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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Morning Java: Malkin rises above the mess

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Thanksgiving Day column is one I really enjoyed writing and, even moreso, researching. My deep thanks to the several Steelers who were generous with their time and thoughts. It’s never taken for granted.

So much on the line tonight in Baltimore, by Alan Robinson.

Ben Roethlisberer and Troy Polamalu are rightly honored, by Robinson.

A couple minutes with Le’Veon Bell 

Here’s our full Steelers coverage.

Here’s Ravens news from the Baltimore Sun.

Here are official game highlights from


>> Evgeni Malkin is really good. Rob Rossi reports from Consol.

The loss of Paul Martin, as we just saw, will be huge, by Rossi.

Random randomness from the scene: I was up there, too, and I was no different than anyone else at the 300th consecutive sellout in that I was blown away by Malkin. You can say that’s expected, but the fact is that level of effort combined with that skill … that’s extraordinary. It should never be taken for granted. … Kris Letang is an absolute mess right now. I’m not going to pile on, but that’s got to change. If he can’t figure it out himself, then it’s incumbent on the coaching staff to help or even to take over. The investment is too large in this player, and yes, the talent level is too high for this to be happening. … James Neal’s shot has gone to some other level, hasn’t it? … Nice to see actual production from the third line, not just Brandon Sutter but also newcomers Chris Conner and Andrew Ebbett. Can’t say it’ll hold up, but it already is well more than what any of their predecessors had contributed. … I’m choosing to stay skeptical about Simon Despres, based on precedent. This effort was passable. That’s it. We’ll see. … Someone needs to sit for Robert Bortuzzo. Take your pick of anyone but Olli Maatta. … Great atmosphere in that building. Really fun. Crazy how that happens when there’s lots of offense. … At the same time, who will remember that the Leafs had zero shots in the third period or overtime? That’s crazier still.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage.

Here’s Leafs news from the Toronto Star. They’ll take this one well up there.

Here are official game highlights from

Oh, and here’s one especially amazing highlight, courtesy of a handheld video of Malkin’s decisive shootout goal sent to me last night by reader Bryan Mathews

Neat, huh?

>> Tom Savage has shown terrific toughness for the Pitt football team, by Jerry DiPaola.

>> Mike Hull has done the same at Penn State, by Chris Adamski.

>> The Dukes lose Micah Mason at a lousy time, by Chris Harlan.

>> We’re driving over to Baltimore early in the morning, and it’s going to be a pretty long night in covering the big game.

Should be terrific, though. Seriously looking forward to this one.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, my friends.

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. Bizrow says:

    Happy Thanksgiving friends.

    Please take a moment to remember all the folks that have been part of your lives.

    What you have and what you had are pretty amazing from this seat in the peanut gallery

    I am thankful for it all

    The best is yet to come

    Even the snow

  2. DJ says:

    Knew next to nothing about Worilds the person and his views until the last 3 weeks. Would like to see him continue to perform so that the organization has a tough decision at year’s end.

    He might be turn out to be the Mike Vrabel of this team where we won’t know what we really had until after he’s gone.

    DK: Vrabel is a great comparison point in that specific context.

  3. MikeVee says:

    Well- honestly there’s only one D-Man that should sit and unfortunately its the soon to be highest paid. Yea he had a goal tonight but lets face it, if Kunitz wasn’t a human shield its an easy save. Right not 58 looks unconfident, unaware and unmotivated. There’s a real problem there with his decision making and lack of physicality. One thing that has to stop and is really getting disturbing to me is the lack of retribution as other teams just continually take liberties with 87, 71 and tonight Zatkoff. I don’t get it

  4. Stuart says:

    Cliche alert: It was the best of games, and it was the worst of games. How about that Zatkoff? Unbeatable in the third period and in overtime. What’s that you say he faced how many shots in those two periods? Oh. BTW, how about that sports psychologist? Can we assume MAFs meltdown was a healthy thing? That was a nice kick pass he made to put the puck on a stick for the third goal for the Leafs. If it is possible to be both hard working and tentative at the same time, that would describe Despres’ game last night. Brooks is, and will be, playing too many minutes.

    Malkin and Crosby were fantastic. Both went to the net aggressively. The game was immencly

  5. Stuart says:

    Immensely entertaining, but then I am certainly not a hockey purist.


  6. Ghost says:

    Yes, even with all the recent attention Worilds has received, this post stopped me in my tracks .

  7. cherokee23 says:

    Ya, every night it seems teams match up and beat on 87 & 71 with no recourse. I’m not asking for a fight, but someone has to hit back. Glass was doing this but not much of anybody else. People been saying all season….team is soft and easy to play against!

  8. JAL says:

    Now Be Thankful Fairport Convention 1970

    JAL’s Now Be Thankful Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 MLB Important Dates

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    Winter Leagues: Polanco Named Hitter of Week in Dominican

    5 Baseball Instinct

    Pittsburgh Pirates Top 21 Prospects: 2013 Review

    6 Rumbunter

    Clint Hurdle Talks A.J. Burnett, Gregory Polanco, All Things Pirates on RumBunter Podcast

    7 Green Weenie

    11/25-27: Roberto, Simple Simon, Bob Elliott, The Gravedigger, Bob Walk, Jason Kendall Trade…

    8 Swingin’ A’s

    What Determines A Successful Season?

    9 Pirates Site

    McCutchen hoping to serve as an inspiration

    10 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors: Could the Bucs target Rangers 1B Mitch Moreland?

  9. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Bleacher Report

    Every MLB Team’s Best Free-Agent Signing of the Past 5 Years

    12 NPR

    After 50 Years, Cuba Says Its Baseball Players Can Go Abroad

    13 Washington Post

    Searching baseball for her father’s voice

    14 Huffington Post

    Soccer, Baseball, Money and Power

    15 Engadget

    MLB releases Franchise MVP for Android, lets you live your baseball fantasies

    16 Dorchester Reporter

    All-done A-Rod vs. baseball’s lords: sheer madness

    17 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Bernie Bytes: A look at the 2014 Hall of Fame ballot

    18 CBS Sports

    Ted Lilly to retire from baseball


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    The BP Wayback Machine The Guessing Game

    20 Fangraphs

    Why It’s Okay That PED Players Are Getting Paid

  10. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    5 Burning Questions as Steelers Nation gives thanks for Rivalry Week

    After 0-4 start, a win in Baltimore would solidify Steelers playoff chances

    22 Steelers Gab

    Game Twelve: Steelers Take Control of the North with 13-10 Win Over Ravens


    23 US Soccer

    U.S. Men’s National Team Q & A: Thanksgiving Special Edition

    24 World Soccer Daily

    Is Messi destined to be a peripheral figure for Argentina?


    25 Pensburgh

    Pens Points Thursday: Thanksgiving Edition

  11. Wild Bill says:

    It is no coincidence that Malkin’s explosion has happened with the return to form of James Neal. Teams have to worry about them both, which means they both have a little more room to operate. Think I called this one a week or so ago.

    Now if the Pens could consider how the same principle might apply to Sid….

  12. Brandie says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Lunatics! Enjoy your families, enjoy your friends, enjoy the eats! I am going to enjoy Dejan’s fine writing!

  13. Jandy says:

    That was nice, Biz. Then you had to ruin it with the snow stuff lol
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  14. Jandy says:

    Hope your Thanksgiving is awesome, Sistah!

  15. JoeyBats says:

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

    In sports…I give thanks we have the Steelers, Pirates, Penguins, Pitt football, basketball, Dukes and lots of other area teams to follow and exchange views with DK and many others around the world on this blog!

  16. Wild Bill says:

    And all the same to you, my PSU loving sister.

    Happy Thanksgiving, indeed, to all who have made this blog much fun. With special thanks to DK for his writing and making this blog happen.

  17. Pucknutz says:

    Ya Mike, he is the guy that should sit – Might be a good thing for him to sit a game or two – get his head straight.
    Don’t care about the money – as DK notes – “talent level too high for this….. ”
    Maybe Mario needs to pass the word down -” Hey Kris, come sit with me for a game or two”.

  18. Pucknutz says:

    Gotta agree with ya Bill – Geno and “Lazy” just have some crazy kind of special chemistry together!

  19. TK39 says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

    My wife and I traveled to Buffalo to spend the holiday with her family and I ended up watching part of the Sabres game last night. That is a bad hockey team. As frustrated as we can get with neutral zone turnovers, lack of line matching, or the occasional scoring drought we’re still lucky to enough to watch some of the best hockey players in the world in Pittsburgh. Truly blessed in that regard and if nothing else, they’re almost always entertaining and that’s a lot more than can be said for some other hockey clubs.

    Happy Holidays all!

  20. radio wave says:

    First of all happy Thanksgiving to everyone everywhere. The thought crossed my mind what is a more significant come back a come back like the patriots had in football the other right or a come back like the penguins had in hockey last night. Scoring is at so much more of a premium in hockey, the coming back from 3+ touchdowns and a half is pretty good too.

  21. Thundercrack says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

  22. Drew71 says:

    I just had the pleasure of sending a text to the Operations VP of my company saying:

    “Happy Thanksgiving. See email regarding major compliance breach in your area.”

    We are a regulated insurance company. Not quite yellowcake but lots of government scrutiny. So I wanted to add: enjoy your holiday. It may be our last day of peace for awhile.

    But then. I thought that would be overkill.

    And we all know I hate overkill.

    So I texted that message to someone else.

    So I guess this is my Thanksgiving message to everyone here. Happy TG and enjoy the yellowcake!

  23. Naje says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all… enjoy this one:

    As for the Steelers offense, instead of just pointing out the “concession to the no-huddle”, can you please point out the obvious: when the QB is not throwing interceptions and fumbling the ball and when the RBs and WRs and TEs aren’t dropping passings and fumbling the ball this team is pretty good.

  24. JohninOshkosh says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. JoeyBats and Wild Bill said it best above, but I’m thankful for Dejan providing this forum.

    Thankful, as well, for Dejan’s writing. Really liked today’s column. I don’t rip on Tomlin much and today’s column reminded me why I don’t. I won’t completely believe that the Steelers have bought into Tomlin’s admonishment to slackers that “we don’t want you here” until a victory tonight in national prime time against the Ravens.

    Thankful the Steelers are on tonight. Not thankful that the Packers are on this morning. :)

    Count your blessings, everyone, no matter what challenges you may be facing this Thanksgiving Day.

  25. Drew71 says:

    And no, Arriba. If that’s your real name.

    THIS is the Pirates thread.

    You can tell by all the turkeys.

    (Though Dejan threw us off by posting it on time.)

  26. 21sthebest says:

    Hope your Thanksgiving is awesome brotha!

  27. Stuart says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all! As TK 39 reminds, we have a lot of great sports to be thankful for.

    How about those Penguins.


  28. Echoing the above sentiments to all.

    Enjoyable column, too. Now, the one from the post-New England locker room, please.


    Have a great one everyone.

  29. JohninOshkosh says:

    I hope nobody’s Thanksgiving dinner is like this: Dodge

  30. Milo Hamilton says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all my blog friends. And I wanted to let Jandy know that Austin Mahone is going to be on the parade !

  31. pattonbb says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

  32. Arriba Wilver says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, loonies!

  33. And to you, Milo. And happy 10-years younger than me. (For a couple months anyway).

  34. Barb says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all my lunatic friends. Eat your fill at the table and then watch our Steelers in the land of the enemies. Maybe we will have some raven instead of turkey.

  35. Vette60 says:

    Happy Thanksgiving All!

    We made it to Pittsburgh yesterday late afternoon. Just a bit of snow up at Somerset, so that really wasn’t too bad a ride all things considered. Looking forward to the day spent with our family here. Will be heading over to my cousins for dinner – big crew on hand. We’ll see how my brother-in-law and nephew, who is 5, fair as the only Ravens fans…

    Enjoyed the Pens game last night – as frustrating as it was to watch them stumble horribly early on, it was as exciting to watch them come back and win it in the SO…that 71 is kinda good, huh?

    Thought that they might have been toast when they gave up the 5th goal at the end of 2nd, but they managed to lock the Leafs down. Really liked Malkin’s goal getting to the net and seemingly shooting the leafs goalie into the net first and then the puck!

    Again, everyone have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving…

    Take care,
    Randy in RVA.

  36. Dave Glass says:

    That was a GREAT comeback, and it was good to see the offense explode.

    But are you as mystified as I am at the mental lapses that plague this team? I hold a team SHOTLLESS for 25 minutes, WHILE making a 20goal comeback…I’ve never seen that in my life, and they deserve tons of credit for the FOCUSED effort. Where was that FOCUS during two incredibly sloppy periods?

    This team can be absolutely GREAT..when they focus on it.

    Also, I hate to rain on his parade after a shootout win…but the simple fact is, Zatkoff is not an NHL-caliber goalie. His lateral movement and recovery skills are simply not up to par, and the 5th goal illustrated that perfectly. 99% of NHL goalies make the first stop there with ease, and certainly don’t leave the rebound right on the doorstep. If Vokoun is done, they cannot stand pay with this situation in the spring.

    Enjoy your families today everyone :)

  37. Lad 9 says:

    Happy Thanksgving to my friends. Very thankful that I am a small part of this little community that gives me so much insight and enjoyment, along with superb writing and reporting. Hope everyone has a great day!

  38. Scott says:

    I would scratch Letang for a game, if only to send a message. “Message-sending” is often overrated, but in this case, based on his recent comments and actions after being dropped from the top PP unit, I really believe that Letang doesn’t even realize he’s playing poorly. Somebody needs to wake this guy up.

  39. Joni says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! You earned it :)

  40. Milo Hamilton says:

    I am thankful that Phil Hughes is reportedly about to sign with the Minnesota Twins. Whew.

  41. Lad 9 says:

    +1. He will end up 4-9 with the Twins with a 5.40 ERA, a WHIP north of 1.4 and his second trip to the DL in August will mark the end of his season….

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