Blogs | Sports | News
Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Morning Java: Coach K vs. Coach J

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Monday column puts into print an issue in sports that bugs me as much as any: Gary Bettman’s willful ignorance about all that the NHL loses through its lack of scoring. And it proposes one really simple solution.

Purely by coincidence, Rob Rossi’s piece on the Penguins focuses on needing more scoring. Love it when that happens.

Herb Brooks will live on in Sochi, by columnist Joe Starkey.

If you missed last night’s Subway Final Word on WPXI-TV, the opening segment featured Mark Madden, Josh Yohe and I rumbling and ruminating over the notion of trading Kris Letang. Alby Oxenreiter was host.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage, including all you need for tonight’s home game with the Sabres.

Here’s Sabres news from the Buffalo News.

Here are official game highlights from

>> Mike Krzyzewski walks the court at the Pete tonight, you might have heard. Beat man Kevin Gorman has the preview.

If you missed it, the Sunday column I wrote from Maryland also looked ahead to Coach K and Coach J. Absolutely loved the passion the players showed for Jamie Dixon.

I’ll be up there to cover the game for an extra Tuesday column.

Here’s our full Pitt coverage.

>> Two of the Steelers’ linebackers are heading in opposite directions, by Mark Kaboly.

Next season’s schedule will be light on travel, by Alan Robinson.

Here’s our full Steelers coverage.

>> I’ll visit with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m., probably go back to sleep, then head up to the Pete.

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. Stuart says:

    DK, if I were asked to appear on the “Final Word”,
    I would ask if a dancing bear was going to be a member of the panel. If the answer was yes, I thinkI would decline.

    Just sayin.


  2. bpn8pitt says:

    Robinson’s article on the Steelers travel schedule next year is pretty interesting.

    They have a lot of work to do, but id like to think that benefits somewhat. I could be wrong, but it doesn’t look like they leave the Eastern Time zone.

  3. Ghost says:

    Just Nashville, according to the article.
    Also on the road, we play three felines, two birds, two Titans (one current, one former)… and then there are the Cleve Brownies. Whatever they are.

  4. Instead of the traditional Hall of Fame Game at Canton, Ohio every preseason, why can’t the NFL start the preseason in Canton, Ohio with the Pro Bowl? It’s no worse an idea than the way it is now.

  5. Pucknutz says:

    “since the Stanley Cup was more of a Dixie Cup”

    Good one DK !!!!

  6. Pucknutz says:

    “The most common argument against is that history would be distorted”

    On the other hand “every” rule change in any sport at least subtlety changes some stat in the game.
    What did the DH do to pitchers stats for example ??

    Larger goals ain’t never gonna happen, but it is an interesting thought.

  7. Drew71 says:

    Marc-Andre Fleury chooses status quo? Yeah. I agree. No surprise. I bet Sarah and all goalies are turning over in their pads.

    So what do EYE think?

    I dunno.

    When you consider a proposition like this in the context of this idea or status quo, it sound, well, ok.

    But that’s not life. This is not a choice of net or no net, but rather of this idea vs. any and all other ideas vs. status quo.

    In THAT context…I’m not in love with the idea.

    To butcher another figure of speech,
    It’s not the size of the net, it’s the motion of the skaters.

    Is a 7-5 game more exciting than a 3-1 game? Maybe. Maybe. Just maybe.

    But when I think of THEEE most exciting hockey, it is when two teams are swapping wild rushes. Both teams. Back and forth. Whether or not they score. Leaving them (and here’s the point) ME breathless.

    Most often that style of hockey leads to more scoring. But that is just one outcome. More importantly, it is much more exciting. Electric.

    And, by the way, scoring would increase. Not as an end in itself but rather as an output of a more wide open game.

    I don’t know what change to recommend to achieve this end. But that is the end I want.

    Doing the net thingee adds goals but doesn’t otherwise do anything else to open up the ice. If it is my ONLY choice I might reluctantly agree. But I’d rather seek a change that improves the GAME, not just the scoring of the game.

  8. Sarah says:

    First I’d beg to differ on the premise http at More Goals =More Excitement. I believe More Chances = More Excitement. And the best way to get there is to enforce the rules. I don’t mind angling posts inward, I suppose, but again that misses the point . As Drew says, you need teams getting lots of chances. Flying up and down the ice whilst not being interfered with. You might shrink the neutral zone a tad more. You might shrink the goalie pads a tad more i guess but they’ve already shaved 2 inches off the pads and believe you me I miss all of them.

    Further I cannot emphasize enough the improvement of goaltending in the last 15 to 20 years. Those mike Bossy shots from way out getting past skinny goaltenders were more a product of 2 things: goalies did not come as far out to take away angles back then for fear of injury, and goaltending then was static and limb/reflex save based, not compact-blocking based from a mostly down position.

    Again, it’s chances that create the excitement IMO. You need to free up the players for that which means you have to call the rule book. Increasing space would help, but larger ice surfaces won’t happen. Heaven forbid we take away a couple of Section A seats.

  9. Jandy says:

    Drew for NHL Commish!

    There, THAT will leave EWE breathless!

  10. JAL says:

    JAL’s The Scientist Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 MLB Important Dates

    4 Pirates Prospects Spring Training Tracker

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    Winter Leagues: Mixed Results For Top Pirates Prospects In Winter Ball

    6 Rumbunter

    The NL Central at a Glance

    A.J. Burnett Watch: What’s This Burnett Tweet Mean?

    7 Pittsburgh Sports Hub

    David with Pirates President Frank Coonelly 1.22.14

    8 City of Champions

    Report: Pittsburgh Pirates Will Use A.J. Burnett Money On Starting First Baseman

    9 Green Weenie

    Can the Pitching Carry the Bucs in 2014 and Beyond?

    10 Bucs Dugout

    Links: Coonelly, ‘All-In,’ Lambin, Fernandez

    11 Pirates 101

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Prospect Profile: Tyler Glasnow

  11. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Top Remaining Free Agent Starting Pitchers

    13 Beaver County Times

    Three Thoughts: Winning not a priority for Pirates

    14 IS Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates: The future of Pedro Alvarez

    15 Belleville News Democrat

    Free agency hasn’t made much of a difference in the NL Central

    16 Fangraphs

    It’s Fan Fest Season; Well, For Most Teams

    17 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Reds look to keep Homer Bailey beyond 2014

    18 Racine Journal Times

    Brewers fans willing to forgive Braun

    19 Ad Week

    Major League Baseball Is Trying Hard to Expand Its Fan Base With Social and Video Integrations

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    Top 101 Prospects

  12. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers 2014 Roster Projections: Safeties

    Steelers running backs coach candidates list should include Willie Parker

    22 Steelers Depot

    Recapping Steeler Coaching Changes since Tomlin Arrived


    23 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Transfer Window Report: Manchester United, Chelsea dominate the penultimate week

    24 London Evening Standard

    ‘Scoreline flattered Stoke’ – Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho–chelsea-manager-jose-mourinho-9086399.html


    25 Pensburgh

    Sunday Pens Points: What’s Ailing the Pens?

  13. Jandy says:

    Sarah,. you and Drew both have very good points. You can run for NHL Commish too :)

  14. Sarah says:

    In re static goaltending, here’s Mario’s first NHL goal.

    That’s Pete Peeters in net a very good if not quite elite G at the time. Note how he’s in a closed upright posture, and completely static in his crease as Mario’s approaches. He’s taken no angle, and is not out of his crease and backing in as I would train even my Squirts and PeeWees to do. All he can do is throw a pad out and hope. Compare that to what you see in SOs now.

    THIS is the type of goaltending we had back then. No wonder guys could score.

    Seriously, even I would stop that move today. I’m not kidding.

    The position has been revolutionized. For that we can thank Patty Roy and the systems that started up in QC.

  15. Jandy says:

    JAL’s link #25 poses the Pen’s scoring problems (or lack thereof) with a baseball analogy:

    You get the picture by now, Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin aren’t perfect, and will often get criticism for an ill-advised pinch, penalty or turnover. Would it help if they were absolutely 100% perfect? Yes, sure, but it wouldn’t solve the entirety of the problem.

    When the bottom 6 is going the way they are, getting completely dominated and outshot shift after shift, what are the players capable of producing offense supposed to do, exactly? Take the pitches and draw a walk, if there’s no one behind them in a lineup to drive them home? A team that has 3 guys in the lineup hitting for excellent power, average, or both and 6 guys hitting .095 is a lot easier to beat than a team with 9 guys hitting anywhere from .250-.350. Right now the Pens are the former. How does this problem get fixed? One of two ways – either the players currently in the bottom 6 step it up and play better, or we need to bring in a better player or two.

    That’s all, folks.

    Go figure…I hope I don’t get a BOLD REAMING!

  16. Sarah says:

    Fun stats: when Crosby and Malkin were not on the ice v DAL, Pens mustered,mum, THREE shots on goal. Oy.

    Fun stat 2: the D has scored as many goals as the bottom 6 this year.



    Go DUKE!!!

  19. Wild Bill says:

    After those two, I’d hate to see what isn’t fun, Sarah.

  20. Jandy says:

    this isn’t good. Shero needs to fix it PRONTO!

  21. Jandy says:


  22. Dcpinpgh says:

    Are the Riverhounds going to make their goals bigger? Maybe, if they got more scoring soccer might get some popularly.

  23. Naje says:

    For years Rick Pitino has told anyone in basketball how much he admires Jamie Dixon and the job he’s done at Pitt. Championship or not, the guy took a dormant program and turned it into a consistent winner at the highest levels of the Big East and now the ACC.

    Yes, the ACC is down this year, but Dixon’s team is thriving…again. Quite simple: Dixon is among the top 5 or 10 D-I coaches in America. Has been for several years.

  24. chethejet1 says:

    Duke like many programs have not kept players in the program long enough to benefit from coaching and maturity. One and done’s, transfers, and academic issues have impacted college basketball to where most programs are year to year now. No more dynasties in college BB. Pitt is tougher and at home beats Duke who can’t hang with Pitt on the boards.

  25. Jandy says:


  26. JAL says:

    The goal is big enough, scoring depends more on strategy. If a team packs into the gaol area it is difficult to get the kick the ball to the goal. Still scoring not that low–Liverpool beat Stoke 5-3, Man City beat Cardiff 4-2, Sunderland and Southhampton tied 2-2, Newcastle beat West Ham 3-1. Pens last game was 3-0 loss

  27. Sarah says:

    well there’s always this:
    Since Letang returned, we’re 2/18 on the PP.
    And have allowed 2 short-handed goals.

    Double Yoy!!

  28. Sarah says:

    I don’t think he has the courage to break up the family…..

  29. Drew71 says:

    Duke-pitt. City Game II.


  30. DK, your column this morning makes a better case for bigger ice than bigger nets. Players have outgrown and outskated the ice as much if not more than the goalies outgrown the nets.

    Caught the letang segment on the final word…and dejan, no team in their right mind trades a 26 year old top dman for depth wingers. Suggesting you must do so if “you want to win a championship” is silly. I’m sorry dejan but you’re wrong with your approach on this one. If you don’t believe me ask yourself this…would or should the blackhawks trade Keith or Seabrook for the frontline center they need? (i know keith and seabrook have been more consistent than tanger of late HOWEVER centers are of greater value than the wingers we seek)

    You dont need to trade a top dman for fill-ins at wing.

  31. Jandstar, when did you get so logical? :)

  32. Who’s on 1st?

    No…seriously…who’s on 1st? :)

  33. JAL says:

    From Rant Sports

    “The numbers are in, and Barclays Premier League on the NBC Sports Networks is drawing record audiences. Nine million viewers watched the first five weeks of BPL broadcasts from across the Pond. The 27 matches were covered on NBC’s English-language channels, which averaged 391,000 viewers. That figure is a 70 percent increase from last season when BPL matches were broadcast on FOX. The derby between Manchester United and Manchester City peaked at one million viewers and averaged 852,000, which made it the second-highest Premiere League match to ever be watched on cable TV in the United States.”

  34. Pitt’s favored by 3 tonight. And the fans are lining up for tickets for once. So they’d better win this one.

  35. Jandy says:


    G’Mornin’ Monster Mash

  36. Jandy says:

    1st so far will be a team of Gabby Sanchez and they are giving Lambo a tryout at camp to see how it goes.

  37. Arriba Wilver says:

    HM—it’s surprising you fail to see the logic in trying to take advantage of Crosby and Malkin’s prime years.

  38. Jandy says:

    Monster Mash, my friend, I was quoting the Pensburgh, but I happen to agree with them.
    To answer your question, I am usually logical (even if I *AM* female), but I like to lighten this place up when it gets too “heavy”, thus it seems I might be frivolous at times.
    Life is too short to be serious all the time :)

  39. Jandy says:

    Don’t underestimate Mr. Shero, Sarah, especially after the past two or three lousy post seasons.
    I’m keeping an open mind. I trust in Ray.

  40. tdb1977 says:

    While the rest of the world was watching the Grammy’s last night, the wife and I decided to watch Pirates Replay on Root instead. Got us into a baseball frame of mind. Last night was the Reds game from June when Jones deposited the home run in the river on the fly. Next Sunday evening will be Cole’s debut.

  41. Jandy says:

    I’ll let Monster Mash rebut this ;)

  42. Arriba Wilver says:

    For once? Haven’t they been sold out for awhile?

  43. Jandy says:

    You didn’t miss much on the Grammys. Pink was fun, but a lot of the show was hooey!
    I actually liked Hunter Hayes’ performance.

  44. Jandy says:

    AW, save it ;)

  45. HAHAHA!!! Yes clearly that’s my problem :)

    And trading the 26 year old on the upswing instead of pursuing the logical routes is the way…ah the hell with it…think what you want. Like i said before…it wont be tanger we trade to upgrade depth on wing.

  46. Sarah says:

    Respectfully Monster, in what ways do you feel Letang’s positives out-weigh his negatives? (And I include in Positives his ability to bring elite Ws in a trade….)

  47. Gmornin jandy…heard you got your par-tay on this weekend. :)

  48. I know i know…was just pointing out you apparent 180 on the subject.

  49. Sanchez and lambo? I believe a sarah “oy” is in order…

  50. Jandy says:

    Not my birthday, however, my sister-in-law turned 50. A good time was had by all :)
    And a few shots were downed….So-Co warms all the way down to the tummy ;)

  51. Jandy says:

    No 180 here…I’m just admitting there are other problems than Tanger and Geno. But they still do the turnover thing way too much :P

  52. Sarah, part of my calculus is his improved play in recent weeks. He’s figured out the nuances of the puck support and possession systems we’ve switched too. And when he retrieves the puck with a forward on his azz then turns n burns up ice sparking the breakout, to me thats a plus that outweighs the occasional mistake he gets forced into by an opposing player(who usually is a top 6 forward). And he has what 10 goals in the midst of adjusting to new breakouts and returning from injuries? That kind of production doesn’t call for patience when we’re in 1st by double digits?

    And notion that tanger makes mistakes and others dont is silly. I could point to specifics but i’ll just say that our pipeline of dmen isn’t suited to replace tanger as much as some other players in our top 4.

  53. Its getting to the point now where tangers turnover issues should be referenced in past tense.

  54. Hopefully, the Penguins won’t embarrass themselves tonight at home against Buffalo, which currently has the NHL’s worst record.

  55. Jandy says:

    Not quite, but he’s getting there, I’ll admit.

  56. Jandy says:

    From your keys to the Hockey God’s ears!

  57. Can someone confirm that stat? Either way I recently read that PP with tanger is something like 25% while around 20-22% without.

  58. Sarah says:

    Fair enough. I think you’re seeing things I don’t, is all.

    And everyone does make mistakes, that’s true.

  59. Arriba Wilver says:

    C’mon HM, your idea of logic is

    “I’m logical”

    “If EYE think it, it must be logical”

    “So if you disagree with me you are being illogical”

    You ain’t no Mr. Spock.

    Live long and prosper. ;-)

  60. Oh ya, i manufactured warmness this weekend too ;)

  61. bigchinook says:

    I like Jamie Dixon and respect his work, however saying he “took a doormat program and turned it into a consistent winner” is a bit of a stretch. Ralph Willard and Ben Howland before Dixon put Pitt basketball on the national map, kudos to Dixon for keeping it there!

  62. You dont see him turnin and burnin up ice after swooping into the corner and leaving the forechecker in the dust?

  63. wally says:

    every shot that currently clangs off would now go in. That’s the most common thought attached to this subject, and it’s a sound one…..Ugh !!

    Slam down at the Pete! Wonder what thoughts must go through Dick Groat’s mind when his beloved Panthers and Jamie Dixon take on his alma mater.

  64. AW, clearly spock wouldn’t trade tanger. :)

    So hypothetically you’d prefer trading the 26 year old on the upswing instead of someone in their 30’s eh?

  65. Sarah says:

    Sure at times. He’s a brilliant skater. Breaking the puck out is not about outskating forecheckers though. It’s about decision making, puck support, and a solid scheme.

    The fact that he can outskate guys occasionally is nice. As a G I hate to see a defensive puck carrier deep in the zone try to carry the puck away from traffic. It’s the most risky place for a turover.

    Slower D can break the puck out faster with crisp passing.

    So while I agree he’s an elite skater, I don’t think that as a positive outweighs the negatives I see. But hey, our opinions can differ.

  66. Arriba Wilver says:

    Nice take on Groat, wally.

  67. Sarah i’m in total agreement! Which is why i referenced his improved play of late within the new systems and breakouts. I hated having dmen rush the puck into traffic when the wingers are waiting for the puck up the boards. But if you’ve been watching lately you’ve seen tanger move the puck up the forwards with greater regularity then joining the rush AFTER the forwards push back the d. This has also led to him being trapped deep much less often.

  68. No, the scoring isn’t that low, considering that the Penguins have given up 30 goals in their last 9 games.

  69. Arriba Wilver says:

    No, I think it makes sense to CONSIDER trading Tanger to upgrade a position where we’re weak in order to attempt to take advantage of Crosby and Malkin’s prime years. Doesn’t mean giving him away or trading him just to trade him.

    And I almost always think it’s wrong to worry about what a traded player might do after he’s gone. The focus should be on upgrading the home team. If the other team benefits, too, good for them (unless they beat you in the playoffs).

  70. 21sthebest says:

    I’m still trying to toss my hair like Taylor Swift. Although, I don’t quite have near as much.

  71. Arriba Wilver says:

    Speaking of hair, have you noticed the boss doesn’t only wear a tie now, but he has combed his hair with something other than a towell? Is he going for GQ?

  72. Steve says:

    Lining up for tickets for once? Are you serious?

  73. Steve says:

    Big game for the Panthers tonight but some folks need to put it in perspective. This is not exactly the #1 team in the country coming in to the Pete. Pitt has played plenty of higher ranked teams at home and on the road. They’ve got Syracuse coming in a couple weeks. Who knows, they could be the #1 team in the country by then.

    I’ll take the Panthers to win tonight. Home court advantage. I think Pitt has depth and experience to beat the Blue Devils. Can’t wait to watch.

  74. 21sthebest says:

    Good observation. It also takes the attention away from his chins.

  75. 21sthebest says:

    Duke has been playing pretty well lately. And it sounds like Coach K has recently been able to better deal with the personal distraction of his brother’s sudden death which he felt he let affect the team. Duke may not be a No. 1 team but in my opinion any top 20 team is capable of playing great at any time.

  76. Jandy says:

    I’m so tired of her and her shenanigans. She’s cute and she’s talented, but needs to take a page from Jennifer Lawrence.

    A friend of mine was hoping Swift got whiplash and had to take time off LOL!

  77. Jandy says:

    Does he use bryl cream in it too???

  78. Arriba Wilver says:

    Good point, 21. And Duke was the pre-season favorite to win the ACC. It’s going to be a tough game.

  79. JohnS says:

    I don’t see expanding the goal as a solution to anything. As others have already stated excitement isn’t about the number on the scoreboard ultimately but about the flow of the play on the ice. Enforcement of the existing rules will help but can the refs call everything and do we want that?

    Trading Letang is really just an academic discussion. It is intersting to think about from an asset management view, but ultimately there is a good chance of losing Orpik, Nisky, and Martin in the next two years. Scuderi will be gone in after 16/17 if not moved before. so if you move Letang for a top line winger and maybe a depth guy now you are replacing 5 of your 6 in less than 4 years.

    Probably better off trying to move one of the Wilkes Barre D and try to find someone that has the characteristics they are looking for that could potentially elevate his scoring by playing with an elite center like Dupuis did.

  80. Well i guess i view trading tanger as counter intuitive to trying to win a championship. I posted about this before but let me repeat.

    Say we get equal value for Tanger…lets say a top 6 winger, 3rd line winger and a dman(or another depth winger). If those players are legit players capable of helping us win the cup than they make more that tangers 7.25M cap hit(let alone 3.5M cap hit this season) which would make us non cap compliant unless we let Nisky and Orpik leave for nothing.

    If they’re younger cheaper players than they’re useless to us for a cup run. Sure depth in organ-I-zation would improve but we’re not Buffalo looking for prospects.

    See my logic?

    Live long and prosper indeed :)

  81. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    Love the AJ Burnett speculation. Smart guy…great family man based soley on the perspective provided by twitter account. He’ll make the right decision….sort of feels like the ravenous build up created by one of the worlds greatest bands. Misinformation is key.

  82. bpn8pitt says:

    Thank you for the heads up. I went to the Cole game. Probably one of the best two or three Pirate games I went to.

  83. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t see the logic in you refusing to CONSIDER trading Tanger under any circumstances. Seems like there’s a bit of emotion involved.

    Try this: are there any (legitimate) circumstances you would consider trading him or is he untouchable?
    Personally I would put Maatta in the category of off-limits at this point (among the D).

  84. 21sthebest says:

    Not that I should be one to talk on this subject.

  85. JohninOshkosh says:

    Lunardi, who is eerily prescient about such things, has Pitt a 5 seed playing in San Antonio. He has Duke at a 3 seed. Certainly, the selection committee is going to be watching this game. A win tonight would give a bigger push to have Pitt seeded higher (provided they continue to win, that is). If they could eek up to 3, they might get a draw in Buffalo or, as I am hoping, Milwaukee. Closer venues to Pitt with more opportunity for fans and students to attend their opening round game. Last year they got sent out West and to the mountains, which I always feel is a bit of an issue for teams coming from the East.

    Also in attendance tonight will no doubt be scouts for the Milwaukee Bucks. They have been playing for Parker or Wiggins all season.

  86. Jandy says:

    Have some fun, 21.
    Doesn’t matter what we dress like, Dejan is the one on television ;)

  87. CeeHowUR says:

    Potential for injuries. That’s also a reason why they eliminated the college all star game years ago, when the Super Bowl champions faced a team of college all stars at the beginning of the season. Most were high draft picks.

  88. CeeHowUR says:

    They should consider experimenting with a larger rink for the outdoor games. Certainly they have the space for it w/o eliminating any seats. It would add another element to theses matchups, as I’m afraid they are going to get stale if they continue to have so many of them.

  89. Sure i’d consider it…if the hawks trade us Saad, bickell and Seabrook.

  90. Sarah says:

    I believe the D will be fine and probably better without Orpik, and without Letang. Nisky I could take or leave early this season but he’s done extremely well last couple of months (except when paired with Engo). We need to keep Martin if possible, and a top 6 including Maatta, Borts, Depres, Martin, Scuderi and Nisky is fine with me.

    More stable than with Orpik or Letang in the line-up. Letang de-stabilizes the whole group since no one knows what he’s going to do next. He neutralizes Martin who has to look after him. His IQ has not improved IMO and the types of mistakes he makes are playoff killers.

    We have great youth and depth on D which we’re not using. We’re sitting guys who should be gaining experience to be ready for playoffs, which is all the more mystifiying since what better time to get them TOI than when you’re running away with the division?

    We’re going to see Borts and Depres super-glued to the press-box while Engo is a turnstile in the playoffs. It’s just astonishing the personnel decisions thus far.

    Rant over. Thanks!

  91. Arriba Wilver says:

    So your answer is “no?”

  92. The Trib’s Rob Rossi says that the Pens lack scoring depth due to the loss of Pascal Dupuis, which you certainly wish hadn’t happened this season.

  93. Jandy says:

    From the Pens’ website:

    Head coach Dan Bylsma confirmed that Gibbons will be inserted into the lineup. Marc-Andre Fleury is in goal. The rest of the lineup is a game-time decision.

    Tonight Malkin will play his 500th career NHL game.

    All the Pens healthy players are on the ice for the morning skate, as well as injured Brian Gibbons (lower-body). Though it looks like Gibbons may get back in the lineup. He was removed from IR on Saturday, and skated with Kunitz and Crosby in line rushes. The Pens used the following workflow…

    (Ebbett, Kobasew)


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

  94. kr70 says:

    want to spice up hockey?, take the lines off the ice. Be like having 50 shoot outs in the game.

  95. BillyBaduka says:

    Like the idea.

  96. Jandy says:

    Can’t do that. These are regular season games, and you can’t change the rules or the playing field for a select few. Not kosher.

  97. Sarah says:

    Welll…..bit of a gray area…..not all NHL rinks are the same size. Boston Garden used to be the size of my backyard.

    Wonder where Bettman would come down on this one.

  98. Sarah says:

    Don’t get me started on Rossi.

  99. JohnS says:

    The NHL is different from NCAA but you have some NCAA teams that play on the big ice (Olympic size) while most use NHL size.

    I don’t see it as a big deal for the outdoor games. The bigger problem is the weather always stinks.

  100. BillyBaduka says:

    They already took away the two line pass. It didn’t spring as many breakaways as most thought it would.

    I’m not sure taking the blue line away would boost breakaways either. It would have an effect on offsides and maintaining puck possession that’s difficult to imagine/predict. I don’t think it would create the up and down the ice flow so many want.

    The answer to more flowing play is a bigger ice surface. That won’t happen because it takes away section A seats and costs to update facilities. I would like to see a study on how many rows/seats would be lost. It would be interesting to do the math to figure how much prices of remaining tickets would need to be raised to maintain current ticket revenue.

  101. Jandy says:

    You’re telling me that NHL teams have different size ice in their hockey rinks?

  102. theplanisworking says:

    *Cannot wait for tonight’s Pitt game. Syracuse, Pitt and Duke will probably be the top three when the tournament comes around. Most Coach K teams are good road teams, not getting rattled. Will be interesting to see how they do tonight at the Pete. I see a close Pitt victory, unless there are too many turnovers.

    *I guess all the angst, and panic over Pitt’s out-of-conference schedule was for naught, huh?

    *The only untouchable on the Penguins roster should be #87. All other players, if they bring a very good return, should be in play. The Penguins, as constructed, will not reach the Cup Finals. Upgrades are needed, but I don’t want to see any player moved “just because”. But, I don’t want any player (except for #87) kept “just because”.

    *The Steelers have a light travel schedule? Good. I guess that is one less thing to worry about.


    GO PITT !!!!!!

  103. Wild Bill says:

    Gotta leave the goal lines for icings, kr. Otherwise, your outside the box idea appeals to me on a day when the cold is making me cranky. It’ll never happen, but it would be fun to speculate the effects.

  104. Sarah says:

    I am.
    Many rinks would be different….though as newer rinks are built, they are going with regulation NHL N American sheets.

    And yes, The Gahden was teensy.

    The Pens old practice facility in Pgh was also as small, and I can tell you, as a goalie you had to stay on your toes. With change of possession the play develops in your end in a blink of an eye.

    Not enough room for 10 big guys out there.

  105. theplanisworking says:

    One can’t line up for tickets when one is almost always sold out.

  106. Wild Bill says:

    Can’t see a scenario where Fleury is expendable, Hippo, but guessing you weren’t thinking goalies.

    Good luck to Pitt tonight; it’s not often a local college game overshadows the Penguins.

  107. Wild Bill says:

    Well, maybe under your idea, there would no longer be icing.

  108. Jandy says:

    I’m not talking practice rinks, or anything but the RINKS WHERE THE GUYS PLAY. They’re different sizes????? REALLY???????????????

  109. 21sthebest says:

    I’m not completely sure but maybe James is referring to a story that I saw on the news this morning that showed Pitt students camping out since sometime yesterday for the 1,000 tickets available to students at the door. Coach Dixon passed out donuts this morning to students waiting in line.

  110. Sarah says:

    Yes. Where the guys play.

  111. Jandy says:

    No wonder this is called the Garage League SMH

  112. theplanisworking says:

    No, I stand by my original point.
    Only untouchable is #87.

    Fleury is unlikely to be traded, but he isn’t untouchable.
    I trust Mr. Shero on these matters, but there is only one untouchable, IMO.

  113. Sarah says:

    Standard is 200 x 85 with a certain radius in the corners.

    We may have enough new rinks now that everybody is standard. Not sure.

    I believe it is Rule #1 in the NHL Book! You had to get auth from the league to be non-standard or something. Buff and CHi were small too.

  114. JohninOshkosh says:

    Five hours to tipoff…

  115. theplanisworking says:

    I am sure glad Pitt is doing well again this year.
    Simply wonderful basketball.

    Helps take your mind off the Bucks, and my mind off the Sixers.
    Simply awful basketball.

  116. Jandy says:

    5 hours to puck off ;)

  117. Jim S. says:

    Howland took a struggling program and made it very strong. Jamie has taken it a higher level and maintained that status. I could be misremembering, but I didn’t think Willard had much sustained success.

  118. JohninOshkosh says:

    Hey Plan:

    I would say basketball is my favorite team sport to watch followed by baseball. It has been a great year for me. First the Pirates. Then the Panthers and Badgers with basketball. It is fun to have big games to look forward to in both sports.

    I watched the Bucks Saturday night game against Houston (actually DVR’d it if you can believe it). That is the first game I really thought the Bucks gave up on. BTW, the Atlanta Hawks are pretty good. So are the Pacers for that matter. I was glad to see ‘Melo take the MSG single game point record away from Kobe. I have a lot of respect for the basketball knowledge of Knicks fans at MSG. That record deserves to belong to a Knickerbocker.

  119. Jim S. says:

    I believe every game in Pete history has been a sellout. Right?

    I read an article last year where Duke was actually struggling with attendance.

  120. JohninOshkosh says:

    Sounds like you are cussing, young lady. :)

    We have a good chance to have a record low for tomorrow’s date. -21. Hope it is a little warmer in PA.

  121. Jandy says:

    LOL Oshie! Hubby just shakes his head when I say it’s puck off time ;)

    It’s to be -4 tonight with wind chill -23, then tomorrow night -8 with wind chill -21.

  122. Jim S. says:

    I think both points have a lot of merit. I happen to endorse at least looking into trading Tanger, but I would not trade him unless we got a legit top winger for Sid and at least some more solid depth – as Monster pointed out above.

    As Arriba says, Shero needs to take advantage of the prime of the two best offensive players in the league. I made that point as well last week. Tanger is a very valuable and tradeable piece. He is a logical candidate in a trade. He could go on to even greater heights after he is traded. And, that is ok as long as we get quality in return and are able to hoist another Cup or two.

  123. theplanisworking says:

    Agree with all your points.

    It is just a shame that the NBA has become all about the “tanking”. A team loses, just to try to get a better draft position (which has backfired in the past), to draft someone that may, or may not help. Ugly.

    In my spare time after the latest Sixer debacle, I found out the details of the Jrue Holliday-Nerlens Noel disaster of a trade. The Sixers get a 1st round draft pick, IF New Orleans does not get a top-5 pick. Currently, NO is 11th from the bottom in the standings, but that means nothing. With the lottery, they could sneak into the top 3. Here is Philly’s potential folly……………. the pick is top-5 protected until 2020. After that, the pick goes to the second round. So conceivably, Philly could really get hosed on this. Not likely, but possible. So how does tanking help again??

    GO PITT !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  124. theplanisworking says:

    Puck-off is at 7:30, not 7.
    You’re welcome. ;)

  125. Jandy says:

    close enough, puckhead :P

  126. JohninOshkosh says:

    *Houston meant to be Atlanta. See, I already forgot.

  127. Jim S. says:

    Just my take, but I think he has been announcing for Pitt so long that he sides with them now. I’m sure he is proud of all that Duke has accomplished, as he should be. But, I also think he knows beating Duke means more to Pitt’s program than vice versa. I recall the game at the Garden several years ago, when LeVance won it at the buzzer (at least, my memory tells me it was LeVance), and Mr. Groat seemed quite happy.

    BTW, I listened to the post-game show after I got in my car after the game last Tuesday vs. Clemson, and I really liked how Jamie addressed Dick Groat as “Mr. Groat” at the end. I assume he always does that, but I rarely get to listen to the Pitt broadcasts. Very nice sign of respect. Jamie is a class act, period.

  128. Jim S. says:

    Duke seems to be gaining strength to me.

  129. AW and Jim, my over reaching point here is that this is a moot conversation. Pens don’t want to trade him and even if they did want to getting equal or fair value they cant. Unless they dont want to be in a position to win the cup or be cap compliant. So therefore, its a waste of time to discuss it. Especially when pens have other assets that could yield them what they want. Now if that’s something you wanna discuss i’ll be more than happy to….

  130. Jim S. says:

    Haven’t they fixed that now, Sarah?

  131. theplanisworking says:

    Be nice, or soap in your mouth. :)
    (Or a bold reaming)………. ;)

  132. Jandy says:

    where’s that humility thing???


  133. Jandy says:

    :P :P :P :P :P


  134. Jim S. says:

    Getting in late today.

    * I like DK’s solution about the slightly larger net. Seems logical to me. Goalies are bigger, pads are bigger, net is the same size as always. But, then again, I think a plan needs to be put in place to eventually raise basketball hoops above 10′ and I’d like to see wider courts. Guys are shooting 3’s practically standing up against the bench.

    * Yes, clutching and grabbing is still hindering goals as well. They need to actually call penalties consistently for that, and it will go away. That is the neanderthals in power in this league holding back progress.

    * I don’t think these two changes (smaller net, enforcing clutch and grab) will fix everything. But, I’m for more scoring and scoring chances. These measures seem like they would do that. But, I’m just a fan that never played the game on the ice. So, I’ll defer to others.

    * Pitt should have it’s hands full tonight. Duke should have it’s hands full tonight. I still think the Panthers need to take and make more 3’s. I hope it doesn’t bit them tonight.

  135. Jim S. says:

    Oops! Meant “larger net” in 3rd paragraph.

  136. Jim S. says:

    I guess I don’t understand how you know they don’t want to trade him and that they cannot get fair value in return, Monster. I appreciate your hockey acumen. But, I’m not understanding those 2 points.

  137. Jandy says:

    it’s all opinion, Jim, and yours is just fine :)

  138. Arriba Wilver says:

    “Caught the letang segment on the final word…and dejan, no team in their right mind trades a 26 year old top dman for depth wingers. Suggesting you must do so if “you want to win a championship” is silly. I’m sorry dejan but you’re wrong with your approach on this one. If you don’t believe me ask yourself this…would or should the blackhawks trade Keith or Seabrook for the frontline center they need? (i know keith and seabrook have been more consistent than tanger of late HOWEVER centers are of greater value than the wingers we seek)
    You dont need to trade a top dman for fill-ins at wing.”

    HM—them’s a lot of words for something that isn’t worth discussing.

  139. Jim S. says:

    And, Monster may be right. I don’t know NHL personnel nearly as well as MLB personnel. So, when I’m talking Bucs trades I know what is out there and how good it is a lot better than I do for hockey. So, maybe there are not any wingers + depth that would be suitable in a trade for Letang.

  140. Jandy says:

    he may be right, and you may be right.
    In the end what Ray Shero does, will happen.

  141. Jim S. says:

    I have lost my love of NBA basketball, plan, and I don’t know if I will ever get it back. I think you illustrated much of my frustration with this post.

    Teams not trying to win, teams knowing their only chance to get back to relevance is by getting a top 3 pick, only a few new guys having an impact from the draft each year, guys getting traded to teams that don’t even want them because salaries match up, etc. It has all soured me.

    I still love college hoops, though.

  142. Check out Reading Is Fundamental if you truly read that!

    Duke has never had trouble with attendance for basketball.

    Sold out at least since the ’90’s. Usually shoehorn in many more than the posted attendance.

    Only tickets even available ever are over Christmas break when students have returned to their far away homes. Not that great a % of students are from North Carolina.

  143. Not any more.

    But 10 years ago . . . yes.

    Not now.

  144. Off to the Pete!


    Go DUKE just a little bit more! One point’ll do!!

  145. Arriba Wilver says:

    OK, but the “for once” was the point that seemed off. Makes it seem like they have been having a problem selling tickets. If the point is they haven’t had Black Friday at Toys ‘R Us type crowds, then I guess he may have a point.

  146. Jandy says:

    That’s what I thought…so my point remains…you can’t change the size of the ice/rink for stadium or winter classic games, as their regular season games.

  147. Arriba Wilver says:

    Have a great time, and I hope you come away disappointed. (Nothing personal)

  148. JohninOshkosh says:

    So will you be wearing a giraffe outfit or a wolf outfit to sit in the Zoo ?

  149. True dat AW. I’d have open ears for any offer. But he referenced the “concept” of trading tanger as necessary to win a championship. Thought that was worth responding to. Notion that pens can get equal value for tanger, stay cap compliant and contend for cup is part that isn’t worth discussing. Especially with him improving.

    Jandstar, i’m more humble than you think. I’m just waiting going back to last week for someone to propose a trade, including dejan, that represents equal value which tempts shero, keeps us cap compliant and keeps as a cup contender. If you, dejan or anyone else can come up with a proposal that fits that criteria…I’m all ears.

  150. Jim, just saw these posts.

    If you scroll down to my chat with AW i went into detail about why its hard to get equal value for tanger and why pens wouldn’t want to accept less.

Other blogs
Sports: Rob Rossi | Steel Mill | Chipped Ice | Bucco Blog | iPreps | Pitt Locker Room | Penn State Sports
News: This Just In | Trib List | ICycle | Flow Back | Stories Behind Trib Stories  

» Top Sports
» Top News
» Top Breaking News