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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Morning Java: Coach K, as in kind

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Tuesday column from the Pete doesn’t exactly defend Pitt’s inability to defend Duke.

Here’s a video I put together for the blog collecting questions I had for Lamar Patterson, Mike Young and Jamie Dixon

The game story, by beat man Kevin Gorman.

Here’s our full Pitt coverage.

Here’s Duke news from the Raleigh News & Observer.

Random blogginess from the scene: There aren’t many who have encountered Mike Krzyzewki without coming away impressed. I was that way after the London Olympics and that way again last night. And no, not just because he told a tale of his mother growing up near Uniontown by including an ‘n at — for real! — like it just rolled off the tongue. Of the Pete, he said, “This is a spectacular venue. I was impressed with everything. It’s a beautiful arena. There’s a great spirit. What a great addition this is to the ACC.” … Dixon scoffed at a question as to why Jamel Artis continues to play so little despite being productive — eight points in 12 minutes — while Young holds down a starting job while neither scoring nor really defending all that well. “This isn’t about offense,” Dixon said. … Just about the only Pitt player to perform to the quality level expected was Cam Wright. He had only nine points but also had four assists, three rebounds and a steal. Beyond that, he just looked comfortable the whole time. Not all of the Panthers did. … Legit question: How good is Pitt’s roster at defending? Not the collective. The individuals. Other than Wright, who really stands out? … For the record, that was the most points, most field goals and most 3s allowed by Pitt in any game this season. … Dixon took a couple of fun jabs at Gorman during the press conference, and it was all in the right spirit. He tired of hearing questions about offense and said so. That said, the other facet of this game that went awry for Pitt was failing to take advantage of a Duke defense that had conceded an ACC-worst average of 36.7 points in the paint per game. Routine layups were missed and, coincidence or not, an ugly run of those early in the second half set Duke on its way. … Coach K was right: The building is fabulous, the atmosphere unreal. Can’t even imagine what it would have been like had the game stayed close.

>> Deryk Engelland and Tanner Glass scored for the suddenly self-aware Penguins, and other assorted weirdness, by Josh Yohe a neighborhood away at Consol.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage.

Here’s Sabres news from the Buffalo News.

Here are official game highlights from

And here’s what we had to say about the wisdom of trading Kris Letang on Sunday night’s Subway Final Word on WPXI-TV …

>> Would Richard Sherman have been better off shutting up? History says yes, as it relates to the Super Bowl. Alan Robinson is in New York all week for the biggest event of all.

On that note, John Fedko and John Steigerwald had this neat talk on TribLIVE Radio about covering a Super Bowl for TV …

On the local NFL front, what really happened with the Steelers’ recently departed assistants? Mark Kaboly gave the truth on his Monday TribLIVE Radio show.

Here’s our full Steelers coverage.

>> I’m doing nothing today. Seriously, it might be less than nothing. I will, however, be back for my own TribLIVE Radio show tomorrow at 2 p.m. Assuming I wake up.

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. Drew71 says:

    Look. Don’t worry about it. Just one game. It happens.

    pitt thought it was March.

  2. Hopefully, Pitt shows better defense against Virginia and Syracuse so the Panthers don’t have repeats of what happened last night when they gave up too many threes and lost.

  3. Naturally, the Penguins were going to come back at the Consol Center against the worst team in the league although it didn’t look like it in the beginning. And now, they’re going to face a couple of toughies on the west coast and, hopefully, there won’t be any clunkers like the one in Texas when the offense fell asleep on them.

  4. Jandy says:

    RIP Pete Seeger

  5. Drew71 says:

    It surprises many people that Seeger wrote or co-wrote “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”, “If I Had a Hammer”, and “Turn, Turn, Turn!”.

    He was 94, bless his heart. That’s not a funeral, it’s a celebration of a long, meaningful and hopefully happy life.

  6. Jandy says:

    Amen, Drew. Great way to look at it. I’m sure he’s happy where he is now, too.

  7. Jandy says:

    There was no naturally about it, James.

  8. Sarah says:

    And we found out that Gladams can score!
    On an EN.
    If you give them a couple of tries.

  9. JoeyBats says:

    Disappointed in the effort and results from PITT last night….playing @ home.

    ** Defense didn’t show up last night….the same lazy effort could be seen also in the Maryland game. They got away with it ..against a team with less talent in THAT game.
    ** Big time players show up in the big games. Hear that —senior leaders, Lamar Patterson & Talib Zanna ??
    ** I thought Michael Young showed up for a change….. his offensive line was better than recent performances; 27 minutes …9 points … 7 rebounds …1 block — his defense still leaves a lot to be desired.

    It’s only one loss….not time to take the bridge ;-)…… however, time to regroup and get better for the end of year push.

    I’ll repeat, from my perspective, this is a “good” Pitt team…..not a “great” team; Coach Jamie gets a lot out of his talent.


  10. JAL says:

    JAL’s Watching the Detectives 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

    First Pitch: Things to Do in Bradenton During Spring Training

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Top Prospects: #5 – Alen Hanson

    6 Rumbunter

    Neil Walker Getting Early Work at Pirates City

    Face of MLB: Even Cute Puppy Pics Can’t Defeat Andrew McCutchen


    Seven Pirates among Baseball Prospectus’s Top 101 Prospects

    8 Saber Bucs

    Pirates Reportedly Offer Burnett $8.5 Million

    9 Green Weenie

    1/24-27: Ugly Dickshot, Joe Cronin & Hank Greenberg, Roberto Clemente, The Cobra, Otis Clymer

    10 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates place 7 in BP’s top 101 prospects list

    11 Bleacher Report

    Ranking the 25 Greatest Baseball Players Under 25

  11. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Baseball Nation

    The most baffling offseason in baseball

    13 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Brandon Cumpton Could Impact MLB Club in 2014

    14 Fox Sports

    Will Tanaka deal inflate price of starting pitchers?

    15 Clay Davenport Com

    First Projections for 2014

    16 Fangraphs

    Who Could Improve the Most with Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez?

    17 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Want to feel better about Reds’ chances? Compare Hamilton to Stubbs, not Choo

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Bernie: Who bats No. 2 for Cardinals?

    19 IS Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Offseason insulting to fans and players alike

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    The Week in Quotes

  12. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Two linebackers diverged in a snowy wood, Timmons is taking the path less heralded

    A season or two of Mike Munchak may be all the young line needs

    22 Steelers Depot

    Report: Kirby Wilson Didn’t Always Get Along With Todd Haley


    23 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Premier League Creativity 2012/13-Present: Silva, Mata, Rooney & Suarez

    24 London Evening Standard

    Arsenal’s Bacary Sagna: We are determined not to let Arsene Wenger down again–we-are-determined-not-to-let-arsene-wenger-down-again-9087682.html


    25 Pensburgh

    Recap: Pens easily skate away from Sabres 3-0


  14. BillyBaduka says:

    One of the greatest opening bass lines ever.

    Nice selection.

  15. Jandy says:


  16. Steve says:

    “Call it a choke, a gag, a typical Pitt collapse against a top-caliber team.” Typical? Pitt has beat plenty of top-caliber teams during the Howland/Dixon era and even before that. No, their NCAA record is not good and in the end that’s all that matters but don’t describe last night as a “typical Pitt collapse” unless you believe wins over the years against teams like UConn, Syracuse, Louisville, Georgetown, Villanova and yes, Duke don’t count.

    Dixon is 100% right that last night came down to defense. The score was 52-51 and I believe Pitt had the ball. Score there and finally figure out a way to stop the other team and maybe they come away with the win. Pitt is allowing too many easy lay ups and last night they were caught between a rock and a hard place. Defend inside and give up the perimeter shot or defend the perimeter and give up the inside? In this case, Duke scored inside and outside. They also hammered Pitt on in bounds plays. When your opponent makes 13 three pointers you’re doomed.

    Pitt is still a good team and on track for an NCAA tournament bid. They can get things back on track with a win over UVA this Sunday. frankly, I’m looking forward to that much more than the Stupor Bowl.

  17. DJ says:

    Pitt lacks a quality, go-to, outside shooter. Once Pitt attempted help on Parker and Hood in the second half, their answer was the kick-out to Dawkins. Ballgame.

    Since 2009, Duke has shot 38, 37, 37, 39 and, this year, 40% as a team on 3-pointers, all excellent percentages. Currently, Pitt does not have that type of player on its roster, but Maverick Rowan is on the way. His father obviously taught him well.

  18. What’s in RF?

    No seriously…

  19. Jandy says:

    no, who….

    Platoon of Tabata and Lunch Box

  20. Drew71 says:

    There’s a rumor going around that after last night’s loss they are going to shut down the university.

  21. Drew71 says:

    Loved him on Two And A Half Men.

  22. After last night I’m not sure big wigs at Team USA can be happy with one of their dmen selections. Just sayin…

    And with all passive aggressive talk about pens and how badly doomed they are and what not…was just going to say that having stuff to work on while you’re comfortably in 1st place isn’t a bad thing. Yes they need to address bottom 6 but that was the case in training camp too. Every other team would gladly trade places with us and want to work on their deficiencies while being in 1st.

  23. Steve says:

    Probably a good idea. At least get the heck out of the ACC. A 6-2 conference record with losses to Duke and Syracuse shows they’re in over their heads.

  24. Arriba Wilver says:


  25. Jandy says:

    I don’t care what anyone says, I like Engo at wing :D

  26. Jim S. says:

    And they shot 52% on a lot of 3 pointers last night. Ugh!

  27. The NHL is rethinking about whether to let its players participate in the Olympics in the future, which I think is just as well, all things considered.

  28. Jim S. says:

    Pitt did not play well at all defensively last night. But, give Duke a lot of the credit for that. They were 13-25 from 3-pt. range. That just doesn’t happen often against Pitt or any other team. Duke buried 3 after 3, after 3. Parker, Hood and Dawkins were the 3 best players on the court last night, and they earned that road win. But, it’s not the end of the world for Pitt. Sometimes a bad loss is what it takes to refocus the players. Maybe they were starting to think they were better than they are.

    My big pet peeve with defense in hoops these days (and it goes for pretty much every team) is that everyone expects someone to help, so they don’t put full effort into man on ball defense. Whatever happened to guards bending their knees, shuffling their feet and taking pride in keeping the other team’s guard in front of them? Now, they let guys drive at will and they just run along side them and try to block the shot near the hoop. Or, they wait for another defender to step out and stop the drive. But, usually that guy employs the same matador defense. I guess the defenses are designed that way, and the fact that a teammate picks you up when you get beat is good team defense. But, I think guys get beat too often and too easily off the dribble. Wow, I think I officially just turned into my dad.

  29. Saw the nisky thing the other day.

  30. Penn State Coach James Franklin has said that he expects PSU to own the state recruitingwise, although the only thing I’d hope for is that Penn State can at least be the football power once again that it was under JoePa, and that Pitt can recruit its share and be just as competitive, if not more so.

  31. Sill got a tough break the other day. You guys here about the cut on his arm? I think he even scored a goal recently. Hope its nothing serious.

  32. DJ says:

    Yep. Same as shooting 78% from two point range for every three taken.

  33. Jandy says:

    Yes I heard about those cut…from a skate…nasty. I like Sill. Love his grit, his energy. Good replacement for Adams. ;)

  34. 21sthebest says:

    My take on what you’re referring to is that the refs have taken good defense away. Stay with the ball handler step by step, the ball handler turns into you while you’re both moving, whistle blows. Foul on the defense.

  35. Jandy says:

    Figured you would. Your eyes don’t miss much :P

  36. Jandy says:

    The players will go. What’s the NHL going to do? Fine them?

  37. Arriba Wilver says:

    Groat—thanks for not bragging. ;-)

  38. Seeing the ice was never my problem ;)

  39. Jandy says:

    No one mentioned ice, Baby :P

  40. The blasphemy you speak….

    He’s signed for one more year jandstar…rumor has it that pens will offer him extension after the season. Dont want him testing UFA market. Besides disco won’t know how to fill out lineup without him…

  41. Jandy says:

    I love Adams, really I do, but man, I’d love to see some of the younger guys in there as well.
    It’s a dilemma!

  42. Jim S. says:

    Maybe because it is probably -5 or -10. :-)

  43. Gladams needs to be seperated at birth by the time playoffs start. Don’t think we can win the cup with Gladams taking up 2 out 12 spots. Disco will have to choose if we play the hawks or even the red wings before that. I can see the need for beef against boston but against a lot of other teams we’ll need 4 lines that can pressure and 3 lines that can score consistently.

  44. Jim S. says:

    What I’m referring to happens before that. It’s basic man-to-man defense for guards that you beat your man to the spot he is going to, and force him to pull up and shoot or pass. I know you can’t do it every time, and some guys are just lightning quick and hard to contain. But, very few guys even make the effort to keep their man from getting in the lane now. Somewhere along the way, that became a skill from a bygone era. No one is embarrassed when his man blows by him for an easy hoop as long as the opponent reciprocates on the other end.

  45. Gmornin AW, so was tanger’s play to your satisfaction last night? :)

  46. Jandy says:

    Right now Glass is a wreckin’ ball!

  47. Jandy says:


  48. Jandy says:

    Pot Stirrer!

  49. 21sthebest says:

    I think it has to be a mutually negotiated decision between the NHL and NHLPA.

  50. Well its either that or getting back to work…so pot stirring it is… :)

  51. Mike A. says:

    Agreed, Jandy. I remember the 2009 SC run, when the Pens frequently dressed 11 forwards, 7 d-men. I love the flexibility. In the playoffs, you’re going to shorten your bench; and you can give your 10/11th forwards the occasional shift with 87 or 71.

  52. Jim S. says:

    Ticket prices on the secondary market for the Super Bowl are apparently dropping faster than Roger Goodell’s popularity. If it gets any worse, the NFL will start admitting the game is actually being played in NJ. Up until now, they keep saying it is in NYC. At some point, NJ will take the blame. It’s inevitable.

  53. Jandy says:


  54. Jandy says:


  55. Jim S. says:

    Congrats, Groat, on the victory at the Pete by your Dukies last night! I trust you enjoyed yourself. Class move to not rub it in here this morning to the Pitt fans.

    If Duke plays offense like that on a regular basis for the rest of the year, they will be awfully tough to beat.

  56. Jim S. says:

    Ice, ice baby! :-)

  57. tpbco says:

    Actually, from my perspective, the refs let them play last nite, especially in the first half and I could see it getting to Duke a little bit.

    That being said, Pitt does not, (once again) have the offensive talent to hang with a Duke, when they are hot. That’s what got out of hand. Could they have played better D, yep, especially under their own bucket. But there is no way Pitt shoots like Duke under any circumstances…even in a “shoot around”. The offensive talent is just not there, if you can take Patterson out of the game, which Duke did. If Zanna is your secondary scorer…you do not have one and likely the main resaon Pitt was picked middle of the ACC pack to start the season. Virginia will be another big test.

    This really is a “typical” Pitt team. They can beat a lot of teams when they are on “their” game and are probably fairly ranked somewhere 15 -25. But come tourney time, unless they get a favorable bracket, they will get out shot by someone and be out after a round or tow. The lose of Durand Johnson is just that huge.

    Not being critical, just realistic.


  58. Jim S. says:

    Great minds think alike, DJ! Last night, while I was watching the game I was thinking the same thing. 39 points on 25 shots = 78% if they were 2 point shots! A team shooting that well from 3 happens very infrequently. But, Pitt helped by giving them so many good looks.

    The bottom line is that Jamie gets a lot out of the ability of his players most night. But, if Duke plays at the top of its talent, as it did last night, Pitt is in for a long night. Pitt didn’t play well, but in reality I don’t think they had much of a chance with how Duke played on offense.

  59. I was wondering how long it would take for that reference to appear…

  60. Jim S. says:

    Let’s not dismiss Jaff Decker/Jeff Dacker/Jaff Dacker/Jeff Decker so quickly. Whatever his name is, he’s in the mix also. :-)

    I hope Polanco smooths out whatever rough edges he still has by the 4th of July!

  61. tpbco says:

    Wasn’t just their O Jim, Hood took Patterson completely off his game. This is two games in a row that a concerted D against Patterson affected him and showed that there is little offense after him. Maryland did it in the previous game in the first half and then again late in the second and it came close to costing them there, as well. Just something we will have to live with, with this team.

  62. Jandy says:

    Jim gets me :D

  63. Jandy says:

    I forgot about jeff, thanks for the reminder Jim.

    Polanco won’t be there to start the season. Hoping to see him come up this summer.

  64. Jim S. says:

    Do I sense a Miley Cirus reference coming on?

  65. Jandy says:

    I hope not, or I’m outta here!

  66. Jim S. says:

    True, tpb. That is a good point. Hood had some help, but they definitely denied Patterson the ball. When you have superior athletes vs blue collar athletes, if the superior athletes bring their “A Game” they usually win.

    It’s not usually as bleak as it appears right after a bad loss, though. Jamie knows how to motivate his guys. I believe the chip will be right back on all of their shoulders now. Let’s see how they respond.

  67. A1C McG says:

    no Who is on first and Whats on second

  68. Arriba Wilver says:

    Watched Duke-Pitt. Seemed logical to me.

  69. Arriba Wilver says:

    I predict Polanco will have things to work on still after Spring Training, and then after its clear he will not be eligible for Super 2 they will be fixed.

  70. Jandy says:

    Third base!

  71. Jim S. says:

    Well said, tpb. I think that sums it up pretty well. They would really need to play, by far, their best basketball of the season in order to win 2-3 games in the Big Dance. Not impossible, but not a given, either.

    A lot of teams are like that, though, and several do end up playing their best basketball, by far, in the tourney. Hopefully, Pitt is one of those teams where a few other guys step up.

  72. Jim S. says:

    My timeline says 21 minutes, Monster.

  73. Jim S. says:

    I think you may be onto something there, AW.

  74. tpbco says:

    Absolutely Jim.

    Just a little more realistic. Was so frustrated after the Cincy game I couldn’t watch the next one…but was okay with the ‘cuse effort.

    Pitt NEEDS to win at least one of the two against ‘cuse and Virginia and they’re back in it.

    Did you notice how small Newkirk looked out there? He did look like a HS kid. He needs to play a LOT better to play at that size.

  75. Jim S. says:


    Watching the Detectives. That was by the lesser Elvis, correct?

  76. I’ve got mixed feelings on NHL players competing in the Olympics, personally. Regardless, it’s an enormous sense of pride for the pros to represent their home country and most will not give up the right to do so without a fight. As soon as Bettman even hinted that he may not allow NHL players to compete in Sochi, there were NHL players (especially Russian-born players) who went on record to say that they’d compete regardless of whether they were given permission.

    If Bettman is going to ban players from the Olympics, he had better be prepared to ban them from all competitions outside the NHL (World Juniors, included). Needless to say, I don’t think Bettman is going to take up that fight.

  77. Not sure what you mean by “lesser”, but that was Elvis Costello. :)

  78. Jim S. says:

    I was hoping for more out of Newkirk after seeing him early on. Same with Jones. In fact, each of the freshman may carve out a role, eventually. And, they might all become productive players, which is fine. But, I question whether anyone in that class will be a star. I think you need at least one star caliber player from every recruiting class of 4 if you really want to compete at a Top 10 level.

  79. Jim S. says:

    Elvis Grbac, of course! Everyone comes in 2nd to him.

  80. A1C McG says:

    i dont know

  81. I’m not personally a fan of Mark Madden, but I do occasionally agree with him. His arguments against trading Letang are sound. This isn’t the type of trade that is going to happen at the deadline, the Pens can move lesser assets to get the type of players they need on a rental basis, and, bottom line, the arguments for moving him just aren’t compelling. I still have yet to find a convincing argument that makes me believe that trading Kris Letang makes the Penguins a better team.

  82. 21sthebest says:

    Speaking of which, Lolo Jones recently revealed that she didn’t understand what third base meant.

    Just sayin’.

  83. Spock would agree. And he would know better than to argue with godfather Corleone :)

  84. Who the F is jeff dacker?

  85. Jandy says:

    Agreed 110% Relentless.

  86. Go RF…Go RF…its your birthday…partay like its your birthday….

    Jandstar, if RF keeps this up I’m seriously gonna retire and let him take over…

  87. Jandy says:

    lolo is in lala

  88. Jandy says:

    LOL just form a partnertship. he can be the humble one…

  89. Milo Hamilton says:

    “This isn’t about offense.” Now that’s Jamie Dixon in a nutshell. He’ll be back in his element Sunday vs. Virginia. For those of you unfamiliar with them & coach Tony Bennett (no, not that Tony Bennett) think Cincinnati. Jamie will be in his glory. Hide the kids.

  90. Hey Jim, quick question. Why don’t the hawks just move Sharp to 2nd line center if thats what they’re looking for? What’s the word there?

  91. In an interview yesterday, Mike Ditka said that he thought that a cold weather Superbowl was stupid, and I agree with him.

  92. You got me figured all wrong…i’m quite humble when proved wrong….

  93. Arriba Wilver says:

    The Kaboly radio link was very interesting on the Steeler coaches. And it puts a steak through the heart of the idea that the Bicknell firing was scapegoating.

  94. Milo Hamilton says:

    I forgot to report a sighting. I saw Joe Vitale Sunday sporting enormous glasses. And a hard cast on his right wrist. I think he got hurt in Edmonton January 10th. Wouldn’t expect to see him until after the Olympics.

  95. Arriba Wilver says:

    *Stake (I really need to watch more vampire movies)

  96. JohninOshkosh says:

    It will be 68 degrees in my living room.

  97. Drew71 says:

    Is it time to whine about pitt’s non-conference schedule, or about the CRITICS of pitt’s non-conference schedule?

    I always get that confused. One is the 11:00 hour and we do the other in the noon hour.

    I think I have the rest of the afternoon schedule:

    1-2 First Base
    2-3 Steelers coaches (rotating coaches)
    3-4 Dejan’s clothing
    4:00 New game thread up, so Open Whine.

    (Pens’ 3rd-4th lines, all Bylsma choices, all teams’ draft histories, Nutting-Frank-Neal are, of course, early morning topics.)

  98. Drew71 says:

    Meat Eater.

  99. JohninOshkosh says:

    At halftime, Jay Williams (Dukie) maintained that his pick for national champions is still Wisconsin.

    I don’t know about that, but I think Pitt could hang with the Badgers in the gym. So, I don’t discount the Panthers as an Elite 8 or Final Four team. Depends a lot on the draw.

    The first half of last night’s game was terrific.

  100. I watched Dejan Kovacevic-Mark Madden muted Sunday night while I was writing a hockey article. The closed captioning typed Dejan’s in name as “DNA COVOCHOVICH.”

  101. Drew71 says:

    Hey. That’s my DNA, too.


  102. Drew71 says:

    Waittaminnit. You watched a talk show muted?

  103. Jandy says:

    haha that’s hilarious…almost as funny as you watching it muted lol

  104. Arriba Wilver says:


  105. Arriba Wilver says:

    I listen to Cook and Poni on the radio with the sound muted.

  106. Wild Bill says:

    Last night’s game was much more about what Duke was able to do than it was about Pitt’s failings. Duke came into a new and hostile gym and, after taking a little while to get adjusted, then shot the lights out, and when Pitt tried to stop that, it opened up things inside for them.

    Sometimes you run into superior talent playing well. A couple, at least, of the Dukies are going to be in the NBA. If Pitt fans thought the Panthers were going to just walk in and own the ACC, that was unrealistic. Could Pitt beat Duke later on? Maybe, but Duke might have to have an off night.

  107. My thinking is this. If the Penguins are looking to trade a proven defenseman for a top-line forward, and that’s a big if, Shero should offer up Matt Niskanen. Niskanen has been one of the Pens best defensemen this year, but he’s struggled to show any consistency from season to season: he’s either the next Penguin to be moved or the second coming. This year is a boon year for Nisky and, coincidentally, he’s a UFA at season’s end. He’s no doubt going to look for an increase on his $2.3M salary based on this year’s performance, something I can see Shero having a difficult time justifying. In short, I can easily envision a scenario where Nisky walks.

    Buy low, sell high. Buffalo is entertaining offers for Matt Moulson, and he’d be a great playoff asset for the Pens. Niskanen would be a good young top-four defenseman for Buffalo, one that they could re-sign at pretty attractive terms. I’d offer Matt Niskanen and a conditional pick (depending on whether Nisky re-signs) for Moulson.

    Then, I’d set my sights on Edmonton’s Ales Hemsky. He’s not the most durable winger or the most tenacious, but he’s got the talent to keep up with Sid and he can put up points. With Sid and Kunitz to work the corners and the front of the net, it will open up a lot of ice for the creative winger. The expectation is that Edmonton will get a draft pick in return, but the Pens can afford to offer Simon Despres.

    Keep Letang.

  108. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t know about fans, WB, but it seemed like the main concern expressed with Pitt going to the ACC was that they wouldn’t be able to match up with the ACC style of play. Despite last night, I think they have put that concern to rest. They are having an impact.

  109. Haha, I’m a multi-tasker, what can I say, or hear, or type, or read?

  110. Wild Bill says:

    Being able to be competitive in the ACC wasn’t a concern of mine, AW. I always thought Pitt would be; the Big East was a very good conference. It just seemed like with the great start to the season a few fans went a bit overboard.

  111. Drew71 says:

    Ah. But what about that non-conference schedule?

  112. bpn8pitt says:

    I mean they played 8 games. Might be a little early to say that.

  113. Arriba Wilver says:

    Don’t a few always do that? But I hear ya. I was lulled into thinking they might be better than they may be.

  114. Damon says:

    I like your Niskanen for Moulson idea – seems reasonable. I’m not as sold on Hemsky though. I’d rather offer Despres for a beast 3rd liner to help fill out the bottom 6. To your point though, you could move Jokinen to the 3rd line with Sutter and Bennett which was the thinking when camp broke. Hmmmm…..still not sold on Hemsky, but could be sold on the two-top-6 acquisitions.

  115. Wild Bill says:

    Just read an article on about the Flyers biggest trade need being “a legitimate, number one defenseman”.

    Could it be……..

  116. It was nice to hear the Duke coach’s endorsement of Pittsburgh, the Panthers, and the fans, considering that the coach’s mother is from Uniontown.

  117. Wild Bill says:

    Coach K is the gold standard for classy basketball coaches. He’s at one end of the spectrum, and at the other end is….

  118. Wild Bill says:

    Well, Eye was thinking Bobby Knight.

  119. From a marketing perspective, I am sure the NFL is rethinking their decision to allow NY/NJ to host the Super Bowl in the middle of a polar vortex. Whatever. Holding the championship game in anything but the home stadium of the team with the better record tells me the league is more concerned about the show than the game.

  120. Arriba Wilver says:

    Not worried about it. Frankly, never was.

  121. Glen says:

    Hi Dejan

    Next time you are having a …. dialogue…. with that abrasive moron, you could consider this:

    1: Letang’s cap hit is only an issue for teams from next season – where the cap increases big time. In other words it is far from certain that it isn’t in fact a positive right now, and as we’d expect a good player back, most likely we would be the team to take on cap.
    2: When someone mentions Whitney and Goligoski, one could point out, that they had actually been playing regularly and been put in position to put up points. And lots of them. Their billing as PP quarterbacks is what merited the returns we got – and on top of that Shero got it right, in a big way. But they were proven commodities, rather than Despres who has not broken into the league as a regular yet… even if he is surely good enough to. Certainly you are right to say that he won’t bring back something similar…. maybe a Chiasson, if we are lucky, and then Chiasson hasn’t done anything like what Neal did even if he could develop towards such standards.
    3: When Yohe calls Letang one of the best defensemen over the past seasons, one should easily be able to say that he certainly hasn’t been DEFENSIVELY, much less in the playoffs. We are talking about an extremely gifted athlete, sure, but also one who is not an expert PK’er, and is often really, really bad on the PP…. and has a habit of making significant mistakes leading to a high goals against /60. Much higher than most the D-men who would be otherwise considered elite, unless we are talking Karlsson who is significantly better offensively.
    With Letang, it is all about the fact that Niskanen can likely be signed to do much the same job for half whereas we can get a great return on Letang and already struggle to find slots for good young defensemen such as Despres and Bortuzzo to occupy. Then there’s Harrington, Dumoulin and later on Pouliot. Stockpiling such assets makes no sense unless you are willing to make a hockey trade to address comparative weakness. You only accomplish to put players in situations where they cannot be valuable.

    Madden is like Bill O’Reilly and such and such. Being loud doesn’t make you right. Of course O’Reilly who I can’t stand appears an intellectual titan next to Madden. Don’t know if he gets American football – I don’t follow it. Hockey-wise he is clueless.

  122. bpn8pitt says:

    Went to the game last night. Although I was surprised by the outcome, it was a cold dose of reality. Anybody who watched saw that ultimately, Dawkins coming off the bench to go 6-7 from 3 was the difference. Parker is a nice player, but Duke has several scoring options in addition to him. Hood didnt even have a great game. Pitt is not nearly as deep as some of the elite teams.

    I will whine about the non-conference. Pitt still hasnt beaten a team in the top 50 RPI (Stanford and NC State are on the cusp). RPI is a big, big factor in seeding. If they lose to Virgina Sunday and continue to lose to these decent basketball teams, dont expect a good seed. And ultimately dont expect a deep run in the tournament.

  123. JohninOshkosh says:

    Lot of grumpiness on the blog today. Pitt loss and Tanger discussions will do that, I guess:

    Puts me at mind of this:

  124. theplanisworking says:

    Please read last night’s Pens thread to see Eric Bowser’s take on this whole thing.
    I agree with Eric’s analysis last night.

  125. Jim S. says:

    I remember that skit, Osh. Very funny! Thanks.

  126. theplanisworking says:

    That is your opinion, and you are entitled to it.

    What has never been explained, is the fact that Bicknell is the ONLY coach/player to be held accountable for anything this offseason.

    No other person in that organization has been held accountable, so I take it you think Bicknell was responsible for every single shortcoming, whether offense, defense, special teams, and personnel? Sounds a bit far-fetched to me……………..

  127. Jim S. says:

    Well, I think Clemson waxed Duke, right? So, you never know from night to night. Duke obviously has not played as well as it did last night very often. But, they definitely have a very high ceiling.

  128. Jim S. says:

    What if they have the same record?

  129. Jim S. says:

    I don’t know about that, Monster. I don’t read their blogs because I’m not a fan of theirs. There is definitely some talk about acquiring a #2 center, but I would personally leave Sharp alone and go find one elsewhere. I think they have the assets to get someone. And, they held on to all their depth last year when the Pens made the 27 moves.

  130. 21sthebest says:

    I thought Hood had a great game. He contained Patterson.

    Agree with you on the non conference schedule. Pitt’s non conference opponents rank 181 as to winning percentage. Tougher opponents make you better, IMO. And based on where Pitt is and has been as far as basketball programs go, there’s no reason not to have a tougher schedule.

  131. My thought was to slot Moulson on the 3rd line alongside Sutter. That does put Moulson down a rung on the ladder, but it allows him to play his natural wing and it gives Bylsma a solid 3 lines that can score. And, Moulson could easily handle the responsibilities of a checking role while still seeing some time on special teams.

    I understand Hemsky may be a bit tougher a sell given his recent decline and prolific injury history. After thinking about it, C/RW Sam Gagner may be a better fit. While he’s not as gifted offensively as Hemsky, Gagner can still put up good numbers. Like Pascal Dupuis, he’s got good speed and is very responsible defensively. Although he’s probably better suited as a winger, Gagner gives the Pens a lot of versatility as he can play in almost any role. The Oilers are still desperate for help defensively, so a young Despres would still be an attractive return for an upcoming UFA.

  132. Jim S. says:

    They traded Dickerson (AAA 1b) for him a couple of months ago. Basically, we traded a guy with potential who we don’t believe in for their guy with potential they don’t believe in. As I recall, the Bucs also got a decent arm in the deal. It was a fairly minor deal, but I think we got more than we gave up.

    I actually think his name might be Jaff Decker.

  133. Jim S. says:

    Lolo Jones is just amazing, 21. She doesn’t even have to medal.

  134. bpn8pitt says:

    Absolutely, Michigan State has long been the benchmark. Its no wonder they make a Final Four every 3-4 seasons.

  135. Jim S. says:

    Hood was great.

    I also think Pitt got hosed in the B1G/ACC deal in drawing PSU. That was not their doing.

    And, as I recall, something happened somewhere else to cost them a big-time opponent. Maybe it was at MSG? I can’t remember the whole story.

    But, you’re right, they still need to add a couple other solid programs next year to the pre-season sched.

  136. TK says:

    You forgot to schedule some time to talk about the Tiger’s bullpen.

  137. Arriba Wilver says:

    Huh? No, Based on what I’ve read and heard I don’t think he was a very good offensive line coach and deserved to be fired. Will they go to the Super Bowl next year solely because they fired Bicknell? No.

    What was the question again?

  138. theplanisworking says:

    Villanova and Georgetown refused to play Pitt, because Pitt wanted a home-and-home. You have a tough time upgrading the schedule if teams don’t want to play you.

  139. Damon says:

    I’ve been beating the Gagner drum for awhile…I’d do that…

  140. theplanisworking says:

    You said the Kaboly piece put a stake thru the heart of the Bicknell firing being scapegoating. I have maintained it is, because he is the only coach/player held accountable in any way.

    I never said Bicknell wasn’t a good coach. Maybe he did deserve to be fired. But so far, he is the only one being held accountable. So I don’t think the Kaboly piece puts a stake thru anything.

    When other coaches/players are held accountable, THAT is when the scapegoating will be debunked.

  141. Jim S. says:


    Thank you for reminding me of Lolo Jones, above. She reminds me of Rashida Jones of Parks & Rec. for some reason. I’m a big fan of both of them. And, I don’t even care if Lolo wins a medal in this sport, either.

  142. JohninOshkosh says:

    I think road games at North Carolina State, Syracuse and Maryland was sufficient prep for taking on Duke at home.

    I think very little of the correlation between non-conference schedules and ultimate success. Champions are made during the grind of conference play and playing at noisy rival gyms.

    I do think weak non-conferences affects recruiting. Top flight high school players want the marquis match ups and national exposure. They want to be interviewed by the Jay Bilas and Dickey V’s of the world. My cousin is a recruiter at a big school and he says one of the first things kids ask about is where and who are they going to play. That is why getting into the big holiday tournaments is an important recruiting tool. But so is getting the marquis games on ESPN and such.

  143. Arriba Wilver says:

    I find that reasoning odd. So, if you only fire one coach, even if deserved, he’s a scapegoat because others weren’t also fired, regardless of whether they did their jobs?

  144. Jandy says:

    I remember Dejan talking about Sam Gagner a while ago.

  145. Jandy says:

    He’s pretty good at this stuff :)

  146. Arriba Wilver says:

    Good stuff, John.

  147. 21sthebest says:


  148. 21sthebest says:

    Well their non conference schedules are already tougher.

  149. Yes, I know that the IOC selects places for and schedules Olympic events 10 to 12 years in advance, but I also think that they ought to have contingency plans in place so they can deal with sudden and unforseen problems such as what’s been happening lately at’Sochi.

  150. 21sthebest says:


    My only exposure to Rashida Jones was in The Social Network and I enjoyed that very much!

  151. theplanisworking says:

    Agreed, Jandy.

  152. Jim S. says:

    I didn’t see The Social Network. She was in The Office for awhile, and I think she has been in Parks & Rec. the whole time. She’s quite easy on the eyes.

  153. 21sthebest says:

    I have no idea if there’s any correlation between non-conference schedules and ultimate success. But I’d rather Pitt see more tournament caliber teams outside of their conference. Seems like that can’t be bad.

  154. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’ve wondered what 3rd base meant since seeing the Summer of ’42. But I understood what Woody Allen meant by “slide” in Bananas.

  155. theplanisworking says:

    I find your reasoning odd also.
    Of course any coach should be fired if he doesn’t do his job.
    But are you telling me that Bicknell was the only coach not to do his job?
    The Steelers had many issues last year…… offense, defense and special teams. Why wasn’t the special teams coach fired? The Steelers were awful punting, and covering kickoffs.
    Why wasn’t the secondary coach fired? The Steelers secondary was awful.

    I could go on, but I don’t think I have to.

    If we applied your standard to the coaching staff, half of the coaches would deserve to be fired. Since that didn’t happen, and only one coach got fired, make your own conclusions.

  156. JohninOshkosh says:

    Her father is Quincy Jones and her mother is Mod Squad hottie, Peggy Lipton. Went to Harvard as well. Impressive woman and quite good in Parks and Rec.

  157. JohninOshkosh says:

    I agree. Except I know about the correlation. :)

  158. Arriba Wilver says:

    If you judge based on what we know about the coaches, who else, by name, should be fired, and why?

    I’ll be very surprised if they go into next season with the same special teams coach, but even if they do, it won’t transform Bicknell into a scapegoat. Based on what we know there isn’t one other coach who lost his unit like Bicknell apparently did, early in the season. Maybe you should listen to the recording?

  159. Arriba Wilver says:

    Peggy Lipton is still pretty hot.

  160. Jandy says:

    Oh my!

  161. theplanisworking says:

    I did listen to the recording thanks.

    What other coaches should lose their jobs? Try the ones that had horrible years at their position. An 8-8 team obviously had problems at many positions.

    DL — little pressure, though Heyward looked good.
    LB — Timmons and Worilds only consistent performers.
    DB — Toast is their nickname.
    WR — Brown, Cotchery only players. Sanders, and the rest? Ugly.

    Maybe that is a reason Mr. Wilson went to Minnesota?

  162. Jim S. says:

    Yep, yep. She’s a keeper.

  163. Woh woh woh woh….i leave for a couple hours and we’ve traded nisky for moulson and hemsky??? Me no likey….

  164. Jandy says:

    Poor Joey V :/

  165. Dont want gagne either….

  166. Jandy says:


  167. Jandy says:

    You’re picky :P

  168. Jandstar, i leave you in charge for a couple hours and you trade nisky for a bunch of forwards i dont want and pens dont need? :)

  169. I’m picky about women and players we trade for :)

  170. 21sthebest says:

    Well John, I think some NCAA coaches disagree with you. :-)

  171. I would never do that, Wilver Dornel.

  172. Arriba Wilver says:

    The point you refuse to accept is that Bicknell wasn’t fired because the line was bad. It actually improved, with multiple different personnel. You’re applying the wrong standard, and then trying to apply that to other areas.

    And the implication in Kaboly’s radio show is that Haley was responsible for that. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

  173. I see…so bucs are par for the course this off season…

  174. Arriba Wilver says:

    Nice win.

  175. Sweet Jimmie,

    You saw that exact defensive effort you desire just last night . . . . from Rodney Hood.

  176. Jandy says:

    You’re just picky LOL!

    It’s fun to speculate. Of course we want the most for what we trade, the best player we can get. But, who’da think Nealer would be what he is now? And even Niskie? I think Sam would blossom here.

  177. I would rate madden as brighter than O’Reilly…

  178. theplanisworking says:

    Gee, a while ago you told me what to do, a standard you never apply to anyone else, now today you tell me to put it in my pipe and smoke it.

    Angry much?
    I did not do anything to you to deserve that in any way……… except for disagreeing with you. THE HORROR !!! SOMEONE DARED DISAGREE WITH YOU!

    Care to share what is your general problem today? I didn’t know that I wasn’t allowed to disagree with you in any way.Put it in my pipe and smoke it?
    Stay classy, if you can.

  179. Jandy says:

    Hold on now, Monster Mash, I do believe your self-approved partner, RF had paw in that, and so did Damon. I have to admit tho, that I didn’t object.

  180. bpn8pitt says:

    They played Maryland at home. They didnt leave the Pete until after Thanksgiving, and only played two games away from Pittsburgh until mid Dec.

    If they lose against Virginia at home, which is very possible, any doubts about this team absolutely have merit.

  181. Oh many people were very high on real deal’s prospects in our top 6…

    Gagne and Hemsky kind of fall into that perimeter oriented category of player that IMO hasn’t and won’t mesh well with sid, especially playoff time. Kind of like what i think of wheeler. Moulson is intriguing but there will be a bidding war that IMO shero wont participate in. And not sure if i want him as a RW playing his off side on the top line. Playing him on 3rd line would make whatever you gave up to get him seem like a fortune.

    I’m more interested in trading for Goc and boyes from FLA. Hansen and richardson from Van. Maybe steve ott for 3rd line. I think Goc and boyes can replace duper by committee and give sid a Billy G like right handed shooter and player in Boyes(who has been real good lately) and a versatile top 9 forward in Goc who can play with anyone, win faceoffs, play PK and provide the speed, hands and grit we’ll need. Hansen and richardson would be great for our bottom 6 as well.

  182. Hey Plan!

    I don’t care how great a cook you are——you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken *** (feathers).

    Just because the Steelers were bad in multiple areas does not make it each position coach’s fault.

  183. Arriba Wilver says:

    Angry? I thought it was playful. And, au contraire, I tell lots of people what to do. They just don’t pay attention to me.

    C’mon, Plan. If I was worried about people disagreeing with me I’d have been gone long ago. When people start agreeing with me too much is when I start to get worried.

  184. RF lost me at “trade nisky” :)

  185. Wild Bill says:

    Monster, a while ago I left what I thought was a big piece of bait for you and Jandy to go nuts on and neither of you took it. Can’t tell you both how disappointed I am.

  186. Jandy says:

    lol boys. AW DOES worry if we all agree with him too much.

  187. I agree with you, Wilver Dornel!

  188. Jandy says:

    Need a GPS?


  189. buggee says:

    fantastic reads! Thanks you!

  190. Arriba Wilver says:


  191. Jandy says:

    haha WIld One, wasn’t touching that Philly crap :P

  192. Jandy says:


  193. Wild Bill says:

    But he’d look so dashing in Orange and Black….

  194. bpn8pitt says:

    And this a little off the subject but I kind of expect Pitt to do well against Syracuse. Why? They have seen the Boeheim 2-3 zone a lot in the last decade. Cuse catches a lot of teams unprepared for it and runs them out of the building.

    Im not trying to disrespect or belittle Syracuse in anyway. But even when they are in the top 5 or top 10, Pitt’s familiarity with them gives them an advantage I think. Dixon obivously deserves some credit with that too..

  195. buggee says:

    rofl. form-fitting depends

  196. theplanisworking says:

    I have never seen you tell anyone else what to do, but whatever. I don’t consider telling someone to stick it in their pipe and smoke it “playful”, but whatever.

    My point stands……. stay classy.
    Have a great one, Mr. Pipe.

  197. Jandy says:

    Well I have to admit, he’d be a good fit on Sid’s line…

  198. Jandy says:


  199. Wild Bill says:

    I think our wires got crossed.

  200. Jandy says:

    that’s electrifying…

  201. Arriba Wilver says:

    She was in a Rules of Engagement episode within the last couple of years, where she played Oliver Hudson’s (Goldie Hawn’s son) mother as a hippy child of the 60’s who liked to walk around the apartment naked. It was on broadcast TV, so it wasn’t definitive, but she still looked pretty good.

  202. buggee says:

    Howdy there Jandygal. Whatcha doin to keep warm, hmmm?

  203. Jandy says:

    Dressing warm, drinking French vanilla Starbucks’ K-cups here at work, and wine in the evenings ;)
    How ’bout you buggee, my friend?

  204. I’m surprised that trading Matt Niskanen lost you, hockeymonster. I think Niskanen has good upside, but he’s not shown consistent improvement season over season. He’s going to seek a significant increase in salary and I’m guessing at least a three-year commitment from the Penguins after a career year, which is going to be a tough sell in Pittsburgh with so many prospects that coming into their own. I just don’t see Shero meeting Niskanen’s terms.

    As for the names you mentioned above, I’d take Gagner over Boyes or Goc. Boyes does have good offensive upside, but he, too, is not very strong on the puck. And, because of his prolonged scoreless droughts, the market for Boyes is not very strong. I’d still take Gagner, and I think Edmonton makes a better trading partner based on need.

    As for Vancouver’s forwards, I can’t see a team right in the thick of it giving up the roster players you mentioned and not getting a roster player in return.

  205. Jandy says:

    Oh you have to realize RF, that Monster always has to have his own way…lol

    I will admit to there being more than one or two possibilities out there. I’m curious to see what Shero does to alleviate this problem. It’s not going away.

  206. Jandy says:

    Good news from the Pens’ website:
    Goaltender Tomas Vokoun jumped onto the ice at CONSOL Energy Center at the conclusion of the Penguins Tuesday practice and began taking shots from some of his teammates.

    Taking shots is the latest step for Vokoun, 37, who has been working his way back to the lineup after having emergency surgery on a blood clot on Sept. 21.

    “It’s just another step, another small step down the road,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “He needs to see quite a bit more time and practice time and shot time in the next 2-3 weeks before he gets to another stage.”

    In the meantime Vokoun will continue to get on the ice before team practices or at the end of practices to take shots.

    Vokoun was removed from blood thinners in mid-January and hit the ice for the first time in four months on Jan. 22. His blood levels returned to normal and he has been taking shots against the team’s injured players – Beau Bennett and Chris Conner.

    “This is not the first time Tomas has taken shots,” Bylsma said. “However, with just the two guys that are injured that he’s been skating with, which are unable to really shoot the puck very well given their injuries, and we wanted to get him to get him into a chance to see shooters that weren’t quite injured.”

    As Vokoun continues to make his progression only time will tell when or if he is able to return to full team practices.

  207. Jandy says:

    and on Bennett:
    Bennett skated prior to the Penguins’ Tuesday practice with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar, as he has been doing since Jan. 13. He continues to recover from wrist/hand surgery in early November.

    Bylsma said Bennett’s timetable is approximately 3-4 weeks, which would coincide with the conclusion of the Olympic break

  208. Well i’m looking from the perspective that if shero thinks he can re-sign nisky than you keep him, take a run for the cup then deal with negotiating and cap ramifications then. If nisky truly priced himself out by asking for 5M per than you gotta look at trading him at peak value. But even then you may not get enough in return to think you can replace nisky and still take a run at the cup.

    Obviously you can always create cap space by trading a top 4 dman not named letang, which would be my preferred route. Nisky has proven he can handle top 4 minutes and i guess i disagree about his improvement. To me he has shown improved skating, strength, shot and defensive instincts as a whole. The pens deciding they’re gonna defend neutral zone has helped not just for him but entire squad. Lets not forget he’s only 27 or something like that. Big picture his improvement has been fine. Whats important is that he’s showing he can handle top 6 forwards consistently and really well. And in honor of Groat and baseball season around the corner(warm thoughts warm thoughts) i’ll suggest that dmen alot of times are like pitchers, especially power pitchers. They show potential early which ends up getting a manager or 2 fired, but then when they get to 27-28 they take off. Nisky may be our charlie morton.

    Also think you’re underestimating Boyes strength. His faster and stronger than people think. Check out highlights of FLA/det game the other night. Boyes scored a short handed beauty. And Goc is the closest thing to duper out there. He’d be great in our top 9. Agree that van wont give up those 2 for nothing…no question. But don’t like the potential asking prices out there for other players too. Part of appeal in getting boyes and goc is that they wont cost much.

  209. Just saw that wild bill, and got to admit to throwing up a lil bit…

  210. Jandy says:

    clean it up!

  211. Rumor has it BB pulled a hammy lacing up his skates…

  212. Your kids had it rough…didnt they?

  213. Arriba Wilver says:


  214. Wait a sec…what does that mean?

  215. JD says:

    Be careful AW. The plan hasn’t had a good fight in awhile. He’ll let you have it, then he’ll go pout for a bit.

  216. Drew71 says:

    Hey. Did I just hear that Bicknell was fired?

  217. Arriba Wilver says:

    He was scapegoated.

  218. Yeah, that pansy Bennett! Cannot skate through a few minor injuries . . . . like two broken wrists!!!

    Pansy Martin.

    Pansy Glass.

    Pansy Dupuis.

    And biggest pansy of all: Tomas Vokun——he didn’t even have anything broken or torn!!

  219. Went to Boston College.

    Players couldn’t understand his New England accent . . . . . and his usage of words with more than two syllables.

  220. Milo Hamilton says:

    Travis Sawchuk reports that AJ Burnett will pitch in 2014, but not necessarily for the Pirates. Quoting a source, “I suspect he is going to open himself up to the market.”

    Gee, never saw that one coming. :)

  221. Milo Hamilton says:

    Can I do this again ?

    1. Nationals
    2. Phillies
    3. Orioles
    4. Retirement
    5. Pirates

  222. JohninOshkosh says:

    Played MD on the road. Comcast Center.

  223. Arriba Wilver says:

    If I were AJ, I would not accept $8.5 mil. These guys are still nuts, despite last year.

  224. theplanisworking says:

    Stay classy.

  225. Arriba Wilver says:

    Any sentient human being knows that the price of pitchers went up this year in MLB. Smh

  226. Milo Hamilton says:

    This is going to be great.

  227. Arriba Wilver says:

    Like you?

  228. Milo Hamilton says:

    And they’ve really backed themselves into a corner by doing and spending nothing this winter. They’re going to look terrible if they let him go elsewhere.

  229. Arriba Wilver says:


  230. Milo Hamilton says:

    Ken Rosenthal lists Orioles & Phillies as possibilities. I made my list in October.

  231. Milo Hamilton says:

    A friend just e-mailed me: “We thank AJ for all he did for us & wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

  232. theplanisworking says:

    You are the one that started the trouble above by insulting me. Deliberately, I might add. There was no reason for you to attack me above. None.

    You are just upset I dared disagreed with you, and you are even more upset I called you out for your behavior towards me. Instead of being an adult, and recognizing that you did insult and attack me, you just keep on keeping on. Nice to see another of your group, JD, come to your aid also.

    Was there any point to attacking and insulting me above? Seriously, what good did you think would come of it? And I won’t wait for any apology from you…… because you said you were being “playful”. Again, any reason to insult and attack me? Stay classy.

  233. pattonbb says:

    After hearing the news, Clint Hurdle refused to make himself available for comment.

  234. Arriba Wilver says:

    Personally, I think they made a mistake rejecting Loney because of the 3rd year. They still think they’re the smartest player in the room. I don’t.

  235. If BMTIB had negotiated the Louisiana Purchase, 15 states west of the Mississippi would be talking French!!

    DK: Only the upper half.

  236. Milo Hamilton says:

    1st time ever.

  237. Milo Hamilton says:

    Remember, the Pirates 2013 payroll was $74.4 million. Their 2014 Payroll stands at $73.1 million.

    Hi Frank.

  238. Arriba Wilver says:


  239. My Mama said, “If you can’t agree with or say something good about your Boss, say nothing at all.”

  240. Milo Hamilton says:

    Awesome line.

  241. Arriba Wilver says:


  242. $24 million more in national TV revenue.

    Bigger local TV revenue deal than Dejan has reported, according to Frank.

    More season tickets sold.

    Higher ticket prices.

    Last year’s higher attendance. Last year’s higher concessions profits.

    Cannot afford to give AJ $14.1 million!! Just cannot do it!!

  243. Arriba Wilver says:

    How’s about $10 mil?

    And don’t forget a local TV package in the top half of MLB.

    Man, . . .

  244. Milo Hamilton says:

    Yesterday, Jeff Bannister tweeted a thank you & goodbye to AJ. It was quickly deleted & Bannister said it didn’t come out like he wanted. I’ve always believed they never wanted him back, hoped he’d retire so they wouldn’t look bad, and when he announced his choice to pitch they told him they didn’t want him.

  245. JohninOshkosh says:

    Baltimore Sun reporter Dan Connolly has been reporting for some time that the Orioles are willing to go to 100 million in payroll, which allows for plenty of room to sigh AJB. Plus, the Orioles are feeling heat from the moves made by other teams in the division. I think their feeling is that their window is open right now as Weiters and Davis will never get extensions and stay.

    I’m predicting AJ ends up in Baltimore.

  246. theplanisworking says:

    Why should we ever doubt what TBMTIB says or does?

    Do we believe Frank and his version of the numbers?
    If so, by my guess, an additional $35 million is available this year, by figuring the additional TV money, increased attendance from last year, and ticket price increases from this year. Now, my math may be a bit off, but with those 3 things in play, they could have gotten a 1B, AND AJ.

    This is why I always will have nagging doubts about this franchise.

    DK: Well, that and the lying.

  247. theplanisworking says:

    I think you and I were in the front of saying this in October.
    I don’t know what the FO is thinking on this, but it is not turning up roses.

  248. JohninOshkosh says:

    Brewers signed Garza to the highest free agent contract in franchise history.

    Whether, the Pirates like it or not, the market is the market and one of these days they will have to pay some coin.

    They lost me when they wouldn’t address a chronic problem and sign Loney for one stinking year more because of cheapness.

    Like the Orioles, the Pirates brief window of opportunity is now wide open.

  249. Arriba Wilver says:


  250. tpbco says:

    JMO, but my biggest concern was that last year was “Lightening in a Bottle” year, between the preseason pickups and the late trades with Byrd and Morneau…I know Morneau wasn’t great, but we was a legit #4 batter and was respected as such and the they were able to hide Pedro’s pathetic BA (yes I know he hit some hrs, he also batted .233) . They do NOT have a 4 OR 5 batter, but plenty of 2, 6 and 7 hitters. Better have a complete pitching staff with that and we already know there’s questions about the 2 closers from last year and mucking this up….grrrrrrrr.

    A joked about AJ in Baltimore a month ago. Not so funny now.

  251. Milo Hamilton says:

    Things to remember.

    – NO player has ever accepted a qualifying offer. Ever. Chances are overwhelming the $14.1 offer would have been rejected. Especially since Burnett hadn’t decided if he would would pitch in 2014.

    – The qualifying offer carries with it compensation in the form of a first round draft pick. Had he chosen to go elsewhere the Pirates would have at least received something of value in return.

    – With potential suitors limited by the pick, chances are Burnett would have ended up back in Pittsburgh for less than $14.1 million or home in Baltimore driving his wife crazy.

  252. tpbco says:

    If she married AJ, wouldn’t that be craz(ier)?

  253. theplanisworking says:

    There ya go, being logical and all.
    Nice post.

  254. Bizrow says:

    Either the PBC does not have the money to spend

    Or they refuse to do so

    We are still a “minor league” Major League Franchise

    And a lot is due, IMHO, to Slick Frank and the fact he brings nothing to this FO

  255. theplanisworking says:

    Biz, someone checked in on one of last night’s threads.
    Didn’t know if you saw it or not.

  256. NMR says:

    What makes any of you guys think this is a money issue?

    If this $8.5m number is correct, then the money is clearly there to offer more. Even by Huntington’s own admission.

    The only reason they wouldn’t be offering it to AJ is if they didn’t really want him.

  257. NMR says:

    Why just the FO?

    I don’t see any way Clint Hurdle didn’t have a say in this as well.

  258. NMR says:

    What other players who have been offered the QO are in AJ Burnett’s situation?

    I’ll wait.

  259. NMR says:

    The “lightening in a bottle” talk again? Seriously?

  260. Arriba Wilver says:

    NMR–do you think they should have tried to keep AJ, and if so, how much do you think they should spend to keep him?

  261. Matt says:

    I have 7.25 million reasons why trading Letang makes sense. We need a more well balanced team. We need another young star forward on top of the 3rd line need. Just look ahead a year or two…the age of Kunitz & Dupuis (if he makes a comeback to top line) plus an older stop-gap type like Jokinen puts us in a bad situation. Sid- Geno -Neal ….that’s our forward core.

    Despres will not get us a “Jordan Eberle/Blake Wheeler -type” ….

    As far as Niskanen is concerned, high value right now, but he is a UFA and only contenders will be interested. Contenders won’t be shipping out roster players in return, let alone, a young winger with a few years on his contract.

  262. Milo Hamilton says:

    None, which made it even more of a no brainer. They offer, he rejects & we’re in exactly the same position we are today except with a draft pick attached. They offer, he accepts & Edinson Volquez is still looking for a job. It was a win/win.

  263. Matt says:

    I have 7.25 million reasons why trading Letang makes sense. We need a more well balanced team. We need another young star forward on top of the 3rd line need. Just look ahead a year or two…the age of Kunitz & Dupuis (if he makes a comeback to top line) plus an older stop-gap type like Jokinen puts us in a bad situation. Sid- Geno -Neal ….that’s our forward core.

    Despres will not get us a “Jordan Eberle/Blake Wheeler -type” ….

    As far as Niskanen is concerned, high value right now, but he is a UFA and only contenders will be interested. Contenders won’t be shipping out roster players in return, let alone, a young winger with a few years on his contract.

  264. Arriba Wilver says:


  265. theplanisworking says:

    How much of an impact is the fact the Yankees aren’t paying most of AJ’s salary enter into this?

    How much does AJ’s meltdowns throughout last year enter into this?

    Then there is the retirement issue.

    The Pirates should have given the QO. If AJ would have said he retired the next day, no big deal, right?

  266. Bizrow says:

    No, Roger didn’t catch it, will go back now, thanks ;-)

  267. Clint has said in numerous interviews that he would welcome Burnett back.

    Clint has avoided stepping on BMTIB’s negotiating and $$$$ toes.

  268. Bizrow says:

    Optic yellow
    January 27, 2014 at 9:27 PM
    Macon, GA


  269. theplanisworking says:


    Ever think your list would get so large?
    You do a nice public service for us.

  270. Quit making so much sense, Milo!!

    There’s nothing to argue about when you use your head and actually present logic and intelligence!

  271. There were no meltdowns.

    If strong emotions expressed are considered meltdowns, geez, you must never fight with your wife!!

  272. Arriba Wilver says:

    it’s a no-brainer to me. Seems like they were afraid he would accept it. Horrors! Oddly enough, I don’t agree with Milo anymore that they didn’t want him back. (Not sure they did, but enough mixed signals). It’s still a defensive organization. Don’t lose money seems to be the mantra. Not really a blueprint to reach their stated goal of a World Series.

  273. theplanisworking says:

    Groat, of course there is a difference between strong emotions, and meltdowns.

    What do you consider the incident in Washington, where AJ waved the bullpen to sit down, then got into a heated argument with Clint? Showed him up, and Clint had to go after AJ a second time to let him know who was boss? I consider that a meltdown. Some people consider other incidents with him meltdowns also.

    If AJ only showed “strong emotions”…… I think the FO would have wanted him back.

    Just my .02 cents.

    And, thank you for not rubbing last night in to my disappointed Pitt heart today…………

  274. And what am I going to do concerning AJ Burnett? Stay tuned and believe it when it’s officially confirmed.

  275. Arriba Wilver says:

    For me, they have said from the beginning that they wanted to create a championship organization. So far, this offseason, they don’t appear to know what a championship organization is. like from the beginning, they are experts at not putting the organization into a situation where it might (heaven forbid) lose money. But a championship organization? Not so much.

    I hope they prove me wrong.

  276. Milo Hamilton says:

    Funny we spend so much time talking baseball on a blog run by an NBA scout.

  277. Arriba Wilver says:

    EYE could scout Duke’s No. 1. ;-)

  278. I would never rub in last night! It was a wonderfully tight game for 32 minutes.

    As for baseball, I would never consider disagreements “meltdowns.”

    A meltdown is punching a teammate or going into the stands after a fan or throwing bats on the field——something punishable or fineable, or even suspendible.

    Disagreements are just disagreements, and sometimes the boss or parent or manager has to restore rank and order. Disagreements happen frequently when competition is occurring and adrenaline is flowing. If rank and order are quickly restored, then it’s just a disagreement. That’s all that happened with AJ.

    As a Manager I would prefer AJ’s emotions to Pedro’s sleepy, laconic stance.

  279. theplanisworking says:

    Or John Russell’s………. :)

  280. In order to obtain concussion and other medical protections and to assure that scholarships will pay for full college attendance, Northwestern football players are asking to be represented by a labor union, while the NCAA and Northwestern University, of course, are contending that their playing football for the college is voluntary and that collective bargaining is inappropriate in this case. Meanwhile, advocates for unionising students have said that student athletics amounts to being a work study program and that student athletes should be paid under such auspices.

  281. And the reason why I’m waiting for official confirmation is because AJ told Colin Dunlap three months ago that if he pitches this season, he’ll pitch for the Pirates, but now he says that while he doesn’t want to retire and to pitch this season, he may not pitch for the Pirates but for another team although right now, he doesn’t specify, naturally.

  282. toochca says:

    Take away the scholarships and then pay them what they would get in a work study program. Problem solved.

  283. bpn8pitt says:

    Just interested where AJ winds up. If he goes to the AL…im not really gonna lose sleep.

  284. JohninOshkosh says:

    Post of the day!

    So exploited….free education at one of the world’s greatest school’s.

    Cry. Me. A. River.

  285. toochca says:

    Tuition at Northwestern University, for those who don’t know, is $15,040/quarter.

    That’s a QUARTER!!!

  286. JD says:

    Waaaaaaaa! AW was mean to me.

  287. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’m not going to lose sleep if he ends up with the Cardinals, but DANG! He should only be with the Pirates.,

  288. theplanisworking says:

    Nice to see you and your constant troublemaking.
    That’s all you do.
    What’s in it for you?

  289. Actually, after what happened in that playoff game last year against the Cardinals when he got beat so bad it was pathetic, and then he stormed out of Manager Clint Hurdle’s office in a huff when he was informed he wouldn’t start game 5, well, I don’t think I’ll be losing any sleep over his pitching for anyone else either.

  290. Milo Hamilton says:

    Only Florida & Buffalo have won fewer games in regulation than the Washington Capitals. They are a house of cards.

    DK: Braden Holtby’s just a wreck. Hadn’t really realized to what extent until watching this. Tough call for Caps. Talent’s there, especially in playoffs. Weird.

  291. Arriba Wilver says:

    Then why don’t they just cut ties? It’s pretty simple.

  292. The Trib’s Travis Sawchuk, who broke this story, figures that there’s a 1 in 4 chance AJ will end up pitching for the Pirates after all. And then, Travis Sawchuk also says that the three teams that have shown interest in AJ are: the Phillies, the Orioles, and the Texas Rangers.

  293. In case you’re all interested, a recent survey indicated that 23% of the NFL players who responded said they wanted to play for Pete Carroll, and the coach who came in second was Mike Tomlin at 14%.

  294. And now, Pirates GM Neal Huntington has just said that he’s not so sure as to whether AJ wants to pitch for anyone other than the Pirates, and he’s indicated as well that AJ has been telling other Bucs team members he might still want to pitch for the Pirates this season, so it might well depend on who you’re talking to.

  295. It depends on who you’re talking to since Pirates President Frank Coonelly doesn’t expect AJ to return to the Bucs this season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the source of Travis Sawchuck’s article.

    DK: Any one-sourced story must come from a source with a history of being truthful.

  296. Jandy says:

    My kids were nurtured as children, they are both now self-sufficient young ladies :)

  297. Jandy says:

    It means that you’re not always right and it means that there ARE other possibilities other than the ones you suggest.
    Not that they’re bad possibilities :)

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