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Monday Wakeup Call: What if it hadn’t been Kunitz?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

OTTAWA — Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Monday column from Game 3 focuses almost entirely on that blown final minute.

You know, because I’m all negative like that.

In particular, it isolates on Chris Kunitz’s stunning lack of effort on Daniel Alfredsson’s goal. I describe it in the column, so no need to pile on, but here’s the video …

Ran into some other hockey writers — ESPN, TSN — at an all-night diner here at about 2 a.m. and showed them that clip. They, like most of us watching the game from the press box, hadn’t fully picked up on Kunitz’s part in this. … But wow.

Which leads to my question for you, since I’m about out of steam after having some poutine at that diner: What if it hadn’t been Kunitz?

What if that had been Evgeni Malkin, who had his own smaller part to play in that goal?

Just asking: What do you think the reaction would have been back home?

Here’s the rest of our full team coverage from Ottawa, by beat men Rob Rossi and Josh Yohe.

>> The Pirates used a familiar formula — starter + Mark Melancon + Jason Grilli — to take a weekend series from the Astros. Rob Biertempfel reports from PNC Park.

>> The Steelers start OTAs tomorrow on the South Side, and Alan Robinson has a detailed breakdown of a roster that’s shaping up as significantly younger.

>> If you missed WPXI-TV’s ‘The Final Word’ amid all the fuss around that time last night, here are video clips to all four segments. Kevin Gorman and Biertempfel were the Tribbies.

>> I’ll visit with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m. Assuming the alarm goes off.

The Penguins don’t practice today, but they’ll have a 1 p.m. availability from their hotel, and I’ll post any material updates right here on this very blog.

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.

Comments

  1. Boise Bucco says:

    Gah, MAN that was a tough loss to take. I even had the girlfriend watching the game; she is definitely NOT a sports girl, but every scrum around Vokoun she went into aaaaAAAAAHHHHHH mode right there with me.

    When the schedule for this round came out, I remember hearing something about how the two days off between games 1 – 2 and games 3 – 4 were rally killers, and maybe that’s a good thing for the Pens. Give them a couple days to rest up. Sens played a HUGE game tonight, Anderson was standing on his head. Maybe an extra day off hits the “reset” button on their momentum.

  2. john says:

    Dejan, did you actually watch the video that you posted on twitter: http://www.rds.ca/vid%C3%A9os/le-capitaine-se-l%C3%A8ve-en-fin-de-match-1.623209.

    Freeze it at the 7 second mark. Is Martin or Letang supposed to be the left defenseman on that play? I only ask because Martin is positioned on the right side above Gonchar and Letang is on the right side below him.

    If there is a defenseman on the left side, then he easily picks up Alfredsson and Malkin in that scenario is positioned in front of Phillips to clear a rebound.

    Malkin sees Martin on Gonchar. He never looks to notice that Letang is positioned at right defense.

    If you want to say that Malkin should have picked up Alfredsson anyway, then that’s fine.

    But, implying that it was ‘smart’ to put out Letang and Martin where both played like they were a right defenseman, then that implication is anything but smart.

  3. DJ says:

    Bylsma’s choice of Sutter in particular switching for Sid “halfway” through the last power play makes absolutely no sense for two reasons. First, if you are going to take one player off the ice there, it needs to be Malkin, not Sid. Second, beyond that, Sutter should not have been the player coming on the ice . . . he was absolutely gassed minutes into the first OT. Cooke, who played a great game, or Dupuis, who was very solid, should have been the choice, not Sutter.

  4. john says:

    Another thought: If you’re going to put out Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Martin, and Letang for the PP, why not just play keep away? Why bother even trying to enter the offensive zone? Why leave behind your net if nobody is going to chase? You can’t get your goalie out if you can’t get the puck. No reason Bylsma couldn’t have just said you five keep the puck away from those four for the next 90 seconds. Don’t play defensive. Don’t try to score. Just don’t give up the puck.

  5. DJ says:

    . . . HC DB’s comment about that planned switch is so confounding that I typed that Sutter was gassed minutes into the first OT when I meant to say well before the end of regulation.

  6. DJ says:

    . . . and based upon his post-game comments that he had already made up his mind that he was going to switch out Sid with Sutter before the final PP in regulation began, I am now left wondering if HC DB was paying any attention to his players’ performances up to that point. There is absolutely no way Sutter should have been taking the ice at that point.

    DK: That whole answer was something, huh?

  7. Mizery says:

    We went from having the series locked up to having a battle on our hands. Terrible

  8. Ghost says:

    And now for a little Pirate talk. Saw some discussion on the game thread about how Jeff Locke spends a lot of time hanging out by A.J., soaking up what he can. Boy, that alone “should” keep Huntington from selling off A.J. come trade deadline time if, perish the thought, the Pirates have swooned by late July. I was hopeful Jeff Locke would do okay for us, coming off his successful spring training. He’s surpassing my expectations. He is allowing this fan to envision him taking the ball every fifth day for us beyond this current season. Of course, we’ll just have to see. Maybe he’s just a flash in the pan (see: Ross Ohlendorf, cerca 2009). But getting back to A.J., his presence on this young squad would seem to be invaluable and I could think of no blow more detrimental to the development of this team than for Neal to flip #34 in July for a couple of prospects.

  9. Ghost says:

    I now think I recall that Burnett’s contract prevents his team from trading him without his consent. Okay then, no Hoka Hey content to see here. We can keep moving along.

  10. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    One would be hard-pressed to name a more ridiculous playoff loss for a postseason Pittsburgh sports team.
    All I can say is that last minute of regulation was for “goofball teams” … and the Pens played the part to the hilt.

    This was indeed, a giant fiasco of a loss by a team that could’ve put the series away. Instead … they’ve once again left the door open for a lesser opponent.

    Sickening …

    DK: I don’t know. Tim Tebow throwing three TD bombs stands out now more than ever.

  11. Jim says:

    Isn’t Kunitz as a winger is responsible for one of the D at the point? The center and defense take the people down low. I think there are a couple better questions

    1. When Kunitz dumped the puck in deep, why was he the only person beyond the red line? If there was not going to be any fore check, drop the puck back to Martin or Letang and eat the clock? There wasn’t a Senator outside the blue line so it was a no risk play.

    2. If you’re going to let the Senators have the puck and bring it up ice, why was Malkin on the ice at all? His play in our end hasn’t been spectacular and a give away could be devastating.

  12. kr70 says:

    Just shows you what an influence a goalie can have on a game. We were stoned on so many great chances.

  13. Jandy says:

    From the comments on the game thread, you’d think the Pens just lost the Stanley Cup last night. I agree this is a disgusting loss, but man, let’s not jump off the bridges just yet.

    Happy Monday everyone.

  14. Papa Croz says:

    An uncharacteristic play by Kunitz.
    Malkin, sleeping at the wheel, not anticipating
    the pass.
    It’s a whole new series, and now their goalie is
    playing with confidence. Just need to win 1.

  15. MadTurk says:

    This is what happens when DK predicts us winning 4 to 2. DK no more predictions PLEASE!!!!!! :-)

  16. Jandy says:

    hahaah that’s been mentioned a time or three, MadTurk ;)

  17. Drew71 says:

    Forget Kunitz. Forget Malkin.

    Predicting a 4-2 win? This loss is on Duct Tape Dejan.

    You know, because I’m all negative like that.

    Dejan. Your “favorite scapegoat” is misplaced with Malkin. Go read the game thread. Everyone else puts it on Bylsma.

    That’s what happens to scapegoats. After Pens win several playoff games. And the first round. And generally play better. And then a player shows total lack of effort with the opponents attacking at 30 seconds left in regulation.

    Out come the disco references.

    It’s on him. Not Kunitz. Not Malkin. HIM. Because, well, just because. Because it always is.

    No string of healthy wins will bury the bile.

    One loss. One key player breakdown. And Bylsma Bile comes gushing to the surface.

    But no matter how many wins, it is never very far from the surface. Is it?

  18. Drew71 says:

    I know they both only took one game, but didn’t it seem that the undermanned Astros put up more of a fight than the unmanly brewers?

  19. Jandy says:

    Drew dahling, most of the bridge jumpers were putting this on Letang. It’s all his fault, don’t ya know?
    But yeah…get out the duct tape, man, we gotta stop these whammys from happening again!
    Must have had the windows shut all the way up on that drive. Went to his head…

  20. Jandy says:

    Ya know, I was thinking the same thing. Scary, eh?

  21. MadTurk says:

    Yep I mentioned yesterday at the time he predicted it

  22. Jandy says:

    Drew wants to get out the duct tape lol

  23. Rob Rowe says:

    In the post-game presser, when answering the question about his endgame tactics, Coach Dan sounded like a kid trying to explain to dad how he fender-bended the new Toyota.
    Granted, the player’s execution, or lack thereof, is probably the primary culprit. Yet Coach Dan’s vigorous and successful pursuit of perplexity in the face of common sense retains some serious stink.

  24. JAL says:

    JAL’s Fire on the Mountain Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6un5SrPf9Rc

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    http://gobuccos.com/pittsburgh-pirate-news/

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

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

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: The Altoona Four – Where Are They Now?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/05/first-pitch-the-altoona-four-where-are-they-now.html

    Pirates Win Series on Locke’s Sharp Start, Alvarez’s Homer

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/05/pirates-win-series-on-lockes-sharp-start-alvarezs-homer.html

    Prospect Watch: Kingham and Taillon Have Good Starts While Cole Gets Hammered

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/05/prospect-watch-kingham-and-taillon-have-good-starts-while-cole-gets-hammered.html

    Barmes Makes Adjustment, Improves at the Plate

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/05/barmes-makes-adjustment-improves-at-the-plate.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Jeff Locke, Pedro Alvarez pace Pirates in 1-0 win

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/5/19/4346188/jeff-locke-pedro-alvarez-pace-pirates-in-1-0-win

    Cole bombed, Taillon OK, Kingham bounces back

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/5/19/4346364/cole-bombed-taillon-ok-kingham-bounces-back

    7 WHYGAVS

    Game 44: Pirates 1 Astros 0

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/may-2013/game-44-pirates-1-astros-0.html

    8 The Green Weenie

    Locke, Pedro Lead Bucs To 1-0 Win

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/05/locke-pedro-lead-bucs-to-1-0-win.html

    9 Rumbunter

    The Neal Huntington Show: Pirates GM Gives State of the Club

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/05/19/the-neal-huntington-show-pirates-gm-gives-state-of-the-club/

    Pittsburgh Pirates Trade Piece

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/05/18/pittsburgh-pirates-trade-piece/

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 1, Astros 0

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/05/pirates-1-astros-0/

  25. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Houston Chronicle

    Astros’ bats go on mute in series finale against Pirates

    http://blog.chron.com/ultimateastros/2013/05/19/astros-bats-go-on-mute-in-series-finale-against-pirates/

    12 Rant Sports

    How is Jeff Locke Pitching So Well For Pittsburgh Pirates?

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/05/19/how-is-jeff-locke-pitching-so-well-for-pittsburgh-pirates/

    13 Charleston Daily Mail

    Pirates general manager sees positives signs out of Power

    http://www.dailymail.com/Sports/201305190135

    14 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Miklasz: Cardinals are looking good, but they have company

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/miklasz-cardinals-are-looking-good-but-they-have-company/article_867898dd-b37f-5de2-880f-d22770354f9e.html

    15 Fox Sports

    Surprise! NL Central riding high

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/jon-paul-morosi-national-league-central-makes-surprising-case-for-best-division-in-mlb-051913

    16 CBS Sports

    Locke, Alvarez homer foil Harrell, help Pirates stay hot

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/recap/MLB_20130519_HOU@PIT/locke-alvarez-homer-foil-harrell-help-pirates-stay-hot

    17 Sweetspot

    Weekend wrap: Here comes Profar!

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/36110/weekend-wrap-here-comes-profar

    18 PBC Site

    Solo shot all Locke needs as Pirates top Astros

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_05_19_houmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap_home&c_id=pit

    Notebook: McCutchen has no structural damage in sore knee

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130519&content_id=47983338&notebook_id=47983342&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    This Week in Quotes

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20628

    20 Fangraphs

    Bullpen Report: May 19, 2013

    http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/bullpen-report-may-19-2013/

  26. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers return duty competition has mixed history in Pittsburgh

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/5/19/4345726/steelers-special-teams-kick-punt-return

    Weekend Checkdown: the top stories of the week

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/5/18/4342064/weekend-checkdown-the-top-stories-of-the-week

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Hirtz: Pre OTAs Steelers Season Prediction

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/05/hritz-pre-otas-2013-steelers-season-prediction/

    Soccer(football) Will T

    23 Daily Telegraph

    Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas vows to keep Gareth Bale after missing out on Champions League place

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/tottenham-hotspur/10067589/Tottenham-manager-Andre-Villas-Boas-vows-to-keep-Gareth-Bale-after-missing-out-on-Champions-League-place.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

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

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

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Sports Illustrated

    Greening’s goal in 2nd OT lifts Sens over Pens

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/hockey/nhl/gameflash/2013/05/19/32615_recap.html

    26 NHL

    Senators win in 2nd OT after last-minute tie on SHG

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2012030213

    27 Ottawa Citizen

    Senators have life after stunning OT victory

    http://www.ottawacitizen.com/sports/hockey/Senators+have+life+after+stunning+victory/8408034/story.html

  27. JAL says:

    Fire on the Mountain Marshall Tucker Band 1975 The era of Southern Rock. The band is named after a Spartanburg-area piano tuner whose name they saw on a key. Fire on the Mountain just made into the top 40, peaking at 38.

  28. MadTurk says:

    Yep yesterday we wanted to tape him up for predicting a game and lucky added to it for predicting any Pirates game or any home town team game.

  29. Drew71 says:

    And because, you know, because I’m all negative like that.

  30. Drew71 says:

    Now to crash into the goal of another scapegoat…

    After that long game, do you play MAF in game four?

    After all, as bad as he played, he’s not chopped liver. And TV is, what, 47 years old.

  31. Thundercrack says:

    Last week someone posted that they heard Ron Cook say that the Pirates had to sweep the Astros. Nothing else would do.

    After yesterday’s game I heard Fillaponni say on the FAN that Pirate fans shouldn’t be happy with winning 2-3 -especially with the way they won the game on Friday night.

    Hey, we usually LOSE those types of games that happened on Friday night! Why not be happy that your team won 2 out of 3 when it didn’t play its best. The hitting wasn’t great but besides the hiccup on Saturday the pitching wasn’t too bad.

    Being happy with wins. What a concept.

  32. Jandy says:

    Yeah, honestly, TC. I mean, I was just as upset last night at the Pens allowing the Sens to tie the game with 28 seconds left…then lose it in second OT. But man, let’s keep things in perspective.

  33. MadTurk says:

    You negative? NEVER

  34. Jandy says:

    I would have MAF in Game 4, not because Vokoun played badly, but because I think he can use a break. But, who knows what DB’s mind will dream up?

  35. MadTurk says:

    If we would have won game 3 then I would have him in for at least game 4. But now I say stay with TV. Otherwise we may as well have your little doggies play goal.

  36. Ron says:

    Brutal loss
    The last time I felt this bad about a loss Bob Moose was throwing a wild pitch

  37. Drew71 says:

    I think those guys have a point. After all, the division leaders are playing .950 ball.

    Oh wait. They’re not.

    Or maybe there’s a tendency among those guys to make every effort not to sound like a fan when things are going relatively well.

    A now deceased columnist once wrote that the major political affiliation of journalists is Cynicism.

    I sometimes think it is a bit cultivated.

    And empowered and encouraged by their peer group.

    So. SOME level of discernment in positive times is fair, especially when fact based. (Will the bullpen last? Especially when Pirates starters are averaging about a half inning less than the rest of the league.)

    But win EVERY game or I get to rant on air? Cultivated cynicism or maybe being purposefully provocative for the reaction or the show.

  38. Drew71 says:

    Oh come on. They are up 2-1.

    The last three years of first round losses didn’t make you feel bad?

    How bout, as Duck Tape reminded, Tim Tebow’s three TDs?

    Or Neil O’Donnell to Larry Brown?

    Or The Sid Bream Slide?

  39. Drew71 says:

    But that’s an easy decision. When there’s little risk.

    Coaches get paid to make tough decisions when it’s not easy.

  40. Drew71 says:

    And that’s what I meant, and should have said.

    For purposes of rest, especially now, not permanent replacement.

  41. MadTurk says:

    I have decided to go to work? That was a hard decision. Can I be a coach? Later

  42. MadTurk says:

    And there yuo go claritfying your statement. I don’t have an issue whith who plays the next game so long as the we effort and a win. :-)

  43. Jandy says:

    or the loss to the Wings in ’08

  44. theplanisworking says:

    ………… and of course, its sister song was Deep purple’s “Smoke on the Water”. ;)

  45. Drew71 says:

    How bout this? I’m going to the dentist.

  46. Jandy says:

    “I sometimes think it is a bit cultivated. ”
    Yeah, with horse manure :P

  47. Joni says:

    Is it me, or does Letang give Malkin a dirty look after the goal? He should have skated around and given Kunitz a dirty look, as well. Perhaps it was just that Malkin was closer…

    If I was HCDB I would have lined all of them up and given them an exaggerated head shake (one of those “shame, shame, I know your name” deals).

  48. Drew71 says:

    Getting my fangs sharpened

  49. theplanisworking says:

    Its a wonder we didnt see MAF on that PP last night. :(

  50. theplanisworking says:

    or 1993 Volek?

  51. Jandy says:

    Drew, I was sharing your comments about the ride to Ottawa with hubby and he was roaring. He loved the “pull my finger” one immensely LOL

  52. theplanisworking says:

    I havent seen this so far this morning, so here goes……………

    Fire Byls……………… ;)

  53. Jandy says:

    HIPPOSTER!!!

  54. Jandy says:

    Those Poodles better run!

  55. Jandy says:

    Ouches indeed

  56. Jandy says:

    ha! he’s my main culprit. Seriously. And I’m a huge DB supporter.

  57. Jandy says:

    he may have done better, he was fresh ;)

  58. DJ says:

    Yes, Dejan, it was an absolutely startling revelation by Dan.

    As you say this morning, no need to pile on, but there are also assistant coaches on this team. They should have put their heads together, decided what was working, and then made an informed decision. What was working very well for the previous 7-8 minutes was responsible, defensive-minded hockey with a 1-goal lead. Why change that up if you have the lead and are on the PP? Personally I would have preferred our full complement of penalty killers, plus Sid for the face-off and any needed back checking, if it even got to that. But if you are going to proceed with a modified PP line-up — and Dan admitted as much given his stated intention to insert a player “halfway” through the PP — then you need Sid on the ice, plus either Cooke or Dupuis who were both having good games. No way should it have been Sutter there.

    Yes, the players did not execute but the coaching staff deserves most of the blame for not putting the team in a position to lock this one down. Let’s hope it is not a turning point (a la Briere goal) that comes back to bite us.

  59. radio wave says:

    Very tough loss for your team. But you had margin for error, you made that error and now you still have the chance to come home leaving three games to one. As a Rangers fan I have nothing else to say. My team took it on the chin big time yesterday, and we obviously can’t physically stand up to the Bruins.

  60. theplanisworking says:

    Ok, Hippo’s multiple choice time !!!

    Which was the worst thing about that now infamous PP last night?

    Was it

    a) The wrong personnel were on the ice ?
    b) The wrong strategy was employed on said PP? , or
    c) The matador defense on Alfredsson?

    Being I am a long-time caller, first-time listener, I will hang up and listen to your answers!

  61. theplanisworking says:

    LOL!

  62. theplanisworking says:

    JANDY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Mornin’ !

  63. Jandy says:

    I have one important question, tho. Seriously.

    What happened to the Pens’ PP?????

  64. theplanisworking says:

    a combination of poor passing, and Anderson standing on his head.

  65. Jandy says:

    Since I asked that question (below), I will look forward to the answers also.

  66. Jandy says:

    yes it is morning, and my a$$ is draggin’ But oh well, I will persevere :)

  67. Jandy says:

    Man, radio, I saw that. I was actually thinking of you. Sorry friend :(

  68. theplanisworking says:

    My question is about that one specific PP.

    When I saw the Pens back-skating on said PP, I was screaming at the TV………..

    no bridge jumping here.
    I will go on a road trip like DK and the Band did Saturday, and just sit on Disco.
    That will learn him !!!!

  69. radio wave says:

    Plus one

  70. theplanisworking says:

    But are you a long-time caller, first-time listener??? ;)

  71. theplanisworking says:

    Hippos asses drag frequently, so you are in good company! ;)

  72. Jandy says:

    their PP stunk anyway, so that one was doomed as well. We just didn’t know how badly doomed :/

  73. Jandy says:

    eh…got to bed after the game..what 12:30, 12:45? Was up at 4am as usual. I’ll take a nap after work.

  74. radio wave says:

    Down on your coach? I thought that was a feeling only reserved for us Rangers fans.

  75. Drew71 says:

    Yes. 93. Absolutely.

    To be honest, I wasn’t as surprised by the 98 outcome so the pain isn’t as high for me.

    Isn’t it something?

    We define our sporting lives as much by the LOSSES as the wins.

  76. Jandy says:

    woah..italics…look out!

  77. SJB says:

    If they stick with Vokoun in the next game, I guarantee he gives up at least a couple soft goals. Even though I think he played just as well as Anderson in the loss, I just have seen too many goalies who are on the losing end of games like that, where they played well enough to win, come out and lay an egg in the next game. Then they are forced to go to Fleury in game 5…and they don’t want to be forced into that situation. I’d rather be forced to go back to Vokoun in game 5 than Fleury.

    There is a reason Vokoun is a backup now and I don’t think that he can be counted on to bounce back after a gut punch loss like that and out-dual Anderson when he and his team now have momentum. Regardless of Fleury’s issues, I think it’s time to let him try to steal a game on the road. Hopefully, he’s had enough time now to shake the Isle series from his mind.

    That said; those who think Anderson stole the game from the Pens is simply making excuses. He played great but the Pens had a 1 goal lead with 30 seconds left while on the PP. They should have won regardless of who was in net for the Sens or how they were playing and the last time I checked, it wasn’t Anderson who scored the tying goal, or was even on the ice for it. Had the Pens done what they should have, Vokoun gets the No. 1 star and all the praise goes to him this morning.

    The Pens special teams killed them last night. Not only couldn’t they score with a 1 or even 2 man advantage, they couldn’t decide how they wanted to play it with the goalie pulled and gave a half-a$$ed 50/50 effort because of it. “Do we try to score or do we try to defend? Who knows…Ooops, it’s in our net.” And Elvis is pissed because he had his Cadillac half way out of the parking lot and had to stop and turn around.

  78. Jandy says:

    Then if ALL this isn’t enough…you know, the Pens blowing that game, the Pirates only taking 2 of 3 from the Astros, that freaking Oxbow had to win the Preakness, so now there will be no triple crown sheesh!

  79. Jandy says:

    silly you, DB’s been on the hot seat since mid season ;)
    (snark alert)

  80. theplanisworking says:

    You know, Hippos admire the grace and speed of horses. Seriously.

    However, when a Hippo attacks, speeds of up to 35 mph can be attained.

    Really.

    The only way I ever see 35 mph is if I was on wheels! ;)

  81. Jandy says:

    LOL..I told you yesterday, sometimes slow is good…

  82. SJB says:

    One positive that came out of the loss was seeing Chris A$$clown turned into road kill.

  83. theplanisworking says:

    Yes, Drew wins “special” poster of the day! ;)

    Only way I get italics is if I am tilting. ;)

  84. theplanisworking says:

    Then I am the KING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;)

  85. DJ says:

    I agree that focusing on Anderson’s performance in this one is just excuse-making and accountability-deflecting. Anderson was great but was out-performed by Vokoun until the last 1:30. Your comment about not being able to “decide how they wanted to play it” is totally on the coaching staff. That’s what they are getting paid for, and they altered the plan that had been working by both the selected personnel on the PP and not adequately communicating how those final seconds should be played.

  86. Sherry says:

    Greetings from the west coast – woke up way too early and was almost immediately back to stewing over the Pens loss last night. I was just beginning to believe that the boys days of self immolation were behind them, but damned if they didn’t do it again.

    It is going to be a long day…

  87. Jandy says:

    haha! Amen SJB!

  88. Jandy says:

    Chin up, Sherry, Wednesday is a new slate. If you haven’t already, let Bizrow know your hometown and he’ll add it to the list of Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum :)

  89. Jandy says:

    Hail to the Hippo King!

  90. SJB says:

    Nothing wrong with the personnel. More of a combination of them not knowing how to play it and the bad decision to change some of said personnel during the PP when they just had the stop in play and should have had who they wanted out there from the get go. I know the Sens have the last change, but with them adding the extra attacker – which they knew they were going to do – they shouldn’t have had to make any changes on the ice after play resumed. Just a complete bed $hitting by all Pens involved.

  91. Arriba Wilver says:

    I was thinking the same things listening to Fillipponi after the game as you guys.
    Still like Cowher’s line, “There’s a fine line . . .” Seems to apply to both situations this past weekend.

  92. SJB says:

    and by “all Pens” I mean Bylsma as well.

  93. I don’t think even Neal is stupid enough to trade him now, even if we swoon. July 31st is only 2 months away. I believe he’ll keep this team intact or add on, depending on injuries, etc. But what do I know?

  94. Jandy says:

    Pittsburgh fans are HIGHLY spoiled.

  95. Arriba Wilver says:

    But there’s two days of rest. I’d stick with TV for at least the next game.

  96. Jandy says:

    My gripe is that the PP in general was horrid last night. They went what? 0-8?

  97. And I reiterate that today after a classic example in the wee hours.

    No Abosolute Locks in any sport. Please.

    :D

  98. Or Absolute ones, either.

  99. SJB says:

    Don’t forget the Game 4, 2001 loss to the Flyers in 5 OT’s. This after the Pens had a 2-0 series lead winning both games on the road but the huge OT loss was something they couldn’t recover from, going on to lose the series in 6 games 4-2.

  100. Sherry says:

    Will Bizrow see this?…

    Solana Beach, CA (in north San Diego county)

  101. SJB says:

    Yeah, I spoke to that earlier too. 0-6 in regulation I think and they failed to score on a 5 on 3 with one of those 3 not having a stick for an extended period of time. If this were a Disney Mighty Ducks movie, they couldn’t even write that kinda nonsense.

  102. Thundercrack says:

    Didn’t we lose to the Flyers last year? That had to hurt more than the 3rd game of this series

  103. Thundercrack says:

    Maybe the Bucs are good enough to beat a team like the Astros even when they don’t play well

  104. SJB says:

    True dat.

  105. theplanisworking says:

    Sherry, how close are you to El Cajon?

  106. Jandy says:

    Sure will Sherry, as Spunky (Lucky) says, Biz sees all :)
    Welcome to the Asylum!

  107. Drew71 says:

    Can you imagine what that ride back would be like if the Pens lose both?

    Think Exlax Brownies.

    Which reminds me of a story.

    Or two.

  108. Jandy says:

    Don’t remind me!

  109. You hit the nail on the head.

    That shot Pedro hit Friday was no clown show, like the Astros’ game-ending error. We deserved to win that game as much as them. They just helped us to do it quicker. Saturday could have gone either way.

    And a 1-0 win against any ML team is top notch. It counts the same as a 10-3 win last time I checked.

  110. theplanisworking says:

    LOL you nut!

  111. Jandy says:

    I can agree with this statement.

  112. Sherry says:

    About 30 miles north and further west.

  113. theplanisworking says:

    Jandy, Lucky, I have a question……….

    Since this is the Asylum, and we are all lunatics, how do I get a white coat? I mean, I know you dont have a Hippo sized coat………..

  114. Jandy says:

    Oh Lord, Ex Lax brownie stories…I can hardly wait…

    Spunky, spelled either way, I followed the message. Maybe our Fearless Leader can follow it as well!

  115. Jandy says:

    A lot. AJ stays. Period. I do not allow trading him! Mother Theresa has spoken! :stern look:

  116. theplanisworking says:

    I have a cousin who has lived in El Cajon for 20 years, thats why I ask.

    Welcome! ;)

  117. Sew some white sheets together.

    Or bleach a tent.

    Not to be mean, but you asked.

    :)

  118. I, for one won’t be holding my breath. He knows better, but you know, some people’s kids……..

  119. theplanisworking says:

    Lucky, you are genius!

    I should have known Omar the Tentmaker would have something for me!!!

    Thanks !!! ;)

  120. Tim says:

    when they started the PP I thought why isn’t Adams, Dupuis and Cooke out there. Bad, bad coaching. Didn’t need to do anything but kill time. Anderson was great. So was Malkin. Sid looked gassed. It was a really good game though. Just not a really good coaching move.

  121. Jandy says:

    and Spunky’s too

  122. dwf says:

    59:31 of focused hockey is not going to get it done, it takes a full 60 MINUTES! How many “lessons” do these Pens have to learn?

    As for DD….If it takes the Pens losing this series for them to get rid of him, well then that is a price I’m willing to pay! So disgusted with his decision/explanation. With DD making calls like that they don’t deserve to win!

  123. DJ says:

    We’re not halfway into the playoffs and we’re seeing fatigue and some of our new vets playing even slower. They also say to win the Cup you need at least one short series (5 games or less). I don’t see that happening in Conference or SC Finals, assuming we are fortunate enough to get there. It therefore seems fresh legs and speed are going to determine outcomes of series as they further proceed, including this one with Ottawa. We are lauded for our incredible depth but that depth is of no value unless deployed appropriately. I assume Vitale was injured for this last one but would love to see HCDB and staff rethink the “personnel on the ice” component and consider using Bennett, Depres and (assuming healthy) Jussi in spots moving forward. This could be the more critical coaching strategy than deciding who we start in goal.

  124. Jandy says:

    LOL Hipposter, you are nuts :P

  125. Sherry says:

    My family moved to LA (settled in Santa Monica) from Pgh in ’72. I bounced around the country (sometimes landing back in Pgh) for years after I graduated high school in ’76. Been here in San Diego since ’89 (almost all of it in North County). I love it here, but I still miss the Burgh. :)

  126. theplanisworking says:

    Jandy, and your point is??????????? ;)

  127. TJ says:

    The Pens lost; lost in a horrible fashion… case closed.

    The thing that has me concerned the most right now is that since Ottawa pulled Anderson in Pittsburgh this team has scored a total of 2 goals in essentially 6 periods of hockey.

    Not going to win many games scoring 1 goal a game whether Kunitz craps the bed in the final minute or not.

  128. theplanisworking says:

    I think many here miss the Burgh!

  129. TJ says:

    Might be one of the silliest things I’ve heard so far. Willing to have this team lose to the Senators just to have DD fired?

    You do realize that the likes of Iginla, Morrow, Murray and possibly more won’t be back with this team next year right? This is the Pens shot at the cup. If they don’t win it this year its going to be very very tough going forward with a roster purge due to quality players eating up large chunks of the payroll.

  130. Paperboy says:

    I didn’t really take issue with the personnel on the ice during the last minute power play IF you’re going to gain the zone and possess the puck. If you’re going to dump and sit back, then yes, your defensive forwards should be on the ice.

    Regardless of all this who/what/where, there’s absolutely no reason you give up that goal. Didn’t Ottawa just take a timeout prior to that power play? No reason why there should be confusion on what the plan was and the how we’re going to play the last 90 seconds. Shameful.

    All that said, 2-1 and still in a good spot. It happens, although that was tough to watch.

  131. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  132. Jandy says:

    I’m Mother Theresa, I don’t NEED to have a point :P

  133. Jandy says:

    +2

    Like I said, stay away from the bridges…

  134. theplanisworking says:

    Except for that one on the top of your head???? ;)

  135. Kevin says:

    As my high school tennis coach liked to say, we did a great job “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory” last night.

    As SJB said, its an excuse but… even with the 1-min long mental vacation, the penguins still could have and should have won that game multiple times last night. Craig Anderson gets all the credit for keeping them in the game.

    I also agree MAF should be back in net on Wednesday. Also like SJB said, give him a chance to steal a game. Gm5 will be huge either way and Fleury has a history of being super sharp his next game out following a bashing. (gm4 against the Isles)

  136. Jandy says:

    :thwap:

  137. theplanisworking says:

    Well, since there is no Pens or Bucs game today, I think I am outta here.

    This loss might snap Disco Duck out of whatever fog he was in last night.
    It better.

    Off to go find Omar, so I am properly attired when I waddle off the nearest bridge! ;)

    Everyone have a great, Happy Hippo day!!

  138. Joni says:

    Adding Bennett would be great. Fresh wheels and finesse.

  139. theplanisworking says:

    :thwap back: 8-)

  140. Jandy says:

    You too, my friend. :)

  141. Kevin says:

    Oh.. and I still want to know how refs determine a penalty shot on a breakaway? anyone know the criteria? I realize that was before Kennedy’s goal and killing a butterfly like that changes the whole game… just curious is all.

  142. TJ says:

    Anyone seen an update on Chris Neil. Could be a big loss for the Senators.

  143. Kevin says:

    Just saying.. I thought a deliberate takedown on a breakaway was an automatic penalty shot but apparently I am wrong and refs just make crap up as they go.

  144. dwf says:

    TJ,

    I didn’t expect you or for that matter, any of the other 99.999999999999999999999% of the people on this blog to agree with my post. Still, say what you want, DD’s decision making played a huge role in that lose!!!

    And yes, I am well aware that this “all star” team that RS entrusted to DD was assembled for one and only one reason, to win the cup THIS YEAR! Unfortunately, they forgot to tell the rest of the league that playing the games was only going to be a formality.

    If and I said IF, they blow this series, this roster will have proven for yet another playoff season that they can’t win this time of year with the players and coaching staff they have. So, RS work your “magic” and start assembling a group of players that CAN win, not only in the regular season, but come playoff time as well!

  145. CoachWard says:

    If they trade AJ I will be more upset with this team then I’ve ever been during the last 20 years. Honestly, he has meant the world to this team.

  146. Bizrow says:

    Welcome Sherry, will add you to the list tonight ;-)

  147. hockeymonster says:

    GGRRRRRROOOOWWWWLLLLL!!!!

    Monster mad!

    Last night serves Bylsma right for changing a winning lineup!!! We were fortunate to have 1-0 lead late in the 3rd cuz of the great play by vokoun but if you look at the minutes for the roster you’ll see the that the insertion of glass ONCE AGAIN limited bylsma’s depth by his own doing and prevented rolling 4 lines.

    We went over this when it was 2-2 against nyi. PP should’ve done better last night running some 4 corners offense and killing the clock. HOWEVER, the formula laid out has worked perfectly and led to a 4-0 record since. Bylsma has FINALLY implemented the trap to prevent high speed rushes on our defense and last night was no different. BUT part of the formula was using all 4 lines in some semblance of regular rotation. Look at the minutes. TK the goal scorer and whose been solid only got 11 minutes and glass was under 10 even though we played a game and a half!!! And to add more insult to bylsma’s insistence to change the lineup, engellands replacement eaton drops his stick and loses his guy by the net for the OT goal. I’m not saying Eaton’s is to blame for loss but considering engelland and his toughness was taken out cuz Glass was inserted, its a poetic wake up call for bylsma to stick to the formula that has worked perfectly! Look at the minutes for pens roster last 5 games. Up until last night there were balanced minutes being played up and down the lineup and the result was more puck possession and fewer ridiculous turnovers and penalties.

    If vitale was removed cuz of injury put in Jeffrey. But putting in glass and neutering your own depth by not using 4 lines is absurd considering winning formula that has been established!

    This one’s on bylsma!

  148. Bizrow says:

    I watched that heartbreaker from Vegas

  149. Kevin says:

    DK, poutine looks terrible… I don’t like the choice of cheese curd or gravy on “doubly” fried french fries. As far as fries go, much prefer Pittsburgh salad with the fries, chedder cheese, and steak on a bed of greens with blue cheese on the side.

  150. Dom says:

    If we lose on Wednesday, would you feel he should go in goal for game five?

  151. 21sthebest says:

    A.J. has a limited no-trade clause. He may block deals to 10 clubs each year.

  152. JohninOshkosh says:

    By all means, please fire Dan Bylsma. It’s never lack of player execution that loses games, it’s always the head coach’s fault.

    One Stanley Cup, five straight playoff appearances, .750 winning percentage this year, worst season winning percentage in five years at .616 (!), managed team through Crosby’s extended absence-forget all that

    Forget that he is a distinguished, honorable face for the franchise. Forget that he is a decent human being who presents a compassionate, rational, community oriented face for the franchise to the public and media. Forget he successfully manages the egos and tantrums of superstars through their playing demands, slumps, injuries and mental lapses.

    Forget it all and fire him. He’s obviously incompetent. Why else would a team lose a double overtime game on the road in one of the league’s toughest venues.

    Let them get a raging lunatic like Tortorella. Hey, he shows fire and tells those media SOB’s where to go! How about Babcock or Queneville? Oh yeah, already coaching at higher profile organizations. How about stand up comics like Boudreau and Maclean? Sure would enjoy their press conferences why they talk about trying to win their first cup.

    Can’t wait until the right man for the job is out of Pittsburgh and coaching Vancouver to a Stanley Cup Championship.

  153. Jandy says:

    pssst TJ…save it ;)

  154. Iceman says:

    How in the world do you justify taking Tomas Vokoun out of net after that performance?!?!? He comes up huge with a ton of great saves and you still want to take him out? You certainly can’t blame the game tying goal on him. Just not sure why we would take out a goalie who is playing as good as TV is.

  155. Kevin says:

    It’s definitely on Bylsma for the loss but Craig Anderson deserves a crap load of credit for the win.

  156. Paperboy says:

    It’s a penalty shot when the puck carrier has a clear-cut breakaway, and the defender takes out the shooter before he can get a shot off.

    Last night, Malkin wasn’t really on a clear cut breakaway. The defender sort of came from the side. The correct call was made, a 2 minute minor penalty. With this power play, although it crapped the bed last night, I’d actually prefer it over a penalty shot.

  157. Jandy says:

    I won’t have a problem with either TV or MAF playing Wednesday. Don’t want Flower to get too rusty. TV may need a break, he’s not used to the mental fatigue of the playoffs. But I feel sure he’s up to it.

  158. Jandy says:

    we can hope ;)

  159. Jandy says:

    Oshkosh, easy now! Clearer heads will prevail, I am sure…

    Lord save us if we ever get Torts or one of his ilk here in DaBurgh, the fans will tar and feather him!

  160. dwf says:

    Jandy Dahlliing,

    That’s my girl! Was wondering when you would respond with your “wit”?

    No, wait, :yawn:

    Did I get your response correct DAHHHHHHLING :)

  161. Dom says:

    It wasn’t all good news for the Buccos this weekend. Gerritt Cole let up 8 runs in less than 6 innings of work. That start has me concerned…

  162. Jandy says:

    Good!

  163. Jandy says:

    I’m NOT your dahling. >:<

  164. dwf says:

    Oshkosh,

    AMEN brother :) Couldn’t agree with you more! You are the other .000000000000000001%

    P.S. I got the whole sarcasm thing :)

  165. Kevin says:

    I respectfully disagree. Not with your assessment which makes sense to me. But preferring power play over penalty shot. While our powerplay had been stellar (discounting last night), we had not lost all year in a shootout. Firmly believe Malkin would have scored there… also pretty sure Malkin’s shootout % was higher than our powerplay % but I dont have the exact stat.

  166. JohninOshkosh says:

    :)

  167. Kevin says:

    Although the counter to that is.. we probably get 2-3 good chances on a powerplay to score v. just one great chance on a penalty shot. So, its probably more of a wash.

  168. CWalton_67 says:

    Well said.

  169. Saw that, Dom. He threw over 100 pitches and that spiked his ERA to near 4.

    Guess he needs some work. (Hope he’s healthy)

  170. Kevin says:

    Dom, assuming you are referring to Fleury losing game 4? If Fleury comes out and is ugly, the answer is easy. A fresher Vokoun would come in for game 5.

    On the other hand, if Vokoun plays and loses game 4, do you then go to Fleury (who by then hasn’t played in 2 weeks) in a more crucial game 5?

  171. NMR says:

    I’m not so sure about that needed work, Lucky.

    I was reading an article about Rays pitching prospects early in the season that reminded me a lot of Gerrit Cole. The article contained a quote from one of their top major league ready pitching prospects who basically said it can be hard to maintain focus at the upper levels of the Rays system because all prospects KNOW they are going to be held back. Just the way they work.

    I see a lot of that in the 2013 Gerritt Cole. He knew he did all he could to make the 25-man out of spring training, and also darn sure knows that he was going to be held back to at least June no matter how much “work” he worked on.

    Wouldn’t surprise me at all to see a callup be the shot of focus he needs. No doubt in my mind he’s ready to contribute in the majors.

  172. CWalton_67 says:

    Plenty of blame to go around for this Pens mess. I’d point to the failure to score on a 5-3 power play as a big reason for this loss. Simply inexcusable.

    This doesn’t feel like a championship caliber team. The talent is clearly there, but the desire to do whatever it takes to win is clearly lacking.

  173. Jandy says:

    NMar, good way to look at it…

  174. SeanAY says:

    I think someone could present a very compelling Devil’s Advocate to this screed.

    I’ll give a taste; you seem to put a lot of importance on how they’ve won in the regular season since Bylsma took the reins full-time.

    Wouldn’t the counter argument be the relative lack of playoff series victories? Weren’t we very close to watching another first round meltdown?

  175. Jandy says:

    UGH…tired fingers as well as tired brain today. Sorry, NMR

  176. Iceman says:

    One double OT loss and now the sky is falling. Let me first address the lineup complaints that I keep reading everywhere.

    First of all, Vitale was injured and that is why he was removed from the lineup. This is DB’s fault how? I am assuming that Jokinen is hurt and has been hurt since midway through round 1, which is why he was not put in as a replacement. I am not sure why they went with Tanner Glass instead of Beau Bennett, but I assume that it was because Bylsma felt that he needed to add some toughness with Engelland being removed from the lineup.

    Which takes me to my next point. Engelland has been terrible and needed to be removed from the lineup. He has been burned numerous times and he deserves the bench. The matchup against Ottawa should be much better for Eaton because they are not as fast of a team so I am ok with DB’s decision to place him in the game over Despres.

    I only have one major complaint with the coaching in this game and it has to do with Kennedy having only 11 min. This is mind boggling to me because he has been playing phenomenal. I don’t have a good reason for this decision.

    Lastly, sure the scoring play at the end of the game is huge and no way the Pens should’ve given that up, but let’s give credit where credit is due. Craig Anderson played one heck of a game. He made some incredible stops on some of the league’s best scorers (Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Dupuis). Kudos to him for winning Ottawa the game.

  177. Paperboy says:

    Malkin was 1 for 1 against Anderson in the regular season in shoot outs. I’ve also heard for whatever reason, Anderson has a tougher time with lefty shooters. That said, you’re on the mark. I think it’s a toss up really. Probably my personal preference coming thru for a pp chance as opposed to a penalty shot.

    Side note: Malkin looking right at the little camera in the net after getting hauled down :)

  178. radio wave says:

    The way Pens fans panic amazes me. You have a 2-1 lead, and have four more chances to win two and go to the conference final. You have the best talent in the league, and if you don’t beat yourselves, only Chicago looks like a possible roadblock. As a Rangers fan, give me our goalie and your position players and you could say championship. You folks worry too much, too soon. You will take this series .

  179. MarkV says:

    The loss is on Bylsma for either his choice of how to play the power play or his choice of players on the ice. At least Dick LeBeau said later that he called the wrong defense.

    By the way, the last time the Pens had the right coach was when we had Scotty Bowman, who left to make Detroit into the powerhouse that it is today. Of course it could be argued that had Bowman stayed we would not now have Crosby, Malkin, or even MAF. Then again, maybe Mario wins a couple more Cups instead.

  180. Hope you’re right.

    Not all Rays pitching prospects are held back. Matt Moore made it through the system in a hurry. He’s 8-0 right now. Saw him pitch just 3 years ago in Low-A here in KY.

    Doesn’t mean Cole is bad. I just hope it isn’t physical for him. That was Boston’s AAA team and they can be tough.

  181. Kevin says:

    actually its already 2 weeks if MAF plays on Wednesday.. so it will be almost 3 weeks if he has to come in on Sunday.

  182. Bizrow says:

    I think it was just one of those games, didn’t watch the whole thing, but it seemed as though the Pens were fighting the puck quite a bit.

    It does worry me though that the Sens won in the manner they did.

    But lets see what happens Wednesday, you gotta win 4

  183. Jandy says:

    radio, as I said, some of these people need to stay away from the bridges ;)

  184. BillyBaduka says:

    Thank you for a voice of reason outside the “cone of panic”.

    Sincere, not snark.

  185. Paperboy says:

    I’m thinking the whole “whining stars” comment from last year would pretty much guarantee Torts is never behind the bench for the Penguins :)

  186. Dom says:

    If Cole does not perform this year, there is no reason to bring him up.

    The only exception is if we’re competing through August. In which case, we should promote him by the 31st and we can use him in a role akin to the ways the Rays used David Price in their WS run back 5 or so years ago.

  187. He throws up a dud one in a while. Let’s hope yesterday was one of those. I hate to be a broken record, but I hope it isn’t physical.

    Taillon got beat yesterday, too, but he didn’t have nearly as bad a game as Cole.

  188. NMR says:

    Why would it be physical with Cole, Lucky? What do you even mean by that?

  189. Kevin says:

    +1.. and also Neal and Iginla need badly to get on the score sheet. Malkin’s been spectacular.. his wingers need to finish on their scoring chances. Thought it was another clear sign when Malkin ran into Iginla in the 2nd that there is absolutely no chemistry there. Iginla’s played well despite that and certainly willing to play anywhere. If they can somehow get on the same page, would be nicer.

  190. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    All I know is, I turned away and the game was over…….I was also expecting a shoot out after the first OT.

    Shows you what I know, but I did say they needed more than 1 goal to win this thing.

    But seriously, :28 seconds left?

  191. I mean, I hope he’s not hurt. Simple as that.

    That’s the worst outing he’s had since last season’s AAA playoffs, which was his second AAA appearance overall.

  192. NMR says:

    Bite your tongue, sir.

    Poutine is a dish handed down from the gods for all to enjoy.

  193. Karen22 says:

    Couldn’t watch the game last night, and after reading DK’s column and reading through the comments, I can’t watch that video up there, either! I’m all ramped up (and not in a good way), and might have a stroke if I actually SEE the last minute dastardly deeds! GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

  194. Naterosboro says:

    Pittsburgh Sporting Thoughts on a mostly messy Monday morning…

    * DK is right. It doesn’t have to be this hard. But, it also ain’t easy to get to (and win) the Stanley Cup. Sometimes (as Matt Cooke pointed out), you need reminders. Let this loss sting.

    * While Craig Anderson was very good in Game 3, I think the Penguins also made it quite easy on him, firing the majority of their shots right into his midsection.

    * I think Game 4 now becomes large for the Penguins. We know that Ottawa doesn’t want to be down 3-1, but I don’t think the Penguins want to come home 2-2 (especially after being 30 seconds away from a 3-0 series lead). IMO, Game 4 is a must have, and I think the Penguins get it. But, they don’t close out in Game 5, they do it back in Ottawa in Game 6. Pens in 6.

    * It would be nice if James Neal or Jarome Iginla would score this series.

    * Fleury back in net for game 4? Just seeing if you’re awake.

    * It’s kind of funny that Mark Melancon’s first hiccup of the season came against one of the worst teams in the MLB. If the Pirates wouldn’t have gone 0fer-infinity with RISP on Saturday, that wouldn’t even have been an issue.

    * I like Clint Hurdle arguing for his team. The exchange with C.B. Bucknor was great. He was right in his face and he wasn’t leaving until he was tossed. That said, Bucknor made the right call. The runner beat the tag from Martin.

    * Pedro Alvarez’s struggles this season have been well documented. He’s only hitting .201 so far (and for the most part has been below that Mendoza line). But, he also has 8 HRs and 21 RBI. So, I guess it’s been kind of a productive .201? C’mon, I’m reaching here…

    * Who is this guy that looks and pitches like Cy Young but says “Locke” on the back of his jersey?

    * Seriously, though, Jeff Locke has done a great job so far, after a lot of questions were asked about him coming out of ST. He’s even managed to pitch well when he didn’t have his “best” stuff. Here’s to hoping he can continue to pitch well for the rest of the season.

    * Robbie Grossman would’ve been a nice player for us. That said, I still like having Wandy.

    * If you’re looking for someone to blame the Pens loss on, blame me. In the am (around 11), my Arsenal boys won 1-0, beating Newcastle, securing a top 4 finish for the 16th straight season, and above Tottenham Hotspur for 18 seasons in-a-row now. Then, the Pirates win 1-0 in the afternoon, with an Alvarez 5th inning Oppo-Boppo being the difference. There was no way the Penguins were winning in the evening. The sporting gods are never that kind.

    HAVE A GOOD DAY ALL! LET’S GO BUCS! LET’S GO PENS!

    :-)

  195. NMR says:

    Oh, have you seen any reports of decreased velocity or anything?

    Just didn’t know where the injuries fears came from all the sudden, thats all.

  196. Kevin says:

    They broke that goal down atleast 10 times for the next hour it happened.

  197. BillyBaduka says:

    I don’t see Ottawa being able to shut down Pens consistently. Pens had a rough stretch scoring, that’s due to end.

    Only way Ottawa wins this series is if Anderson pitches shutouts or 1 goal games. I just don’t see that happening consistently.

  198. NMR says:

    This cracked me up from a Trib article yesterday. I can’t get enough of AJ Burnett.

    Before the game:

    “Strikeouts are good, but you can fall in love with them,” Hurdle said before Saturday’s game. “Two- and three-pitch outs are good, and those are probably what he’s going to try to focus on a little bit.”

    After the game:

    “I ain’t changing nothing,” Burnett said. “I went seven innings. What do you want?”

    Mr. Hurdle, please STFD.

  199. Dom says:

    I personally would prefer that there would be shoot outs in the playoffs.

    Can you imagine if a game 7 Stanley Cup came down to a shoot out? That would be amazing.

  200. No, I haven’t seen that and I’m not trying to dream up anything.

    Just seems a pattern for some of these young guys who dominate most of the time, then have a game or so that is not so dominant.

    They kept his pitch count so low for the previous seasons, he didn’t even qualify for a win some of the time.

    Now, when they finally start stretching him out, he isn’t as efficient.

    Just a little paranoid about it, I guess. Bad games happen to all good pitchers.

  201. Vette60 says:

    Ugh…that one was awful. Watched parted of it with a bunch of fellow Pens fans at their place, came home and fell asleep on the couch, only to wake up and the game was still going. Stayed up then only to see Primeau end it…Yuck.

    R.

  202. Naterosboro says:

    If I’m Clint, I have more of an issue with the 4 BBs in the 7IP than the 7Ks. And, AJ’s a 10 year veteran. He’s [AJ] is right. He’s not (and he shouldn’t) change anything.

  203. NMR says:

    Ah I gotcha, Lucky.

    I know you follow the minor league guys and thought you might’ve heard something specific about Cole, thats all.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d certainly love to see him dominate. The lack of strikeouts seems just as out of character as the increase in walks.

    I guess I just sympathize with some of these guys fighting the system. Cole strikes me as ready for the challenge.

  204. BillyBaduka says:

    Hopefully, this the last time they need to learn the 60 minute lesson.

    It was evident they hadn’t learned that in the first series, games 1–2 of Ottawa series looked like they may have.

    Game 3 showed they still need to learn this. The Pens can overcome this, still have 2-1 edge in series and win game 4 and this mess s behind them or the time being.

    But they can’t let it crop up again. Do it again this series and Ottawa becomes a dangerous opponent.

    Do it against Boston, LA, Chicago or even Rangers with hot Lundquivst and Pens will be the ones fighting to stay in the series. I know Lundquivst wasn’t hot yesterday but if Rangers would advance he will have to be.

  205. Brotherhood of the Redus says:

    That station is turning into a cheaper version (and not very funny) of The Man Show – they talk about eachother more than the actual sports and for some reason they think anyone gives a crap about how Fillaponni uses women…

    The only guy that is funny on there is Miller

  206. BillyBaduka says:

    No way do I want to see a playoff game let alone a cup decided by a “skills competition”.

  207. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    DK – I would agree that the Steeler/Tebow playoff debacle is one of the most recent competitors for this awful distinction.
    However….The Steelers were a team “decimated” with injuries going into that game.
    The Penguins are in relatively great health, with a team that should be rolling on all cylinders.
    I’m not making excuses for the Steelers, I just think that team was going nowhere, and this Penguin team “should be” rising to the top.

  208. He probably is ready. I just think of some of our number 1′s in the past like Sean Burnett and Bullington with arm problems before they hit the majors.

    And Strasburg’s situation is well-docummented.

    No doubt he’s better now than Gomez and maybe some more.

  209. Jandy says:

    haha gotta love it!

  210. Jandy says:

    I also love how Hurdle isn’t afraid to go to bat for his guys. Even if he gets tossed.

  211. NMR says:

    I’m not Clint, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he felt the BBs were a result of the K-heavy approach.

    K’s lead to longer ABs, which icreases the chance of BBs. AJ also seems to be working the corners much more this year in order to get guys chasing.

    Either way, its silly for Hurdle to say something like that, especially since he obviously never actually talked to AJ about it.

  212. Dom says:

    Yeah I’d love to have Grossman back too. But if we didn’t obtain someone like Rodriguez at the deadline, I just would have been complaining back then too.

  213. NMR says:

    I’ve been really surprised Grossman has been able to keep walking at the big league level (12.9%). He’s shown little ability to hit MLB pitching thus far and next to no power.

    Usually pitchers will go right at a rookie until the hitter shows he can actually hit.

  214. Dom says:

    Yeah, you’re right but think of the excitement. It would be the most talked about moment in NHL history!

  215. Not to be-labor this, but I looked at some of his inning breakdowns and, although he gave up 8 runs in 5.2 innings, it was on only 6 hits.

    2 doubles and 1 triple, but no HR’s, which he gave up 3 last outing.

    He walked 3 and hit a batter and had 4 K’s.

    Some of the hits were infield hits, so maybe not as bad an outing as the boxscore seems to indicate. Just 2 in a row where he’s hit a little makes you wonder.

    Plus, those AAA Gamedays don’t show pitch speed.

  216. cmat0829 says:

    Wow, guys, we start the week by making up a ridiculous supposition (Pirates trading AJ at the deadline) so we can rev our engines to complain about the Front Office. If the Pirates are indeed “out of it” at the deadline (and I can’t see that happening), then they evaluate each and every opportunity to trade veterans if they can pick up the right talent coming back. And they would and should do so, including AJ. They’d obviously seek his input as the clause suggests and more than likely AJ would welcome a trade (not back to NY, but elsewhere) if it meant a chance to go from last place to first place.

    But again, why do we need to make up future hypotheticals to rev up the engines??

  217. hockeymonster says:

    Vokoun was just as good. Our d wasnt great and vokoun deserved a better result.

  218. NMR says:

    No such thing as belaboring a point when talking baseball with me, Lucky!

  219. cmat0829 says:

    My two cents:

    1. Clint vs. AJ. They are BOTH right. AJ is who is he is, he can’t really change drastically at this stage in his career. That said, he NEEDS TO BE MORE EFFICIENT and save the pen…at least he is getting through 7, but if his high pitch counts cause him to only go 6 or less, that is hurting the team and as a leader he needs to give the team what it needs. A little more efficiency goes a long way. Doesn’t need to be drastic.

    2. Pedro. It is simple..he needs to learn to use the whole field and take the right swing for each pitch/location. If he can do that, he will get much better in terms of average and reducing Ks. Cutch has done this, as have many other major league hitters. Remember that Pujols made that observation about Cutch a few years back? That if he used RF he’d really take off?

    3. Cole. NO doubt in my mind Cole can use some work at AAA and I’m not buying that the only reason he is down at Indy is the ‘clock’ for Super 2. The best situation to be in is to call up Cole when he FORCES THE ISSUE with his performance… he hasn’t done that yet. And I don’t want to hear the babble about “his mind isn’t in it because he thinks he should be in the ‘burgh now and not Indy”. He should be dominating at AAA and showing up the FO for keeping him down there…when he comes up to the ‘burgh, he needs to be ready to step in and have success. Think about it… his mindset is not like a Locke…someone that is ‘finding his way’ in the majors and doesn’t necessarily expect to have “Top Pick” instant success. If Cole comes up and struggles that can have a spiralling effect on confidence, etc.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I think the Bucs need Cole in the rotation by July 1 but when he comes up it needs to be as the #1 or #2 starter, not the #5 guy.

    4. Hurdle/Bucknor. Yes, Hurdle needed to argue the cause, mostly because of Martin’s reaction on the field (you need to protect your players). What I loved about this is not only did Brucknor get the call right he kept his calm while Hurdle argued … he didnt show the arrogance that so many umpires do. Now Clint probably made up his mind to get tossed and kept going until he did, but Brucknor didn’t fuel the fire in any way.

  220. Drew71 says:

    Dejan just called.

    He predicted that none of the Big Three – Pens, Pirates or Steelers – will lose tonight.

    Then he said, “There.”

    And then the line went dead. Must be a bad cell area or something.

  221. cmat0829 says:

    Grossman is talented but not seeing anything more than say a Presley/tabata from him at this stage which would make me even slightly regret a trade. Neal needs to trade like that MORE not LESS…the reason you build up depth is to use it when time is right not to hoard onto ‘decent’ depth forever. Grossman isn’t a ‘high ceiling’ type… so to fetch Wandy that’s a plus trade.

  222. NMR says:

    “Think about it… his mindset is not like a Locke…someone that is ‘finding his way’ in the majors and doesn’t necessarily expect to have “Top Pick” instant success. If Cole comes up and struggles that can have a spiralling effect on confidence, etc.”

    Speaking of babble, what is this “top pick instant success” you speak of?

  223. True about Pedro. He’s had some game-winning hits this season going the other way, like that HR yesterday and that single last week.

    .201 average or not, when he hits, he gets some clutch ones.

  224. Naterosboro says:

    I’m not saying I’d like to have him back, just simply opining that had we kept him, I think he would’ve been a nice player for us.

    Not a star. Just a nice, solid player.

    Having a nice, solid starting pitcher I think is the better option though. And cmat0829, you’re right. Prospects are there to supplement the MLB club either by making it through the system and contributing, or by being traded to acquire players.

    I think as you see the Pirates have more success (*fingers crossed*) you’ll see more of these “types” of trades from them.

  225. NMR says:

    Glad somebody said this. So tired of the people who say that his homeruns come at meaningless times when the team is either ahead or behind by a ton.

    I feel Pedro and his power impact games more than a guy who hits an empty .275.

    He’s on a team that does not depend on his offense. He doesn’t lose games for the Pirates when he slumps. When he hits, they come in bunches. So much so that he often can take over a game or series. We’d all love for him to become more consistant, but even as is he still wins games for this team.

  226. Make sure you don’t rip any skin or facial hair removing the duct tape.

  227. +1

    That river-shot Friday night came at a meaningful time, too. Game-tyer in the 8th.

  228. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with what Clint said nor can we see the exact question he was asked. A.J. didn’t have to respond that way. That comes across to me as being a little disrespectful.

  229. Naterosboro says:

    What Chad Hermanson had.

  230. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Possibly.

  231. Joni says:

    I loved the expression on Malkin’s face when he looked at the camera… His “Can you believe this sh&$” gaze was priceless.

  232. 21sthebest says:

    “He’s on a team that does not depend on his offense.”

    Come again? He sure doesn’t help when he slumps and I don’t find his OPS of .641 acceptable right now. And what do you consider an empty .275?

  233. Naterosboro says:

    So I guess this was just babble then:

    “Pedro Alvarez’s struggles this season have been well documented. He’s only hitting .201 so far (and for the most part has been below that Mendoza line). But, he also has 8 HRs and 21 RBI. So, I guess it’s been kind of a productive .201? C’mon, I’m reaching here…”

    I WANT MY CREDIT! I SAID IT FIRST!

  234. Naterosboro says:

    What Ben Revere did last year for the Twins.

    He’s now being exposed in Philly.

  235. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    A tail of two different perspectives; A managers and the players. I would hope that this type of relationship is normal

    A manager wants his starters to go as long as he can. Keep pitch counts down. Saves BP arms.

    A player wants the strike out, the in-your-face STFD emotion. Of course, not all pitchers have that ability. AJ does.

  236. 21sthebest says:

    I also meant to mention that his OBP is .253 right now. That’s beyond horrible.

  237. NMR says:

    I think it’s all about context, 21.

    AJ is a 36 yo veteran leading the pitching staff while having a career year and averaging just one out less per start than last season.

    Hurdle’s comment would’ve been great for a guy like Jeff Locke.

    For AJ? With that success? Come on man.

  238. Dom says:

    We’re more than 1/4th the way through the season and I stand by my prediction of 74 wins for the Buccos. Hopefully, I wrong but I feel this is just a mirage.

  239. 21sthebest says:

    I just think Clint was talking baseball and A.J. overreacted a little bit.

  240. Jandy says:

    Gentlemen, start your engines…

  241. NMR says:

    The team is 26-18. They don’t depend on his offense to win games, or else they wouldn’t be winning games. Pretty simple.

    “He sure doesn’t help when he slumps and I don’t find his OPS of .641 acceptable right now.”

    Which is exatly what I said. Sure doesn’t help, but also isn’t causing the team to lose.

    And I consider an “empty .275″ a guy who will spray enough singles to keep his average up without really having an impact on run scoring. Lack of xbh means the player relies exclusively on the batters around him to generate runs.

    Pedro, when he hits, creates his own runs.

  242. Bizrow says:

    Boy, if they tank again this season, this place will be on fire….

  243. Jandy says:

    I have to admit, I agree with that one hockeymonster :)

  244. Thundercrack says:

    Ha! Does he still consider The Pirates part of the big three?

    Some say he’s a hater. He says some say he’s a hater

  245. Jandy says:

    which gives him the right to respond any way he pleases ;)

  246. Jandy says:

    river shot…good name for it :)

  247. Drew71 says:

    You mean it wasn’t last September?

    But I would use different terminology.

    Not on fire.

    Fired.

  248. NMR says:

    Great example of an empty batting average.

    Josh Harrison circa 2011 is my Pirate example. Hit .272/.281/.374 over 204 PAs with 21 runs scored and 16 RBI. His ISO was just .103

    This year Pedro is hitting .201/.253/.388 over 28% LESS PA’s than Harrison in 2011 and has 16 runs scored and 21 RBI. His ISO is .187.

  249. Jandy says:

    ZING!!!!

  250. Jandy says:

    Woah…italics AND bold. That is FORCEFUL!

  251. Thundercrack says:

    I agree that we need to know what exactly the questions were

  252. Naje says:

    NMR…. to say Alvarez doesn’t lose games for the PBC when he slumps is a bit odd. His stats w RISP suggest that he very much has a negative impact on the offense. He’s 9 for 49 with 4BB and 16 Ks w RISP. Just think if he was, say, 12 for 49 w RISP… or 15-49… how many more runs or wins, even, would the Bucs have? As for his home runs, six solo shots and 2 two-run shots.

    When they need his bat the most, that is with RISP, he’s hitting .189 with an OPS of .542 with 16 Ks and 2 double play groundouts.

    The Pirates will need Pedro Alvarez to win a few games with his bat. He’s won one outright and tied another that they won….so, they have needed him to help. Everybody has to contribute, but you cannot ignore the Barmes-like at bats he’s given the team with RISP.

  253. Drew71 says:

    Or an unproductive 8 HRs.

    I think I posted something during the early offseason to the effect that his 30 HRs last season were the quietest 30 in MLB history.

  254. Scott says:

    People are seriously suggesting taking out Vokoun before he has played a single bad game? Sorry, but that’s lunacy.

    Anyone calling for Fleury at this point should listen to Rossi’s podcast this morning: http://www.1059thex.com/player/?station=WXDX-FM&program_name=podcast&program_id=interviews.xml&mid=23234802

  255. Two outright. One last week and the one yesterday.

    Can’t remember beyond last week.

  256. Naje says:

    Drew….you said Big Three, but you didn’t include the Riverhounds or Pitt basketball. Hmmm.

  257. Do the Riverhounds play tonight?

  258. 21sthebest says:

    It’s annoying sometimes when you see a quote but don’t know exactly what triggered it. I guess sometimes it’s about having enough space in the column.

  259. Bizrow says:

    No, if another meltdown occurs, and when no one gets fired

    Well, pitchforks are on sale at your local ACE’s Hardware store…

  260. 21sthebest says:

    Yeah and Harrison’s OPS was .656,

  261. Bizrow says:

    I can’t speak for Dejan, and wouldn’t try to, but from this seat in the peanut gallery, I think he’s just fed up with the FO/BMTIB

    He’s a Burgher, he wants the club/players to do well

    Notice, I did not use the words “rooting for them” ;-)

  262. Naterosboro says:

    I only shop at Lowe’s.

    And Dick’s.

  263. 21sthebest says:

    You know, in a team game I don’t pin anything on one player. Way too many variables. I’m pleased with where we are right now. If Pedro were better though, and I think that’s a reasonable expectation, wouldn’t the team possibly have more wins? That goes for players other than Pedro but I have to disagree; the team depends on his offense. I just think we’re fortunate to be where we are right now despite Pedro’s numbers and several other factors on the team.

    “And I consider an “empty .275″ a guy who will spray enough singles to keep his average up without really having an impact on run scoring.”

    Well yeah. I consider anyone who really has no impact on run scoring to be pretty empty.

  264. Drew71 says:

    Andy Dick’s?

  265. Drew71 says:

    EYE TRY

  266. Naterosboro says:

    I don’t consider HRs unproductive.

  267. Drew71 says:

    who?

  268. Pucknutz says:

    I mentioned last week about planing to play the Flower in game 4 come hell or high water and was laughed off the blog. :)

    Now i defiantly think TV could use a break, not so much physical, mental. Sorta agree with SJBs comments below.

    Gonna need em both to win the Cup . Rather see what his mindset is in game 4 than 5. If he wilts ya at least know what ya got.

    As for last nights game – giant brain fart from the coaches down to the water boy ! Could not believe my eyes. Did not even watch the overtime.

    Anyway…
    GO PENS!!

  269. Jandy says:

    You do GOOD, dahling <3

  270. Jandy says:

    :snicker:

  271. Naterosboro says:

    uhh…that’s Robert Morris basketball.

    Remember, they beat UK.

    Pitt couldn’t even beat the Shockers.

  272. Drew71 says:

    Neither do I. But I do consider seasons to be.

    And I can’t remember a player with 30 HRs to be so borderline productive.

  273. NMR says:

    Isn’t fairly obvious that IF he did hit more the team COULD win more games?

    I dind’t feel that actually needed to be said.

    My point was that he’s far from the primary run producer on the team. Think about what the Pirates would have been early last year without Cutch. THAT is a guy the team depended on.

    Pedro hitting with a low average doesn’t hurt the team any more than Barmes or the pitcher doing the same.

  274. NMR says:

    Good Lord. See above.

  275. NMR says:

    How exactly does Drew71 measure “productiveness”?

    No bias involved in that stat, right?

  276. 21sthebest says:

    “Isn’t fairly obvious that IF he did hit more the team COULD win more games?

    I dind’t feel that actually needed to be said.”

    I only made that comment, obvious as it is, because I thought it was rather odd that someone would say that this team doesn’t depend on his offense regardless of our current record. Maybe I’m not understanding your context.

  277. 21sthebest says:

    “Pedro hitting with a low average doesn’t hurt the team any more than Barmes or the pitcher doing the same.”

    I really don’t think I’m understanding the context that you’re saying things like this in.

  278. NMR says:

    “My point was that he’s far from the primary run producer on the team. Think about what the Pirates would have been early last year without Cutch. THAT is a guy the team depended on.”

  279. Thundercrack says:

    Lucky,
    Thanks for saving me the typing

  280. 21sthebest says:

    I think the team depends on lots of players. Obviously, we would have been worse off last year without Cutch’s production. I didn’t thnk that needed to be said. :-)

    I’m somewhat pleased with Pedro’s homerun and RBI total but I’m completely disappointed in his OBP. It’s awful and there’s no excuse for it. If it was at last year’s level, we might be in first place.

  281. NMR says:

    You’ve now changed completely changed the topic.

    Nobody is arguing that Pedro has been bad. Nobody is excusing it.

    Lucky simply said that despite the low average, he’s helped the team win games. I agreed. That’s what we were talking about.

  282. JHadar says:

    I remember Moose — but I also remember a game in the NLCS against Atlanta that …

    No, I can’t continue.

  283. 21sthebest says:

    You said, ““He’s on a team that does not depend on his offense.”

    That’s the point I’ve been discussing. I agree with what Lucky said.

  284. Naterosboro says:

    It’s Andrew Dick to you, Sir.

  285. Naterosboro says:

    Same page now. HEY-OOOOOOO!

  286. theplanisworking says:

    Torches too? ;)

  287. SeanAY says:

    Yeah, they couldn’t even beat that team that went to the Final Four and has been one of the best mid-major programs over the last decade or so.

    Bums.

  288. theplanisworking says:

    LOL!

    Almost needed you to bless me today. Went on errands run, idiots everywhere.

    Didnt see Bylsma, though. ;)

  289. Naterosboro says:

    Pedro also had 25 2Bs (& 1 3B) last season giving him 56 XBHs on the season.

    He had 128 Hs last season, meaning he had an XBH about 44% of the time he got a hit.

    I’d say thats more than quiet.

  290. Nate83 says:

    Just being nit picky but why do people say it is so hard to win a Stanley Cup? The odds are about the same as any of the other major sports. You have a 1 in 30 or 1 in 32 chance. It may be more grueling but not harder statistically.

  291. Thundercrack says:

    I think Pedro’s outs have to be more productive.

    Here. We . Go. Again.

  292. Bizrow says:

    Loes will work.

    Andy’s place, not so sure

  293. JHadar says:

    Well the Pirates are eight over, Pedro’s back over the Mendoza line and had the game winner for Locke.

    Has “Why can’t we beat Milwaukee” been replaced by “Why can’t we score for AJ”?

    Assuming Gomez goes to the BP when our next injured starter returns, does Locke make it through the whole season with the big club (another assumption: uninjured)? As a starter? And assuming he stays one way or the other, which two relievers go?

    I know the post season is a long way off — still 56-62 from here on out sounds a lot easier than 82-80 did in March. And who knows? Even the experts have been wrong before. But what do you suppose if things held the way the are going and we tied Cincy for the 1-game playoff, got past the Western Division winner in the Wild Card game and then took Atlanta (Yes, Atlanta!) 4-1 in the NLCS . . . . given the reaction of the hockey fans here today, what would the blog look like the morning after that single loss to Atlanta?

    Three against the Cubs coming up, and then the LAST PLACE Brewers at the House of Horrors — may it lose that title for once and always.

  294. NMR says:

    So how about that Jason Bay trade? :)

  295. Jandy says:

    I can send good vibes, Spunky might supply the blessings ;)

  296. Jandy says:

    Don’t even go there…

  297. Naje says:

    Good Lord….? How about this NMR: the Pirates indeed DO depend on him for offense and he doesn’t give… nowhere nearly enough with RISP. That’s the point The 2012 Pirates were forced to depend on Cutch’s offense for a couple of months, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t depend on others.

    Just because a player or players fail to produce doesn’t mean the team doesn’t depend on them to provide offense. What’s glaring and what hurts the team more than anything are all the empty at bats with RISP, when players are most likely to affect the outcome of a game.

    Your logic is strange here.

  298. Jandy says:

    I’d HATE to see this place if the Pirates get in the playoffs, and win one or two, then LOSE. ::shudder:: OH, the horror!

    Amen on House of Horrors losing it’s moniker…may it be banished forever…

  299. Sisyphus says:

    Ten pitchers have started games for Indy this year. Seven of them have better ERAs than Cole. He is not pitching well at all. 23 walks and only 35 strikeouts in 48 innings are bad numbers. I was hoping to see him no later than June, but now I’m wondering if we’ll see him before September.

  300. Kevin says:

    don’t really think its fair to compare penguins and pirates fans at this point… penguins should be and are annual cup contenders. Pretty sure it would take an act of God for the pirates to even smell the playoffs in September.

  301. NMR says:

    “Assuming Gomez goes to the BP when our next injured starter returns…”

    Judging by Huntington’s radio show, that may be a big assumption.

    He said that Karstens has two rehab starts left and THEN the team will decide where he’s best used. Could very well me Huntington-speak. But struck me as odd that he and Clint wouldn’t come right out and say that Karstens would have a spot ready when healthy.

  302. Sisyphus says:

    Heaven forfend.

  303. They took out my Buckeyes, too, who none other than President Obama picked for a return trip to the Final Four. No slouches.

  304. NMR says:

    RISP is an awful stat to judge how much a player helps his team.

  305. Naterosboro says:

    In case people are wondering what our #2 pitching prospect is up to in Altoona:

    “@JTaillon19 7m

    Perplexed by extreme couponing onTV. Just saw a 17 year old guy spend 700$ and have the store owe him 6 bucks. Say what”

    Sad thing is, I agree with his sentiment.

    Say What?!

  306. Naterosboro says:

    While I like the blog format, sometimes it wreaks havoc with my posts. This was not supposed to be a reply above, but yet its own stand alone:

    In case people are wondering what our #2 pitching prospect is up to in Altoona:

    “@JTaillon19 7m

    Perplexed by extreme couponing onTV. Just saw a 17 year old guy spend 700$ and have the store owe him 6 bucks. Say what”

    Sad thing is, I agree with his sentiment.

    Say What?!

  307. Naterosboro says:

    Which network does this Obama guy work for? ESPN? CBS?

    Just want to make sure I know who he is so I can disregard the next time he goes around spouting non-sense.

    Ohio State in the Final 4?

    They didn’t start College Football Playoffs yet…..

  308. 21sthebest says:

    Why is that?

  309. 21sthebest says:

    LOL! I’ve been wondering the same thing. Ron Cook always says it’s the hardest championship to win. I’m not sure why it’s harder than any other sport.

  310. Kevin says:

    baseball watches – is there something up with Marte? Just read Sawchik’s article on McCutch’s day off due to knee soreness and it seemed he was insinuating there’s something with Marte. Anyone have any other input?

  311. Thundercrack says:

    I wonder if they want Gomez to think that if he pitches well as a starter he will stay in the rotation. They don’t want him to think he is a short-timer if they come out and say that Karstens goes into the rotation when he’s ready.

  312. Kevin says:

    watchers*

  313. JHadar says:

    Really?

    I’ve noticed that a lot of Pirates and Penguins fans are the same people.

    At least here.

  314. Drew71 says:

    Man, NMR, you just don’t like it when someone disagrees with you.

    No bitterness involved in that post, right?

    I am not the Pedro-auto-basher that you seem to be suggesting. But I have eyes and form opinions.

    I am not satisfied with Pedro’s progress. I believe he is inherently talented.

    I recognize that he is better than he was in 2011.

    I want more than what we’ve seen in 2012-13.

    Because I think the ability is there, he hasn’t yet lived up to it, and the team I root for needs him to.

    THAT’S my bias.

    Ok?

  315. JHadar says:

    Yeah that occurred to me — but I had to make some assumptions just to ask the question.

  316. Dom says:

    Steelers signed sixth-round pick Vince Williams.

  317. He needs to turn off the TV and concentrate on pitch selection.

    He gave up 9 hits, 3 BB, 1 HR and 3 runs yesterday in 6 innings.

    Just joking really. He K’d 10. 102 pitches. And zero runs from the offense.

  318. JHadar says:

    I thought he was just due for an off day but didn’t get it on account of Hurdle not wanting both of them out at the same time.

  319. NMR says:

    Could be right, guys. I usually don’t put much stock into Huntington answers.

    I guess I was looking at it from Jeff’s perspective. Not sure I’d appreciate playing second fiddle to a guy who sported an ERA around 6 last year.

  320. SeanAY says:

    The theory is that, given an equal number of at-bats, a player’s RISP average would essentially be his batting average.

  321. theplanisworking says:

    It used to be that you played every other night. You might do this for up to 2 months, if every series went 7 games.

    Now, with television ruling the roost, there may be 3-4 days between games.
    Personally, i think beating each others brains out every other night IS the hardest way to secure a championship.

    But since I never played hockey, I wouldnt know.

  322. NMR says:

    Very fair assumption to make.

    I’ll give my two pennies on your topic (good one, btw): I have no clue who stays and who goes. Honestly. Not sure how you pull Locke as long as he’s getting results, especially in favor of McDonald or Morton.

    This wouldn’t be my solution, but judging by past moves, whoever has an option will be the first to be sent down.

  323. theplanisworking says:

    Hey Dom-inator……….

    I dont know if Jandy explained it to you or not, but I wasnt calling you a Hippo the other day.

    There is room for only one Hippo on this blog………. thats me! ;)

    Just didnt want you to think I was calling you fat, or something……..

  324. Ryan76 says:

    You did say he doesn’t lose games for us when he slumps, correct?

    I like Pedro but the stats with RISP Naje posted are concerning. Clearly, we may have won a few more than we lost had Pedro hit better in those situations.

  325. Jandy says:

    As many times as he’s been plunked so far this season, I’d say he’s sore…but what do I know? ;)

  326. JHadar says:

    Would that be Jeff Karstens vs Locke’s 5.50 last year, OR Jeff Locke vs. Gomez’ 5.96 last year? Or Karstens vs. Gomez?

    Running and Ducking!

  327. NMR says:

    RISP has been shown to fluctuate disproportionally to a players overall production.

    And as Sean said, there has never been a good year-to-year correlation shown for the stat.

  328. It was on the dreaded four-letter website you mention above.

    Those we don’t speak of.

  329. NMR says:

    “Clearly, we MAY have won a few more than we lost had Pedro hit better in those situations.”

    You’re literally saying the exact same thing I have been saying from the start.

    MAY win does not equal lose.

  330. Dom says:

    No problem. I was just kidding around and I think I misread what you said anyways.

  331. Dom says:

    How did you get that nickname.

  332. NMR says:

    You reply, unprovoked, with “Or an unproductive 8 HRs”, the day after one of those was the game winner, and I’M the one that doesn’t like when someone disagrees with them?

    Hello?

    Pot, meet kettle.

  333. Naterosboro says:

    It’s completely dependent on people getting on base (and into scoring position) in front of said player.

    Kind of like how RBIs (and Ws for a pitcher) aren’t necessarily great performance indicators.

    If anything, I’d say Avg. with RISP would measure “clutch” moreso than productiveness.

  334. Jim S. says:

    I say take a deep breath, everyone. I don’t think AJ is going anywhere. First of all, as it stands now and hopefully will remain right through the trading deadline, we are at least in a race for the WC (and possibly the division title). I don’t even want to think about the possibility of a swoon. Don’t even let it enter our thought process!

  335. Milo Hamilton says:

    Jeff Locke doesn’t stink. I’m not trying to make a point here or anything, I just feel it’s cleansing to admit when you’re wrong. As you were.

  336. theplanisworking says:

    Hee hee hee………………

    I am 6′ 4″, and weigh over 300 lbs. Hence the size reference.

    I have a bad heart, and infected left leg, hence the waddling reference.

    So I am the Blog’s Hippo.

    It is a fun way to reference me.

    No worries. :)

  337. theplanisworking says:

    Admitting there is a problem is the first step to solving the problem.
    Heard that somewhere.

    Like Giant Eagle.
    Or Lowe’s.
    Or divorce counseling.

    Cant remember………………..

  338. Naterosboro says:

    The way I read it, is that Clint wanted to get Starling a day off yesterday, for day off purpsoes. Sort of, “clear the head, get back at it on Tuesday” type of thing.

    But then Cutch had the knee soreness.

    So they put Marte back in the lineup.

    Nothing I’ve read indicates that Marte is carrying any sort of lingering injury or anything.

  339. Bizrow says:

    As Biz raises his hand in agreement

    Stillers too ;-)

  340. Jim S. says:

    I’d be more concerned that the FO thinks we are better than we are currently, and gives up a really good prospect or two (Bell, Polanco, Hanson, Cole, Glasnow, Taillon, etc). As well as the Bucs are playing, and believe me, I hope they continue and even improve on their record, I don’t think they are close to a World Series contender yet. They have a few prospects that are close to “can’t miss” for the first time in forever, and the last thing I want to see is those guys get traded for some short term hope of a championship. Those trades rarely propel a team all the way to the top. On the other hand, in 2-3 years (I know crazy Bucs fans say this all the time) this team could be so good.

  341. Hippos aren’t fat, they’re well-built.

  342. Jim S. says:

    This edition of the Penguins is expected to be more of a contender for a title than that Steelers team. I agree that I have never seen such a mess of a last minute. I had this sick feeling the moment the penalty was called because they were doing so well, and I just knew the dynamic was about to change. That was truly pathetic. That said, this team is solid emotionally and I think they will win by 2-3 goals in Game 4.

  343. Nate83 says:

    I was happily wrong as well. I don’t think we are in the minority although some would never admit it. I hope it’s for real and he keeps it up. I’m pretty confident he won’t be horrible at this point.

  344. Jandy says:

    Dom, Hippo is cool, he thinks you’re cool. :)

  345. Jandy says:

    like

  346. Jandy says:

    Dom, Plan made up the nickname himself, so he approves it ;)

  347. theplanisworking says:

    Thank you. Check is in the mail. ;)

  348. theplanisworking says:

    Of course Hippos are cool.
    We stay in the Pond most of the time. ;)

  349. Add me to the list happily wrong. I thought he sucked big time.

  350. theplanisworking says:

    saves me a bunch on advertising…….. ;)

  351. Jim S. says:

    It is totally unfair, after the fact, to have expected this. I certainly didn’t think of it at the time. But, don’t you wish Bylsma or an Asst coach or even one of the players had thought to say when the penalty started, “Hey, let’s take a timeout and talk through what we want to do here?” Totally Monday Morning QB’ing, and that isn’t why I said it. I just wish someone had the wherewithall to have done that. Could have easily saved the game with just a little skull session.

  352. Jandy says:

    Just imagine playing an 82 game season for starters (normal, non-lockout seasons). 82. games. not 16 or 18 like football. THEN you go into the playoff grind with no time off. That in itself is enough to call it the hardest championship to win. I realize baseball is longer, but it’s not the physical grind hockey. heck I can’t skate period, let alone do what those guys do while on skates.

  353. Jandy says:

    OK I gotta jet…get hubby to the doc…he’s sick and doesn’t know how to take care of himself…catch ya’ll sooner or later :)

  354. theplanisworking says:

    Good Luck!

  355. Jim S. says:

    Good point. You only have to win the game at hand, and any time you take 2 of 3 it can’t be terrible. If you didn’t play your best, so what? They seem to have a knack so far of stepping up their game when they need to. 26-18 works for me right now. Not a perfect team, but 26-18 …

  356. Naterosboro says:

    +1

  357. NMR says:

    No need to run. I’m sure Jeanmar would agree with your questioning.

    I suppose I was making the assumption this time that Locke was the preferred starter over Gomez since he beat him out in ST and has backed it up ever since.

  358. Kevin says:

    *sigh* I think I mis-typed or typed something that sounded right in my head that was befuddled in type. I am also a penguins, pirates, stiller fan. But as all 3, I am optimistic as a penguin fan, but pessimistic as a pirate and stiller fan. Penguins have the two best players in the NHL and a very strong supporting case… baseball’s harder to characterize.. is Cutch even one of the better players in the league? I dont even know.

  359. Jim S. says:

    I’m thinking we still have the far better team, which means Vokoun doesn’t need to outplay Anderson. He needs to keep Ottawa to 3 goals for our chances of winning to be 50% or so. If he holds them to 2, I think we have a 70% chance of winning. We will solve Anderson again, I believe.

  360. Nate83 says:

    If you are saying most grualing I could go along with that but it is not the hardest. They are all essentially equally hard because the amount of teams and the amount of eventual winners are about the same.

    You also could say that once in th playoffs hockey and basketball (yes this is a sport outside of pittsburgh) are the toughtest sports because your chances are 1/16 as opposed to 1/12 and 1/10.

  361. 21sthebest says:

    That’s all fine and good, but one of the NHL teams is going to win. Why does the schedule, grind, etc., make it harder than any other sport? You still have to win 16 playoff games just like in the NBA. Even so, somebody will win it. Maybe it’s more physically demanding, that’s debatable, but physically demanding doesn’t make it harder when your odds are about the same as every other sport.

  362. Brotherhood of the Redus says:

    Big concern and be sure that everyone in that clubhouse is aware of it.

    I feel like Alvarez was struggling with plate coverage. Period. Nothing more nothing less. I haven’t seen anyone pitch him inside in weeks. Everythin is away and moving and as a result, he was missing fastballs for a while. Looks like the ship might be righted for now…and we all now what a tear he can go on for a couple weeks. Might be nice to watch what happens if both he and Cutch get hot at the same time this year for a change.

  363. Nate83 says:

    I read it this way as well. Kind of like Clint thought Marte was starting to hit a wall and just needed a rest both mentally and physically. Unfortunately Cutch being out prevented that day off. It’s hard to take both of those guys out of the line up.

  364. Ghost says:

    Saw some Pedro discussion above. Pedro has made me fret, but over the last 10 games he’s batted .273, hit three dingers and drove in eight runs. I’m giving up prognosticating about him for a while. But let me throw this out there:

    Say he actually duplicates his numbers from last year (.233 B.A./30 HR/ 85 RBI/.317OBP. Is this preferable to someone with a higher BA and OBP, but with less power? How would last year’s Pedro compare with say, 2007′s Freddy Sanchez? (.304 / 11 / 81 / .344)?

  365. 21sthebest says:

    “The theory is that, given an equal number of at-bats, a player’s RISP average would essentially be his batting average.”

    I don’t believe that for one second. You’re assuming every player has the same mental toughness, focus, nerves, etc. or lack thereof. You come up as the leadoff hitter versus having two on, two outs, in the 8th inning of a close and you think your mental state is exactly the same?

  366. Jim S. says:

    I hope you are right, because it does not make me feel real good about him if he takes the disappointment of not making the team out of spring training and this is how he responds. I could sort of understand how he might have struggled the first couple of starts of the year, as he dealt with the disappointment. But, by now, he should have very clear instructions about what he needs to do to get to the big club. My guess is he is trying to make some minor adjustments, as instructed, and sometimes that can make the actual results worse for awhile until he gets the hang of whatever he is trying to do.

  367. Ghost says:

    Now let me tell you how he really got his name. Once upon a time, back when this blog was from across town, we used to refer to Neal Huntington as “Opie.” Well, how would you pronounce “Hippo” spelled backwards?

  368. Ghost says:

    Whoopsie! .233 is Pedro’s career B.A. He batted .244 last season.
    BTW, I’ve noticed that recently Pedro slumps in the beginning of the week, then does most of his damage as we head into and go through weekends. Sit him Mondays through Wednesdays? (Just joking.)

  369. Dom says:

    Locke is on a roll but the worst thing about him is that he was apparently drafted 155th overall by the Minnesota Vikings. You’d think that would be a conflict of interest.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_NFL_Draft

  370. NMR says:

    Remind me to never, ever bicker with you again. Bad leg or not. :)

  371. Jim S. says:

    I like Grossman, too, because he is that leadoff guy we never seem to find. But, the truth is there is no way Grossman would start for the Pirates in about 2 years when Polanco arrives. Nothing against Grossman, but he could not crack an outfield of Cutch, Marte, Polanco.

  372. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Oh yea, I want pitchers with that attitude. Pretty sure managers get that

  373. Jim S. says:

    I have been saying since the beginning of the year that AJ seems less efficient at getting out of innings than he was last year. Don’t get me wrong here. He is still very, very good. So, I’m nitpicking. I just feel that he was getting deeper into games without a high pitch count last year. But, maybe that is just my imagination.

  374. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    You can probably out run him though…

  375. Thundercrack says:

    I heard a snippet of Clint’s post game comments. It seemed like he said that the home run that Pedro hit yesterday might show Pedro that he can hit those pitches on the outside corner – and he can drive them.

  376. Jim S. says:

    I think he did as well, but I think that is just AJ’s ultra-competitive nature is all. That nature is what gives him his edge. He lost it for a couple of years in NYC, and the results were not good. Now, he’s a badass on the mound again. Remember the game last year when he seemed to want to take on the entire Reds team? I also recall some sort of an incident with the Cardinals this year where he was making some sort of a gesture to their bench that ticked them off a bit. I can’t remember it exactly, but it was the “ballsy” type of thing that makes AJ special. I think he knows who he is, knows how to pitch now, and doesn’t want CH talking about how he could improve when CH doesn’t know 1/10 as much about pitching as AJ. Now, you don’t want to show up your boss, either.

  377. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I’m with ya Milo.

    I think Bob Walk explained it best last night. He said in his first 8 games last year, he had the “deer in the headlights look” and now, he has a bit of confidence in his strut.

    Could be from hanging out with AJ, something the coaches said, or finally just trusting his stuff. Either way, as a former lefty pitcher myself, I enjoy watching lefty’s succeed.

    If he continues, he’ll definetly be a fine candidate to replace Wandy next year. I’d say he’s secured the #3 starter spot.

    ……..never claimed to be a scout, but I wish I was.

  378. Jim S. says:

    What Cutch had, maybe? A rarity for us over the last few decades, for sure.

  379. JHadar says:

    Yes, and I do get how the same person can have different attitudes about different teams and their situations and circumstances.

    But if (as I conceded would be necessary) the experts are wrong and the Bucs would make the playoffs my hunch, I said hunch, is that the expectations would rise with Pirate ship on a winning tide.

    And of course I set it up so the loss would be to Atlanta in the NLCS instead of the World Series It’s part of my belief that baseball more than most sports is affected by emotions — maybe basketball is close.

  380. Arriba Wilver says:

    Yinz guys are late to the party—I ‘fessed up yesterday. :-)

  381. Jim S. says:

    He had huge hits over the weekend, for sure. Very good to see.

    I would take that argument in a slightly different direction to see what others think. I say players don’t get to decide when to get big hits and when to fail, which means clutch hitting ability is pretty rare. I do believe there are a very small % of players who have a knack for bearing down and getting key hits at key times with huge pressure on them. If you want to call them clutch hitters, ok. There are very few players that fit in this category, and the factual history is that very few players perform at the plate significantly better or significantly worse over the long haul in pressure situations vs. so-called non-pressure situations. Think about it. If everyone could control their performance like that, wouldn’t they just choose to crush the ball every time a runner was on base or the game was on the line? Again, I’m not saying there aren’t some truly great players who step up their games when needed, but overall the good hitters are good hitters with RISP and the poor hitters are poor hitters in those situations.

  382. Jim S. says:

    Didn’t Pitt hammer RMU? Or was that last year? And every other year? Not ripping on RMU. I love what they accomplish, but Pitt whips them every time.

  383. Jim S. says:

    26 & 18 + 48 & 70 = 74 & 88. I don’t see them going 48-70 the rest of the way. Not this year. Gosh, I hope you are wrong.

  384. NMR says:

    @21

    If that is the case, then shouldn’t you be able to correlate that “mental toughness” with a defined, repeatable RISP average as you can with other standard stats?

  385. NMR says:

    yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes.

    yes.

  386. Jim S. says:

    The odds are basically identical. But, hockey is so physically demanding. Adding that extra period+ last night was not good for these teams. The Pens need to now finish these guys off in 5.

  387. NMR says:

    Come on you guys. Quit being so darn likeable!

  388. Jim S. says:

    I said that as soon as it was suggested that the Pirates fans wag their fingers and Pens fans don’t. I bet there is 90% crossover between the two teams from the locals, and heading toward 100% crossover with the Steelers for both of them. Everyone cares about one of the teams a little more than the others, but still loves them all. And, when one of them makes a playoff run, that team likely becomes a little more important to most people for the time being. But, that’s just my opinion. There are no absolutes (outside of vodka, spelling aside!).

  389. NMR says:

    I think we all know that he CAN hit those pitches. Seen him do it last year.

    I might be the only one that thinks it is a mechanical, not mental, problem with Pedro. At least when it comes to hitting oppo.

    When he gos the other way, he almost always hits off a stiff front leg which keeps his hips from pulling off the ball. When that leg bends, he often ends up with his belly facing the pitcher before his hands get anywhere close to being in the zone. Travis Snider does this often, as well. It’s simply impossible to drive the ball to the opposite field hitting this way, no matter how much you will yourself to do it.

  390. Jim S. says:

    NH is the guy that tried to NOT re-sign Karstens. So, my guess is he does not value him as highly as a lot of others do. He probably gets frustrated by his lack of durability. Or, maybe it is CH who doesn’t like that. All I know is he is capable of tossing a whole lot of 7 inning / 2-3 ER allowed games in a row when he gets rolling. And if we can keep him healthy for 125 innings, I’d take him over Jeanmar anyday. Gomez has not been a very good MLB pitcher – although he has been tough for us this year, I will admit. I just think Karstens is the better option. I also think Morton will be the better option than JMac.

  391. Jim S. says:

    Wait, I don’t think I understand. I read about how great Taillon pitched yesterday as well. My question is, 9 hits, a HR and 3 runs in 6 innings of AA is great as long as he got a lot of K’s? But, if we are to believe what we read about Locke after every start, 21 hits in the last 37 innings is a sign of bad things to come if a guy is not striking out enough batters? I’m just kidding. I actually buy into a lot of the advanced metrics. But, if you go by BABIP, Taillon must have run into some really awful luck.

    Locke, on the other hand, deserved that 7 inning/3 hit gem yesterday IMO. BABIP and xFIP be darned! Very few hard hit balls against Locke, for whatever the SABR guys want to make of it. That is what my eyes saw.

  392. Jim S. says:

    Baddest animals in the swamp, for sure. Crocs just move away when hippos are near.

  393. Jim S. says:

    Does that make him Fri/Sat/Sunday-Dro?

  394. Jim S. says:

    You are so correct, NMR.

  395. NMR says:

    To be fair, NH didn’t want to re-sign Karstens at his arbitrated price.

    If he didn’t wanna resign him, period, then he wouldn’t have.

    He also signed him before acquiring Gomez, and had him penciled into the rotation ahead of Gomez before getting injured.

  396. Drew71 says:

    See, that must be the difference between you and me.

    When I wrote “Or an unproductive 8 HRs” I was throwing it out there for discussion. As an alternative. From the perspective of someone who is not happy with Pedro to date but not a basher (have hope)

    You must have read “Or an unproductive 8 HRs” and taken it personally. And gone to black pots and kettles.

    Not everything is personal, NMR.

    And sometimes I’ll surprise people and want to, you know, talk baseball.

    Without being insulted or “innuendo-ed” for it.

  397. JHadar says:

    I think that it was Andy Jackson who said that he didn’t understand what all the fuss was about there only being one way a word, after all anyone with a little intelligence should be able to figure out four or five good ways to spell most words.

  398. MadTurk says:

    Tey aleady used their time out. So they did not have one available

  399. BillyBaduka says:

    I think people are referring to the physical and mental demand when saying its the “hardest”. I happen to agree.

    It’s odd to me to take a strict probability/statistical perspective of “hardest” here. All 4 major league American sports crown a champion every year. All have around 30 teams. So that is not an effective measurement to discern anything.

    Ok, number of teams in playoffs, this doesn’t reveal anything about difficulty to achieve either. The “odds” of winning will always be the same within a given sport. But some teams will have a tougher path, games on road, injuries etc. So this statistical analysis gives us little insight too.

    I don’t think it’s its beneficial to view how “hard” it is to win a championship with this statistical analysis. And it’s a curious way to define hard.

    When looking at definitions of the word “hard” (that’s what’s really being debated here, whether its appropriate to use hard (harder, hardest) in this context.

    It definitely is.

    Let’s look at some definitions of hard:

    2.
    a. Physically toughened; rugged.
    b. Mentally toughened; strong-minded.

    (Seems that there is a relationship between hard and “tough” a word that is said to be ok to use)

    3.
    a. Requiring great effort or endurance: a hard assignment. (Or a hard playoff run)

    b. Performed with or marked by great diligence or energy: a project that required years of hard work. (Or a cup victory that required 24+ games, some with multiple overtimes and serious injuries that will require surgery in off season)

    c. Difficult to resolve, accomplish, or finish: Ex. The Stanley Cup (ok, that was me not the dictionary)

    6.
    a. Difficult to endure: a hard journey.(Or a hard playoff run)

    Hockey is the distant 4th in Pro sports. But it’s fans are absolutely correct to claim that hockey’s Campionship is the hardest to win. It is in accordance with the definition of hard: requires great effort, tough (physically and mentally), difficult to endure.

    It’s a subjective debate. I agree with the view that The Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to to win in a given year based on watching the playoffs of all of these sports.

    I also agree that they are all hard to win and all are achievements to be recognized. Hockey being the hardest does not diminish the achievement in other sports.

    I think most people take issue because of the use of the superlative and inferring that the other championships are lesser because of it.

    Most of the time, hockey fans use it to recognize the accomplishment (and exercise their god given right to use superlatives in hyperbole).

    When it is used to put other sports down, that’s usually pure ignorance or defensiveness because hockey fans often have to argue just that hockey belongs in the conversation with the other 3 Pro team sports. Maybe not much in Pgh with Pens success but definitely happens in most cities in US.

    My apologies to futbol (soccer) fans. It’s getting more TV coverage and I’m sure it will just be a few years before hockey fans have to argue that hockey belongs in conversation with football, baseball, basketball and soccer.

  400. Sarah says:

    Nah I don’t buy that.
    If the object was “puck possession” as the coach said, Malkin and Letang should not be out there. Multiple other options available who are far more defensively responsible and not prone to turnovers. And also, um, back check.

    Kunitz “effort” was inexcusable.

  401. Sarah says:

    Not a performance issue.
    A fatigue issue.

    Which I think all along has been the idea.

    If mgmt really wanted to ride MAF at all, he would’ve been back in Game 1 of this series.

    IMO they feel his role is now more to spell Vokoun. Unless he gets crazy hot or TV stinks, neither of which is likely. The latter more so I suppose.

  402. Sarah says:

    See my post above.

  403. Sarah says:

    And with an extra days rest TV may be fine Wed.
    Just saying IMO MAFs role has changed.

  404. Sarah says:

    Kevin, it’s delicious, seriously.
    It does look like the dogs dinner though….

  405. Sarah says:

    Loonies I’m on the road for business.
    Seriously that tying goal was a comedy of personnel, scheme, effort. Coaching, you name it.

    Has there been ANY criticism of Bylsma or his rambling presser explanation in the local media?

    I know such criticism is strictly not allowed here, but wondered about the actual media,

  406. Sarah says:

    When has there been 3-4 days between games ? Except at the conclusion of a seriEs?

  407. Ghost says:

    Sounds like a Cure song.

  408. Sarah says:

    The physical output is 100 pct VO2 max every shift. Try to do VO2 max for say 20 secs, then triple it.

    It’s explosive in nature, which uses the big muscles and that is more taxing physically (lactic acid) plus there are loads of collisions at speeds of medium vehicle traffic (20-30 mph).

    82 games is ridiculous, and then you get 4 best of 7s in 2 months which entails largely an every other day schedule, which is impossible to physically recover from.
    Players lose 10 or more lbs over the duration because the calorie burn is impossible to replace.

    Among the major sports, nothing like it.

    I guess Tour de France comes close but that’s hardly major.

    Even I used to lose 5 lbs a game in college. That is hard to get back the next day. Then second day you’re playing again.

    There are few if any 3-4 day breaks in a series.

    No comparison.

  409. Naje says:

    NMR and Jim…. from above.

    RISP and “clutch” as I know them are often thrown together in sabrmetrics. RISP is not clutch. It’s just a statistic that shows this is how you hit with runners at 2nd and/or 3rd base and has nothing to do with clutch.

    Alvarez has 146 PA, 55 of those with RISP…that’s 38% of his at bats have come w RISP. He’s got 9 hits. 7 singles and 2 HRs. With 16 Ks and 2 GIDP, 33% of his at bats w RISP have been a total waste, one GIDP ended a game with runners on 1st and 3rd and one out (Cubs, I believe)…so there’s a little clutch involved there if you’d like to call it that.

    He’s been very underwhelming… was awful for a long stretch…w RISP. And that’s how you directly affect a game: producing runs. No matter how many at bats you get in those situations, you have to produce better than a .189 BA and a .542 OPS…especially when you’re a power hitter who will get 550+ at bats and probably have about 150 to 200 at bats w RISP.

    Last year, with a terrible offense in front of him for several months, he had 155 plate appearances with RISP… hit .240 with 23 walks and an OPS of .860. He puts up those numbers so far this season and we probably have 2+ more wins.

    Still trying to figure out whether you have an argument, NMR, or that you’ve taken a stance that really isn’t an argument. The team relies on Alvarez to produce runs.

  410. Sarah says:

    Really the most stunning thing for me about the play was the COMPLETE lack of desperation by anyone in a Pens uni, save Vokoun.

    Total lack of urgency re the seriousness of the situation.

    Teams that lack urgency this time of year don’t win Cups.

    Really, it was a shocking play.

  411. DJ says:

    We should all wait for Vokoun’s play to tell us it is time for Fleury. We’ll all know if or when it is time, and there will be less pressure on him if Fleury enters in a relief role in a call to “save the day.” But until Vokoun’s play drops off precipitously — and it’s certainly not looking like that right now — we should all just relax and watch Vokoun play.

  412. 21sthebest says:

    It’s not 100% every 2 minutes.

    It’s very physically demanding. Why is it the hardest sport to win a championship?

  413. theplanisworking says:

    Exactly Sarah, at the end of a series. Used to be, when a series ended, they played the next available day.

  414. theplanisworking says:

    Because it is the most physically demanding.
    You answered your own question.

  415. theplanisworking says:

    Damn straight !!!!!!!!!! ;)

  416. theplanisworking says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

  417. Brandie says:

    Can’t believe I made it through each and every post on this blog. I am exhausted! :-)

    Pens loss was quite a downer because of the way they lost. It seemed like they played not to lose, rather than playing to win the game. Why deviate from the formula of responsible defense? Pens seemed gassed. They have 2 days to get themselves together. I, for one, am not pushing the panic button. It’s time the bear down and put the Senators away, plain and simple. That goes for the coaches actually paying attention to who is on the ice, making sure match ups make sense, and players not blowing their assignments.

    Pirates win a close one, thanks to Pedro Alvarez providing all of the offense needed. Now, if only the baseball gods can get him to get it cranking in all aspects of his game earlier…

    Oh well…I can dream can’t I?

    Greetings to all of my fellow Lunatics and all of the good folks new to this here blog.

  418. Drew71 says:

    You watching the Chicago-Detroit hockey game?

    Holy crap, forget our posts. THIS is exhausting.

    In a good way.

    Ok. So hockey is about third on my list. Or so.

    But THIS is an exciting game.

    For those not watching, HEAVY hitting, some GREAT chances, and yet as the first period runs down, 0-0.

    NObody in that arena needs to yell HIT SOMEBODY. That’s all they’re doing.

    NObody has to yell SHOOT IT. 24 shots. None in.

  419. Brandie says:

    I will take that under advisement. Thanks, Drewster!

  420. Minor League Report, brought to you by Drew’s poodles:

    For Milo: Jerry Sands with a granny, his second HR and 16th RBI. Average up to .173. Stinks.

    In AA, for those of you anxious to see Stolmy in the Burgh, he went 7 tonight, 5 runs, all earned, 8 hits, 1 W, 5 K’s, 2 HR’s given up. ERA up to 3.35

    Low A, Josh Bell at .280 with 6 HR, 35 RBI; Stetson Allie, .316, 10 HR, 32 RBI

    High A, Hanson has his average up to .267 after a slow start. Polanco at .306.

  421. Milo Hamilton says:

    Hit it off Steven Wright. It was obviously a very lethargic pitch.

  422. Bizrow says:

    And he seems to be doing that to some extent

    Right now, with this club, our options are??

    Exactly

  423. Bizrow says:

    Is that guy still around???

  424. Milo Hamilton says:

    Happiness is Lyle Overbay hitting a go ahead homer in a nationally televised game when you are trying to sell his autographed ball on e-bay.

  425. Pucknutz says:

    Billy, kudos, very well reasoned and calmly stated.

    You have covered most of my reasons that I think the Cup is the “hardest”to win and you have pretty well defined “hard”.

    I am gonna quote ya here….
    “Hockey being the hardest does not diminish the achievement in other sports.”

    Agree 100%. Different skill sets , schedules, travel, et.al..

    The Cup is the “hardest” is it the best?? Super Bowl, World Series, get me as pumped as ever – but the Cup may be the “sweetest”. Just me.

    GO PENS !!!

  426. Jandy says:

    +10000000000
    lolol

  427. theplanisworking says:

    Evening, Jandy.
    How is the Hubs?

  428. Jandy says:

    Hey, good to see Brandie made it to the party today :)

    Can’t turn the hockey game on Drew, hubby is watching river monsters. It’s interesting, but it’s not hockey ;)

    Oh, and he has strep throat. On a Z pak. He won’t miss work tho.

  429. theplanisworking says:

    Hi Jandy!
    How was the hubs doc visit?

  430. Better not be kissin’ on ‘im, as they say here. That’s contagious for 24 hours. But I’m sure you know that.

  431. theplanisworking says:

    Hippos cant read………………….

    took a friend to the doc today. ZPac also. Must be going around………..

  432. Jandy says:

    Spunky, he’s had this sore throat for over a week. I had to threaten him to get him to go to the doc. lol. No kisses for him until he’s better ;)

  433. Pucknutz says:

    Sarah,
    Love your VO2 max!!!

    I could bore yinz with my tales of my younger days very amateur sports VO2 and lactic acid max outs. But I will not.

    Been there, done that, got the T shirt, don’t need to go there again!! :)

    Xcellent point about Hockey, it is Max most every shift and 45 secs is longer than you think!!! :)

    GO PENS !!

  434. Milo Hamilton says:

    My sister’s taking care of it. No bids but she says there are 4 watching. It’s going right down to the wire. I think it goes til Wednesday.

  435. Jandy says:

    You read just fine, my Hipposter friend lol. Nice of you to take your friend to the doc. OUr doc said Strep is going around. Yuck

  436. I hope you make some dough on it. Still feel bad my Buckeyes let you down, then Michigan did, too.

  437. Keep it up there, please. :)

  438. Jandy says:

    sometimes ya gotta be mean to be kind ;)

  439. Milo Hamilton says:

    Can’t pick a horse either. Guess that’s why we have jobs. :)

  440. That’s what Drew said.

  441. Jandy says:

    now that’s scary…Drew and I thinking alike =O

  442. theplanisworking says:

    Well, it has been cold and rain this spring………… err continuation of winter.

    I wish you both a good evening………. I need Hippo rest so I can vote tomorrow. Hippos like voting……… it is the one time we fit in with others. ;)

    See you guys/gals/ non-Hippos tomorrow. :)

  443. Jandy says:

    Oh, we’re gonna abolish it ;)

  444. Jandy says:

    sweet Hippo dreams my friend :)

  445. theplanisworking says:

    Oh, and one last one for the blog………….

    Fire Bylsm……………… ;)

  446. Spoken like a true saint.

  447. Brandie says:

    Good night my hippo friend.

  448. Brandie says:

    Take care of the Hubster, Ms. J. You, Plan, and all The Lunatics (plus The Blog Father) give smiles to my day. Thank you all so very much.

  449. Jandy says:

    dittos Brandie. Many friends here I look forward to chatting with, you among them. Hubby was just given a Hot Toddy, made my Mother Theresa ;)

  450. Jandy says:

    0=)

  451. Brandie says:

    That’ll set him to rights!

  452. Jandy says:

    Prolly will help as much as the Z pak lol

  453. Jandy says:

    and Milo?

  454. Jandy says:

    oh well, he must have signed off

  455. Milo Hamilton says:

    And alcohol ?

  456. Jandy says:

    LOL No, I wanted to say…
    I’m glad you’re “back” cuz I really missed you the time you disappeared. Don’t do that again, please!

  457. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t think it’s the most physically demanding.

  458. Jandy says:

    Time to get to bed. 4am comes quickly.

  459. Ryan76 says:

    …and we MAY have lost them because he didn’t come thru…which would mean he’s lost us games…not sure we’re saying the same thing at all.

 
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