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Morning Java: Traffic in front? Whose nutty idea was that?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The weekly chat will happen right here on the blog today at noon.

>> At 1:01 a.m., assuming you didn’t stay up, this happened …

Magnificent stuff. Fifth-longest game in Stanley Cup Final history. Tremendous goaltending. And reason eleventy billion why the Stanley Cup playoffs are unmatched.

But beyond that, take another look at that video.

As the puck goes back to old friend Michal Rozsival at the right point, watch all three of the Hawks’ forwards — Dave Bolland, Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell — down the right boards. Watch what they do once Rozsival gets a clear look.



What a concept.

If you’ve forgotten what that looked like, well, that’s OK. Tuukka Rask probably did, too.

Rozsival takes something off the shot to get it through traffic, the puck skips off Bolland, then off Shaw, and the Hawks’ forwards are rewarded.

Sooooooooooooo, on that note …

>> Ray Shero’s decision to keep Dan Bylsma is the subject of Joe Starkey’s Thursday column. As a result, I’ll keep my own thoughts to a minimum here.

Regardless of what you think of Bylsma as a coach — and I’ve been consistent in stating that I like him and, infinitely more important, that the Penguins had no interest in firing him — this is a team that could have benefited from some change. If that meant Bylsma would leave and get snapped up by some other team, so be it. The change alone to a more solid foundation would have been worth it, provided, of course, a good new hire resulted.

To wit: When I asked Shero yesterday if he could explain his coaches’ apparent stubbornness in never getting the Penguins’ forwards through to the Boston net — which isn’t remotely complicated schematically or otherwise — he came back with “good question” two or three times but never really seemed to come up with anything.

Here, watch for yourself. It starts at around the 40-minute mark.

All of this, to be candid, smacked of the front office being too comfortable with the status quo. And that should always make anyone observing that feel a little un-comfortable.

>> Here was Bylsma, on the heat he felt this week …

>> The Pirates give up eight runs and still win because it’s clearly been that kind of year to this stage. Also, Jason Grilli’s march to Cooperstown continues unabated.

>> The Steelers’ defensive icon is tackled by Alan Robinson on the middle day of minicamp.

>> Hope to have you on board for the chat. Remember, please, entries go on the chat form, not in the blog’s regular comments section.

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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.

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