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Saturday column: Matt Cooke triumphant

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

The Saturday column takes a decidedly different approach toward declaring Matt Cooke triumphant over the Senators with all that went on this season.

Here’s video of Cooke addressing the subject at hand …

And here’s video of a few other guys afterward …

Our full team coverage of the Penguins reaching the Eastern Conference final …

>> Penguins get the TKO, by Rob Rossi.

>> Kris Letang puts on the assists, by Josh Yohe.

>> Daniel Alfredsson sounds like he’s done, by Jerry DiPaola.

>> Tickets for Eastern final go on sale today, by Yohe.

>> Complete Trib photo gallery, by Chaz Palla.

>> Official game highlights, from

And our Trib sports cover for the morning …

The Penguins will not practice today, and I will not have a Sunday column in an attempt to convince my children that I am, in fact, their father. The column will return Monday.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.


  1. theplanisworking says:

    GO PENS !!!!

    Man, that feels good!

  2. theplanisworking says:

    At the risk of sounding like I drank too much Kool-Aid here……………..

    It certainly looks like Game 3 of this series, and the struggles of the Islander series have helped the Pens. Neal has been found, Cooke has been solid (much to Ottawa’s chagrin), Vokoun has been solid, very solid.

    Maybe Disco has learned from his previous mistakes? He has been putting the right people out there (after that massive brainfart in Game 3)……….

    I just see a team that has been playing more loose. They are skating well, passing well, attacking the zone, and burying pucks. They are going to be tough to beat.

    Oh, and I would be remiss to not mention DK’s humorful column.
    Cookie must be smiling like a butcher’s dog!

  3. Drew71 says:

    Didn’t you just write something about the Pirates never losing?

    You need to apologize. Again.

  4. Dom says:

    I noticed that with that loss Canada is eliminated from the cup for another year. It’s been two decades since they won one.

  5. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Great win by the Pens.
    They rebounded well from last Sunday’s fiasco in Ottawa.
    When this team starts firing on all cylinders, it’s a beautiful thing.
    Onward….And upwards!

  6. Ghost says:

    So in five starts this month, A.J. Burnett has had an ERA of 2.31 and given us seven innings of work each outing. His teammates have thanked him with the run support of: 3 runs once, 2 runs once, and 1 run three times. The Pirates have a lot to be proud of so far this year, but they should be ashamed of letting down A.J. every time. They have to have his back and just get it done.

  7. BattleshipBob says:

    How awesome would it be if Matt Cooke won the Conn Smythe trophy? Theres still a lot of hockey to play, but if the Pens continue along the currnt trajectory, I’d love to see the league wide reaction to such an occurrence.

  8. cherokee23 says:

    I agree about “playing more loose”. The team seemed off or tight for awhile, maybe feeling pressure. But even without the 7 & 6 goals the last 2 games, their play has simply been much better! Vokoun has also been Very Good!

  9. Drew71 says:

    A letter from an Agency?

    Well. At least it’s not from an arena.

  10. Danch70 says:

    I’ve been hard on Kris Letang … but he played a great Game 5. No real obvious turnovers and he wisely picked his spots to join the rush. He also had the most honest quotes above. The opponent was a big reason for this domination. The Senators gave them time and space and the Pens feasted on it. The Islanders were the 8th seed but the tougher opponent.

    Looking ahead, I think the Pens can hold their own with either NYR or BB. I’ll just root for a game 7 – in triple overtime.

  11. Danch70 says:

    Also, it is becoming fun to watch DD play with his lineup. Have to say he’s done a fabulous job so far in that regard. But the choices he has is something I’ve never seen before. He can alter the energy of his team, the focus of his team, even the flavor of his team without diminishing the quality of his team. Eaton or Despres; an injured Jokinen or Vitale; Glass or Bennett.

  12. 21sthebest says:

    That’s baseball. They have nothing to be ashamed of.

  13. Sarah says:

    Can we for goodness sake please keep Letang w Eaton?

  14. Sarah says:

    Well loons lets take a well deserved long weekend, savor this win, and hope for NYR to battle back and beat on the Bs another game or two.

    This was the one short series you need if you’re going to win the Cup.

    Next round, likely Boston, is going to be a whole different thing. They are a talented, quality physical team top to bottom, and no disrespect to NYI or OTT, the Pens haven’t faced that yet.

  15. Drew71 says:

    Ditto across the board.

    Liked how the team flipped a switch after Game Three. Played like they should, pretty much top to bottom. And to be fair, they were probably one bizarre defensive breakdown from a sweep.

    That said, that may have been a (needed) wake-up call. They appeared to be a different team before and after The Breakdown.

    It pains me to root for the Rangers, so I won’t. Instead, I’ll simply root for overtime.

    Eight periods of overtime.

  16. Drew71 says:

    I just read that TeleVision has a .941 save percentage in the playoffs.

    I’ll shut up (about him) now.

  17. Drew71 says:

    Matt or Ron, Plan?

  18. Vette60 says:

    Let’s go PENS!

    Great W last night to close it out. Very happy that they got it done on home ice when the had their first chance…will make a nice weekend for us since I won’t be hockey crazed!

    TV’s numbers looked really good in the series and think he brings a lot to the table in terms of his stability. Really happy as well to see James “the Real Deal” Neal get the Hat Trick last night. Awesome stuff.

    Pens really were too much for the Sens, who, despite the silliness from their owner over the whole Cooke situation, had a really great season for them given all the injuries they endured.

    Want the Rangers to extend the series another game or two for sure, but not very confident that is going to happen. Think the Big Bad Bruins have too much for them to handle…

    Regarding the B’s and the potential for a Eastern Conference Final match-up. Yes, they are talented, physical top to bottom, but think despite that, the Pens can handle it. They have played pretty well, IMO, against the B’s in recent memory and think if they can stay physical without getting silly, they will be in good shape. Think a key is to stay on Chara, who is monster in his own right.

    Have a great Memorial Day weekend all!

    Take care,
    Randy in RVA.

  19. Karstens shut down again due to shoulder pain. Wonder if he’ll pitch at all this season, or ever again for the Bucs.

  20. Brian says:

    Everybody is too hard on Letang here in the Pens fan base. Every team should have a good mix of dependable, steady defensemen and dynamic defensemen that can force the opponent to change completely how they approach a team. Letang turns the puck over, sure, but he also provides a TON of jump on a defense that would otherwise seem pretty standard fare. I’ll take his downside for that upside any day of the week.

  21. Danch70 says:

    That pairing seems to work great for him, doesn’t it?

  22. Naje says:

    That’s another disappointment. On one hand, he earned the raise he received this year. On the other, it’s tough to watch him get shut down because he could and would help the team.

  23. Ghost says:

    Why did I just know someone would have to jump in and disagree because I used the word “ashamed?” I’ll just say it again: they’re repeatedly letting down their best pitcher and, yes, they do need to feel ashamed about that. Winners figure it out and find a way to come through. And that’s baseball. Sports. Life.

  24. hockeymonster says:

    @Dejan and everyone else:

    Shall we revisit our Letang v PM discussion now? :)

  25. Paul Adomshick says:

    Drew, you need to learn the concepts of “exaggeration for effect” and re-read Dejan’s column about the Pirates. The whole point was that there are signs that the Pirates won’t be able to continue winning the way they have. But, you’d probably prefer to continue trolling in the comments.

  26. Paul Adomshick says:

    Yes, he provides brilliant offense, but he has shown that he can be dependable (sometimes great) defensively, too. But, he doesn’t always do that. He needs to be consistent and play a complete game every game.

  27. Drew71 says:



  28. Thundercrack says:

    Would there be less shame if they were doing this to Jeff Locke?

  29. Speaking of trolling…….

  30. “Shame” on you, TC for bringing up “Absolute” Locke at a time like this.


  31. Drew71 says:

    Well. To be fair.

    I’ve done my share of trolling.

    How do you think I got married?

  32. I thought the trolling would come after. Oh well.

  33. likeabugonarug says:

    I’d rather the B-NY series get done with today. It still gives the Pens some rest, since I doubt the series would start before Wednesday. And it gets a relatively healthy team back out there while they are on a roll.

    Anyone know the schedule for Consol over the next week? That will also determine when they can play.

    And I was wrong. I was calling for MAF to start the series against Ottawa. TV is playing steady hockey, helping the team out when they need him most, and for the most part calmly making the basic saves. And, the thing that gives him the advantage over MAF is his puck handling skills. He doesn’t go into a panic when he has the puck and there is an opposing player skating towards him. I am now believing he can back this team to the Championship.


  34. likeabugonarug says:

    Not sure we need to “worry” about either team, provided we play our game. Pens were 3-0 against the Bruins this season, so they can beat them. True, things get more serious when the games are in the playoffs, but we’ve shown we can beat them.

    And yes, beat on Chara. He has played a LOT of minutes so far. Let tonight’s game go into multiple overtimes. Sure that will give him about 40-50 minutes of ice time if they get into 2 OT’s.


  35. Drew71 says:

    Well. Again, to be fair.

    According to our new friend up there, it has.

  36. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    Today’s game line is up in last night’s game thread.
    Just need one of you fine blog dwellers to re-post it in today’s game thread for me.
    Thanks as always.
    You all ROCK!!!

  37. Jandy says:

    Hell yeah!

  38. 21sthebest says:

    Is there something wrong with disagreeing with you Ghost or should we fall all over ourselves because you said something. Looks like you’re playing the martyr card.

    I don’t think they need to feel ashamed at all. There are a number of good pitchers not getting good run support across the majors, as is often the case. That’s baseball. What’s important to me is our record and where we are in the standings. It’s obviously a team sport.

  39. Jandy says:


  40. Jandy says:

    See Drew Dahling…if u had put a ;) after your comment, the troll would have caught your drift. So it’s all YOUR fault

  41. Jandy says:

    You’re the coolest troll ever, Drew!

  42. Jandy says:

    It’s gonna snow in Florida…

  43. Jandy says:


  44. Jandy says:

    Playoffs, you are the one that rocks!

  45. Jandy says:

    That would be the icing on the cake.

  46. Jandy says:

    Or maybe not…

  47. Scott says:

    I tend to agree. For what it’s worth, the real puckheads like Rossi and Madden believe the Bruins won’t present much of a challenge. Boston’s success is all about being physical, and the Pens are built to withstand that sort of attack. The Pens are not going to get pushed around – the only kind of team that can truly threaten them is a fast, skilled team like the Isles. That’s their argument, anyway.

    I can see their point, but I still think this will be the Pens’ toughest series yet. The Bruins have a ton of talent in their forward lines, and a solid goaltender. Some of their plus/minus numbers in these playoffs are astounding. It’s going to be awesome from a fans’ point of view, with hated players on both teams – Jagr on one side, Iginla and Cooke on the other.

  48. I was gonna do that in your honor, but I didn’t want to upstage you.


  49. 21sthebest says:

    And sometimes things don’t get figured out. That’s also baseball and life.

  50. theplanisworking says:

    I thought Hippos rocked??? ;)

  51. theplanisworking says:

    Both Drew, but for different reasons…….. ;)

  52. theplanisworking says:

    What is with it that recently we have had trolls, and uber-trolls on both the Pirates and Pens threads?

    Both teams are winning, yet we are suffered with fools.

    Hippos dont suffer fools well.

  53. theplanisworking says:

    Infinity and beyond!!!!

    What is scary, is that the team ISNT firing on all cylinders yet.
    Truly scary!

  54. theplanisworking says:

    I like cake. ;)

  55. theplanisworking says:

    You should have done it anyway, Lucky, then there would have been 2. ;)

  56. theplanisworking says:


  57. hockeymonster says:

    Hmmm….well they do say that yawning is a sign of not enough oxygen going to the brain…I guess that would explain some of the non sense I see on here :)

  58. Sarah says:

    Well I like madden (for his hockey info, not as a human being) but Madden also guAranteed Fleury would OWN the playoffs.
    I do not agree BO’S will be an easy opponent, at all.

  59. Sarah says:

    He’s done great no question. Hope he keeps it up.
    He will need to vs much tougher competition….

  60. Sarah says:

    Spoken liKe a non goalie lol!
    I am not convinced that the Pens, with their abundance of offensive skill, need an offensive defenseman like Letang who is often a defensive liability.
    The pens biggest issue IMO is their inconsistency defensively. It’s very hard to win a Cup with the style they play, and really hasn’t been done for a quarter century.

    I would trade Letang for a D-minded D.

    We don’t need more O.

    But I’m a goalie! :-D

  61. Sarah says:

    Pens were 3-0 v BO’S winning 3-2, 2-1, 3-2.
    I think every game will be close and tough.

  62. Drew71 says:

    Oh, for heaven’s sake.

    I can’t even do mean well.

  63. Drew71 says:

    Sometimes things DO get figured out.

    That’s on you, 21.

  64. Ghost says:

    21, I reply to the collective inanity of your posts on today’s game thread.

  65. Danch70 says:

    Well, there are players that can be two way players. I think Martin is in that mold. I think Gonchar, Karlsson, Listrom, Larry Murphy etc. were/are all excellent d-men that play both ways well. There’s no reason not to expect Letang to to be that. Defense is more commitment than anything else.

  66. Jandy says:

    In this case, it’s a sign of sheer boredom with inane monster comments.

  67. Jandy says:


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