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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Sunday column: On Melancon, Mandela, molding

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …


>> The Sunday column reaches across a few thousand miles to touch base with the Pirates’ Mark Melancon on his latest global journey, this to South Africa. My deep appreciation for his cooperation.

A preview of the Pirates’ needs at the Winter Meetings, by Rob Biertempfel.

Dave Parker’s shot at the Hall, by Biertempfel.

>> Penned an extra pseudo-instant column in the second period last night on the Penguins-Bruins fiasco lowlighted by Shawn Thornton’s ugly assault on Brooks Orpik.

>> I’ll be with the Steelers all day today, obviously, then off to tape WPXI-TV’s Subway Final Word, which will air around midnight.



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:

    A feisty day in the Nation

    But for the most part, a civil one.

    • • Welcome Lunatics, if you don’t see your current location below, please add a reply to this post

    Dejan’s Lunatic Nation

    Afghanistan – skeetermc*
    Arizona – Tucson, Chandler, Phoenix, Sunnyslope, Davis-Monthan AFB*, Lake Havasu City
    • Argentina, Buenos Aries
    Arkansas – Rogers
    Alaska – Anchorage
    Australia – Mackay, Gold Coast, Geelong
    Brazil – Vitoria, São Paulo
    California – Bakersfield, San Francisco, UNION CITY, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Hollywood, Huntington Beach, Yuba City, Solana Beach, Yorba Linda, Yuba City*, Edwards*, Long Beach, Modesto, Davis, Santa Monica, Solana Beach, Canyon Country, Burbank, West Hills, Encino
    Canada – Toronto, Winnipeg, Moncton – New Brunswick, Ontario – Muskoka, Perth – home of the Ottowa RedBlacks
    China – Beijing
    Crete – Vlites
    Colorado – Ft Collins, Estes Park*, Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs
    Connecticut – Cos Cob, Bridgeport, Wallingford, Norwalk, NEWTOWN
    Costa Rica
    Czech Republic
    Delaware – Newark
    Denmark – Greenland – Thule*
    District of Columbia
    England – London
    Florida – Palm Harbor, Orlando, Valrico, Gainesville, Daytona Beach, Oviedo, Tampa, Jacksonville, Sarasota, Palm Beach Gardens, Cape Coral, Coco Beach (Major Nelson and Mary Ann), Niceville (Red Neck Rivera) and a*, St Petersburg, Pembroke Pines, Ft Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, W Melbourne, Melbourne, St Johns, Wesley Chapel
    France – Strasbourg,
    Georgia – Marietta, Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Acworth, Savanna, Hoschton, Grayson, Newnan
    Germany – Leverkusen/Cologne, Ramstein*
    Hawaii – Honolulu
    Idaho – Mountain Home, Coer d’Aline, Mountain Home AFB*
    Illinois – La Salle, Peru, Payson, Chicago, Palatine (3 inmates there), Lincoln Park, Grayslake, Algonquin, Chicago, Naperville
    Indiana – Indianapolis, Burns Harbor, South Bend, Bicknell, Ft Wayne, Westfield, Munster
    Iowa – Bettendorf, Humboldt, Maquoketa, Urbandale
    Ireland – Dublin
    • Israel – Ginot Shomron
    Japan – Tokyo
    Kentucky – Louisville, Bowling Green, Lexington, Georgetown
    Kuwait – Relyks76*
    Louisiana – Slidell
    Maine – Bangor
    Maryland – Arnold, Odenton, Severn, Baltimore, Waldorf, Hagerstown, Chevy Chase, Hampstead, Elkridge, Frederick, Bowie
    Massachusetts – Boston, Tyngsboro, East Gloucester*, 617 Strong*, Medford
    Mecca – Slienmann*
    Michigan – Kalamazoo, Eaton Rapids, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Mason, Battle Creek
    Minnesota – Yinzer, St Paul
    Mississippi – Biloxi, Ocean Springs
    Missouri – St Peters***
    Nebraska – Omaha, Lincoln
    New Hampshire – Barrington
    New Jersey – Chesterfield, Princeton, Roxbury, Lebanon, Lincoln Park, Berkeley Heights, Somerville, Hammock, Barrington, Delran, Pennsville, Hammonton, Mullica Hills, JERSEY SHORE, Montclair, Monmouth Beach
    New Mexico – Mike, Albequeque, blazer
    New York – New York, Smithtown, Manhattan, Long Island, Nyack, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Lewistown
    Nevada, Las Vegas, Henderson, Reno
    North Carolina – Asheville, Hickory, Charlotte, Raleigh, Wilmington, Chapel Hill, High Point, Winston Salem
    Ohio – Cincinnati, Columbiana, Westerville, Green, Hilliard, Toledo, Louisville, Columbus, Perrysburg, Pickerington, Youngstown, Cleveland, Olmsted Township, Liberty Township, Warren, Oregon, Wintersville, Austintown, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base*, New Philadelphia, Powell, Canton, Salem, New Albany, Bloomingdale, Powell, Howland, Grafton, Northwood, Middletown, Dayton, Cambridge, Martins Ferry
    Oklahoma – Tulsa – OKLAHOMA CITY/MOORE ,,
    Oregon – Roseburg, Eugene
    Pennsylvania – Downtown, Hopewell, Indiana, North Wales, Franklin Park, Forest Hills, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Du Bois, Reading, Crafton, Arnold, Wexford, Mt Lebanon, Canonsburg, Lancaster, Huntington, York, Boiling Springs, Philly suburbs, Morningside, Harrisburg, Lawrenceville, Bradfordwoods, Norristown, Hanover, Clearfield, Sewickley, Plum Boro, Slippery Rock, Wilkes-Barre, Sharpsville, Bessemer, Greensburg, Washington, Imperial, South Side, Duncansville, Newville, Sheppton, Grove City, Butler, Allentown, Ross Township, Blairsville, Flood City (Johnstown), Overbrook, Danny’s Hoagies, Baldwin, Economy, Sharpsville, Erie, North Huntington, Bellfonte, West Mifflin, Kennywood, Pleasant Hills, Beechview (Mad Turk, No 200), Macgunie, Mechanicsburg, Uptown, Cambria County, Mon Valley, Salisbury, Coraopolis, Emsworth, Cranberry Twp, Garrett, O’Hara Township, McCandless Township, 115 Federal Street, Bethel Park, Harrison City, Penn Hills, Kittanning, Dover, Lebanon, Upper St Clair, Rennerdale, Oakland, Scranton, Moon (RMU), State College, Erie, Penn Twp, Stowe, Elizabeth, Hermitage, Easton, Carlisle, Finleyville, Belle Vernon, Madison, Sellersville, Waynesburg, Warren, Beaver Falls, Chambersburg, Green Castle, East Freedom, Leechburg, Banksville City, Ellwood City, Hollidaysburg, Bethlehem, Mars, Verona, Philipsburg, Phoenixville, Hippos Pond, Oil City, Verona, Hookstown, Squirrel Hill, Natrona, Charleroi, FREEDOM, Denver, Midland (the home of good food and many bars), Selinsgrove, Dormont, Scott Township, Blawnox, Arnold, Ligonier, Wells Tannery, Swoyersville, St Mary’s, Titusville, Shippingsburg, Sharpsville, Brookville, Mountain Top, Mt Joy, Bloomsburg, Portage
    The Philippines
    Rhode Island
    South Carolina – Duncan, Longs, Columbia, Bluffton, Greensville, Charleston, North Charleston
    South Korea – Seoul, Mike
    Tennessee – Smithville, Nashville
    Texas – Tyler, San Antonio, Belton, Houston, Katy, Plano, El Paso, Cedar Park, Pleasanton
    United Kingdom – Haslemere
    Utah – Salt Lake City, Provo
    Vermont – North Bennington
    Virginia – JAL, Hampton, Rescue, Richmond, Front Royal, Woodbridge, Suffolk, Warrenton, Springfield*, Virginia Beach, Fairfax, Arlington, Yorktown, Henrico, Aldie, Manassas, Newport News, Clifton, Glen Allen, Roanoke, Vienna, Alexandria, Lynchburg
    Washington – Seattle, Nine Mile Falls, Spokane, Sammamish
    West Virginia – Martinsburg, Morgantown, Wheeling, Mt Olivet, Huntington, Parkersburg, Clarksburg
    Wisconsin – Madison, Oshkosh, Hortonville
    Wyoming – Caspar, Lander
    Unknown – killa_cam7*
    437 confirmed locations represented in the blog, and a couple of strange places
    Lunatic Nation Hall of Fame, people that have, in our opinion, made a difference, either thru talent or character or deeds.
    Nominations are always welcome
    Any Allegheny, Pirate, Crawford, Gray, Steeler or Penguin player in the League’s Hall of Fame, although if Jagr makes it some day, we gotta talk
    Stan “The Man”, from Donora
    Lemonade Guy
    The Gunner, Mr Bob Prince
    The Great One, he stays regardless
    Mike Lange
    Myron Cope
    The Honorable Mayor Richard Caliguiri
    Kevin Mcclachety
    Mike Emerick
    Commander Hadfield, courtesy of the Space Station
    Fred Rogers
    Mario Lemieux, ditto to the Great One, he stays as an owner
    Chuck Noll
    Eddie Johnston, aka EJ
    Badger Bob
    Chuck Tanner
    Dick Groat, the best darn multi-athelete and announcer from Wilkinsburg/Swissvale
    Steve Blass
    Danny Murtaugh*
    Rocky Bleier*
    John Challis – Courage + Belief = Life
    All Servicemen and women that have been in battle, ever
    Sgt Doug Vitale
    Gary Sinise and the Lt Dan Band
    Barney Dreyfuss
    George Benson
    Phil Coyne
    • Tony Dorsett
    First Responders***
    27 countries
    46 states, plus the District of Columbia, missing 4 states, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alabama, and Kansas
    Three planets, at least confirmed, and the Space Station
    Then there was that Cold day in Hell place
    Honorable mention, England – London – Lisa
    “Terrorists will always lose in America, the sooner they figure that out, the better”- truer words have never been spoken
    Asterisks denote confirmed hero’s, military, police officers or firemen/ladies
    • 12/7/2013 11:39 PM

  2. Bizrow says:

    Drew and Lucky

    Please let us know your thoughts (and others as well, like John in Oskosh) on the weekend with college football. I saw absolutely nothing. Not that I follow it that much, other than Pitt and Slippery Rock, and PSU now with O’Brien there doing good things

    Went to a friends 6 year old grandsons, LEGO party, took up most of the evening. Then we watched the Mandela special.

    I’m hoping Ohio State lost, my daughter in law went to Michigan

    Other than that and the Pens stuff, a lost day for sports

    Oh, yeah, the Bucs are still quiet.

    The next 66 days are when our next summer is decided.

  3. Stuart says:

    DK, the winter meetings link goes to the Parker story, just like the Parker link.


  4. Eric Bowser says:

    What a day for the NHL.

    So disgusted by this….

  5. Ghost says:

    That’s because the stories are one and the same. This winter the Pirates are bringing back Parker to play right field.

  6. kr70 says:

    what’s sad is that will be an improvement

  7. Drew71 says:

    Wow. What a day for college football.

    I went against my rule of Great-Defense-Beats-Great-Offense and picked OSU. And see? It’s like Dejan inhabited my body. Which is kinda icky.

    Got most of the others … Baylor winning B12 after OK upsets OK ST, UCF winning the American outright, Stanford beating the Graham’s, even BGSU knocking off NIU. And EVERYbody had FSU winning.

    But when you miss the BCS Championship matchup, you miss big. Meaning…

    The SEC is back in the picture.

    FSU – Auburn.


    NOT because I’m an SEC fan.

    Because to be the champ, you gotta BEAT the champ.

    And I’ve been saying it for weeks.
    I’ve been saying it from BEFORE the Seminoles beat a higher rated, undefeated Clemson team, in Death Valley Clemson. Remember THAT game?


    What a great two weekends for college football. Mostly competitive games, many twists and upsets, a historic Missed Field Goal Runback against Nick Satan, upsets of TWO undefeated, Championship-Game-Heading-Teams in two weeks, an unprecedented and unplanned Big 12 “Double Header” championship gameS, Freaking Baylor taking the Big 12, Urban Legend Learns How To Lose as OSU blows its first Urban game EVER, and that comes after they storm back from 0-17 to take a 24-17 lead, Mack Brown (maybe) coaching for the BCS bowl bid AND his job, and little Bowling Green pulls the biggest upset of the weekend.

    Life. Is. Good.

  8. Drew71 says:

    For those who think I’m an SEC fan, you misread.

    I am a college football fan.

    It’s just for seven years, the heart of college football beat in the SEC.

    Now the head of college football beats in Tallahassee, in the ACC.

    After the past two weeks, it seens the heart of college football beats border to border, all over the freaking country.

    Except in Tempe, Arizona. (YES)

  9. Drew71 says:

    And somewhere in the ugliest state in the beautiful south, Nick Satan is saying
    Are You Freaking Kidding Me??

    Over and over and over and over.

  10. Drew71 says:

    I agree with you Eric.

    I used to buy into the theory that there is an oddly honorable code of conduct among the goons. In reality it appears there is one, and it works maybe 90% of the time.

    But that’s the PROBLEM with The Code. It USUALLY works, so it lulls us casual fans to the ugly reality that when it doesn’t work, even if just occasionally, people get very seriously hurt from very purposeful, malicious, malignant actions.

  11. JoeyBats says:

    1. So happy the Michigan St Spartans didn’t read the press clippings…and took it to Ohio St….34-24. :-)–title-hopes-hit-sour-note-082058992.html

    2. In NCAA hoops….players with local ties met yesterday on national TV. Arizona is about to become # 1 in this weeks’ mens rankings….and (Duquesne) now Arizona T.J. McConnell led the Wildcats over UNLV. Khem Birch ( formerly Pitt) led the Rebels in scoring.


    T. J. McConnell … 35 minutes….13 PTS…7 RBS…6 ASSTS….0 BLKS….1 Turnover

    Khem Birch …. 30 minutes….12 PTS….10 RBS….1 ASST…. 2 BLKS….3 Turnovers

  12. Drew71 says:

    This might get you there, at least until Dejan wakes at noon.

  13. Drew71 says:

    I’m going to be in Orlando Wednesday evening. Maybe I’ll look Neal up and give him some suggestions over pasta.

    He’s a cheap date. Orders off the Little Bambino menu.

  14. Drew71 says:

    As fans, we should be careful how we read articles that catalog a list of needs.

    The baseball world doesn’t work out in such a linear fashion as a list.

    Priorities are one thing. Realities are another.

    So. If a first baseman cannot be had, at least for now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with acquiring a lower priority need, such as an improved bat for RF.

    Does NOT mean Rob was wrong. He’s not, at least as a list of priorities goes.

    Does NOT mean Neal will be wrong. At least until results speak.

    So while I would prefer a first baseman and starting pitcher, I’d rather have a RF and defensive SS than NOTHING.

    That’s a long way of saying:
    acquiring talent is a fluid game that doesn’t easily fit into priority lists, when free agents and other teams have their own lists of priorities.

  15. Drew71 says:

    Wow. I’m just a little fuzzy ball of energy this morning, aren’t I.

    (Haircut yesterday, thus a fuzzy rather than shaggy ball.)

    It’s a beautiful morning. I’ll go for a walk and leave some posting space for others.

    Maybe I’ll reflect on the dull world of the NFL. That’ll take some of the posting life outta me.

  16. Drew71 says:

    Just popped back in for a correction. I missed on the SEC Championship Game prediction, too.

    After 67 years of marriage, you’d think I’d know better than to give myself too much credit.

  17. TJA says:

    Good Morning All – For the casual hockey fan, like myself, what occured last night in Boson is enough to turn me off the sport. To me this is not how one would want to market their product. Maybe those in charge of the NHL think it is. The video sure turned my stomach. Very, very disturbing. The sport is so skilled and can be beautiful to watch, but indeed, the violence must be stopped. Good article, Dejan and good and spirited dialouge from the Loonies.

  18. TJA says:

    Oops…forgot the “T” in Boston. A fine city with good people. No reflection on the town.

  19. 21sthebest says:

    McConnell just took over the last 4 minutes of that game.

  20. Court Jester says:

    Grafton, West Virginia

  21. Thanks for that pick, Drewacevic.


  22. Drew71 says:

    Some more nonsense…

    FSU’s average margin of victory this season has been 43. And they didn’t exactly play a Big10 Soft schedule, did they?

    Speaking of which, I SHOULDA seen MSU-OSU coming. This was the FIRST Top Ten opponent that the Buckeyes have faced. Not just this season. Not just under Urban Legend.

    Since the TWO THOUSAND AND ELEVEN Sugar Bowl. A victory against Arkansas. Later vacated.

    FSU hasn’t trailed in a game for 511 minutes of game time.

    Is the Urban Legend tarnished. Maybe not. But should it be?
    – Lost out on a national championship in the last season of Tebow’s career when Florida was upset (yes, upset) by then-upstart Alabama.
    – Lost once again last night with the pathway to the national championship game right in front of him.
    – Sorta like a discussion I once heard among some talking heads re Mike Ditka. Was Iron Mike a great coach, or should he be blamed for not winning at least one more Super Bowl with that team?
    – Sometimes people overstate these either-or questions. It is less compelling for a talk show or column (Right, Dejan?), but sometimes I think the question calls for a balanced, nuanced answer. For both Urban and Iron Mike, I believe the answer is that they are each very, very good coaches AS WELL AS a bit overrated.

    By the way. I’ve sometimes written that I think some of Dejan’s columns go over the top, even when I agree with the underlying point. Look at my prior point re Urban and Ditka and you’ll see my point.

    It’s not (just) a Dejan thing. It is, in my opinion, a columnists’ disease, a talking head trend. Lots of overstatement among experts in the sports media. Leads to some great arguments and maybe it is more compelling.

    It’s my opinion but I think that’s the Over The Top way the sports world works…but not the way of real world reality.

  23. I didn’t think much of it, Biz, being an OSU fan. That seems to be making a lot of folks happy if nothing else. I’m glad for that.

    The whole weekend was pretty much what everyone thought it would be, except for Northern Illinois getting thumped.

  24. pattonbb says:

    Ugliest state?

    Stick with what you know, my friend.

  25. Wasn’t Wisconsin in the top 10 when they beat them this season? And why is everyone so gleeful that OSU lost? They’ve lost before and will lose again.

    Even us diehard Buckeye fans knew they weren’t National Championship material with that porous defense. They still put up 24 on MSU’s defense that was going to shut them down completely.

  26. Drew71 says:

    That game was the Tale of Three Cities.

    0-17 MSU.
    Then 24-0 OSU.
    Then 0-17 MSU.

    It was the best of games, it was the worst of games, it was the half of wisdom, it was the half of foolishness, it was the offense of belief, it was the defense of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.

  27. pattonbb says:

    Neal’s knee to the head was cowardly and cheap. Thornton’s actions were sickening. And nobody will care about either one in 2 or 3 days.

  28. Thank you, Alfred Lord Drewison.

  29. Drew71 says:

    By the way. Wisconsin opened the season with a loss to Arizona State and entered the OSU game 1-1, ranked 21 and 23 in the two poles. They later rose in the rankings but not at the time of the Buckeye game.

  30. Eric Bowser says:

    Bylsma to be fired for breaking the code… you know the one where you don’t give specifics or speculate about a player’s injury…. Bylsma should have known to say ‘upper body’ instead of talking about a concussion.

    There will be hell to pay for this transgression.

  31. Drew71 says:

    That would be the North Pole and the South Pole.

  32. Pucknutz says:

    Wow, DK, tell us what you really think.
    Super hard hitting column – I agree 100% – straight out mugging.

  33. hockeymonster says:

    So apparently the knuckledraggers united union(led by don cherry and various GM’s-you know who they are) will have you believe that if you or your kid has any amount of talent and can deliver clean hits you can expect to have to fight a no-talent having goon just cuz he cant catch you between the whistles within context of game to get even with another clean hit. Thats a good lesson to teach our youth and solid precedent for developing players??? Please…go back to your cave if you believe that.

    And everyone knows that boston was wound tight cuz of pacorietty’s hit on boychuck. By the way, was that hit reviewed??? Should be…alot of nonsense could be prevented if boarding calls were more punitive. Pacorietty clearly extended into boychuks numbers and launched him into the boards BUT what orpik did was a textbook hit that caught eriksson unaware. Orpik lined him up face to face, never left his feet and went out of his way to keep his elbow down to make sure hit was clean. Clean play, very unfortunate result.

    Neal’s play was of the accidentally on purpose variety that goes on in almost every game. Much less an intense rivalry game. To some extent we all know that between the whistles its about what you can get away with. Just about every player is a victim of this just like scuderi was when Clarkson slew footed him along the boards intentionally but with enough subtlety to avoid suspension. Its no different than being at the bottom of a pile after a tackle or fumble. Should neals knee be looked at by the league…sure. I’d even understand a suspension cuz its not a precedent we want. HOWEVER its not comparable to what thornton, bertuzzi or brashear did.

    I’ve said this before and will repeat again. Boarding calls should be double minors and majors more often and if the NHL wants to consider itself a major american sport they NEED AND MUST protect their stars. NBA and stern would suspend a player for looking a MJ crossed eyed let alone if he was a victim of a cheap shot. NFL practically put a red jersey on quarterbacks and punters get better league protection than Mario, sid, gretzky or anyone else could ever imagine receiving.

    Fighting as a result of play within whistles can still have its place if there are 2 willing combatants. And i ask the card carrying members of the knuckledraggers union why things didn’t settle down after engo and lucic fought??? Code says game will settle down after that fight. Why did thornton continue after orpik? Cuz he couldn’t catch him or anyone else to get even within the game cuz he’s a no talent having bum. He’s a decent player for an enforcer but there isn’t a single sane person that pays to see him play. He continued after orpik cuz he knows the rules as is don’t frown on after the whistle assaults. Fact that engo stood up to fight lucic and thornton still felt empowered to go after orpik after the whistle proves unequivocally that the Cherry’s, Burke’s and Clarke’s are nothing more than ignorant defenders of the chicken wire days of hockey! Embarrassments to all who love and appreciate the beauty of the game!

  34. Thundercrack says:

    He’s not sleeping until noon. He’s with the Steelers all day, obviously.

  35. Thundercrack says:

    I hope that I correctly pasted the link to a great article by Geoff Baker of the Seatle Times. It details some major disfunction with the Mariners and local guy Jack Z – their GM.

    Well written and lots of good insight. Might make some appreciate certain aspects of The Regime.

    (If the link doesn’t work you can find it at mlb traderrumors or google it)

  36. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Jason La Canfora (CBS) just reported that the Steelers WILL lose a draft pick from the Tomlin incident.
    Though “probably” later round, it will be determined after the playoffs are decided and compensatory picks are established.
    So nice that the innocent have to pay.
    Business as usual in the fan- friendly NFL.

  37. BTW, lost in the shuffle of college football and the Pens snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and being brutalized, excellent column by DK today.

  38. theplanisworking says:

    Sorry about last night, Reverend.

  39. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Good work Plan….On a another rotten plan by Roger Goodell and henchmen.

  40. Thanks friend. We move on. There are a few more important things in life.


  41. Drew71 says:

    Loved Breaking Bad.

    Hope AMC doesn’t create the spinoff they’re contemplating. Feels too After Mash to me. Let BB live and be relived on its own.

    See? I can be rounded. Stoopid. But rounded.

  42. Drew71 says:

    Very nicely said. Grace to the humble.

  43. Nate83 says:

    Hey, I went to little Bowling Green. It’s not so little actually (20,000 students). Except for a few down years while getting new coaches they have consistantly had good teams over the past 20 years. They always have plently offensive power. This year they where very young at the skill positions. They got a lot better as the year went along. After an embarrasing opening game lose to Indiana their only loses have been by 1 to Mississippi State and a close loss to a good Toledo team. They came into the NIU game just steamrolling their previous 4 oppenants.

    I know you weren’t ripping on them but I also know few people know much about the MAC. There is some talent in the conference. They don’t have the depth to compete with the big boys but there is enough High School talent in this area for them to recruit some very good althetes that may just be slightly undersized for big programs.

  44. Fetters says:

    Sykesville, MD

  45. theplanisworking says:

    With all the hype of MSU defense vs. OSU offense, who would have thought that the MSU offense would be the deciding factor?

  46. Nate83 says:

    I read that as well Thunder. From what I can tell from his time with the Indians Wedge is a pretty stand up guy. It sounds like many others besides him didn’t mind throwing these two men under the bus. I think but do not know that the Pirates have respect and trust in each other wether it’s between coaches and players, FO and players or coaches and FO. It’s obvious Seattle doesn’t have this dynamic. I have to believe that enviroment of not trusting each other rarely ends well.

  47. Anchor says:

    hockeymonster and DK,

    Good summary of the situation. After the whistle actions need to be major penalties, and slew-footing MMA elbow to the head need to be major suspensions.

    The NHL is too inconsistent in dealing with these situations. Matt Cooke was on the verge of being exiled for similar actions. Credit to him and the organization for getting his head straight and becoming a solid contributor. The NHL has not dealt that level of punishment on anyone else for similar (if not egregiously worse) actions. The message sent to the goons and the team organizations is not hitting them in the pocketbook or benches to force a change.

    Mario’s proposal to punish both player and organizations should be brought back to the table.

    Good solid play between the whistles and legal checking should be the message sent to our youth. I cringe to watch poorly coached kids at my Pee Wee and Squirt kid’s games. The SoCal message in the youth league is delivered strong to those that goon it up, ejection and suspension. This mold should go to the big leagues with suspensions impacting not only the wallets but also, teams should be forced to play with a short bench during that the suspension.


  48. Drew71 says:

    I lived in Perrysburg for part of the MAC’s heydays. Attended many games in the Glass Bowl from 99 to 03.

    Always had a soft spot for the conference. At the time, it had a history of QBs and coach grooming that made it a lot of fun to follow. A mostly offensive oriented brand of football that was easy on the eyes.

    From what I could see, the MAC did a great job (maybe still does) of getting great high school football players who were every bit as talented as the blue chippers but maybe a half step slower or two inches shorter than the major conference stopwatch crowd wanted. And with good MAC coaching, these guys just exploded.

    Glad to see the conference getting strong again. I think it is giving the American a run for its money.

  49. Drew71 says:

    The Toledo Rockets mascot was the stoopidest looking thing. Unstable. Goofy and not in a cute way. When he/she/it fell over it had trouble getting up.

    Just the perfect image for a football team.

  50. Nate83 says:

    Yes, because it’s a family site I won’t say what that mascot looked like. Seeing that thing hop around because it had no legs is great. They have a second mascot that is much better but that’s not the one ESPN shows on the Tuesday or Thursday night games.

  51. theplanisworking says:

    Thank You, Grantland Rice.

  52. hockeymonster says:

    Wow, someone mentioned my name in same sentence as dejan’s. Maybe i should quit bloggin while im ahead :)

  53. theplanisworking says:




  54. Sisyphus says:

    I’m surprised that the Pens aren’t saying that Orpik had a “lower body injury”, myself.

  55. Sarah says:

    RP: Neal has a conf call with the league , means 5 games or less.
    Thornton has an in-person conf with the league, means 6 games or more.

    And the Boston Herald is now painting Thornton as the VICTIM.

    Making Boston the new NHL leaders for cry-baby whining azzes. Doesn’t get more embarrassing than that.

  56. Jason81 says:

    Actually, the people trolling on DK’s instant column are finding ways to make it more embarrassing.

  57. JohninOshkosh says:

    +++++Well said.

  58. Sarah says:

    Is it fair to say BOS fans have now displaced PHL as the biggest azzes in the league?
    In know it’s a high bar…..but I think they have cleared it comfortably.

  59. Jason81 says:

    Actually, I think that would be a low bar that requires you to crawl through a sewage treatment plant to attain that level.

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