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Morning Java: A truly special talent

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

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>> The Friday column appreciates all that went into Olli Maatta making the Penguins’ roster. He’s a truly special talent, and that’s not a term I toss around lightly.

Here’s some of my interview with the young man yesterday …

… as well as a couple questions I had for the captain on the same topic …

Some other randomness from Southpointe yesterday: Marc-Andre Fleury will play only two of the three games coming up the next four days, Dan Bylsma said, and one certainly would hope that means the Penguins buck the norm and use him both Friday and Saturday against the Isles and Leafs. I’ll be blunt here: With the way both those teams attack, Jeff Zatkoff will get annihilated. Save him for the Canes, and cross fingers. … A lot will be made of Fleury’s workload, but it shouldn’t. The great unspoken in the equation is that Fleury won’t go to Sochi. No way Canada takes him again after seeing all these playoff meltdowns in Pittsburgh. He’ll have two-plus weeks to freshen up in February. … These next two opponents will make for a great test of the new left-wing lock system. “People are going to have to face us for the first time playing this way, so yeah, it’ll be interesting,” Pascal Dupuis was telling me. … I’ll say no more than this: The Penguins’ players don’t think a whole lot of the various and sundry activities going on in Buffalo these days. … Sign me up for a Matt Niskanen trade, but not for a backup goaltender. You can get one of those for a lot less. … Would really hate to see Robert Bortuzzo get wasted. He’s shown real promise paired with Maatta.

News coverage of Maatta’s status is by beat man Rob Rossi. Lots of vital future info in here.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage.

Here’s Islanders news from Newsday.

Here are official game highlights from NHL.com.

>> The Steelers got a history lesson on Oakland from Mike Tomlin. Good stuff from Alan Robinson.

Here’s our full Steelers coverage, including Ike Taylor’s restructure.

Here’s Raiders news from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Here are official game highlights from NFL.com.

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls>> Jamie Dixon lands a nice recruit from Hampton in 6-8 Ryan Luther. Kevin Gorman has that.

You won’t be blown away by the other schools who offered, but it’s worth noting that one of them was Duquesne. Let that serve as just the latest example of how little cache the Dukes continue to carry in our region. And that’s why Jim Ferry is rounding up juco ringers from wherever he can. Can’t say I blame him. Fact is, nothing will change on the Bluff, fair or not, until there’s actual winning. Have to find that where you can.

>> Pitt football is facing a tough Navy rushing attack this weekend in Annapolis. Jerry DiPaola writes.

>> Penn State’s facing a tough Ohio State QB this weekend in Columbus. Chris Adamski writes.

>> The weekly chat will begin at noon right here on the blog, and you can submit entries as soon as you see the post. Just before that, I’ll check in with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m.

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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