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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Morning Java: Bleu, blanc et rude

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Thursday column from Consol strikes up a conversation about trading Kris Letang. As always, very much welcome your thoughts on this. As the column attempts to make clear, this is anything but an open-and-shut case.

Meanwhile, on the ice …

The Penguins embarrassed the Habs, by Rob Rossi. And then, in turn, the Habs embarrassed themselves.

Random blogginess from the scene: Really, Montreal generally has taken pride as a franchise not to instigate garbage like they did in the third period. But Marc Bergevin and Michel Therrien are at least somewhat old-school guys, and that’s what we got from the bleu, blanc et rude. In particular, Brandon Prust’s sucker punch of Brooks Orpik deserves scrutiny from the NHL office. … If you’re wondering whether the behavior was born of frustration, you won’t wonder after hearing from Rene Bourque that Evgeni Malkin ‘looked like he was playing a video game out there every time he went around us.’ Yeah, it did kind of look like that. … Malkin went around soon-to-be Sochi teammate Andrei Markov more often than anyone. Wow, was Markov awful. And that’s actually about as gently as I can put that. … His partner wasn’t much better: P.K. Subban was a minus-3 and took a couple dumb penalties. But in all candor, Subban was just cleaning up Markov’s messes all night. … Marc-Andre Fleury was laughing about it afterward, but he had no business challenging Peter Budaj to a goalie fight. He’s the very last player the Penguins can afford to lose for any span. … Fleury: ‘If I’m going to fight, it’s got to be now, not when I’m old.’ Me: ‘How old was Brent Johnson?’ Fleury: ‘Oh yeah.’ … Give Kyle Rehman, the ref who chased down Fleury, tons of credit. Not only did he prevent injury — ‘He was yelling, too, there was no way he was going to let me get hurt,’ Fleury recalled — but he also made a fine recovery from being one of the two refs in that Flames-Canucks debacle the other night. Good for him. That’s a damned tough job. … Has Jussi Jokinen’s second goal hit the back of the net yet?

A little reaction from Letang to the team’s defensive play …

And from Jokinen about striking early …

Here’s our full Penguins coverage.

Here’s Canadiens news from the Montreal Gazette.

Here are official game highlights from

>> The Steelers have chosen Mike Munchak as offensive line coach, Alan Robinson reports.

I’ll get more into this myself as time passes, but I can share with you here that, based on some communication with the offensive line late last night, those guys are delighted with the move — Fernando Velasco played for Munchak with the Titans, obviously, and vouched for him to the others — but they’re also concerned Munchak might not hang around. That’s totally understandable, too. O-line coach is the last one you want to be turning over annually. Let’s hope Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert made that a priority in their discussions.

Here’s our full Steelers coverage.

>> Pitt’s shooting at the shot-clock buzzer has been clutch, beat man Kevin Gorman writes.

The 2014 football schedule includes Thursday and Friday dates, by Jerry DiPaola.

Here’s our full Pitt coverage.

>> Duquesne goes down by just four to No. 19 Saint Louis, by Chris Harlan at Palumbo. Jim Ferry commendably says afterward that he’s ‘disappointed’ and that he ‘expected to win this game.’ This guy’s good for the program.

>> THANK GOD THE YANKEES ARE OK. Our long national nightmare is over! The ‘natural order’ has been restored!

That and more in a ridiculous opening rant on my TribLIVE Radio show yesterday …

And later on, Rob Biertempfel and I talked Pirates …

>> I’ll visit with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m., after which I’m planning to write a Friday column about the Pirates’ offseason.

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. Mike Vee says:

    DK- The Letang article was spot on and honest. He has the potential to be a Lidstrom/Coffey D-man and has turned into a confused, un-confident, lost player and will be well overpaid. Our D need to be able to play Defense first. Everyone moves the puck up ice fine, 58’s salary could be 2 big Wingers. Personally, I think he hasn’t been the same since his concussion issues.

    More importantly, this team is no longer the tough team to play against. Game after game opponents take runs at, slash and punch 87, 71, 18 and most recently 44. Why is there no payback to opponents star players. Hamonic got away with murder the last few Isles games vs 87 and yet there was nothing done to agitate Tavares. It’s happening nearly every game now. Tonight Subban tried to chop Malkins hands off, Neal thrown to the ice, 44 pushed into Fleury. If Fleury or 87 or 71 go down, seasons over. Last few Sens and Leafs games same thing. Dupuis is sidelined from a hipcheck in front of the goal on 87 which was in my opinion an attempt to flip Sid. Nothing was done and it was the pansy Pens as usual.

    I’m not saying they need to fight but they have get back to the mode of protecting the stars and returning the favor. Speed and finesse are not winning a Cup.

    DK: Welcome, Mike! Good stuff, and great to have you.

  2. Aaron says:

    Hey Dk….great piece. A little while ago on the blog you responded to someone by saying that you would not trade Letang, was there any one thing in particular that changed your mind or was it the synergistic effect of everything you mentioned in your article pertaining to current team needs?


  3. Matt says:

    Really liked the Letang piece. I have a feeling that if you wrote that yesterday, you would of had more callers on your radio show! You made a great point about Shero never making that one signature trade where he shipped away a star. But is Letang really expendable? A big piece of the puzzle is Despres would be whether or not Ray is comfortable with a Scuderi-Despres pairing in the playoffs. Sure our D depth is deep, but short term, they’re also young and untested. Hypothetically, if he was able to pry away a top line RW, a gritty/scoring forward, and a top prospect/top pick…I would do it. (I feel like a Pirate fan describing a trade structered like this!) We have holes and we will need an influx of forwards in the future as Dupuis & Kunitz age…

  4. Scott says:

    Funny, I was just starting to come around to the idea of keeping Letang, thanks to hearing smart hockey minds like Dk, Madden, and Rossi argue that you shouldn’t be eager to trade a guy with his skill, and that his cap number might not look so bad when salaries rise in the next couple years.

    But this column really lays out the clear advantages of making the move. Paul Coffey had to be traded in ’92 for the team to get tougher and more defensively sound to make a run at a second Cup, and history may need to repeat itself here with Letang. Who’s the 2014 equivalent of Rick Tocchet?

  5. John says:

    If not for moments like this, why have the Pens been drafting all of these defensemen? You don’t trade Letang for the sake of trading Letang. That said, the Pens can win a cup without Letang. They can’t win a cup without that bottom six getting a facelift and leveraging the advantage of having Sid and Geno by making both their lines strong enough to beat teams like Boston even when Sid and/or Geno isn’t in God mode.

  6. John says:

    Scuderi-Niskanen was an excellent pairing earlier in the year.

  7. Drew71 says:

    Dejan linked to the Montreal Gazette so I looked. Glad I did, otherwise I would have missed these two wonderful sentences…

    “Useless action of the night: A scrum in front of the net led to a lot of pushing and shoving but the nonsense reached the ridiculous stage when goaltenders Budaj and Fleury left their creases. They were restrained by the linemen before they had a chance to embarrass themselves by fighting.”

  8. Glen says:

    Hahahahahaha….. Rossi and Madden…. good God!

    Hey DK – thumbs up! Clearly the return on Letang would have to be something special to pull the trigger, but most certainly he is the piece that could bring a significant return, and we simply do not need him enough not to seriously consider this. We have a pairing such as Despres-Bortuzzo not playing…. and Harrington, Dumoulin, Pouliot developing real well. Nisky could likely be re-signed to do most of what Letang does for about half. More than anything else these things say that we should deal from strength to address weakness.

    Not hating on Letang…. but as a business decision this makes all the sense in the world.

    If we could then also let

  9. Glen says:

    …sorry, was about to add that if we could then also make Bylsma really interpret the data on Adams and Glass even strength, as clearly the eye test is not doing it for him, ah well….

    Megna played less than 8 minutes last night. Think on it.

  10. Drew71 says:

    More than the brewers. More than the ravens…i DESPISE the yankees.

    Yet oddly I think it is fitting that Tanaka is a yankee.

    1. Makes the MLB disparity argument pretty well, huh? Again.

    2. new york was trying to get under the L Tax level, at least down to the 12.5% from the 50% payment level. $155M over seven years. No way now, and probably not for awhile.

    And while more of a rationalization than another reason, better in the American League than the los angeles yankees.

    And as discussed by others in here, thank heaven the MLB-Japanese league posting rules changed. Less $ to the teams ($20M fee rather than a no-ceiling bid) means more $ to player than team. Player money is potentially subject to the L Tax; team fee is not.

  11. Drew71 says:

    Love the shirt.

    I presume you’re wearing short shorts, too.

    With the pocket linings hanging below the cutoff fringe.

  12. Dom says:

    I feel embarrassed for asking this but was that article by Ken Rosenthal sarcasm?

  13. pauldia says:

    There are two seasons in hockey. Letang is among the best in the first and perhaps a negative in the second, i.e. “the playoffs”. Who would you rather have in the playoffs, a high scoring Letang or a shutdown Zdeno Chara? Sadly, there has been no growth in Letangs game as a true two way player ala Brent Seabrook of Chicago. Seabrook waits for his opportunities,does not force the offense and is a gifted defensive player as well. Blysma is partially to blame, when was the last time Blysma ever sat Letang after a poor performance or terrible force of a pass,giveaway etc. This coach will not sit a star for even a shift let alone a game,the message is never sent,and I feel Blysma does not want any pouting or ruffling of feathers. Letang never had to learn a cost to his desire to force a play,if it cost a shorthander,or a breakaway, oh well thats the downside of greatness. Bob Johnson would have made Letang a great two way player,but not Dan Blysma,and as such I agree, trade Letang and receive the missing piece…for a long term answer. BTW,off tpic,but reiterating what I said befor, Taylor Pyatt is a great fit and he will be quite valuable as a Warren Young / Tim Kerr type in front of the net vision obstructer on the PP. Cost was zippo, good pickup Shero!

  14. CraiginVA says:

    I know this is beating a dead horse, pointing ot the obvious, whatever cliche you want to use, but I watched the intermission repot of the Wings-Blackhawks game on whatever that NBC channel calls itself, which came on after the Pens game finished up, and witnessed the studio hosts discuss the almost-goalie brawl. Is there a bigger idiot in hockey than Mike Milbury?

    He was “disappointed” the refs stopped the fight, and kept pointing out how the fans in the stands “really hated” the action, or some such nonsense. Good lord. His co-hosts kept trying to steer him away, but he wasn’t going for it. After a while, I started to wonder whether he was really serious or just trying to get a rise out of people, but then I thought, naw, he ain’t that smart…

  15. CraiginVA says:

    Sound thinking in the trade Letang column, also. As I’ve said before, presumably they were drafting all those D-men in the 1st round because they thought they could be top four on their team. Maatta already is. Maybe this year is too early to expect another WBS product to step in with that level of production, but you would think Maatta’s success would relieve some of their trepidation.

  16. Jandy says:

    I found the two goalies attempts (Fleury’s half-hearted) to fight to be amusing.
    I didn’t find Prust’s suckerpunch amusing at all.

  17. Jandy says:

    I see lots of new “faces” Good Morning!
    We’d love to chat with you. Don’t be shy.

    If you post your hometown, Bizrow will add it to the list of Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum.

    Welcome :)

  18. JAL says:

    JAL’s Paperback WriterMorning 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

    First Pitch: The First Baseman of the Future Probably Isn’t Playing First Base

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Top Prospects: #8 – Josh Bell

    Gregory Polanco and Austin Meadows Among Top Ten Outfield Prospects

    6 Rumbunter

    Pirates Coonelly Talks Big Money on 93.7 The Fan


    Gerrit Cole and curveballs

    8 Bucs Dugout

    Coonelly: Pirates will eventually sign player for $100 million

    9 Pirates 101

    Why the Pittsburgh Pirates Don’t Need to Make Any More Moves

    10 Green Weenie

    1/21-22: Schoolboy Hoyt, Octavio Dotel, Diomedes Olivo, Jimmy Anderson

    11 Saber Bucs

    Three Available & Affordable Free Agent Starting Pitcher

  19. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Sports Spectrum

    The Mind of McCutchen

    13 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates Still In Limbo Over Pitcher A.J Burnett

    14 Pirates Site

    Prospect Watch: Top 10 outfielders

    15 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Yankees Win Big with Signing of Masahiro Tanaka

    16 Fangraphs

    Building (or Finding) the Ideal Pitcher

    17 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Bernie: When will Cards call up Taveras?

    18 Sweetspot

    Yankees are still baseball’s evil empire

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Transaction Analysis Yankees Sign Tanaka

    20 Baseball Nation

    What do you do when the culture’s corrupt?

  20. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers 2014 Roster Projections: Outside linebackers

    Richard Sherman and the culture of respect in the NFL

    22 Steelers Depot

    Steelers Early Offseason Positional Draft Needs – Quarterback


    23 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Free Kick Goals on the Rise as Toure, Rooney & Suarez lead

    24 The Telegraph

    Who will survive the Premier League’s tightest relegation battle for years?


    25 CBS Sports

    Jokinen scores twice, helps Penguins cruise past Habs

  21. Jandy says:

    Dejan, your column is spot on. Everybody knows I’m Letang’s biggest supporter, but …
    It’s time. He’s not reaching his potential under Bylsma. And we need help on the wing.
    I only hope a trade does happen, it’s to a West Coast team, so we don’t have to play against him too often.

    Because you can bet his next coach won’t make the mistakes Bylsma is making with him.
    The right coach WILL make him the next Lidstrom.

    And the more I pay attention to Niskie, the more I appreciate him.

  22. Jandy says:

    This is my favorite quote from last night:
    “You can’t let Malkin carry the puck like that up the ice,” Bourque said. “It looked like he was playing a video game out there every time he went around us.”

    Priceless ;)

  23. Jandy says:

    Oh and I LOVE Pyatt in front of the net. GREAT pick up.

  24. SheckyW says:

    Pens have not been tough since they became DB’s team. He won the cup with MT’s crew. I like DB, but he is too adamant in forcing his system upon opponents. Fast puck movement and skating is great, but you need some salt in the lineup. As much as we need a RW for 87, we need bottom six help. Any trade that does not help bottom six will be incomplete imho.

  25. Wild Bill says:

    Not to be overly negative toward DKs trade idea, but other GMs are not deaf, dumb, and blind. They can see what all of us see regarding Letang, and they can read the price tag in salary and the cost in trade.

    The eventual return, if a trade is done, may be a lot less than we’d like – a player who is also no guarantee and a draft pick. Is that still worth doing? We have to trust Shero on this, and he’s worth trusting.

    We can also hope that there’s one desperate, or dufus, GM left in the league.

  26. Karen22 says:

    Ditto that, Jandy! How can you not be amused at everything “Fleury?” That cat-who-ate-the-canary grin never leaves his face! Gotta love him! :)

  27. Karen22 says:

    I don’t think so, Dom!

  28. Bill says:

    quality Far Side reference!!

  29. Jandy says:

    Yeah I got a kick out of him last night. lol

  30. Although some Penguins players would’ve loved to see the goalies fight last night, and M.A. Fleury thought it would’ve been fun until he found out that the Canadians’ goalie had had martial arts training, I’m just glad, along with Coach Dan Bylsma that the linesmen broke up the goalies when they did.

  31. Pucknutz says:

    Sure did – great quote indeed!!!

  32. Jandy says:

    I just shook my head when I read that.


  34. Drew71 says:

    Justin Bieber arrested by Miami Beach police for suspicion of DUI and drag racing.

    Since drag racing is a sport, I thought we needed to know this.

  35. Drew71 says:

    I’m gonna try the infamous Mixon’s this year.

  36. Wild Bill says:

    Not at all, Dom. Lots of baseball people think that baseball is the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, and maybe the Cardinals. It’s their game, and the rest of us are just allowed to play sometimes.

  37. Jandy says:

    He needs his pants pulled down around his ankles and someone spank him till he decides to grow up.
    What an idiot.

  38. Jandy will be upset.

  39. Jandy says:

    Guess what Wild Bill? They don’t drink milk and crap ice cream…

    screw that thinking!

  40. Jandy says:

    hahaha Spunkster. he needs the stuffing beat outta him.

  41. Enjoyable rant and interview of 24/7. Thanks for putting that up. Great for us who can’t listen to the show from work.

  42. 36 – 12 – 2

    Top points team in Eastern Conference

    5 — 1 win last night in total domination

    . . . and your reaction is “Bylsma is foolish because Megna only played 8 minutes”

    Bylsma does not interpret data properly


  43. Wild Bill says:

    The NFL finds no violation in Welker’s hit on Talib.

    Belichick, having offered nothing other than vitriol, must now return to beneath his rock until next year.

  44. Jandy says:

    don’t forget the rice ;)

  45. When was the last time Bylsma sat Geno Malkin for a stupid give-away, a mad crazy rush with the puck, an ignoring of his defensive responsibility? Malkin is miles worse than Kris Letang.

    Come on!!

    This is not Junior High basketball!

    I DO NOT understand this constant harping on Dan Bylsma.

    Bob Johnson did not change Paul Coffey.

  46. The fudge, the orange juice, some flatbread sandwich that I can’t remember the name of.

    Just ask the deli lady to give you the sandwich that Groat2Maz2Strangeglove gets.

    Or the sandwich that Dayan Kovulchuk gets.

  47. A1C McG says:

    This just in…Pens trade Letang to Jets for Wheeler, Tangradi, Bag of Pucks and $250 Tim Horton’s gift card. Before assigning Tangradi to the baby pens, they assigned him to Tim Hortons to pick up coffee and donuts for the team.

  48. Steve says:

    When does the NHL regular season start? Looking forward to it.

    Munchak appears to be a great hire but as DK said, if this is just a stop off for a year until he can land a higher level position it may not amount to much.

  49. tdb1977 says:

    When I was down a couple of years ago for work – had an off day so took the trip to Bradenton and ended up at Mixon’s for lunch. Picked up a couple of sandwiches for the wife and myself and several different type of oranges to bring home. Everything was really good. Would have never known about it, if it wasn’t for the boss man around here. Thanks DK for suggestion.

  50. Sarah says:

    Malkin worse than Letang? Oy.

  51. Sarah says:

    DK out of curiosity where did you come down on the re-signing of Letang last year?

    I recall being stunned, even more than I was by the extension of DB and the affirmation of MAF.

    Actually that’s a question for all our Peeps today.

    What was your opinion last year and has it changed?

    I was firmly in the camp of not signing….and firmly in the camp now of trading for top 6 Ws….

    DK: Being in favor of signing a guy — and I was in this case — isn’t any indication of how you feel about a future trade. If he’d been traded at that time, it would have been a forced, rushed deal akin to Staal.

    For the millionth time, this isn’t about malice. It’s about getting value for a good player.

  52. Offensive lines need stability.

    Yet even if he is only here one year, if he can teach Gilbert how to work, and/or teach Adams or Gilbert to play tackle, Munchak will be well worth it.

    I still think Mike Adams is a diamond in the rough. I fear Gilbert is lazy and will never learn to push himself, much less push defensive linemen.

    DK: These are excellent observations. Wait. I’ll have more on this soon.

  53. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’m with you, Groat.

    I’ll never understand the anti-Bylsma stuff either. Shero knows a lot about hockey and he hired him. The people at USA Hockey know a lot about hockey (they have “hockey acumen” as Dejan would say) and they hired him. They could have hired any coach in the USA, the world quite frankly, and they went with Bylsma.

    Who do you want ? Guy in Chicago is not going anywhere. The guy in Anaheim has bounced around. How about Torts ? MT in Montreal ? Yeah, whatever.

    Bylsma is a great coach that delivers wins. I guess the EC Finals arn’t good enough. He is like the great girlfriend you let get away. You miss her when she’s gone.

  54. Watch the games.

    Malkin is not only irresponsible with the puck, he is irresponsible with defensive responsibilities.

    His terrific offensive upside allows team to put up with his defensive amnesia. Like he flashed last night.

  55. Wisdom from the man in Badger Bob country!

  56. Jandy says:

    everyone knows I was in the camp to keep Letang, and I still prefer to keep him, but I’m not as dead set against trading him as I was. We DO need forwards. he isn’t improving as he should/could be. I think another coach can and will get him to his potential. If he is traded, I’d prefer it’s as far away as it can be, so we don’t have to face him all the time.

  57. Jandy says:

    Groat has a valid point, Sarah. Some games Geno is a turnover machine…or Genover… and those turnovers often end up in our own net.

  58. Dejan, you just trying to stir the pot or you really believe this would be a good idea?

    “Worried about the defense? Not sure why, given that stirring show of Wilkes-Barre depth earlier this season.”

    Who cares how stirring they were in regular season. Its all about the playoffs. We cant afford any baptism by fire for any of those kids. And with Orpik and Nisky unsigned were gonna trade tanger on top of that??? Do we think shero woke up this morning and took a stupid pill? I dont.

    I got news for you all…the 26 year old Letang wont be the top 4 dman we trade if we wanna re-tool the roster.

    DK: Can’t begin to tell you how much I hate the ‘stir the pot’ terminology. The direct accusation therein is that I don’t genuinely believe what I’m writing. Which is tantamount to calling me a liar. And yet, people will say it so casually.

  59. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    I for one LOVE watching the Yankee’s overpay. Ken Rosenthal you are right, the Yankee’s should be the Yankee’s…the Yankee’s that overpay for top pedigree and underpay for actual talent that can drag a team through the grind of 162 games.

    The Yankee’s should not be outbid by the Pirates, however they should lose out to them and any other team 50% of the time because whether Ken realizes it or not, the Yankee’s and other teams notorious for monster contracts are losing a grip on the way baseball works right now. I know there are many who won’t agree with this, but the more the Yankmee’s spend, the more the Angels spend, the more any of these aging “Draft Eligible” players and international “phenoms” fetch from the deep pocketed owners, the better off the rest of the league will be in 3 years when these same Yankee’s are trading away quality pitching that they don’t have the resources to fix and footing the bill for everyone else.

    The Yankee’s pay for talent Ken…they no longer have the money or know-how to fix players, and what’s more, they don’t have the time….so don’t. Just pay us to take them off of your hands. The old Tom Sawyer and we’ll thank you very much….Brian Cashman you were supposed to learn something from all those books you’ve read over the years.

  60. Jim S. says:

    Someone was the driving force behind that change.

  61. Lee says:

    Let me first state that I despise the Yankees – they are in my top 4 most hated franchises along with the Flyers, Cowboys, and Ravens – but I hope that they win the World Series every year for the next 10 years (unless the Pirates are their opponent of course).

    Why? Because until their outspending everyone else results in “buying” championships, there will be little to no outcry from the other teams or national media to change the system. Yes, the higher spending teams will always have the better chance of winning – I think Boston had the 4th highest payroll last year and St. Louis was in the top 10 – but until the highest spending team wins every year, nothing will change.

  62. Jim S. says:

    They actually think the league can prosper as long as most of the half-dozen big market teams are in the hunt every year. Talk about small-minded thinking. Can you imagine people writing about the NFL that the league needs the Cowboys, Giants and Bears to be contenders every year, and then whatever happens with the rest of the league doesn’t much matter. If only the NFL could find a way to get to a model where teams did not have similar revenues to apply to their payrolls. Then, finally, they could get rid of that pesky parity that keeps allowing teams like Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Seattle, Baltimore, Indianapolis, etc. to have a shot at the Lombardi.

  63. A1C McG says:

    given the spotty year he has had might have been cheaper to wait to resign this year

  64. Jim S. says:

    Geno is quite often, Groat. And, he should be held accountable for defensive lapses. But, Letang actually is a defenseman who does it.

  65. espo33 says:

    Well if you are winning 5-1, why not play Megna more? Does that really make sense for him to play closer to 7 min and 12 shifts and Eng’s at wing play for 9:30 min? The simple answer is no. They could have moved Eng’s to D and rest Letang so he doesn’t get injured from something freakish and sat Neal, who hasn’t been 100% healthy for Megna.

  66. You gotta keep in mind that if we get equal value for tanger, lets say top 6 winger, 3rd liner and dman, they’re combined cap hit will be higher than tangers 7.25M next season. Then what do we do? Not re-sign nisky or orpik? Or if those players we get in return are younger and cheaper than they’re essentially useless to us for a cup run.

    This is all nonsense. Don’t agree with DK at all. Especially now that Tanger has it figured out, he’s about to go on a all-world tear and get his +/- back on track. I hope DK and all you who want him traded are ready to eat crow in the very near future. I hear it tastes like chicken. :)

  67. Jim S. says:

    “Is there a bigger idiot in hockey than Milbury?”

    In a word … no.

    Yet, he remains gainfully employed covering this league. That says so much.

  68. espo33 says:

    It was for too much

  69. buggee says:

    Nice piece on the idea of a Letang trade DK. Couple thoughts (cuz that’s all i can do at one time):

    *) Anytime one of the local pro teams engages in a trade or trade speculation, i always wonder how that traded player will come back to torment the local pro team, as well as how the fans will receive said traded player. Not that this nonsequiteur should matter in the least, but in the case of a Letang trade, my SECOND wish should that occur is that he be traded to some distant, remote team in the far reaches of Alberta (Edmonton would be nice).

    *) With Letang, I don’t think the Pens would win a 7-game series against the likes of boston. Don’t get me wrong, i really enjoy the edge-of-the-seat style of play he brings to the table, and that style works when playing different teams every night. But a 7-gamer against heavy hitters like the bruins–IMHO–would result in another spectacular flamout with Letang in the fold.

    *) If my focus is on getting the likes of Blake Wheeler and one or two bottom-six forwards, I think Letang would spring that trade and set the Pens up for a serious run. This is my FIRST wish in the trade-Letang scenario. Plus that would open roster space for Bortuzzo to play, and that guy is fun to watch. He’s big with a long reach and plays with an edge, even though sometimes his skating reminds me of Scooby-Doo when he’s being chased by evil-doers.

    *) The Pens’ Chippendork-entry would be gone. How many female fans would jump off the wagon if Letang were shipped out. Ahh but there’s still Sindey with his porno mustache…

    *) The optimal time to trade Letang is NOW, before the limited no-trade kicks in, etc, etc. It would be a ballsy move by Ray Ray, but I think it would position the team better in the playoffs.

    *) Jandylicious would hate it, as would Me Little Wifelette, but then they’d be free to turn their attention to where it should be in the first place without a pointy-headed, pretty-boy blueliner to distract them. That’s a totally sexist statement, but I am a pig, so there you go. Oink.

  70. JohninOshkosh says:

    Biebs is Canadian. He probably knows hockey. Apparently has fire to him and is willing to act obnoxiously. There’s your next Penguins coach.

  71. Jandy says:

    you sure that’s not cat????


  72. Jandy says:

    oshie, you lookin for a visit from my size 9 wides????

  73. Sarah says:

    I do not believe you trade him for cap reasons.

  74. Jandy says:

    he draws he mindless masses into the network ratings….UGH

  75. Sarah says:

    And I would let Orpik go.

  76. theplanisworking says:


  77. Jim S. says:

    I’ve been with you on this, Sarah. We need help for Sid, who will absolutely blow up the league scoring race to an even greater extent and make this team much more difficult to contain in the playoffs with a legit linemate added. I believe we can gain more in terms of forward help than we will lose defensively by moving Letang if Shero does this right. I trust him to do it right.

  78. Jandy says:

    I actually expect something to give along those lines…one way or another…

  79. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    Lee, I had not considered it the way you put it….I agree with you, but I can’t help but be on the fence….I feel like a few more years of the Angels and Yankees missing the playoffs and experiencing major dropoffs in attendance might help too….or at the very least be more satisfying to watch….Going to be a lot of big contracts on the DL in the near future with no PEDs to keep these 30 something studs on the field ;)

  80. theplanisworking says:

    If you were to talk to the other 29 GM’s in the league, ask them who they would rather have, Geno or Letang.

    Geno does have defensive lapses, yes.
    Maturity issues also.

    But Geno can single-handedly affect a game… take it over if you will. Letang can’t do that, unless he is turning the puck over and leaving Fleury out to dry.

  81. I think you guys are well aware of my preferred method of re-tooling roster. However for this season I’d look for players like Brad Boyes and Marcel Goc who are having solid seasons but wont have bidding wars for their services. Then you can see what winnipeg wants for Ladd, who will cost less than a Kane or Wheeler. Im on record as believing that wheeler is too perimeter oriented to mesh with sid. And the idea of trading for Big Buff to play RW with sid or is starting to grow on me. We’ll have to get through Boston and Chara and I like the idea of Big Buff riding shotgun with sid.

  82. Jandy says:

    well said, Hipposter.

  83. Jandy says:

    and I’m on record as liking Bigfugginugly ;)

  84. theplanisworking says:

    I guess it because the Pens get bounced every year in the playoffs by clearly inferior teams………. while having the best 2 players in the world.

    2010- lost in 2nd round to inferior Montreal.
    2011- lost in 1st roung to inferior Tampa Bay (pass given due to injuries and Cooke suspension).
    2012- lost in 1st roung to inferior Philthy.
    2013- finally make to ECF, only to get swept and shut out or almost the whole series.

    Disco is a great regular season coach, and I don’t think anyone can deny that. But come playoff time…….. woosh out go the Pens. Maybe this year will be different with coach Martin helping the D……… and Fleury playing well. We’ll see.

  85. 21sthebest says:


  86. theplanisworking says:

    Jim, this goes back to the discussion the other day about ESPN and ratings…….. I stated that the NBA telecasts have great announcers, the NHL, none, except for the legendary Doc Emerick.

    Case in point, Milbury.
    But the Neanderthals love him, and the people in the Original Six cities love him, so we get stuck with him.

  87. theplanisworking says:

    Hippo’s Pond, Pa. ;)

  88. theplanisworking says:

    yeah, but Welker’s reputation suffered due to the reckless words of the “genius” coach. He can’t get his good reputation back……….. people will now always think of doofuses words every time Welker is in a questionable play.

    Welker had concussion issues……. why would he do something so dirty that he would suffer also?

  89. Brandie says:

    Nice job Buggminster Fuller.

  90. buggee says:

    it’s not the “yankees”. it’s the “wankees”. Censorship pre-approved. apologies all, I couldn’t resist that play on names

  91. theplanisworking says:

    Munchak does indeed appear to be a good hire. Don’t understand the hand-wringing over whether he will stay one year or not. Tomlin fired Bicknell after one year………. which I still say he was made a scapegoat, because not one other coach or player has been either fired, or held accountable in any way.

    Just my .01 cent this morning…… too cold to give .02 cents.

  92. Jim S. says:

    Well said, plan.

  93. JohninOshkosh says:

    The hardest thing in all of sports is to win a championship. And, in all of sports, the hardest championship to win is probably the SC. I don’t think those teams were “clearly inferior.” I don’t think any teams in the playoffs are “clearly inferior.” Especially, given the salary cap in the NHL.

    I hear this “best two players in the world” argument a lot. That doesn’t guarantee anything. Toe Blake and Scotty Bowman didn’t win championships every year and that was before the constraints of a salary cap.

    Oh, your list forgot his SC title. That earns a long leash for me.

  94. buggee says:

    ROFL!!! that’s AWESOME Jandy. Salary cap in MLB? Bud Selig would be able to bite his own navel before that happens.

  95. Jim S. says:

    Genover! :-)

  96. theplanisworking says:

    Oshie, I will disagree with the “clearly inferior” issue. Of the teams I listed, only the Bruins weren’t clearly inferior. Other teams win with lesser talent…….. to me that says coaching.

    To your comparison to Bowman, he won more Cups than anyone. Of course he couldn’t win every year……. but he also took teams (St. Louis right out of expansion) to 3 straight Cup Finals. To me, that’s a bad comparison.

    Yes Bylsma won a Cup…… but some credit has to go to Therrien………. and how long a leash does that really deserve? In pro sports, memories are short. It’s been 5 years…….. and this team still has defensive issues, and a fragile playoff goalie. We will just see how far things go this year.

  97. Sarah says:

    You guys don’t mean Bufflyn???

  98. Sarah says:

    Well this blog femme would be first in line to wave bye bye. I like guys who wash their hair.

  99. Jandy says:

    That was one of my mother’s lines, buggee, and one of my favorites :)

  100. Jandy says:

    I stole that Genover term from FaceOffFactor, I have to confess ;)

  101. Jandy says:

    A tank by any other name is still a tank ;)

  102. JohninOshkosh says:

    NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers: 3 coaches in 45 years.
    MLB: New York Yankees: 2 managers in 18 years.
    NCAAM: Duke 1 coach in 33 years.
    NBA: San Antonio Spurs 1 coach in 18 years.

    These are the organizations that are admired, albeit often begrudgingly, by people in the know. Consistent winners that earn respect through the generations have continuity in quality leadership.

    I know I like it. Otherwise, you are just the Chicago Cubs or Milwaukee Bucks.

  103. Arriba Wilver says:

    Yes, someone who I don’t particularly care for, but who apparently done good here.

  104. Brandie says:


    My guess is that the Steelers are planning to keep Velasco in some capacity due to a previous working relationship with Munchak and the fact that he acquitted himself well in replacing Pouncey. If my guess is correct, what happens to Pouncey?

  105. Jandy says:

    haha buggee, my friend, I am on record ^^ there (and have said before) that I would still rather KEEP Letang, but that I’m not as against it as I was. But I agree, trade him West where we don’t have to play him too often.

    ~~Love your comparing Borts skating to Scooby Doo’s skittering around. lol

    If Tanger is gone, we can always gush over Maatta :P

  106. Jandy says:


  107. 21sthebest says:

    I’ll never understand that sentiment that the Stanley Cup is the hardest championship to win. Especially, when fewer teams make the MLB and NFL playoffs.

  108. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t think Groat was arguing keep Letang over Malkin.

  109. theplanisworking says:

    Come on Oshie, you know they are the exception, not the rule.

    Casey Stengel…… led Yanks to many World Series titles — fired after losing to the ’60 Pirates.

    Paul Westhead….. led Lakers to NBA title — fired after clashing with Magic Johnson.

    Tony Dungy……… led Bucs to playoffs how many straight years — fired for his efforts.

    There are many more examples I could use…….. bottom line, Bylsma has won 1 Cup, and been bounced early ever since. Sometimes you have to make a change to improve, even if it’s unpopular. yes stability is nice, but the Pens have a window with talented players — and are not getting it done. Sometimes you have to question if you want stability, or if you want to win.

  110. Matt says:

    Just reading through the comments, I haven’t seen much discussion (unless I missed it) about what y’all think we could get in return for Letang? I’m sure other GMs see his mental lapses, but I’m fairly confident they would salivate over his potential (and his hair).

    Also, this whole situation is such an enigma, I went to bed thinking yes, trade him, its the best move….and woke up thinking…at his best….no way are we a better team without him. Ugh. My brain hurts.

  111. Jandy says:

    C’mon 21, we’ve gone over this before…come over to the dark side ;)

  112. Jandy says:

    Neither was Hipposter,just using an example.

  113. Jandy says:

    I go back and forth on this one too, Matt. You’re not alone.

  114. Well I most definitely wanted to tread carefully when proposing that question to you since i do hold you in higher regard than some of the no nothing shock jocks i hear on the radio. However, I’m sure you know that it wouldn’t be the first time a media member tried to stir said pot. I was also under the impression that you wanted to letang to stay and figure things out, which was part of my confusion. That being said, he has started to figure it out and play in the manner you’ve wanted him to play so i guess i dont see the logic in trading him. Like i said before and today…sit back and enjoy the show cuz Tanger is about to go on a all-world tear.

  115. JohninOshkosh says:

    Also, I lived in Detroit when Bowman got there. Got bounced out by the Sharks in the quarterfinals in 94. Then embarrassingly swept by the Devils because no adjustments to the Devils’ neutral zone play were made. Then a loss to the Avalanche in the WC Finals before finally hoisting the cup.

    I don’t recall much talk about getting rid of him prior to the cup. Everyone knew that wasn’t the Red Wing way.

  116. JohninOshkosh says:

    My greater point is that they are all hard to win in all sports.

  117. Jim S. says:

    Velasco does not replace Pouncey at center, Brandie. This team has too much invested in Pouncey, for better or worse, to replace him. They have pronounced him the best center in the league, and even though there is a lot of independent questioning of that position, I would say the Steelers are still “all in” on Pouncey. Velasco, though, I believe has nice versatility. Plus, Pouncey seems to be injured a lot.

  118. Jandy says:

    Oh My! A BOLD reaming!

  119. theplanisworking says:

    A little confused this morning about the “trade Letang” column. Just last Friday in the chat, the case was made to not trade Letang. But the trade deadline is 5-6 weeks away, so there will be plenty of time for me to be confused even more……..

    Enjoyed hearing from BierTempfel. He did bring up some good points.

    Yankees spend most money to get a player? Shocking! And the dead called, they want the horse left alone. Pirates will never, ever get even a sniff of this type of player. But hey, let’s keep saying how great the game is, and how much money there is.

    Oh, and Coonelly said the Pirates will have a $100 million dollar player? Singular? When, 2025? When the average salary is 22 million a year? Man, amazing why this man ever speaks. Less is more with him.

    Hi Frank!

  120. Stuart says:

    Please clarify. Was Justin in drag, and racing? Was he racing with Austin Mahone?

    Sports fans want to know.


  121. buggee says:

    Not until Ollie learns to Oxy.
    I did see the softening of your stance on keeping Lee-Tangalicious, JandyGal, and I was quite stunned at that, such that my shuttlecock hit the floor.

    I like the idear of doing a deal with Edmonton. They’ve got some great young top-6 talent. That might just be the team to target with a Tangerlicious trade offer. hmmm. intriguing prospect there…

    I met Madden once. i was indeed pressed.

    Tangalicious should sign with head-n-shoulders to do a hair commercial with Troy.

    It was either Scooby-Doo or Wile-E-Coyote. Scooby looks more buff than Wile-E. beep-beep

  122. theplanisworking says:

    Oshie, the Wings stunk before Bowman’s arrival! They were called the Dead Wings!

    Come on, Man!

  123. theplanisworking says:

    Jim, couldn’t they move Pouncey to guard?
    Or Velasco to guard?

  124. Jim S. says:

    Exactly, AW. I was trying to conjure a way to say that.

  125. Brandie says:

    Thank you Jim. It just seems to be an interesting problem to have.

  126. 21sthebest says:

    Jandy, what’s the food like over there?

  127. Jim S. says:

    I’m thinking Velasco has some flexibility. I thought that was the case, anyway.

  128. Jandy says:

    Leave that poor Mahone kid outta this…he’s not an imbecile like Bieber is.

  129. Pouncey gets hurt every year. Velasco is needed. Of course, he got hurt, too.

    But the life of a lineman in the NFL is a rough one. As it is for everyone who puts on the pads.

  130. Jandy says:

    it’s very , very good…and we have red wine to go with it ;)

  131. Jim S. says:

    Yes, a lot of teams don’t have one good center. Looks like we have 2. The point I was making, though, is Pouncey is the man in this town. I believe the Steelers may think, other than Ben, that he is their best player. I don’t see it that way, and some independent evaluation doesn’t see it that way. But, that is how they see it.

    Velasco was a good find, though, and even if he can’t move to Guard, he is still plenty valuable because, as I said, Pouncey misses a lot of games.

  132. Like someone said last night, they have one now and he wears the number 22. Hopefully, but not bloody likely, he’ll finish his career in the ‘Burgh with that number on his back.

    Go back to sleep, Frank.

  133. Jandy says:

    buggee, my friend, I didn’t expect to have that effect on you! I feel for your shuttlecock ;)

  134. Jandy says:

    Oh man another BOLD reaming…Dejan is on a roll!

  135. Damon says:

    Didn’t Munchak cut Velasco? Either way I’d want to have him back for sure.

  136. theplanisworking says:

    Frank gets plenty of sleep, Reverend. ;)

  137. Ya, i really let dejan have it. Didn’t I?

    And yes i’m aware that no nothing is spelled know nothing :)

  138. 21sthebest says:

    Is there a Starbucks?

  139. Jandy says:

    That’s between buggee and me ;X

  140. Jandy says:

    I didn’t know alcohol-induced stupor qualified as Sleep

  141. Jandy says:

    LOL! I don’t mind typos, after all, I’m the Queen of ‘em ;)

  142. Jandy says:

    Build one, they will come.
    We’ll build one.

  143. theplanisworking says:


    Hey, aren’t you busy with Bugee’s ………. nevermind!

  144. Bold reamings happen when certain people don’t get enough sleep.

    The Starbuck’s scent-o-meter must be broken at DK’s.

    Dali probably put out some Sensi.

    Since when is “pot stirring” a bad word(s)?

  145. Damon says:

    Finally got a second to respond to the Letang article…

    First off, great article DK. Nothing wrong with throwing that idea out there and backing up why. Good job.

    What I would like Shero to do is to first try and acquire that top line RW and 3rd line help without having to trade Letang. I think Letang is starting to show signs of being the Norris candidate he is capable of, and he is showing more chemistry with Scuderi (still a work in progress, but progress nonetheless). Even if you decided to trade him next year or in the future, there are still 15 teams you can deal with. Shero only had Carolina to work with and he still won the Staal trade. At the same time, field offers for Letang to see if they make an offer you just can’t refuse. I’m sure there are a lot of GMs out there (especially GMs of Canadian teams) who would want to get Letang because he is a big time name/player. We Pens fans are spoiled because we have so many big name players, but nothing would excite a fan base more than to bring in “hope”.

  146. paul says:


    If you read my post…..”this coach will not sit a star for even a shift let alone a game,the message is never sent,and I feel Blysma does not want any pouting or ruffling of feathers.”

    I was referring to all the stars,not only Letang. Blysma is quick to sit a young prospect who has performed admirably (Despres), but will not sit a Letang or Malkin or even Sid a single shift. Dan likes to look good behind the bench, wear a gold watch,and banter jovially in an interview. Image is very important,and lets face it the franchise makes a lot of money with an exciting product. Dan fits the Bill. He’s a GQ coach, for a cash cow franchise. Claude Julian is not, but the shot caller is Mario and has been in the past,i.e. Scotty Bowman this franchise does not like to hold its stars accountable. Great for regular season,but in the playoffs leadership and responsibility carry more weight.

  147. Jandy says:


  148. Jandy says:

    Well said, Damon!

  149. Jandy says:

    LOL Revvie, I agree…but well…you know…

  150. 21sthebest says:

    Before this year would you say Pouncey misses a lot of games? This year’s injury was a freak occurrence which was not his fault, IMO.

  151. Jandy says:

    out in the now I go to let Shelby out. be good kids!

  152. I’m not ready to give up on Letang. I wasn’t ready when his last contract was set to expire and I am not ready now. Letang is at a crossroads in his career. He has developed some bad habits under Bylsma, and his defensive growth has stagnated in favor of offensive production. Bylsma was out of answers for the Penguins defense and, to his credit, brought in Jacques Martin to install some structure and discipline to the backfield. Letang, under Martin’s guidance, has been working very hard to round out his game. By his own admission, he’s been trying to make better decisions, working on his positioning, and tempering his tendencies towards making big plays. It’s a process. Bad habits don’t become habits overnight, and they don’t get corrected overnight either. Give Letang some time under Martin and he will develop into the complete package we all hope.

  153. Arriba Wilver says:

    Wasn’t he out for the last Super Bowl and/or the last playoffs? I don’t know how many games he’s missed, but he does seem to be out for a while every season. This year’s wasn’t his fault, maybe none of them were, but in my mind he has missed some key games.

  154. True.

    But didn’t he miss about half the season the year before?

    And he wasn’t ready for that last playoff game was he?

    I’m not faulting him for getting hurt. Just seems he gets hurt frequently.

  155. You owe me a Coke. But you beat me to it.

  156. Arriba Wilver says:


  157. ++++ Finally someone with logic!

  158. Jim S. says:

    Good points, Forecheck. My only concern is that, in the meantime, Sid and Malkin may lose another year of their prime w/o a 2nd championship. At some point, this isn’t about waiting for Letang to get his act together. If they can get some pieces that improve the chances of winning the Cup this year and next, that ought to be the goal. To me, you don’t waste much of the potential productivity of a guy like Sid by shackling him with subpar talent on his line. Rounding out his line would pay more dividends, in my mind, than Letang is providing.

    It’s a tough call, though. I can see why half of us fall on one side and half on the other.

  159. Arriba Wilver says:

    NVM, I think I see what you are saying.

  160. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    There’s only one thing worse than the financial system in MLB….And that’s a low-ball Regime that wallows and thrives in it.

  161. Jim, should the hawks trade Keith or seabrook to get the 2nd line center they apparently are looking for?

  162. Arriba Wilver says:


  163. Jim S. says:

    Yes, to both AW and Lucky.

  164. Jim S. says:

    Yes, 21, I would.

  165. Jim, refer to my question above.

  166. 21sthebest says:

    Before this year he has missed 3 regular season games, the 2010 Super Bowl, and the wild card game in 2011.

  167. Matt says:

    Great perspective Damon. I think ultimately this is what Shero does. He tries to “win” a trade without giving up too much. Something like Despres or Bortuzzo in exchange for a versatile winger that brings some grit and skill and can move up and down the lineup. Or even if one GM was willing to overpay on one of the veterans like Orpik or Martin. DK’s article is pointing out Niskanen is making Letang is expendable…but conversely…Niskanen, Letang, Despres, and even Pouliot might make a guy like Martin expendable. I think Martin would fetch exactly what we need.

    Secondly, I hope we can hang on to our first round pick. Even if we are picking late in the first round (hopefully), we need to start drafting and developing our own forwards.

  168. Jim S. says:

    Wow, Monster. That’s a toughie. People here love Keith. But, you have to give up something to get something. I have to say, though, that since I am not a Hawks fan, and I see them as either our #1 or #2 competition should we get to the Finals, I hope they screw up their decision no matter what they choose.

    The Hawks tend to be trusting what they have, though. Would not surprise me if they did very little to improve the team again.

  169. 21sthebest says:

    Playing in 47 of 52 games before this year doesn’t seem to shabby to me.

  170. Karen22 says:

    He sure didn’t look very menacing sliding, gloveless & helmetless, toward his nemesis! ;)

  171. Matt says:

    Do we all everyone agree that a defensemen for forward type trade needs to be made? It’s just a matter of who. I think our current top 9 does not win us a cup. Even with Dupuis in the lineup we were leaning on Sid and Geno too heavily.

  172. Oh and prior to the reading the column this morning I had some monster droppings for you guys:

    Price and Smith over Flower and crawford? Please…Stevie Y should change his name to Stevie Why?

    Therrien didn’t look happy. Engo scared some frenchie into a delay of game penalty when he flipped the puck over glass then Subban feared the wrath of Adams. How do you spell “Soffff” in french?

    Game last night reminded me of Caps game in November when pens totally had them befuddled with their puck possession system and disciplined neutral zone play. Habs didn’t have emelin and diaz but the way pens were moving the puck it probably didn’t maatta.

    By the way, sooner than later sid should change his name to Croosbby and geno to Maalkkin :)

  173. Jandy says:

    lol +++

  174. Jim S. says:

    47 in 52? That includes playoffs, I assume? If so, then I guess my perception about how much he was injured was off base. I think he’s a tough guy, and there were a lot of games where he hobbled off, and sometimes came back in. Maybe that is why I thought he had missed more games.

    So, now it is 47 of 68?

  175. Brandon says:

    DK – well thought out article at a critical time for the Pens. This team needs to be structured to beat the Bruins in the playoffs and will not win a series with its bottom six constructed the way it is now. Boston has shown that it can create a difficult scenario for the Pens top six when the league allows more interference in the playoffs (another stupid NHL trend) – the Pens need to be close to “even” with Boston with the bottom 6; their current roster will not allow this.

    Additionally, they need to create the most effective Defensive-6 pairings for the playoffs and prepare for the near future – with the pending salary cap implications for 2014/15, they will need to introduce several lower priced options into the roster to balance the high priced options which they are committed to keeping. Although there is a precedent for wanting experienced defensemen, it is not a completely viable scenario under the salary cap structure moving forward – the Pens have several young, lower priced defensemen who are both viable and would be potentially ready for the postseason IF they have 20+ games to prepare – Bortuzzo & Despres are the obvious choices, but Dumoulin is also close to ready. My preference would be to play Nisky/Maatta, Scuds/Martin & Bortuzzo/Despres……I would trade Letang IF the return for long term Forward talent would be reasonable. This potentially allows them to resign Nisky for the longer term and develop a replacement for Martin. This scenario has nothing to do with the talent which Letang has, but balances the immediate and longer term needs.

    DK: Good stuff, Brandon, and thank you.

  176. JD says:

    Good stuff OshKosh. I doubt you’ll sway some of negative types on here. They prefer “waiting to be underwhelmed” rather than enjoying the amazing season they’re putting together.

  177. I hope they screw it up too BUT they wont. And neither will shero. A lil perspective is good if you’re for trading letang.

    And i still want someone to tell me what equal value is? Or an offer thats too good to be true? If we get younger cheaper players/prospects back who combined make less than letangs 7.25M cap hit than they’re useless to us for a cup run. If they’re legit players that represent equal value than they’ll make more than Letang and therefore make us non cap compliant.

    We keep letang and fill out the roster with depth players like Goc, Boyes and maybe Ladd. By the way i believe Boyes can fill in really well with sid on top line. Think poor mans Billy G.

  178. JD says:

    DK – just got done listening to the podcast if yesterday’s show. Good job, enjoyed the Pirate talk. Looming forward to the column.

  179. Jandy says:

    I didn’t see anyone say they weren’t enjoying the season?

    Heck, I really , really like Bylsma. The regular season has been phenominal for the past few years he’s been here.

    Then the playoffs have been, well, underwhelming :D

  180. Careful Matt, the PM supporters have teeth.

  181. NMR says:


    All the Yankees are doing is putting the money they make back into the team. Isn’t that exactly what every fan should want their team to do?

  182. Damon says:

    Good points Jim.

  183. Like I said, 21, I’m not rippin’ him. Just making a statement. Seemed like he was out more than that and we need a solid backup. I have no problem with the guy from a football standpoint or any other, really.

  184. Jandy says:

    and size 9 wides ;)

  185. …but doesn’t make them right… :)

  186. Jandy says:

    doesn’t make them wrong, either ;)

  187. Milo Hamilton says:

    No one is untouchable except for the rarest of exceptions (Crosby in this case). So all options to improve the team should be explored. As always, it all depends on the return.

  188. I’ll spare you a response to that one… ;)

  189. Jandy says:

    You’re not sparing me anything. You’re not always right either, Monster Mash. You make good arguments most of the time, then you make comments like that one that shows you’re full of yourself :P

    I don’t think there is a right or a wrong here. The team needs improvement, there is more than one way to go about it.

    We can all argue to keep the players we like or not, bottom line is, Shero is the man who will decide :)

  190. Milo Hamilton says:

    And DK as you know I only steal from the best. From now on it will be Brittle Beau Bennett. or BBB for short.

  191. Let me ask you this, Jim: do you really think it’s offensive deficiencies that are holding the Pens back from winning a second championship?

    Yes, some depth to replace Pascal Dupuis and add some grit to the 3rd/4th lines for a playoff run is needed, and I think Shero will address both. However, Shero “went for broke” to stock the forward ranks at the deadline last year, including adding a top-six forward in Jarome Iginla. It still wasn’t enough. Offense may sell jerseys, but defense wins championships.

  192. Jandy says:

    There, there, it’s ok Monster Mash.
    The boys play tonight at the Isles in NY….will we win or will we lose?

  193. Ha…and I’ll have you know that i only make comments that make me seem full of myself when I know I’m right! :)

    P.S. When have i been wrong? :)

  194. If we play like last night we win 4-2 with empty netter.

  195. Boom! I think i may retire from the blog and let RF take over…

  196. Matt says:

    Yes…DK has officially started a Letang for Eberle rumor! Quick call the Winnipeg Free Press!

    Just kidding DK :-)

    DK: In all honestly, that’s already shown up in at least one place. Amazing.

  197. Damon says:

    If defense wins championships, are you suggesting they keep or trade Letang seeing that he is an offensive defenseman?

  198. Jandy says:

    Promises, promises :P

  199. Jandy says:

    In all honesty, Iginla was poorly used by Bylsma.

  200. Jandy says:

    I hope you’re right :)

  201. Keep it up jandstar and you’ll have to follow me on twitter ;)

  202. 21sthebest says:

    Well obviously if you now include this year. He doesn’t strike me as injury prone though which is my point. Whether or not he can come back from his injury is my only concern with him.

  203. Actually poor choice of words there…sorry jandster :)

  204. Jandy says:

    LOL I told ya long time ago Monster Mash, I’m no twit, I don’t tweet :P

  205. Jandy says:

    no sorries necessary, I laughed out loud!

  206. 21sthebest says:


  207. I want to thank Richard Sherman for informing us that, like many Afro Americans these days, he is offended when people call him a thug.

  208. I really dont either but not sure if i’ll be blogging forever here so thought i’d leave a door open…

  209. Jandy says:

    Sherman has some very good points. The people who are pointing their fingers at him don’t have very good responses when he turns it back in their direction.

  210. Believe he means that you let Letang figure out the nuances of new systems much like he has last few games.

  211. Jandy says:

    Thanks, I think ;)

  212. 21sthebest says:

    I didn’t think anyone was ripping him Lucky.

  213. tpbco says:


    Act (or sound) like a thug and you will be treated as such.

    If you don’t have class when you actually win….you don’t have class.

    Everything from him since then…to me, is just noise.

  214. You’re making the assumption that a good offensive-defenseman is not good defensively, Damon. There’s a big difference between Duncan Keith and Dustin Byfuglien, and both are offensive defensemen. With Letang’s offensive talents and smooth skating, it’s so easy to rely on ability rather than sound fundamentals to cover your defensive responsibilities. Especially when you’re given the freedom to join the rush, press offensively, and seek out the big play all the time…

  215. I completely agree with that. And now, I’d like to know how you all feel about one Nathaniel Wentz, a Denver Broncos fan, being fired from his Seattle fast food restaurant job yesterday for showing up for work for wearing a Broncos uniform after the manager had told the workers he wanted them to show up for work wearing a football uniform which, naturally, would be a Seahawks uniform.

  216. Jandy says:

    I don’t see how a boss can fire someone for wearing football attire when asked, even if it’s not the team expected. that’s just wrong.

  217. No argument there. Yet, despite this, he still managed 12 points in 15 playoff games.

  218. Jandy says:

    tpb, I don’t know Sherman. I do know things were said previously between him and others. Just seems when the shoe is on the other foot, it doesn’t fit as well, that’s all I’m saying.

  219. Jandy says:

    amazing, eh? Just think how many he COULD have had, had he been utilized well.

  220. bpn8pitt says:

    What, like showing several million kids who were watching that game, its okay to show up an opponent?

    You know what annoys me? This excuse people are putting out there that ” Oh, he was in the heat of the moment when he said those things. ” Ive seen plenty of college players and pros in all 4 major sports give an interview to a sideline reporter less than a minute after the game ended. and they sounded as professional and polite as can be.

    It continually amazes me how we overpay these guys, make excuses for them, give them chance after chance after chance when they break the laws or rules…Richard Sherman is a jerk who can run fast. A lot of those guys are. Not all of them. But a lot of them.

    But you should pay him in college and buy your kid his jersey, right?

  221. NMR says:

    Missing the point, bpn and tpbco.

    Any time a black man steps out of line, people line up to call him a thug. Never happens when white guys do the same. Blatantly racist.

  222. Matt says:

    I’ll humbly disagree. We called Shawn Thorton a thug for weeks.

  223. Jandy says:

    I called him worse than that! ll

  224. Arriba Wilver says:

    As I said, those are some key games to miss. That kind of thing sticks in one’s mind.

    Where was ya when we needed you?

    Not his fault, but something to consider.

  225. Arriba Wilver says:


  226. Arriba Wilver says:

    Honestly, based on Iginla’s comments at the beginning of this season, part of the problem was Iginla’s. he didn’t know how to adjust to the first move in his career to a team headed by Crosby. JMO

  227. theplanisworking says:

    Humbly disagree. Thorton committed an assault, Sherman only spoke. HUGE difference.

  228. Anyhow, I suspect that there are hockey players that still consider the thug designation as a badge of pride.

  229. Jandy says:

    That could be, but he’d have been more comfortable on his natural wing, likely to play better. Just my opinion, of course :)

  230. JoeyBats says:

    u start your All-Pro center…..@ center

    …………………and hope and pray he stays healthy for a change …at least for more than 8 plays this coming season! ;-)

  231. Jandy says:


  232. theplanisworking says:

    NMR, agree. When I put forth my mini-column on Sherman, I left out the blatant racism. But this whole situation is just that, racism. Why did no one utter a peep when Tom Brady cursed an official after their game with Carolina? No one said he wasn’t “professional”, or “classy” then.

    We as a society have much further to go on certain issues.

  233. Arriba Wilver says:

    Ike on his radio show said that Sherman COULDN’T run that fast, and that was why he was a 6th round draft pick.

    There are a lot of things to describe what Sherman did at the end of that game, but “thug” doesn’t seem to be one of them.

  234. NMR says:

    Exactly. To be fair, I should’ve been more specific than saying “step out of line”.

  235. Jandy says:

    Sherman HIMSELF even admitted he acted immaturely.
    Not bad for a thug eh?

  236. Arriba Wilver says:

    DK—liked the Far Side cow reference with Rob.

    DK: Was wondering if anyone would get that. :)

  237. theplanisworking says:

    Sorry, NMR, I was addressing my disagree to Matt, not you. I agree with everything you wrote.

  238. Damon says:

    When I think of Letang, I think offensive defenseman – although when he puts his mind to it, he can be solid defensively. I was asking because I initially thought you meant the Pens need less offensive prowess, more defensive mind set therefore less Letang, more Scuderi. I mentioned above I rather keep Letang if we could, and possibly get what we needed via other routes, but I’d still be open to a trade of what we got back cemented the team.

  239. bpn8pitt says:

    Theres a pattern of behavior with Sherman. He doesnt speak to his college coach, Harbaugh. The Bayless First Take interview. The Darelle Revis back and forth, about who was the best corner. Everything with Crabtree…I mean, sounds like this guy has a problem with a lot of people.

    Obviously (Coach Tomlin),none of you see the absolute nonsense he spouts on Twitter. Trust me he’s posted a lot off color remarks as well.

    You need to look beyond the Crabtree incidents and see what else is there. Quite a lot, to indicate a pattern.

    But play the cop- out Race Card…A punk’s a punk, black, white or brown.

  240. bpn8pitt says:

    Ha, the typical pro athelete backstep!!!

  241. SheckyW says:

    Me too.

  242. Jandy says:

    is that typical white pro athlete or black pro athlete? ;)

  243. Jandy says:

    Honestly, bpn, I don’t know all his background, and I sure don’t tweet, so I don’t see that either.
    Not talking to Harbaugh can’t be a bad thing tho ;)

  244. 21sthebest says:

    They were definitely key games to miss. But if I’m looking at Pouncey in terms of durability before this season whether it be for determining a contract extension, what kind of backup to have, etc., it doesn’t affect my decision making that 2 of the 5 games that he missed were a wild card game and a Super Bowl, as opposed to all 5 being regular season games. And maybe some or all of the 3 regular season games were key. You could probably argue that they’re all key. But now coming into 2014, it’s a new ballgame but nothing happened before 2013 seems to impact the way I’m viewing him.

  245. bpn8pitt says:

    He was on the track team at Stanford too, slick.

  246. 21sthebest says:


  247. NMR says:

    @bpn – Still missing the point. Sherman’s actions aren’t the story. The difference in people describe those actions is.

  248. 21sthebest says:

    +1 @ AW.

  249. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t follow DK on Twitter because I’m afraid I would think he was a thug.

    (Actually I don’t follow anybody on Twitter)

  250. Jandy says:

    for all we know, he MIGHT BE a thug on twitter!!!! Horrors!!!!

  251. Arriba Wilver says:


  252. bpn8pitt says:

    Honestly, Wilver, your sticking up for somebody you hardly know. In fact like most the general public, you probably didnt know who the guy was until he blew up on Erin Andrews.

    All of you, the next time Richard Sherman says or does something stupid, remember this conversation.

  253. Jandy says:

    Oh my

  254. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Big Deal!!!!….What do you want me to do?… Cry?….lol.
    Who could possibly get all their predictions correct but the man upstairs?

  255. Arriba Wilver says:

    This might sound inconsistent, but to me there’s no question about keeping him. He’s obviously a premier talent (physically and mentally) when healthy. But based on the history, I still plan for him in the event he’s injured. I hear what you’re saying and understand your point, but if I’m in charge I plan for that contingency in the event we make the playoffs or the SB.

  256. Milo Hamilton says:

    Will the Pirates send out a release when Neal Huntington awakens from his hibernation ?

  257. Jandy says:

    Only if some other news-making event is going on…like maybe the Super Bowl, or Ground Hog day ;)

  258. JD says:

    If a black guy acts like a thug, he’s fair game to be called a thug.

  259. 21sthebest says:

    Mine too.

  260. micheletherrienbaddriver says:

    It wasn’t a prediction, Edzo. It was your creedo. Your entire reason for getting up in the morning. How should I say? Your OBSESSION.

    My obsession now is to throw all these ridiculous “predictions”, if that’s what you want to call them, back at you for you to review.

  261. Milo Hamilton says:

    Richard Sherman is a typical smart athlete. $$$

  262. SheckyW says:

    Went and had a tooth extracted, then I returned to this blog post. It is true what they say, abscess makes the heart grow fonder. It’s great to see so many contradictory, yet valid opinions. It seems like a good time for me to throw some disjointed thoughts out there. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of any sane human being. So…

    I like 58, and would prefer to keep him, but would not be upset if we traded him, assuming a good return. In the event of a trade, this author is to be the sole arbiter of said return value.

    I like DB. I think he is a great coach. He does need to tweak his philosophy, and be a little less rigid.

    I will lose not one wink of sleep if we don’t re-sign Orpik.

    We won’t win a Cup without bottom six help. That includes salt and scoring.

    17 is fitting in better than I expected.

    I have a very bad track record when it comes to predicting what Shero will do. I expect that trend to continue.

    I forgot what I was going to type. I think that means it is time to hit “post comment”. Go easy on me. Did I mention that I just had a tooth extracted?

  263. Arriba Wilver says:

    Bpn–I’m not sticking up for anybody. I’m suggesting that the reaction to what he did last week doesn’t fit the “thug” designation. Has nothing to do with who he is, what he has done, etc. in the past. I, like 95% of the other people commenting on this, didn’t know who he was before last week. I’m commenting on this one incident. What he says on a twitter is irrelevant to him being called a thug merely because of his reaction after the game.

  264. Jandy says:

    21, that’s what my hubby says….you two comparing notes????

  265. Jandy says:


  266. buggee says:

    feelings… my shuttlecock is happy

  267. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t think that sounds inconsistent.

  268. Jandy says:

    I am really, really liking Pyatt. He’s surpassed my expectations

    Hope you’re not in too much pain, if so, hit the bottle ;)

  269. Jandy says:

    woop woop!

  270. Jandy says:

    YEAH, SO?

  271. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Well you do what you have to do….
    Including placing Smizik blog quotes on DKs blog.
    That’s real congenial!….

  272. Jandy says:

    Oh My!

  273. 21sthebest says:

    I sometimes wonder how one of my favorites, Muhammad Ali, would have made out in these days 24 hour sports networks and social media.

  274. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t recall anyone referring to President Obama as a thug. :-)

  275. Arriba Wilver says:

    He’d have had us all laughing. :-D

  276. Arriba Wilver says:

    Only if he sees his shadow.

  277. Jandy says:

    ZNG!!!!! lol

  278. NMR says:

    Well done. This guy just doesn’t get it.

  279. NMR says:

    Would love you to define “thug”.

  280. Jandy says:

    Oh My!

  281. tpbco says:

    To make the point, I did not call him a thug…I posted that he acted/sounded like one, and thus should NOT be surprised with the reaction to him. And he proceeded to reduce himself down to the level of the opponent (Crabtee) who supposedly wronged him. Based on comments that he also made, his act was premeditated. So no, it wasn’t a “heat of the battle” comment either.

    For the record, I hade the same feelings when it was Bill Romanowski w/Kordell Stewart, too.

    Obviously, I am dating myself by believing that – you win, be classy. If you can’t (or won’t), it strongly suggests that you really have none.

    As always, JMO.

  282. tpbco says:

    And when he won, he almost always (from what I remember and I was a fan of his too) had class…even with Joe Frazier.

  283. Milo Hamilton says:

    Browns appear to have settled on Mike Pettine as their next coach. He began his career as a grad assistant at Pitt under Johnny Majors in 1993 & 1994.

  284. Arriba Wilver says:

    Romanowski came to my mind, too. But not merely for what he said. He was a thug.

  285. Milo Hamilton says:

    Actually, Frazier felt Ali’s insults went way over the top. Ali was unmerciful. He repeatedly called Frazier an Uncle Tom & dubbed him the gorilla in Manilla. Frazier held a grudge against Ali nearly until his death.

  286. 21sthebest says:


    Ali did a fair amount of trash talking.

  287. JohninOshkosh says:

    I have to admit. I had to look him up. Now, he’s an actual coach in the National Football League.

  288. Arriba Wilver says:

    But Ali was funny. And The Greatest. No one would ever consider him a thug. That was Sonny Liston.

    Recently I saw No Mas, produced by ESPN, I think. Leonard indicated that Duran’s trash talking before the first fight did affect him. The movie didn’t have some great conclusion or revelation about Duran’s reaction in the No Mas fight, but it was interesting for the history.

  289. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’m just happy to see the sweet science brought up on this blog.

  290. tpbco says:

    What I remember, (and I am old and have drowned many brain cells), Ali’s acts were always before the fights – both to promote and also to psych himself.

    After the fight, I remember him as gracious. But maybe I remember wrong, if so I will stand corrected.

  291. tpbco says:

    As is Shawn Thornton. He crossed over that line with his attack on Orpik. He can no longer be refered to as an “honorable enforcer”.

    Like his virginity, he can’t get it back.

  292. tpbco says:

    Is he happy about it? Or did everybody else take a step back, when they asked for volunteers?

  293. Well, Mr. Sherman is indeed a Stanford graduate and he’s very bright and articulate and he hardly fits a thug’s description, although he might carry on like one on the football field. Actually, more athletes are proving to be brighter and smarter than you may have taken them for in the past.

  294. The next sacrificial lamb.

  295. Well, someone would have to eventually agree to coach the Cleveland Browns, regardless of how bad they may currently be.

  296. bpn8pitt says:

    Lol…Ive met many of people in my lifetime who had a higher education. Some of whom had Masters degrees that were ANYTHING but a professional.

    One of the ironies of this whole situation is that Sherman’s degree is in Communications, which many journalists and broadcasters alike have, THAT DEAL WITH THE MEDIA EVERY FREAKING DAY!!!And he acts like that? And again, its not an isolated incident. And if you knew anything about Sherman, beyond with Crabtree you would realize how absurd it is that he has this “degree”.

    And again, there are countless of examples of white, black, Samoan and so on, players, giving interviews after games, and interacting with opposing players EVERY SATURDAY and SUNDAY, that dont act like that.

    C’mon, man…

  297. JohninOshkosh says:

    Kirk Ferentz used Cleveland Brown interest in him to extract more dollars from Iowa. Others, have pulled the same trick.

    I guess Pettine actually wanted to go there.

  298. Milo Hamilton says:

    The Captain & Tennille are divorcing after 38 years of marriage proving once and for all that love won’t necessarily keep us together.

  299. Mercy.

    Now a song that will be in our heads for the rest of the day.

    Muchus Gracias, oh beloved broadcasting genius.

  300. One wonders if and when the Browns will ever turn things around like the Kansas City Chiefs did this past season.

  301. Milo Hamilton says:

    A tweet from Tony Sanchez:

    “Tanaka is 25 and just signed for 155 mill. I’m 25 and my mom still yells at me for not putting my dishes away.”

  302. Sadly, 73 year old Toni Tennile says that the marriage is irretrievably over and that there can be no reconciliation, while 71 year old Darryl Dragon apparently didn’t see this coming. Whatever.

  303. Was just listening to radio and after i got over shock that i was in agreement with Madden about tanger i was thinking DK should give him a call to debate the column. :)

  304. JohninOshkosh says:

    Easy enough divorce settlement. He keeps the hat. They split royalties on “Love will keep us Together” and for their “Love Boat” appearances right down the middle and she gets to keep any modicum of talent the duo had.

  305. bpn8pitt says:

    No. You’re not missing the point. Its obvious you dont know much amount Sherman either.

    Im not basing my opinion of the guy off of one incident. To me, its just another in a long line of them. I stated just a few above. I do follow the guy on Twitter. He does post some foolish things.

    Did you see anything on Jacoby Jones in New Orleans last night? Is that his fault or the reporter who interviewed him?…(just asking)

  306. Bizrow says:

    Do you think he’s got his extension yet??

  307. 21sthebest says:

    Good news. Love Will Keep Us Together is no longer in my head.

    Bad news. The Love Boat Theme is.

    DK: At least it’s something exciting and new.

  308. Bob Johnson did not change Paul Coffey.

  309. National Mart of Records,

    You Thug!!!

  310. Arriba Wilver says:

    Till 2030. We will learn in 2020.

  311. Arriba Wilver says:

    I was wondering where my avatar went. I always wanted to be a G-man.

  312. BillyBaduka says:

    I think part of the hand wringing is thinking that this to good to be true and preparing oneself for the eventual “other shoe” to drop.

    Continuity is important for an O line. This applies to both players and coaches.

    But I agree with you Plan, if a team gets a chance to hire a fantastic O – line coach it has to pull the trigger. I hope Munchak stays for years but even if he stays one or two years, hiring him was the right move.

  313. BillyBaduka says:

    Interesting point. I guess he did cut him.

  314. BillyBaduka says:

    That’s a load of BS!

    Make him change to a company uni, make him go home and change or make him take the day off but firing a person for wearing an opposing team’s jersey is wrong on many levels.

  315. CTC says:

    I realize I’m late to the party, but a busy workday kept me from responding sooner. Bottom line:
    Do not give up on Letang yet. His skill set is one of the most unique in the league. The combination of his offensive prowess, his superior skating, strength, toughness, stamina and supreme confidence are unmatched. These cannot be taught. What he lacks occasionally in defensive mindset and decision making can be taught. Jacques Martin can do this. I’d prefer Larry Robinson, but we have Jacques. Letang had an injury in training camp and missed the first part of the season. He was also learning the tweaks of Bylsma’s system. I recall last year, he missed a few games, and the Penguibs had a hard time advancing the puck and getting it to their forwards. Letang returned, and it was a different team. He is one of maybe 3 blueliners in the league who can control a game. He just needs to be reined in, and to get his confidence back. Confidence is his biggest strength, but his overconfidence is his biggest weakness. I’ve seen him have 2 guys on him, skate out of trouble on his own, and hit Sid or Geno in stride to create a high percentage scoring chance. That ability does not just leave a 26 year old. He looks confused out there, unsure if he should follow the system or instinct. This is where coaching comes in. Paul Martin STUNK his first 2 years here. But the team knew what he was capable of, and after getting comfortable, he’s been so much better. They need to do the same with Letang, who quite honestly, has only played poorly for a few months. Letang can be top 3 defenseman in the league for the next 10 years. And I believe he will. I hope it is in Pittsburgh.
    I commend Dejan for a great piece and a perspective that any GM worth his salt is obligated to consider about almost anyone on his roster at any given time.

  316. DJ says:

    Bingo, plan.

  317. DJ says:

    Wow . . . pulling the trigger on Letang, Jandy? Never thought I would read that from you.

    Well I’m with you and DK on this one (except for the Niklas Lidstrom business).

    Bold thinking. We need exactly that. And I believe we’d never look back.

  318. DJ says:

    HM, I think it’s time we put any Orpik re-signing to bed.

    LOVE the man, but the reaction time is no longer there.

    PLUS we have options, and more favorable ones at that.

    Sometimes a team just needs to let go. This is one such instance.

  319. DJ says:

    Now here’s sound analysis.

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