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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Morning Java: Oh, those perimeter Penguins

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Thursday column misses the mark. Badly. Which is to say it’s probably a perfect fit for the subject matter.

Here’s some of what Chris Kunitz had to say afterward …

Random randomness from the event: There’s really not too much to analyze in a game where the home team misses 19 shots and has 12 others blocked, but hey, I’ll give it a shot. … You can live with role players so long as they’re, you know, filling roles. I have no idea what Matt D’Agostini does. I really don’t. Not being mean. I see nothing. And yet, I saw him on the ice with three minutes left, down a goal, missing a stretch pass by putting himself offside. … Starting to look like Evgeni Malkin’s exasperation is spilling over to Jussi Jokinen. The latter needs to get back to playing his own game rather than worrying about 71. … Kris Letang is just maddening. Really is. And for all the Norris Trophy talk that constantly surrounds him — deserved when he’s at his peak — he’ll never get to any next level until he can stop having so many of his offensive plays blocked, shots and passes. … There’s no way Pascal Dupuis isn’t playing through some kind of pain. … The Flyers have played better of late, in fairness, but you also could see the loose defense that’s been there all along. And the lack of offense. … The ice at Consol is inexcusable. You can’t pour $300 million into a facility and call it first-class unless that’s addressed. And spare me complaints about the workers. There’s always a way.

The game story is by beat writer Rob Rossi.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage.

Here’s Flyers news from the Philadelphia Daily News.

Here are official game highlights from

>> The Steelers really do have a shot, by beat writer Alan Robinson.

Couple Qs I had for Ben Roethlisberger yesterday about red-zone issues …

Evaluating the greatness that is Calvin Johnson, by Ralph Paulk.

Here’s our full Steelers coverage.

Here’s Lions news from the Detroit Free Press.

Here are official game highlights from

>> Pitt braces for North Carolina’s gifted QB, by Jerry DiPaola.

>> Penn State has a gifted QB of its own, by Chris Adamski.

>> Duquesne goes down to New Hampshire, by Chris Harlan. Have to love Jim Ferry’s candor.

>> 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.


  1. Stuart says:

    Punchless purveyors of putrid perimeter passing.


  2. Dejan Kovacevic says:


  3. OldSoldier21 says:

    Pusillanimous???? As Michel Therrian once said about the defense, are they soff (sic)?

  4. Drew71 says:

    Yesterday was cloudy and very windy. High of 68 but most of the day in the low 60s.

    Awful. Felt like snow.

  5. Jandy says:

    We have a balmy 31 here this morning, Drew Dahling…

  6. JAL says:

    As Tears Go By Marianne Faithfull 1964 Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

    JAL’s As Tears Go By Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 MLB Important Dates

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Spend on Hitting, Save on Pitching

    AFL: Phil Irwin Makes His Final Fall Start

    Winter Leagues: Polanco Leads Team to Win Over Contreras

    AFL: Dickerson Reaches Base Twice, Drives In Run In Loss

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates Winter Leagues: Gregory Polanco, Zack Thornton among top performers

    6 Rumbunter

    How Did 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Win 94 Games?

    Two Eyes on St. Louis: Could Cards Land David Price ?

    7 Tomahawk Take

    Braves Offseason trade targets: NL Central

    8 Bleed Cubbie Blue

    Should Baseball Reinstate Pete Rose?

    9 City of Champions

    MLB Free Agency: Five right fielders Pirates should be targeting

    10 Pirates Site

    Hurdle, Francona have winning personalities

  7. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Philadelphia Daily News

    Fact and fiction in baseball offseason

    12 Boston Globe

    Agent Scott Boras influences all of baseball

    13 Detroit Free Press

    Report: Detroit Tigers ‘would listen’ to trade offers for Prince Fielder

    14 NY Post

    Ranking baseball’s 10 best GMs

    15 Sports Illustrated

    Before they were millionaires, baseball stars worked in offseason

    16 USA Today

    If This Week is Any Indication, Baseball’s Hot Stove Season is Going to Underwhelm

    17 St Louis Post-Dispatch

    Bernie: Tulowitzki would be too expensive

    18 Baseball Nation

    The biggest thing nobody talks about


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Internet Baseball Awards NL MVP

    20 Fangraphs

    Some Thoughts Inspired By a Late Night Trade Rumor

  8. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers red zone woes aren’t discouraging Ben Roethlisberger from wanting to be aggressive

    5 Burning Questions as Pittsburgh Prepares for “Megatron”

    22 Steelers Gab

    Steelers 2013 Scouting Report Week Eleven: Detroit Lions


    23 US Soccer

    Injuries force Clint Dempsey and Fabian Johnson Off U.S. Roster

    24 World Soccer Daily

    November 13, 2013 – all the stories you need to read


    25 Pensburgh

    Penguins Memorable Moments: Brayden Schenn 2, Penguins 1

  9. JAL says:

    New blog takes away my formating.

    DK: Not really. Just links are same color as bold type. I’ve asked if we can change that.

  10. theplanisworking says:

    A sweltering 22 and climbing!
    Break out the bronzer !!! :)

  11. 26 here.

    Yunz have a great day. In training the next 2 and out of office.

  12. Jandy says:

    You too Revvie….be good, or be bad and have fun ;)

  13. radio wave says:

    DK: your article this morning was just quoted on the air by NHL hockey radio on serious XM

  14. Jandy says:

    yes it does….they need to fix this…now!

  15. Jandy says:

    Dejan, I was so frustrated last night watching the Pens, I scared my dog…again.

    Your column PLAINLY states the problem. No one wants to do the dirty work. No one is in front of the net to create havoc and bang in goals. Man I miss Cookie.

    Bylsma, are you paying attention?

  16. theplanisworking says:

    So the morning column devotes itself to the Soffffffness of the Pens. The shooting the puck from the blue line. The lack of toughness. All spot on….. but it sounds too obvious, like Captain Obvious. DK, you called it in training camp….. not enough grit. Too few grinders. Nobody willing to take one for the team in the corners. With this level of talent, that is astounding.

    Most recent 3 games for the Pens:
    Come out smokin’ the first 10 minutes of a game, unleash many many shots on goal. See opposing goalie become the second coming of Ken Dryden……… Pens get deflated, and go into a shell. Other team scores. @nd and 3rd periods, Pens play like a college team, look lost. Last 5 minutes of the game, resume smokin’ hot play. Lose game. Coach looks lost after the game, players say ” We need to do this, blah, blah, blah”.

    Contain 87 and 71, easy to beat Pens. Coaches dont match lines. Coaches dont make adjustments. Coaches play cycle the puck until you are dizzy…. nothing to show for it. The classic “fit square peg into round hole” syndrome.

    Last night, Geno was behind the Flyers goal with the puck. A Flyer from each side pressured him, resulting in a turnover. When any Flyer had the puck behind the Pens goal, the Pens stood there, and tried (in vain) to play the passing lanes, instead of pressuring the man with the puck. That is lack of coaching plain and simple. But we see this game after game. Why??

    Talked with a friend of mine during and after the game. He is a coaches dream……. everything is the fault of the players for not executing, and the coaches can do no wrong. After the game, he said “time to change coaches”. After I picked muself up from the floor, he explained……….. the palyers arent responding. What is being taught isnt working, no adjustments being made. You can only blame the players for so much.

    I dont know if this is the case or not, I will leave this debate for others……… but I wonder if the players are playing to get the coach fired? This happens in the NHL more than the other sports. Remember, Mario, who I rank as the 2nd greatest player of all-time, helped get 6 coaches fired. Maybe not directly, but it still happened on his watch. Like I said, dont know if that is the case here, but something has to be done. Either change 20 players, or change the coach.

    Shame of all this, is all the scrutiny given MAF in the offseason………. new goalie coach, seeing a shrink, etc…… he has played well, but you cant win scoring 1 measly goal a game. Especially troubling is that they lost to the Flyers, one of the worst teams in the league.

  17. theplanisworking says:

    Good stuff.

  18. Joni says:

    That is fantastic!

  19. Pucknutz says:

    Ya, I scream “Get somebody in front” or “Go to the net” at the TV about 30 times a game.

  20. chethejet says:

    Mario wants style points and Shero doesn’t want to have a Mike Babcock type coach as the players will revolt. Bylsma has no real power so no one is accountable. Take away maybe two or three Pens and who plays tough? If this team was in the west they would be of danger of not making the playoffs. Sad to see Crosby’s career heading south. He is mailing it in and that is a much larger problem than going to the net. Pens need a major trade to shake things up and everyone but Crosby is on the block.

  21. Joni says:

    How about Olli Maatta shrugging off those two checks at the same time in the defensive zone?! That is the only thing I choose to remember about last night’s game.

  22. Wild Bill says:

    Your thought about playing to get the coach fired is an interesting one, Hipposter. I’m sure that Bylsma isn’t coaching them by asking for soft, ineffective and low scoring hockey.

    Other than their speed and individual talents, the Pens right now are not that hard to play against.

  23. Jandy says:

    a very bright spot to be sure, Joni

  24. Jandy says:

    Attention loonies!

    Today is celebration day at Hippo’s Pond.

    A day of celebration in honor of Hippo’s 29th birthday (again)!

    Come and wish him a happy birthday and have some cake and ice cream!

    Starbucks for everyone!

  25. Jandy says:

    It’s a crying shame that for all the talent this team has, it is under achieving so badly.

    Totally unacceptable.

  26. Joni says:

    I have also wondered about the Pens playing to get the coach fired. Sadly, Ray Shero hasn’t thought of that particular possibility.

  27. theplanisworking says:

    You are certifiable!

  28. gregenstein says:

    They’re still in 1st place in the division and are a 100% lock to make the playoffs. I’m not that worried about a 3 game skid and being 4-6 in the last 10 overall. It does seem like they have a hard time finding enough “grit” in the offseason, though I think this year that can be attributed to the lower salary cap.

    In year’s past, they were able to target a Matt Cooke, Tanner Glass, Pascal Dupuis (before he became Super Duper), etc. at a modest 1.5M-ish. This year, the cap lowered, so we got bottom of the barrel guys like Kobasew and D’Agostini. In fairness, they spent their offseason money on Scuderi, Dupuis, and Kunitz. Not much room for anything else after that.

  29. Jandy says:

    tell me something I don’t know :P

  30. theplanisworking says:

    A few random thoughts before I have to go buy cake (thanks Jandy)………

    The Pens already have a head coach in waiting on their bench. I can assure you that man would make defense and effort a priority…………

    Bad loss for Duquesne last night. I have always wanted Duquesne athletics to succeed. I dont think the administration shares my wishes however……..

    Pitt facing a mobile QB, coming off the huge Notre Dame win……… I see a trap game here……….

    I believe today is the announcement of the NL MVP vote. Here is hoping Cutch wins, but as I called the Huntington ripoff last month, I wont be surprised if Cutch loses. The voters will either fall in love with Goldschmidts numbers, or the “Cardinal Mystique” of Molina. Cutch deserves it.

  31. Jandy says:

    I like chocolate ;)

  32. Jandy says:

    and don’t forget the ice cream!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. DJ says:

    Ha! Totally same wavelength given my game thread post at 10:52 p.m. last night.

    We’ve all seen this movie before, with disastrous results last spring. Something has to change.

    They all seem to think that “getting their chances” is enough, if you listen to their quotes. What they should be thinking about is the “chance after the chance”. We don’t get those because of: (a) horrid shooting, not on net; and (b) no one in the dirty areas for rebounds. There was plenty of both last night.

  34. Jandy says:

    Honestly, DJ, the past couple seasons, I stayed positive that things would improve.
    I’m not going that route this season.
    The reruns are getting old and boring.

  35. Sarah says:

    All on point.
    One thing I will say about “cycling” systems, is they can be very effective IF YOU CYCLE DOWN THE SLOT.
    The Pens cycle around the perimeter, which is nearly useless.

    A cycle that tortures goalies and generates deflections/rebounds/general mayhem, has players starting below or behind the net, going up to the top of the slot, and then coming down the middle of the slot at the G, looking for a pass or a screen or a deflection.

    THAT is a “Cycle” that scores goals and makes the G’s life a nightmare.

    The Pens basically leave out the part that makes it work.

    I started channel surfing by the end of the first.

    We’ve seen this fish before.

  36. DJ says:

    I’m with you, Jandy. I’m a very optimistic person by nature, but we’ve seen this so, so many times before. It’s the difference between being a Stanley Cup finalist and an “also ran” every spring — it’s really that simple.

    From DK’s column:
    I asked Dan Bylsma afterward his view on the latter: “We’re certainly not doing enough around the net, in those areas to get goals that we think are there. There were opportunities with rebounds, but we’re not able to get in there and finish.”

    Question for HCDB:
    Why do you think that is, Dan, and what are you and the other coaches going to do to make that change, starting today?

  37. Sarah says:

    Plan – I dunno that they’re playing to get Disco fired. Why would they ? There seems little accountability. Would they want to replace that with a task-master and actual consequences for leaving 2 guys standing in front of MAF on a PK? Dunno.

    But they sure lack….something. Grit, desire, dirty fingernails. All the above. Sigh. SO frustrating to watch.

  38. Jason says:

    I was thinking the same about D’Agostini. If Bennett can’t get more shots with the top 2 lines, I’d like to see him and Megna with Sutter on the 3rd line. Bennett’s been impressive. If Dupuis is in pain, rest him for a few games, and give Beau a shot on the right side of Sid.

    Also, did anyone else see when Maata and Letang were paired together, Olli seemed hesitant to skate with the puck? Every opportunity he had to pass it to Letang, he did. At least, that’s what I saw…

  39. kr70 says:

    After DK’s work your links are why many of us come here. I would have thought you would have been in on the planning. Hope there is a fix

  40. Jandy says:

    I do not like that pairing.

    Olli doesn’t need to be babysitting Tanger.

  41. gregenstein says:

    I am sure if they were in last place in the division, it would be talked about. However, they are in first. Let’s not throw “little accountability” out there when it’s not going all that bad…it’s just not been a great week or two.

  42. Jandy says:

    I’m sorry, Gregenstein, like I said below…I’m sick of the same old reruns. It’s time for this team, with the talent it has, to do much better.

  43. RumBunter says:

    A BIG Thanks to JAL for his excellent guest post on RumBunter today. It’s #6 above. Don’t miss it

  44. Damon says:

    DK – awesome article. I came in to work this morning about ready to post everything you mentioned. About sums it all up. One thing I’d like to add – watching Letang stand there with two Flyers in front of the net, then having him watch Schenn get the bounce off the post and put the puck in made me sick. Out of everything that pissed me off last night, that made my gut wrench.

  45. Jandy says:

    OK Loonies, I am swamped here at work. Gotta get it in high gear….catch ya’ll later on…enjoy the day :)

  46. Jandy says:

    Remember to wish Plan a Happy Hippo Birthday :)

  47. Jason says:

    I agree as well. The Maata/Bortuzzo pairing seemed to be working.

    Just noticed, Jandy, you have a new avatar.

  48. JohninOshkosh says:

    Hey, it’s RumBunter in person.

    Big fan! Long time listener, first time caller!

  49. CW says:

    The penguins need some Kevin Stevens lessons. Get to the front of the net, and dare the other team to try and move him.

  50. Steve says:

    Hockey? Meh.

    I expect the Steelres 5% chance of making the playoffs to take a serious blow this Sunday. An inability to put pressure on the QB will allow Stafford enough time to wait for Johnson to get open against whoever the Steelers throw at him in coverage. Look for Polamalu and Clark to be out of position and unable to help. In the meantime the Steelers below average offensive line is dealing with their latest round of injuries. Ben will be running for his life and won’t be able to mount enough offense to win the game. Whoda’ thunk we’d see the day when the perennially underachieving Detroit Lions (Detroit Lions!) are the better team.

    Time to start looking ahead to the 2014 draft.

  51. Sarah says:

    Are you saying there is real noticeable accountability from Bylsma (for anyone not a rookie)?

    I would disagree with that.

  52. Damon says:

    Not only do they need to get in front of the net more to get traffic and screens, the forwards need to crash the net when their team mate shoots the puck to jump on rebounds. Sid is the only one I see doing that to some degree. Pierre was even saying on the telecast that he was hearing the coaching staff tell the players to get in and get the rebounds. Bylsma can’t make the players do it, but part of being a good coach is getting the players to do it somehow. If he needs to start being a little more bad cop, then he better or else Mario and Shero may just let him go to shake this team up. All these complaints are the same for 3-4 years now.

  53. Damon says:

    SS Drew not returning to the Red Sox. He may cost a lot – including a 1st round pick, but…a thought. Note the list of teams that wouldn’t be interested – most of the higher payroll teams.

  54. 21sthebest says:

    The administration at Duquesne wants athletics to succeed.

  55. CWalton_67 says:


  56. JAL says:

    Thanks but i have no role in the planning

  57. Jim S. says:

    It was so plainly obvious this team lacks so much right now. I got home late, and it was already after the 2nd intermission. The 3rd period was putrid. Emotionless. Lacking in passion. No one wants to do the hard stuff. Never needed to bother going back and watching periods 1 & 2 as is my usual custom when I get in late.

    My dad used to tell me, “Don’t ever confuse running around doing things with actually accomplishing something.” They are just going through the motions. Here’s the bad part, potentially. They’ve played a top heavy home schedule so far.

  58. Dom says:

    I have to respectfully disagree with Alan Robinson. The Steelers season is not only over now but it was over when we went 0-3.

    At the very worst, we have to go 6-1 the rest of the way. So, if we lose two more games, we’ll almost certainly be mathematically eliminated.

    The remaining schedule includes three teams who will most likely be in the playoffs: Lions, Packers, and Bengals. We also have the Ravens who are playoff contenders. That leaves two games against the Browns and one against Miami. Of those seven, I really only see one win against the Browns and another against Miami. I certainly don’t see us going 4-0 or at worst 3-1 against the Lions, Packers, Bengals, and Ravens. Furthermore, we know there is only one wild card spot to be obtained and we have less of a chance at obtaining that as we do winning the division. If you look at the Jets schedule the rest of the way, they have the pleasure of facing the Dolphins twice, the Raiders, and Bills. They’re already two games ahead of us and with that schedule, there’s no way of us at making ground.

    I suppose our best chances are to win the division but let’s face it, it’s also lost. We’re three games below the Bengals and have a tougher schedule ahead of us. They have three easy wins in the Browns, Vikings, and well The Steelers. All they have to do is win three or four games and we’re mathematically eliminated. They’re home against the Browns this week and when they win that game, we’d have to make up three games on the Bengals with just five remaining. Plus, we in dead last place. There are simply too many teams to jump over.

  59. Jim S. says:

    You play goalie, right Sarah? So, you know what bothers goalies, and that is what you described. They don’t seem interested in doing the hard work that makes goalies uncomfortable and edgy. Goalies seem very comfortable against the Pens because they generally have a clear view of the puck and who has it.

  60. Dom says:

    I suppose I should say that I disagree with Robinson as he did clearly state that our chances of winning the division are as good as a top three draft choice. I don’t want to misrepresent him.

  61. CWalton_67 says:

    What did Einstein say about the definition of madness? We’ve been watching this Penguins team do the same thing over and over, for 5 years now.

    No passion to win. No absolute refusal to lose. No extra gear. No character. No adjustments–ever.

    Major changes needed.

    Get Beau Bennett onto the 1st or 2nd line. Jussi should move to the 3d. Additionally put out a BOLO for Brandon Sutter. Is he even in Pittsburgh?

  62. Jim S. says:

    Maybe we’re wrong about them having so much talent. I mean, at some point if they continue to play like this, I wouldn’t keep saying they are ultra-talented. The talent is in actually finding ways to win games on a consistent basis.

  63. hockeymonster says:

    Thanks for detailing cycle issues sarah. Was about to go on and on about how we don’t possess the puck nearly enough in the o-zone. 1 or 2 passes at most when we get puck down low then all we get is a big nothing to show for it. No one in our bottom 6 can hold onto the puck long enough to make a play and give someone a chance to get to the net…that’s assuming someone wants to get to the net.

  64. 21sthebest says:

    I see the Scott Boras hype machine is in full swing.

  65. hockeymonster says:

    Happy bday hippo!

  66. AJS says:

    The player most frustrating to me is Chris Kunitz. He used to be a down and dirty go to the net guy. And he has played with Crosby for years. But right now he has changed his game to become part of the tic tac toe philosophy.

    I said it last year over and oer and I will say it again now, either Dan Bylsma has no issue with run and gun and trying to constantlymake the fancy pass and highlight reel goal OR his voice is not being heard and the inmates are running the assylum.

    Either way that is a HUGE problem. I tend to think it is the later. His system is to play in the offensive zone as much as possible and hit that defense to offense switch as quickly as possible. You don’t spend anytime in the offensive zone running and gunning.

    You DO spend a lot of the time in the offesnsive zone if you make lots of perimiter passes and never go to the net. the problem is you don’t where out the defense on the perimiter.

    Remember 2009? I remember Staal saying one time that they tried to keep the opponents timein the zone to no more than something like 10 seconds. Then go on the attack. And that team cycled and got dirty. But all those guys are gone. No Cooke. No Kennedy./ So Staal. No Talbot. No Guerrin.

    That is the other thing. The veteran leadrship of guys like Sarge, Guerrin, Scary Gary. When you look to guys like Crosby to be that veteran presence(he’s not even 30 yet!) or to LeTang on the blue line, you really don’t have the same kind of guys. The team looks to these kinds of guys to take their cue and right now all they see from their leaders is fancy shmancy non sense.

  67. JAL says:

    Thank you

  68. Milo Hamilton says:

    By the way, you do realize it’s impossible to disagree with a single thing you say with that avatar ? I call shenanigans. :) But seriously, thanks for your efforts, they are appreciated.

  69. AJS says:

    i know someone is going to say that we are being to hard on bylsma. I want to cut that off at the pass. At some point this team will score a bunch of goals and everyone will be like “Good thing they didn’t fire bylsma look at the team now.”

    Bylsma will ahve nothing to do with that. This team has enough talent that the flood gate is going to open at some point. But that doesn’t mean that
    1. It is sustainable in this system
    2. Bylsma finally got his point across

    We have seen this each of the past two seasons. A drought hits, then comes a long winning streak where they rack up a bunch of points. Then come the playoffs where the soft weak wlled Penguins get routed by someone way earlier than a team with the two best players in the world should.

    At some point you have to step back and say “i don’t care how many regular season games this guy has won, I see a pattern i don’t like here.”

    I used to say the same thing about Bill Cowher…eventually he won his ring but his conservative nature in AFC championship games drove me nuts.

  70. AJS says:

    And why in the world is it so easy for the Flyers to get Cotourier on the ice against Crosby when the Pens have the last change?

  71. hockeymonster says:

    Glad to see DK mention the ice above. No question its real easy to shoot high and wide when your constantly getting under the shot too much when puck doesn’t settle. Few other random thoughts….I don’t think coaches are telling players to not get to the net and not to cycle and possess the puck. I’m starting to be more and more convinced its a personnel issue more than coaching. It’s easy to say cycle, hold onto the puck and make a pass or play to the net…bottom line is you need players with size, skill and savy to get that done and I don’t see much of that in our bottom 6. Top 6 could be more consistent but if 3rd and 4th lines cant wear down the defense at least a little bit its that much easier for defense to key in on 87, 71 and their wingers.

    Say what you guys want about Jeffrey but I recall him making more plays off the boards getting the puck to the net than just about anyone in the bottom 6. That’s not saying much but cant blame him if linemates don’t finish. Getting kind of ridiculous that all of pens losses except for one I believe is with Jeffrey scratched. Almost unbeaten with him in.

    About PP we need to work on set plays that don’t just involve setting up one timers at the point or half wall. I’d look to get 2 forwards at the net then work the puck down low with 1 of the 2 popping out into the high slot for a shot and the other screening goalie. Also would like to see the point man move the puck to half wall then take a b-line to the net opening up a shooting lane for oncoming shooter.

    But on the plus side…I am encouraged that pens stayed structurally sound and didn’t force much into the middle last couple games. They didn’t sacrifice defensive positioning for offensive chances and it kept them in the game. Now I think its on shero to make bottom 6 more formidable. I’d start by trying to get Ryan O’Reilly out of Colorado for sutter and nisky. Below is my post from last week with suggestions for bottom 6 forwards:

    November 8, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Was looking at bottom 6 forwards i believe could help us out and came up with following list:

    Brad Richardson and Jannik Hansen(Van)—speedy, skilled and gritty role players. Thought richardson would be great pick up from LA as ufa.

    Dwight King, Kyle Clifford and Trevor Lewis(LA)—king is a big guy with hands and would be ideal for LW on sutter’s line. Clifford is the ideal 4th line LW and lewis is having a down year but is a very versatile and speedy center who could be had cheap.

    Steve Ott(buffalo aka titanic)
    Ryan Reaves(stl)–big RW with mobility

    Roman Polak would be welcome addition to our defense but dont think stl will trade him. And with my guy Stewart having a down year we can probably get him at trough value but he makes too much. Everyone else i found to be intriguing makes too much or isnt attainable.

    Thinking ahead to playoffs were we’ll be playing teams with depth on defense it would behoove us to make sure we have enough punch on offense to withstand our top 6 being stymied. Sarah mentioned that dupuis’ hands and skill are a liability late in the year and as much as i love duper i tend to agree. Would be ideal to have enough depth were duper is moved down to 3rd line or if not than players like richardson, hansen and king could provide needed offensive depth.

  72. Damon says:

    Or maybe swap Bennett and Dupuis for a few games.

  73. JohninOshkosh says:

    I can now name three things about the great state of New Hampshire:

    1. Concord is the state capital.
    2. It holds the first in the nation presidential primary every four years.
    3. The state’s public university men’s basketball team can go on the road and beat Duquesne.

  74. Jandy says:

    That’s what *I* wanna know!

  75. Thundercrack says:

    And he blasted the Mets and Rays yesterday.

    He is a smart guy but it seems like more and more I wonder why anyone listens to this guy.

  76. Jandy says:

    You need an avatar, Monster Mash :)

  77. JohninOshkosh says:

    I think he is a great agent for his clients, but who care’s what his opinions are concerning specific teams front offices ?

  78. Jandy says:


  79. Jandy says:

    Cooke did that…

  80. Damon says:

    I’m not sure Colorado trades one of their best offensive players for two very average players. Especially since they (Avs) are doing really well right now – don’t shake up a good thing.

    As for the rest of the players you mention, they wouldn’t come as cheap as you think. I’m sure those teams love those players as well. It all boils down to the fact that the Pens are way up against the cap, and would have to move a piece they really don’t want to in order to upgrade the 3rd and 4th lines.

    I agree about Jeffery – he looked better than D’Agostini has, but that isn’t really saying much.

  81. The Pens can’t beat the Flyers at home and the Flyers can’t win in Philly, and the rusty Pens once again have lost three straight and can score only one goal a game. And you keep hoping they can stop the bleeding in Nashville on Friday night and continue to be the best team in a weak division. And you think that only the Steelers have problems at this time.

  82. hockeymonster says:

    I’ll take that under advisement :)

  83. Killian says:

    Last night, I had the opportunity to attend my third Penguins game of the season. It doesn’t get any better than attending a nationally televised game against the team that I hate the most out of any professional sports team. I was certain that this was going to be a “playoff atmosphere” type environment and that I would hear “LAST PLACE FLYERS” chants before the puck even dropped. What did I get? What felt like a tennis match. And I’m not talking about Wimbledon, I’m talking about 18,000 jam packed into Consol Energy Center to witness a tennis match between the two of us. IT WAS LAME. The crowd roared about 20 seconds into the game when Shaun Suisham (I mean Chris Kunitz) kicked one in. You could’ve heard a pin drop in that arena until about half way through the 2nd period when Sid did what he usually does against the Filthy Flyers and scores a clutch goal to tie the game. By the way, nothing is more satisfying then watching Sid shut those jag offs up.

    What is the point of hosting games at Consol Energy Center? As this point, the Pens are probably better off playing 82 games on the road because they sure as hell aren’t getting any advantage playing in that library. It is really starting to make me question who is actually showing up for these games because it doesn’t seem like the true Penguin fans to me. It’s embarrassing it really is. We as fans want to complain when the Pens aren’t playing well and we don’t get the outcome that we want, however I wouldn’t be surprised to see us in DEAD LAST if the NHL put together a list of the loudest fans/hardest places to play in the league.

  84. Jim S. says:

    I have always struggled with that “playing to get the coach fired” notion. I’m not saying it isn’t possible. But, it doesn’t seem logical to me. In the process of getting the coach fired, you might just get yourself fired. Now, if you are saying he just isn’t getting through to them and their performance as a team might get him fired, I can agree with that.

  85. Jim S. says:

    Still leading the NHL in scoring, even after this slump. Mailing it in doesn’t seem to fit for Sid from my vantage point. I think that description fits a lot of his teammates right now, though.

  86. Jim S. says:

    Is there any Indian Pudding left from yesterday, plan?

  87. Milo Hamilton says:

    The Dukes play zero defense.

  88. Damon says:

    Great point Killian – I noticed that watching the game that the crowd was very silent most of the game. Totally agree for a Flyers game….

  89. Jim S. says:

    Thanks, RB. Going up to see it now!

  90. Jandy says:

    I’ve heard it was quiet at Consol. Then you hear stories refuting it. Well, now you’re saying it’s quiet. I’ll bet it was louder in my living room last night. I’m sure it was…the dog hid behind the couch!

  91. Jason81 says:

    Tanger’s babysitter is sitting up in the press box for a few months with a broken ankle. To me, that was the main reason Scuderi was brought back. The bigger issue, as DK mentioned, is Letang’s $7 million talent and 7 cent head. How can someone as far in to his career continue to make the same mental mistakes a rookie makes? Heck, Letang made fewer mistakes as a rookie/2nd year player than he does now. Trying to do too much? Pretty hard to imagine that I was wondering last night with Martin out, if Maatta wouldn’t fit in better with the top PP. At least he could be trusted to be smart with the puck.

  92. Jandy says:

    Newbies, lurkers, and all posters, we want to chat with you!
    If you post your hometown, Bizrow will add it to the list of Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum.
    Don’t be shy, we don’t bite

  93. Milo Hamilton says:

    And we know all about you lurkers.

  94. Jandy says:

    Oh yes! Please do put Maata in on the first PP. He’ll be a definite improvement! The kids has (and uses) brains.

    Man I wish Scuderi didn’t have that injury :(

  95. Jandy says:

    Yes, I do, Jason, and it’s my granddaughter, Mischa :)

  96. hockeymonster says:

    Don’t disagree Damon…but part of my thinking regarding is that Colorado is loaded at center with real good ones playing wing for them. Unless they trade someone like stastny I think they’ll consider offers for O’Reilly with him being an RFA after season. And with us offering 2 right handed players I think they’ll be intrigued to listen. But will they break up team they have now? Only one way to find out.

  97. The Pens were playing at home and weren’t doing enough and they lost. And I could hear scattered boos toward the end for obvious reasons.

  98. Jandy says:


  99. hockeymonster says:


  100. Damon says:

    hahaha! Yes, my dog kept looking at me like “you OK there?”

  101. Jandy says:

    Mine’s a pitt and she was scared lol. Poor thing!

  102. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    Hasn’t it been a complaint of this team being soft or a few years now?

    A lot of offense, no defense or any sign of toughness.

    Is it possible to have both? My uneducated hockey mind would suggest the Blackhawks. They always seem tough, but I don’t really pay that much attention.

  103. Jandy says:

    Yes it is possible to have both. You need the right players, but more importantly, there should be more passion and will in these Penguins.

  104. 21sthebest says:


  105. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    All you have to do is click on the snowman, it’ll do the rest.

  106. Damon says:

    I thought O’Reilly was the LW on their top line? Anyway, kudos for trying to figure something out, but I just think they may be stuck with what they have unless they move a top 4 dman (Scuderi, Letang, Orpik, Martin) which I’m sure is the last thing they want to do. The reason their bottom 6 aren’t that good because that is all they can afford – league minimum. The one that does make money – Glass – is actually doing good. Trying to move Sutter would be tough because I think his contract is up at the end of the season.

  107. Jandy says:

    If it doesn’t, your wife or significant other can do the rest ;)

  108. Jim S. says:

    Suh and Fairley turned loose on our Swiss Cheese offensive line and against our QB who insists on holding the ball so long. Ugh! Throw in the fact that those guys are just fine with late and dirty hits on QBs. Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. I’d put the odds of Ben making it through this game in one piece at 50/50.

  109. Jim S. says:

    + many.

  110. Jim S. says:

    Apparently, you didn’t get the memo, Dom. We just beat the vaunted Bills. There’s a new attitude. :-)

  111. Jim S. says:

    It is a no nonsense avatar, if ever there was one.

  112. Damon says:

    Rossi is reporting Megna has been sent down to WBS.

  113. 21sthebest says:

    That’s true but New Hampshire’s 15-27 from the 3 point line was killer. Of course, that may have been because nobody was in their face.

  114. Sarah says:

    Cos Disco doesn’t believe in matching lines.
    So Sid gets to look at Chara all night long, or whomever.
    Even at home.


    I play REC league for Godsakes and we try to get our best checker out there against the Bad Guy’s Ringer.


  115. JAL,

    I just read your article on Rumbunter about the Pirates and 94 wins.

    Excellent!! Very Insightful!! Good usage of statistics!

    I did not agree with everything, but that makes it even better because it makes me think about why you wrote what you wrote.

    Thank You!

  116. hockeymonster says:

    Oh he may be playing LW but that underscores my point. He and other centers are playing wing cuz of they’re loaded. Sutter and nisky make 4.3 or 4.4M combined so with O’Reilly making 5M its probably doable. I just think we either need to get sutter bigger more physical wingers that can make plays along the boards and on the cycle or we need to get a center that can make plays for our finesse role players.

  117. The sky is falling!! The sky is falling!! The sky is falling!!

  118. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    Exactly. My question was a little on the sarcastic side, but these guys are soffff

    And I’m not a hockey guy and can see that.

  119. hockeymonster says:

    Not married but I may need a new Mrs. Monster soon :(

  120. Sarah says:

    Bingo, both you guys.

    Yes I am a goalie, and the worst part about down low/up high cycling is you’re forced to look BACK Over your shoulder at the puck carrier when he sweeps behind the net….then you have to track and focus on the onrushing F coming barrelling down the slot at you ready to take a pass from behind the goal line. So vision is difficult.

    The other option, is the puck coming from high or wide, but again the onrushing F is in your face, screening, deflecting, getting rebounds, running you through the back of the net, and so on.

    ALL is disrupting.

    I’ve NEVER seen a happier goalie than : Halak in 2010, and Rask last year.

    NO DISRUPTION, many shots from 40+ feet from the perimeter, NO VISUAL disruption/screens, NO REBOUNDS.

    I think DK counted rebound attempts in the BOS series and it was something jaw-dropping like THREE rebound attempts in the first 3 games or something.

    I cannot TELL you how that makes a goalie happy, confident, and generally sharper/better than they normally are. You see everything, you start to feel 10 feet wide.

  121. Sarah says:

    And all Disco can say is “their goaltender played great”.

    No Dan, your scheme MADE him that way.

  122. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    On a side note: The great Mel Kiper Jr. has Marcus Mariota in his top 5, even with the injury.

    Quite an athlete and is only a sophmore.

    Johnny Manziel moved up to the 1st round. I’m kind of suprised by that. I don’t see him as NFL material, but admit, I haven’t seen him play much this year.

  123. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    Even I know those references and scream them myself.

  124. Sarah says:

    I don’t think Sid is mailing it in…..I think he’s churning away and trying his guts out as always, but teams now focus on him because Kuni and Duper (esp Dupes, tho I love the guy) cannot get it done.
    Same thing happening with Geno.
    You’ll often see Geno or Sid double teamed as they come into the zone, and…..then what? Pass it to Duper?

    Anyway I dont think it’s lack of effort on Sid’s part, I think he’s trying to do too much.
    As is Geno, but Geno has less discipline, which leads to turnovers and dumb penalties, only making things worse.

    And I think this is a recurring theme against tight-checking teams and esp in the playoffs.

    But – we re-upped the Status Quo, so here we are.

    Blah!!! Sorry to be Negative Nellie!!!!!!!

  125. Damon says:

    I think O’Reilly would be upset playing as a 3rd line center (much more than Staal was), and still don’t see from the Avs point of view how they are improving their team by subtracting O’Reilly and adding Sutter and Niskanen. I’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one.

  126. Sarah says:

    Oh dear! If our Jandy is getting disillusioned, I worry!

    Cheer up!!!

  127. Jim S. says:

    I watch the Blackhawks fairly often, as I live here in Chicagoland. They score so many effort goals. Rebounds, deflections, screened shots. They do what it takes.

  128. Sarah says:

    He just has a lousy hockey IQ.
    It happens.

    His skating is wonderful, and he can shoot the biscuit (when he can finally make up his mind and settle the puck!!)

    His O-skills tempt them to have him QB the PP, which IMO is the last place he should be. I wouldn’t have him on the PK either. Anyplace smarts counts, Tanger should not be.

    At this point I’d rather have Matta on the PP than Tanger. But definitely MArtin. SO much smarter using the lanes and moving the puck quickly and decisively.

    Just more coaching decisions that have me scratching my head.

  129. CWalton_67 says:

    I am always interested in your opinion, Milo. And all of the other lunatics here as well. My avatar should convey a complete sense of confidence in the right to speak freely among fellow Americans.

    For history’s sake, that photo was taken February 23rd, 2006, in Samarra, Iraq, the day following the bombing of the GoldenDome of the Al-Askari Mosque. It was one of the few relatively peaceful moments in a day which ensured I appreciate freedom like few others can.

  130. Sarah says:

    Word. Duper is not a 1st liner, and Bennett is not a 3rd liner.

  131. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    Can I have some cake too???

  132. Jim S. says:

    Tough to win on shoestring budgets. Get a good coach (Suzie M., for instance) and lose them to a bigger school.

  133. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    Weird, I did something on the bottom of that and it didn’t show up, strange.

    (Peace) with different symbols and it went, dare I say, Incognito.

  134. Drew71 says:

    I know something else about New Hampshire…no wait, that’s Vermont.


  135. Interesting to me that with all the Bylsma Bashing today, no one has mentioned
    the multitude of Y-A-W-N-I-N-G net openings that the Pens missed last night.

    Attacking rebounds down low wouldn’t even be a serious topic of discussion if any Penguin sniper had just hit the sometimes whole net Emery was leaving: Neal (3 times), Letang (twice), Malkin, Bennett, Dupuis all missed open shots at a net 2/3 or better uncovered. And Crosby couldn’t score on TWO breakaways.

    Pens could have easily scored 5 last night against Emery and no one would be whining today.

    HIT THE DANG NET!!! Who’s the “Shooting Coach”?!

  136. hockeymonster says:

    Hawks are fun team to watch.

  137. Drew71 says:

    Now that Hurdle has FINALLY learned how to manage, maybe he can take on the Pens.

  138. Sarah says:

    Yup. Even with high-skill guys like Kane.
    They can still get dirty.
    Will beats skill.

    Will AND Skill – look out.

  139. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    I was able to do it on my own, thank you very much

    and Monster, I wouldn’t be in a hurry for that……..

  140. 21sthebest says:

    The Men’s basketball program received an increased budget when they got rid of 4 sports 3 years ago. In fact, Everhardt asked for that bigger budget for recruiting and so that the team can fly to more of the away games. I’m just not sure if it’s a budget problem or if they just can’t find the right coach, not that I’ve given up on Ferry.

  141. hockeymonster says:

    Jandy…noooooooo……….then again maybe this is rock bottom where even jandy is pessimistic :)

  142. Jim S. says:

    The story on the Pirates and the difficulty of repeating at 94 wins or greater is a good one. I thought the Bucs probably caught a few more breaks than expected in the close games, and probably stole a few extra wins as a result. As a result, I think they will most likely need to be better than last year to win 94 again – if that makes sense.

    I also liked the one on Price as a candidate in a trade to the Cards. I really hope that would happen, as Tampa always gets top value for their talent in trade. I would love to see them pick the Cards clean for Price. But, I don’t think it will happen. The Cards are quite happy with their pitching situation and would not give up much to get Price.

  143. Sarah says:

    Oh – and another thing.
    Coutourier drove Geno INSANE in the playoffs 2 years ago.

    Every shift I saw Geno out there (granted I channel surfed after the 1st!) it was Couts v Malkin.

    WTF DISCO????

    Our Jack Adams Genius can’t do what me and my grey-beards do in friggin’ REC LEAGUE.

  144. hockeymonster says:

    Its definitely not a slam dunk but I believe Nisky would improve their depth on defense…which is something that the Avs could use. They have the firepower to withstand O’Reilly being traded and could use the additional defensive presence sutter and nisky would bring. Its seems like a logical hockey trade to me but if Avs have the cap space or budget to keep them all and add to their defense then that changes some things. 2 right handed players have innate value too.

  145. 21sthebest says:

    What about the Steelers?

  146. A1C McG says:

    probably still a littled upset over last night but just a thought on how talented this team actually is…Everyone knows what this team is capable of but once you get past sid, and fluery’s exceptional playthis yr what have we had? Malkin is playing good enough for a second line center but i thought we had a 1a and 1b center meaning any team in the league would love him as their top guy. cant say how many times i have screamed at letang for getting caught in the offensive zone pinching in a bad spot or looking to score and 2 seconds later the other team has an odd man break. i love kunitz and dupuis i think when they are on their games they are 2 guys who can grind goals out for you but lets face it they found the best playmaker in the game not the fountain of youth and their age and skill levels may be just bringing them back down to earth. neal has barely played all yr so really cant say too much there except i hope he isnt rushing back just to get reinjured in a week and miss another month. jokinen has been solid with malkin but i think he is just getting lost out there at times b/c geno tries to create too much and jussi is just like, “excuse me sir let me get out of your way, ill just go stand over there until you need me.” bennet and sutter could form a line nearly as good as staal cooke kennedy but they need someone to fill in that cooke role. orpik is getting older and i think he is wearing down from years of physical play and i think maata is still struggling through the growing pains of the NHL game. so where is all of the talent? maybe we have just been fooled by years of sid and geno being magicians and now everyone sees the handkerchief isnt coming out of thin air but its up their sleeve and maybe this team isnt as talented as everyone keeps claiming.

  147. hockeymonster says:

    Before I thought line matching situation was over analyzing but now i’m coming around to believing that this is another version of bylsma’s stubbornness taking root. Last I checked that was one of the more important home ice advantages you got. In the past you could argue we had the depth at forward to not line match as much but now bylsma needs to play top 9 more minutes and match lines more astutely just to deal with lack of depth. And changing on the fly if you don’t like the matchup isn’t illegal…

  148. Jandy says:

    WTH??? Why Megna, who only busts his tail every time he’s on the ice!?!?!?!?! gRRRRR!

  149. Jandy says:

    Crosby also missed an open net a time or three as well.

  150. Jandy says:

    Steelers will take a miracle.

  151. Jim S. says:

    It’s tough, 21. The men’s team has been bad for so long that a culture of losing and an expectation of losing has settled in. I remember as a very young kid going to their games. They were always good, and hosted big-time teams from all over the country at the Civic Arena. They used to battle Pitt on even terms. The Dukes were my favorite when I was a kid.

    I think they are really going to need to strike gold on a coach on the cusp of greatness, and ride it for 4-5 years, then follow-up with one of his assistants that is on a fast track as well when the first guy leaves. That can lead to continued success over time. Xavier was a program like that. They had a succession of strong, young coaches and now they are a top notch program. This is all hard to do, and takes a lot of time. But, somehow, they have to get really lucky with the right coach. I don’t know enough about Ferry to know if he is that guy.

  152. Jandy says:

    Yinz are killin’ me ;)

  153. Jandy says:

    Yes, you may have some cake. And ice cream too, if you wish ;)

  154. Jandy says:

    The talent is there. It’s the execution that’s lacking.

  155. 21sthebest says:

    They had a couple of good years with Everhardt, making the A-10 championship game a few years ago.

  156. Jim S. says:

    My wife didn’t have to help me, Jandy!

    But, I bet it would have gone smoother if she had. :-)

  157. Jim S. says:

    45 points on 27 shots is pretty efficient from long range. That’s 1.67 points per shot. Yikes!

  158. Jim S. says:

    I feel like that is a trend around the league now, each time a new arena gets built.

  159. Sarah says:

    Yup. Esp important if the faceoff is down the far end….then you change on the fly at your peril.

    The fact that DB does not match lines has always boggled my mind.

    Seem to recall the NYI coach talking about how simple it was to match up v PIT back in the playoffs last year….on Natl TV. He was almost smirking.

    Seriously, it’s rec-league, PeeWee stuff. (Even Madden’s ranting about it lately LOL!)

    But you can imagine how frustrated Sid might get facing their Alpha D EVERY.NIGHT.

    You get him out there v a scrub line and it’s a whole different story. But no.

  160. Jim S. says:

    Manziel is intriguing, but I agree, Nor Cal, that he is difficult to project as a passer in the NFL. But, with that athleticism, the right team should be able to figure out how to get the most out of him. But, I guess that is what they said about Tebow. That didn’t turn out so well.

  161. Jim S. says:

    Huntington is coming over to consult on how to incorporate “metrics” into their thinking.

    Just a joke!

  162. JohninOshkosh says:

    I so want this article about Andy Kaufman to be true. I remember reading something once from former NBC CEO Grant Tinker that Tinker was at a Manhattan restaurant one night and across the room he saw Andy Kaufman busing tables. He was working for the restaurant and this was at the height of Kaufman’s Taxi and SNL fame. Tinker asked him if he was Andy Kaufman and Andy replied, “Yes. I am.” What a great loon.

  163. 21sthebest says:

    The Bills have an advanced metrics department and I think some other teams have gone in that direction as well.

  164. Jim S. says:

    Nobody has ever seen Vermont and New Hampshire in the same place at the same time. I think they are the same state.

  165. Jim S. says:

    The Standard is the Standard.

  166. 21sthebest says:

    I was thinking of posting this today John. I just howled. You need to watch the video of his alleged daughter at the Kaufman awards.

  167. 21sthebest says:

    It is what it is.

  168. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    Didn’t turn out well for Tebow. Nevermind what his record was as a starter.

  169. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    The busing tables part was in the movie.

  170. JohninOshkosh says:

    The one with Jim Carey ? I never saw that one. I’ll have to watch it.

  171. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’ll check that out, 21. Thanks.

  172. Sarah says:

    Stan Savran is readin our comments, Peeps! On 970 now ranting re Pens being SOffff Letangs low IQ, and on and on. Bourque ranting about crashing the net.

  173. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    Yes. Eh, it’s OK. Will make you think or believe that his death could’ve been a hoax.

    I wouldn’t blame him or anybody else of that fame, to fake it. Even though it’s illegal.

  174. hockeymonster says:

    Ice didnt help on a couple of those chances but that shouldn’t be an excuse. Settle down and focus…if puck is bouncing and wont settle turn your blade downward to not get underneath the puck too much and let ‘er rip…

  175. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    Crashing the net should be huge in that game. Can’t sit back and let the other team get the rebounds.

    Similiar to crashing the boards in basketball, winning the line of scrimmage in football and……well, not sure what it would compare to in baseball? Such a pansy sport

  176. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    No way they are playing to get the coach fired.

  177. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    Exactly. This simply does not and should not happen in professional sports. Poor, poor assumption.

  178. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    Oh hell yes on the ice cream

  179. JAL says:

    Groat–Purpose of article is to make you think. I never expect total agreement, just try to write something providing information and things to consider. Thanks for reading it.

  180. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    I’m starting to realize that Penguins fans are just as bad as Pirates fans.

    Pens are in 1st place, are on a skid, so it’s time to fire and trade players.

    How long is the season again?

    Obviously, some things are obvious, and obviously need fixed. But those are obvious. So obviously, the season is long and takes time. They obviously have the skill, but obviously, need to rethink their game plan.

    Oh and, they need to unleash hell…….especially on the nets…….obviously.

    That was, obviously, my Mike Tomlin impersonation.

  181. Sarah says:

    Don’t get me started on B-ball hah!!!

    Yeah it is SO huge.
    2 weeks ago lost a game 5-4…..the SAME GUY scored FOUR goals, all from 3 feet away on rebounds or tips. He crashed the net, sat in the crease, screened me all game. All I saw was his azz. He was huge and the D couldn’t move him.

    He tipped one in from long distance which I’m still looking for, and the other three were all just whacks at loose pucks where I made the initial save, but in the scramble/whacking/flailing, couldn’t see to grab it….

    He has very moderate skills, is my point. Not a sniper by any means. Played him for yrs. He’s never beaten me on an initial shot or a breakaway. Just a big guy who gets in the way and scores garbage goals.

    Which, unfortunately, all count.
    All FOUR of them in a 5-4 Loss.

    And there was zip I could do about any of it.

    In my experience there are some guys who just LOVE this stuff. Most do not.

    The Pens don’t seem to have any. Kunitz, sorta, but he’s too small.

    Talking Ryan Malone or Kevin Stevens. They just love the muck.

    We don’t have them.

    Really – Engelland on W might not be so bad of a move. He has the muckitude, at least a little bit.

    Had an old coach that – when the O was struggling, would put the D on the forward lines. Their eyes would get as big as soup plates with the chance to score on loose pucks around the net. They’d hit the puck in with their FACE if they could.

    We need that.

  182. Sarah says:

    I think you need to realize that we are not reacting to a three game skid.
    We are reacting to 4 years of the same problems biting us again and again, esp in playoffs.

    If that Consol crowd is easily displeased, there’s 4 yrs of playoff underachieving to give them a short fuse.

    What I’m saying is….it’s not just last night, or last week, or last year.

    It’s 4 years of the same coach seemingly losing in the same d-mn way.

    Even our Jandy has lost her patience – and she is our barometer of even-handedness!!!

  183. hockeymonster says:

    More monster droppings from outside the box:

    How bout putting bortuzzo to start the PP off the faceoff. Crosby is very good at faceoffs so maybe we can generate a shot or 2 with bortuzzo screening.

    More i think about the lines the more i believe bylsma needs to introduce flexibility to the top 9. If you’re playing a deep team with talent up front how bout moving duper down to 3rd line with sutter to play a shutdown role with Bennett holding the fort on RW with sid.

    Would sid really be upset if kuntiz occassionally played with geno? Bylsma’s stubborness + predictability = dissappointing results

    Or how bout picking your spots and going with the 2-headed monster more often. Maybe post icings, favorable matchup against bottom 6 forwards you bring out the H-monster squared.

  184. hockeymonster says:

    The standard is the standard…obviously

  185. hockeymonster says:

    I’m deeply concerned for jandy as well…

  186. Damon says:

    Kobasew scored the first Pens goal of the season crashing the net and banging home a rebound. I thought that was a sight for sore eyes. Little did I know that would be a rarity…

  187. Damon says:

    ….and they are in first place in the worst division in the NHL by far, by one point. This team should be a juggernaut, and they have played a weak schedule so far this year. There is definitely something going wrong that needs fixed.

  188. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    Oh I get it….

  189. theplanisworking says:

    I have. Spent 2 weeks in Vermont, NH, and Maine.

    It really isnt a CIA coverup.

  190. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:


  191. Jim S. says:

    For what it’s worth.

  192. Sarah says:

    Bottom line is, sadly, they are Pretenders, not Contenders. IMO.

  193. Jim S. says:

    Haha! I was just kidding. I was actually in Vermont on business a month or so ago. Spent a few great fall days in Burlington, and it is a beautiful city. The view down by the lake is breathtaking. U of Vermont was also very nice.

    I can’t recall if I’ve ever been to NH, but if so, it was a long time ago. I hear it is also quite nice.

  194. Sarah says:

    Yeah monster I simply canNOT figure out the KCD thing and why they are sticking with it.
    In the 1-3-1 (which admittedly they do not always play) Kuni is much less effective cos he has more D responsibilities taking him back to the D-zone.
    Duper is currently not getting it done, he is either injured or Past It, and in either case he should be moved, if only temporarily. I cannot understand BB as a 3rd liner, esp when Duper would be great there.

    You could try Kuni with Malkin and Neal, and Bennett with Sid and who knows – Juicy maybe.

    It’s just crazy to me that they’ve not tried Kunitz with Malking given his slump, and that they’ve stuck with KCD so religiously.

    And I find it HARD to believe that Sid is insisting on the latter. Not after recent playoffs, or recent reg season.

  195. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    ESPN guys are predicting Cutch and Cabera as the MVP’s this season.

    I think both picks are spot on. With some discussion here yesterday about MVP’s and who should be an MVP, how they affect their team, etc. I feel that, without these 2 players on their respected teams, they would not have accomplished as much each team did. That, to me, makes the MVP an actual MVP.

  196. Sarah says:

    Sadly, yes.

  197. Milo Hamilton says:

    It’s nice to see everyone’s lost their minds when it comes to the Penguins. Why are they losing ? Because they’re not scoring. Why aren’t they scoring ? That’s probably no more complicated than the schedule. They’re simply just not playing enough. It’s hard to stay sharp offensively when you’ve played something like 3 games in 2 weeks. The schedule will make up for this in spades very soon.

    We all know there are issues with the roster. But those won’t be taken care of until the deadline. They’ll start scoring again once they start playing more. Relax people.

  198. Jim S. says:

    I believe it was Damon who posted the article above about Scot Bore-us client, Jacoby Ellsbury. Boras said Ellsbury deserves more money than Craw Crawford got 3 years ago because he is better and there is a lot more money available now. He also called him Top 5 at his position. I don’t know that he is actually better than Crawford. There definitely is more money available now, but I’m not so sure teams are willing to pony up more than the 7/$142M Crawford received. Boras says there is all sorts of interest from tons of teams, even though a lot of big money teams have already said they have no interest. You’d think teams would learn how better to deal with this guy by now, but they never seem to. I looked at Ellsbury’s career stats, and you might find some of them surprising. I did.

    Year AB 2b 3b HR SB Avg. OB% Slug. OPS
    2008 554 22 7 9 50 .280 .336 .394 .729
    2009 624 27 10 8 70 .301 .355 .415 .770
    2010 78 4 0 0 7 .192 .241 .244 .485
    2011 660 46 5 32 39 .321 .376 .552 .928
    2012 303 18 0 4 14 .271 .313 .370 .682
    2013 577 31 8 9 52 .298 .355 .426 .781
    Career 148 30 62 232 .297 .350 .439 .789

    Following are what Cutch and Marte did this year in a pitcher’s park vs. the hitter’s park where Jacoby played:

    2013 583 38 5 21 27 .317 .404 .508 .911
    2013 510 26 10 12 41 .280 .343 .441 .784

    Ellsbury is 30, while Cutch just turned 27 and Marte just turned 25.

    So, who would you rather have of the 3? First of all, I think you have to throw out 2011 for Ellsbury. He missed nearly all of 2010 with an injury, and then suddenly he had his highest average, most doubles (by 15), most HR (by 23), highest slugging %, highest OB%, highest OBP. If ever there was an outlier of a season, that is it. Holy Brady Anderson!!

    Boras says Ellsbury is elite, and that tons of teams are clamoring to pay him more than 7/$142M. I wonder what that means Cutch and Marte are worth on the open market right now.

  199. Jim S. says:

    Sorry, I see some of the numbers got thrown out of alignment. Hopefully, you can follow it. My point is, Ellsbury is a singles hitter. If he gets north of 7 years at $20+M, that is truly amazing. Robbie Grossman may be better than him in 3 years.

  200. AJS says:

    While if it was that quiet I agree there is a problem, but I think part of the issue here is that we are only in November and the fact that the Flyers actually are in last place in a now expanded division. Not to mention that the Pens level of play was so boring last night I fell asleep on the couch.

  201. Pucknutz says:

    “The ice at Consol is inexcusable. You can’t pour $300 million into a facility and call it first-class unless that’s addressed. And spare me complaints about the workers. There’s always a way.” DK

    WHAT is the deal with the ice ??? Whats this about the workers?
    What IS the problem?
    Pens don’t generally seem shy about spending money. What……….?

  202. tpbco says:

    Agree Milo

    Neal has played all of two games. No timing yet, he did get into a good position and got good shots off a few times, more concerned if he hadn’t.

    Nope, neither Tim Kerr nor John Lecair nor Ryan Malone are on the roster. But that being said, when the net was open (and it was mutiple times last night) they missed it and when it wasn’t they hit Emery in the stomach.

    Sid is the only one who gts in the crease at all.

    Kunitz gets waived off, then Bortuzzo hits the post – THAT’S the analog to the Bruin series.

    Letang and Norris Trophy should not be allowed in the same sentence.

    Let’s go on record for anybody who believes J. Martin will be a head coach for a Mario Lemieux team, that’s not why he is there.

    Is there a Suter in the house?

    Who stole Duper and Kuntiz, we want them back.

    The only grit is on the 4th line…nowhere near enough.

  203. tpbco says:

    I asked DK about that a couple of weeks ago…cricketts then (I think it was Milo) it was suggested it was a “union thing”.

    Wow…just wow.

  204. 21sthebest says:

    He gets a fair amount of extra base hits, IMO, but even if the industry sees him as a singles hitter, he’s a leadoff hitter who gets on base and can steal. That’s pretty valuable if you ask me. But staying healthy is his biggest issue, IMO.

  205. Jim S. says:

    Except for the one year where something odd was going on, he has never hit 10 HR and has never had 50 XBH.

  206. Jim S. says:

    And you are right about SB. Not only does he steal a ton of bases, but he rarely gets caught. So, he does turn a lot of singles immediately into doubles. Good catch.

    I actually think he is pretty similar to Crawford 3 years ago when he signed the big contract. But, Carl got hurt and Boston wanted out of that in the worst way. LA took it on last year, but they took on everything last year. It will be interesting to see if he gets the huge payday Boras predicts.

  207. Jim S. says:

    I agree. Those are my choices.

  208. NMR says:

    Career extra base hit rate:

    Jacoby Ellsbury – 7.7%
    Starling Marte – 7.5%

  209. Jim S. says:

    There are a lot of similarities. I still say throw out 2011 for Ellsbury. You don’t have a career where you never get 50 XBH and suddenly get 83, then go right back to sub-50 per season.

  210. Jim S. says:

    I guess I shouldn’t say “never” because that is what he did. But, there’s something fishy about that amazing “bounceback” season.

  211. NMR says:

    This is the part of the conversation where we accuse Jason Grilli of doing steroids, right?


  212. Jim S. says:

    No, just Jacoby Ellsbury. Haha!

  213. theplanisworking says:

    Thanks, HM!

    Much appreciated.

  214. Milo Hamilton says:

    “Spare me the complaints about the workers.” Oh, so the ice makes itself ?

    This is actually quite simple. Either the refrigeration system is substandard and should be replaced. Or the people responsible for making & maintaining the ice are substandard and should be replaced. And I have heard that the union is the main obstacle to getting more qualified people.

  215. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    Fully healthy.

    It is possible for a hitter to have a break out season like that without the PED’s talk. And I don’t mean Brady Anderson type.

    Too many factors could add up to his burst of power and the reduction of power as well.

  216. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    Ha! Unions. You can keep em PA. Most states are moving on.

    DK: No politics, please, Ryan. Thanks.

  217. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    Oh crap, sorry DK. Wasn’t going there on purpose.

    More of a poke

  218. Pucknutz says:

    If indeed it is a “union” thing – I still believe it can be worked out unless one or both sides is being extremely hardheaded or completely unreasonable.
    As far as “qualified” people it would seem to me you just need , let’s call it a “qualified ice engineer”. This would be a non-union supervisory position directing the union personnel as to how, when and what to do.
    If it is a sub-standard refrigeration system, (I would find that hard to believe) – fix it.
    It could be related to the entire HVAC system in the building. Lot of heat generated by lights and 18,000 people.
    I believe they actually are running AC even in the middle of winter. But I have never heard anything to that effect, and the ice is bad from the getgo.
    Too many events at Consol? Maybe, but there are certainly gaps where the whole sheet of ice can be redone.
    Can not figure it out – have never heard a “good” explanation for the bad ice.

  219. cherokee23 says:


  220. cherokee23 says:

    Jay Bell

  221. Jim S. says:

    Hits 8 or 9 homers every year. Gets injured for a full season and comes back and hits 23 more HR than his career best, along with 15 more doubles than his career best. Then, pffft … goes right back to 8 HR and 30 doubles every year. That doesn’t happen normally, Nor Cal.

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