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Morning Java: On Olympics, Orpik’s health, one viral post

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Tuesday do-it-yourself column question for the week: What’s an appropriate punishment for Shawn Thornton?

Remember the guidelines: Write no more than 100 words, enter it is a comment below this entry, and the three best will be run in tomorrow’s Morning Java. Feel free to add your name if you choose.

>> Proud to share here that I’ll be covering the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, for the Trib. This will be my fourth Games and, though I’ve known this for a while, I always wait until the day the credential arrives from the IOC. That was yesterday.

I’ll have much, much more on the details of the coverage plans as we get closer. We’re two months away.


>> The Penguins get enough from their young defensemen to stave off the Blue Jackets at Consol. Josh Yohe has the game story.

Still, the top priority is the health of Brooks Orpik in the aftermath of Thornton’s assault in Boston. And the news on that front wasn’t exactly upbeat, as Rob Rossi reports.

Here’s me freaking out on Winnipeg radio yesterday over Thornton.

In this video, Yohe and Rossi talk about fighting …

Random randomness from the scene: Kept my eye mostly on Robert Bortuzzo, because he’d been peculiarly benched for so long, and he more than earned his keep. Best side trait to Bortuzzo: He’s a bit of a hate magnet. Really seems to bother the opponent. The Penguins have been sorely missing that. …  I applauded — emphatically — the decision to send Simon Despres to Wilkes-Barre out of training camp, so it’s only fair to applaud the way he’s played since management astutely saw fit to rebuild his game from the back forward. He’s all defense now, and it shows. …Man, the Blue Jackets are just persecuted by the Penguins. Seriously, these guys look genuinely good against other teams, just crumble against this one. It will be interesting to see how that plays out now that they share a division and, especially, now that they’re run by outstanding hockey men in John Davidson, Craig Patrick and Jarmo Kekalainen. … I still hate seeing R.J. Umberger in another uniform. Used to ref his games when he was a child. Would have been really neat to see him become a Penguin. … Pascal Dupuis looked like his old self from the first shift, creating all over the attacking zone and eventually being rewarded with the key assist on Sidney Crosby’s winner. … Evgeni Malkin was hurt? Really? No one tell poor Fedor Tyutin that. … Would love to hear from some of you about your reaction after Marc-Andre Fleury shot that puck and nearly made franchise history. I never really thought it had a chance, but it would have been something. … Zach Sill looks like he heard about the lack of grit around here, huh?

Here’s our full Penguins coverage, including James Neal’s suspension. More on that from Rossi on the Chipped Ice blog.

Here’s Blue Jackets news from the Columbus Dispatch.

Here are official game highlights from

>> How many Steelers are in career survival mode? Alan Robinson assesses.

The weekly Steelers Film Session focuses on Troy Polamalu, by Mark Kaboly.

Here’s our full Steelers coverage.

Here’s Bengals news from the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Here are official game highlights from

Our panel on WPXI-TV’s Subway Final Word pretty much melted down on the subject of the Steelers the other night …

>> Pitt’s Aaron Donald is the Nagurski Award winner as college football’s best defensive player. Jerry DiPaola documents.

>> The Pirates weren’t moved to move at the opening of the Winter Meetings. Rob Biertempfel and Travis Sawchik are covering the event in Lake Buena Vista.

>> To wrap it up today, just wanted to note that Saturday’s instant column on the Thornton assault is the most visited post in this blog’s history. Or the history of any other blog I’ve ever had. And it’s more than double the previous mark.

Crazy stuff. All the more so because it came over the weekend, when all online usage is way down.

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Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

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