightly so.

  317. Sarah says:

    Hah! Well I was good for about half the game LOL! Bad guys had moved down from an upper level and just better. But I usually stop more breaks than that….only about 5 for 9 maybe. Old and slow now!
    Oh well!

  318. Jim S. says:

    I have a friend who graduated from EMU, and he called it Easiest Michigan University. I asked what he called WMU, and he said “Worst Michigan University.” Don’t shoot the messenger.

  319. Jim S. says:

    He would draw tons of interest, but especially in our division where some team will want the double header of helping themselves and hurting hockey’s most talented team.

  320. Jim S. says:

    I remember the very end of those days. But, in fairness to today’s pitchers, guys are trained today to throw harder for as long as they can and turn it over to other guys who do the same thing. K’s are king, and they throw more pitches as a result. Walks are greater now, too. In the old days, pitchers did not throw as hard, did not strike out as many guys, and therefore got out of innings quicker because balls were put in play quicker. Clemente would be criticized today for only drawing 40 walks per season. The game is different in that regard, but I don’t think it is because pitchers don’t have the strength to pitch as many innings. Teams now prepare for 6 innings starts by having flame-throwers ready to pitch the last 3 innings.

  321. Jim S. says:

    Great points. It is not the end of the line for MAF if the Pens move him. He’s very young, especially for a goalie, and he easily has 10 quality years left. Plenty of time to rehab his mental state in the playoffs. But, how do you tell Vokoun next fall, “Thanks for stepping up and righting the ship. Now, you’re #2 again.” They should easily be able to find a Western Conf home for Fleury and get a young, promising goalie in return in that pkg. Right? Maybe I’m all wet here, but I can see that happening. Vokoun re-signs for 2 yrs and mentors a young stud to take over. I don’t know why many people seem to think Vokoun is some sort of journeyman goalie with limited skills. He has been pretty darn good for a long time, even if the teams in front of him have not been great.

  322. Jim S. says:

    True, NMR!

  323. Jim S. says:

    Hopefully not, Sarah. I read yesterday that he is eating solid food (steak, chicken) again.

  324. Kris says:

    Am I misremembering from the regular season games that someone observed that Fleury seems to have trouble playing in Ottawa? (Something about the look of different arenas – some goalies play better in one versus another.)

  325. Sarah says:

    Man I hope so!
    Feed that boy some loads of chicken and mashed potatoes!
    Bulk him up!

  326. Kris says:

    My mom’s favorite activity at Pens games is yelling at Fleury to get back in his net, it’s true. That, and complaining at him about being too skinny so pucks squirt through the five hole under his butt. (That’s pretty much the sum total of her hockey commentary, but she enjoys it, so hey.)

    I think if Fleury could get better at getting his brain back in gear after giving up a bad goal there wouldn’t be as much of a momentum issue – as it is, though, as a fan you start having that sinking ‘here we go again’ feeling and I imagine the other guys on the team feel it also, which would kill the momentum quite effectively.

  327. Kris says:

    It doesn’t help that Neil was doing a fantastic job of avoiding Murray as much as possible, too. Has to have the puck AND be on the ice at the same time, pretty much no chance. :P

    (I am consistently entertained by the way in which Murray just doesn’t move when guys try to hit him, though. They just bounce off. Sometimes he looks like he didn’t even notice. “Huh? Sorry, were you trying to get the puck? Yeah, no, not gonna happen.”)

  328. Kris says:

    Yeah, I’d go with Dupuis too. The way he’s playing and the way he fits into the team would be hard to replace, I think.

  329. Kris says:

    It really annoys me to have guys at the national level behaving like that. Local commentators I expect to have some bias because being a fan of the team is almost part of the job description – helps you identify with the fans and sound legitimately excited when stuff goes well. But even local commentators should also be able to recognize and appreciate just plain good play – and when you’re at the national level that should be what you’re focused on, the quality of the play. Not your personal preferences in terms of teams or players. (Unless you’re doing some kind of ‘color’ piece where you freely admit that for the next 30 seconds you’re just going to be a total fan and not even try to be impartial.)

    What we get from MM and JR just seems so unprofessional and deeply annoying, and even when they aren’t complaining about the Pens, since I know how biased they can be about the Penguins I have no faith at all in their assessments of other teams or players, so what the heck is the point of listening to them at all? I usually put it on mute.

  330. Kris says:

    I was at Game 1 and Game 5 of the series with the Islanders, and I would not call it quiet at all. There are occasionally quieter moments, but overall I think the energy levels have been quite good.

    Remember that with TV there’s the need to mix the sound so that you get enough of the ‘flavor’ of the arena without overwhelming the commentators, so even if they do have microphones positioned specifically to pick up crowd noise, the level on that is likely to be set pretty low relative to the other sounds coming in as the default.

  331. Kris says:

    Every time I see him I get all twitchy because omg, NEEDS MORE FOOD!

    (And no, the jaw thing is not enough of an excuse for me. My late husband had muscular dystrophy and thus had issues with chewing/swallowing and was chronically underweight, and we managed to get him away from being dangerously underweight mostly by virtue of being creative with foods, textures, making use of additives like protein powder to bump up the content of the food he was eating, etc. IT CAN BE DONE!)

  332. Sarah says:

    Sorry to hear re your late hubby’s troubles! Makes us realize hockey is a Game!

    But YES get creative Sid!! (Is he still living w Mario??? Maybe Nathalie can fatten him up!!!)

  333. Kris says:

    It makes you realize how important it is to enjoy life too, though – life is too short to be miserable all the time. If part of enjoyment is going to hockey games or playing in them, then go for it, y’know?

    I just worry about Sid’s ability to recover and be in good shape for a long playoff run if he’s still having trouble getting enough calories and enough protein. When you get worn down is when more injuries seem to happen, too. (Not the freak ones like a puck to the face, but sprains and strains and tears and things of that nature.)

  334. Sarah says:

    I worry about Sid too.

    But beautifully said, Kris, I hope we all can keep that steady eye on the important things in life!

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