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Saturday column: The Russian ‘riddle’

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

SOCHI, Russia — Доброе утро, Lunatiks …

>> The Saturday column on the Opening Ceremony quotes Winston Churchill in the lede graf, and that’s only because you can’t quote Churchill enough.

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

Here’s the Trib’s Olympics page.

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.

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. Brandie says:

    Can we comment now?

  2. Brandie says:

    I guess we can. Fair coverage as per usual DK.

  3. kr70 says:

    do you think DK would have spent more time in the gym if he knew he could skype from the shower?

  4. I watched the opening Olympics ceremonies on NBC last night and was quite impressed by them. Meanwihile, it we as a relief to learn that Arod had dropped his lawsuit and wasn’t going to attend spring training either, and was thus finally facing reality.

  5. Sarah says:

    Testing 123…

  6. Sarah says:


  7. Sure would’ve been nice if pens had a dman capable of using his speed and grit to strip the puck from the rangers when they were cycling the puck at will and maintaining possession. Geez…dmen like that are hard to find. Hope the pens hold onto to one if they ever are lucky enough to get a dman like that…

    Good thing its the olympic break cuz PM’s play has me on the verge of going off again…

  8. NBC let the Russians and their pageantry do the talking last night, which was effective enough.
    for most of us.

  9. Brandie says:

    Guess all of the heaving Bison must have broken the blog. Sorry.

  10. Drew broke it. He gets the blame for everything. The bison broke the Pens last night, though, but one point is better than none.

  11. Brandie says:

    Prayers to Kris Letang for a complete recovery. Maybe this accounts for the drop off in play. I wonder how long he had Bern feeling poorly prior to the detected stroke?

  12. Certain ones work and others don’t. Like the folks here in KY.

  13. Replies don’t seem to work. I still say it’s Drew’s fault. He gets the blame for everything.

  14. Jim S. says:

    I believe the reality he finally faced is that he knew he would have to testify if he kept up with this lawsuit charade. He has no interest in testifying about Biogenesis, ever. That’s all there was to it. He really got some bad legal advice up until now. Or, maybe he just chose to ignore his legal advice up until now.

  15. Or maybe he’s the idiot he’s seemed to be all along.

  16. It was Drew. He gets the blame for everything. It was the bison that caused the Pens to lose, but 1 point is still better than none even at home, right?

  17. Brandie says:

    He was who we thought he was.

  18. Milo Hamilton says:

    Is it still broken ? I think it’s Putin’s fault.

  19. Jim S. says:

    Hard to know what to make of the latest reports about AJ.

    Phils and O’s out of the running? I never thought Philly had a chance. I don’t necessarily count out Baltimore yet, especially since Arroyo signed with Arizona and that leaves the O’s with one less alternative to choose from.

    Does AJ really only want to pitch in the NL? If so, that helps the Bucs case.

    Is there anything to the notion that Washington may now make an offer? I think that is the media (or AJ’s agent) trying to create a story. Washington’s rotation is more set than the rotation of either Baltimore or Pittsburgh.

    Is there another team still bidding for his services? It does not seem that way.

    What offer, if any, is truly on the table for AJ by the Bucs at this point? Hopefully, they have not moved on. He could be the difference in those few extra wins this team might need to make the playoffs, IMO.

    Step up and get this done, Bucs. The fans of this team deserve it. We also deserve a safer option at LH batter for the 1b platoon. There is still time to do both things.

  20. Milo Hamilton says:

    I see that Jon Heyman thinks the Nationals might be emerging. I’ve had them #1 on my list since last fall but who am I kidding ? I haven’t the first clue what’s happening.

  21. Jim S. says:

    That, too. Good point, Lucky.

    He and Bonds had a chance to be looked upon as two of the Top 5 or 10 hitters of all-time. They both let their giant egos get the best of them. And, look what it got them.

    Same for Clemens on the pitching side.

    There were plenty of other guys that screwed up by taking the PEDs. But, these 3 had the most to lose IMO. None of them will ever get their reputations back, no matter how hard they try.

  22. theplanisworking says:

    With Arroyo signing with the D-Backs yesterday, AJ should be MORE wanted by a team needing pitching. But who knows.

    Now about this broken blog thing…………..
    And don’t blame Brandies Heavin’ BisonZ………

  23. Jim S. says:

    I know. It’s a merry-go-round. Washington always made sense from a geographical standpoint and an NL standpoint. I just thought they were out of the running when they made the trade with the Tigers. But, for just one year, they could still swoop in.

  24. So true, Jim. They rank way above guys like Pettite and some of the others, just due to their egos.

  25. Jim S. says:


    I couldn’t comment yesterday, but I did read your post about Pirates Spring Training. Thanks for all the ideas.

    Thanks, also to Milo. I signed up for info. to be sent from that website you provided on Thursday.

    Hopefully, things will work out that I can get down there next year.

  26. theplanisworking says:

    I would offer that Mark McGuire, and Tony LaRussa had as much to do with the steroid era as anyone. Larussa managed possibly 2 of the biggest cheats ever, Canseco and McGuire. His Oakland team was Steroid Central for years. Then, McGuire had his steroids in plain view of reporters in 1998.

    But, at the end of the day, I really don’t think those players cared at all………….. they made their mega-money.

    Health and reputation be damned.

  27. Milo Hamilton says:

    It really depends what they think of their 5th spot. They’re solid with Strasburg, Fister. Gio & Zimmerman. It comes down to what they think of Ross Detwiler or Tanner Roark. Lord knows they have the money if they want to spend some more.

  28. theplanisworking says:

    For all the high school peeps…………….

    New Castle defeated Hampton (again) last night 66-55, to an overflow crowd of 2600, in a 2400 seat gym. This is New Castle’s 66th consecutive regular season win, and locks up the #1 seed in the playoffs. Section 3 once again could have the top 3 seeds like last year, with Hampton and North Allegheny.

    Always look forward to playoff time in the WPIAL………. where upsets seem to rule in the lower classes. Pairings announced Tuesday.

  29. Jim S. says:

    66 straight. Wow!

    2,600 fans. Wow!

  30. theplanisworking says:

    Strasburg, IMHO, is a career injury waiting to happen.
    His pitching motion is catching up with him.
    If I were the Natinals (will always love that uniform typo), I would always be on the lookout for pitching as long as Strasburg is in the rotation. I do wish him much success, I just fear for that arm.

  31. Jim S. says:

    That’s true, and for big money teams there really is no such thing as a bad one year deal. If they get interested, we know the Pirates will fold and toss their cards in pretty quickly.

  32. theplanisworking says:

    Yeah, Jim, when New Castle built their new High School 9 years ago, they totally remodeled the original field house built in 1955. New Entry hall, locker rooms, lighting, the works. It isn’t the biggest gym around, but it is the nicest, along with North Allegheny’s

    Only problem I see along the way, is that the Philly schools are loaded yet again this year. Even if New Castle gets to the state finals, they will be a big underdog, especially if Roman Catholic is their opponent.

    But for a dead old steel town, they are putting up something special up there.

  33. theplanisworking says:

    2 major school recruits, Ohoho State’s Malik Hooker, and Pitt’s Ryan Luther were the attraction last night.

  34. Milo Hamilton says:

    All this talk about the Nats rotation reminds me, I’ll be seeing the Tigers play the Yankees next month so I can give you all a first hand report on the Tigers bullpen. :)

  35. theplanisworking says:

    ++++++++++ Milo.
    We can always count on you. ;)

  36. Jim S. says:


    DK: Latest on the blog is that all comments are going directly to spam. All of them. I’m checking periodically, which isn’t easy over here as I’m strictly on wifi-or-else, and approving them. But that’s the process until it gets fixed.

    My apologies.

  37. Jim S. says:

    I couldn’t get the link to work. How did Luther look?

    DJ posted a video of Maverick Rowan on the Pitt-VA Tech game thread. Rowan and Luther seem to be a bit of a departure for Jamie. I’m sure he realizes he needs kids who can put the ball in the hoop. If they are good players and high character kids, I believe they’ll adapt to his defensive philosophies.

    I recall that he also got a verbal from a big, tough, defensive-minded guard who is a Top 15-20 recruit nationally.

  38. Jim S. says:

    On pins and needles here.

  39. Jim S. says:

    No sweat, DK. We understand you are busy with more important things.

  40. That’s where some of them belong anyway.

  41. Jim S. says:

    Gotta run! Taking my son to our weekly Saturday morning BP session at his baseball club’s hitting facility – my favorite father-son time all week.

  42. This is the blog on caffeine.

  43. theplanisworking says:

    Sorry Jim, I got that link from a friend’s mobile phone. can’t fix it, or provide a different link if I wanted to.

    Luther had 28 points. Hooker had 27. From friends accounts, Luther is 6-8, but doesn’t play like it. He should be a force inside, but against New Castle, he doesn’t get the rebounds, or alter shots. I don’t know how his game will translate to the college level.

    I am looking forward to Sheldon Jeter’s arrival next year. From my friends scouting reports from when Jeter was at Beaver Falls, he is a beast. jamie lost him to Vanderbilt a few years ago, but he is transferring back home, no thanks to Kevin Stallings, who wouldn’t release him from his scholarship.

    Link to Jeter’s road to Pitt……………..

  44. JAL says:

    Well, wonder will post–yesterday when I posted the links and I they did not show I tried to post them again and got the “repeat post” message, so the my post was known but never appeared.

  45. Thundercrack says:

    I see the TRIB has purchased part ownership of the Pittsburgh Power.

    I guess the current ownership never read DK’s tweets or comments on the blog or chats – – regarding them firing the players and abandoning them at an Olive Garden in Orlando. ( which I totally agreed with DK on that low class move and why I still can’t take that league seriously).

    Does this mean DK will have to attend their games?

  46. theplanisworking says:

    Wonder if Primanti’s will offer a Spam and cheese with egg sandwich??? ;)

  47. Jim S. says:

    I forgot about Jeter. After sitting out a year, I believe he is going to step in and produce next year.

    He’s a Beaver Falls product, and I know Maverick Rowan’s father, Ron, was also.

  48. DJ says:

    Ralph Blundo is a superb coach.

  49. A lot of withdrawal on here, yesterday, JAL.

  50. DK has probably already found a Primanti’s over in Sochi.

  51. Eric Bowser says:

    In spirit of Olympic competition, today’s Couch to 5K has been completed, down to 205.4 lbs (beating my Saturday goal by 1.6 lbs). Mind you, today’s workout was in 11 degrees.

    – Nice comeback by the Penguins last night to get at least the one point considering the Rangers outplayed them. New York probably wins in regulation if Rick Nash isn’t a lazy selfish losing player committing two brutal penalties and Henrik Lundqvist isn’t the overrated mega-stuffed goalie positioned too far back in his goal crease.

    – Why spend $8-10 million for A.J. Burnett with Cole, Liriano, Morton, Locke, Volquez, Gomez, Rodriguez, Cumpton, and Taillon? When will this story just end, he isn’t coming back with Volquez deal.

    – Another day closer to opening day and still need a first baseman, unless of course you think Travis Ishikawa is the veteran backup if Andrew Lambo bombs.

    – Pitt board just announced their Chancellor Elect as Alumnus Patrick D. Gallagher.

    – Pitt basketball…. laying more bricks than those in the Bricklayers & Allied Craftsworkers Union.

  52. pattonbb says:

    I tried to post this yesterday. Just wanted to share a Ralph Kiner story that I recently heard.

    This is a story that was told to me by my 82 year old father-in-law, Don. Don was born and raised in Brooklyn and was a Dodger fanatic. Kiner was a Dodger killer. He feasted on Brooklyn pitchers like Branca, Erskine and Newcombe. At least he did in 1950. Don said every kid in the neighborhood would go see Kiner when the Pirates came to town for three reasons: 1. The Pirates were horrible so you could almost always count on seeing a Dodger win, 2. Kiner was known for hitting a lot of hrs at Ebbets Field and 3. He was also known for hitting a lot of foul balls. Don said by 1951, every kid in Brooklyn claimed to own a ball that Kiner had hit.

    So late June, 1950 at Ebbets Field. Kiner has a monster game. He hits a couple big opposite field hrs, a double off of the scoreboard, and ends up with 8 rbi as the Buccos beat the Bums 16-11. Keep in mind, the Ebbets RF wall was 38 foot high and was made up of the Bulova clock and Schaefer Beer sign at the top, the scoreboard in the middle, and the Abe Stark “Hit Sign, Win Suit” advertisement at the bottom. Also, the Dodgers had Carl “The Reading Rifle” Furillo playing RF. Furillo was one of the best fielding rf’ers of his time. Abe Stark would later confirm that he gave Furillo one free suit for every month that went by without an opposing player hitting the sign (on the fly).

    After the game, Kiner says he was actually aiming for the Abe Stark sign because during his last visit to Brooklyn, Howling Hilda Chester was jeering him and screaming, “Hey Kiner, bet ya can’t hit the Abe Stark sign” (in an attempt to try and get him to hit to the slick-fielding Furillo).

    Kiner said he knew to hit the sign, he would have to hit a rocket so it had a chance to get by Furillo. He said he was swinging out of his shoes, but his hits just kept sailing high and over the wall.

    Upon being told Kiner’s monster day was a result of Hilda’s jeers, Hilda came up with a new one for Kiner. On his next visit to Brooklyn, and every trip to Ebbets for the rest of his career, Hilda would yell, “Hey Kiner, bet ya can’t strikeout 4 times today!!!”

  53. Sarah says:


  54. theplanisworking says:

    That he is. :)

  55. Sarah says:

    Here is the best recap on Letang I have read, from an MD intern…

    When you’re a baby in utero, there is a hole (foramen ovale) in your heart that allows you to oxygenate your blood without your lungs (the placenta). Usually this closes when you’re born. In a fairly common percentage of the population (approx. 30%), it doesn’t. If you are to become symptomatic, most of the time it happens as a very young baby. Otherwise, the rest will grow up without ever realizing they have it.

    The persistently open hole (patent foramen ovale) creates a mixing of blood that has not yet gone to the lungs and blood that already has. Therefore, you have a mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood, resulting in a lower than average oxygen level. That’s important because it explains the potential symptoms.

    From not having that normal level of oxygen, symptoms can include headaches and migraines (which it sounds like Letang has had in the past). Strokes happen when your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen long enough to create a more lasting effect. This hole puts you at higher risk of stroke for two reasons: 1) it may allow a clot from somewhere else (legs) to climb up your circulation and into your brain, and block circulation to an area or 2) the level of oxygen in the blood may be temporarily insufficient from time to time.

    In terms of what to do about it, it’s an area of ongoing research and debate. The thousands and thousands of patients that have been studied so far haven’t shown us that surgery, medication or even doing nothing is conclusively the best option. It sounds like the physician they’ve consulted is leaning towards taking a blood thinner (usually Aspirin is the first step), which is quite reasonable and consistent with the field recommendations.

    What does it mean for Letang? Well in terms of recovery time, that will depend on the severity of the stroke. It seems to be more on the lower end from what we’ve heard. As for his career in general, that will be a risk-reward discussion between he, his family, his team and his doctors. As you can imagine, putting someone on blood thinners increases their risk of bleeding. As a hockey player at the highest level, he suffers his fair share of bumps and bruises (which are bleeding from superficial skin vessels), and a blood thinner will make that worse. In addition, his risk of internal bleeding has also increased. We don’t typically tell our patients on blood thinners that they are no longer allowed to play contact sports, just that there is an increased risk they have to accept if they want to do so.

  56. NMR says:

    No, McGuire did not have steroids in plain view of reporters.

    He had Androsteindion, a supplement that not only was legal and within the bounds of MLB rules, but could be obtained over-the-counter.

  57. NMR says:

    The McGuire story is the absoluite poster child for the steroid witch hunt.

  58. NMR says:

    If Fister AND Burnett fall into Mike Rizzo’s lap this winter he’ll be the luckiest GM in baseball.

  59. Very eye-opening. Thanks.

  60. NMR on the weekend? Your wife must be out of town.


  61. Thundercrack says:

    I don’t think it was luck that got Fister for Mike Rizzo.

  62. NMR says:

    At the office, Lucky. Eesh.

    @TC – Any time another GM willfully agrees to a lopsided deal without attempting to get maximum value from other clubs there is at least a bit of luck involved.

  63. Jim S. says:

    I think you are correct on that, NMR. But, don’t you think the evasive and silly way he answered questions at the Congressional hearing showed that McGwire had more than that to hide?

    “I would prefer to not talk about the past, and only talk about the future.” How many times did he say that?

  64. Jim S. says:

    +++, NMR. I know. He gave up very little for Fister.

  65. Jim S. says:

    Great story, patton! And with RK hitting righty, that must have been a titanic “oppo” blast if it was so far up that RF wall.

  66. Jim S. says:

    Thanks for the info, Sarah.

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