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Vacation discussion thread 10-16

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Here’s a discussion thread for the day. I’ll be back from this five-day break with coverage of Steelers-Ravens on Sunday from Heinz Field and, really, a whole new EZ Pass leasee.

Game posts will continue to go up as usual, resuming with Penguins-Flyers tomorrow night.

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.

185 Comments

  1. Just streaking through…

  2. Pens played an interesting but disjointed game.

    Let the speculation begin for the 2014 Pirate roster.

    Stuart

  3. Did I say three years? I must have been in an unusually generous mood.

    How unlike me.

  4. JAL’s Seven Bridges Road Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mt2IFaCwTKk

    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 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

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

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Clint Hurdle Deserves to be the Manager of the Year
    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/10/first-pitch-clint-hurdle-deserves-to-be-the-manager-of-the-year.html

    AFL Recap: Alex Dickerson and Gift Ngoepe Double in Loss
    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/10/afl-recap-alex-dickerson-and-gift-ngoepe-double-in-loss.html

    Pirates Have a Lot of Talented Pitchers Available in the 2014 Draft

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/10/pirates-have-a-lot-of-talented-pitchers-available-in-the-2014-draft.html

    2013 Indianapolis Indians Season Recap and Top 10 Prospects

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/10/2013-indianapolis-indians-season-recap-and-top-10-prospects.html

    5 Bucs Dugout

    West Virginia season review

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/10/14/4803090/west-virginia-season-review

    The problem with signing Stephen Drew

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/10/15/4841552/the-problem-with-signing-stephen-drew

    6 Rumbunter

    A.J. Burnett Walks, Pirates Sink in 2014

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/10/13/j-burnett-walks-pirates-sink-2014/

    7 Three Rivers Burgh Blog

    Looking Back at the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://www.threeriversburghblog.com/2013/10/looking-back-at-2013-pittsburgh-pirates.html

    8 The Green Weenie

    10/15: Hurdle Hired, Alleghenys Revived, Bucs Top Sens In ’25, Cup Game, Carlos Garcia…

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/10/1015-hurdle-hired-alleghenys-revived.html

    9 KDKA

    Pirates Owner Nutting Would Love To See Burnett Return

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/10/15/pirates-owner-nutting-would-love-to-see-burnett-return/

    10 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates pull pitching prospect Jameson Taillon out of Arizona Fall League

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/10/15/pittsburgh-pirates-pull-pitching-prospect-jameson-taillon-arizona-fall-league/

  5. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates Should Refuse Temptation To Extend Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/10/15/pittsburgh-pirates-should-refuse-temptation-to-extend-neil-walker-and-pedro-alvarez/

    12 NWI Times

    AL HAMNIK: Earth to Theo Epstein: Lloyd McClendon is your guy

    http://www.nwitimes.com/sports/columnists/al-hamnik/al-hamnik-earth-to-theo-epstein-lloyd-mcclendon-is-your/article_de9f6a37-e352-557e-a07a-234164c81228.html

    13 Journal Review

    A season to build off of

    http://www.journalreview.com/sports/article_0f523208-3603-11e3-bb58-0019bb2963f4.html

    14 Detroit Free Press

    John Lowe: Tigers’ pitchers near perfect, but big bats (even Cabrera’s) go missing

    http://www.freep.com/article/20131016/SPORTS02/310160035/detroit-tigers-boston-redsox-john-lowe-good-pitching-bad-offense

    15 Boston Herald

    Sox beat Tigers ace to seize series lead

    http://bostonherald.com/sports/red_sox_mlb/boston_red_sox/2013/10/sox_beat_tigers_ace_to_seize_series_lead

    16 Gulf Coast News

    Baseball and football: no comparison

    http://www.gulfcoastnewstoday.com/opinion/columnists/richard_h_schmidt/article_2950ce7a-34fb-11e3-81c7-001a4bcf887a.html

    17 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Bernie: Cards turn back the clock with big blasts

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bernie-cards-turn-back-the-clock-with-big-blasts/article_bff1bea2-9c60-5251-bdec-5e3bce856cc1.html

    Strauss: Lynn delivers response to lousy loss

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/joe-strauss/strauss-lynn-delivers-response-to-lousy-loss/article_0a5471d1-4809-50d9-b0d9-4492c1263649.html

    18 LA Times

    There are no miracles for Dodgers on this night in crucial loss

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/baseball/mlb/dodgers/la-sp-plaschke-dodgers-20131016,0,1679795.column#axzz2hmoKO6Ks

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    11 Postseason Ads, Slogans, and Theme Songs That Are Still Stuck in Our Heads

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22049

    20 Fangraphs

    How One Little Call Helped the Red Sox Beat the Tigers

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/how-one-little-call-helped-the-red-sox-beat-the-tigers/

  6. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Sean Spence: ‘I know I’m going to beat the odds’

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/10/15/4841976/steelers-sean-spence-practice-roster-active-pup-list-rules-nfl

    Brown, Allen, Clark receive top marks from Pro Football Focus

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/10/15/4841144/steelers-jets-evaluation-report-card-scouting-week-6-nfl

    22 Steelers Depot

    Steelers Will not Lose Conditional Draft Pick With Levi Brown Out for the Season

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/10/steelers-no-longer-on-hook-for-conditional-draft-pick/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Sporting News

    Youngsters set to lead USA against Panama in World Cup qualifier

    http://www.sportingnews.com/soccer/story/2013-10-15/usa-panama-mexico-el-tri-world-cup-qualifier-brazil-2014

    24 World Soccer Daily

    Credit to Roy Hodgson for bold selection, though doubts remain

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/columnists/roy-hodgson-andros-townsend

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    This Line is Tops. Penguins 3, Oilers 2

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/10/16/4843292/this-line-is-tops-penguins-3-oilers-2

  7. Both my Series picks are struggling.

    Predictacevic Affliction.

    I have it bad.

    And I mean bad.

  8. Alan Hanson is tearing up the AFL. Five errors already. (JAL link #4)

    Maybe extending Walker or buying out his arb years should be a priority.

  9. Chris Pronger is done…but we figured that anyway…Philly is still on the hook for his salary the next 2 seasons…
    http://msn.foxsports.com/nhl/story/chris-pronger-career-over-philadelphia-flyers-gm-paul-holmgren-concussions-eye-injury-hart-trophy-norris-trophy-101513

  10. Dejan’s gone…let’s lower the price on all the cars.

  11. So the Pens bring on another win at home. Would’ve liked to see a little bit more against the bottom feeder Oilers, but there were a few positives to take from the game.

    - The number 1 line is wicked good. Holy cow they are fun to watch. It is hard to believe it is still the beginning of the season and they are already clicking on a remarkable level.
    - Orpik is playing like the Free Candy we know and love. He is delivering timely big hits, but is playing sound positionally and is really fun to watch again.
    - The fourth line has been the second best line on the team IMHO. They are starting almost all of their draws in the defensive zone and finishing most of them in the offensive zone. Not to mention that their cycle looks good and they are hitting hard and playing with some good speed. Past years it has been a chore watching them play. This year has been nice.
    - On the negative side, Malkin is really missing Neal. He isn’t playing bad, necessarily, but it is obvious that he is missing his partner in crime out there. Jokinen and Malkin have some chemistry, so once Neal is back that line should be fun to watch.
    - Why is Engelland on the ice? No good answer there…
    - The Maatta decision is looming and it is going to be a tough one. He is good. He should stay. Someone else has to go and I am ok with that.
    - Fleury has been good and at times great this season. I really like his demeanor in goal better this year and like to see the way that he is playing.
    - How did we ever let Scuderi go? I will probably ask this after every single game. Dude is a defensive mastermind and is a real joy to watch play. I think he has made Niskanen look better than he really is.

    Lots of good stuff and can’t wait for the next game.

    • Excellent thoughts Iceman….agree with all of them. Who would have thunk Glass-Vitale-Adams would generate so much offense and pressure. They are playing like the 3rd line now….

    • I CRIED when Scuds was allowed to leave. I am thrilled we were fortunate to get him back.

      Fleury has indeed had a great start. I want to see him carry this into the postseason.

      Geno misses Neal ~ YES! I’ve been saying this since game 1. He’s ok, but he doesn’t have that extra something he has with Neal on his wing.
      Next game… tomorrow AT Philly.

    • Kumbaya! Just wanted to add that i think engelland is playing cuz bortuzzo got way too out of control during the florida game. He was jumping up on the rush way too much and not playing positional d. He’ll be back in there soon but for now they want him to know that his game needs to be simple.

      • Does Engelland even know what positional D is. I can remember 3 times he got way out of position to make a big hit behind the net pulling him out of position. Worst part is that the “big hits” turned out to be grazing hits. Again, Engelland is great to have on the team as a cheap option in case of injury, but he should not be playing. Bortuzzo needs to play so he can learn to play within his ability. Bylsma’s benching seems stupid to me here.

  12. Good Morning all.

    The Capitals, Rangers, Devils & Flyers are a combined 4-17-3 ?

    That’s all. :)

  13. I wonder if Engelland is playing so much lately because he is being showcased for a trade….

    Also was getting aggravated last night watching all the holding of Pens players and no calls.

    Pens are still a work in progress, but looking good nonetheless. Can’t wait to see them against Vancouver and Colorado….and oh yea, pounding the Flyers.

    • There really is no reason to trade Engelland. He is basically all you really want from a number 7 dman. His cap hit is minimal so you don’t have a bunch of money sitting up in the pressbox, but if you need him to he can (maybe) play if there is an injury.

      • If you want to keep Maata, and when Letang comes back, someone has to go to clear cap space. I think Maata makes as much as Engelland, so the trade would clear that cap space – a swap. Either that or they send Maata to juniors and Engelland stays. I just don’t see why he is playing for Bortuzzo.

        • You also have to clear a roster spot. They’re not going to carry 8 defensemen. And remember how they got burned last year trying to get Brian Strait through waivers. If you send Engelland or Bortuzzo down, they’ll have to clear waivers. Exploring trades makes sense if Maata stays.

        • If you get rid of Engelland to keep Maata, who do you then bench. If you bench Maata or Bortuzzo, you are wasting them. If you put Niskanen in the press box, you have a big salary cap hit sitting in the pressbox. If you are going to keep Maata, you have to trade someone on D who is actually getting playing time.

          • You need to play your 6 best, that includes Maata. Engelland as #7 & Bortuzzo in Wilkes Barre seems to be the best situation. If Bortuzzo has to be #7 & sit, so be it. It’s not like you’re benching a future all star.

            • Bortuzzo offers what Engelland offers as far as grit goes, but he can actually play defense. If we are getting rid of one, I guess we get rid of Engelland unless you can trade Bortuzzo for something somewhat worthwhile (picks, offensive depth, etc).

              • Harry Z should take care of the toughness thing. But seriously, their lack of toughness back there is a concern. But with everybody healthy, Maata or not, Engelland is in the press box.

          • All tough questions facing Shero and Bylsma. They need to sit down and make a plan – figure out who they want their 6 Dman +1 for the season & the future, and go from there. Seeing how Shero never wants to part with anything, I am guessing Maata goes down since that is the easiest option.

            They still have Despres and Doumolin in the minors too….

            • This whole thing is very interesting because it’s kind of the opposite the normal cases we see. When a GM (works this way in baseball too) keeps a worse guy & sends a better guy down because the better guy has options they always cite depth. It doesn’t apply here. Sending the better guy back, Maata, actually hurts your depth. If he goes he can’t come back.

              • You’re right – they would be sending (in my opinion) one of their top 6 Dman off to juniors, and see ya next year. Easy for me to say, but Niskanen’s value is as high as it has even been, so trade him and create some more cap space to allow for in-season moves without “needing” someone to go to IR to bring up a player.

              • I agree with Damon on this one. As I said before, I think that playing with Scuderi has made Niskanen look like a better player than he really is. Take advantage of that and trade high. I really do like Niskanen and I think he offers something to the team, but tough decisions must be made.

              • I have read that making a trade, right now, is problematic, as most teams are up against their (reduced) cap. You’ve got guys like Hal Gill (and there are others, including Kobasew(sp) getting “try outs” for that reason.

                I can see Nisky traded, but likely not until the deadline.

                Plenty of depth at WB, if needed.

              • I think pens n shero are counting on the roster sorting itself out on its own via other injuries. But they should be looking to do something regarding the backup goalie situation. Gonna be hard to find another goalie for same cap his as zatkoff but if i were the pens n shero i’d get Jose Theodore’s agent on the phone and see what he wants.

              • I’m not giving up on Zatkoff just yet. The defense in front of him in that game was easily the worst d of the year. I’d like to see him in another game to see if he does a little better.

      • I totally agree with your comment about Engelland, perfect #7 Dman for this team.

        It’s my understanding that Bortuzzo is currently sitting because of his play. Getting a litttle full of himself. He keeps his game simple he’s back in.

        Just no way I see Maata staying. No matter where he is playing, at 19, he needs to be playing big minutes and the important minutes. Also remember he hasn’t seen philly, boston, montreal, detroit (for real) on their ice where HCDB can’t pick his match ups. Not suggesting he’ll fail, because no one knows yet, but until he does…

        • Agreed about bortuzzo. He needs to keep it simple and let the offense be a bonus. I think Maatta only stays if there are other injuries to the d. Dont think they want to trade nisky(i know i dont wanna trade him now) and engelland is too cap friendly to move considering he’s still a decent regular season 6/7 dman.

          • Well I would play Borts over Engo 7 days a week.
            But since its a “physical” game v PHL I suppose we get Engo again.

            I hope they keep Matta, but he’s a rookie, and Bylsma’s Bylsma, so….

            • Who are you going to cut to keep Maata? To try to send anyone down is effectively cutting them. In a week (or less) when Letang comes back they will be at 8 Dmen, not workable.

              Then after that, with the concept that Maata has to play, not sit in the press box…who sits?

              • Are you asking me?
                Niskanen ornOrpik.

              • I respect that you have played the game and likely know more about it than I do…only on the pond out back and not that well.

                Noting your comment below about listening and not watching, I will suggest you watch more.

                Both of those guys have played better than I’ve seen them play the last couple of years (to this point).

                I am at a lose over the fixation over a 19 yr old largely untested Dman who has played well but hasn’t played against anybody good yet.

              • Wouldn’t disagree Nisky is playing better. Orpik, no.

                You can listen too and know who’s playing we’ll.

                Out of all those we’ve mentioned, I’d put Engo last.

                And in FL, our best D was the teenager.

  14. Havent seen this discussed anywhere on the blog or media, and we all know this blog is better than the media……… ;)

    The Steelers have had almost no running game this year. We have tried 4 RB’s, with varying degrees of suck. Some show promise, some dont, one got a season-ending injury, the line stinks, Haley stinks, Tomlin stinks, blah, blah……………..

    Why cant the Steelers run the ball? What is the reason(s) from above? Talent, scheme, play-calling?
    Just wanted to throw this out there, instead of discussing DK’s vacation yet again………. ;)

    • I think the running game will start rolling here with Bell starting this weekend. Bell looked promising against the Vikings, but they had to play catch-up throughout the game so it wasn’t used much. The Jets D is great against the run, so it was going to look rough either way. Plus Bell is getting more and more experience, and the line may start gelling with Beachum at LT and the more those 5 play together. It’s my guess anyway….or hope….

      • The Steelers actually did run the ball better in the 2nd half, AFTER the play calling by the OC (the one way too many people want fired in mid season) got the Jets out of their 46 Defense, which is very tough to run against.

        A good run game requires continuity in the O Line as much as talent. The Steelers haven’t had that continuity (regardless of the talent) since they stopped having a good run game…which is years. I still remember the game in Denver, when they were subing O Linemen in like hockey match shifts (and Faneca playing tackle!). Some is obviously talent related, but a look back at O line injuries over the last couple of seasons is simply incredible.

  15. I liked the Mr. Rogers statue.

    It’s scheme and play calling. They have some talent at RB.

  16. Speaking of DK’s vacation, I found out last night why he picked now to take one time off.
    Yes, he’s been traveling all over and covering 3 sports, and yes he needs to get reacquainted with his family. But the real reason is there was a 3 hour special on PBS last night called Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle. And it started with the history of comic books. I recorded it, but only got to see the first half hour so far. Very interesting look back.

    • Here I thought it was because he wanted to see more of the Duck………. ;)

      but I can see that documentary being right up his alley…………

    • Sad I missed that. Hopefully it will be reaired or end up on Netflix at some point in time. Looks interesting.

    • It was excellent, AW.

      Confirmed that Marvel Comics is the undisputed innovator and most culturally and socially significant comics company of all time. And that Stan Lee is an unparalleled visionary. :)

      • When I was in college I did an interactive report that explored the portrayal of racisim and the Civil Rights Movement as paralleled in the X-Men universe. It is truly phenomenal the parallels that can be drawn there and how it portrayed the issue and the movement. Great stuff.

      • While Marvel probably holds the title as being the most culturally significant company – Stan Lee giving the middle finger to the Comics Code is that gave us the great stories of the 70s and 80s – I would argue that Jack Kirby was the real visionary.

        • OK. Agreed. Let me amend it. Lee was the business visionary. He was the one who hired and collaborated with Kirby, Ditko, et al. It was his vision to hire innovative artists and writers who would transform superheroes. Peter Parker was a bullied nerd, for God’s sake. Unprecedented by a comics company.

          • I always say, “Spidey is the coolest nerd I know!”

          • Even more incredible, he was a bullied nerd who got super powers – and his first instinct was to bring woe to all those who bullied him!

            It wasn’t until that whole Uncle Ben thing that he had his transformation into a “Mt. Rushmore of Cape Comics” figure.

            • There was a great clip in the PBS show where some journalist is asking Andy Warhol about whether there was some sort of plan or collusion on his part with pop artists like Roy Lichtenstein, etc. And Warhol responded in his deadpan, spaced out way, “I think we just read a lot of comic books.”

              I had never seen that Warhol clip before. Great stuff.

    • That’s just a yard sale. Nothing there I want …

      • Yard sales can be treasure troves of fun!

        I just posted it because it was a goalie, and a player that had an ok run here……… ;)

        • Yeah Ash was fine while here, but we don’t need him, we have Tanner Glass.

          Biron…ehhhh…

          • Biron or Zatkoff? What say the Nun? ;)

          • I would not go for Biron…..if they want any seriously decent G they’d have to probably trade MAF. Which might not be a bad thing, come April!!!

            Re Zatkoff, I believe Eric B commented on his poor side to side. Which I believe is true, but is more a symptom of his poor skating which IMO is the primary problem. If I had a nickel for every time a coach screeched in my face that I as the goalie had to be the BEST skater on the team LOL!!! Sadly (for me, and Zatkoff) it’s true. He’s just very mediocre, and that shows any time he has to move laterally, but IMO the Tell is that he stays too deep, cos he knows he cannot move longer distances laterally if he comes out to an aggressive depth.

            Pens have had few truly elite skaters in goal. MAF is very good but not at the level of say Barrasso, who was world class.

            It’s funny, people think the goalie mostly stands there….in reality the skating demands are very complex, all edges aggressively, forward back and left to right. Most skaters have a weak edge or a weak direction but the goalie can have none. It’s the most demanding skating position, even more than D.

            Forwards have it easy in the skating dept.

  17. We’re the Pens even playing 1-3-1 much last night? I was listening mostly…but the few shifts I saw it looked like the old 1-2-2…..and back to more stretch passes.

    Re the 1-3-1 and more defensive responsibilities for the LW, I also wonder if that is partly behind Kunitz’s poor start. Though he has started slow before…..

    As for MAF he stood on his head even while various teammates were sitting on his chest! Solid start for Dom’s fave. Good to see. Though he will be 1,000 pct judged by playoffs, not reg season.

    • Sarah,

      it appears that when the Pens face a team with great speed, they abandon the 1-3-1. Speed and pressure are ways to beat that, so the Pens seem to go back to their old ways. I saw those damned stretch passes also, and it wasnt pretty.

      Also, good catch on Dom’s “best player in franchise history. ” ;)

    • Sarah – I read your post, and the first thoughts that came to mind is what Mr. Hippo posted. They got real sloppy in the 2nd period. It seems when a team is attacking and pressing the Pens into making mistakes, they feel making that long stretch pass to get a quick score cures everything which leads to more turnovers.

      I’m glad someone mentioned Kunitz – he looks sloppy with the puck right now, but I’m sure we’ll start seeing last-year’s Kunitz soon once he gets into a rhythm.

      • Well…I’ve mostly been listening not watching, but they’ve played poorly last three games and only one team had significant speed. I tend toward the time-honored Play Down to Opponent….but not sure.

        I don’t know that they abandoned 1-3-1 all 3 games but that is the comments I’ve seen around the toobz…..

        Hippo do you have notes/links re Pens changing FC when facing speed? I’d actually think they would turn it up vs speed, to clog neutral…..

        As I said I’ve not been watching, but it seems to me they just mostly stopped 1-3-1 for whatever reason.

        • No links Sarah, just what I observed.
          The Pens cant turn it up against speed, because they dont have the speed to match it, except for a few players. That is the bugaboo against the 1-3-1……….. speed can neutralize the one side of the trap, or lock, leaving the remaining players vunerable.

          I feel this is why the Pens abandon the 1-3-1 against fast teams, as to not get burned. But, they certainly have to stop the long passes, as that leaves them in a position to be burned by odd-man rushes.

  18. Great discussion about the Pens D situation. I’ve only seen two games, but thought Maata looked pretty good. Not sure if that is a good enough reason to keep him. Tough decision.

    Seems to me we’re seeing what we’ve seen the past four years. Should be a great season with a lot of fun hockey to watch. Then MAF will melt down in the playoffs and another year of Crosby/Malkin careers wasted.

    No, I don’t hate the kid. He seems like a genuinely nice person, and he’s a better goalie than most, but he will not win any more Cups. Some people can deal with pressure, some can’t. He has proven incapable. Yes, I know, he won a Cup. I postulate that is was because he felt no pressure, just played according to his ability. The raised expectations of competing for and winning it every year result in pressure he is unequipped to handle.

  19. Did you really mean to say that MAF felt no pressure, playing in the Stanely Cup Finals Game 7, in Detroit, after losing to the same team, in the Finals the year before, with the enitre hockey world watching?

    • This is what I was thinking. Fleury made some miraculous saves in that series and game 7 in particular to win the cup. I would say there was some huge pressure there and he handled it. On another point, Fleury’s demeanor has changed this year, for the better in my opinion. He seems to be taking his job more seriously and is really staying focused. He still looks like he is having fun out there, but he actually looks angry when he gets scored on and you can see some fire in his eyes that I have not seen since that cup run.

      • My personal opinion: I play in several (minor) golf tournaments every year. The past two years I have been fortunate enough to win a few and place pretty high in a few others. This year, even though my game has been overall much stronger, I’ve not only been skunked, but actually played horrible – particuarly in the first round.

        After much soul searching (thinkin drinkin) I finally came to the conclusion that I was simply trying too hard and the harder I tried, the worser it got.

        I can see that in MAF, in the playoffs, these past few. And he had MUCH help.

        Can he turn it around? Sure. Will he? Hope so. I suspect we will find out.

        But it will be pretty frustrating, if this is a main topic for discussion, for the entire season.

        • 76 exhibition games to go. Then we’ll find out. Season starts April 16th.

        • Totally agree tp. MAF was trying too hard and it’s in his head now.

          I have heard he is much more businesslike now on ice now. I HOPE that’s a good thing….I fear he’s not being himself though….and when the pressures on it will get tough for him to relax.

          I guess we’ll find out in April!!! Like Milo says, it’s all exos for now……

  20. Some of the excuses I’ve read here today for not keeping Maata are down right laughable.

      • Like – Who will sit if Maata stays ? On a team where either Deryk Engelland or Robert Bortuzzo plays every night. Hilarious.

        • I’ve seen every minute of every game to this point. Maata has played well. He is not a reincarnation of Bobby Orr, at least at this stage. Nor is he a Top 4. He has not proven himself against any of the better teams in the league (yet).

          When Letang comes back they will have 8 Dmen on the roster. That is not workable, so one currently on the roster has to be cut and one has to sit to keep Maata, because it makes zero sense for Maata to stay on the roster and sit in the pressbox. Same with Bortuzzo.

          IMO, Engelland is a perfect #7 Dman, given his cap status and what he brings to the team. So are you willing to cut Bortuzzo? Or Nisky? There is no on the roster who will pass waivers, so effectively you are cutting them.

          I have to believe, given his history, that Shero is kinda aware of this. Do you really think he hasn’t explored the trade market? With both cell phones?

          Further, if this team is SO dependent on Maata, that they have to keep him at not only the expense of either Nisky or Bortuzzo, but also over the talent stockpiled at WB…then they are in serious trouble and need to blow the whole Dman roster up and start over (outside the Top 4).

          I’v made this argument a couple of times now. Every time I’ve made it, it makes it easier and easier to make (to me).

          Just my opinion.

          • Am I willing to cut Bortuzzo (can’t understand the fixation) ? Yes. Problem solved.

            There’s no guarantee he’d be claimed, and I’m willing to take that chance.

            • That’s fine. I do respect different opinions. At least better at trying too.

              I do remember that it wasn’t that long ago that Bortuzzo was “the Maata” of the D corp to some of the posters here.

              • Isn’t it funny how every year it’s a different guy ? It’s almost as if Simon Despres has fallen from the face of the earth.

                One thing I will always trust Ray Shero with, knowing one of his own stinks(for lack of a better word) before everyone else does.

              • Agree.

                It may actually be a curse, ’cause those guys are usually next at either get traded or claimed.

              • is Bortuzzo even the “Brian Strait” of the D corp?

            • Was last year.

              This year I think he is the Ben what’s his name that got traded to the Left Coast for blade sharpener.

  21. Is it baseball season yet??

    • Speaking of which…

      I was looking at the MLB schedule and noticed that both series play today. If the Cardinals win this afternoon and if the AL series go to a game seven, they will have a whole week off before the World Series begins. They’re game 1 starter might have nearly 10 days off between starts. By the time the WS beings, the Cards won’t be in playing shape. This reminds me of the 2007 WS were the Rockies got swept by the Red Sox as they had to wait a week and a half for the series to begin.

      I don’t understand why MLB doesn’t squeeze more games into a shorter time frame. Well, I can. It’s obvious that the ratings will be higher for games at night and they don’t want both games going on at the same time. However, I feel there is a larger picture that MLB should be concerned with. However, the only thing Bud Selig cares about is dollars and cents.

    • OMG please, Biz, I need a break. It will be a pleasure to watch hockey 2 – 3 nights a week, instead of every night…
      lol

  22. http://tracking.si.com/2013/10/16/pink-nfl-merchandise-breast-cancer-research/

    Apparently, less than 10% of the NFL pink sales go toward cancer research. I wonder why the NFL bothers after this is made public, the PR could be more negative than positive.

    • Great find Dom. Did you know that while the NFL goes over the top with pink in October, if a player is caught with so much as a pink ribbon, towel or shoelace starting November 1st they will be fined $2,000.

      Brandon Marshall of the Bears wore green shoes last Thursday night to promote Mental Health Awareness Week. But since the NFL hasn’t gotten around to pandering to the mentally ill, Marshall was fined $2,000.

      • Gestapo.

        That’s b*llsh*t

      • Wow. Now, that’s bad PR.

        The NFL is awfully strict with their rules. I remember in 2006 New Orleans Saint DT Hollis Thomas was suspended for violating the league’s steroids policy. The problem was that his asthma medicine contained steroids. Had Thomas not had the medication, he could have well died. Thomas and the Saints appealed the suspension but were denied.

        • Zero tolerance is zero tolerance.

          Read an article on CNN, that a HS girl got a call from a drunk HS friend who was at a party, to come and pick her up so she wouldn’t have to drive. While she was picking her up , the cops showed up and arrested everyone. The school has a zero tolerance policy on drugs and alcohol so this Honor Society, captain of the volleyball team was suspended, lost her captaincy and was suspended 5 games. The school and its lawyer refused comment and refered back to “the policy”.

          The PC world we live in.

        • Wow, $10,500. Guess I undersold it. Looks like the fine structure has increased. Out of court settlements to pay you know.

          Thanks for that Jandy. What a bunch of insufferable hypocrites.

      • I actually got flamed on Smiziks blog last year for suggesting the NFL could do a Teensy bit better than the 5pct or so that actually goes towards breast cancer research.

        You can always make the argument that increasing the awareness of Joe Sixpack is a good thing, but my suggestion was to donate directly to mammo clinics, or even Komen (despite their PR debacle) I believe they are still around 50pct revenue to the cause, amongst the highest.

        And – sine it’s October, Lunatics, let me take this opp to remind you to remind your wives, GFs, Moms, Aunts, Grammas, sisters, sis in laws, and friends to do their monthly self exams, and if they’re of age, get their yearly mammos.

        Good health to everyone.

    • The real issue is awareness, right ? The money donated is secondary. When they wear pink, they are getting millions of young men sitting on their couches, many apathetic about women’s health issues, to at least think about breast cancer. Maybe for the first time in their lives. It is a health issue that may very well end the lives of their mother, sister, daughter or wife.

      Whether or not a professional sports league should make public health issues a concern with their on field product is another question entirely.

      • When it comes to the NFL John, the real issue is maximizing revenues.

      • A cynic would suggest that the NFL will support public health issues that make them the most money. This would be a perfect example, as it is an important issue to women and somewhat mitigates the negative view of professional cheerleaders, that polls show women aren’t real fond of.

        And makes them lots of money.

  23. The Dodgers are far from out of this thing.

    Got Greinke going today and Kershaw in Game 6. Question is can they score any runs. I’m not sure Hanley Ramirez has any business being on a baseball field.

  24. My expectation is that Zack Greinke completely wilts under the pressure.

  25. Momentum is a fickle lady.

  26. Cards first bloop single, walk, bloop single, Adams K, Molina 5-3 D- bases loaded no outs, no runs

    • Hope that’s an indicator they’re back to their non-hitting. I would dearly hate to see them in the WS, knowing we had them on the ropes and they won 2-1 in the Burgh with only 3 hits.

      I would even more dearly hate seeing them win the WS.

  27. Greinke seems to have settled in once he started breathing through his eyelids.

  28. Dear Bloggers and Blogettes,

    I have not had much time or opportunity to post lately. My aunt is doing the best she can under pretty dire circumstances. On the plus side, my Dad got to see her and make his peace, and thank her for all of the wonderful care she provided when he had major surgery many years ago. He is more at peace and settled…which will help him tremendously.

    As for me, I have personal matters to attend to that will limit my posting for a while. This has been coming on for a long time. Not to put too fine a point on it, I have not been the person I wanted to be for quite a long time and I want and need to do a major life overhaul. A coworker who is my direct supervisor is out for a while due to her son being in a major life or death situation after being involved in a horrible crash. Just goes to show you that life is too short to not be better for the people you love and who have supported you through thick and thin.

    My message, take care of yourselves, take care of your families, and take care of each other. I will be lurking, sometimes posting.

    DK: Best wishes, Brandie, and look forward to seeing you back.

    • Hang in there, Brandie. Drop by from time to time.

      You are among friends.

    • We’ll miss you, Brandelita.

    • Brandie, I applaud your self-perspective and willingness to improve.
      Just dont be too hard on yourself. Remember to smell the roses while working toward you goal.

      I echo Oshie, and Reverend’s comments.
      Hopefully, you will be able to pop in once in a while.
      We need our nicknames, and I need my PR director back.

      God Bless you, and yours also. :D

    • Here’s hoping you find what it is you’re looking for. Oh, you wacky muppet you. :)

    • Brandie

      I agree with what Plan wrote. Do not be too hard on yourself. We have never met face to face, but I feel like the person I know electronically is one of the best-hearted people I have ever run across. I hope when you complete this journey that you are at peace. Be cool Muppet. You have friends here. :)

      • I just want that person that you all know on the blog to match that person everyday. Many of the things I have done over the years I am not proud of at all. I just want to be genuine across all fields at all times. I want to thank everyone for their vibes and support. :-)

    • Brandie, my prayers are with you and those you love.

    • Good luck and best wishes Brandie!

      Your positive vibes on this blog are infectious. Thank you. I enjoy your posts. You have a quick wit and good perspective.

      Please heed the advice of Hipposter and others to smell the roses and not be too hard on yourself.

      None of us is perfect. Improvement is great and we should all strive for it. At the same time, setting to high of a standard for oneself can be counter productive.

      Mahalo.

  29. Mary Hart sitting there all prim and proper with her Dodgers towel draped over her lap.

    Carlos Beltran, ballplayer.

  30. Yadier Molina – 4 at bats. 2 strikeouts, 2 double plays.

  31. My dearest Sistah Brandecita, I know where you are, as I was once there. It’s hard to make big changes, life altering changes. But think things thru, decide what is best for all concerned, especially YOU, as you also deserve happiness and peace of mind.
    Be the person you need and want to be. Be strong. Be there.
    Pray for the good Lord’s guidance and then do what you need to do.
    And move foward.
    And be healthy and happy.

    Know that I love you and am sending strong vibes your way for strength and peace.
    Take care, my sister.
    <3

  32. Torii Hunter…runs through walls…hits doubles…

  33. Jake Peavy in 4 career post season starts – 10.31 ERA / 1.96 WHIP. Nice pickup by Ben Cherrington.

  34. Hey Brandie,

    You will be in my thoughts and prayers. Not many of us are proud of everything we’ve done, but from the little I know of you from the blog… “Brandie you’re a fine girl…”

    Seriously, take care and hope to hear from you soon.

  35. ………. Brandie, you’re a delight to know here for as you can see, ALL of us here are wishing you the best. Not everyone has the guts to reassess where they are and try to change things. You go girl! Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life.

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