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Morning Java: Broncos vs. Seahawks … try to look surprised

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Monday column is something I haven’t tried before, basically a stream of random thoughts triggered by one thing. It’s strange. If you really, really hate it, I probably won’t do it again.

>> It’ll be Broncos and Seahawks in the Super Bowl, you might have heard.

I had Denver and San Francisco, which very nearly came about, but there can’t be any doubt these were the two most expected outcomes not just leading into these NFL championship games but, really, for a big chunk of the season.

Good. That’s how it should be. Cinderella stories can be fun in any sport, but I prefer mine in the early rounds. When it comes down to the greatest American sporting event of all, I’ll take the two best.

All kinds of narratives are bound to emerge — or enlarge, as I’m sure will be the case with Richard Sherman’s shenanigans last night — but I can’t envision anything superseding the matchup of Peyton Manning vs. the NFL’s No. 1 pass defense when talking actual football. And yeah, Sherman will be part of that, too.

If only this game would get a little publicity, maybe more people would pay attention.

On the home front, the Steelers’ offense should stay stable, by Alan Robinson.

Also, could wide receiver be a first-round option?

Here are official game highlights from

>> Sidney Crosby will be Canada’s captain in Sochi, by Rob Rossi.

Also, if you missed it Sunday, Rossi had an in-depth look at Marc-Andre Fleury.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage., including all you need to know about tonight’s visit from Florida.

Here’s Panthers news from the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

Here are official game highlights from

>> Lauryn Williams, pictured above with bobsled partner Jamie Greubel, joins the seven Penguins as representing Pittsburgh in  Sochi. She’ll also be among only 10 U.S. Olympians in history to compete in both the Summer and Winter Games, this time in the bobsled. If she medals, she’ll be among a group of six at most.

Not bad for an undersized sprinter out of Rochester, Beaver County. Here’s a recent Trib piece by Karen Price on her background.

I covered Lauryn’s first Games in Athens, where she won silver in the 100 meters, and look forward to the surprising sequel.

Here’s the official USA Bobsled and Skeleton page, and here’s Lauryn’s official Twitter account.

>> Pitt looks at life after Syracuse, by Kevin Gorman.

Here’s our full Pitt coverage.

>> James Franklin is leaving gauntlets everywhere he goes. Now, he’s hired Terry Smith of Gateway and Penn State fame. Few collegiate coaches would know Western Pennsylvania better. Chris Adamski reports.

>> I’ll check in with TribLIVE Radio. at 11:30 a.m.

Oh, and if you missed last night’s Subway Final Word, I was joined by Robinson, Mark Madden and Bill Phillips to discuss lots of the above.

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 more, including 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 top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.


  1. Steelers6…..Stands protected.

  2. I still want someone to ask Harbaugh what he meant when he said to Pam Oliver, “A man can be destroyed, but he can’t be defeated.”

    Maybe he meant it the other way around: “A man can be defeated, but he can’t be destroyed.” ?? Who knows?

    He really needs to get control of himself. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a coach whine and complain, and have temper tantrums on the sideline after every penalty call like him. It seems to get worse each succeeding week.

    Seattle deserved the win. Kaepernick made too many mistakes throwing the ball.

    Peyton was better than Brady today. Simple as that. He carved up New England’s defense.

    I still predicut New England will be called the AFC pre-season favorite in 2014/15 next August. Never fails, even though it has now been a decade plus since they won a Super Bowl.

  3. The college kids get a free tuition. Check out how much it cost to go to Pitt as an out of state student. Then add taxes, the kids basically making more then the average person in Allegheny County.

    • jeff zatkoff made $105,000 as an ahl goaltender last year. the lowest paid member of the wbs junior birds made $55,000. i’m guessing the average salary on the team was something around $85,000. the full value of a scholarship to pitt per year even for an out-of-state student doesn’t come close to any of those numbers.

      • The COST of a full scholarship to Pitt isn’t the same as the VALUE of a full scholarship. Costs are way up, ridiculously so, while the actual value is substantially less (at virtually all universities).

        Kids are graduating with tens of thousands of dollars in debt and too many can’t even find a job in today’s economy.

        Why aren’t more people instead asking why college COSTS are so high, instead of just accepting it as okay?

        • Well said, Skip!

        • What is there to ask? College tuition is high because colleges don’t know how to control their costs and they won’t make the tough decisions like many businesses do, IMO. What does more people asking accomplish?

          • While that’s a valid and thoughtful reply, 21, I think it bypasses one of the most compelling reason that college costs skyrocket.

            Parents will spend anything, ANYTHING, to send their children away.


    • How much money do “the kids” make for coaches, administrators, sports networks, sports writers, sportscasters, tv executives, bowl executives, sports apparel manufacturers and on, and on, and on? $BILLIONS and $BILLIONS.

      Just because universities all over this country keep charging more and more confiscatory tuition rates for diplomas that continue to be worth less and less, doesn’t mean we should consider it some sort of great deal for all of our college athletes.
      The wealth that college football and men’s basketball athletes are generating for others dwarfs the financial value of the athletic scholarships that they receive.

      My suggestion? Allow college athletes to sign with agents and also to sign endorsement deals. That way, the very best players can be rewarded just a little bit more. In other words, the star quarterback signs a nice deal with Nike, while the back-up safety has to settle for his athletic scholarship. Just a little free-market capitalism – like everyone else associated with college athletics is enjoying except for the player themselves.

      • I may sound a bit too radical for suggesting this, but why can’t the NFL, for instance, pay college players’ salaries since the colleges amount to being a minor league for them anyhow.

      • I’d take up your complaint with the NFL who doesn’t allow a player to be drafted until 3 NFL seasons have passed after they graduate high school.

  4. check that. i meant to say median salary based on payroll numbers published by

  5. Loved the column Dejan. At one point I know you ran something similar on Fridays and planned to do it every Friday. My opinion is you should do it once a week (at least until the NHL post season starts)

  6. I enjoyed today’s column. It is nice to read your thoughts in a different format from time to time.

  7. The reason any confrontation clears the benches in baseball is the imbalance in number of players on the field. Since defense always has nine, and offense can’t have more than five (counting the on-deck hitter), offensive teammates can’t leave their guy(s) at a disadvantage, so everybody ends up coming out and milling around.

  8. Dejan, since you sorta asked. Nothing wrong with it, but I don’t get very excited about notes or random columns, no matter who writes them.

    ” On Saturday, Pitt and Syracuse staged a tremendous basketball game before 30,046″

    Now THAT’s a subject that excites, and what I was hoping to read in greater detail and in a different context than $ for athletes.

    College hoops is far from my favorite sport and pitt is far from my favorite university. That said, this was a thrilling and well played game. One of those shame-someone’s-gotta-lose games.

    THAT’s what I was hoping to read about this AM.

    But remember. This is coming from a guy who doesn’t get much out of notes columns.

  9. Regarding the Richard Sherman “shenanigans”………

    Richard Sherman has done the following:

    *He graduated 2nd in his high school class.
    *He graduated from Stanford (not exactly a community college).
    *He started his master’s degree.
    *He escaped his neighborhood, Compton (not exactly Fox Chapel).
    *He gives back to his hometown to further educational opportunities.
    *He has worked his way up to being a top corner in the NFL.

    So people are getting on him for his post-game rant? Here is a guy who overcame Compton, California !!!!, is educated, and gives back to his community, and people concentrate on this? I seem to remember Steelers who did the exact same thing with interviews/media (hello Joey Porter). Heck, Pittsburghers cheer Ryan Clark when he scorches the league. So when someone who plays for your favorite team does something it’s ok, when a Richard Sherman does it, suddenly it’s not?

    Sorry, not buying it.
    And, this type of thing is what can happen when a reporter (sorry Erin Andrews) interviews a player immediately after the game. Sure, as fans we are accustomed to sleepfests with most interviews, but with the trash talking that both Harbaugh, and Crabtree have done to Sherman in the past, I really don’t blame him on this.

  10. I’m inclined to favor Denver in the Superbowl because of Peyton although one should never underestimate Seattle.

  11. As to toady’s column, I enjoyed it. Nice change of pace to one-subject columns. Like a liner notes sort of thing………. something for everyone.

    As to your points about the NHL….. simply excellent. Too bad you are one of the only ones to write about this. Don’t know if you ever feel like you just aren’t being listened to from the Neanderthals. I just see it as banging a drum that no one hears……….. which is a shame, because your hockey rant columns are some of your best work.

    So by all means, please do another column like today’s.
    I, for one, don’t hate it. :)

  12. JAL’s Please Mr. Postman Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 MLB Important Dates

    4 Pirates Prospects Spring Training Tracker

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    Winter Leagues: Ramirez Homers in Colombian League Finals

    6 Rumbunter

    This Should Be Pedro Alvarez’s Last Year In Pittsburgh

    The ‘Feel Good’ St. Louis Cardinals

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates Prospects’ Prospect Guide continues to be a great resource

    8 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Daugherty: Have-not Reds can’t keep up with Baseball’s haves

    9 Pirates 101

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Prospect Profile: Jameson Taillon

    10 Green Weenie

    1/18-19: Hank Greenberg, Wandy Rodriguez, Adam LaRoche, Stan the Man…

    11 Saber Bucs

    The 25-Man Roster Should Not Always be the Best 25

  13. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Belleville News Democrat

    Cardinals’ Miller on postseason inactivity: ‘A mystery unsolved’

    13 CBS Sports

    PHOTO: Bill Dinneen vs. Pittsburgh copper, 1903 World Series

    14 XN Sports

    N.L. Central 2014 Division Preview

    15 Abilene Reporter News

    Pittsburgh has too many must-dos to list

    16 Sports Illustrated

    Justin Verlander on Richard Sherman: ‘If he played baseball he would get a high and tight fastball’

    17 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Cardinals have plenty of depth again in starting rotation

    18 New York Times

    Many Choices for Tanaka With Deadline Approaching

    19 Fangraphs

    Clayton Kershaw, Contract Modeling, and Inflation

    20 Baseball Nation

    Masahiro Tanaka makes sense for the Cubs

  14. Loved the format in the Monday column. A little bit of spice never hurt…changing things up is good.

  15. Since I’ve been away from the ‘burgh for a while now, can yinz guys tell me if Terry Smith can be a help for PSUs recruiting in the ‘burgh area?

    • For someone who has been critical of the Franklin hire, I think hiring Smith is a good move. Smith already has relationships with many coaching staffs in the WPIAL, and has been around a little. He’s coached some good football players.

      The knock on it could be, that between Franklin and Shoop, they didnt have many contacts, and they needed to make in roads. Makes perfect sense to hire someone who can do that for you. But if you look around the Big Ten, most of the decent teams have a member of their coaching staff with roots in Western PA, or PA in general. And they have all been recruiting the State longer.

      We’ll see.

  16. First thought this morning was that we will not have to look at Belichick nor Harbaugh holding the Super Bowl trophy.

    Christmas returns for an encore.

  17. Richard Sherman is the best cb in the NFL. Yes, he looked like a maniac with Erin Andrews. Maybe he just needed a Snickers. He seemed calm and collected when he spoke with NFL channel a little later.

  18. Definitely enjoyed the column, DK…and, darn it, I am jealous of your writing ability. To wit:
    “Baseball writers are making fun of something other than baseball writers…”
    “I considered rewriting this entire column to bash NFL officiating, but it wasn’t reviewable.”

  19. Almost forgot…….

    Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

    The man did a lot for many Americans, not just for those of color.
    Taken way too soon from us by an assassins bullet.

  20. dk

    any reason for not mentioning the less than stellar performance of the officiating crew in the SF v Sea game, led by local icon G Sterattore?

  21. And, finally, from the deepest, darkest corner of the blog………..

    for Milo, Jim, Casper, NMR, and other followers of high school sports…

    New Castle beat Butler at Butler by almost 30 Friday night…… traveled all the way over to Philly to play Lower Merion, and won 62-59 in 2OT. The win now puts NC’s winning streak at 60. Most impressive about the win, was the fact the their 2nd best player was out due to injury, and their best player, Oh ho ho State recruit Malik Hooker was fouled out in regulation.

    For those of us who criticize refs at the college and pro level…….. the game was marred by very poor officiating. At the end of the 3rd quarter, New Castle had 21 fouls called on them, Lower Merion 4. 4. The WPIAL has some of the most consistent refs in the state……… I don’t know who or what was officiating that game Saturday night.

    Shame the local papers don’t devote much to high school sports…… especially when something that hasn’t been done either before, or at least recently is occurring.
    I will now go back to the deepest, darkest corner of the blog……………..

  22. Was perusing the interwebs a bit over weekend and kind of came to a bit over a revelation. Talk for wheeler is probably a smoke screen. Player i’d be shooting for from DK’s 2nd city would be Ladd. Kane obviously appealing too but Ladd would be my target since he’ll probably cost less. He’s a plus player on a abysmal defensive team…atleast up to coaching change, signed at reasonable 4.4M number this season and next 2, ideal fit for sutter on 3rd line with more than enough speed n skill to move up to geno’s line(maybe even as soon as next season with or without jussi on roster) and if we do need to move a despres or pouliout for anyone i’d like it to be someone like Ladd who is signed sealed and delivered for next few seasons. We won’t get the next real deal for despres at this point but a solid top 9 player with Ladd’s resume wouldn’t hurt, at all! Then maybe you can shoot for Brad Boyes and/or Marcel Goc to fill out top 9 on the cheap and still maintain depth on d.

    Oh during said perusing, i may have discovered ground zero for pens perceived contempt towards despres. Ryan O’Reilly was taken 3 picks after despres. You think our issues in top 9 would be different if we took him instead? Silfverbeg, Chaisson, and Clifford were all other good wingers taken right after o’reilly too.
    Obviously non of this would hold up in court but…just sayin….

    And i wonder if Despres got the memo about working on his shot:

    • Give that “thems that are in charge” sent him down to work on his defense…not sure that his scoring a couple of goals helps…or hurts…

      I’m thinking that they are putting him into the same box as Gogolinsky and Whitney – that maybe they think that they really can’t “fix” him and, particularly with their depth, seeing what they can get in a trade will make life easier for all concerned.

      • Now, how that applies to one Letang, Kris….I got no flipping idea….

      • Dont see how we trade him with nisky and orpik being UFA’s. Big picture i really have no problem with how despres is developing. Also looks like his presence makes sameulsson better. Thats a good trait to have in your game as well. If he’s lazy thats different but for now i’ll choose to believe that he’s young and learning. But if he thinks he can rely on his talent alone he’ll wake up one day down the road regretting that he didn’t spend that extra hour a day working on his shot or improving his first couple strides.

        • I don’t disagree….but since we also really don’t know what is going on behind the scenes with him, the only thing we do know is that something ain’t right and the rumors floating around seem to point towards Depres’ attitude.

          If it’s an attitude thing…he will be gone. Not saying it’s right OR good, unless the return is favorable, because you sure hate to see someone with his potential – find it – with another team. But then this is the real world, not the ideal world and again with the depth in the organization, they may just decide move on.

          • Agreed. I’ll just reference what i wrote above indicating that pens may be holding despres to higher standard than others for reasons outside of the kids control. Maybe pens are “projecting” a bit onto despres due to their own remorse for not picking O’Reilly. Although i’m very high on despres I’d be kicking myself too. But the work ethic standard is high here so i hope he gets on board…

            • I think the Pens KNOW Depres is capable of more…but his work ethic isn’t getting him to his potential.

              Not that he’s held to a higher standard.

              • No disagreement there. I guess in roundabout way i was saying that in despres’ mind he thought solid performance in games would get him off the hook from extra time in the gym or bike. Or an extra half hour on snooze button. From the outside pens may appear to be holding him to higher standard but I’m also very aware that internally the work ethic standards imply that he needs to get on board or out the way.

    • If we trade anyone, here’s hoping it’s Letang first, or Despres, but only for a fair or above return.

      If it’s me, I not trading Pouliot. He’s everything you’ve always hoped Letang would be at this stage … but sadly isn’t.

      I’d trade Harrington well before Pouliot but would prefer parting with neither.

      DK: Setting aside Letang, it’s pretty clear you aren’t interested in getting much back, DJ. Remember, Joe Nieuwendyk’s unemployed now.

      • Then Letang would be an excellent place to start, DK.

        Problem solved.

      • By the way, I might add that I’m not at all happy about our D-men line-up. I lamented last spring — just as you did — that Bylsma had done little to trust and develop our young talent, especially throughout the year when games were less meaningful.

        Ollie is a step forward this year, but it’s far too little.

  23. Not sure I understand all of the Richard Sherman flak. What other negative things have we heard…nothing in an age where we have Hernandez and his miseries on display in New England and the trial of the Dallas Cowboy who killed his roommate drinking and driving. It seems like a way to manufacture a storyline.

    Next up…submitting place names that Peyton Manning could use in his cadences. Shall we vote on which places shall be used ala American Idol?

    BTW… Loved the column DK!

  24. Oh and DK, enjoyed the fire-breathing column. I almost think its best ignore Gammons. He’s clearly been blinded by the oversized heads he’s been covering.

  25. Good to see it’s not just baseball fans that are “sensitive.”


    • I did not understand that particular point in the column. Since baseball writers make a mockery of the HOF voting every year, none of them can comment on the amateurish nature of the NHL for allowing what took place between Calgary and Vancouver? Only an NHL writer can notice how bad for the league’s image scenes like that are?

      So, an NHL writer, then, cannot critique the bizarre happenings of the MLB HOF voting?

      In fairness, though, he said the article was a stream of random thoughts. So, he purposely did not flesh them all out.

      • I read it as a “Those in glass houses…” type comment, fwiw.

        • I think the “Going all Sharks vs. Jets to start an NHL game” is a bit worse than a bunch of self-important baseball writers not being able to get their act together on HOF voting.

          Ironically, after writing that first sentence, which was an attempt to compare the game the other night to a West Side Story gang fight, I noticed that Sharks vs. Jets is actually a fitting NHL tilt.

    • …or angst ridden.

  26. Another hockey fight yesterday, which is business as usual in the NHL, like it or not.

  27. I think the point made in the article about the NHL teams playing to 96% capacity and being able to charge more per ticket than the NBA, whose teams play to lower attendance, is a great one. Hockey is often much more popular than other sports in a city. In cities with both an NBA and NHL franchise, I think it more than holds its own.

    Hockey is on fire from my perspective. I check in here, and see that the Pens play before a packed house every single game, every single year. I live in Chicagoland (which is what it is called here) and the Hawks are the hottest ticket in town, by far. The Hawks are more popular now than the Bears or Cubs. Lower bowl tickets for Hawks games go for close to $400, on average, per game. It helps that we have 9 million people to draw from and an arena that seats a little over 20k. But, the Bulls have the same advantages and even before D Rose blew out his knee again, Bulls tickets were much more readily available.

    The NHL does not have ESPN propping it up. To me, that is what ESPN does with the NBA.

    • Amen Jim. I cant even watch espn anymore. They’re just an obvious hype machine for their own purposes more than an actual sports network. Nothing against baseball but much like golf, its more of an activity than sport.

      Ya thats right…i said it… :)

    • Well the NBA has about double the revenues that the NHL has. I never considered the NHL other than a major sport, btw.

      • They also have espn as their PR firm.

        • Well ESPN has a broadcasting contract with the NBA.

          • I think part of the NHL’s problem is that they have recently played nationally on lower tier networks. The Lance Armstrong Network, or Versus, or whatever it was called, didn’t cut it for mainstream America.

            I think they refused to accept the scraps that ESPN offered when they were last looking to partner with them, and so they ended up needing to find alternate sources. And, I also believe ESPN has gone out of their way to stick it to the NHL ever since.

            • I think ESPN lost in that one…

              • ESPN dropped the NHL because of poor ratings. Plain and simple. Ratings for the NHL have gone up in recent years. Easy stuff.

                Personally, I think the NBA does better on their national broadcasts because they have better announcers/analysts. Name one good announcer on the national level for the NHL except for Doc Emerick. The NBA has many good announcers, and that helps sell the product on TV.

                Just my humble 2 cents……

              • But, don’t you think ESPN aims to punish the NHL now, plan? I am in agreement that when you take into account all of the US, hockey is the #4 most popular team sport. But, ESPN gives it almost no coverage unless it absolutely has to. That is how it seems to me. They give us 2 minutes of Barry Melrose on SportsCenter and an occasional highlight, which only Pittsburgh’s own, John Buccigross, has any idea how to explain. On ESPN Radio, it rarely gets mentioned. No experts weighing in. No Tim Leglers, no Jalen Roses, etc. sitting in.

                ESPN may not have gotten good enough ratings with the NHL, but it seems to me that they now pretend that the NHL only exists in the shadows, far out of the mainstream. In reality, I am sure a whole lot of their viewers and listeners would like more NHL coverage.

              • But Jim, wouldn’t you push the things you broadcast, and tend to ignore things you don’t?
                If people REALLY wanted to see more hockey on ESPN, they would call and write letters to do so.

                I feel that ESPN has every right to push NBA, MLB, NASCAR and everything else they televise, after all, they are paying for it. As for “punishing” the NHL, the NHL has punished itself……….. they themselves went to NBC years ago that paid ZERO dollars for TV rights…….. they got some % of ratings, which was peanuts. Only after ratings rose, and NBC/Comcast reconfigured their sports channels did ther NHL get a decent TV deal.

                As I said above, one problem is the quality of announcing. Doc Emerick is the only one worth anything, and hockey if a game that requires good announcing to follow the play. The NBA has many good announcers, so there is less of a chance that people will change the dial.

                But, rant on. ;)

            • I think the NHL has had a long road to hoe since 2004-05 but they’re making a lot of progress. Just keep putting a good product on the ice, improve it if possible, and it will continue to grow in popularity.

              I don’t think Disney/ESPN sees the business case to broadcast NHL games or cover it much but I could see that changing in the future.

  28. I definitely like these types of columns.

    Stream of consciousness, but pithy.

  29. The column was well written, of course.

    I just don’t care for that particular journalistic device. I’m not a big fan of stream of consciousness pieces (reason I didn’t regularly read Larry King in USA Today) or using some thought as a point of departure to make several opinions about various topics.

    I think columnists are paid to make meaty arguments about issues. It requires fleshing out a single issue over several persuasive paragraphs. When hit and run thoughts are made about various topics, well, that is no different than what we do here in the comments. Or what millions do on twitter. Your discipline calls for more than comments and twitter like zings.

    Otherwise, I expect some compensation for my comments here.

  30. The NBA thrived when NBC had the contract. It thrives when Disney has the contract. It is a major sport (just like hockey). ESPN promotes it because it televises it. But it would still be popular whether CBS, NBC or Fox had broadcasting rights.

    For the life of me, I’ll never understand why people care if you like the NBA.

  31. Digging the tongue in cheek vibe of the blog today.

  32. Wow, it’s been three hours since I asked about the impact Terry Smith might have for PSU, and nary a response. Guess that tells me not to expect much.

    • sounds like a few people had this coming. There’s usually more to the story … interesting…

      • Sorry I disagree. Have class when you win. Maybe that dates me, but that’s the way I am. I don’t care where you come from or what you’ve done…if you don’t have class when you do win…when do you have it?

        The guy who could have gone off was Wes Welker, but he didn’t, even after getting pinged by Belechik.


  33. 1. Richard Sherman proves that just because you went to college, it does not give you perspective. The great play was made by the linebacker with the interception, not by Sherman. The Choke gesture, should be fineable, but Roger doesn’t care.

    2. Harbaugh, he is going to spontaneously combust one day. Again, what he does is 10 times worse than Tomlin 2step. But he continues to get away with it. Maybe when he punches a ref, he might be fined. Two words, Anger Management.

    3. Saw a guy on sidelines in street clothes block on a return, seems to me a draft choice needs to be taken. Goodell already established a precidence on this. But will we hear any thing.

    4. I would rather hear Bruno Sammartino sing during halftime than Bruno Mars. Instead of addressing coach and player behavior, poor officiating, off field drug and alcohol charges, Emperor Roger sees a day when player can smoke a joint for medical purposes. Awesome.

    5. Seattle, now greatest fans ever, 12th man, wow, so when they played the Steelers in Super Bowl, why did about 500 fans only show up?

    • RBI:

      I was going to make that same point last night, but I forgot. I mean the point about the guy on the SF sideline knocking down the player from the Seattle punting team who got pushed out of bounds. Thanks for reminding me. That seems like a pretty bad offense. I did not see Sal Palantonio making a huge deal and foaming at the mouth, running around looking for people to comment on that after the game.

      I also noticed one play, where a Seattle DB tipped a pass intended for a SF receiver right near the SF sideline. Both players fell to the turf, and while the ball was still in the air, I thought Michael Crabtree (or maybe it was another 49er) reached and tried to deflect the ball away from the Seattle defender to keep him from catching it while he was on the ground. The ball was beyond the out of bounds line, so it would have been near impossible for the Seattle player to catch it on his back. And, the 49er did not actually tip it, but I saw him reach for it. I wonder if “intent” there costs you a draft pick.

    • Also, great point about the Seattle fans. Suddenly, they are the best fans in any sport, anywhere. Joe Buck said it. Must be true.

      BTW, I would not be offended if at some point, Joe Buck can stop saying when they come back from a station break, “He’s Troy, I’m Joe.” I don’t know why that irks me, but it does just a tad. Maybe because it is so hokey. Not hoka hey, but hokey.

  34. From the Pens’ website:

    As expected, the Pens injured players – Martin, Megna, Neal, Kobasew – were at the morning skate and worked in rushes. Looks like the Pens are starting to get healthy. Below was the work flow…



    PP1: Letang, Malkin up top. Crosby, Neal & Kunitz down low.
    PP2: Niskanen, Martin up top. Jokinen, Sutter & Pyatt down low.

    The Pens resume a normal schedule (and begin their sprint toward the Olympic break, which begins Feb. 9) tonight when they host the Florida Panthers at CONSOL Energy Center. The news to watch for today will be the possible returns of defenseman Paul Martin and forwards James Neal, Jayson Megna and Chuck Kobasew. All of these players had two full days of practice with the team this weekend in addition to a number of productive individual sessions over the last few days, so we’ll see if that’s enough for them to rejoin the lineup.

  35. Anyone else see some the offers that Tanaka is reported to have received? “Most of which in excess of 100 million ” or something like that?

    I realize Darvish has done well, and Nomo early in his career, but a lot of those Japanese starting pitchers really seem to get figured out after awhile, and then hit hard.

    I mean he pitched once a week over there. Seems kinda risky to give someone 100 million like that.

    • bpn:

      I don’t know whether Tanaka will succeed here or not. But, he has Darvish to thank for a significant portion of his upcoming contract. He had the highest strikeout rate in MLB last year, and is really the first Japanese transplant to pitch at an elite level in MLB as a starter. No one knows whether Darvish will sustain it, but I think a lot of baseball people have decided he can. So, that makes it easier for them to extend big money to Tanaka. He has really good stuff from what I read, and he’s just entering his prime. There are risks, but a lot of smart baseball people think he’s at least a solid #2. And no draft pick compensation helps as well. Those #1 picks are like gold now.

    • His agent is Mr. Fuji.

  36. Very happy for John Fox. His first NFL coaching job was in 1989 as Steelers secondary coach under Chuck Noll. He may very well be the last active member of the Chuck Noll coaching tree. Which made it even sweeter yesterday when he prevented Bill Belichick from another opportunity to tie Noll’s record of 4 Super Bowl wins. Pretty good for a guy that had he decided on deep sea fishing instead of golf with his cardiologist, he wouldn’t be here today.

  37. Aren’t you all glad we are not talking about the widespread cheating scandal in the Philly school system? No wonder Flyers fans are as dumb as they are. :-)

  38. The Sherman thing is really nothing new. Think about things that Tatum and Atkinson used to say about Swann. Those guys and others from that era talked openly about knocking guys out of games and did so before and after.

  39. We’ve seen alot of criticism of Mike Tomlin (in particular this year) in regards to clock management, and also offensive play calling.
    What I saw late in the game from the 49ers yesterday was atrocious.
    Twenty-some seconds left….1st down….Two time outs…And you force a ball in the corner of the end zone?!
    Harbaugh could’ve easily gotten four shots out of the situation, and used all aspects of the field with two time outs.
    I was stunned (though happy to preserve Steelers6) when I saw Kaepernick put that ball up in the corner of the end zone against Seattle’s best CB.

    Between Harbaugh and his insanity in more ways than one, and the pathetic list of new coaches in the league….Mike Tomlin is starting to look excellent in my book.

    • Yeah, pretty hysterical that Crabtree said Sherman made only 1 play. SF didn’t throw at him during the game, so duh!! he couldn’t make plays. Then, with 20 seconds left, they throw at him, and he deflects the ball for the INT.

      Yeah, Harbaugh was bad yesterday, but that doesn’t excuse Tomlin for his clock butchering week in and week out………

  40. Jamie benn elbows Matt Cooke in the head…no penalty, no call, no hearing no nothing. b*llsh*t!
    NHL looks bad!

  41. The news wasn’t surprising (Dupuis surgery on Feb 12th), but one sentence it was:
    “The date will coincide with the NHL’s Olympic break and put the 34-year-old’s status for next season into question, given recovery from a torn ACL can last up to a year.”


    • I think it’s pretty much been a given that Duper would be out the rest of the season.
      This is just heart-breaking.

      • The fact that they said he could be out until January next year was the stunning part….

        • Yeah that’s just terrible. Duper will push himself to get back, but he will only be able to do what he can do.

        • I frequently scroll through Dejan’s blog, I cannot remember that last time I commented. Anyway that piece on Dupuis is just lazy reporting, Malkin’s ACL reconstruction occurred in February 2011 and he registered an assist in the 2011-12 season opener. Obviously complications can happen but if Dupuis’s next season is in jeopardy the Penguins need to consider a new medical staff.

  42. I can’t remember a baseball game ever being stopped to clean up blood on the diamond. Hockey fights and baseball fights are apples and oranges. Not even remotely similar.

      • Hey Jandy.

        Sure it is. But I think when something like this happens in baseball, it’s a major headline because it’s the exception, not the norm. Baseball fights, for the most part, are posturing and pushing. Greinke got his collarbone broken, and that horrible, but there wasn’t a punch thrown. Hockey fights are much more violent, and dangerous.

        • When it comes down to it patton, you shouldn’t expect comparisons per se, because the two sports are so different. Hockey is FAST and violent as you say, baseball is not. Just the fact the the brawls clear the benches, and the bullpens too, says enough.

          • Good point.

            I wasn’t knocking your sport. Just commenting on how different a perceived “bench clearing brawl” in baseball was from a hockey fight.

          • Hockey fights, when they involve entire teams, can be really bad. Part of it is because, well, those guys know how to fist fight. MLB players and NBA players definitely do not. So, even though there are occasionally really bad results from a fight in those 2 sports (Kermit Washington, etc.), most of the bench clearing and dugout/bullpen clearing incidents result in a lot of awkward milling around. Again, I know some very bad things can and do happen in those fights. I’m not saying they aren’t serious. But, when a hockey fight breaks out, it almost always goes down in a big way. And, not only do they know how to throw punches, but they wear razor sharp skates. Group fighting in hockey can be really bad.

            Oh, and then guys like Thornton sometimes cold cock a guy and then continue to beat his brains in as he lays on the ice. There’s also that scary part, on rare occasions.

  43. The Pens’ next opponent tonight is the Florida Panthers, who’ve often gotten 0 TV ratings recently since only 3800 down here in Florida watch hockey games although I certainly will tonight on the local Fox station if they’re carrying it. It’s just that hockey will continue having problems expanding its appeal beyond the Northeastern US and Canada unless it legislates violence out of the sport although such efforts likely face an uphill battle.

  44. I wanna see Crosby pull a sherman next time he scores a GW goal. Or better yet…if malkin pulled a sherman.

  45. Liked the column this A.M.

  46. Just posted from Josh Yohe:
    Neal, Martin and Kobasew all look like good bets to play tonight. Megna likely back later this week.

    Probably why Kobasew practiced on Sid’s RW and not Megna. I guess Engelland will be the RW on the 4th line.

  47. Great, an other weather advisory:

  48. The excuse is always used by the Canadian hockey elite, both in the media and in the boardroom that they SELF-POLICE by fighting.

    Didn’t Torts use this strategy often with the Rangers?

    And Philly, goon city, goon team, will never win another Cup, but may destroy your chance by injuring your best player, JUST POLICING the game.

    Well, I have hated fighting in hockey since I remember my first Olympic hockey game viewed.
    U want respect, earn it. Earn it by making it a STAR league. Keep the stars healthy, and it will zoom in TV viewing, everywhere. And there are plenty of teams with less than 100% sold-out arenas.

    There is enough brutality in hockey without fighting.

    Let’s say we start a baseball game with all the players in a brawl.

    What happens next?

    No game, all the player thrown out. Suspensions, fines, lost income. Wow Kershaw, I’s try to get him to fight every game, $1MM lost a game.

    Tough break.

    Gee, what a novel idea, want to fight, lose a game, 2nd fight lose a week of games, 3rd fight, season and playoffs suspension. Easily solved.

    Except we would have to move all the teams south of the Canadian border. They would never go for it.
    or how about this one: Only fighting allowed on Canadian soil.

    Gotta love it, and you’re right, when ESPN lost the hockey contract it doesn’t exist to them.

  49. To answer the question in the blog post, I love columns like this because I have kept up with most of society and have developed a 2013 attention span. So, a bunch of short items like this is ideal for someone like…oh look, I got an email….

  50. 10 more Mondays until opening day.

  51. DK,

    Loved, loved, loved the article. Simply because you get to see the thought process between the written words. I don’t feel it should be a regular thing (not once a week) because a certain amount of poetry in the language is lost in those twitter post type items, but would love to see an article like that every once in a while.

    Keep up the great work.

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