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Morning Java: Sochi > Vancouver

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

SOCHI, Russia — Доброе утро, Lunatiks …

>> The Friday column assesses the organization level of the Sochi Games in a way that might surprise … well, just about anyone who isn’t here and isn’t willfully looking to complain.

Here’s the related video I shot for WPXI-TV that aired on the Channel 11 News last night …

I also wrote a news story about the ‘Ring of Steel’ security system on the eve of today’s Opening Ceremony.

This was the Trib’s Olympics preview column that ran Sunday.

Here’s the Trib’s Olympics page, now modified, as this blog was a while ago, to accent mobile performance.

Here’s the official Sochi 2014 page.

Here’s the official U.S. Olympic team page.

And here’s NBC’s Olympics page with all the videos and highlights.

>> The great Ralph Kiner dies at 91. The Pirates and Pittsburgh have lost one of the city’s all-time most popular athletes. Bob Cohn has the obituary.

A trivia question that underscores the Kiner legend for you baseball trivia buffs: Kiner led or tied the National League in home runs seven times. Only one player did that more. Answer at end.

Flashing back to the future, the Pirates are projected to regress in 2014, per Travis Sawchik. I’d be curious to see, of course, how many of those same spreadsheets forecast 94 wins in 2013.

>> Kris Letang’s mysterious illness isn’t life-threatening, according to Rob Rossi’s sources, but the Penguins are staying quiet.

Here’s the Trib’s Penguins page, with a neat feature on how the Penguins’ equipment is being created and transported over here for the Olympics.

Here’s Rangers news from the New York Post. The Penguins wrap up their pre-Sochi schedule tonight at Consol.

Here are official game highlights from

>> Ryan Clark claims some of the Steelers smoked marijuana to relieve pain and stress. Alan Robinson reports.

>> Talib Zanna’s bum ankle exposed a glaring Pitt weaknessKevin Gorman reports.

>> On the Kiner trivia, some of you might have reflexively gone with Babe Ruth in forgetting that he did his damage in the American League.

The answer is one Michael Jack Schmidt, who led the National League in home runs eight times.

>> We will have our weekly chat, as always, right here at noon Pittsburgh time. I’ll be getting ready for bed, but there’s this Nescafe machine downstairs that churns out all the caffeine your little rubles can command.

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. Ghost says:

    Doh! I’m reading Mike Schmidt’s book on hitting right now, and I STILL missed that one. I had guessed Hank Aaron…

    Sochi better than Vancouver? Alright. I get that you set politics aside and only are speaking about the logistics and organization of these games. It’s really hard to separate politics from this though, in the same way that it was Mussolini who made the trains run on time. Still, I’m no Russophobe and I admit that in the last 20 years or so, Russia has become a less dreary place that doesn’t stultify the human spirit as totally as it did during the 20th century. The Pittsburgh bar would have been unimaginable not long ago. Still…
    I’ll let it go at that.

  2. Drew71 says:

    People are burying the lead on the Ryan Pot Clark story.

    The NFL tests once each year, at a predictable time.

    I’m not complaining. I’m not supporting. I’m just observing. And to my observation, the NFL seems to be saying…

    “WE TEST FOR MARIJUANA BECAUSE IT IS WRONG…(but we really don’t care as much as we do for OTHER substances. And we certainly don’t want our players to lose any time over it)…BUT WE HAVE WE HAVE A POLICY. WE HAVE TESTING.”

    No matter what you think about marijuana’s risks or lack thereof…To me, THAT’S the story. What the NFL’s REAL message seems to be.

  3. Drew71 says:

    Ok. Thanks Dejan. Thanks for highlighting the blog to the Russkies.

    The freaking Russian Iron Circle broke the blog.

  4. Rob says:

    Stan Savran is reporting the word out of the Pens camp is Letang had a stroke. Much prayers ascending for him.

  5. Jandy says:


  6. tpbco says:

    Just saw a tweet-

    Kris Letang had a stroke, due to a small hole in wall of heart. On blood thinners, out for 6 weeks.

  7. Rob says:

    Stan Savran just reported the word from the Pens is that Letang had a stroke. Much prayer ascending for him!!

  8. Dom says:

    I’m happy to hear that things are running smoothly at Sochi.

    When I first heard that the Olympics were going to be in a small town I have never heard of I expected there to be long delays getting to and from the events. Turns out I was talking out of my you know what.

    I still find it baffling why anyone would want the events in their hometown or country. At $51 billion, I really don’t see how it is possible for them to make a profit. Plus, I presume that all these new facilities that were built specifically for the games are going to go waste when they’re over.

  9. Milo Hamilton says:

    There you go making sense again.

  10. Arriba Wilver says:

    I will report you to proper authorities.

  11. NMR says:

    Sounds an awful lot like most employers.

  12. Jandy says:

    haha oshie is cracking me up!

    On the chat:
    Did you check your hotel lights for listening devices and the room pictures for secret web cameras, you know like 007 ?

  13. Did we organize a strike? Didn’t get the memo…

  14. I just heard that Chris Letang was diagnosed today as a stroke victim, shocking enough since he’s only 26, although this is certainly the result of the punishment he’s taken on the ice.

  15. Wild Bill says:

    Just heard about Letang. So important that this was diagnosed; wish it had been much sooner. Whether from another injury or from hypertension issues, he needs good treatment and prayers.

  16. Jim S. says:

    Hey, someone take the padlock off the blog entrance please! I’ve been pounding on that door all day to get in!

    Some Russian guy looking for a stray dog finally stopped and let me in a side entrance.

  17. theplanisworking says:

    Are we fixed yet?

  18. piratemike says:

    Why do countries even want to host the Olympics ?
    As someone who won’t watch even one minute of the whole mess I understand I am biased and I also understand that countries don’t want to let terrorists dictate to them but is all the trouble worth it ? On top of the cost and disruption the politics that are involved are disgusting.
    It was a good idea back in the day before world wars when it was about people of the world getting together and having friendly competition so the people of the world could know and maybe understand each other better but to tell the truth I no longer see that in the games anymore.
    Now it is about Dictators trying to make some statement and politicians filling their pockets on the backs of taxpayers.

  19. scapper says:

    Seems like a pretty apt message, if that IS the message.

    Good lord, if people think a few tokes of weed is the biggest health threat to an NFL player. All those legal painkillers will have a much more deleterious effect on a football player’s body than marijuana. Every time an NFL player is arrested alcohol seems to be involved.

    This is a league that’s built on human violence yet players toking up on their own time is somehow an issue.

    Reefer Madness, indeed.

  20. Milo Hamilton says:

    Reading some tea leaves today. I think AJ is coming back. Which would make me 100% wrong, and that’s OK.

  21. 21sthebest says:

    Buster Olney and some other journalists have been tweeting that it’s looking more and more like A.J. wants to stay in the National League.

  22. The Pens say the stroke is treatable with blood thinners and it isn’t career threatening, although we’ll know better after 6 weeks treatment.

  23. Get well soon Tanger!!! Dont worry about the trade rumor nonsense…i got your back!

  24. Arriba Wilver says:

    Apparently it’s the result of a congenital heart defect.

  25. You can definitely see your enthusiasm in the work you write. The sector hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. At all times go after your heart.

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