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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

On location: Penguins 6, Jets 5

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to faceoff …

Game: Penguins (30-12-1) vs. Winnipeg Jets (19-20-5)

Time: 1:08 p.m.

Site: Consol Energy Center

TV, radio: Root Sports, TSN Jets (Manitoba/Saskatchewan), 105.9 The X

Here’s the official live summary.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Penguins page. Rob Rossi and I are on the scene.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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


  1. Rbilak says:

    No Steelers so I will be watching today to see if Duper’s replacement may be on the ice. Duper’s play even strength may not be able to be replaced. Kane seems to have some real issues, Ladd might be a guy and I love Wheeler. Problem seems to be matching trade pieces. They may not need a defensemen.

    See the Rangers responded to Oens loss by getting a goon. Nice.

    #47 played a great game vs Rangers. I like #5 on 4th line, it gives them an identity.

    See if a JJ continues out of slump.

  2. Joni says:

    I agree, especially with the play of #47. I wonder if Despres,would be considered as part of a trade? Wouldn’t it be nice to permanently be out of Bylsma’s doghouse (it has gotten better this year with all of the injuries)?

    And congratulations to Ben Lovejoy on scoring two goals a few days ago! Pretty good example of what confidence and consistent play can do for defensemen who were/are waiting in the wings. It doesn’t hurt that Ben’s playing for the Ducks, either :)

  3. Joni says:

    I should point out that I would rather have Despres stay with Penguins, but I don’t like some of the treatment that Despres received last year. Despres’ time in the AHL worked wonders, so perhaps Disco Dan knows what he is doing. At least in this case. It burns to say/write that!

    Let’s go, Pens!

  4. Bizrow says:

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    • 1/5/2014 12:20 PM

  5. Jandy says:


  6. Jandy says:

    Dejan will secretly be rooting for the Pegs ;)

  7. Jandy says:

    Geno in the lineup :)

  8. Jandy says:

    Winnipeg strikes first…1-0 the Peg

  9. theplanisworking says:

    Its Sunday, Biz……..

  10. theplanisworking says:

    I wonder if Dejan was cheering in the press box?
    Or did he give a high 5 ?? ;)

    Or was he still fretting over Pitts OoC schedule………?

  11. Jandy says:

    he was secretly cheering lol

  12. Jandy says:

    WTF Craig Adams unsportsmanlike conduct??? REALLY???

  13. Sarah says:

    I see Tangers in playoff form with that pinch. Oy.

  14. theplanisworking says:

    Happy Sunday, Sarah!

    Tanger wouldnt be Tanger if he didnt do that.
    Too bad the coach cant break him of that…

  15. Sarah says:

    Comes with the pkg….. at the expense of legit Ws for the 2 best players in the game.

  16. theplanisworking says:

    AH SID !!!!!!

  17. Jandy says:

    Well Poop

  18. theplanisworking says:

    Eh, the Pens thought it was a 2 o’clock start…………

  19. Jandy says:

    Regular Sunday afternoon performance for the Pens…

  20. hockeymonster says:

    Was wondering if they were awake…

  21. Jandy says:

    Howdy Monster Mash

  22. Rbilak says:

    One period. We get Letang and Geno back and play uninspired. Late goals in period another trend. At some point Shero needs to look at his team like Olympic team, collection of stars not best together as a team. 47 and 41 have nothing to prove in minors. Time to figure out who your defensemen will be and what you want in a trade.

  23. hockeymonster says:

    Vitale gonna find himself playing permanent RW if he keeps this up. And all things considered, scratching bortuzzo n despres was obvious move instead of Maatta n Engo on d.

    Ya know, if disco wants to scratch despres thats fine…but he should atleast proclaim what he needs to do or prove to stay ahead of Engo. Same applies for bortuzzo. He gives you exactly what engo does but with better reach and less unforced icings. We all love maatta but dont know how you dont give him a breather with despres and bortuzzo on display.

    Anyway if we get smoked today dont be surprised.

  24. Jandy says:

    We ARe getting smoked today, and it will continue. The whole entire team is uninspired.
    Maatta definitely needs a breather. The kid is obviously not himself, since last game. And it continues.

  25. hockeymonster says:

    On the bright side Eric will be pleased to know that a recent 3rd round pick from sweden looks like a 3rd line center in the making.

  26. theplanisworking says:

    GENO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. Jandy says:

    And Geno puts us on the scoreboard :)

  28. Jandy says:

    Nice effort by Geno

  29. theplanisworking says:


  30. theplanisworking says:

    NEAL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  31. hockeymonster says:

    I hope yzerman passes on real deal and kuni…just sayin…

  32. Jandy says:

    James Neal, sniper!

  33. Jandy says:

    haha don’t hold your breath…

  34. Jandy says:

    Oh My. How the heck did that go in?

  35. theplanisworking says:

    I leave for 3 seconds to go get a banana, and Neal scores again.
    Maybe I need that alarm clock?

    And, can you tell Neal and Malkin like playing on the same line?

  36. Jandy says:

    just a wee tad…Neal is Malkin’s good luck charm

  37. hockeymonster says:

    If only orpik n nisky could wake up we’d be ok…

  38. theplanisworking says:

    JUSSI !!!!!!!!!!

    Man, I am going to walk up to Fire! Bylsma and ask for one of those alarm clocks……

  39. Jandy says:

    Jussi joins in the fun :)

  40. Jandy says:

    Yeah Niskie is not so hot…

  41. Jandy says:

    sheeshe…tied again….can Flower make us a save now and then?

  42. theplanisworking says:

    Not good to see the Pens playing matador defense.

    Not good to see I have chased away everyone except Jandy.

    5-4 bad guys…….

  43. Looks like as much defense as a college football game this afternoon.

  44. theplanisworking says:

    Hey! Its Mr. Oh ho ho ho State!

    The 1-3-1 isnt doing the job today.
    Hope you aren’t frozen down there, reverend……

  45. aaron says:

    Is it just me, or does it seem like every time Letang comes back the entire defensive system seemingly goes out the window and you start seeing insanity like Orpik doing a pirouette at the blue line in front of Kane?

    Systematic, non-flashy, disciplined defense was winning games. I hate when it looks like team figure skating with sticks.

    Letang is not the sole cause, but it sure seems like things change when he is in the lineup.

  46. Jandy says:

    YOu haven’t chased anyone away, silly Hippo!

    Howdy Revvie :)

  47. DJ says:

    Can our defense clear the puck now and then?

  48. theplanisworking says:

    Very good take.

  49. hockeymonster says:

    Letang is least of our problems today. Nisky, orpik, vitale and did i mention orpik? They all need jandstar 9 wide treatment. :)

  50. DJ says:

    Just my opinion, but I don’t think Orpik makes the Olympic team if HCDB and Shero not part of the decision-making team.

    I also think Orpik is going to be grossly exposed on the larger ice surface in Sochi. No NHL arena, as in 2010.

    Love the what he has brought to our team over the years but there is no way we should even think about resigning him.

  51. Eric Bowser says:

    Some horrendous hockey being played by Pittsburgh and Winnipeg.

    I like offense but I want it to be in a well-played game. Too many turnovers, bad plays for my liking. The goalies making a good save would be nice, not one by Montoya or Fleury.

    Craig Adams plays at the end of a period… ever notice badly the Penguins struggle at end of periods this season.

    End of 1st period: Pyatt-Sill-Adams
    End of 2nd period: Pyatt-Malkin-Adams

    A new player on the team is on the ice and the constant love affair for Adams is maddening.

  52. DJ says:

    All Orpik on that one. Letang not on the ice.

  53. aaron says:

    With the team being built for the top forwards to carry the water in terms of scoring, do we really need an offensive minded defensive liability like Letang? Perhaps the more fundamentally sound younger players would serve the team defensive needs better and Letang could bring in another true top 6 forward talent?

    Just a thought.

    Hey DK – care to weigh in on this?

  54. aaron says:

    I understand that, but I was speaking to the overall effect his presence seems to have on the team’s defensive mindset and how it seems to completely change.

  55. theplanisworking says:

    DK wont weigh in on this until he gets done fretting over Pitt’s OoC schedule…………………. ;)

  56. DJ says:

    Orpik is our Aaron Smith. Sometimes you just need to move on.

  57. hockeymonster says:

    Good call bout end of periods.

  58. hockeymonster says:

    Bad games for orpik are the exception not the rule. He’ll be fine but this game is a stinker for many…

  59. theplanisworking says:

    Do you think its the pairings, or slacking off(letting down)?

  60. Jandy says:

    I’m gettin ‘em ready, Monster mash!

  61. Jandy says:

    That last sentence is so true…but there are those who will make this a problem with one player.

  62. aaron says:

    Very good point.

  63. Not yet. It’s still 57 right now. Single digits tomorrow for highs, which is very odd for down here.

  64. theplanisworking says:

    Be safe.
    You are well aware of how bad Southeners drive in icy/snowy conditions……

  65. theplanisworking says:

    Nice to have Geno back.

  66. Yeah, I pretty much have the road to myself. They shut down everything with an inch of snow. Probably close the schools with single-digits temps.

  67. Sarah says:

    This has been another edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.

  68. theplanisworking says:

    It will be 8 for the high here Tuesday, with a low of -3.
    Time to break out the swimsuit……. ;)

  69. Sarah says:

    IMO given what he would bring, plus the need for elite Ws for Crosby and Malkin , it was an enormous mistake by RS to sign him to that contract.
    He simply has too low an IQ, is neither a shut Down nor a PK nor a PP asset, and his constant turnovers outweigh his offensive threat.

  70. Sarah says:

    He hasn’t been Aaron Smith for about 3 years but I agree with your analogy.

  71. Jandy says:

    Just when you’re ready to kill Niskie, he does this :)

  72. Jandy says:


  73. Jandy says:

    colder here, Hipposter

  74. Sarah says:

    But I’m with Bowser.
    This is simply some embarrassing hockey.

  75. Jandy says:

    Stay home and stay warm, Revvie!

  76. theplanisworking says:

    Everything is colder in Al-Tuna. ;)

  77. hockeymonster says:

    Just bad focus…one of those games. Jets got rocked yesterday and IMO pens werent expecting as much contact as they got.

  78. hockeymonster says:

    He’s been good last 5-6 games he played. I think he’ll have great 2nd half to season.

  79. Sarah says:

    He better. And a good playoffs.

  80. Sarah says:

    Yes he will be lost out there. Doesn’t have the mobility.

  81. Dom says:

    Empty net!+

  82. Jandy says:

    I agree with this :)

  83. Dom says:

    Pens win!

  84. Jandy says:

    Didn’t quite deserve the win, but I’ll take it :)

  85. Jandy says:

    Off to the grocery store i go….later Loonies :)

  86. theplanisworking says:

    + many.

    Not a thing of beauty today, but “style points dont matter”, or Maatta.
    The Pens just keep chugging along……….. now Geno is back.

    Now to a road trip.
    Go Pens !

  87. hockeymonster says:

    Orpik is a very underrated skater…he’ll know his role in sochi. 360’s with the puck wont be in his job description.

  88. Sarah says:

    I don’t disagree his skating isn’t as bad as it looks. But the width of the ice will force him to play even deeper than he usually does, making him a nightmare for Quick or miller or who ever is back there. His gaps will be huge, and I really think he’ll be exposed. But I guess we’ll see…..

  89. aaron says:

    It surelymis! Welcome back, Geno!

  90. scapper says:

    Was anyone else yelling at the TV about Malkin and Neal being put out there with the empty net just so they had a shot at a hat trick? 6-4? Sure. But 6-5? I’m a big Byslma supporter, but that’s inexcusable.

  91. hockeymonster says:

    I think his presence will force players wide instead of testing the middle. Kind of why i’ve also been pushing for jack johnson to get spot in top 8. Both of them would be helpful against power forwards canada, sweden and even russia will have.

  92. Dom says:

    Chargers are going to defeat The Bengals.

  93. Sarah says:

    Yep. They’ll certainly go wide. Trouble is there’s lotsa wide….hope you’re right and he’ll be OK.

  94. hockeymonster says:

    I expect him to do better than ok. Im more concerned that faulk and carlson will cost us in front of net and get overwhelmed. But they may not play. Mcdonagh’s mobility is a semi concern for me as well.

  95. The Chargers may not belong in the playoffs but they indeed beat the Bengals today 27-10, and the Bengals just plainly showed that they didn’t belong in the playoffs either.

  96. Sarah says:

    Shame. I think the Stillers would’ve rolled’em.

  97. The Pens have now won 12 straight home games and will likely remain the leading team in a weak division. And now, they’ll be on the road and, hopefully, it won’t be too tough this time, all things considered.

  98. theplanisworking says:

    Just no more injuries………

  99. Actually, the main reason why I’m. disappointed that the Steelers didn’t make it this time is because they likely would’ve rolled over the Bengals.

  100. And I’m also not forgetting that the Steelers played their best game of this past season against the Bengals
    at Heinz Field, winning 30-20.

  101. Dom says:

    Sure, but we lost the other game.

    Let’s go packers. I don’t want the 49ers to ‘reach 6 super bowls.

  102. Dom says:


  103. The 49ers just won at the last minute 23-20. And that’s that until next weekend.

  104. DJ says:

    Neither was Aaron at the end of his run . . . but at least he had injuries to blame.

  105. DJ says:

    I know that’s your view . . . that Orpik will be fine . . . just like Letang will always be fine. We disagree on both.

    I don’t think my eyes are lying in either instance.

  106. DJ says:

    Orpik’s problems are not his skating once he is moving.

    His problems at this stage of his career are: (a) no burst from the stop position; (b) chasing forwards to corners and not swift enough to recover; (c) poor reaction time in front of net; (c) not a tape-to-tape passer; and (d) few blocked shots for the amount of ice time.

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