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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Stars 3, Penguins 0

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to faceoff …

Game: Penguins (36-13-2) vs. Dallas Stars (23-20-8)

Time: 8:08 p.m.

Site: American Airlines Center, Dallas

TV, radio: Root Sports, 105.9 The X

Here’s the official live summary.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Penguins page. Rob Rossi is on the grassy knoll.

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. Jandy says:

    Loonies, I have a birthday party tonight. I’m putting you all in charge of willing our boys to victory. Let’s do it!!!!

  2. Brandie says:



  3. And whose birthday is it pray tell?


  4. theplanisworking says:

    It’s too cold for a birthday party.

  5. Not bad here. 46 for a high after an inch of snow this AM.

    High around 50 tomorrow. I invited Drew and his tattoo over to sun bathe.

  6. theplanisworking says:

    Only going to be 14 here tomorrow, snowing now.

    I got a call from Antarctica today……. they want their weather back………

  7. hockeymonster says:

    No jandy no jandy bring me the brandy

  8. Pucknutz says:

    LETS GO PENS !!!!

    STAY WARM !!!

  9. Pucknutz says:

    LOL ya Lange wannabe !!!! :) :)

  10. DJ says:

    Letang absolutely horrible tonight.


  11. DJ says:

    Grabbing Geno’s sweater . . . penalty? . . . no, a turnover. . . Orpik? . . . no, a goal.

  12. Malkin turnover. Dallas Stars goal!


  13. jm says:

    Anyone watch Boston dismantle Philly today?

    Two thoughts: if we play Philly in playoffs, I’d say we had a 70% chance of winning.

    If we play Boston, we’d have about 1% chance. They’re 3-4 lines are very good. Ours are substandard.

    They have the best defensive d-man in hockey. We have none I’d place in the top 20 of defensive d-man.

    They have a goalie who has a proven record of solid playoff performance. We … don’t.

  14. theplanisworking says:

    Wait a second, according to some on here, Letang can do no wrong.
    We just don’t understand…….

  15. DJ says:

    Sorry penalty by Letang.


  16. DJ says:

    Yes, plan, I know. See above.

  17. EJ says:

    Sitting right below the press box tonight. This is the worst game I’ve seen the Pens play in a long time.

  18. Very interesting what different eyes see.

    Dallas Stars have 2 power play goals (one actually 1 second after PP ended) and one goal off of give away by Geno Malkin at the blue line for free sweep in by Dallas on Fleury.

    At 4:00 mark of 2nd period, Pens have only 9 shots on goal and Letang has 2 of those shots.

    Yet some would actually see “Letang absolutely horrible tonight.”

    I would see differently.

  19. DJ says:

    Agree on chances against Boston and our 3-4 lines. And the answer? Trade Letang for top winger and help on 3-4 lines. Someone will overpay.

    Disagree about our defense. We played Chara wrong last spring. Need to dump into corners and pound him, not let him turn and look up ice. Not enough of that last spring. Too much trying to cart puck through defenders at blue line.

  20. DJ says:

    If you think this is about hating on Letang, you’re sadly mistaken. Calling it like I see it.

    Malkin giveaway? I guess those “different eyes” missed the sweater grab / interference.

  21. No, those different eyes saw Malkin carry the puck into THREE/THREE/THREE green shirts (instead of passing it), leading to the turnover at blue line and green shirt goal.

  22. DJ says:

    Well there you go then. You actually did miss what happened.

  23. DJ says:

    Yes, since the Florida Panthers game last Monday.

  24. jm says:

    Good analysis, and I hope you’re right.

  25. DJ says:

    Outside Sutter empty-netter against Isles, last goal by 3-4 lines on December 19th?

    Can it really be over a month? Does that not tell us something?

  26. theplanisworking says:

    Well, another bad effort by the Pens tonight.

    Lost in all this “Letang is the Worst, Geno is the Worst” back and forth, is the fact that the Pens 3rd and 4th lines are awful, and the D isn’t much better. I was hoping that Coach Martin would make a difference, but his efforts are either ineffective, or are being ignored.

    Add to this that the Pens are reverting to last season’s fiasco against the Bruins, by turning the puck over constantly, and that adds even more pressure on a D that isn’t good to begin with. Yes, Maataa has been good, and the AHL kids were admirable, but overall, this D is lacking.

    I hope they get things fixed soon……. I know they are in 1st in the East, but they were 1st in the East last year, and that didn’t do them much good, did it?

    Just to be clear, I am not on a “Fire Bylsma” rant, or “Trade Letang for a used stick” rant either, but this D, and these turnovers need addressed soon.

  27. HeyBullDog says:

    I live out of town and recently signed up for NHL Center Ice, for the most part, to watch the Penguins. (Although my son and I will watch just about any game if we can.) Most of the games are aired via Root Sports so we get Steigerwald and Errey. I think I want my money back. Errey could be he worst piece of cheese I have ever heard call a game. Sometimes I think we are not watching the same game. Half the time I don’t know what the hell he talking about except he must say “Steiggy” 1,338 times a game. I’m numb. Beer me.

    Go Pens.

  28. chethejet1 says:

    Pens will be hammered by the Kings and Ducks. No question the defense as constructed is soft. Bylsma wants stick on puck and he will get that as the defensemen fish out the pucks from the goal net.

  29. DJ says:

    Bylsma is in a Catch 22. Pressure to win this year but does not want to trust young D-men, save Ollie.

    We will need bold thinking / move by Shero to reshape this team for a realistic shot at the Cup, not just Conference Finals.

  30. DJ says:

    You’re wrong about a “used stick”. Letang would fetch much more.

  31. theplanisworking says:

    Sarcasm, DJ.

  32. BPPensfan says:

    You’ll eventually tune out both of them like the rest of us. lol

  33. DJ says:


    The 3-4 lines point is not lost on me. See my two posts before yours, especially one on 3-4 line production.

    I know many are in the “sit back and enjoy the ride” mode and I have certainly enjoyed this year very much, but if we’re building this team for a SC Finals, we’re going to need more. It’s that simple.

  34. theplanisworking says:

    Actually, I would like to see the D improve more…….. as that is what wins you Cups. As we saw last spring against Boston, if the O goes south, you need to rely on your D.

  35. chethejet1 says:

    Pens are the Atlanta Braves. Look like a dynasty in the making but never realize the championships due to not recognizing the playoffs are a different animal. Like Atlanta, just never could elevate their game in the playoffs. Cox kept doing the same things in October as he did in May. Bylsma is a one dimensional coach who depends on some nebulous system that collapses under the strain of the opponent not doing what your system predicts.

  36. DJ says:

    I would welcome more sound play and skill from our D-men, not just toughness.

    Swap out Bortuzzo and Depres for Orpik and Engelland and let’s see what we’ve got.

  37. DJ says:

    We need both.

  38. Rbilak says:

    1. Once again the best lineup is not being played. #12 may be Crosby’s buddy but he adds nothing. Ebbet gets to play over a guy like Harry Z who is a perfect 3/4 line player, why management hates him is beyond me.

    2. They have returned to their run and gun ways. They lack the discipline to play 2-1 games or even play smart D with 2 goal leads or late in a period.

    3. Burtuzzo must return to top 6. He is the only defenseman who plays with the edge needed in playoff hockey.

    4. Glass hit everything tonight. Whatever Shero does, he needs to address the lack of size and grit of lines 3/4 and decide what their function is.

    5. As for Letang, the hockey IQ of Matta is much greater than his at only 19. For every great play, their is an equal and opposite bad play. I have settled in that this as good as he gets. I see no reason to think after this many years the frustrating parts of his game will ever change.

  39. DJ says:

    You can forward to the 2:36 mark:,2,781&lang=en

    No penalty there, just a pure giveaway by Malkin, right?

  40. Wow, thats a frightening analogy…

  41. It was former Penguins players that did it to them last night, and that certainly is rough.

  42. Unfortunately, the Pitt women’s basketball team was defeated by Duke this afternoon 111-67. Now hopefully, the Pitt men’s team will do a whole lot better tomorrow night.

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