Blogs | Sports | News
Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Morning Java: The NHL arrives

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

SOCHI, Russia — Доброе утро, Lunatiks …

>> The Tuesday column wonders if Evgeni Malkin and his Russian mates have any clue as to what’s in store for them here.

Sidney Crosby is ready to be Captain Canada.

The Sochi Hockey Notebook debuts with Ray Shero becoming acting GM, Brooks Orpik looking out of the picture and more. There will be one of these every day for the duration of the Games, written from a Pittsburgh angle.

Here are all four videos I’ve shot for Channel 11 News so far, including the latest about the Russian passion for winter sports …

The gentleman briefly interviewed there isn’t identified graphically, but he’s Maksim Krupin of St. Petersburg. When he saw my credential, he laughed and said people often confuse his city’s name with Pittsburgh.

I’m also doing weekday audio-only reports for TribLIVE Radio, and the one yesterday was also about pucks. They’ll all be about three minutes long.

Here’s the Trib’s Olympics page.

Here’s the official Sochi 2014 page.

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

Here’s the official NHL Olympics page.

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

>> Not much is stranger here than the weather. At what’s being called the Coastal Cluster of these Games, right along the Black Sea, temps have reached as high as 61 degrees. Up in the stunningly nearby Caucasus Mountains, or the Mountain Cluster that’s home to the snow sports, it’s dropped as low as 10 degrees.

Andre Belausev, a native Russian who attended Pitt and still lives in Oakland, joked: “We get to see snow one day, sun the next. I would tell my friends back in Pittsburgh, ‘Guys, we have palm trees in Russia!’ and they didn’t think I was serious.”

It’s serious all right. As much as organizers forced the issue by planting palm trees all through the Coastal Cluster, they also can be seen in indigenous form about town.

>> Back home, Ben Roethlisberger is paying for a new Pittsburgh Police dog for the officer who lost Rocco, by Michael Hasch. There really was only one way for that story to end, huh?

>> There isn’t much about Pitt’s recent slide that wouldn’t be cured by handing Syracuse its first loss. Tipoff is tomorrow night at the Pete. Kevin Gorman reports.

>> I’ll have something else for you, non-Olympics related, today on the blog. It’s regarding the Steelers.

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:

    With deepest apologies to the Association and some lady named Windy…

    And AJ has stor-my tats
    And grounders and Ks n’at
    And AJ wants big contract
    Above our means (above our means)
    Above our means (above our means)
    Lucky for all of you, that’s all I have time for.

  2. JAL says:

    JAL’s I’ve Been Waiting for a Girl Like You Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    4 Pirates Prospects Spring Training Tracker

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Pirates Are in a Great Bargaining Position For First Base

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Spring Training Preview: The Infield

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Draft Preview: College Hitters

    6 Rumbunter

    Justin Smoak: Anatomy of a Trade to Pirates Rumor

    7 Bleacher Report

    Complete Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Spring Training Preview

    8 Uncle Mike’s Musings

    Longest-Serving Active MLB Broadcasters

    9 Green Weenie

    2/10: Bill Evans, Cotton Tierney, the Wet One, Judy Johnson, Larry McWilliams…

    10 Saber Bucs

    How Kendrys Morales Could Make Sense for Pirates

    11 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates Pitcher Wandy Rodriguez Ready For Spring Training

  3. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Bloomberg Stats

    The Best Two-Strike Hitters and Pitchers

    13 Redbird Rants

    2014 NL Central: The Pirates hunt for booty

    14 Bristol Herald Courier

    New affiliation, new look

    15 Baseball Prospectus

    The BP Wayback Machine Arbitration Negotiations

    16 Fangraphs

    What’s Really Available at First for the Pirates

    17 Wall Street Journal

    Lots of Pricey Baseball Free Agents Left on the Market

    18 USA Today

    Baseball managers, GMs embrace relationship, analytics

    Baseball’s 100 names you need to know: Nos. 51-75

    19 NY Post

    30 teams, 30 spring training questions

    20 NBC Sports

    How would the Michael Sam story play out in baseball?

  4. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers should let Emmanuel Sanders walk in free agency

    Cortez Allen wants to be like Ike

    22 Steelers Depot

    Colbert Says Steelers Do not Discriminate Against Players Based on Their Sexual Orientation


    23 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Was Clint Dempsey’s MLS Return Premature?

    24 BBC Football

    Man Utd boss left cursing his luck and Fergie Time in reverse


    25 Pensburgh

    How the Penguins are spending their Olympic Breaks

  5. Jandy says:

    Sing it, Drew!

  6. Jandy says:

    Lou Gramm. Foreigner….awesome!

  7. Sarah says:

    Orpik on the 4th pair?
    Next thing you know Bylsma will be matching lines.

  8. Brandie says:

    Dum-dum-dum (ominous music).

  9. Jandy says:

    Happy frickin cold Tuesday ladies :)

  10. PetroSteel says:

    Oh brother! Lol!

  11. bpn8pitt says:

    In regards to JAL’s #21 link, letting Sanders walk…Im fine with it, I guess as long as they can get Cotchery back. But the article says Cotchery made, 800-900K last year? He’s a UFA too, and I can see someone giving him 1.5 to 2 M per for a couple years.

    A lot of places Ive seen have Worilds as the second best OLB after Orakpo. Orakpo is two years older. Ive seen Worilds ranked between 10-15 overall…I will not be shocked if the Steelers let him walk now, looking at the real lack of pass rushers available. Somebody out there, who doesnt get Orakpo is gonna dump a ton of money on Worilds.

    This is not an endorsement for Woodley or anything. But I think the Steelers are about to become a victim of circumstance. They very well could be looking at OLB again with the first pick now that I think about this. No later than round 2 or 3.

  12. Brandie says:

    I wonder if the same argument will be made Ny team mouth pieces that this is not a rebuilding year

  13. This is to say goodbye to Shirley Temple Black. May she rest in peace. She was quite a lady.

  14. Everyone knows it’s Drew-ie.


  16. Brandie says:

    Self made and unafraid. May she rest in peace.

  17. Jandy says:

    woop woop!!!

  18. Brandie says:

    I thought the Tv money would pay for that. :)

  19. I left this lengthy response to a query about Spring Training from Sweet Jimmie last mid-week. I found his question late in the day, so he probably did not see my answer to him. So here goes:

    Sweet Jimmie,

    1/ If you can schedule any time, go right when players report in February. All the big league players are at Pirate City, taking batting practice, infield practice, outfield practice, catchers pop-up drills, pitchers fielding practice on 4 full fields and two more infields. You can choose who and what you want to watch. You can be just 10 – 15 feet off the fields behind cyclone fence and you feel like you are right there. You can hear the coaches give instructions. You can hear encouragement the players give to each other. You can hear them rag on each other. On one field you can even go into the parking lot in right and catch batting practice homeruns——I got 2 last year from Garrett Jones and Pedro.

    2/ You can also stand right behind the catcher when the pitchers warm up, 4 at a time, in the bullpen.
    Each pitcher throws every other day and you can soon figure out the schedule of who you want to see. You stand right behind the catcher 7-8 feet behind him, separated by cyclone fence again. It’s so neat to watch the movement on those pitches and hear the pop in the glove!

    3/ All this is going on at the same time. Bunting practice, catchers throwing to 2nd, outfielders throwing to bases, cutoffs, blocking plate, pitches in dirt, sliding practice, batting practice in groups of 4 (3 groups), with other 2 other rotating groups in field, double plays, Searage and Williams working with individual pitchers . . . . all this is going on at same time. Pick and choose: it’s so great! Watch Cutch and Marte hit batting practice, then watch Pedro field grounders, then watch Martin, Sanchez, and Stewart block pitches, then watch pitchers bunt.

    4/ Practice runs from about 9:30-10:00 to 12:30-1:00. It’s even fun to watch the different groups come out early to do calisthenics and loosen up. If you ever doubted that AJ was the leader of that pitching staff——the rest of the pitchers when loosing up follow him around like puppies.

    5/ If you choose to come back in the afternoons, you will find the young Minor Leaguers working with completely different coaches. It’s fun to watch the Hansons and the Polancos and the Josh Bells. However, memorize their faces to look for them, because there are no names on their uni’s.

    6/ Anna Maria Island is the place to stay if possible. You are right on the beach. I run on the beach to invigorate myself when the sun rises, then go to practice. It’s so great! Then I go back to the beach after lunch and practice, to read and roast and watch the sights and be inspired by the waves. (Disclaimer: few college girls on the beaches in February!) Such a relaxing time. It’s worth spending the $$$ for Anna Maria Island if you can.

    7/ If you cannot go in February, then late in March would be best, as many cutdowns would already have occurred and you get to see the actual Pirates instead of non-roster guys like early in Spring Training. McKechnie Field is a nice little Minor League ballpark and you will feel very close to the action. If you don’t spring for the best seats behind home plate (still reasonable), then sit in the right field bleachers. There is a warm up area behind the right field wall and indoor and outdoor bullpens where pitchers work behind the foul stands in right field, so you can be attuned to when actual players are working out and get up close. And the Pirates bullpen is right there in the open at the foul pole.

    8/ I go early because I like talking to the players, and they will talk more at the beginning of Spring Training when there are less people pulling at them. I’ve had some great conversations with Jordy Mercer, Clint Barmes, Neil Walker, Garrett Jones, and The Fort. But even McKechnie Field is great, and Clint will engage you in conversation sometimes. Plus you can catch players walking between bullpen and clubhouse in right field.

    9/ With McKechnie games in afternoon (one a year at night), it will take up the big part of your day . . . . another reason I like going to Pirate City. But . . . IT’S ALL GOOD!!

    10/ Spring Training is my “Time of Refreshment” each year. I feel close to the Pirates, I take no work with me, I am inspired by God at the greatness of the ocean and the power of the waves, I catch up on my Sports newspapers, I read mystery novels, and I solve the problems of the world. It would also be a great family time for you.

    11/ Eat at the Cairo Fish Works, I think it is called. It’s at a fishing pier just at the end of the Cairo bridge going onto Anna Maria Island (the southern of the 2 bridges to the island). Its an outdoor restaurant and you feel that the fish were swimming that morning. And it’s not cheap, but inexpensive. Good pizza joint right near there also. And a breakfast restaurant, all in that section near Cairo Post Office.

    Let’s Go Bucs!!!

  20. Sarah says:

    Next DB epiphany: “A shooter on Sid’s wing?? WTH?”

  21. Sarah says:

    A toasty 8F here in the City….

  22. Sarah says:

    I’ll have to call my Dad….he had a huge crush on her…..

  23. Jandy says:

    WE had 2 degrees F at 4am…by 6am it was 6 degrees. Wow. lol

  24. Milo Hamilton says:

    The Steelers have hired Joey Porter to coach the outside linebackers.

  25. Dom says:

    I like that move!

  26. Milo Hamilton says:

    Not that you’re looking forward to it or anything. :)

  27. Jandy says:

    me three!

  28. Tomlin can give him lessons on staying off the field of play. Oh wait……..

  29. Well, at least Devin Logan has won the silver in slope style skiing at Sochi so the US has now 6 medals, although Russia beat the US women’s curling team 9-7 and China beat the men’s curling team 10-4. Anyhow, West Virginia beat no. 11 Wisconsin last night 102-77 and that was quite a performance, to say the least.

  30. Joey Porter is returning to the Steelers as a defensive assistant coach. He was at least as controversial during his playing days as Ryan Clark has recently been.

  31. Rob says:

    More specifically the Steelers have hired a personal trainer for Jarvis Jones.

  32. Jandy says:

    Milo has that information ^^ there

  33. JohninOshkosh says:

    It gives me goosebumps to see the NHL’ers in their national uniforms. I know the NHL isn’t there for completely altruistic reasons. They want to build their brand, I get that. But I give the commish and the PA all the props in the world for suspending their season, midseason no less, so the best of the best in their respective countries can represent their home nations. Something baseball would never do for the summer games.

    Tremendous respect for the athletes to agree to play not just for a city or fan base, or for their wallets and future contracts, but for their nations.

    Very proud of the Americans that will represent me, not as a hockey fan, or a Minnesota Wild fan, but as a fellow American citizen.

    I hope the NHL never stops participating. And, I love the American team. Good roster, good GM, good coach. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I will literally weep if I get to see the Americans stand on top of the podium while our anthem plays.

  34. It was Iowa State, but impressive nonetheless. JAL probably enjoyed that. Juwan Slaten had 19 for WVU.

  35. Milo Hamilton says:

    The Browns have fired Joe Banner & Mike Lombardi. Does this mean there is only 1 stooge left ?

  36. Milo Hamilton says:

    This is one of those times where twitter is awesome.

  37. Jandy says:

    Oshie, from your heart…this is awesome.

    I will be watching and pulling for our boys as well.

    Go USA!

  38. Jandy says:

    does that leave Moe?

  39. Brandie says:

    Er…Jimmy Haslam.

  40. pattonbb says:

    There’s always a “Shemp” lurking, waiting for his turn.

  41. Nate83 says:

    Man are they a mess. So they now have a coach that wasn’t hired by their current GM. That rarely works out well. Pettine is probably looking for an out clause in his contract right now. As long as the Browns exist there is zero chance any other team in the AFC Central can be the worse run team in the division.

  42. Like all of us older guys did. She and Darla from the Little Rascals.

  43. tpbco says:

    Saw that Pitt was able to hang on to it’s #25 ranking, inspite of the last two victories.

    Methink by this time next week, either they will be ranked a lot higher….or off the charts, likely not to return for the rest of this season, depending on a certain right thumb and ankle.

  44. JoeyBats says:

    Next year….or 2……Haslam can start to use the Marx Brothers analogy! ;-)

  45. Lad 9 says:

    The Browns are so impressive. If someone else such as the Bills, the Jets or the Lions try to jump up and sieze the mantle of most dysfunctional franchise, the Brownies just stomp on them with a move like today’s. You gotta love ‘em. To quote Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders in My City Was Gone, “A, O way to go Ohio”

  46. Milo Hamilton says:

    Bob Costas’ pinko eye (the Russian pronunciation) has progressed to pinko eyes. He’s been given the night off. Matt Lauer coming out of the bullpen.

  47. Arriba Wilver says:


  48. Arriba Wilver says:

    Probably because everyone refused to participate with him. That stuff is crazy contagious, as Costas’ other eye discovered. ;-)

  49. Milo Hamilton says:

    NBC has listed Costas as day to day with an upper body injury.

  50. JohninOshkosh says:

    Is there a cure for Matt Lauer’ s smugness ?

  51. Brandie says:

    Maybe he needs a scorching case of pinko eyes as well. (Tablet did change pinko to pinion, which would have been painfully hysterical).

  52. Milo Hamilton says:

    You mean $25 million a year hasn’t ?

  53. mcpitt88 says:

    PLINKO eyes!!!

  54. Brandie says:

    Yeah…Dummo…The Lost Marx Brother.

  55. Karen22 says:

    It’s snowing and the sun is shining…Snowbow??

  56. Karen22 says:

    YEAH, BABY!! :D

  57. Karen22 says:

    HAHAHAHAHA!! Touche!!

  58. Brandie says:

    I can feel your pulse quicken from here.

  59. Rob says:

    In the words of Siskel and Ebert this comment receives Two Thumbs up!

  60. theplanisworking says:

    Shoutout to Milo for referencing the New Castle basketball team going undefeated for the 3 regular season in a row.
    WPIAL playoff pairings and brackets will be announced tonight.

    Sliver of good news for New Castle opponents for next year……… 4 senior starters will be gone. Bad news……… JV, and 9th grade teams rarely lose.

  61. theplanisworking says:

    PLINKO eyes?
    Does that mean Bob Barker will be replacing Bob Costas?

    Come to think of it, I wouldn’t mind a dead dog replacing Bob Costas.

  62. pattonbb says:

    Yes, Lester Holt.

  63. Brandie says:

    Have you considered maybe it’s not pink eye? Maybe Nob has been doing something medicinal?

  64. theplanisworking says:

    Or maybe he hung around the BisonZ too much?

  65. Jandy says:

    take a picture if you see one!

  66. Arriba Wilver says:

    The AMC’s Walking Dead outperformed the Olympics and the Beatles’ 50 Anniversary Special on Sunday in the 18-49 coveted demographic group.

    DK: That group is slick enough to know how to watch the Olympics live online. :)

  67. Jandy says:

    Yeah, my daughter (27) was so hyped up to watch it, you’d have sworn it was Christmas or something.

  68. Brandie says:

    Wasn’t The Walking Dead a Hippie music group?

  69. theplanisworking says:

    Good One, Brandie.

  70. Arriba Wilver says:

    That’s pretty impressive for a cable series.

  71. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’m Old School. I DVR’d it. ;-)

  72. JohninOshkosh says:

    The NBC Olympic site is poorly done. First, as far as I can tell, you need a cable or satellite provider to log in. My wife and I wanted to watch their web show, “Olympic Ice” about figure skating. It was difficult to find. Archived stuff is next impossible to find. They don’t seem to provide footage of medal ceremonies.

    We’ve decided to go old school. DVR the early stuff of interest and just watch the prime time stuff. I try not to look online or Twitter to find out results.

    To that end I skip over James Thompson’s posts on this site. :)

  73. Rob says:

    If I had seen the picture and not the article there is no way I would have guessed it was Alan Faneca. Way to go Alan!!

  74. Damon says:

    Finally had a chance to post – had a question about all the Morales buzz: Is there a chance the buzz is an attempt to bring the price down on Smoak, or do the Mariners have no interest in bringing Morales back? I guess what I am asking is – do the Mariners value/need Morales more than Smoak so much that the threat the Pirates might sign Morales make them bring their demands down? Probably confused everyone…

    I just don’t see the Pirates giving up a 1st pick PLUS playing Morales $10m+ when they could have had Loney or Morneau for much less.

  75. Jandy says:

    The other paper has a really, really good write up about Geno…excellent read.

  76. Jandy says:

    Thanks for the link, Rob! Good stuff :)

  77. Rob says:

    That was a good piece. I couldn’t help but think how hard it must be for him to stay here and if he would eventually finish out his career there.

  78. Jandy says:

    I think he has become more comfortable here, especially in the last year. But who knows?

  79. 21sthebest says:

    His time was very impressive too.

    And former Steeler Josh Miller is training for a marathon.

  80. Wild Bill says:

    Great article and great post from you, Rob!

  81. 21sthebest says:

    Apologies if this was already mentioned but apparently on that Rumbunter podcast that JAL posted yesterday, PRNW said that A.J. has one contract offer and it’s from the Bucs. They have since bleeped that part of the podcast out (12:40 mark) but at the end the host mentioned to Neil that the A.J. news was great to hear from a Pirate fan perspective.

  82. theplanisworking says:

    If Castas doesn’t get that pink eye looked at soon, this could end up happening……………..

  83. Jim S. says:

    “Animal crackers in my soup …”

  84. Arriba Wilver says:


    Well, I guess if AJ comes back, he and Neil will be great friends, ;-)

  85. Jim S. says:

    I definitely got it, Groat. I think the blog was on the fritz the next day, so I couldn’t respond. But, I did over the weekend. Much appreciated for the info. from both you and Milo.

    I am hoping next year will be the year I can carve out some time and convince my wife that the kids can miss a few days of school just this once.

  86. Jim S. says:

    I wonder if Ray Ray will feel the need to comment from the 4 letter network.

  87. Jim S. says:

    Seriously? That should come out of his paycheck.

  88. Wild Bill says:

    LMAO! Pinkeye makes teeth fall out, too??

  89. Jandy says:

    I hope someone stops that before it happens with ducttape!

  90. Jim S. says:

    I hear they are considering firing HC Mike Pettine as well. The team is just not responding to his methods. Gotta nip these things in the bud. :-)

  91. Jim S. says:

    Joe is still waiting patiently for an opportunity as well. No one that I know of ever liked any of the “Joe” episodes.

  92. Jandy says:

    You know, we on this blog have our ups and downs, and our quarrels, but I think we’re a nice big family.

    Is that too smarmey for ya???


  93. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, he already took a “red eye” home. Sorry for that.

  94. Jandy says:


  95. Jim S. says:

    What is the secret, plan? Great feeders sysems? Great coaching all over the place up there? A combination of these things? The Ghost of Chuck Tanner shining down on them?

  96. Sarah says:

    I agree Jandy….he does seem to be more comfy here now…..

    But I agree w DK, that Russian team is under loads of pressure to get the Gold, but is hamstrung (again) by the political need to placate the KHL, and therefore too many weaker KHL guys.

    The first line of Malkin, Ovie, Semin is fearsome…. WHEN they have the puck….but when they don’t, and have to play D, heaven help Geno trying to defend while Ovie cruises with his thumb up his -rse….

    And they’re so top-heavy, beyond Kovalchuk, not a lot of help….they will have to (IMHO) play Extremely conservative to try to just not get destroyed ES or when top line’s not out there….then hope Geno et al go into God-mode when they are out there.

    I don’t think it looks that good for Russia, but stranger things have happened when you play in your own country!

  97. Jim S. says:

    Me, too. And, we haven’t watched it yet … because we are engrossed in the Olympics!

  98. Jim S. says:

    I think that was “I’m Grateful They’re Dead.”

  99. Jim S. says:

    I don’t think the Mariners wanted Morales back, Damon. They offered him the $14.1 Million QO, then sweated bullets until he didn’t accept it. Since then, they have been acquiring every 1b/slow footed corner OF they can find.

    I think the Pirates would like Morales, but only for much less than $10 million and w/o giving up a draft pick. So, unless he’s still available in June and they haven’t already traded for a Smoak/Moreland/Davis/Carp, etc. type, he won’t be a Buc. He won’t be getting that kind of dough from anyone else, either.

    Tyler Colvin, anyone?

  100. 93.7 is making my ears bleed…not to be critical…

  101. Arriba Wilver says:

    You need to hang out more with 21.

  102. Jim S. says:

    I’m wondering about that as well. If he ends up coming back at what most people thought was below market value, will there be some lingering resentment below the surface? Don’t get me wrong. I’d do just about anything legal for $8.5 million a year and not feel insulted in the least. But, the world these guys live in means they often get insulted by what are considered huge sums of money to the rest of us.

    I wonder if it will be like a player who lost his arbitration case. You know it’s all about business, but still …

  103. Arriba Wilver says:

    Interesting backstory. Thanks.

  104. Jandy says:


  105. Jandy says:

    Need some cotton balls? or ear plugs?
    Screw it, just have a few brews ;)

  106. Jandy says:

    Sarah, Oh I agree the pressure is there. About them playing conservatively? Oh my. I don’t believe that will happen lol.
    I just hope Geno doesn’t injure himself trying to do it all alone.

  107. Happy hour is too far away yet…

  108. Sarah says:

    Yeah….a shame actually. Kinda like the US Olympic committee feeling the need to include at least 8 guys from the AHL.

    Just more pressure on Geno and everyone…..and Bobo especially LOL!

  109. Jim S. says:

    Apparently not.

  110. Sarah says:

    Well, when lines 2-4 are out there, if they don’t play conservative, they’ll get blown out. I guess we’ll see!….

  111. I just hope the refs aren’t listed in the phonebook….if you know what i mean. They’ll be under as much pressure as the ruskie players. When they dont win gold they’ll blame the refs 1st, goalie 2nd and then coaches/selection committee 3rd.

  112. theplanisworking says:

    It is a combination of many factors, Jim.

    Yes, a great feeder system…….. from the 7th grade on up, they run the same plays/system. Practices are structured very similarly. Blundo is a great coach, who previously won state titles at George Junior Republic. But being a principal at the high school may be the best thing. Mark Stanley, the former coach, won a state title at one of the small township schools, but was completely overmatched at New Castle. He would come in every day, and have to deal with disciplinary issues before practice every day. With Blundo already being there, he isn’t distracted by all that.

    Thing to keep in mind, is that New Castle doesn’t have better kids than other schools. Sure, they have a Malik Hooker, or a Steve Eggleston, but New Castle normally has a bunch of small, scrappy athletes, who work themselves to be good. New Castle is also one of the smallest schools in its classification, and will be dropping down in class next year. They don’t have thousands of kids to choose from like a North Allegheny.

    Thing of it is…….. all this success doesn’t mean a thing when it comes time to the state playoffs. The Philly , and Philly suburb teams are loaded every single year. Factor that, and the questionable officiating that occurs deep in the state playoffs, and sometimes it seems that the western teams are wasting their time. In fact, the only champions form the west in the past 15 years are Penn Hills in ’04, and Schenley in ’07. Philly schools have won 6 in a row.

    Sadly, the ghost of Chuck Tanner doesn’t shine on New Castle. That would be Shenango High School, his alma mater.
    It is going to be interesting next year, when NC loses 4 starters to graduation. But, supposedly, there are a couple kids in the 8th-9th grade who will be good in a couple years.

  113. 21sthebest says:

    I obviously can’t speak for A.J., but he’s the one who waited until late January to announce that he’d play this year, allegedly. So in my opinion, he’s responsible for his market value declining since the end of the season if that is in fact the case.

  114. Sarah says:

    Hah! Too true…..
    Though actually the Russian refs have the best rep….they just call the rule book no matter the time in the game, OT or whatnot….

    Will that hold true in Sochi???

    Stay tuned!!

  115. Arriba Wilver says:

    I was really just thinking Neil maybe broke the “code.” How did he know that unless it was from a teammate or AJ? Regardless of what AJ ends up signing for. And if its not here, it won’t matter.

  116. 21sthebest says:

    It looks like I have some time at the end of the month.

  117. Thundercrack says:

    I will only believe AJ and Neil are friends if Ron Cooke reports it

  118. Sarah says:

    Man I am so over the FAN…..

  119. Rob says:

    I think this speaks to the kind of player he was. To transform yourself from a 320 lb. NFL lineman to a marathon runner is an incredible feat.


    So Carlson and PM are ahead of Fowler now? Someone needs to check disco’s oxygen supply out there…has he been hiking in the mountains?

    How bout the jedi move by shero to get the head GM job…eh? :)

  121. 21sthebest says:

    Maybe it was on Twitter?

  122. Rob says:

    I may be reading some of my feelings into this. Being someone who loves what they do and knowing the opportunity to do it is available back home does pull on the heart. I do not know Geno but from what I do know of him and what we see in this article is someone who has a heart for the people back home.

  123. Sarah says:

    Hiking in low oxygen and doing bong hits in the parking lot LOL!!!!

  124. Arriba Wilver says:

    But then you said it disappeared. Someone thought something was a problem apparently.

  125. When did you get footage of my vacation? ;)

  126. Lad 9 says:

    +++++ Browns does rhyme with clowns….

  127. Have your people call my people.

  128. Damon says:

    Thanks Jim!

  129. Jandy says:

    hey, maybe Fowler had a bad practice…he needs those bongs to quiet his nerves :P

  130. Jandy says:

    LOL! I feel your pain.

  131. 21sthebest says:

    Well when I have my new platform released, myFaceTwit, you can post anything and you can’t delete anything. Tony Sanchez will love it. Zuckerberg better start dumping his stock.

  132. Jandy says:

    pssst…Monster Mash….take some red wine with you ;)

  133. Jandy says:

    Yinz are killin’ me!

  134. Been known to enjoy a bottle of pinot…or 2…ok maybe 3 but that does make me a bad person??? :)

  135. Sarah says:


  136. Jandy says:

    he also has friends and “roots” here. Knowing Geno, he’ll be torn…

  137. Sarah says:

    Also….Kunitz on Canada’s PP??

    More god news for US…….

  138. Sarah says:

    Erm….GOOD news…..

  139. Jandy says:

    Anyone who enjoys wine is NOT a bad person

  140. Jandy says:

    I dunno Sarah, Babcock is a good coach, if nothing else.

  141. Wouldn’t it basically be kuni, perry or getzlaf as the prime net front guys? Maybe nash or carter? Some no look chemistry with sid doesn’t hurt.

  142. 21sthebest says:

    Beer works too as does a sparking white. Only sparkling. Otherwise, I just can’t drink white wine.

    Then there’s the best drink of all time. Grey Goose dirty martini, up, extra olives.

    Geez. I’m starting to sound like Frank.

  143. rvfcprez says:

    Great info! Thanks for sharing! We are hoping to go to Bradenton either for a couple of days before February 22nd or right after. This early in spring training, do they do anything at Pirate City on Sunday or would I be better off coming mid week?

  144. 21sthebest says:

    I can’t help but wonder if he lost his weight too quickly. Hopefully he is getting professional advice and training.

  145. Jandy says:

    Read the article, I do believe he is.

  146. Sarah says:

    Oh def KUni’s chem w Sid is IMO the main reason he is on the team.
    I’ve just never thought he’s that effective a net-front presence on PP and can’t imagine they don’t have better options.

    But there ya go.

    Good for Team USA IMO.

  147. Rob says:

    I was thinking the hire of Porter is directly related to developing Jones.

  148. They practice on Sundays as well. Maybe 45 minutes shorter.

  149. Sarah says:

    And Peeps, where do you weigh in on this:
    We all know our Geno can sometimes be susceptible to mental downers….if Russia does NOT do well…..maybe has a close loss in medal round, or even misses the medal round (which I think is possible…)….will Geno bounce back OK once the regular NHL season grind starts up again?….. Or will he struggle?

    Thoughts Peeps???

  150. tpbco says:

    Don’t see any shades of gray. The most likely outcome would be for him to come back and funk out the rest of the season, less likely would be to try to “make up for it ” with the Cup. No in betweens.

    His moods have been somewhat unpredictable over the years, especially in the playoffs, depending on what set him off and who.

  151. So now we’re trading geno, orpik, letang and buying out scuderi?

  152. Bizrow says:

    Does Ron Cooke know what a friend is? ;-)

  153. Jim S. says:

    Will Geno bounce back if Russia gets waxed in Sochi?

    My goodness. I hope so. I hear you about his head not always being right over the years. But, that would be the height of unprofessionalism. I think Geno will be fine, either way.

  154. Jim S. says:

    “Hi 21.”

    Clever, Jandy!

  155. tpbco says:

    Not sure which left field this is from..

    Regardless, can’t trade Letang now, even if they wanted too. Orpik, I wouldn’t have an issue depending on the return. Scuds – man, I’m not seeing the same guy from even last year, let alone previous. Sure would like to know why. Geno, nah…just nah. Warts and all.

  156. Jim S. says:

    I heard from a well connected source that AJ had breakfast this morning, then he did some things. Then, he had lunch. Then, he did some more things.

    I thought everyone going through withdrawal might like an “insider” update.

    You’re welcome.

  157. Was being sarcastic based on posts from last couple weeks. We’re in 1st place but apparently everyone stinks…was just being silly for the sake of being silly.

  158. theplanisworking says:

    Please direct me to the link this is from.
    I haven’t heard or seen anything of this.


  159. theplanisworking says:

    I heard an “insider” say that there was much yawning also.

    In other news, Jim, the sun came up in the East today, air continues to be polluted before we breathe it, and it was darn cold today.

    And New Castle won another game without playing. ;)

  160. Jim S. says:

    Thanks for the info. They have something special going on there.

  161. Arriba Wilver says:

    Cut it out, Jim. You’re taking the heat off the FO for its offseason failures.

  162. tpbco says:

    I dunno if it would be qualified as “unprofessional”. He (and Sid) seems to be like Indy race cars. When they are tuned up, they are incredible, but it does appear that they can get out of whack. Sid has not been the same since Duper went down and Geno, does have a little Jagr in him.

    JMO, but I think it would be in the best interest of the Pens, for Russia to win gold, Canada silver and USA bronze – then every body comes back at least a little happy. Again, posting that as a Pens fan.

  163. tpbco says:

    Thoughts so, but around here – ya never know.

    Still my 2 cents.

  164. Jim S. says:

    And, Kendrys Morales was asked about the Bucs having interest in him.

    His response was, “They might. And, they might not. I could see myself signing with them. Or, not.”

    I’ll stay on top of this stuff.

  165. tpbco says:

    Wadda u mean? Even as we speak, Nutting is paving his driveway with Kugerrands from the Root TV contract. How can THAT be a failure?

  166. Jim S. says:

    You know that old saying, “It beats a sharp stick in the eye.”

    Bob Costas doesn’t think that’s so funny right now.

  167. Jim S. says:

    But, only the upper half of the driveway, tpb!

  168. theplanisworking says:

    Please send back info on what type of danish was eaten also.

    Your “inside source” wouldn’t be hanging out at the Sochi, errrrrrrr Bradenton Starbucks, would they? ;)

  169. theplanisworking says:

    So the other half came from Fort Knox?
    Who knew?

  170. tpbco says:

    Good one


  171. tpbco says:

    Does NBC have a Bradenton affiliate?

  172. theplanisworking says:

    Yes, but sadly, that is all the town has going for it.

    Shame towns like New Castle, Aliquippa, Clairton, Beaver Falls have fallen on hard times, crime and drugs like they have.

  173. Jim S. says:

    Aside from my silliness above …. meant to mention this earlier. Coolest moment for me so far in the Olympics was the Canadien free style skier, Alex Bilodeau, winning yesterday and then immediately embracing his brother, who has CP. He called his brother his “inspiration.” It does not get any better than that for me.

  174. theplanisworking says:

    Yes, but only their own people can have the Starbucks…..

  175. Jim S. says:

    No, but I did read on DK’s tweets today about his ongoing saga to break into that NBC Starbucks. I believe he was successful in sending a decoy behind enemy lines and get him some java. I’m sure there will be repercussions, though. Maybe he’ll find out tomorrow that Bob Costas licked his finger and stuck in the cup first.

  176. theplanisworking says:

    If his mail is forwarded to Gulag: Siberia, we will not have to ask what happened.

    But if he looks like this after drinking his coffee, we won’t have to ask what happened there either………

  177. Jim S. says:

    Yeah. Plus, a tough economy now makes it even tougher for towns like that.

  178. theplanisworking says:


    New Castle is the home of many seniors, and much crime/drugs.

    Downward spiral that is impossible to shake.
    If I ever hit the big lottery, I would be helping in multiple ways there.

  179. Jim S. says:

    Let’s hope not.

  180. theplanisworking says:

    I think that dog should be the blog’s official mascot……

  181. tpbco says:

    Agree- and now he rides off into the sunset with 2 Golds and all the pub and good will to help their fundraising.

    Good Stuff.

    Now if Pitt can just get to ‘cuse…

  182. Brandie says:

    So…when people ask Mr. Haslam if the Brownies are going to be competitive, the response is going to be…

    “That’s a Clown Question, Bro!”

  183. Sarah says:

    Er – what??

  184. Sarah says:

    Actually I think something’s been wrong w Sid for most of this year. Not really to do w Duper……

  185. Sarah says:

    Good lord on an Olympic hockey thread could we keep baseball on another thread?? Oy.

  186. Arriba Wilver says:

    It’s actually the “Java” thread for today, but who’s counting?

  187. theplanisworking says:

    I snuck in high school basketball, so I guess I am guilty of wrecking it also……………..

  188. “He also won’t be timid about meeting with his coaches, even challenging them.”

    Lets hope that means keeping the disco stretch to a minimum and minding the neutral zone…for this tourney and the one a few months.

  189. scapper says:

    You remain the king of this blog’s one-liners. Hilarious.

  190. scapper says:

    Oh man, this is Milo-level funny! I’ll be stealing this directly.

  191. Jandy says:

    He’s leading the league in points…

  192. rvfcprez says:

    Thank you!

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

» Top Sports
» Top News
» Top Breaking News