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Morning Java: Tic-tac-4-0

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> No column today because I switched days with Joe Starkey. Here’s his view on Ben Roethlisberger, Todd Haley and the no-huddle.

>>  Roethlisberger continues to embarrass NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport by stating he’ll do whatever it takes, including financially, to stay with the Steelers. Alan Robinson reports.

And how about this gem from the QB: “We’re always excited to see what Ian’s gonna make up this week.”

The defense’s fear factor is ‘dwindling a little bit,’ Larry Foote tells Robinson.

I discussed the Steelers’ sudden swagger to open the radio show yesterday …

I also asked Jason Worilds a couple Qs over at South Side HQ …

Here’s our full Steelers coverage.

Here’s Browns news from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Here are official game highlights from NFL.com.

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>> The Penguins dialed up the D with a brilliant, four-touches-in-two-seconds power-play goal and a superlative team-wide shutout. Rob Rossi reports from D.C.

Before the game, Alexander Ovechkin shared some strong observations on Evgeni Malkin exclusively with Rossi.

And a terrific insider blog entry from Rossi to boot. That’s a hat trick.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage.

Here’s Capitals news from the Washington Post.

Here are official game highlights from NHL.com.

>> Pitt feasts off Durand Johnson’s threes to top Lehigh. Kevin Gorman was there.

>> Duquesne and Ovie Soko take down Albany. Chris Harlan was there.

>> In football, Pitt’s Lafayette Pitts is rising up, by Jerry DiPaola.

>> Penn State needs more from the O-line, by Chris Adamski.

>> The Pirates set their 40-man by adding a whole lot of Latin American talent. Travis Sawchik reports.

>> I’ll visit with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m.

I’ll also be writing about the Steelers for the Friday column. And the Sunday column. And the Monday column, off the game in Cleveland. And the Thanksgiving column. And the Black Friday column off the night game in Baltimore.

It’s football season ‘n at.

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.

270 Comments

  1. Stetson Allie not protected. Oh well… Can’t protect everybody. If he were squeezed in, somebody else would’ve been squeezed out. Maybe the Pirates don’t project him as ever making it all the way to the bigs? But how does this 40-man roster thing work anyhow? Once a player is put on it, how long does he have to stay on it? I’m sure there’s something in place to prevent teams from just clearing space to move intriguing prospects onto the 40-man until the Rule 5 draft has passed, then moving them back off.

    DK: All that stuff up there, and you’re on the 40-man?

    Oh, Ghost, Ghost. Branch out a little, my friend!

    • Still can’t get over the Pirates. Can’t help it. Love Big Ben, but the Steelers are going nowhere this year. Can’t even pronounce “Ovechkin.”

      Here, how’s this? The Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler trade. Juicy, juicy.

  2. Also…
    HI FRANK.
    (Just because.)

  3. I’m with you ghost…I like the guy who puts up how many days to spring training.

    • Groat has a fan :)

    • You mean Groat2Maz2Stranglove ?
      He comes out like Punxsatawney Groat and announces the days til Spring Training, then goes back into his hole. When it gets closer to actual ball being played, he starts sweating more, and a big, goofy smile comes across his face.

      He does us a nice public service by doing that. ;)

  4. Does it really matter that 3 of the 4 players added to the 40-man roster are from Latin America?

    DK: Honestly, man, move on.

  5. This is why Dupuis remains an integral, important part of this Penguins’ team. For those of you who do not appreciate him, it sheds a lot of light:

    Dupuis talked quietly with Bennett for about two minutes. His point made, Dupuis then headed for post-practice treatment.

    Bennett scored his first goal in the Penguins’ 4-0 win over Washington.

    “He wasn’t joking about that,” Bennett said of Dupuis’ call for him to better conserve energy.

    “I was completely serious,” Dupuis said after the win.

    Dupuis is even more serious about his most important role with the Penguins.

    It’s not as a top-six winger, which he remains as the left-side guy for Evgeni Malkin. It’s as one of their most trusted leaders.

    This came from Dejan’s link above Insider Blog Entry, from Rossi.

  6. Respect Aretha Franklin Written by Otis Redding

    JAL’s Respect Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0XAI-PFQcA

    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 MLB Important Dates

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/schedule/important_dates.jsp

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: The Pirates Added Some 2014 MLB Players Today
    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/11/first-pitch-the-pirates-added-some-2014-mlb-players-today.html

    Pirates Prospects Who Are Eligible For the 2013 Rule 5 Draft

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/11/pirates-prospects-who-are-eligible-for-the-2013-rule-5-draft.html

    Pirates Sign Five Minor League Free Agents

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/11/pirates-sign-five-minor-league-free-agents.html

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates’ position players deserve more credit for team’s 2013 success

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/11/20/5126896/pirates-position-players-deserve-more-credit-for-teams-2013-success

    6 Bleacher Report

    Ranking MLB’s Top 20 Offseason Rumors from Least to Most Probable

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1852247-ranking-mlbs-top-20-offseason-rumors-from-least-to-most-probable

    7 Green Weenie

    40-Man Settled, Arb Approaching, Minor League Deals…Manager

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/11/40-man-setlled-arb-approaching-minor.html

    8 Deadspin

    Who Is John Allen, The Baseball Reporter Revealed As A Twitter Hoax?

    http://deadspin.com/who-is-john-allen-the-baseball-reporter-revealed-as-a-1468424496

    9 Chicago Now

    Baseball is not immediate

    http://www.chicagonow.com/world-series-dreaming/2013/11/baseball-is-not-immediate/

    10 Pirates Site

    Polanco could give Pirates an unmatched outfield

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/pit/phil-rogers-gregory-polanco-could-give-pirates-an-unmatched-outfield?ymd=20131120&content_id=64062322&vkey=news_pit

  7. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Charleston Gazette

    Power’s Tyler Glasnow honored by Topps

    http://www.wvgazette.com/Sports/201311200255

    12 NJ Star Ledger

    Major League Baseball defends arbitration process after Alex Rodriguez walks out

    http://www.nj.com/yankees/index.ssf/2013/11/mlb_rips_alex_rodriguez.html

    13 Baseball Nation

    Ryan Braun trade rumor: Heading to Mets for a first baseman?

    http://www.baseballnation.com/2013/11/20/5127252/ryan-braun-trade-rumor-brewers-mets-ike-davis

    14 Detroit Free Press

    Drew Sharp: Tigers lucky they found a way to unload Prince Fielder’s burdensome contract

    http://www.freep.com/article/20131121/COL08/311210054/drew-sharp-prince-fielder-ian-kinsler-detroit-tigers-texas-rangers-mike-ilitch

    15 Dallas Morning News

    Will Prince Fielder flop like Josh Hamilton? There are similarities, but scouts say no

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/texas-rangers/headlines/20131120-will-prince-fielder-flop-like-josh-hamilton-there-are-similarities-but-scouts-say-no.ece

    16 NY Times

    Rodriguez Isn’t the Only One Who’s Had Enough

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/21/sports/baseball/alex-rodriguez-isnt-the-only-one-whos-had-enough.html?ref=sports&_r=0

    17 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    End of an era as Carpenter retires

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/end-of-an-era-as-carpenter-retires/article_fa898878-d869-59d8-9207-94b978f26642.html

    18 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Schumaker, Pena not ‘prone to strikeouts’

    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20131120/SPT04/311200158/Schumaker-Pena-not-prone-to-strikeouts-

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    How to Make Up a Good Trade Rumor

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22271

    20 Fangraphs

    Tigers Exchange Albatross For Good Player, Get Even Better

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/tigers-exchange-albatross-for-good-player-get-even-better/

  8. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Jason Worilds coming off self-described ‘best game’ in win over Lions

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/11/20/5126902/steelers-jason-worilds-statistics-career-detroit-lions-nfl-week-12

    Steelers Film Room: Splash plays highlight win over Detroit

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/steelers-film-room/2013/11/20/5124026/steelers-film-review-highlights-GIFs-lions-touchdown-cotchery

    22 Steelers Gab

    Poll: Who Is Your Most Disliked Steelers QB Of All-Time?

    http://www.steelersgab.com/2013/11/20/poll-who-is-your-most-disliked-steelers-qb-of-all-time/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Sporting News

    Geoff Cameron one of few bright spots in drab USA loss

    http://www.sportingnews.com/soccer/story/2013-11-19/usa-austria-world-cup-brazil-2014-geoff-cameron-usmnt-news

    24 World Soccer Daily

    The stories you need to read – November 20, 2013

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-the-stories-you-need-to-read-november-20-2013

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Pens Points Thursday: Firing on All Cylinders

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/11/21/5126636/pens-points-thursday

  9. What an incredible difference in game execution the Pens had last night. Exciting to watch. The just totally boxed in #8 and pretty much had the Caps on their heels most of the evening. Let’s hope this game plan sticks!

    Malkin is just itching to but loose. Can’t wait to see it happen.

    Nealer broke the ice.

    Nice goal by Bennett, too.

    Sid was Sid. :)

    • Let’s hope that the Pens have solved their offensive problems for the present, and that Malkin will score soon.

    • It was a fantastic effort all the way around, Jandy.

      Geno did some great things. But, he still passed up some shots that were begging to be taken. C’mon, Geno! We know it’s in there.

      Fleury was fantastic. I am happy to say I was so wrong for thinking he could never come back like this, after the meltdown in the playoffs. I said I thought they needed to trade him, and that he could only get back on track for some other team in a change of scenery. That was during last year’s playoffs, and so many on here told me they could see exactly this scenario this season for Fleury. So much for my hockey acumen. Those people were right and I was totally wrong. Flower is playing as well as ever.

      He will still need to keep it up once we get past game #82, but I think he will. Also, DB will need to get him some rest as the season moves along. I’m sure Mr. Shero is looking for some veteran help on that front. Go Pens!!

    • Night and day difference. Think I counted 3-4.5 stretch passes for whole game :)

  10. No 40-man? Fine.

    I’ll even stay off the SEC.

    How bout this?

    Surprise pick for the Final Four. Duquesne.

  11. …and I love the Palumbo Center.

    If Giant Brick Walls Could Talk.

  12. And as for Ben, well, I trust that he means what he says, at least for now, and so, I would hope that the Steelers can build a team around him that can win, and so, we can all forget this nonsense and root for them to beat Cleveland this Sunday and then Baltimore on Thanksgiving night.

  13. And as for Ben, I think we can all take his word for it and concentrate on the next two big games, okay Mr. Rappaport?

  14. I just heard a report on NFL Network this morning from … yes, the guy with the initials I.R. Apparently, Ben is pondering retirement after this season if he doesn’t get a pay raise. He is pondering a lucrative offer to become the Head Coach at Miami (OH). Still developing …

  15. The Penguins were interested last night. Simple as that.

  16. JAL’s link #13 is very interesting, if not to suggest the rumor isn’t out there. Braun in NYC would be a good fit. Let those folks deal with the two most hated players in baseball, with Ortiz a close third. Subway Series could be rebranded the Syringe Series.

    It would weaken the Brewers, I think, as Davis (Khris or Ike) would not combine to be the player a juiced Braunie was. This confirms my suspicion that Melvin is looking to unload this PR nightmare if someone is willing to take that contract.

    • The Pirates have also had internal discussions about Robbie Cano.

      Clint: Boy, wouldn’t it be great to have Robbie Cano.
      Neal: Yeah, sure would.

      • By the way, if the Brewers are so desperate to get rid of him that they’d trade him for a stiff like Ike Davis we’ll send them Garrett Jones.

    • Anyone who believes there is a shred of truth to link #13 needs to read link #8 first.

      • Oh, I don’t think there is much truth to it other than I think Melvin would love to get rid of him. I never thought Fielder would get traded and yet Texas dove ihead first into the insanity pool.

        • Has it really gotten that bad? You’re my Brewers source, so I trust you know.

          Braun, as a baseball player, is really, really good.

          • I like that you have a “Brewers source.”

            I have a guy that can hook me up with merchandise that “falls off trucks.” :-)

          • Well, thanks. Been called many things in my life. “Source” is a new one!

            My take on it is this. The Milwaukee media (including our (giggle) buddy, Michael “Don’t call me Mike” Hunt, have been pretty vigilant on this. The Brewers are going to be embarrassed at whatever happens opening day. If the fans stand and applaud (which they most assuredly will), that will be embarrassing. If they boo harshly (which they won’t), it will similarly look bad on an organization holding on to him. This is very polarizing here. Most people in Wisconsin are similar to Western PA. Work hard, play by the rules, etc. They don’t like betrayal or self-serving celebrities. Look at Pittsburgh with Jagr. This is a state where the most iconic sports franchise, the Packers, have not even retired the jersey of, arguably, its greatest player ever, because he had the audacity to un-retire and play for the Other Jets.

            I think the Brewers are uncertain as to how good a ballplayer he is. As Jim alluded to, nobody knows how the unjuiced Braun, assuming he is unjuiced, will perform.

            I think if they get rid of him, it will be before the Brewers Fest in January so they can maximize the PR. I think they would want to get rid of him for something better that a stiff (thanks, Milo), though. In the end I think he stays and the Brewers ride out the opening day publicity and hope PED’s didn’t make him the great player he has been. That’s a lot of scratch to pay for a lot of years.

            • very, very good summary, Oshie, I like your take.

            • I think the Brewers will ride it out, Osh, and hope he can still be a great hitter. If he finally says and does all the right things, keeps a low profile, etc. it will eventually stop being a distraction. He has been his own worst enemy to this point, obviously. I believe local people will be very forgiving if he learns to take a dose of humility.

              If they trade him now, there is no way they will get much for him – for the reasons stated. We just don’t know how good he’ll be since he has been linked to PEDs since college.

              • Gotta disagree with that last paragraph, Jim.

                Braun tested positive in 2011. We have 930 PA for which to judge how good he’s een since presumably stopping, over which he has slashed .313/.386/.525.

              • Operative word is “presumably.” We don’t know for sure that he stopped using after the last positive test, right? I think he is going to be better for the Brewers than the value Milwaukee would be offered for him right now. In other words, if you took a guy that is the same age and who performed identically in those 930 at bats but has never been suspected of PEDs, don’t you think he would bring a better return?

              • But that’s not what you said, Jim.

                You said there is no way they’ll get much in return, not they’ll get less than if he didn’t get caught at all.

                And if we can’t be sure he stopped after 2011, then we can’t be sure he’s stopped at all which means PED use, or lack there of, shouldn’t factor into our conversation.

              • All I meant to say was right now, I think they’d be selling at the low end of his value.

              • Oh, well I certainy agree there.

            • And that is why you’re my source! Much appreciated, sir.

      • Looks like you didn’t read #13 very closely. Basically says there is a rumor (there is) and that it won’t happen. Actually ends up with a reasonable conclusion—move Braun to 1B.

    • One thing is for sure, Osh. We should definitely see this year just how good Ryan Braun really is.

  17. Plan, to answer your question from late yesterday afternoon about Travis – I like him. I think Travis does a good job and I enjoy his writing style on baseball. But, I can see how his writing may not be every baseball fan’s cup of tea because he tends to delve into the SABR side of things. I think he does it in a way that most baseball fans in Pittsburgh would find engaging if they stick with him. But, that’s just my take. I straddle the fence of traditional baseball fandom while also being an admitted numbers geek. That’s not for everyone.

    If the question is about Travis’s reporting what Josh Johnson’s agent had said, essentially that the Pirates were one of the 3 or 4 finalists for his services, I have no doubt now that the agent probably wanted that story written to try to increase the offer from San Diego, where Josh probably wanted to sign all along. And, I would bet Travis knew that was a possibility as well. But, it had been written for a long time by many people that the Pirates had interest in Josh Johnson as a good “bounce back” candidate for 2014. So, if a reporter does his job and checks in with that player’s agent, and the agent tells him that the Pirates are indeed one of the finalists, what do you do as a reporter? DK and Travis can answer better than I, because I have not walked in their shoes. But, it seems to me, if the agent seems credible on the matter, you write a story similar to what Travis wrote. I don’t think there is any way the rumors will come through every time, but that doesn’t mean the reporter didn’t do his job. Travis never said the Pirates would sign Johnson – only that they were high on his list.

    If I’m getting too far into the weeds on this, I apologize. I did not see your end of the day question until this morning.

    • Oh, I was just being as little facetious yesterday……….. I just saw the back and forth over what I felt was nothing, and I just asked to get clarifiaction on who to believe/cheer for before I proceeded.

      Your answer was much more than I expected, and I thank you for that.

      Wouldnt want to get a blog ticket after all………..

  18. Stetson Allie was left unprotected. I doubt he’ll be grabbed in the rule five draft. It’s hard to imagine he’ll last an entire season in the big leagues.

  19. This Jameis Winston story does not appear to be going away.

  20. Is there a sport where total team effort has as much impact on results than hockey?

    I’ve seen almost every Penguin game on TV this year, and most were hard to watch.. But two games, early season Bruins, and last night, the Penguins looked like they invented the game. It was fun to watch, and there wasn’t any channel surfing during that game.

    Gene Collier, last night said something to the effect that you could describe any Penguin Game in either two words or three words: “Stanley Cup” or “No Stanley Cup”. Last night was Stanley Cup.

    If there is a coach who can turn that effort on, like a faucet, with talent like the Penguins, they would be undefeated.

    Stuart

  21. Loved the Pens team effort last night – they are starting to look like they did in their first 8-10 games. After Ovi rung one off the post early on, he really didn’t get close. Defense was excellent keeping the puck away from the net and intercepting passes. Forwards back-checked very well too. Players got in front of the net in the offensive zone. Pretty much went though the checklist of everything everyone was complaining about, and took care of business (other than Malkin passing to Kunitz when he was wide open 8 foot in front of the net).

    Bennett is starting to look good on Sid’s RW – I think they are starting to click. Same for Dupuis on Malkin’s LW. Jokinen and Sutter have chemistry. The new lines are quickly growing on me…

    The only negative I could speak of last night was the number of turnovers the forwards and Dmen had coming out of their zone. I don’t even think it was Washington doing anything special to force turnovers. At times the Pens would pass the puck right to a Cap player. The defense covered really well every time though. Other than that, just about a perfectly played game.

  22. Glad to see Brenden Morrow doing well in St. Louis:

    While Morrow admits he hasn’t been as outspoken as he may be in the future, Hitchcock said that his presence has made other players accountable.

    “It’s not what he says,” Hitchcock said. “It’s the way he acts and the way he behaves. I don’t want to say that it scares people straight. I think his presence and his stare make you want to play a little bit harder.”

    DK: Another one of those odd dynamics from last season is exposed: It’s VERY awkward for a newcomer veteran, even a former captain, to find that comfort in the Penguins’ room, which is now and will forever be dominated by the players at hand.

  23. I wonder if we can expect a JFK theme entry for the blog tomorrow.

    DK is a JFK buff isn’t he?

    DK: Buff is a bit much. I love the Sixth Floor Museum. Have been there with every professional trip to Dallas I’ve ever made, and that’s a lot.

    • I’m pretty sure he has written about visiting Dealey Plaza, maybe during the last Super Bowl down there?

      DK: I’ve written about it several times, but all of those are links I wouldn’t put up here. :)

    • Well, tomorrow, the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination will be commemorated, so at least you can understand why Dejan is paying so much attention to it right now.

    • The venerable Bob Schieffer broadcasted Face the Nation from the Sixth Floor Museum last Sunday.

      I’ve never been, and I figured it was some cheesy local museum that someone threw together to make a tourist buck. I was surprised. Looked like it was a quality museum giving due respect to the sensitive history involved.

      I would like to see it. Must be somewhat creepy standing in that sniper’s nest knowing that this was the location world history was irrevocably changed.

      DK: It’s not just the museum. The entirety of the completely unchanged Dealey Plaza — right down to the 1960s light fixtures and street signs — is breathtaking.

      • I visited the Kennedy Museum about 5 years ago when I was in the Dallas area on business. It was quite a moving experience. And, creepy is an understatement of the feelings I had when I stood in the sniper’s nest. As a 13 year old on 11/22/63, I remember the events all too well.

  24. Watching last night’s game, I thought how maddening it is to watch the Pens play. Some games, there is little to no effort. Some games they look like squawking chickens instead of Penguins. Other games, they have supreme effort, only to lose by a goal in a low scoring affair.

    Last night was one of those games you wish they could bottle for all 82 games. Great effort, no goofy breakout passes, players doing the dirty work in the corners, putting pressure on Washington’s forwards, excellent penalty kill, crashing the net, and that PP goal by Crosby was simply a thing of beauty, as were the 2 passes to set it up.

    Last night’s game, and the Boston game, show what happens when the Pens are “on”. When their skill on the ice is supplemented by grit and hustle (and no dumb peanalties/mistakes), the end result is a truly beautiful game to watch.

    Makes one wonder if they “turn it on and off” sometimes…………. but since the 3rd period of the Anaheim game, the switch seems to be very “on”.

    DK: In fairness, last night was a game EVERY team would want to bottle up. The Penguins played near-perfect hockey. That’s rare for the best of them.

  25. Interesting take by Craig Custance:

    One of the promising developments for the American Olympic hockey team has been the emergence of a number of defensemen making a case to play in Sochi. John Carlson, Keith Yandle, Erik Johnson, Torey Krug and Seth Jones have all had outstanding starts to help their cause. But Wednesday night’s win over the Capitals was a reminder why Dan Bylsma doesn’t need to look far to find a duo that works in Sochi. Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik helped shut down Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals, following a game in which they saw plenty of Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, limiting the Ducks to one goal. Those are Olympic performances against Olympic-caliber competition.

    DK: Don’t think Orpik and Martin weren’t reminded of that. Or that they NEEDED to be reminded of it.

    I’ll be especially interested to monitor Jones in Nashville. Immense natural talent, and he’s right under David Poile’s nose there. I’d love to see him go, even if as a spare part. He’s a big part of the national team moving forward.

  26. With all the baseball interest the past few days, surprised that no one mentioned the A-Fraud fiasco.
    Slamming tables, bug eyed rage……….. maybe he is still using?

    Or is he “branching out” ?

  27. Dodgers sign Dan Moskos and Clint Robinson to minor league deals.

  28. 84 DAYS UNTIL PITCHERS & CATCHERS REPORT TO PIRATE CITY FOR SPRING TRAINING

  29. McLendon…..I recall him being praised nonstop from DK last season as he wasn’t seeing the reps due to Hampton’s still-dominance (which is SORELY missed btw) Funny though, I haven’t seen DK praise him at all this year or eat any of his words. . . . BTW ( love the DK articles and not trying to drag him down, just pointing it out)

    DK: I wouldn’t take it as dragging me down in any way. Time passes. Things change.

    McLendon looked great in short spurts last year. No one would dispute that. McLendon’s also a supremely hard worker. That hasn’t changed. But I did write at the time — including asking Mac about this in interviews — that his run-stopping was in question. Well, it’s been exactly that. He’s struggled with it. That’s why we’ve seen more of Al Woods lately.

    You know, I write 200-plus columns a year, and none of them is etched in stone. Things really do change.

    • Welcome to the Asylum, Teige! Care to give us your hometown, so Bizrow can add it to the list of Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum :)

    • Teige:

      I don’t know about Casey Hampton still being dominant last year. He was practically immobile. He was still effective at run-stopping due to his size and strength, but that is not nearly as important as it once was. The Steelers are giving up the bulk of their points because we have no pass rush and a shoddy secondary.

  30. As the olympic hockey talk starts up it reminds me of Sid’s goal against the Americans a few years ago. That was one of the most complex emotions I have ever felt. As a fan of Crosby’s I was so happy for him to score, but as an American I was cheering for our team to win. I remember jumping up off of my couch with a cheer for Crosby and then immediately cussing for the Americans losing. I’m not sure I’ve ever had the same feelings ever associated with being a sports fan.

    DK: Heard so much of that from readers at the time. I was working and on a ridiculous deadline, so emotions were at the usual nil. But I remember walking out of the arena that night in Vancouver washing through some of the same thoughts.

    • Jester, I hear you! I was elated and disgusted both at the same time. Such is the life of a hockey fan :)
      Hey, as I said to Teige above, if you post your hometown, Bizrow will add it to the list of Dejan’s Luantics’ Asylum :)

  31. Also been meaning to say….how bout geno’s defense last few games? Iceman has been pointing out his overall play and assists but lately it seems like he’s in been in better position to create turnovers and help down low as well.

    Also i think duper and jussi should switch lines. Jussi is most useful playing with geno if not sid and duper seems to always look good with sutter. Still wanna see how gibby does this weekend but i wouldn’t hesitate to give megna another shot. Not only is he quick with good acceleration but he has good hands, IQ and vision. People have criticized his finishing ability but with late bloomers like him who have their legs under him its usually a good idea to let them get acclimated to speed of the game. His hands are capable of finish.

    And where’s sarah? We dismantle caps in text book fashion and no sign or her? She did say her head would explode if engo played ahead of borts again…should we be worried? :)

    • Yeah I wondered where Sarah was myself. But after that win, she should be grinning like the cat that ate the canary…
      I get upset with people who don’t appreciate Dupuis, but he is so versatile, and such a team player, he will happily play anywhere in the lineup.

    • Malkin did make some plays in his own zone – a couple times he seemed to get there just as the D-pair was showing signs of cracking. Much better playing the whole rink.

      I’d keep Duper in the top 6 because he has been one of the top 5 on 5 scorers in the NHL in the past few seasons, and they need to get that going again. No way he does that on Sutter’s wing. Plus Jokinen showed good chemistry with Sutter – and has played with Sutter in Carolina. I think Jokinen’s could help Sutter get going too.

      I agree on Megna – he seemed to be in the right spot more often than Gibbons or D’Agostini.

    • Hey Peeps, I have been lurking.
      Had some minor surgery (cataracts that began mysteriously when I was much younger and finally had to come out)….

      Caught up on the highlights….esp the four-touch goal – crazy good.

      The Pens were up for this game.

      Liking BB up with Sid. Duper seems OK with Malkin, but the most juiced I’ve seen Geno was when he had Kunitz for a little bit couple games ago. SPeakign of Juicy, he seems OK with Sutter, but I still don’t consider Duper a top-6 winger.

      I still see Geno avoiding taking shots and though DK tells us not to over-think it, I still maintain his shoulder might not be right. You don’t go from top of the league in shots to one shot every 8 shifts for no reason.

  32. Is Jeremy Roenick married? He must sneak out of his house w/o his wife seeing him. There is no way she would have allowed him to go national TV with that shirt & tie combo last night.

  33. I was looking at the Pens’ roster over on CapGeek. When Scuderi comes back, what defenseman gets waived/traded? They would be alright with the cap, I think if they just send down Sill and a d-man, maybe someone else.

    Another thing, does anyone know whether D’Agostini would have to clear waivers? Don’t think anyone would claim him though.

  34. Gotta get some stuff done…Yinz be good. have a nice evening :)

  35. I was listening to Rossi on Madden’s show on the way home. He said that he didn’t think Pittsburgh fans fully appreciated Orpik and Martin. In talking to coaches from other teams, he said that they consider them a dominant defensive pair. He also defended Malkin, with the obvious caveat that he wasn’t scoring goals.

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