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Sunday column: Oshie 2014

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

SOCHI, Russia — Доброе утро, Lunatiks …

>> The Sunday column is about T.J. Oshie, who lived out the real American dream.

The Sunday news piece for our main cover looks at the Russians finally letting their hair down a bit. These Games and their surroundings are getting fun.

The daily Sochi Hockey Notebook looks at Evgeni Malkin’s silence on and off the ice, plus much more.

Here are all eight videos for Channel 11 News so far, including the latest one on the variety of food available here …

I’m also doing weekday reports for TribLIVE Radio, and the Friday podcast was culled from a phone interview with Ken Laird. Used Apple’s FaceTime, and it worked just fine.

Here’s the Trib’s Olympics page.

Here’s the official Sochi 2014 page. This has all the schedules and results.

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.

>> Oh, and if you missed it yesterday, the Wall Street Journal covered my continuing futility at trying to access the ‘hidden Starbucks’ NBC keeps to itself  here.

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. Eric Bowser says:

    USA 2 – Slovenia 0 with 9 minutes to play

    Kessel with both goals.

  2. Eric Bowser says:

    Kovacevic suspended…..

  3. theplanisworking says:

    Good Morning you 2!

  4. theplanisworking says:

    Because he stole the StarYucks equipment? ;)

  5. theplanisworking says:


    what do you make of Bylsma’s coaching so far? has he been doing different things in Sochi that he doesn’t normally do here? Or is he doing exactly what he does in Pittsburgh?

    I know it has only been 2+ games so far, just curious to hear your take.

  6. Eric Bowser says:

    The system is pretty simple, which is what countries should be doing when the national team doesn’t have time to play with each other and develop the chemistry needed to play a complex system.

    He made a great decision yesterday to ride Oshie in the shootout.

    Did some line matching too with Backes against Malkin.

  7. It’s not over for Bode Miller yet, especially since he won a bronze in the men’s Super-G in alpine skiing yesterday and won his sixth Olympic medal, a record, and became the oldest US athlete to finish thus at 36, and he didn’t quit.

  8. theplanisworking says:

    So there is hope for him when the NHL resumes play?
    He may actually match lines?
    That’s encouraging. Thanks for your take……… I haven’t seen much of the hockey, and completely missed yesterday’s game.

    Guess we have to put away the “Fire Bylsma” stuff for awhile, huh? ;)

  9. Eric Bowser says:

    Great to have 2-0 lead for USA but Slovenia didn’t just give up and I think Byslma has some coaching to do in order to get more intensity and back to the simple play.

  10. Eric Bowser says:

    The ‘Fire Bylsma’ campaign won’t be affected by these games and will have everything to do with the Penguins making it to the Cup finals. There’s no chance Bylsma starts to match lines in his return to the NHL.

  11. Eric Bowser says:

    That’s awesome, I didn’t see Miller won…. wonder if he’ll return in four years?

  12. theplanisworking says:

    That’s what I was afraid of, but didn’t want to say.

    Thanks, Eric.
    Always good to hear your take on him and the Pens.

  13. Eric Bowser says:

    Terrible penalty called by ref, Backes was tripped down.

  14. theplanisworking says:

    Always like to see the wider ice surface in the Olympics.
    Shame that will never happen in the NHL. Too many “premium” seats would have to go.

    Everyone have a wonderful day of Olympics.
    And a wonderful day in general.

  15. Eric Bowser says:

    Let’s go Bylsma… get these boys back on track.

    I’m watching a Pens game at the moment….

  16. Brandie says:

    Good morning Plan Francisco.

  17. theplanisworking says:

    Hi Brandimal.
    I gave my good day address down below, but I saw you pop in to say hi. So, HI !!

    Be good, Muppet.

  18. Thundercrack says:

    Read the WSJ article about Starbucks at the Olympics. Good stuff (I am a fellow Starbucks addict )

    1. NBC had 2500 people over there
    2. The Starbucks they set up over there doesn’t serve regular black coffee?

    3. DK said having a SB cup is a status symbol. His humor didn’t come through to the WSJ

    4. DK’s wife is monitoring his credit card activity. :-)

  19. Brandie says:

    If you pop back in or even if you don’t, always bring the excellence.

    Book em’ Plan-o!

  20. Eric Bowser says:

    Yes but NHL doesn’t need to wipe out seats to increase goal scoring…

    1. If you increase the height and width of the net by the size of a puck, you will get some more scoring.

    2. Demand the rules be enforced. If that means one team gets 7-10 power plays in one game, then so be it. Don’t take so many penalties and adjust your game or get rid of players that can’t adjust to the rules.

    Remember when the NHL came back, they had video showing any hooking from behind when the skater was behind the net and coming out, they were going to call penalties. It is rarely called now.

  21. Eric Bowser says:

    When DK’s wife called him and asked, “did you have BBQ or Sweet & Sour”, he knew he was busted. LOL

  22. Eric Bowser says:

    Kessel…. hat trick!

  23. And now, it’s 4-0 over Slovenia as Team USA has just scored back to back goals in the second quarter!

  24. This russian coach has no feel for his team or personnel.

  25. Oh look…a line change by the ruskies. Too bad its not the right one…

  26. Good to see planetoid back on here today. I was a-feared he might have taken a break after Friday.

    Jandy must have slept through the mornings festivities today. Or she’s walking Shelby in the snow.

  27. Sisyphus says:

    If you enlarge the ice surface, you get MORE premium seats, not less.

    Think about it. If, say, rows 1-10 are your top priced seats and the first two rows have to go to increase the size of the ice surface, you just make the next two rows premium priced seats, maintaining the row 1-10 standard. The two rows you add have more seats than the two rows you eliminated had. Do that for every price section, all the way back. You’re eliminating the cheapest seats when you increase the ice surface, not the expensive ones. You’re also decreasing capacity, thereby increasing demand, enabling you to raise all ticket prices if you choose. (Admittedly not much of a factor for teams like the Pens, who sell out all of the time.) You could make more money on the sale of less seats if you do it right.

  28. All the rusky wingers playing their off wings just about…relying on one timers all day long when the other team knows what you’re trying to do is as stubborn as anything we’ve seen from a coach.

  29. The US just scored another goal! It’s 5-0 now!

  30. Eric Bowser says:

    I know the job I want…. Penguins Head European Scout, currently held by Patrik Allvin.

  31. Sarah says:

    Did Datsyuk bow out a knee in the RUS game? That could be huge….

  32. Brandie says:

    All kinds of talent to be had. Can I be your assistant?

  33. No he’s in there.

    Sarah you see my reply yesterday? Looks we like got our signals crossed.

  34. Brandie says:

    Hoping Jandy and the Shelbster didn’t get lost. Good morning Revvie!

  35. Which non NHLers you like? Other slovenian goalie Kristan cant say i’m too enamored with anyone. Wick for the swiss has been intriguing but dont think he wants to go back to north america.

  36. Sarah says:

    Nope haven’t read….been racing around last night….I know we disagree on the dats goal…..and apparently DK things the F in neutral was primary. On any fast rush there’s usually an F who blew it, that’s true. But IMO Brooks was caught flat footed, over committed to the outside and the lane opened for Dats. Happens.

  37. Sarah says:

    Looks like dats back? but RUS is sucking….

  38. Brandie says:

    Even if his knee was physically separated from his body, there is no way he bows out.

  39. Agreed but fact that carlson was way too far to the right made things worse…he hardly played after that. Edzo the tremendous even pointed that out during the game. How dejan can ignore edzo the tremendous is beyond me…

  40. Sarah says:

    Hah! The replay I saw looked bad tho….

  41. Sarah says:

    Hah! Blake Wheeler got 1 shift also I think. Took a penalty, sat the rest of the game. Looking good today tho I hear.

  42. Sarah says:

    And I think Kuni off Sids line too…..

  43. Eric Bowser says:

    Honestly, Tomas Surovy looks like a different player since his days with the Penguins. Skating better than I remember.

    Russia’s Medvedev isn’t too bad.

  44. Sarah says:

    And this format masks DBs flaws. Plus he cant install his system, so they’re playing much simpler puck-support hockey. Also there are no true 4th line grinders for him to play favorites with and give 30 mins TOI lol! Everybody is good. And there’s Lavs running the PP.

    And yes, he will never match lines upon his return.

    Which, if I’m Geno or Sid, kind of p-session me off.

  45. Sid wont let that be…atleast i hope not. That line has created chances but carter and mighty mouse havent finished.

  46. Sarah says:

    Damn u auto correct. That was pisses.

  47. Sarah says:

    …..thereby feeding the meme that “Sid is hard to play with”…..

  48. Sarah says:

    Scoreless at EOR for RUS…..

  49. Dont get me started on wheeler. Sad not to see saad on the squad muckin it up and controlling the puck.

  50. DJ says:

    Silly decision by the Russian coach to keep Geno off the top PP and then not use him more than once in the shootout. Also not surprised Geno is disappointed by his decreased opportunities, but not saying so publicly.

    I don’t think Russia’s coach is giving Geno his due. Some people see Geno’s playfulness — his “little kid” zeal for the game — and mistake that for a lack of intensity or focus. They would prefer a stoic Ovechkin or Kovalchuk as more in the traditional Russian mold. I would argue that they have relegated their best all-around player to second fiddle status.

  51. Medvedev may by worth a look but i wanna see the russian defense hold up long term and not just one hyped up adrenaline filled game. Hard to judge surovy right now…slovakia just sitting back after diggin in.

  52. Unfotunately, Slovenia scored one with 17.6 seconds left, though it was too little, too late. And now, it’ll be two days before there are any more games, and then, the US will get an automatic bye against an as yet undetermined opponent. And now, it’s Slovakia vs. Russia, no score in overtime.

  53. Brandie says:

    Loss yesterday must have them rattled. You need to have a short memory at times like these.

  54. Sarah says:

    Shoot out coming up! Switch to USA network Peeps…

  55. Sarah says:

    Yeah they’re dissing. Geno. Bad snuff he has to play w Ovie who neutralizes him.

  56. And to you, Brandie snifter!

  57. Russia just won the shootout 1-0. And now, the second place Russians will have to play in an elimination game on Tuesday and hope to win so they can reach Wednesday’s quarter finals, which Team USA has already reached since they won 5-1 today.

  58. Ruskies got the better end this time.

  59. Chances of russia blaming the refs again?

  60. No hossa in the shootout…what is it with these euro coaches???

  61. Popov looks like a speedy lil player but he didn’t play much.

  62. likeabugonarug says:


    There would be more to it than just removing 2 rows. Remember that seating is tiered, not flat. So you would also need to either raise the level of the floor, lower the level of the seating, raise the height of the short glass, or add netting all the way around. Otherwise you would have people sitting much higher against the short glass who are right up against the ice. That in itself would be more dangerous for the fans if left as is, or else a potentially very expensive modification to the infrastructure of all these arenas.


  63. DJ says:

    Geno is a sensitive guy who internalizes, whose performance is often affected by his confidence level.

    They need to set Geno free.

  64. likeabugonarug says:


    Just read that in the Philly Inq. Came out here to see if anyone else had caught that yet.

    I was wondering how any of DK’s relatives could take potentially cheap shots in a hockey game. :-)


  65. Sarah says:

    Actually should Russia not win gold, which I doubt they will, you wonder how it will affect Malkin emotionally once the NHL grind starts up again…..

  66. Catching up on usa game now and this other goalie slovenia has isnt horrible either.

  67. DJ says:

    I had thought about that as well, Sarah. I actually think it may help him, being back among the Pens who understand him and in a city where he is comfortable and that appreciates him.

    I think he comes out smoking post-Olympics.

  68. JohninOshkosh says:

    What a weekend for Upper Midwest hockey.

    1. TJ Oshie (Warroad, MN). Hero of shootout with Russians.
    2. Phil Kessel (Madison, WI). Natural hat trick today. Four goals in tournament.
    3. David Backes (Spring Lake Park, MN). Goal today.
    4. Ryan McDonagh (St. Paul, MN; University of Wisconsin). Goal today.

    Plover, Wisconsin’s Joe Pavelski teamed on same line as Madison, Wisconsin’s Kessel.

    Zach Parise, TJ Oshie and David Backed form an all Minnesota line..

  69. DJ says:

    Impressive, JiO. I think Oshie grew up in Washington and moved to MN to play against better competition.

  70. Sarah says:

    I sure hope so. They are under so much pressure. It may be a relief.

  71. Eric Bowser says:

    Seeing a trend already from Canadian media about Crosby and Kunitz.

    The only thing Ontario and Western Canadians like more than winning a gold medal is ripping on Canadians from Quebec & Nova Scotia.

  72. Sarah says:

    It’s a shame. The eat their own.

  73. Sarah says:

    Ryan McD is all that and a bag of chips. So good.

  74. Sarah says:

    When RUS flamed out in Vancouver…were the lines the same? Geno with Ovie, Semin…?

  75. Eric Bowser says:

    It is insane to think the best player in the NHL gets little to no respect from the Canadian media. It is like they have this requirement to never allow anyone to be lifted to a greater level than that of Wayne Gretzky.

  76. Back then they flamed out cuz the khlers got outskated IMO. This time around they arent costing them cuz they aren’t being played much but the rest of the squad is too predictable. Relying that much on one timers and having wingers on their off sides gives opposing teams a chance to pack it in around the house and dare you to make lengthy passes thru traffic. Predictable.

  77. Would’ve tried Nichuskin-Malkin-Ovie(RW not LW) a LOOONG time ago.

  78. Upon further review 55 and 17 look like decent skaters for slovenia too.

  79. Eric Bowser says:

    The closest thing they have to Jokinen-Malkin-Neal would have been Kulemin-Malkin-Nichushkin but Russia seems hell bent on putting Malkin with Ovechkin, which is just plain stupid.

  80. Eric Bowser says:

    Rooting for Finland

    I can’t wait to see Olli Maatta and Sami Salo against Sidney Crosby.

  81. Meanwhile, down here in Daytona Beach, FL, Denny Hamlin started off race weeks yesterday by winning the crash ridden (as usual) NASCAR’s Sprint Unlimited at the Speedway.

  82. macchamp74 says:

    Looking forward to watching this game. Maatta looking like world class defenseman

  83. Sarah says:

    Oh I know the KHLers killed em…..I thought they did have Geno w Ovie tho. Stupid them stupid now…..

  84. Sarah says:

    …..if not French.

  85. Ya they are but at least if they’re passing forehand to forehand they can get some speed up ice then criss cross for the one timer. As is ovie is a black hole for the puck and geno cant be happy. He’d be perfectly happy playing give n go but with ovie its give n wait n wait n wait for it….wait some more. Then to the bench…

  86. Sarah says:

    Tho Wayne was from ON I believe.
    I just compare how much they love Mario vs Sid.

  87. Sarah says:

    Yeah and Ovie as a puck retriever for Geno is……nagahappa……

  88. Sarah says:

    A bit of traffic for Rask already …..

  89. Eric Bowser says:

    I think Weber slap shot hit Bergeron and he went back to bench hurt, not good for Canadians.

  90. Sarah says:

    Did Nash touch that?

  91. Eric Bowser says:

    Stick above cross-bar, there’s no way this can count.

  92. Believe you’re correct. And if semin was anymore on the perimeter he’d need a ticket.

  93. JohninOshkosh says:

    Ha! Rick Nash with a strange looking goal by knocking puck off top of net. Goal called off as high sticking.

  94. Didn’t think nash should be on the roster but since he is wouldn’t he be the prototypical winger for sid?

  95. Brandie says:

    Traffic for Rask?! What a novel concept. Canada is going to make Rask and Finland work for it.

  96. DJ says:

    Doesn’t the stick need to be totally above the cross bar, meaning the top of the cross bar?

    If so, the Olympic “ring” in which the puck sat on top of the net was below the cross bar, so even if his stick hit it — which did not seem definitive on the reply — his blade would still seem to be below the top of the cross bar when it touched the puck.


  97. Brandie says:

    Really? Sid needs a winger? Snce when?

  98. Sarah says:

    Dunno….why do you think?…..I always thought of him as lazy and over rated…..lotsa skill for sure tho.

  99. Reach, size, skill, speed and can finish. He got it going stats wise after team was announced too.

  100. DJ says:

    . . . that would be “replay,” not “reply.”

  101. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’m a big Nash fan. He sure gets bashed on this blog.

  102. Brandie says:

    Kind of makes Dan B look flexible by comparison.

  103. Eric Bowser says:

    hahahahaha, Selanne yelling at Crosby to stop diving.

    Truth. That was a dive by Sid to embellish the interference by Immonen.

  104. JohninOshkosh says:

    Selanne accuses Crosby of flopping. Hilarious.

    Crosby looks a bit tired to me.

  105. Sarah says:

    Wow, Rask. Yuck.

  106. Sarah says:

    Can’t say I have watched him enough to feel strongly…..but I would have picked Neal……

  107. JohninOshkosh says:

    Oh Canada!

    1-0. Great White North

  108. Sarah says:

    ….and now Rask bails them out on a giveaway straight out of my beer leagues……

  109. Sarah says:

    Sadly I think CAN is going to bury FIN. But maybe Rask can stand on his head!

  110. Eric Bowser says:

    he’s flopping all over the place. Not a good sign for Finland.

  111. JohninOshkosh says:

    Rask is kinda goofy. Odd seeming fellow.

  112. Yup..why wouldn’t you want to have kuni-crosby-neal in your back pocket?

  113. Sarah says:

    Ow Ollie…..

  114. pattonbb says:

    Uh oh….

  115. JohninOshkosh says:

    This is a big game for the quarterfinals seedlings.

    Maata takes a high stick by Nash. Off to locker room.

  116. Eric Bowser says:

    My dislike for Rick Nash just went up another level…. Maatta sticked in face, looked like eye.

  117. macchamp74 says:

    Maatta heads off ice to locker room….high stick around his eyes….ugh

  118. Sarah says:

    Times a squillion. Idiot.

  119. DJ says:

    Is Ollie playing the PP? First Finland game I’ve watched.

    If so, they missed him on the last one.

  120. Sarah says:

    Ollie back TG

  121. Brandie says:

    Amen. To be that tough and poised at 19.

  122. Barb says:

    This is what worries me about having the NHL players playing these games. Too many chances for injuries. Have been watching how the Russian coach has been mishandling the use of Geno. It may come back to haunt them.

  123. Sarah says:


  124. Maatta showing some wear but his puck support and pinch led to the goal sequence.

  125. Eric Bowser says:

    At one time, I was all for NHLers in the Olympics but I’ve flipped.

    I’d take more joy watching amateurs competing than paid professionals.

  126. JohninOshkosh says:

    This isn’t even close to the best team Finland could field.

    Canada struggled somewhat with Norway.

    Guess they have trouble with

  127. JohninOshkosh says:

    …Nordic countries!

  128. Barb says:

    That’s what my family and I were discussing last night. Let the amateurs play.

  129. Sarah says:

    Really thought FIN was done w the injuries to Koivu and Filpula…this is amazing.

  130. scapper says:

    Bowz, we finally agree on something. I can’t stand NHL’ers in these games. In fact, I think the quality of the hockey suffers because of it. Throwing all these guys together and having games after a couple of practices means you lose the flow and meshing you get with groups who had more time to work together as a team.

    I know I also spend too much time focusing on how much energy Sid and Geno are expending, how much I don’t want Maata or Martin or Orpik (yes, him too, haters) blocking shots.

    Finally, while I loathe the cheap shots and gratuitous crunching checks of the NHL, some real hitting would add a lot to these games. I’m not saying this is like an all-star game, but these guys are certainly not delivering the usual amount of good, clean, purposeful and effective body checks.

    And one extra note. Here’s to the Good Columnist for mentioning that yesterday’s game was still just a round robin game. It was fun and I enjoyed Oshie’s cool and smile, but still…let’s not go comparing it to Hasek’s save on Lindros and Forsberg’s sick goal in elimination games.

  131. Barb says:

    Just heard that the US won’t meet CAN or RUS until the gold medal game. Interesting.

  132. Eric Bowser says:

    1 Sweden plays winner Slovenia 8 / Austria 9
    2 USA plays winner Czech Republic 7 / Slovakia 10
    3 CAN/FIN winner plays winner of Switzerland 6 / Latvia 11
    4 CAN/FIN losers plays winner of Russia 5 / Norway 12

  133. DJ says:

    By my count, refs swallowed whistles for 3 against Canada and 1 against Finland in last 6 minutes.

  134. Was that doughty or ovechkin coming down the wing?

  135. Barb says:

    Well CAN defensemen scoring all their goals today.

  136. Sarah says:

    Hope that was tipped else 2 really lousy goals on Rask.
    So wanted a SO!

  137. BillyBaduka says:

    I don’t know how much is the coach and how much is the players but something is off with the Russians.

    They looked like this in Vancouver too. Too much individual play, not enough team support.

  138. scapper says:

    Think the U.S. would play Canada in semi’s now, if it gets to that, and not see Russian until the finals.

    But as per usual…I could be wrong.

  139. Wild Bill says:

    By the way, and following up on a conversation from the other day, the Russian female curlers are on right now, and they are indeed attractive.

  140. Wild Bill says:

    Canada and Russia hockey not dominant so far. Are the rest of you thinking that the US has a better and better chance to win it all?

  141. JohninOshkosh says:

    USA will play Canada in semis if both win quarterfinal games.

  142. Sarah says:

    We’ll I never thought Russia would dominate.
    I guess I think the best chances are US CAN and SWE ….
    But biggest surprise for me is Finland. They are missing their top Four centers! and still right there.
    I thought CAN would handle them easily.

    Canada looks tight to me. US seems the most relaxed.

  143. bpn8pitt says:

    Taxes are extremely high. Same reason a lot of American soccer players wont play in EPL, A League, etc

  144. scapper says:

    Just got eliminated. I could cry.

    Now my prurient pursuits will have to come via the ice dancers. Saw a string of them today, one just as beautiful as the next.

  145. Sarah says:

    And that was just some atrocious officiating BTW. Bad as anything in the NHL….

  146. JD says:

    Hey OshKosh – what day would that be?

    How was your get together for the game yesterday?

  147. Ghost says:

    Alright, time for some baseball.
    A.J. exonerated the Pirates for not QO-ing him. According to Rob Biertempfel, A.J. said at his presser with the Phillies, “I had said before, I would either (retire) or play for (the Pirates), so why would you (make the offer)? The fact that I didn’t know yet whether I wanted to play or not, I’m sure had a big impact on them.”
    And A.J. also stated that Philadelphia’s proximity to his home and family was what won the day. Cynics, think what you will. I hope A.J. returns to us at the trade deadline. Short of that, I hope he kicks butt this year against everybody except us.

  148. bpn8pitt says:

    What are the odds Burnetts son would be on the same 7th grade rec team as the Philliies asst gms son?

    It is what is. I think the Pirates can be held accountable for not upgrading first, or chasing someone better than Volquez. But AJs situation was too unique. Sounds like he would have retired had draft pick compensation would have been required.

  149. theplanisworking says:

    It would be the day you decided to NOT attack me on here.
    Meaning, it would never, ever happen. Grow up.

  150. Jandy says:


  151. Jandy says:

    Thanks you too, no worries, Jandy was being lazy and enjoying some quality time with the hubs. :)

  152. Jandy says:

    that was two…Revvie and Sistah.

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