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Morning Java: The real Baby Penguins

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

NEW YORK – Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Thursday column from the Garden covers the Penguins’ maturation through drafting and developing. A lot of people were interviewed for this piece, but I especially want to thank Ray Shero and Tom Fitzgerald for a courteous, professional session in which they handled everything I threw at them — not all of it positive, to put it mildly — and gave real answers.

This was the interview with Simon Despres

And another one with Olli Maatta

Here’s the game story focusing on Brandon Sutter, from beat man Rob Rossi.

James Neal returns tonight against the Wild at Consol, by Rossi.

Random randomness from the scene: So Sidney Crosby gets a breakaway, and Ryan McDonagh’s stick chips his skate and knocks him off his feet. Referee Don VanMassenhoven calls a tripping minor. No penalty shot. Because there’d be no gain to the NHL of having its best player face one of its best goaltenders at the Garden and on national TV, never mind actually making the correct call. … Matt Niskanen was a beast among men, logging a ridiculous 29:44 of ice time that was right out of the old-school Mario Lemieux/Jaromir Jagr days. Maatta wasn’t far behind at 28:06 with a plus-1 rating. … Man, this team is going to be tired in facing the Wild back home tonight. … Sometimes it really isn’t anyone’s fault. On the Rangers’ first goal, Despres was torched by Carl Hagelin, who was absolutely flying. On the second, similarly, the Rangers built up a ton of speed in the neutral zone to back off the defense and force Marc-Andre Fleury to back up, as well. It all happened after Pascal Dupuis was tripped near center ice without a call. … One thing to note about Sutter: The guy’s been changing wingers as often as underwear, and all he’s done is his job. His teammates really respect that. … The Rangers tied the score with Maatta and Robert Bortuzzo as the PK defensemen, since Niskanen was the man in the box. Think about that. … It’s so very easy to see, with Rick Nash in the division, why the Blue Jackets were delighted to be rid of him. He couldn’t be more of a dog if he barked and played fetch. Waste of talent. … The most dominant trait of all the forwards the Penguins are calling up: They’re really small. Something to think about long-term. … The blue seats still do the “Potvin sucks!” chant here at the start of the third period. It takes an awful lot of hate to keep that going 30 years later. Impressive.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage.

Here’s Rangers news from the New York Post.

Here are official game highlights from

>> Assessing the Steelers’ special teams is Alan Robinson’s charge.

Some are playing for contracts, by Mark Kaboly.

Both gentlemen tackle both issues on video …

Here’s our full Steelers coverage.

Here’s Packers news from the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Here are official game highlights from

>> The Pirates signed some minor-league guys, by Travis Sawchik.

>> I’ll check in with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m. I’ll remind that there won’t be a chat this week because of the travel back home tomorrow.

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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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