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Morning Java: For Team USA, it’s all about speed

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Thursday column is about Bill O’Brien, a breakfast we once had in Indianapolis and why nothing ever mattered to the guy while at Penn State beyond football.

Here’s our news coverage of O’Brien’s departure situation, by Penn State beat man Chris Adamski.

The Penn State community bids farewell, by Bob Cohn.

How this affects Christian Hackenberg, by Adamski.

Here’s Texans news from the Houston Chronicle. The formal announcement is expected today from O’Brien’s new NFL employer.

And here, for the record, was my first column on O’Brien from the breakfast cited above, as well as a September column from State College. Pretty easy to see I’ve liked the guy from Day 1.

>> The Winter Classic at the Big House made for a visual delight on TV, including the wonderful National Anthem performed above, but the biggest news came after the Leafs’ shootout victory, when Team USA for Sochi was announced.

Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin made the cut, as Rob Rossi reports. But a local hopeful, Brandon Saad of the Blackhawks via Gibsonia, did not. Josh Yohe has the latter.

Brianne McLaughlin of Robert Morris made it on the women’s side for a second consecutive Olympics. Rossi has that.

All that I’ll add here — and, obviously, there will be a lot more as we get closer to Russia — is that it’s evident this is being built into a Dan Bylsma-type team. That means speed, speed, speed. Some extraordinary insight is available through this super-long article by ESPN’s Scott Burnside, who was embedded for four months with Team USA’s decision-makers, and speed is cited throughout.

The two most obvious snubs are Bobby Ryan of the Senators and Keith Yandle of the Coyotes, but neither offends me much. I’ll assume Blake Wheeler of the Jets was the last forward to make it — he started off slowly in Winnipeg — but I’ve long loved size, speed and hands. He’ll be perfect for the big rink. And Yandle … well, read that embedded stuff and you’ll see David Poile, Ray Shero, Brian Burke and company just flat-out didn’t like him. I like the choice of the Capitals’ John Carlson for the blue line instead. Very solid shutdown guy, a bit younger than most at 24, maybe a better overall fit.

Overall outlook?

Ask me after we see how Jonathan Quick comes along health-wise with the Kings. That kid can win any tournament, almost by himself.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage.

Here’s Rangers news from the New York Post.

Here are official game highlights from NHL.com, including tons of extras available from Ann Arbor. Can’t say enough about what a great idea these outdoor games have been.

>> Pitt and hot-shooting Cam Wright brace for their ACC opener at N.C. State, by Kevin Gorman. I’ll be flying to Raleigh this weekend to cover that game for a Sunday column.

>> More no-huddle wins over Ben Roethlisberger, by Alan Robinson.

Here’s our full Steelers coverage.

Here are official game highlights from NFL.com.

>> I’ll check in with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m. It’s the easiest station in the world to find. One click on that link, and we’re there.

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.

Comments

  1. Milo Hamilton says:

    The only thing more entertaining than Bill O’Brien leaving Penn State after 2 seasons would have been if he’d gone after 1. The Joebots never fail to deliver. Now we need a long drawn out search with the top choices saying thanks, but no thanks. This will be better than any movie & it’s free.

    Pass the popcorn and the Junior Mints.

  2. Milo Hamilton says:

    Oh, and the stuff about the Joebots being a small vocal minority ? Funniest thing I’ve heard all year.

    DK: None of us can know for sure. All I know, Milo, is that I was hearing from the same 10-12 people repeatedly through Twitter, then another handful through email or here on the blog. That was it. And as soon as I blocked those people on Twitter, it was reduced to silence.

    Generally speaking, a really broad cause tends to have more of a cockroach’s existence, where it just keeps coming at you in waves.

  3. Wild Bill says:

    I’m curious, Milo. What do you think they are?

  4. Eric Bowser says:

    Team USA
    - Surprised Fowler picked over Yandle and more about Stepan over Ryan. I’m not sure I understand the love for Stepan that many have for him, he was an empty jersey a few non-Penguins games that I watched this year.

    - Team USA defense looks like the Penguins with Orpik-Martin, Suter-Carlson, McDonagh-Shattenkirk as the top six with Faulk and Fowler in reserve. Clear Bylsma and staff wanted guys who can skate, stay positionally sound within the system, and make a quick clean pass up to the forwards.

    - No problem with the goaltenders of Miller, Quick, and Howard. I think Miller is the go-to-guy and not Quick but I know I’m in the minority on that topic.

    - Not really crazy about all this attention how Ryan isn’t intense and doesn’t make sense for the 4th line. Well, then bring him to Sochi as an extra in the event of the top six get injured.

    - Right now, 4th line to be would be Stastny centering Pacioretty and Callahan with Stepan and Wheeler waiting in the wings.

    - The other top 3 lines will probably be
    Parise – Pavelski – Kane
    Van Riemsdyk – Kesler – Kessel
    Oshie – Backes – Brown

    - Since I prefer left-handed LW and right-handed RW, my lines would look a little different.
    Kane – Pavelski – Brown
    Parise – Backes – Oshie
    Van Riemsdyk – Kesler – Kessel
    Pacioretty – Stastny – Callahan

  5. Wild Bill says:

    Interesting, Eric. I feel like this squad is least adequate in the chosen centers, compared to other top teams. Your thoughts?

  6. hockeymonster says:

    Carlson, Fowler and faulk but no jack johnson? Those are all good players but Russia, Sweden and Canada isn’t gonna be worried about slowing down n keeping their heads up with those guys in the ice. Orpik and JJ would’ve given you a unique element of mobile physicality with plenty of finesse from PM n shattenkirk n etc.

    And wheeler and stepan over saad n ryan? I dunno…saad has basically been a top 6 forward for hawks with great possession numbers to go with skill n grit along the boards. Saad, Brown and Callahan would give you good mix of role players to go with interchangeable centers.

  7. Eric Bowser says:

    Against Canada, I still think they have the better centers and forward depth.

    If I was picking Team Canada
    Neal – Crosby – Bergeron
    St. Louis – Getzlaf – Perry
    Tavares – Toews – Sharp
    Benn – E.Staal – Stamkos
    Extra: Hall – Seguin

    Defense:
    Keith – Doughty
    Staal – Weber
    Bouwmeester – Pietrangelo
    Extra: Phaneuf – Subban

    Goalies
    Fleury – Luongo – Price

  8. Eric Bowser says:

    I would have preferred Saad and Ryan on the team instead of Stepan and Pacioretty.

    DK: Pacioretty’s a beast. Wrecking crew.

  9. hockeymonster says:

    I had pacioretty in my top 9. I know age n experience matters but saad kicked the door down and IMO displayed more versatility than wheeler or stepan could offer. I had Ryan in my top 12-14 but if they wanna someone else a shot that’s fine. I’m just seeing way too much finesse, especially on defense.

  10. Milo Hamilton says:

    I just think there are way more of them than some people think.

    I really think DK hit it out of the park (did someone mention baseball ?) with his column. I heard Cory Giger on a national show today say that Greg Schiano is a bad idea because he tends to be prickly & they need someone to be a healer. No, they need someone to coach football.

    DK: My problem with Schiano is that he hasn’t been very good at coaching football.

  11. Bizrow says:

    Just IMO, but the cancer at PSU seems to continue.

    No offense to any PSU graduates, I’ve always been a Pitt fan, but lately have learned to like Penn State, thru many posters

    My thoughts are only based on something I saw on TV

    “Don’t you know, it seems to go, you don’t know what its got till its gone”

    So how is that Tigers bullpen??

  12. Wild Bill says:

    Interesting. In my experience as an alum in my late 50s, most of those I know who are irrational about Joe are past retirement age. And maybe the folks I hang with are also not as typical as I think we are.

    I am concerned with who the next football coach is, but I’m a lot more concerned with who the next University President will be, and agree that such a person should be the face of the university, not the football coach. PSU has always been so much more to me than a football team.

    I do think that the search process will move faster than you do, if only for the experience gained from having had to do it just two years ago.

  13. Eric Bowser says:

    Absolutely agree about the finesse on defense for USA. I think that’s why Orpik was a lock so quickly in their evaluation process. US defensemen will need to be quick (mentally and physically).

  14. theplanisworking says:

    *Sad to see Coach O’Brien go, but it is his right.
    *Players he brought there, or stayed, should be allowed to transfer without penalty, but that will never happen.
    *If a coach is hired to “get back to Penn State football”, i.e. JoePa football, I feel that would be a huge mistake.
    *I also feel that the “Joebots” are not a minority. They are a big faction at Penn State. They need to just move on for the betterment of the university.

    * Is Franco still conducting his “investigation for the truth”?

  15. CeeHowUr says:

    I think people are reacting to the earlier media reports that he O’Brien was telling recruits that he was staying, which apparently was never the case. While it now appears he was using Penn St as a stepping stone to the NFL from the moment he was hired, many believed that he had embraced the university and was in it for the long haul. Even last year it appeared he was just using the NFL’s interest to increase his salary. If he didn’t want to be here for the long haul, then good riddance as it gets to be detrimental to any football program when the HC is constantly looking at other offers.

    The story beneath the story is the continued mismanagement of the situation by the administrators, or in this case primarily the AD. If you are looking for a long term solution as HC, why would you reduce the buyout in the contract? O’Brien certainly seemed to embrace the whole school spirit thing, but now it feels like he wasn’t very sincere. I sense the administration was sticking their noses into how the football operation was being run, so they didn’t run into a situation where it appeared the HC was calling the shots as everyone thought was happening under Paterno. Unfortunately, nobody at PSU seems to be very good at managing anything, from the BOT, to the President, to the AD. I wouldn’t want any of those people managing my public relations campaign.

    My hope is that they can find a quality HC that wants to be there for at east 8-10 years if he’s successful. I think it will take some time to eliminate comparisons to Paterno. It happens everyplace where an iconic coach leaves the program.

  16. Wild Bill says:

    Appreciated the PSU article, DK. After having had a day to digest the idea of BoB leaving, I think that what bothered me most was the potential for the process of change that he represented being disrupted. I thought he did a great job, and most alums I know thought the same. His leaving for his greater ambition does not change that.

    Maybe O’Brien did not fully realize how much support he truly had within the PSU community, but I still think this was as Jim said last night, a “pro” guy having a big chance for a potentially great pro job. The idea of a coach being able to just be a coach is a good one, and PSU has several such coaches already. Maybe the next football coach can join them.

  17. TJ says:

    The thing that amazes me about the BOB story is that he leaves as almost a cult hero in some circles. And in some they are upset that he would lie and leave after 2 years. Why is this at all a surprise? The man interviewed with NFL teams LAST off season and then had his buyout lowered this year. It wasn’t a matter of IF BOB was going to leave but rather when.

    I give BOB credit for taking over a tremendous task but I believe he did so knowing he had little to lose and his dreams to gain. I would never in a million years compare BOB to Todd Graham; it’s almost a sin to consider. But would there be such fluff written if this was a coach at any other college? Don’t think for one minute that BOB took that job to be a lifer; I give him credit for never giving such indication. But the bottom line to me again is not the fact that he is leaving but what he is leaving behind. Is BOB really leaving PSU in a better position? In some eyes he is a savior or the builder; but what savior brings you half way to shore and let’s go? What builder lays the foundation and walks off the job?

    Just another coach doing what’s best for him; he took advantage of the opportunity and made the most of it. But let’s not get into “legacy” and the work he did… He kept hope alive and kept PSU from sinking into non-existence and he is being rewarded for it. But the writing has been on the wall for quite some time that he would not be around long

  18. theplanisworking says:

    Per ESPN:

    Bucs to hire Lovie Smith as Head Coach.
    Let the hiring of re-treads begin !

  19. theplanisworking says:

    What happened to the popcorn and Junior Mints? ;)

  20. tpbco says:

    Can’t believe I read what I read.

    Wow…just wow.

  21. Milo Hamilton says:

    I want to see how far I can go without repeating snacks.

  22. Bizrow says:

    You have to sit in the peanut gallery

    I don’t think Junior Mints were invented back then

  23. theplanisworking says:

    Oh, gotcha. Good job.

    I just read that “article”.
    Good Lord, 10 minutes of my life wasted.

    We are in agreement that the “Joe supporters” are NOT the minority. This piece just keeps the goofiness going.

  24. tpbco says:

    It’s not goofiness…it is a cult.

  25. Wild Bill says:

    The author held one point of view. There were a bunch of other points of view among the 485 comments (as of that moment).

    There’s much better entertainment around than this stuff, Milo. This blog of DK’s is a good example.

  26. JohninOshkosh says:

    I bet Gerry Faust ain’t doing nothing these days….

  27. theplanisworking says:

    I was trying to be nice. ;)

  28. hockeymonster says:

    Holy cow…that article by Burnside took forever.

    Still don’t see how Stepan and Wheeler help more than Saad. Rationale for leaving Ryan off is sound but not like Wheeler is accomplished at anything other than mediocrity. Callahan can play center in a pinch instead of Stepan while Saad adds to PK and helps along the wall.

    Article by Burnside referenced bad dreams and nightmare scenarios. With Orpik being only physical presence on d not being able to handle Canada or Sweden in front of our net or on the boards would be mine.

    DK: You don’t like Carlson and Shattenkirk defensively?

    I really like Wheeler. Been producing in Winnipeg with scrap for centers for a couple years now. Hard to even picture him with a real playmaker.

  29. Drew71 says:

    Interesting column. I learned some things I didn’t know.

    I disagree with this point…

    “but the cold fact is that Sandusky ensured your university’s behavior will be judged more harshly than that of your peers.”

    Wrong, in my opinion.

    From the perspective of the university’s behavior that will be judged, it’s NOT Sandusky, but rather the university leadership’s active, self-serving and likely illegal COVERUP of Sandusky. THAT is why the university’s behavior will be judged.

    Sandusky committed horrible, unspeakable crimes against children. I am not suggesting that those crimes were less important than the coverup. But Sandusky did not (almost) bring down the university. The university leadership itself did that.

    So I would suggest that the perspective should be…(my edits in caps)…

    ‘but the cold fact is that THE UNIVERSITY LEADERSHIP’S COVERUP OF Sandusky’S ACTIONS ensured your university’s behavior will be judged more harshly than that of your peers.’

    That said, this was not the main focus of the column, so I am making a tangential nitpick of a tangential point.

    I’m just a little sensitive about wanting to ensure that BOTH Sandusky AND the university leadership (at that time) are separately called out for their crimes.

    DK: You’re right, Drew, and that’s actually what I meant. I meant the ‘Sandusky scandal’ as a whole, as referenced earlier in the column. I easily could have repeated the word, though, and probably should have.

  30. tpbco says:

    Out of respect for penn state alumi I know, I ‘ve been nice (quiet) for two years.

    It’s not ending. It worse.

  31. Thundercrack says:

    ‘If it’s just a wacko minority saying such stuff, then maybe more folks should be shouting them down.’

    If you chase after a wacko minority saying stuff on the internet and try to shout them down, then that makes you a wacko.

  32. Thundercrack says:

    O’Brien declined overtures from the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles a year ago.
    ——–
    That was from Bob Cohn’s article.

    I thought O’Brien did interview with both of those teams. Does anyone know for sure?

    DK: I know O’Brien interviewed with the Browns.

  33. tpbco says:

    Maybe so.

    But then the situation is then defined by the wackos.

  34. Reading says:

    Disappointed that BOB would leave now as I was interested in seeing whether he could make PSU a legitimate contender for the National Championship in a few more years. I guess, however, that falls under a “play football” mentality.

  35. Brandie says:

    To those posting anything about PSU…

    As an alum the departure of Coach O’Brien is not surprising. This does not make me sad. The job of PSU Football Coach is a “Butterface ” job anyway…you know, she has a dynamite body, great personality, “butter face”…

    It is a thankless job aside from the potential of financial rewards, either real or potential. You are under the microscope of people who take this stuff way too seriously and think that, somehow, Coach O’Brien and those who come after, owe you their very loyalty and should save nothing for themselves, their families, and their own dreams. For those who are in the whack job minority, how very self absorbed and misguided.

    DK,

    Thank you for having the guts to write this article and, in you own way, talk down those who are all about the “Coach as Messiah” and “Football as Religion” point of view. I will always respect both Coach Paterno and Coach O’Brienfor what they have accomplished, but it’s time to move forward and get a coach, a for real coach, not a band aid, not a glad hander that is a tool of the Penn State, straight up, brain trust, Borg Collective Regime.

  36. Jandy says:

    +++++

  37. scapper says:

    Very well said.

  38. kr70 says:

    amen…he would be a disaster. Best name I’ve heard is Franklin from Vanderbuilt, I think he would like working with Hackenberg.

  39. kr70 says:

    too many snacks and you have to wear a hoody to hide the turkey neck

  40. Dom says:

    I apologize if this has been report before but the Steelers 2014 opponents have been announced. We’re facing the NFC south, KC, Indy, Houston, Jets, Titans, and the Jags.

    If we match our division record next year and defeat the teams that ended the year at .500 or below, such as the Jags, Titans, Jets, Texans, Buccaneers, and the Falcons, we’ll end up with a record of 10-6.

    With that schedule, I think it might be possible obtain entry in the post season.

  41. Dom says:

    Don’t you feel he should have honored the contract he signed?

  42. kr70 says:

    DREW RIGHT…admitted by DK…that should be on the front page

  43. kr70 says:

    you don’t know football coach’s contracts are printed on charmin???

  44. Dom says:

    Fair point.

    I really don’t care either way. I’m not much of a college football fan and certainly not a fan of Penn State.

  45. Jandy says:

    Dom, if someone offered you a job with more pay and better benefits, plus more prestige, wouldn’t you take it?

  46. Jandy says:

    ZING!!!!!

  47. radio wave says:

    DK: great article this morning.
    And equally good give and take on the blog too. As an outsider, i am particuarly moved by the heartfelt comments of the PSU alums.

  48. Drew71 says:

    I’m speechless.

    Wait. Let me draft a 2,000 word essay about how speechless I am.

  49. radio wave says:

    Concerning Olympics hockey; who is favored? How does the U.S. rate?

  50. 21sthebest says:

    I think the best way to make the “wacko minority” irrelevant or to quiet them down, whether they be pro Paterno types or sensitive Pirate fans on Twitter is to ignore them.

  51. Isn’t that it up above?

  52. Dom says:

    Not if it meant losing this argument… ;)

    I thought PSU fans would have felt that he should have finished up 2014 with the team given the unique circumstances.

  53. Drew71 says:

    He did interview with Cleveland. And they let it leak that he didn’t interview well.

    So. Is that an indication that he learned from his first NFL interview and improved with his second? Things like: be prepared to outline who your assistant coaches will be, how your organization will be run…not just football Qs

    Or…

    Is it an indication that the we-know-best blockheads who run the Browns can’t handle a hard nosed, no nonsense, no pretense, get-outta-my-way football guy?

    Or…

    Is it an indication that if you can repeatedly demonstrate, season after season (ok, 2) that you can win and coach and coach through obstacles, that it doesn’t matter how you interview?

  54. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t think it’s that black and white Jandy. Depends on many factors, IMO.

  55. Brandie says:

    From the reports I am reading, the powers that be should have honored his desire to be a football coach, not a figure head. The brain trust has been down this road before with disastrous results. You would think they have learned the lesson that the Prpenn State Way is tainted.

  56. Steve says:

    O’Brien’s 15 – 9 career record was built via some big wins over Eastern Michigan, Temple, Illinois and variousB1G bottom feeders. A 10 – 6 conference record in two years. Their new coach faces a murderer’s row of Akron, Rutgers, UMass and Northwestern in the early 2014 season….As long as they continue to schedule like that, the new guy will do just fine and everyone will be happy in the valley.

    O’Brien never made it a secret that he wanted to get back to the NFL. Welcome to 2014 Penn State fans.

  57. Brandie says:

    Penn State Way! My typing skills are tainted as well.

  58. Drew71 says:

    Re: Vocal Minority (or not):

    “I was hearing from the same 10-12 people repeatedly through Twitter…And as soon as I blocked those people on Twitter, it was reduced to silence.

    “Generally speaking, a really broad cause tends to have more of a cockroach’s existence, where it just keeps coming at you in waves.”

    I buy the numbers behind that logic.

    But I also recognize THESE numbers…

    Some of the Vocal Minority have run for, and consistently WON, seats on Penn States Board of Trustees.

    It was not a coup. So the Paterno Nuts ACQUIRED MORE VOTES (numbers) than the mainstream, often incumbent candidates.

    Maybe it IS a VOCAL minority.

    Maybe the minority is backed up, to use Nixonian terms, by a silent MAJORITY.

  59. Dom says:

    Buccaneers hire Lovie Smith as their head coach.

  60. Dom says:

    Canada and Russia are at the top of the odds the last time I checked.

    The US is 4th behind Sweden.

  61. Dom says:

    Yeah, one could make the argument that O’Brien took the job to get the team and school back on track. I thought that these particular circumstances were unique.

  62. Jandy says:

    21, I do see your point, but who can fault the guy? I mean, seriously.

  63. Jandy says:

    Jandy Typo disease strikes again!

  64. Jandy says:

    indeed.

  65. Jandy says:

    Plan already reported that ^^ there somewhere :)
    Happy New Year, Domski!

  66. Jandy says:

    ZING!

    LOL

  67. Drew71 says:

    As long as O’Brien pays the $6M early exit fee, he IS honoring his contracts.

    Nearly all contracts have termination clauses.

    Some contracts have EARLY termination clauses.

    If you exercise such a clause, you are NOT breaking the contract. You are terminating it according to the terms of that contract.

    If Penn State didn’t want that to happen, they had other choices:

    1. Two years ago, hire a candidate without such obvious interest in the NFL that the first contract had a $19M exit fee.
    2. Instead, hire a guy like Bradley, an insider, who would see this as his last job, his dream job.

    I think they made the right choice at the time, facing the circumstances as they stood two years ago.

    Circumstances have changed. Maybe now, in large part thanks to O’Brien, Penn State can hire a coach who fits TWO qualifications: a first rung coach AND one who is more likely to see a major college program as a destination in itself.

    Yep. In large part thanks to O’Brien. Who will honor his contract when he pays the exit fee.

    Contracts are not about “the spirit of”. They are about defining legal terms.

    We don’t have to like it. I happen, in this case, to think it was a fair trade.

  68. Dom says:

    Thank you!

    A happy 2014 to you and your family.

  69. Nate83 says:

    Cleveland saying he didn’t interview well probably means he will be an awesome NFL coach. They obviously don’t know how to recognize one. They had Bill Belichick and fired him.

  70. Brandie says:

    Blessed New Year Lunatics!

  71. Thundercrack says:

    I think this just highlights a group of PSU fans that still can’t face the current state of college football and that the university that they love is basically just like all the rest:

    - It is going to be a VERY long time before the head football coach will be the most powerful man on campus

    -your head football coach is not going to be on the job for 20+ years
    - the job of head football coach at PSU can be used as a springboard to a better job at another university or the NFL (which also means that someone may think that there is a better job in college out there)

  72. Thundercrack says:

    DK
    I think you should try to interview Lavar Arrington. I read some of his quotes in the other articles that you provided links to above.

    I don’t agree with him but he certainly has some strong ideas & feelings about PSU football and this situation. He represents an interesting ‘side’ in this —- and he can articulate it without calling O’Brien “vermin”

  73. Drew71 says:

    “DK: My problem with Schiano is that he hasn’t been very good at coaching football.”

    I think Schiano can coach. I THINK.

    Even through losses, his team played hard for him this year. A team put together by GM Dominik, also fired, who made years and years of bad decisions. (Freeman. Trading UP for Freeman. Many more.)

    And I think his shtick is likely to work better with young men than paid professionals.

    And I think that at Rutgers he recruited better than his predecessors.

    I think I think these things.

    Would I take that chance at a re-emerging Big 10 program such as Penn State’s?

    Nope.

    I think Schiano needs a college football landing zone rather than a destination zone. As UCF provided to George O’Leary after his 5-day Notre Dame debacle (with two years between as an NFL assistant).

    A Rice, Vandy, UCF of 2007 or so.

    But not a Penn State of 2014 and beyond.

  74. Jandy says:

    To you and yours, too, Brandecita!

  75. hockeymonster says:

    I’m not too enamored with Carlson but shattenkirk has improved quite a bit. Mainly my point was that there’s a lot of redundant finesse on the squad when you add fowler to Carlson and Faulk. Not too mention shattenkirk and PM. Fowler IMO has arrived but I would’ve found a way to get Jack J. on the squad so you have more than one physical presence. Probably would’ve taken him over carlson. Mindset from the russians, swedes and canadians would be different if they knew that JJ or Orpik are on the ice for 2 out of 3 shifts.

    Wheeler is a somewhat soft finesse player. He has hands but IMO they’re perimeter hands. He has speed but its perimeter speed. Saad versatility would’ve given us better chance to grind it out against the likes of canada, sweden and russia. Our forwards as a group aren’t soft so you can blend wheeler in but IMO saad is just a better all around player. Sounds like they were hell bent on 5 centers which is sound logic so taking stepan over ryan makes sense.

  76. Drew71 says:

    Nah. That was just warning up.

  77. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t fault the guy really but it doesn’t sit well particularly with me that he’s leaving already and that another organization pursued him. Not the end of the world though.

  78. 21sthebest says:

    +1 @ Drew. Except that in my opinion, hiring Bradley is too risky.

  79. Thundercrack says:

    I wonder if O’Brien paid close attention to Schiano’s career.

    Didn’t Schiano have a few really good years at Rutgers (surprisingly good seasons that caught everyone’s attention) and then he sort of plateaued.

    Strike while you are hot.

    Schiano almost blew his chance at the NFL. He may have only gotten the job with the Bucs because Kelly turned them down (or changed his mind).

    I think BoB is very aware what could happen if he is no longer the ‘hottest’ college candidate.

  80. Wild Bill says:

    Drew, you have a point – but here’s another way to look at it. Nobody at PSU was happy with the BoT when the mess went down. Not the “Joebots”, and not people like me. But we were unhappy for different reasons. The first group was mad that the BoT did harm to Joe and his legacy by firing him with a phone call. Some of us thought, given the circumstances, they had no better choice.

    But a much broader group was upset that Mark Emmert’s beat down of an already horrified university community went unchallenged by the BoT and the interim President they put in charge. That’s a toxic mixture for BoT candidates running for re-election.

    The BoT structure itself is something out of the 19th century that must be changed to reflect a major university in 2014 and beyond. But they have to be the ones to do it, and a lot of them have been on the Board for a long time. It’s a little like asking Congress to change itself.

    So – and this is where you’re exactly correct – the Joe oriented “reform” candidates have had the upper hand lately. If other reformers run, I think they can be elected too. But it will take time to see if all these new people care about is Joe. I’d like to think that’s not the case, and they won’t like running a major university in the long run if they don’t care about more than Joe’s legacy.

  81. Wild Bill says:

    For all the hockey folks on here, there’s a great article on SI.com by Scott Burnside about the construction of the U.S. Team. Real insider view, and Bylsma and Shero and others figure prominently!

  82. JohnS says:

    None of those seats matter in the end. The board is so big that the alumni elected Trustees really have no say (9 of 32). All the rest are political/business appointees save the University President.

    As to O’Brien there were very few fans that did not support him as head coach. Even in looking at message board bile there was nearly unanimous support. His rant to David Jones about his firing Ron Vanderlinden or people saying the the new DC Bulter stunk and was in over his head is no different than any fan questioning moves they believe hurt their team. Much like the constant harping about Haley being terrible and Lebeau’s defense being too complicated. Head coaches are questioned by fans everywhere and has nothing to do with previous regimes. If a head coach is bothered by that than he is in the wrong career.

    As to going back in house, unless they would hire Tom Bradley there really isn’t an “in house” anymore. If they would pick an Al Golden they would be picking a guy with his own program. Yes he coached at Penn State but he has also coached for George Welsh, Tom O’Brien, and Al Groh, as well as having his own program. Schiano is the same way. Brief stop at Penn State (5 years) but most of his work elsewhere.

    I am hopeful that make a good hire because as fans of other teams know instability leads to bad teams. You can’t keep changing programs every few years and have success.

  83. AJS says:

    Dejan,

    Couldn’t agree more about the kind of coach Penn State needs. Someone who is all football. unfortunately it seems that the biggest reason O’Brien left was that a college job entails more than “all football.”

    It entails dealing with boosters to increase donation levels and going on coach’s carivan.

    Some of those boosters never liked O’Brien and never will. He wasn’t a Penn State guy. Call them Paterno people or purists or whatever you want to call them. There was obviously a lot of tension between him and his superiors, both of whom are leaving their posts very soon.

    If Penn State was wise they would hire a strong figure head preasident and an all about football head coach. I guess as long as that head coach is a “Penn State Guy” then the donors will be happy.

    I still struggle mightilly with my feelings about Joe Paterno. The evidence is pretty damning that he understood at the very least what was going on in that locker room the day that Big Red went into his office. And that he really should have done more to figure out why this man was still on campus let alone in his locker room. And that there is a pretty good chance he talked the AD and President into lower punishment. And all that is such a shame when you consider everything else he did for that university. Outside of football. The man built a library. Heck his success built an entire campus.

    I like to remember all the good the man did only to be reminded how disappointing the last 10 years or so of his life behind the scenes really was.

  84. SeanAY says:

    Visiting Raleigh for the weekend? If you like good, authentic Carolina barbecue, go to The Pit downtown. It’s Dereck Whittenburg’s favorite place, and it is absolutely fantastic.

  85. Damon says:

    Hope everyone had a Happy Holiday and New Year!

    I’ve heard/read several rumors that Shero is on the phones looking for a Dupuis replacement. This one is the craziest (note the “and”):
    “The general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ray Shero, has an alleged interest in trading for Jets Andrew Ladd, Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler (aka Winnipeg’s three best forwards not named Bryan Little). Obviously the price for each would be awfully steep.”
    Here’s the article:
    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/sports/hockey/jets/penguins-want–jet-fuel-238204011.html

    The best one I’ve heard so far is Shero looking to get Moulson from Buffalo…..

  86. NMR says:

    The “Joe supporters” and “Joebots” aren’t even close to being the same thing.

    I don’t doubt at all that the majority of the Penn State community “support” Joe Paterno, while acknowledging his faults. There is nothing “cult” about that.

    The “Joebots” are the extreme minority who cannot look past the good Paterno did in his six decades enough to accept the reprocussions of his actions surrounding Sandusky.

  87. Jandy says:

    +++++

  88. Jandy says:

    Lord, we’re in trouble now!

  89. NMR says:

    Thank you!!

  90. theplanisworking says:

    And you are entitled to this distinction. You maybe correct, also.

    Many people dont see any difference, and that is their right also.

    Unfortunately, most who support Paterno dont articulate that they acknowledge his faults. If one doesnt admit it, how does anyone know that they believe he did wrong?

    Finally, if , as you say, the “Joebots” are indeed an extreme minority, then they should be easily dismissed, and rarely heard from. That isnt the case. I think they are a much bigger group than you are acknowledging…….

  91. NMR says:

    Man, excellent comment. Top to bottom.

    O’Brien was incredibly naive to accept ANY college job thinking it would only be about football. Just doesn’t work that way.

    And the next President is ABSOLUTELY the most important hire.

  92. Milo Hamilton says:

    A small story on Greg Schiano’s reaction to the scandal surrounding his former boss, Jerry Sandusky:

    http://www.nj.com/rutgersfootball/index.ssf/2011/11/rutgers_coach_greg_schiano_cal.html

  93. Milo Hamilton says:

    That impressive Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor will certainly look good on George O’Leary’s resume. :)

  94. NMR says:

    One piece of advice: what you read on the internet is NOT an accurate representation of reality.

    I don’t have any doubt that you and Milo and Biz, etc read far more internet commenters than talk to real live Penn State supporters. This should be obvious and understandable, logistically speaking.

    But unfortunately, I can guarantee you’re getting a skewed cross section of the PSU community.

  95. 21sthebest says:

    And I mean not to even mention their existence.

  96. NMR says:

    Oh, and one more thing…

    “…if , as you say, the “Joebots” are indeed an extreme minority, then they should be easily dismissed, and rarely heard from. That isnt the case.”

    They cannot be “easily dismissed” as long as you, Milo, Dejan, and everyone else keep bringing them up. You guys give them a voice. As a Penn State alum, a cannot wait for the day that I don’t have to read anything more about them. That day will not come until people stop referencing them and their views.

  97. Drew71 says:

    I agree. I was using Bradley as a real life example from two years ago, not as a go-forward suggestion.

  98. NMR says:

    Just to be clear, I’m not knocking you guys at all. Your opinions, your choice.

    But the logic behind the “Joebots” vs the rest of PSU is not accurate, at least to the degree that gets stated.

    And consider me the vocal MAJORITY that you don’t seem to be hearing from.

  99. chethejet says:

    Not one mention of the actual football and how Penn State has not been a factor in collegiate football for many many years. Much to do about nothing. Maybe don’t keep a coach around in his 80′s who can’t be fired by his superiors. Maybe having a coach whose football and business interests at Penn State were so intertwined that he was the most powerful and corrupting influence at Happy Valley. Yet this administration names a interim coach who was not held to any account by Paterno for his personal behavior that would have gotten him fired at just about any other University. Yet according to George Mitchel who never met a check he wouldn’t cash things are proceeding along the NCAA change of culture path oh so well.

  100. Dom says:

    I read that there are more than 7000 tickets still available for the game on Sunday.

    Has The Green Bay/Milwaukee area become more of a baseball town?

  101. Wild Bill says:

    Good stuff, John.

  102. Wild Bill says:

    Really good, both of you.

  103. Thundercrack says:

    Rumor is that people in the Green Bay/Milwaukee area are more concerned with the Tigers’ bullpen.

  104. Wild Bill says:

    Bet we hear from John on this one!

  105. Arriba Wilver says:

    That was a different Cleveland Browns and Belicheck did suck as a head coach there.

    The overall point is certainly valid.

  106. Thundercrack says:

    One thing that I hope happens is that Bill O’Brien comes out and gives details on his time at Penn State.
    Meaning, what problems he had and issues there were with the PSU administration. And the problems he had with the ‘Paterno wackos’.

    I am interested in the administration. I don’t care about what the wackos think. But I would like to know how much overlap there is.

  107. NMR says:

    Couple random comments…

    -Excellent conclusion to Dejan’s coverage of Bill O’Brien. DK had a read on the guy from Day 1.

    -The calls for the next President to be the “figurehead” that O’Brien didn’t want to be seem odd. How many can actually name more than the President of your alma mater? Who can even name that guy? This is college football. The coach is the highest paid and most visible person at the University. If you’re like me and would rather see the whole thing blown up, then great. But until that day, this is reality.

    -Bill O’Brien is a very smart man. So smart that he used Penn State from Day 1. Where others saw a toxic environment, he saw a massive opportunity. O’Brien never hid his dream of becoming an NFL Head Coach. By controlling the situation surrounding the scandal, he was able to go from the-guy-who-yelled-at-Tom-Brady to the most coveted professional coach after only one mediocre season of college football. Amazing, really.

    He should not be judged poorly because of this, IMO, as he more than fullfilled his duties to the University while he was there. He is an excellent example of trusty your ability and welcoming adversity.

  108. Drew71 says:

    Your view of history, Bill, may be right.

    At time, there were three rather vocal groups, and you did a nice job outlining two of them:
    - JoeBots
    - Horrified university community that nevertheless, without justifying the coverup, felt that the Board gave up too much
    - The third: plenty were calling for the institutional death penalty. I think Dejan was one and he was far from alone among sports columnists.

    My perception, as with anyone’s, is clouded by my own opinions.

    I fall into NONE of those three groups. My opinion then, which found little traction, was that Penn State should be hit with NEARLY everything, just short of the ultimate penalty, to try to realign its almost sickening priorities. (By the way, remember, I am an alumnus.)

    So. I supported the NCAA’s draconian-but-not-quite-death-penalty, and still do so today.

    Probably an even less popular opinion today since Emmert has been mostly discredited as a leader on many other non-PSU matters.

    I also supported the slight relaxation of penalties. Not because they were wrong in the first place but because beyond the crackpots, official leadership seemed to be taking steps to own up and change.

    So those are MY historical blinders.

    And my VERY unpopular opinion.

  109. Arriba Wilver says:

    He doesn’t sound like that kind of guy. And I’ve seen the Texans job described as the best situation out there for an incoming coach.

  110. Drew71 says:

    Holy Crap, Thunder. Dejan and you ALSO essentially agree today. (His comment re BoB knowing he’s a QB injury away from a 4-8 season.)

    To paraphrase Lombardi…

    What The H Is Going On In Here??

  111. JohnS says:

    You are correct. There isn’t a college football coach anywhere that gets to sit in his office and coach football only. Nobody ever likes to admit that the athletic department of a university is really its marketing department. Whether you like it or not you are the face people see. There are no alumni banquets where the Dean of the College of Science is the keynote speaker (unless it is the colleges banquet).

    People don’t know who Morton Schapiro is but they do know Pat Fitzgerald. Is John L. Hennessy or David Shaw the first name you think of when Stanford is mentioned?

  112. Milo Hamilton says:

    In college football guys leave. Really good players leave before their eligibility runs out and really good coaches leave before their contracts run out. I really think that all you can ask for in this day & age is a guy that doesn’t cheat and wins a lot before he leaves for the next thing.

  113. NMR says:

    Could make for a good story, but doesn’t really matter moving forward considering just about all of the “administration” will be gone within a year.

  114. Dom says:

    Why is that?

  115. Original Ether says:

    What do you expect? Ever since the sanctions were handed down, the local/Penn St and Big Ten media has portrayed Penn State as being the victim also. They’ve conveniently ignored that Penn State has done everything it can to circumvent the sanctions.

    Be interesting to see how much consideration James Franklin does get for the job, considering he has his own rape coverup allegation.

  116. Milo Hamilton says:

    The Bears have re-signed Jay Cutler through the 2020 season. Wait a minute, you’re allowed to sign your own players before they become free agents ? Who knew ?

  117. Which one? The real one or the embellished one?

  118. radio wave says:

    I heard an interview on the radio yesterday with the reporter. I forget who the reporter was. But he said that one of the reasons why O’Brien was leaving was because the coach was tired of hearing from everyone around him: “That is not the way Paterno would have done it.”

  119. Arriba Wilver says:

    What have they done to circumvent the sanctions?

  120. bpn8pitt says:

    I know this isnt the popular opinion, but I just dont think O’brien is this elite coach that some are making him out to be. Almost every New England assitant has suffered the same fate, they couldnt take Brady where the were going and ultimately failed. As far as his college prowess? I keep hearing, “Hey, he made Matt McGloin into an NFL starter. ” Please. Sometimes the only way you can go is up.

  121. Drew71 says:

    Before we get too bruised beating our chests about the need for Penn State’s new president to be the university’s face, take this little test.

    Name – by real name, not position – the face of the following universities:

    Duke
    Alabama
    Ohio State
    UCF
    Stanford
    Georgia
    South Carolina
    North Carolina
    Kentucky
    Auburn
    Florida State
    Virginia Tech
    Syracuse
    Oklahoma

    And I even left off those universities where you’d have to go through TWO names before you hit an administrator (Michigan State, Florida, Kansas, Arizona, UCLA)

    And before we start more chest beating about misaligned priorities, note that there are many good and a few excellent academic institutions on that list.

  122. Drew71 says:

    There was a time in the not too distant past that you could have added Princeton to that list.

  123. Milo Hamilton says:

    Penn State AD Dave Joyner, who will be leaving his job in 6 months, will chair the search committee. The new coach will take the job not knowing who his bosses will be.

  124. Drew71 says:

    Arriba. First you disagree with him. Then you agree with him.

    What are you, a columnist?

  125. Wild Bill says:

    I think your opinion is well argued and very justified.

  126. Drew71 says:

    The NCAA reduced some of the longer term scholarship reductions because Penn State met or exceeded the NCAA’s directional-change expectations.

    The animals.

  127. Nate83 says:

    Well it’s no different then having kids commit to a college without knowing who their coach will be after the first one leaves. It’s the sad state of college football which became much more about money then most want to admit many, many years ago.

  128. Drew71 says:

    That not knowing part is also true if Joyner doesn’t chair the search committee.

    The point of the coaching candidates facing an unknown is correct. Doesn’t seem to be an easy way around unless you interview for the AD first…and maybe lose out on some of the better coaching candidates, and incoming recruits, in the meantime.

    Sometimes you have to make the best out of bad timing, as O’Brien did two years ago.

  129. Dom says:

    The Browns are to interview Josh McDaniels. No offense to him but I hope he gets the job.

    I don’t feel he is the best candidiate available.

  130. hockeymonster says:

    I’m volunteering to go to Switzerland to scout for the Pens. They got some talent worth drafting.

  131. bpn8pitt says:

    Watched a lot of football anaylsts this weekend, ESPN (Radio), NFL Network ect…Cowhered especially. He thinks Cutler and Stafford are elite QBs. Lol…Getting paid for your opinion must be a great gig.

  132. Milo Hamilton says:

    Sounds like Joyner is open to staying on but he probably wants to see if he’d like his boss first.

  133. Thundercrack says:

    I think this could be a good year for me and DK.

    Even though he hates movies and books.

    DK: And baseball. He also hates baseball.

  134. Arriba Wilver says:

    Cutler does some nice commercials. Probably the best since Peyton.

  135. Drew71 says:

    Now THAT’S funny. And maybe true.

  136. Arriba Wilver says:

    I thought the “cockroaches” comment was directed at baseball fans. :-D

  137. JohnS says:

    Not to mention they agreed to pay Mitchell a little more “consulting money”.

  138. Drew71 says:

    Thanks. I have to say that very few who fall into the first or second group have ANYthing nice to say about my opinion.

    The third group, the death penalty advocates, have mostly evolved from that position. Which is fair. Circumstances change. Opinions can, too.

  139. Drew71 says:

    Except it’s not fair for Dejan.

    MUCH more fun to beat him over the head with stuff he wrote three years ago.

    Trust me.

  140. JohnS says:

    Joyner’s people will keep him in that position. He left the BOT to take a six figure salary job that he needed. If he leaves it will be kicking and screaming.

  141. Milo Hamilton says:

    On ESPN as “Breaking News” right now -

    “Bill O”Brien informs Penn State he will coach Texans.”

    Really ?

  142. hockeymonster says:

    Just a couple mo monster droppings in pursuit of defeating sid n geno :)

    With the roster we put together i hope Disco & Co. keeps in mind that alot of these guys come from defensive oriented systems. And on defense i hope we plan on providing all the neutral zone insulation as possible. Shattenkirk, PM, carlson, faulk and even orpik all need their forwards to prevent as many high speed jailbreaks thru the NZ as possible. If you’re gonna rely on hitchcock coached players i would go out of my way to make them feel as acclimated as possible.

    That means disco stretch stays grounded and system put in place before washington game in november gets exported to sochi.

  143. JohninOshkosh says:

    Best QB in franchise history…and a lovely wife to boot.

  144. NMR says:

    Completely agreed.

    I don’t think there is any way he becomes the most coveted college coach WITHOUT the scandal narrative.

    This isn’t to say that his coaching skills are not worthy of the NFL job, as I’m not nearly qualified to make such judgement.

  145. JohninOshkosh says:

    Hi Bill:

    Sorry that your program is in flux again, Bill. I was glad when Bielema left Madison, and I hope Andersen does not leave for a long time.

    It is true about the Packers playoff tickets. This area faces the first local blackout since the building of Hadrian’s Wall. Likely that some corporation will come in and buy the remaining tickets. Supposed to be bitter cold and familiarity with the playoffs breeds contempt, I guess.

  146. Joni says:

    Thanks for the articles, Damon!
    I laughed out loud when the author of the Winnipeg Free Press article mentioned Maatta as trade bait.

  147. Jordan White says:

    Duke – coach k
    Alabama – saban
    Ohio State – that guy who talked crap on the SEC then retired or Maurice Clarett
    UCF – ???
    Stanford – Tiger Woods
    Georgia – Their mascot
    South Carolina – Spurrier or Clowney
    North Carolina – Michael Jordan
    Kentucky – Calipari
    Auburn – Bo Jackson or Charles Barkley
    Florida State – warrick dunn
    Virginia Tech – Beamer
    Syracuse – boeheim, or gerry mcnamara, or THEY’RE version of Sandusky, or using the Carrier Dome for basketball
    Oklahoma – Blake Griffin or Sam Bradford?

    How’d I do?

  148. theplanisworking says:

    Pass the pretzels, please.

  149. Jim S. says:

    TJ,

    I would say the pool of potential candidates this time around is a bit larger and better, simply because BOB showed it is still a good job. He removed much of the stigma he inherited, I thought.

  150. Jandy says:

    Not too shabby for droppings ;)

  151. Jandy says:

    you want mustard with those pretzels?

    Milo, if it’s not basketball, ESPN = crap lol

    ESPN = crap anyway ;)

  152. Jim S. says:

    Maybe O’Brien came away thinking the Browns Mgt. didn’t interview well, either. I don’t know that I trust the Browns to judge whether a candidate interviewed well or not at this point.

  153. Jandy says:

    :thwap: (that’s for the Peyton part)

    :P

  154. Jandy says:

    They grow weed in Winnipeg and smoke it too????

  155. hockeymonster says:

    Happy new year Jandstar! :)

  156. Arriba Wilver says:

    His commercials were great. ;-)

  157. theplanisworking says:

    Sure Jandy, mustard would be nice.
    ESPN getting a clue sometimes would be nice also.

  158. NMR says:

    If I may add to the BoT / “Joebot” discussion…

    We also have to consider the election process. When was the last time anybody here voted in their alma mater’s BoT election? I honestly had no idea it was even possible until this scandal.

    PSU has something like 500,000 living members in their Alumni Association, a number dwarfed by overall alumni numbers. 37,563 voted in last years election.

    An election like this is very easily swayed by a vocal minority, as those people are the ones most likely to vote.

  159. Jandy says:

    You too, Monster Mash! I’m back to work after having been off since Christmas Eve (worked half day). So I’m reading, just don’t have much time to post a lot. Been liking your hockey posts, tho. I did catch the winter classic yesterday. Very good game to watch, enjoyed it.

  160. Jandy says:

    That’s a matter of opinion ;)

  161. Jandy says:

    LOL Hipposter! I hate ESPN…useless television at it’s finest ;)

  162. theplanisworking says:

    Almost forgot…….. Happy Creme Puff Day. :)

  163. Jandy says:

    mmMMmMMM CREME PUFFS!

  164. Joni says:

    I’m headed to Sweden, mostly to conduct an investigation on the water supply. How else can a country produce so much hockey talent with comparably handsome faces?
    Well done, Sweden :)

  165. hockeymonster says:

    Thanks. Ya back to reality…i hear ya. Almost nailed usa roster but there’s still time before games start. Only saw part of classic…overall think i’d prefer to have a double or triple header of good matchups on new years day than one outdoor game. Conditions make for sloppy hockey and those games in march might be sloppier.

  166. hockeymonster says:

    I’ll examine the pretty moms aspect of your theory…

  167. Jandy says:

    Agree on the conditions, as it was snowing like crazy, but it made for an interesting game. The goalies were the final key tho, and Bernier beat out Howard for the win in shoot out.
    I found it a lot of fun to watch, since it wasn’t the Penguins playing.

    March games will be sloppier, no doubt…another Buttman error.

  168. AL says:

    but…..it still bothers me that professionals are in the Olympics instead of amateurs.
    Is Brooksie really going to go all out and throw a check into Sid or Geno as hard as he can? If he doesn’t , he’s letting his Olympic team down….. if he does, he’s letting his NHL team down. Where does a professional draw the line?

  169. theplanisworking says:

    I am talking about the little creme filled pastries.
    Not some of the topics DK lobs at us here.

    Interesting to see who actually makes the trip to Sochi, regarding the US Hockey team. Injuries, and all. I like the overall lineup…….. as with any team selection, people will feel someone else should have made it. Good stuff.

  170. JohnS says:

    As a friend said yesterday, “The NHL Winter Classis, our annual reminder of why the game moved indoors.”

  171. Jandy says:

    Yeah, there are arguments pro and con different players. In the end, I’ll be happy with who goes and root for USA to win :)

  172. JohnS says:

    The question is can he catch them on the big ice.

  173. Joni says:

    I liked the Winter Classic, as well. It was interesting from start to finish. From the Leafs trading Liles after warm ups, to the shootout win, to the announcing of both US hockey teams. I almost didn’t mind Mike Milbury.

    But Keith Jones ruined it when he seemed impressed by the 2010 women’s team brawling against Canada, complete with highlights. Apparently the fighting was okay because there were no staged fights, just a lot of emotion.
    Nice job, Keith (sarcasm). Nice job, NBC Sports. (Sarcasm).

  174. I went to the Winter Classic with no real expectations, since I didn’t really care who won, and was amazed at the spectacle. Was a wonderful experience and the weather made it all the more fun. Until about 5 minutes left in the 3rd period where I was just rooting for a game winning goal since my toes were numb!

    Great Experience!

  175. Joni says:

    So true.

  176. Thundercrack says:

    LOL!

    I deleted that one from my original post DK.

    See how much progress we’re making.

  177. hockeymonster says:

    That and if he does he’s very good at being clean with his checks. Sid n geno usually have their heads up too.

  178. Jandy says:

    Glad you had a good time, Matt. I was wondering how anyone could stand it that long. I HATE to be cold lol.

  179. 21sthebest says:

    Useless? I’ve been thankful for 30+ that I can pretty much turn on some type of game anytime I want, and I like the E:60 and 30 for 30 documentaries. But for the most part, I have no use for their analysts.

  180. hockeymonster says:

    Nice. View of game ok from stands?

  181. Joni says:

    I wonder the same about drawing the line in the Olympics.
    Perhaps there is an unspoken rule where opposing team mates understand that “what happens on Olympic ice stays on Olympic ice”. But the darned if you do, darned if you don’t factor still comes into play.
    To finish your checks or not to finish your checks. That is the question.

  182. hockeymonster says:

    At some point you are splitting hairs cuz they’re all good players. But sometimes you can see philosophy and style dictate too.

  183. casper in a-town says:

    Happy New Year, All. Pens picked up Taylor Pyatt off waivers from the Rangers.

    http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/5335547-74/pyatt-penguins-career#axzz2pGUcTWOa

  184. Joni says:

    Great! All we need is a backer…

  185. Were were in the corner, and the view was great. Have had a worse view at the Civic Arena.

  186. Jandy says:

    Happy new Year to you too, casper, good to see you around :)

    Now I gotta go look up Pyatt!

  187. casper in a-town says:

    Glad to be seen! I been lurking :)

  188. theplanisworking says:

    Ask DK. He’s good for it. ;)

  189. theplanisworking says:

    Nothing wrong with that. :)
    Happy Happy to you also………

  190. Jandy says:

    meh…we need skill with that size….

  191. hockeymonster says:

    He’ll be good for depth till bennett and megna get back. Seem to recall him being a good effort guy. Could give us a chance to send Gibby or Sill down to work on rounding out their games.

  192. Jandy says:

    Sorry 21, I guess I just don’t care for espn :)

  193. Jandy says:

    keep Sill, send Gibby down ;)

    Pyatt is big at 6’3 232 lbs.

  194. theplanisworking says:

    I do understand why they went with speed all across the board. Bigger ice surface and all.

    Interesting who would be favored……. USA, Canada, or Russia (home-ice advantage).

    I so much prefer Olympic hockey to the GoonHL.
    Just my opinion.

  195. Arriba Wilver says:

    You’re such a girl. :-P

  196. Jandy says:

    Why, thank you, AW! :*

  197. Joni says:

    Oh my. Should be interesting. Can’t help but notice that mr. Pyatt is in his 30′s. Says another person in their 30′s, that’s why I noticed.

    Hurray for any player that comes from Thunder Bay, Ontario – the hometown of the Family Staal :)
    full disclosure: I will be a Jordan Staal fan until I die.

  198. hockeymonster says:

    Oh i agree. Even a 1-0 game between sweden and czechs can be a stupendous display of all the intensity and skill you can ask for.

  199. Arriba Wilver says:

    :-)

  200. 21sthebest says:

    Alright, you’re allowed. ;-)

  201. casper in a-town says:

    Right back atcha, Plan! You been following Ralphie Blundo’s undersized Running Red Hurricanes? Nice win against a stacked Lincoln Park team last week. Can’t wait to see them match up against the Luther boys and Hampton. Nos. 2 & 3 in the state.

  202. casper in a-town says:

    And I’ll get the whole “reply to the comment above” thing this year. It’s one of my New Year’s resolutions.

  203. bpn8pitt says:

    NMR, I know you are PSU supporter so dont take this as an insult. I just feel like telling both the pro-Paterno and pro-Obriens 1994!!! Myth and reality, you know?

  204. theplanisworking says:

    Yes, NC is always a scrappy team, and Blundo is an excellent coach…… he won a state title or 2 at GJR in Grove City.

    New Castle has to play Hampton twice, and play AT Lower Merion this year. Just remember, New Castle has defeated Hampton like 7 consecutive times. Should be good games.

  205. Jandy says:

    NMR a PSU supporter??? Since when?

  206. Milo Hamilton says:

    Send Chuck Kobasew to Siberia.

  207. hockeymonster says:

    You know, between what i recall and looking up his career stats just now, his pedigree could be helpful on our roster. He has a brother playing somewhere so wanted to make sure i didnt confuse the 2. But i recall Pyatt being decent in phx and van. He fits the mold of what sutter needs along the boards and in front of net.

  208. hockeymonster says:

    Oh ya almost forgot about kobasew…gibby was moving his feet better last game. Maybe kobasew gets waived.

  209. Jandy says:

    What a disappointment. He had like 3 goals in preseason. Then kaput.

  210. Jandy says:

    errrr..in camp…

  211. Jandy says:

    32 …you’re only in your 30′s joni????

  212. Joni says:

    Sure am! I even have some gray hair to prove it. And I wear it proudly :)

  213. Jandy says:

    I have a daughter that is 31 lol.
    She has gray hairs too! ;)

  214. Damon says:

    I trust Shero’s judgment. I’m sure he and Bylsma know the player and can see how he could fit on the team. Your remembering correctly – he had a bunch of goals for the Canucks one year, was a 1st round pick of the Isles in ’99 and would probably love the change in scenery. Only thing I might disagree with is that Sutter seemed to come around when he had speedy wingers which I don’t think Pyatt is. Then again give it a chance and see where he fits best…

  215. Damon says:

    Someone just suggested getting Jagr for Sid’s RW. Never would happen, but would love it.

    Can opened. Worms everywhere….

  216. Jandy says:

    pFFFFT!! :p

  217. Original Ether says:

    The most glaring was to try to schedule a game in Hawaii [to get around the bowl ban]. When Hawaii rejected that, they got the game in Ireland scheduled against UCF.

  218. Bizrow says:

    At my age, I’m just glad I still have some hair ;-)

  219. hockeymonster says:

    Ya i agree that ebbett and connor helped him quite a bit. Main thing is possession. Sutters wingers early in year werent holding onto the puck at all.

  220. hockeymonster says:

    I’ve heard crazier ideas…if you make room on PP with 2 units it could work.

  221. Jandy says:

    I’d much rather bring Billy G back :)

  222. tpbco says:

    May be reading way too much into Pyatt pickup…but I beleive GMRS knew from the get go that the opening day roster was too low on grit and size, but would win a lot of regular season games and get them into prime postion. Now he is adding that size or at least giving them some flexiblity come April.

    JMO

  223. Damon says:

    Also heard ideas for Yakupov since he is in the doghouse in Edmonton – maybe, and Heatley which I want nothing to do with.

  224. Jandy says:

    A very valid point, tp

  225. Jandy says:

    I was high on Yakupov when he came into the league, but since, I’m wondering if he doesn’t have an attitude problem? Something we don’t need in Pittsburgh.
    Heatley? No thanks!

  226. tpbco says:

    After all, Thornton, Boychuk and Lucic need a playmate.

  227. Damon says:

    His coach keeps saying he needs to earn his way into the line up which translates into he has an attitude/ego problem. I said maybe because if he is in the same room as Geno (another Russian), he might follow him around like Geno did with Gonchar.

  228. NMR says:

    @bpn – reality? When discussing sports? Why bother. :) :)

    @Jandy – Die hard PSU supporter. I owe my career to the education I received there and I owe large part of the man I became to the “Penn State Way” of loyalty, honor, and integrity.

    But you have to go back and remember the awful atmosphere created in here post scandal to see why I don’t talk about my alma mater much. I was literally portrayed as being analagous to Judas by another poster, who received many “+1′s”. Back then, you literally couldn’t have an opinion that was the slightest deviation from the group or else you were labeled awful things.

    That’s not an atmosphere I care to join.

  229. hockeymonster says:

    Dont want any part of yakupov or heatley.

  230. hockeymonster says:

    Is it my imagination or did i just hear that connor is out with broken hand????????????

  231. Wild Bill says:

    Back to PSU, post-Joyner press conference. Dave Jones at PennLive makes a big case for finding a coach exciting to Hackenberg. Flounders at same site references players tweeting support for Larry Johnson. Somebody’s gonna get disappointed.

    I agree with Jones. And it’s been said on the blog today that the state of college football demands the best offensive mind that PSU can find. Jones makes a big deal of former PSU quarterback Wally Richardson being on the search group. I hope he does indeed influence the process.

  232. Wild Bill says:

    On Pens app – Connor’s hand injured Tuesday and will be out 6 to 8 weeks. Surgery coming.

  233. Joni says:

    Jeezzz…

  234. Wild Bill says:

    Doh – it was at ESPN.

  235. hockeymonster says:

    We just keep skippin the bumps n bruises and going right to the broken bones…getting absurd if it wasn’t before.

  236. Joni says:

    Per the brittle bones – All I can think of is Zach Parise with his chocolate milk commercial.
    I think the wives and girlfriends in charge of the Pens and Pins event should serve milk as the non alcoholic beverage and White Russians for the alcoholic beverage :)

  237. Jandy says:

    Get Joni and Monster Mash suited up!

  238. Jandy says:

    :evilgrin:

  239. hockeymonster says:

    Janstar, I’ll need a couple weeks…

  240. Jandy says:

    I tend to agree with Monster on this one…we have enough to worry about without a big head screwing things up.

  241. Jandy says:

    Drink up on the energy drinks, Mash…get rollin! :P

  242. hockeymonster says:

    Summer time pick up games i used to play in would be more helpful ;)

  243. Joni says:

    Geno should definitely mix the White Russians. I would donate lots of cash to the Make A Wish foundation to see that!

    The only thing that would make this event even cooler is if “The Big Lebowski” was shown in a loop. Unfortunately, the movie would have to be given a thumbs down if kids are in the bowling alley. We would have to settle for the movie soundtrack, instead. And that’s not a bad thing.

    Seems as if I missed my calling as a party planner :)

  244. Joni says:

    The only contribution that I can make on the Pens team is parking myself in front of the goalie. I would probably fall over before a proper screen was created. But my flopping around on the ice would create an interesting diversion!

  245. NMR says:

    The idea of finding a coach to POTENTIALLY appease a quarterback who will be with the program for just two more season – at most – seems awfully short sighted.

    And the school is going to have to decide which direction they want to take. If it is maximizing wins, then getting the best and brightest offensive mind is the way to go. BUt they have to understand this guy isn’t going to be around long if he’s successful.

    If they want to prioritize stability, they’ll get an older guy with ties to the shool.

    My guess is the latter.

  246. Wild Bill says:

    Maybe a halfway candidate – Al Golden?

  247. Arriba Wilver says:

    Agree. Unless they are looking for another 2 year coach (which I doubt).

  248. Steve says:

    Florida State has to be Bobby Bowden – another model of integrity. Dean Smith probably a close second to Michael Jordan at Carolina. Oklahoma – Barry Switzer.

  249. Wild Bill says:

    Okay, AW. Make him an offer he can’t refuse to leave the Miami weather for ours.

  250. NMR says:

    That type would be an ideal fit, IMO. I just have no idea if that guy exists.

  251. Steve says:

    For all you Penn Staters that think it’s important to have a “Penn State guy” take over I give you…..Charlie Weiss.

  252. Wild Bill says:

    Owwww.

  253. theplanisworking says:

    Jim Caldwell would be a good fit.

  254. Arriba Wilver says:

    I was talking about getting a coach to satisfy Hackenberg. That’s beyond silly to me in any scenario, but especially in the Penn State scenario.

  255. Wild Bill says:

    Just doesn’t do much for me, Plan. And, at the risk of ageism, he’s 58. How would he do with college kids – just don’t know.

  256. JohnS says:

    Weis is a strange one. While he is a Notre Dame Alum he had no football involvement at ND. It is really a credit to him that he was able to build his career as he did.

    He made the classic CFB mistake in thinking scheme trumps all. In the NFL where the talent gap is closer scheme can give you more of an edge. In CFB you win with superior talent and toughness.

    He really shouold have stayed in the NFL.

  257. Wild Bill says:

    Sorry, AW. There is a case to be made to avoid starting the next coach’s tenure by having that coach lose the starting quarterback to transfer.

  258. Thundercrack says:

    Penn State lucked out with one Belicheck disciple doing a good job. No way you want to press your luck with another one. Especially one that hasn’t proved anything

  259. NMR says:

    I’d like a coach that would be the same to Penn State as Wanny was to PITT.

    I have absolutely zero stomach to build the type of program needed to compete with the SEC for National Titles. Nothing good can come of that chase, IMO.

  260. Arriba Wilver says:

    You can make the case, Bill, but its short term versus long term. And we’re talking VERY short term college careers. I saw it fail in longer term situations with the Pirates and Steelers. The Pirates tried to satisfy Giles and Kendall with Lloyd’s hiring and the Steelers tried to get an OC that satisfied Kordell. Not much needs to be said on the latter, and regardless what you think of Lloyd as a manager, it sure didn’t assuage Giles and Kendall for very long. To use the cliche, you can’t have the inmates running the asylum.

    Get the right guy.

  261. kr70 says:

    wait a minute, didn’t DK say you were right??

  262. NMR says:

    Bingo.

  263. Dom says:

    It does look like he lost weight though.

  264. Wild Bill says:

    I want to have a candidate who can keep both the current players and be a great recruiter as well, while winning on game day. That’s all I want. Call me greedy, but call me.

  265. Milo Hamilton says:

    Well, if you strive for mediocrity there are plenty of those guys out there.

  266. NMR says:

    That is plenty good enough for me, Milo, as long as running a clean program and representing the University admirably are taken care of.

    Chasing National Championships is a fools goal, IMO, given the current state of college football. No shame at all in 8-4 seasons with the occasional outside shot at a championship when the stars align. Basically what the Nittany Lions just had from ’05-’10.

  267. Is this the Sugar Bowl thread in honor of Drew and DK agreeing on something?

  268. Milo Hamilton says:

    Floyd Mayweather won $112,500 on the Rose Bowl. And you wonder why they call him “money”.

  269. Jandy says:

    NMR, I stand corrected. And that’s not a bad thing. :)

  270. Sarah says:

    Sorry but all these guys are second rate. Malkin and Sid need first rate guys on their respective LW and RW.
    I mean Vitale??? And not NEAL last game v NJ? With Sid?

    And Neal mostly got his chance only after Vitale was injured.

    A stream of 3rd and 4th liners with the best player on the planet.

    And a merry go round of scrubs on LW for the 2nd best player on the planet. For years.

    BUt we need to shore up our bottom six.

  271. Sarah says:

    Sid needs an elite finisher. Not Connor, not Gibbons, not Megna, not Vitale.

    Neal, while Genos out, but apparently DB couldn’t figure that out.

  272. Sarah says:

    Yes he had some chem with Sid. Would rather a Hossa type.

  273. JohninOshkosh says:

    Just saw Dejan’s “Top’s List” for 2013.

    1. First, the outrageous suggestion from a writer, and a damn good one at that, asserting that he hates books. Flabbergasted. What you do all night at those hotels ? Read tweets ? Good lord. :) Several good books came out this year, and not just from Winnipeg journalists. I would go with ‘Tenth of December’ by George Saunders. A collection of fantastic short stories. Also, I would pick ‘Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls’ by the great David Sedaris. The best non-fiction sports book I read in 2013 was ‘Doc’ by Dwight Gooden.

    2. All movies do not suck. 2013 had a bunch of tremendous movies made by uncompromising filmmakers. ‘American Hustle’, ’12 Years a Slave’, ‘Gravity’, ‘Hunger Games Catching Fire’, ‘Frozen’, ‘Blackfish’, ‘Before Midnight’ were all stellar films. I haven’t even seen ‘Her’ and ‘Nebraska’, which I am betting are terrific. Worst movie of the year was ‘Grown Ups 2′.

    3. Best album was The Flaming Lips ‘The Terror’. I bought it in vinyl so I can truly say it was an album.

    4. Best song was Vampire Weekend’s ‘Diane Young.’

    5. Best television show was ‘The Big Bang Theory.’ Hilarious. And no one has to make crystal meth to build a nest egg for their progeny.

  274. Milo Hamilton says:

    Al Golden to PSU is gaining steam. Just what they’re looking for. Right down to the shirt & tie. Pass the Dots.

  275. Eric Bowser says:

    * Taylor Pyatt…. so Bobby Ryan is slow, lacks intensity but Pens just picked up this guy? He’s a great person from what I read over the years and has gone through a lot personally as his long-time girlfriend was killed in a car accident back in 2010.

    * Saw that Al Golden news coming from a mile away… good luck.

    * I hate snow…. Drew, please make sure Orlando is nice and warm in two weeks, I’m coming and I expect a nice welcome!!

  276. Brandie says:

    Dippin’Dots or the candy kind?

  277. Milo Hamilton says:

    The candy kind. Like at the movies.

  278. Drew71 says:

    Ten day forecast, the closest I can get: 81, mostly sunny.

    Sorry bout that mostly thing. I’ll work on that.

  279. Drew71 says:

    It’s a lie, Lucky.

    BTW. Alabama up by 300 in the first quarter.

  280. pattonbb says:

    Nice list, John. If i may, here’s my 2 cents….

    1. Books – The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, and The Ocean At The End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.

    2. Movies – I thought Inside Llewyn Davis was amazing, but I’m a big Coen brothers fan.

    3. Album – Southeastern by Jason Isbell.

    4. Song – I Appear Missing by Queens of the Stone Age or Man by Neko Case.

    5. TV – I’m with DK. Breaking Bad was brilliant.

  281. Drew71 says:

    See how much fun it is?

  282. JohninOshkosh says:

    ++++

    I haven’t seen ‘Llewyn Davis yet, patton. Really looking forward to it.

    Don’t know what I’d do without movies. They’ve meant so much to me throughout my life. Can’t remotely imagine thinking they suck!

  283. Jim S. says:

    Looking like a possible really good game.

  284. Drew71 says:

    Looks, feels and smells like a great game.

  285. Jim S. says:

    Anybody have a take on Mustapha Heron, who just verbal’d to Pitt hoops for the class of 2016? I can’t say I follow prep hoops nationally enough to know much about him, but he is ranked in the Top 15-20 of his class nationally, and just made the US U16 team. Rohrssen apparently played overseas with Heron’s dad. Physical and defense-minded. Sounds like a Jamie Dixon type of kid. But, he must play some offense as well in order to be ranked so highly and make the national squad. Obviously a good get.

  286. Drew71 says:

    What a freaking great game.

  287. Drew71 says:

    I was sitting at a bar this week watching a bowl game.

    Sadly, I don’t recall the bar or the game.

    Someone who I don’t recall asked me who I was rooting for.

    My answer: whoever is behind.

  288. Drew71 says:

    From the new liturgy: Holy Crap.

    If you love competition, you should be watching this game.

  289. Milo Hamilton says:

    This should look familiar to Alabama, what with the incredible lack of defense in the SEC this year. I think Florida’s offense was the best defense in the SEC.

  290. Drew71 says:

    Boom

  291. Jim S. says:

    This is a great game. From my standpoint of not really caring which team wins, I feel like it is shaping up as a possible instant classic. OU up 31-17, with Alabama having one last shot before halftime to close the gap. I seriously doubt Bama is going away easily.

    McCarron has been boom or bust in the first half, and the busts have been very costly.

  292. Jim S. says:

    I’m guessing you two never got together for that drink at Lambeau.

  293. Jim S. says:

    I feel badly for that Bama kicker, especially after how it went for him in their last game as well.

  294. Jim S. says:

    Brad Nessler said he doesn’t think many people thought OU could score 31 points off Bama in the entire game, let alone the first half. Has he not been watching the SEC this year? This is not your father’s Bama defense this year.

  295. Jim S. says:

    I should also add that the other school listed as already having offered Heron so far was Vandy. Too bad for them and their coach.

  296. Drew71 says:

    This game has me so nervous I’ve been eating chocolate.

    And I don’t have a sweat tooth.

    AJ McCarron has been a tremendous college QB. But this game, and his inability to fire the ball in there, and the floaty interceptions, are why he’s going the way of Gino Torretta in the pros.

  297. Jim S. says:

    ++++

  298. theplanisworking says:

    Cowherd may be the worst analyst , or opinion person alive.

  299. Drew71 says:

    Yes it is. What is most surprising is that Alabama is the only remaining SEC team with a real SEC defense.

    That’s why this game is so remarkable.

  300. Jim S. says:

    I heard on ESPN today that 7,500 tickets remain for the Niners/Packers game in Lambeau. Maybe the knowledgeable Packers fans just assumed that was a road game. I mean, that seems logical to me.

    Tons of good seats still available in likely venues in Indy and Cincy as well.

    Two things brewing, maybe: 1) The economy still s*cks; and 2) The NFL could be slipping just a bit in popularity.

    I’ve seen a lot of games this year where fans ditched the 2nd half in unlikely places – like Heinz and Soldier Fields, to name 2 recent examples.

  301. theplanisworking says:

    Karma for Stallings not releasing Jeter from his scholarship to transfer.
    Couldnt happen to a nicer coach.

  302. theplanisworking says:

    Oklahoma has had a great past 1 and 1/2 games……….. against top 7 teams.
    Very impressive.

  303. theplanisworking says:

    Yeah, but he will do well with his wife-to-be. :)

  304. Jim S. says:

    If he keeps throwing picks, he better seal that deal quickly. :-)

  305. Jim S. says:

    If Bama does not come back here, the end of the bowl season may not be as kind to the SEC as that conference is accustomed to. Auburn figures to have its hands full with FSU.

  306. Drew71 says:

    Alabama is giving up 284 yards per game. Fourth in the nation, and one of only five teams below 300 yards.

    Remarkably Alabama only gave up 253 the prior year when they led the nation.

    The fading SEC defense hasn’t touched them yet.

  307. Jim S. says:

    You think this is a vintage Bama defense? Auburn lit them up pretty well.

  308. Jim S. says:

    I shouldn’t have doubted you, Drew. You are right. They pretty much shut everyone down except Texas A&M (42 points) and Auburn (34 points). And, tonight, of course.

  309. Jim S. says:

    Much maligned Bob Stoops may be turning the tables. I still see this one being a dog fight, though.

  310. Jim S. says:

    That’s what I was thinking.

  311. pattonbb says:

    Bama has 4 freshmen and 3 sophomores on defense right now.

  312. pattonbb says:

    Auburn will rush for 300 yards. Unfortunately FSU might pass for 600. That’s going to be a high scoring game, for at least one team.

  313. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, it should be extremely entertaining.

  314. Jim S. says:

    There was a time when that old adage of “Good defense beats good offense” was true. I’m not so sure that is the case in CFB these days. Good offense seems to be able to score on anyone’s defense.

  315. Drew71 says:

    You mean with the field goal run back?

    But no. You’re right. Only the nation’s fourth best D this year.

    They were Number One in the previous season.

  316. Drew71 says:

    Yes. Before he’s drafted and fails in the NFL.

  317. pattonbb says:

    Gus Malzahn is trying to show how to win with no defense, mediocre pass offense, and a great running game.

  318. Drew71 says:

    What’s amazing about Alabama defense is they gave up 76 against those two teams and STILL ranked as the fourth best D in the nation.

    Which is also amazing considering what offensive slouches Texas A&M and Auburn are.

  319. theplanisworking says:

    I refuse to acknowledge Michael Vick references in 2014.

    ;)

  320. theplanisworking says:

    Please remember 2010, when Auburn faced Oregon.
    People were expecting over 1200 yards of offense, and over 50 points per side.

    Wasnt the final like 22-19?

    We might be surprised with that game.

  321. pattonbb says:

    True. That field can get ugly real quick.

  322. You might all be happy to learn that Alabama lost its bowl game last night 44-31 to Oklahoma after the Crimson Tide had given up 31 points in the first half.

 
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