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Morning Java: Two acts of cowardice

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> Off on Tuesdays, as always, so I’ll just get out of the way here …

>> The Penguins’ 13-game home winning streak went thud with a dud against Florida, by Rob Rossi. And really, isn’t that how most of the really streaks wind up, or is that just my imagination?

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

Here’s our photo gallery from Consol, by Chaz Palla and Chris Horner.

Here’s Panthers news from the Miami Herald.

Here are official game highlights from NHL.com.

And completely as an oh-by-the-way, here’s a talk I had with Robert Bortuzzo about the organization’s remarkable depth on defense …

>> The NHL is run by cowards.

The John Tortorella punishment sounds about right. He had no business being where he was at that time. I get that.

But to me, the bigger issue remains that the Flames institutionally initiated a line brawl at the opening faceoff, and all that came down was a $25,000 fine for Bob Hartley. As if the head coach came up with this one unilaterally. It’s a joke, just as Hartley’s expression of innocence last night in San Jose was a joke, just as Brian Burke claiming to be ‘perplexed’ is a joke. And the one getting the last laugh is Burke, the very-much-hands-on team president who publicly stated recently that the Flames needed to get tougher, then gets to stay behind the curtain and watch it all unfold.

The argument being made in Hartley’s favor is that, gee, how can you punish a coach for starting his fourth line?

That isn’t the issue. The issue is that the fourth line initiated a line brawl. That’s it. Two official seconds ticked off the clock before the fights began. And it doesn’t take Scotty Bowman to determine which team is the instigator when the visiting team submits its opening lineup card first.

It’s as simple and obvious as it gets. Unless, of course, you don’t want to see it and would prefer to avoid Burke questioning your manhood.

>> Pitt doesn’t get a chance to lament Syracuse with Clemson and K.J. McDaniels in the house tonight. Kevin Gorman previews.

Here’s our full Pitt coverage.

>> Aaron Donald had a monster Senior Bowl practice, Jerry DiPaola blogs. And if you prefer proof before clicking, here he is destroying poor Cyril Richardson of Baylor …

>> Curtis Bray’s cause of death revealed, by DiPaola.

>> Getting rid of the extra point? Wow, NFL, really?

>> The Browns get a sixth Pro Bowl player? Wow, NFL, really?

>> Richard Sherman’s still being discussed? Wow, world, really?

Here are John Fedko and John Steigerwald having at the topic on TribLIVE Radio yesterday …

>> The Ford City girls’ basketball team beat Leechburg, 56-0, last night. A shutout in hoops! Amazing under even the wildest, weirdest of circumstances.

My feeling on lopsided amateur athletics always has been the same: Get better or get out of the business. But don’t put youngsters in a position to get publicly humiliated like that.

>> My TribLIVE Radio show is tomorrow at 2 p.m. I’ll also be covering Penguins-Habs for the Thursday column.

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. Ghost says:

    Yes, I just came here from the article on Goodell and the extra point. Does EVERY last thing have to be about how to squeeze out EVERY last buck for the NFL? We already have to put up with crappy gimmicks like the Steelers and Vikings traveling to play in London, or horrible throwback jerseys that nobody ever asked for. Now fundamentally changing the game just so that a few less eyeballs run to the refrigerator during the extra-point kick? There are a lot of things that have diminished my ardor for watching NFL game broadcasts. The extra point kick isn’t remotely one of them.

    Oh, and watch field-goal attempt misses leap if kickers aren’t running out and executing the XP’s anymore.

    DK: I appreciate the broader thought, Ghost. Just curious how you’d lump London into the gimmick category. By any practical measure, putting games into a stadium that gets filled with 93,000 screaming fans doesn’t strike me as terribly gimmicky.

  2. Bizrow says:

    I think the NFL should hire Frank (Hi Frank) immediately

  3. Ghost says:

    Separately, as if we didn’t already know Bill Belichick is a real louse, now comes this latest in his vendetta against Wes Welker.

    http://www.cbssports.com/general/writer/gregg-doyel/24414957/hate-shermans-rant-its-got-nothing-on-belichicks-welker-accusation

  4. Ghost says:

    ++++++++++++++
    That would, after all, give us twice as many reasons to wave and say, “Hi Frank” during the year. :-)

  5. Scott says:

    Field goals are being converted at around 85% now and extra points at more than 99%. The real solution is to shrink the goal posts by a reasonable margin. Problem solved.

    And while they’re at it, extend the goal posts another 10 feet higher into the air. I’ve seen too many kicks that go right over top one of the posts and it’s up to the ref’s discretion whether the kick is good or not. Make the posts higher to eliminate the guesswork.

  6. Deb says:

    Dejan, what’s your take on what’s up with the Pens since Malkin and Letang returned?
    Also, Dejan, what was the outcome of your articles you submitted for award consideration a while back? Win anything? or get close? I may have missed the outcome, but if not, keep us posted. :)

    DK: I’ll take care of the Penguins on radio show and in the column, Deb. Want to put some stuff together first. As for the awards, that stuff takes forever. I won one last August, if you can believe that. But I thank you for asking, and I’ll make a note here if anything were to happen.

  7. Palmetto State Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    Watching the video of AD and the mouth drops. Pretty good chance he’ll be up there early on draft day.

    And I don’t care what scheme the Steelers run, if he’s available, I’m game for the taking.

    How long until Pirates talk comes back?

    BTW, Biz, mark me down for Sumter, SC

    DK: It might sound old-fashioned, but so, so much of the NFL Draft process is still based on the eye test. Consider the Steelers’ entire staff — Mike Tomlin, everyone — heading out to the Senior Bowl.

  8. Palmetto State Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    Absolutely it is. 40 times and IQ tests don’t tell the whole story.

    Mano y mano is a much bigger influence.

  9. Palmetto State Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    Is AD a local product? Who is credited for recruiting him?

  10. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    There might be a couple alternatives to kicking extra points in the NFL, but I don’t think Roger Goodell is the guy to figure it out.
    Goodell and company are clearly not equipped to maintain the integrity of the game.
    The next thing you know they will decide to hold a draft of all the Pro Bowl players, conducted by Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders.
    Ooooopss!…………….

  11. Ghost says:

    DK: Goodell has warn out his welcome with this fan, too. He has $$ signs in his eyes and glory on his mind thinking “he” will be the man (the ‘visionary’) who finally delivers the European market to the NFL. But this is folly and a waste of everybody’s time. The 93,000 fans you cite (which I think actually was 83K) came for the spectacle that is this two-off circus every autumn in London Town. But what this is all about is Goodell’s fantasy of having an NFL franchise in London full-time. The London Monarchs and the rest of the former NFL Europe already flopped and folded. Each year the NFL Europe had ever less attendance at games. I just don’t believe that even a genuine NFL team would draw 83K fans a game for a full NFL home schedule. Broadcasts (if viewers even consistently watched them) would show broad swaths of empty seats at Wembley.

    Meanwhile, the publicity stunt that is these current NFL International Series games has to be a major headache for all the teams lassoed into it, not just the Steelers who woefully did not plan well for it. It also is a loss for the real fans of the teams back in their respective American cities. Minnesota fans, for example, lost a home game this year. (Their local economy lost out on that too, since this is all about the $$.)

    And maybe Ike Taylor was a jolly good sport with the media over there this time. But I can’t begin to imagine how the complaints would start coming in from most American players who would end up having to play for any London franchise and be the American dancing bears over there, full-time. That and they’d be playing on a London team which would have a hard time being competitive. They would never have time to practice they would be traveling so much.

  12. memyselfandi says:

    hm, dear ghost, at least one of those 83k people went there for the spectacle of seeing his team live in a stadium at least once in his lifetime, too bad they sucked terribly. from what i saw it seemed that around 40% of the people at wembley were members of that well traveling steeler nation, big ben was right when he called the steelers “the world’s team” last year. so stop the whining, it wasn’t the steelers that lost a home game.
    p.s.: if they had played at dublin like the rooneys envisioned it wouldn’t even have been further away from home than minnesota.

  13. Drew71 says:

    No. One very, very tall goalpost. Just one.

    Hit it for the points. Miss it and the other team gets to depants the kicker.

    Which would be especially embarrassing in, say, Green Bay in December. Trust me.

    Now THAT’S excitement.

  14. Drew71 says:

    Yes, Dejan. Really.

  15. 21sthebest says:

    Welcome back Ryan!

  16. 21sthebest says:

    How does eliminating the extra point increase revenues?

  17. The NFL Commissioner is also talking about playoff games being held on Mondays and Tuesdays. Now let’s see what other ideas he’ll be pushing during this off season, if any.

  18. Luiz Mello says:

    I would like to see the extra point changed in a way that it actually meant something. The idea mentioned in the article sounds ridiculous, but what about something closer to the way rugby does it?

  19. kr70 says:

    to the pens, play the guys that were winning until they aren’t winning and then bring back the guys that were injured.

  20. Coach Belichick, it seems, considers one a traitor if you sign up to play for some other team, and so, this is what this is all about.

  21. It looks as if the Pens weren’t sharp last night because it’s been too long between games. But then, after February 9, the entire NHL will be off for the Olympics, and then, we’ll have to see how the Pens respond to that.

  22. JoeyBats says:

    Welcome back, Ryan!

    Here’s a nice profile on AD.
    http://www.pittsburghpanthers.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/aaron_donald_710949.html

    Penn Hills is 9 miles from the Cathedral of Learning/Pitt campus.

    Can’t wait to see Aaron play in the pros.

  23. JoeyBats says:

    Let’s send LaMarr Woodley to a London team/franchise ……he NEVER has time to PRACTICE………or, to PLAY. :-(

  24. The NFL Commissioner says that he considers point after kicks “too easy”. Now what have you all to say about that?

  25. Jandy says:

    Hope the move went well for you. welcome “home” :)

  26. JAL says:

    JAL’s A Butcher’s Tale Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMhemzN7sTc

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 MLB Important Dates

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/schedule/important_dates.jsp

    4 Pirates Prospects Spring Training Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/st2014

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: The Downside of Being a Top Prospect at a Young Age

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/01/first-pitch-the-downside-of-being-a-top-prospect-at-a-young-age.html

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Top Prospects: #10 – Harold Ramirez

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/01/pittsburgh-pirates-2014-top-prospects-10-harold-ramirez.html

    Winter Leagues: Starling Marte Done With Winter Ball

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/01/pittsburgh-pirates-2014-top-prospects-10-harold-ramirez.html

    Taking a Look at the Current Market For Ike Davis

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/01/taking-a-look-at-the-current-market-for-ike-davis.html

    6 Rumbunter

    Pittsburgh Pirates, TV Money, Party Decks and Rockies Owner Opening Books

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/01/20/pittsburgh-pirates-tv-money-party-decks-rockies-owner-opening-books/

    7 Call to the Pen

    The CttP Five: Desperate Teams Call for Desperate Measures

    http://calltothepen.com/2014/01/20/five-teams-a-move-away/?utm_source=FanSided&utm_medium=Network&utm_campaign=Around%20the%20Network

    8 FanSided

    MLB Rumors: Pittsburgh Pirates reach out to A.J. Burnett

    http://fansided.com/2014/01/20/mlb-rumors-pittsburgh-pirates-reach-j-burnett/

    9 Beyond the Box Score

    Analyzing Gerrit Cole’s dominant month of September

    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2014/1/20/5324588/gerrit-cole-pirates-dominant-month-of-september

    10 Green Weenie

    1/20: The Black Babe Ruth, Carl Taylor, Adam LaRoche, DJ Carrasco, Brian Giles

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2014/01/120-black-babe-ruth-carl-taylor-adam_20.html

    11 Saber Bucs

    List of Pirate Projections by Saberbucs – so far

    http://saberbucs.com/blog/2014/01/20/list-of-pirate-projections-by-saberbucs-so-far/

  27. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Breaking Down The Bucs’ Right Field Battle

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2014/01/20/pittsburgh-pirates-breaking-bucs-right-field-battle/

    13 Rant Sports

    Projecting the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Depth Chart at First Base

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2014/01/20/projecting-the-pittsburgh-pirates-depth-chart-at-first-base/

    14 USA Today

    It’s go time: Where MLB’s top talent will land

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2014/01/20/mlb-free-agent-market-stragglers-masahiro-tanaka-ervin-santana/4661175/

    15 Digital Journal

    Op-Ed: NHL is a major sport while baseball is a cheater’s sport

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/sports/op-ed-nhl-hockey-is-a-major-sport-while-baseball-is-a-cheater-s-sport/article/366643

    16 Baseball Prospectus

    The Week In Quotes

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22620

    17 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Wainwright thinks Cy Young Award could be in Wacha’s future

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/wainwright-thinks-cy-young-award-could-be-in-wacha-s/article_091132f7-8150-5a0c-ad62-4dd15212f745.html

    18 ESPN

    NFL teaches MLB something about replay

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/stark_jayson/id/10322665/flaws-nfl-replay-system-lesson-mlb-own-expanded-replay

    19 Fangraphs

    The Real Market Inefficiency

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-real-market-inefficiency/

    20 Baseball Nation

    The four least beloved figures in baseball

    http://www.baseballnation.com/2014/1/20/5328234/least-likable-figures-baseball

  28. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steeles 2014 Roster Projections: Defensive ends

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014-steelers-roster-projections/2014/1/20/5324116/steeles-2014-roster-projections-defensive-ends

    Super Bowl 2014: Manning is one victory away from cementing his legacy

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014/1/20/5326934/super-bowl-2014-peyton-manning

    22 Steelers Depot

    Steelers Offseason Priorities – What To Do With Woodley And Worilds

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2014/01/steelers-offseason-priorities-what-to-do-with-woodley-and-worilds/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Keepers in the Premier League: Szczesny, Marshall & Mannone

    http://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/football/arsenal-cardiff-sunderland-keepers-premier-league

    24 The Telegraph

    Manchester United prepare to make record £37m bid to sign Chelsea’s unsettled Spain midfielder Juan Mata

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/manchester-united/10585577/Manchester-United-prepare-to-make-record-37m-bid-to-sign-Chelseas-unsettled-Spain-midfielder-Juan-Mata.html

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Pens 13 game home winning streak busted

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2014/1/20/5329576/pens-13-game-home-winning-streak-busted

  29. JAL says:

    Song A Butcher’s tale by the Zombies

  30. BillyBaduka says:

    DK, the gimmick is playing the game 3,358 miles away (for NY teams).

  31. Jandy says:

    Where’s Irene?

  32. 23 DAYS UNTIL PITCHERS & CATCHERS REPORT TO PIRATE CITY IN BRADENTON FOR SPRING TRAINING

    For those in late November who said: “Don’t panic! Be patient! Give the BMTIB time to act.”
    Now that Pirates have a #1 Pitcher who is working out in his normal pre-Spring Training preparation but not signed . . .
    and no experienced 1st Baseman to take 70 % of the platoon AB’s at 1B . . . .

    Is it time to PANIC yet?!?!?!

  33. NMR says:

    Hahaha, oh Groat…

  34. Jandy says:

    step back from the ledge….nice ‘n easy now….step back…

  35. theplanisworking says:

    #24……..
    Not comforting at all to see another sports league with financial insanity. That deal ( Mata ) would rival the Kershaw madness of last week. But United is the richest club over there, so……….

    I, along with many others, are appreciative of your daily links, even if not all of them get read. #11, Saber Bucs, is written by someone who over the years, has participated in deliberate flame wars across many Pittsburgh sports blogs. I have witnessed this person cause all sorts of trouble, and I will respectfully pass on anything he writes. Not telling you what to do, or not to do, but I thought I would make you aware of this. I know you try to get a wide variety of links in, but I have no idea if you take character into your process.

  36. Steve says:

    That GIF of Aaron Donald steamrolling the guard is priceless. “Beast mode” if I’ve ever seen it. Really hope he goes high in the draft and has a solid NFL career.

  37. theplanisworking says:

    Groat,
    if you don’t already know the answer to this, you haven’t paid attention to things. The can will always get kicked down the road regarding personnel moves. Besides, 2014 isn’t over yet, so more patience will be needed.

    As for panicking, do whatever feels comfortable. ;)

  38. theplanisworking says:

    Daq,
    I wouldn’t trust GODell with correctly making a peanut butter jelly sandwich, let alone make important decisions. Lets take away the extra point, and replace it with the 2-point conversion………. where players can bang helmets some more, then pretend to be concerned about player safety.

    Rog needs to get a bigger crying towel because his BFF’s Cheatriots aren’t going to the Super Bowl. Poor guy……. must be tough.

  39. theplanisworking says:

    This is a very dangerous thing for Belicheat to say. One doesn’t just go around and say someone has a wish to deliberately injure anyone. This could have bad consequences for Welker, if someone wants to “get him” based on Belicheats words. Classless.

  40. theplanisworking says:

    Yeah, Belicheat can cut a player anytime he wants to, but if someone leaves the team before he can cut him, that player is a traitor.

    But this is the coach so many label a “genius”.
    As each year goes by that Brady and Belicheat don’t win a SB, the more tainted they become with Spygate. If Spygate was no big deal, or didn’t benefit them, then why haven’t they won since?

  41. theplanisworking says:

    Aaron Donald will make a fine NFL player, no matter where he is drafted. Talk last month or so was centered on him being too short. Actuall, being short on the DL can be a benefit…….. it allows the DT to get under the OL, and can drive the player back…………. as witnessed in the gif above. Too bad the Steelers have more pressing needs…….. Donald would be a great player for the Steelers.

  42. JAL says:

    I didn’t know that. The posts are pretty straight sabermatic numbers.

  43. Matt Gajtka says:

    I’ve been onboard with eliminating the extra point for a while now. Gets rid of a needless play, and if you want to “go for two,” you get just six points if you miss.

    I also find it interesting how every major sports commissioner is ridiculed in alarmingly similar ways. People in these positions are always going to be upsetting someone. Just the nature of the job.

  44. Palmetto State Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    Thank you

  45. theplanisworking says:

    Ok. Since I won’t read them, of course I defer to your good judgement. Just giving you the back story. Maybe he has changed his ways……….. but as recently as last year, he hadn’t.

    But, still love the valuable service you provide.
    And, let us know the next time you are doing your duties on TV.

  46. Palmetto State Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    Thanks Joey.

  47. Palmetto State Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    Duuuuuddddeeee

    Baseball talk yet?

  48. Original Ether says:

    Seriously, I think you guys would like the get-rid-of-the-extra-point idea if Goddell didn’t come up with it.

    It needs to go- and has needed to go for a long time – because:
    1. It is a waste of time
    2. The play itself really has nothing to do with football
    3. Does anyone really think an extra point should make the difference between which team wins and loses?

    Frankly I’d like to see the 2-point conversion go (thus all touchdowns are worth 7 points) because it’s nuts that a TD is worth 6 points and a two-yard play is worth 2, plus at least it is a football play.
    I know that it won’t go because it delays the point to where a game is out of reach; i.e. a team losing by 15 or 16 points is still within two scores.

  49. Palmetto State Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    Thanks 21

  50. PetroSteel says:

    My apology’s…I take full responsibility…I went to my first Pens game of the year last night. I’ll make sure that I don’t go to another! Sorry everyone!

  51. Nice organ.

    Can’t listen to the Zombies without wanting to hear “She’s Not There”

  52. Here’s my #1 “Be Patient!” guy.

  53. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  54. Brandie says:

    Nice avatar btw.

  55. NMR says:

    Ha! Is that guy the infamous Bipolarman?

  56. Damon says:

    It was yoooouuu!!!! Just kidding – I actually feel bad that for all the home games you could have seen, that was your first. I’ll chalk that game up to:
    -long layoff
    -several players returning from injury
    -several players still getting used to their line mates/partners
    -home winning streak coming to and end (and yes DK, you are right…streaks end with a thud usually)
    -Sid’s new skates causing him to have several blow-outs on the ice
    -the price of tea in China

    That being said, they better come out strong and systematically sound against the Canadians tomorrow….another thing about streaks ending is that it usually isn’t just one loss that ends it.

  57. NMR says:

    All caps AND redundant punctuation? Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

  58. Jandy says:

    2. The play itself really has nothing to do with football

    Then why is it in the game?
    Just curious.

  59. AJS says:

    Not one of the things you probably intended to get a reply on DK but the 56-0 basketball score is unbelievable. It reminds me of when I was in High School. Our girls squad started 2 sophmores and 3 freshmen. They were a very good team winning much more than they lost. And when going up against a team known for winning state championships, or at least being in the mix every year, they lost a road game by the score of 66-9. The team they faced also started a mix of freshmen and sophmores.

    The second time they played, this time at home just 2 weeks later, similar results. I do not recall the exact score of that one but the opponent scored a few less and our girls scored a few more.

    They played a third time that season. Opening round of the district playoffs. The final of that one was a 6 point victory for the opponents.

    Our girls lost the next 4 match ups in that rivalry. Most by 2 posessions or less. But the last time that same group of irls went up agaisnt that same group from the other school, our girls claimed the conference title. In overtime. And the girls from the other school left the gym refusing to shake hands. They wouldn’t even come back out for the runner up trophy. One of the moms had to run out and get it for them.

    The point is, that while it was somewwhat embarrasing to be on that floor with that far superior opponent, every girl on that team would tell you that they learned valuable lessons in that game. Both basketball and life related. And that those experiences made them stronger. And without the 66-9 loss, the OT thriller never would have happened.

    56-0 probably won’t be the end of this story for those girls from Leechburg.

  60. PetePitt73 says:

    DK —
    You can add Neanderthal Jay Caulfield to Brian Burke and others that seem to be perplexed with the 25k fine to Bob Hartley. He was truly mystified by the fine. Hockey will be much better off when people like these are no longer part of the game.

  61. AJS says:

    Nice to have you back Groat! Imissed your daily “The sky is falling”

  62. The Wicked Witch has not yet melted. Beware!!!!!

    Maybe SHE can play first base!

  63. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  64. Jandy says:

    Wicked Witch???

    but, but…

  65. Steve says:

    I have no problem with eliminating the extra point kick or making it more difficult. Field goals too for that matter. Kickers are just so good these days. I don’t like some of these game winning “drives” where the offense stalls at the 40 yard line and the kicker walks out and drills a 55 yard field goal. After 22 guys beat on each other for three hours, why should the outcome come down to a scenario like that?

  66. Jandy says:

    eh…I smelled this coming on yesterday.
    Always happens after a layoff, and with a game of a lesser opponent.
    Doesn’t mean they had to prove me right!!

  67. Arriba Wilver says:

    So, in other words, you want to turn it into soccer?

  68. Arriba Wilver says:

    You forgot the streak ended at 13. ;-)

  69. 21sthebest says:

    That unfortunate character assassination could not be more inaccurate as is the description of his participation on blogs. Additionally, by coincidence, I have known Rich for a couple of years and he’s a terrific person. Salt of the earth.

  70. Dejan,

    Seriously!

    Sunday night you compared the “bench clearing brawls” of baseball (junior high dance milling and standing around) . .
    . . . . to the fighting of hockey, specifically the Vancouver/Calgary premeditated war?

    Like comparing Big Mac to Ruth’s Chris. Both food, both meat —— but that’s about all.

    And, who’s the guy who brought up baseball in the middle of a hockey discussion?

  71. 21sthebest says:

    Yes.

  72. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl says:

    If anyone thinks Goodell isn’t being prodded by the owners to find ways to get more dollars in their pockets, then I have some land in Florida for sale.

  73. Milo Hamilton says:

    About the Leechburg girls being shutout. An interesting side story is that the Leechburg school board tried to secretly pull out of the WPIAL last summer. Until it wasn’t a secret anymore. All the discussions happened in executive session & the vote took place at a public session without any warning. Parents & students felt blindsided & flooded the WPIAL offices with phone calls & e-mails. WPIAL officials held off accepting the withdrawal until the public had an opportunity to speak at the next board meeting. The board bowed to public pressure & ultimately voted to stay.

    Leechburg is a very small school district. Latest enrollment figures show only 123 boys & 89 girls in grades 9-11. The board was worried about being competitive. Parents were concerned about longer travel to away games in District 6′s Heritage Conference.

    The ironic thing about the whole situation ? The last of the local teams that we cover to win a WPIAL basketball championship were the Leechburg boys in 2007.

    Just a little background.

  74. Jandy says:

    Don’t remind me AW! :P

  75. Jandy says:

    Oh man, I was really p*ssed lol

  76. 21sthebest says:

    +1

    People also seem to want Commissioner by Committee. And some things are already done that way in the league. Like the Competition Committee who has to approve the elimination of the extra point.

  77. Jandy says:

    Good stuff, Milo.

  78. Jandy says:

    haha I was gonna say something along those lines, but didn’t want to seem … combative lol

    What’s football without field goals and extra points?

    Soccer!

  79. Damon says:

    very interesting – thanks!

  80. Jandy says:

    If everyone agreed on everything, there wouldn’t be as much fun in life in general.

    There would be no wars.

    Wow…imagine that!

  81. JohninOshkosh says:

    LYLE STEFAN OVERBAY IS A BREWER AGAIN!!!!!

  82. 21sthebest says:

    I agree and I’m not a big fan of GODdell, but I don’t get all of this vitriol towards him either.

  83. 21sthebest says:

    My son played for a school in the same section in 2007 and we have vivid memories of that 2007 Leechburg team and went to the championship game that year which was a great game, btw. We used to love going to their gym, especially on a Friday night. That town lived for their high school basketball teams and it was tons of fun.

  84. Jandy says:

    is there a parade?

    ;)

  85. Jandy says:

    I really don’t find that surprising, but that’s just me…

  86. Jandy says:

    He earned my contempt with his handling of the Saint’s issues. I’m sure it’s not an easy job.
    That said…one person alone shouldn’t have the power to change things like this. Does he?

  87. Arriba Wilver says:

    Just curious. How so regarding the Saints?

  88. When he was a Bucco, he played like the Stefan from Saturday Night Live.

  89. Jandy says:

    I just felt there were harsher penalties given than what was given to the Patriots and Belicheck for Spygate.. Almost like he had a vendetta. And of course, that’s just my opinion.

  90. pattonbb says:

    Here’s the part about the extra point that I like; every once in a while, a team lines up for the kick, snaps the ball to the holder, the kicker approaches the ball and……..the holder pulls it back, flips it to a motion guy and he races around the end for a two point conversion. I love those trick plays. Yea, I know they only happen a couple times a year, but I’d miss seeing that kind of “trickery”.

    Aaron Donald is a beast. That’s not some 3rd stringer he dominated all day yesterday. Most draft know-it-alls label Cyril Richardson as a high second round pick.

  91. JohninOshkosh says:

    :)

    I don’t think the Bucs are going to solve your first base problem before ST. Brewers have resorted to acquiring carp (the bottom feeding bane of Midwestern fishermen).

    It will take giving up talent at this point. Be prepared for the status quo going into the season, Groat.

  92. Arriba Wilver says:

    Thanks. The NFL was in the midst of a lawsuit that was alleging they didn’t care about player safety. The Saints’ issue involved player safety.
    Not suggesting that’s the only difference, but that’s a pretty big difference. Everything isn’t based on irrationality or vendettas.

  93. Milo Hamilton says:

    St. Joe’s or Vincentian ?

  94. Jandy says:

    You’re welcome. I didn’t say it was based on vendettas. Nor am I irrational, even if I am a girl! :P

    I still think he went overboard.

  95. JohninOshkosh says:

    Remind me never to apply for any professional league commissioner job.

    I guess that is why they get paid so well (other than the fact each of them makes billions for their respective leagues). It’s the ultimate ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t” occupation. No wonder they all ooze confidence and cockiness. They have to as a defense mechanism.

  96. Jandy says:

    I wouldn’t want the job either, Oshie.

    But man, some of them really LOOK like the slime they ooze…in the way they do their job, that is ;)

  97. 21sthebest says:

    Vincentian!

  98. Arriba Wilver says:

    Personally, I think the reason for getting rid of it is so Tony Romo gets to the Super Bowl, where he belongs.

  99. 5 straight years of losing (for this management group) . . . . . 1 straight year of winning.

    Which looks out of place?

    Status quo is not really status quo when Pirates lose #1 Pitcher from last 2 seasons
    AND the starting 1st Baseman who hit 100 Homeruns in last 5 seasons for Bucs.
    He also had 86 RBIs in 2 of last 4 seasons.

    Who is going to drive in runs?

  100. And for all those lousy dollars, the NFL and other sports organizations are attempting to drag us headlong into the 21st century whether or not we’re prepared for that, and, hopefully, they won’t have cause to regret that later.

  101. Oshkosh b’Gosh,

    I would take Mike Carp!

  102. So something occurred to me while my eyes were glazed over at the game last night…

  103. NMR says:

    I could never figure out if his schtick was real or just trying to get a rise out of people. Internet and all. Good to see him find an outlet for his writing.

  104. Jandy says:

    YOu forgot your allergy meds?

  105. Jandy says:

    schtick? Well, that would explain why some folks think he’s over the top…

  106. Wow you’re good…

  107. Jandy says:

    That’s what he said…

  108. It hit me like a ton of bricks that the Pens plan to use maatta in top 6 for playoffs…if they do they’re definitely getting carried away overexposing the kid. I know mentally he wont break if he gets burned but the team cant afford a baptism by fire. Bortuzzo needs to be worked in.

    And i wont mention how mediocare PM looked, especially on 3rd goal just cuz it was his first game back but i hope he picks up where he left off before injury.

  109. Drew71 says:

    “I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability”.

    - Melvin Udall

  110. Ha…way to turn the tables. Aren’t you the sassy one :)

  111. bpn8pitt says:

    Some of his numbers are quite interesting…But sometimes I think sabremetrics proves the theory there is a stat for every argument.

    Intangibles still matter, at least to this fan.

  112. 21sthebest says:

    Leechburg also had some pretty decent baseball teams in those days and a former pitcher played last year in the Frontier League.

  113. Drew71 says:

    The parade’s in Pittsburgh, Jandy.

  114. bpn8pitt says:

    I think Marte could be the key to that whole lineup. He needs to progress, pretty much across the board.

    Even though Tabata filled in well for him down the stretch, I still felt they lost a spark.

  115. Jandy says:

    nah, just a bit on a roll today.
    Every now and then I come up with a good one :P

  116. Jandy says:

    PM will be fine. So will the Pens.
    I just wish they’d not be so predictable…so I can still have hope for the playoffs, ya know?

  117. It’ll be interesting to hear what Mr. Sherman has to say in the future, particularly if Seattle beats Denver in the Superbowl.

  118. Jandy says:

    LOL well done, Drewster ;)

  119. Jandy says:

    IF Seattle has the good fortune to beat Denver in the Super Bowl, then Sherman and the team will hav earned the right to say just about anything they want…

  120. Jandy says:

    I LOVED that movie!!!!

  121. Ummm…jandy…i had a vision and it wasn’t good. No one was higher on Maatta than me. As soon as i saw he and harrington in London i was willie nelson high on the both of them. Even proclaimed both of them as Letang’s future partners.

    HOWEVER, i dont like the thought of maatta playing in top 6 in playoffs. Too soon. Not saying bortuzzo will be mistake free but i have no doubt that we MUST start to integrate Bortuzzo, if not despres too, into top 6 so they can be ready for playoffs.

    But then again what do i know?…not like i’ve been right about anything last couple seasons…

  122. Milo Hamilton says:

    He’s one of their 6 best defensemen. What in God’s name are you talking about ?

  123. Jandy says:

    Milo. Monster is worried about the pressure getting to Maatta and him being “burnt out”.
    I don’t see that happening, but what do I know?

    Monster, it doesn’t matter what we peons think, management will do what it wants to do.

    They held Maatta out of World Juniors, they’ll play him top minutes in the Olympics.

  124. Milo, he’s been good for regular season but slowly but surely we’re seeing forwards that are starting to smell blood in the water. 2nd goal last night was good example. I know the whole team was rusty and etc. but its been a pattern lately where maatta is getting outskated and outwitted along the boards. Not his fault, he’s still learning and he’ll be world class sooner than later but right now he’s 19 and its starting to show…atleast to these eyes.

  125. Being burnt out is part of it. But mostly i’m concerned about the baptism by fire every young player goes thru in playoffs. Need i remind yinz of ottawa series way back when before cup runs?

  126. 21sthebest says:

    Are you referring to eliminating the extra point?

  127. The thing I don’t understand is why there’s so much time between games this season and then, after February 9. the hockey season will be shut down for a month because of the Olympics.

  128. And next time i go to a game i promise i’m not telling a soul :)

  129. Original Ether says:

    Beats me, but the game of football is a lot different now than during it’s early days some 130 years ago.

  130. Ya i think every team has quirks like that in schedule. Definitely didn’t help rust factor. Crosby was letting tape to tape passes trickle off his stick…thought i was in twilight zone.

  131. AJS says:

    The HS I went to is in the Heritage(formerly the Appalacian…or at least part of the Appalachian) conference. I followed a lot of that Leechburg stuff. It really sounded like it was all but a done deal. Other than travel it sounded like some of the bigger issues revolved around sports the Heritage Conference does not have such as Tennis and Soccer. The same issues came up when West Shamokin was deliberating a move to the Heritage.

    It all goes back to a merger of two schools that both participated in the Heritage Conference. Laurel Valley and Ligoneir Valley were under the same school board and were very close together. They decided to merge leaving the Heritage with 9 teams and open dates int heir sports schedules. Leechburg seemed like an excellent fit but I very much understand the reasoning behind not switching.

  132. Milo Hamilton says:

    You know what someone having a bad day in a January exhibition game means ? He had a bad day in a January exhibition game.

  133. Oh ya, i’m not basing anything i said on one game. But i can just tell what the forecheckers are thinking when they can pressure maatta.

  134. Milo Hamilton says:

    OK, what am I thinking ?

  135. NMR says:

    He’s certainly a character.

  136. Wild Bill says:

    Extra point revisions to NFL games – Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    Call me when: 1) Defensive backs can’t jam receivers at all coming off the line.
    2) All pick plays by offensive players are illegal.
    3) Chop block calls are as common as they occur.
    4) Quarterbacks can’t avoid intentional grounding by just getting the ball past the line of scrimmage and
    being out of the pocket.
    5) Kickoffs are once again meaningful.
    6) Defenses may not have more defensive backs on the field than the offense has eligible receivers.

    That’s enough for a start; I could think of more.

  137. Jandy says:

    ACK! Milo!! This is a G rated blog!!!!! ;X

  138. tpbco says:

    I don’t think there’s much question that Ollie has had more subpar games in the last 3 weeks than he had in the previous 3 months. Remember they did sit him a couple games ago because of this.

    Is he hitting the wall a little bit mentally or physically? Or is the league catching up with him…I dunno, it could be either of the above or none of the above.

    But certainly, it’s something to monitor going forward and never a bad idea to have Borzo and Depres ready….

  139. Milo Hamilton says:

    Wow Jandy, you’re good ! :)

  140. Jandy says:

    That’s what he said ;)

  141. Ha. Milo, i would never ever presume to know what your mind may or may not be thinkin… :)

  142. Yes indeed. And when his skating improves like i know it will this wont be an issue. But right now, as savvy as he is he can’t make up for the tricks of the trade forecheckers have on him. Overall he’s exceeded my very lofty expectations for him but all im saying is lets not get carried away.

  143. Jandy says:

    I’m prepared to be carried away…Calgon, carry me away!!!!!!!!!!!!

  144. pattonbb says:

    +++

  145. Damon says:

    Article on Pouliot and how he is coming along:

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=701452&navid=nhl:topheads

  146. Wild Bill says:

    Hm, give it up – you’re swimming in the estrogen ocean today.

  147. Hmmm…and thats a bad thing? :)

  148. Wild Bill says:

    Ah, the joys of naïve youth.

  149. JHadar says:

    The part of the extra point proposal that intrigued me was lining up and going for 1 or -1, you come away with an 8 or a 6 after every TD. If you want to add drama to the game, just make the two point conversion and eliminate the option to stay on 7.

    And then if you want to be ridiculous why not why not 2 points for field goals inside the 25 and 4 points for over 50?

  150. JHadar says:

    left out a word above.

  151. Wild Bill says:

    All this extra point stuff feels ridiculous to me, J, hence my little rant above.

    If they want to make the game better, get rid of the stuff that keeps players from making splash plays, both offensively and defensively. Then the games will be more exciting, and if they then want to do something with extra points too, it might be icing on a better tasting cake.

  152. Wild Bill says:

    Didn’t mean that to sound like I’m dumping on you – sorry.

  153. Scott says:

    One other thing on the extra point issue – I will never understand why a coach would kick an extra point in a meaningless preseason game. Shouldn’t that be the time to practice some 2-point conversions, since you may need a critical conversion later in the season? Or are all coaches so Tomlin-level paranoid that they want to keep their conversion plays a secret?

  154. JHadar says:

    I think one of the problems with the pro game is that the guys who play at that level are so good that plays that are difficult at the high school level are routine. At the beginning level you would see games decided by making an extra point, instead of by missing one. (e.g. 19-18). Before the two-point conversion (and the popularity of soccer) you would see teams from small high schools that would line up to run for the extra point because they didn’t have a kicker.

  155. Wild Bill says:

    You’re right. And the extra point has become mind numbingly routine at the pro level; I do get that.

  156. Ghost says:

    You lost me as soon as you trotted out that most tired of internet board cliches, “stop whining”…

  157. Ghost says:

    During the extra point kick is when viewership temporarily dips as people go to the kitchen (or the bathroom). Networks and the League have companies that measure this stuff down to the second. It’s all about maximizing eyeballs that can be delivered to advertisers and prices that these advertisers can be charged. If halftime could be eliminated, trust me — they’d do it. (Which wouldn’t be a bad thing since we at least wouldn’t have to have Bruno Mars at halftime.)

  158. 21sthebest says:

    “If they want to make the game better, get rid of the stuff that keeps players from making splash plays, both offensively and defensively.”

    What are you specifically referring to Bill?

  159. Ghost says:

    Absolutely, Plan. The “before/after” Spygate results speak louder and louder each year that passes.

  160. Wild Bill says:

    To an extent, the stuff I mentioned further above, 21. Defensive backs can keep receivers from starting their routes. Receivers can “pick” defensive backs, keeping them from covering. Quarterbacks can keep a defensive lineman from a big sack by throwing the ball away. Kickoffs now accomplish almost nothing, except maybe in high winds or bad weather. Good defensive linemen get double teamed in ways that are or should be, illegal.

    The game ought to free up its most talented players to do what they do best. That’s what I’m trying to say.

  161. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t see any issues with any of those items except that I agree with you on kickoffs. I think there’s plenty of scoring to keep the games interesting and close.

  162. Ghost says:

    By the way Everyone, I get that the NFL and the networks are not charities. They’ve built up an amazing product and they bring enjoyment to so many of our Sundays across the land, so they most certainly deserve financial success. I’m not confiscator of wealth type. But trying to squeeze every. last. buck. out of the passionate fans — especially at the expense of fundamentally changing the game — is just cheapening the game and it’s history, even if only at the margins.

  163. 21sthebest says:

    I’m not following you on how revenues are being impacted positively here. They have commercials after the extra point attempt. Without the extra point I presume they’d have commercials after the touchdown. Are you saying they’d have more commercials if they eliminated the extra point? And that commercial revenue is going to the networks. Are you saying the broadcasting contracts between the networks and the league would increase because of this proposal?

  164. Wild Bill says:

    Fair enough, 21. I’m just looking for more, kind of like hockey with less clutching and grabbing and hooking.

  165. Damon says:

    Josh Yohe post:

    Vokoun is off blood thinners. Is skating tomorrow in Pittsburgh.

    Good for him!

  166. 21sthebest says:

    Larry Foote also called it a cheap shot.

  167. 21sthebest says:

    If hockey eliminated that stuff I’d watch!

  168. Stuart says:

    Apparently those of you that are fixated on the extra-point issue are not familiar with the magicians most important sleight of hand trick: e.g. get you all worked up and watching the extra-point discussion (left hand) while (with the right hand) they are secretly planning to address the concussion(s) issue by switching to two-hand tag in the near future.

    Just sayin.

    Stuart

  169. Jandy says:

    I’m not going to read anything into it, but that is good news indeed.

  170. Damon says:

    I still am not sure he plays again this season, but just happy the scary part seems to be over for him.

    More follow-up from Yohe:

    Vokoun isn’t cleared to take shots yet. Still long time away from being able to play. But still big news.

    To recap, he isn’t close to returning yet. But, yes, that is Tomas Vokoun’s music.

  171. 21sthebest says:

    And if they eliminated halftime, wouldn’t that mean less commercials?

  172. Stuart says:

    Hope I didn’t break the blog with my football heresy

    Stuart

  173. pattonbb says:

    Great line, AW.

  174. Jandy says:

    Nah…

  175. NMR says:

    Groat must have killed conversation by mentioning baseball five hours ago. :)

  176. Vinny Giardina says:

    “The Way I feel Inside”…. remarkable song.

  177. Arriba Wilver says:

    Oh, no, no, no, Jandy. I wasn’t suggesting YOU were irrational or on a vendetta. Or even that your reasoning on this was irrational. All I was saying was that everything Goodell does isn’t irrational and/or based on a vendetta.

  178. 21sthebest says:

    I was thinking flag football but I’d be all in for two hand touch if it was co-ed.

  179. Jandy says:

    AW, now, listen, sir. I was simply pulling your leg for all the times you’ve said to me;
    “You’re such a girl!”

    ;)

  180. Jim S. says:

    I am in the area on business, and a friend has an extra ticket for the Pitt game tonight. I’m not sure I can make it in time, but I might try. Does anyone have a suggestion on parking for those without season tickets?

  181. Jandy says:

    why doesn’t that surprise me?
    ;)

  182. 21sthebest says:

    I thought I felt a disturbance in the force.

    I’ve parked in the lot on O’Hara which is near the Pete. But I think you have to get there early enough.

    This might help.

    http://web-smg.athletics.pitt.edu/documents/PEC_Parking_Map.pdf

  183. 21sthebest says:

    Because I’m a superficial male?

  184. Jim S. says:

    Thanks, 21.

  185. Jim S. says:

    Is Soldiers and Sailors Garage within walking distance? I mean, it’s only going to be a windchill of like 20 below.

  186. 21sthebest says:

    It’s showing as .4 miles. Be a man.

  187. tpbco says:

    Ya, and the “hill” ain’t that big AND you get to go downhill after the game.

  188. Arriba Wilver says:

    You’re such a girl. ;-)

  189. Oh no, we’re not on ledges already in January are we!?!?!

  190. Sarah says:

    Hey Peeps

  191. Ghost says:

    Oh, stop being tedious and just think about it.

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