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Morning Java: More Dupuis than meets the eye

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Monday column is about Pascal Dupuis, who really is that good.

I get into some of Dupuis’ soaring confidence in there, but I had a couple of extra — and really kind of off-the-beaten-path — examples of that I can share here:

One morning in February at Consol, the Penguins were engaged in a silly game of long shot. That involves nothing more than sailing the puck into the net from the other end of the rink.

Dupuis’ first attempt found twine on the fly.

Play-by-play man Paul Steigerwald, seated near me, shook his head and said, “Everything that guy touches turns to gold.”

A month later at another skate in Winnipeg’s MTS Centre, I set my coffee on one of the end boards, just outside the glass. Dupuis thought he’d give it a shot.

Nailed that one, too.

And when the puck failed to actually knock over my drink — that glass is thick — he skated over to devilishly try to use his stick to do it. That’s when I rushed to the rescue of my morning’s caffeine allowance.

No real reason to share either of these, I suppose. Just having fun.

Anyway, here’s the rest of our full team coverage, by beat man Josh Yohe.
You’ll also find on that page two fine pieces on Ray Shero and Dan Bylsma by Rob Rossi and Kevin Gorman, respectively. Well worth your time on both counts.

From yesterday’s skate, here are a couple questions I had for Brooks Orpik

And for Tomas Vokoun

>> The Pirates took two of three in Milwaukee, of all places, thanks yet again to Jason Grilli and Mark Melancon. On Sunday, columnist Joe Starkey opined that Neal Huntington has ‘never looked so good.’

>> WPXI-TV’s ‘The Final Word’ aired last night, and here are video clips to all four segments, three on the Penguins and one on the Pirates. I was joined by Rossi and WPXI’s Alby Oxenreiter and Bill Phillips.

>> I’ll visit with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m., right when the Penguins’ practice is set to start.

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 more, including 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 top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.

41 Comments

  1. Just checked out the ‘Pirate’ segment from this week’s The Final Word. Muchas gracias. Bill Phillips and DK fielded the “Are the Pirates for real?” question with the answer, “Hey, enjoy the ride.” (And DK added his concerns about sustainability of Melancon and Grilli.) Absolutely. But DK, in the end do you feel that this team is “for real?” Will they be in ‘legitimate’ contention during September?

  2. To rephrase my question: Come September, will our favorite Hippo around here still be doing happy dancing?

  3. * Neal Huntington is going to have a tough job in a few months. Does he pull the trigger on a deal that messes with the team’s chemistry in the name of improving the rotation or starting 8?

    * Can Melancon and Grilli nail down 60 wins, they are on their way. Both should be in All-Star game if this keeps up.

    * Saw the replays featuring the mammoth blasts by Pedro Alvarez… why he sits against any RH pitcher mystifies me.

    ————

    * Dupuis trade… Thanks Don Waddell

    * I have to be honest, when Matt Cooke received the long suspension, I thought he was done, figured he would never change and most important, he disgraced the Pittsburgh jersey,his teammates, his coaches, his General Manager, and his owner (Mario Lemieux). Afterwards, I called him a challenge not worth taking and said the Penguins needed to cut him.

    * Good thing Shero didn’t budge and support Cooke, while some in the organization figured it was his time to go… dare say some of his existing teammates were ready too.

    * The turnaround by Matt Cooke, has been outstanding and his performance in these playoffs has been spectacular killing penalties, agitating when needed, back-checking like a mad man, and his backhand pass to Dupuis in game five against Ottawa was something for a supposed to Central Hockey League.

    * Can he go from disgraced to unheralded to champion in two years? I’ll be here rooting for him and glad to be wrong about him.

    * As the Penguins get ready to play the Bruins, surely someone will notice the Bruins style is about keeping the puck along the boards, down low and sneaking a shot in the slot for one-timer. They’ve done it during these playoffs and in their three games during the regular season.

    * Boston goalie Tuuka Rask tends to lean forward way too much with traffic around his net. Sharp angle one-timers are going to be wide open for Crosby, Malkin and Neal. The Bruins like to pack it in on the PK… I fully expect Iginla and Letang to get great looks on their one-timers.

    * Penguins in 5…

    • I’ll second the thought that NH will have some serious decisions to make, come late July (or earlier, if the opportunity pops up). I happen to think that the key to his recent success / good decision-making, is that his focus has been on accruing talent, whereas before he trading away talent in the hope he was acquiring a better future.

      I happen to believe “the bird in hand” policy proves correct more often than not when it comes to established major league talent vs. prospects, and that this is especially so since it almost always works out to be a buyer’s market in July. Sure, guys like Billy Beane know how to beat the market. But Neal ain’t Billy Beane, at least not yet. However, Neal HAS been beating the market lately by mostly avoiding trading away established MLB’ers, and instead trading for them or signing them as FA’s.

      • It will indeed be interesting for NH come July. I personally like the chemstry of this team. Everyone seems to like and support one another, and just about everyone has a role – although I haven’t figured out what Inge brings to the table. I think teams give up too much of their future when they go “all in.” I also think they often underestimate how much they are giving up of the identity of the major league team by trying to find that one or two players to improve the team. I don’t know if I like that risk this year, unless we don’t mortgage the futue. This team is headed in the right direction, is a good team as constructed, and the ingredients are present in the minors for a nice multi-year run if we don’t screw this up. As for this year, I am enjoying the ride. I think it will be very tough to beat out either St. Louis or Cincy, though. Maybe all 3 will make the playoffs from our division. I think 82+ will happen, regardless.

        • I’m enjoying the ride for now, but still question NH’s ability to make a move to help the team win NOW, as opposed to next year or the year after. Aside from Wandy, what in-season deal has he made that paid immediate dividends for the team? I’m not expecting a collapse (or the same sub .350 performance we’ve gotten every single year in Aug-Sep since NH was hired), but I’m just not confident he won’t screw it up.

    • Wow Eric! Love your optimism re a quick Pens series win…
      But geez I am not so confident.
      Pens have indeed beat BOS 3 times, but all low scoring 1-goal games.

      They’ve not faced a team this physical, this talented or this solid defensively.

      I feel like it may be a long series, and we will find out a LOT about Vokoun. Will he hit a physical wall? Will his (and the D’s ) occasional sloppiness cost us vs a grinding Boston team that will roll 4 lines and never let up?

      And which lit up maybe the NHLs best goalie Lundquist for 3+ goals per game?

      I feel like this will be REALLY tough.

  4. JAL’s The Lady Of Shalott Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttv0ljOiPSs

    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: Who Pirates Draft and Who Fans Want, Might Not Be The Same.

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/05/first-pitch-who-pirates-draft-and-who-fans-want-might-not-be-the-same.html

    Pirates Notebook: Pitchers Working on Historic Run of Run Prevention

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/05/pirates-notebook-pitchers-working-on-historic-run-of-run-prevention.html

    Prospect Watch: West Virginia Wins Seventh Straight, Four For Fortunato

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/05/prospect-watch-west-virginia-wins-seventh-straight-four-for-fortunato.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates win 5-4, take two of three in Miller Park

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/5/26/4368384/pirates-win-5-4-take-two-of-three-in-miller-park
    Bucs Dugout Podcast: Looking ahead to the trade deadline

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/5/26/4367972/bucs-dugout-podcast-looking-ahead-to-the-trade-deadline

    7 Allvoices

    Memorial Day baseball focus: What’s up with the NL Central?

    http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/14686725-memorial-day-baseball-focus-whats-up-with-the-nl-central

    8 The Green Weenie

    Bucs Take Series With 5-4 Win

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/05/bucs-take-series-with-5-4-win.html

    9 Rumbunter

    Pittsburgh Pirates Trade Rumors: Relievers

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/05/25/pittsburgh-pirates-trade-rumors-relievers/

    Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington Show: Trades, Gerrit Cole and Injury Updates

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/05/26/pittsburgh-pirates-gm-neal-huntington-show-trades-gerrit-cole-and-injury-updates/

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 5, Brewers 4

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/05/pirates-5-brewers-4/

    • The Lady Of Shalott Loreena McKennitt 1991 Canadian singer who has sold over 14 million records. Saw her perform this song at DAR Hall in DC a couple of years ago. Music added to a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

  5. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Yovani Gallardo pitches four innings as Brewers bow to Pirates

    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/yovani-gallardo-pitches-four-innings-as-brewers-bow-to-pirates-b9919644z1-209015561.html

    12 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates Are So Much Better Than A Few Seasons Ago

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/05/26/pittsburgh-pirates-are-so-much-better-than-a-few-seasons-ago/

    13 Oklahoman

    Former Oklahoma State player Jordy Mercer proving his worth with the Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://newsok.com/former-oklahoma-state-player-jordy-mercer-proving-his-worth-with-the-pittsburgh-pirates/article/3834700?custom_click=pod_headline_osu-cowboys

    14 Detroit Free Press

    Tigers’ week ahead: Home-and-home with Pirates, at Orioles

    http://www.freep.com/article/20130526/SPORTS02/305260103/detroit-tigers-week-ahead

    15 Sweetspot

    Wrap: Big problems for O’s, Indians, Rays

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/36355/wrap-big-problems-for-os-indians-rays

    16 CBS Sports

    Pirates Vs Tigers Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130527_PIT@DET/piratestigers-preview

    17 Global Post

    Pittsburgh Pirates – TeamReport

    http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130527/pittsburgh-pirates-teamreport

    18 PBC Site

    Early lead spurs Bucs to series win in Milwaukee

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_05_26_pitmlb_milmlb_1&mode=recap_away&c_id=pit

    Notebook: Cole shows resilience in latest Triple-A start

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130526&content_id=48655260&notebook_id=48655494&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    The Longest Plate Appearance(s) of the Week, 5/24

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20706

    20 Fangraphs

    FanGraphs Audio: Jeff Locke on Jeff Locke’s Success

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/fangraphs-audio-jeff-locke-on-jeff-lockes-success/

  6. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers one of the 10 teams who will benefit from returns from injury

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/latest-news/2013/5/26/4367544/steelers-injuries-2012-depth-chart-games-missed

    Ryan Clark didn’t do ESPN tour because he plans to retire next year

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/latest-news/2013/5/26/4367320/steelers-ryan-clark-comments-espn-retirement

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Steelers CB Cortez Allen Confident About Upcoming Season

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/05/steelers-cb-cortez-allen-confident-about-upcoming-season/

    Soccer(football) Will T

    23 Daily Telegraph

    Bayern Munich deserve to be taking the trophy ‘home’ after lighting up Wembley in Champions League final

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/champions-league/10082015/Bayern-Munich-deserve-to-be-taking-the-trophy-home-after-lighting-up-Wembley-in-Champions-League-final.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 24th May, 2013

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-24th-may-2013

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    James Neal hat-trick leads Pens past Sens in Game 5

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/5/24/4364372/james-neal-hat-trick-leads-pens-past-sens-in-game-5

    26 Centre Daily Times

    Ron Musselman | Powerful Penguins continue playoff march

    http://www.centredaily.com/2013/05/26/3630020/ron-musselman-powerful-penguins.html

    27 Bleacher Report

    Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Boston Bruins: NHL Playoff Preview and Prediction

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1652184-pittsburgh-penguins-vs-boston-bruins-nhl-playoff-preview-and-prediction

  7. Happy Memorial Day, everybody. Even Thunder.

    Please remember the reason and enjoy the day.

    Can You Smell What The drew Is Cookin?

    Dinner at 4:00. High of 89. Pool is open. Stop on by.

    Please. SOMEbody has to talk to my wife.

  8. I’m going to do my best not to worry about the trade deadline until the deadline.

    I’m going to enjoy the wins. And if they don’t keep winning, the deadline probably won’t make a difference.

    And I think the deadline is a bit overblown- many more rumors than actual difference-making deals.

    And who is happy that we didn’t trade Marte at last year’s deadline?

    (My hand is raised)

  9. If you can dig up archives of those that wanted to trade Marte last year, I think you’d be hard pressed to use all five fingers in showing the outcome.

    • Daq,
      In certain deals, I may have been one of those who was not against trading Marte.

      I thought that it might be better to have a proven veteran than a ‘prospect’ who was still unproven at the major league level. And I kept hearing all about his poor plate discipline (which I have this weekend , but in a different way).

      I admit I was wrong and am very glad they kept him.

    • I don’t know of anyone on this blog but I do know of a few people who did want Marte to be used as trade bait.

      But, I can say, with pride, that I was not one of them.

      • I didn’t want to trade Marte. Not that I am any scouting genius, but I had a feeling this guy was going to develop later than a lot of guys just because of his relative late start in playing against good competition growing up. I read somewhere that he did not have reps vs. good competition until he was a couple of years older than most guys, an so he may be just scratching the surface. I will say that Polanco seems like an even better prospect than Starling – if that is possible. I really don’t want to see him go for a rent a player. But, as you say, let’s enjoy now and worry about later, later.

      • A “few” would not fill up all five fingers.

        • I’d have traded Marte depending on the deal. Can’t say I’m glad we kept him because I don’t know the deal but my price was high.

  10. I don’t fear any team the Bucs take on now. I know they’ll show up and battle. But, does it bother anyone else how MLB does this inter-league stuff where they designate a natural rival or whaterver they are calling it for each team? Since Cleveland is taken by Cincy, and Philly is already in our league, and Balt vs. Wash is a given, somehow when the music stopped playing the only teams near the middle of the country without chairs were us and Detroit. So, bingo, they are are our rival and we get to face the best team in MLB 4 times this week while St. Louis get to play the Royals? I know KC is improving, but that is a nice break for the Cards. This just seems like a completely amateurish way to make a schedule.

    • You’re right, Jim, but there have been scheduling problems since baseball went to the unbalanced schedule many years ago. Even the 18 and 12 one got complaints all over baseball.

      Cincinnati was in the West and they were dominating and people got mad. I think over 162 games it evens out somewhat. We just got done feasting on the Astros, Cubs and Brewers and did a great job of it.

      Now, some challenge, which, as you stated, they’ll battle and they believe they can win every game, hold leads and hit when necessary, so let’s see what we can do.

      • A nice start today would be taking down Verlander! I’ll say we have not missed many aces this year, and I think that has only increased our confidence.

  11. I just picked up the beer.

    Give me about 90 minutes to get home and chill it, then stop on by.

  12. Josh Harrison – 3B – Pirates Pirates recalled INF Josh Harrison from Triple-A Indianapolis.
    Harrison, 26, is a .247/.277/.353 career hitter in the major leagues. He will not carry any fantasy value.
    May 27 – 10:32 AM

    Jeff Karstens – S – Pirates Pirates transferred RHP Jeff Karstens from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list.
    Karstens had been aiming to join the Pirates’ starting rotation in early June but began experiencing more shoulder problems last week. The righty is out indefinitely.
    May 27 – 10:30 AM

    Jose Tabata – OF – Pirates Pirates placed OF Jose Tabata on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique.
    Tabata is likely to be out for a little over three weeks. The 24-year-old outfielder has a .272/.337/.407 batting line, two homers and six RBI in 36 games this season.
    May 27 – 10:29 AM

    Bryan Morris – R – Pirates Pirates optioned RHP Bryan Morris to Triple-A Indianapolis.
    Morris has posted a cool 3.45 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 15 2/3 innings of relief this season for Pittsburgh. The right-hander will probably be back and forth all year.
    May 27 – 10:26 AM

    Mike Zagurski – R – Pirates Pirates purchased the contract of LHP Mike Zagurski from Triple-A Indianapolis.
    Zagurski has an impressive 2.14 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 37/9 K/BB ratio in 21 innings this season at the Triple-A level. He should do well in a setup role for the Bucs.

    • Since Zaguski was added to the 25 man roster, who will be removed?

      How do you feel that Harrison is back up at the majors? I know you’re a big fan. :)

    • 37 K’s in 21 innings for Zagurski is impressive. I guess we should see if that plays in the bigs at some point. I believe Watson is finding way too much of the heart of the plate a couple of times per inning, and big league hitters are not going to miss them.

      Morris cursed with “options.” He seems like a guy with good enough stuff to stick, though.

  13. Dupuis was one of the guys who stood out to me during 24/7. Made it easy to see why his teammates love him. Hard working but fun. Glad to see him succeed.

    • I’ve always liked Duper from day one. Said how HARD the guy worked. He deserves ALL the success that comes his way.

  14. Dejan, thank you so much for this column. I’ve said for years that Dupuis was very underappreciated and not being used to his potential. I’m thrilled he got his chance. Loved the column.

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