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Morning Java: The ‘fake’ thank you

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Доброе утро, Lunatiks …

>> The Thursday column looks in amazement at Lauryn Williams’ starcrossed career that just might have ended with this bobsled silver.

The hockey notebook focuses on Olli Maatta’s excellence, with a twist of Evgeni Malkin’s misery and much more.

Here are all 11 videos for Channel 11 News so far, including yesterday’s stuff from up in the mountains …

I’m also doing weekday reports for TribLIVE Radio, and here’s yesterday’s edition interviewing Williams and her driver, Elana Meyers,  before their race.

Here’s the Trib’s Olympics page.

Here’s the official Sochi 2014 page, with 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.

>> The one Russian word pretty much every visitor here seems to have picked up is spasibo, or thank you. Stands to reason, too. The workers and volunteers have been, as with most Games, unfailingly helpful and polite. In a given day, the word gets used maybe a couple dozen times.

But it’s also led to an unfortunate, if amusing, trend.

An awful lot of people, instead of spasibo, or saying placebo. Which, of course, means a simulated or otherwise medically ineffectual treatment for a disease or other medical condition intended to deceive the recipient.

Upon noticing maybe the millionth example of this with someone ahead of me in the cafeteria line, I asked the young lady at the register why she didn’t correct the gentleman.

“Everyone does it,” she said. “We think it’s cute.”

>> Back in that other hemisphere, Tomas Vokoun gets cleared to return to full action. That’s great news, obviously, but it’s uncertain what it means for the Penguins. Josh Yohe reports.

Here’s the Trib’s Penguins page.

>> Bob Nutting made his annual big entrance in Bradenton. Rob Biertempfel reports, and also shares this video snippet …

Here’s the Trib’s Pirates page.

>> Lots of storylines shaping up for the NFL combine, by Alan Robinson.

Here’s the Trib’s Steelers page.

>> The Dukes fall short of St. Bonaventure. Shawn Campbell reports from Olean, N.Y.

>> The weekly chat will be today at noon, rather than the usual Friday. Too much going on in the way of pucks to hold it at the usual time. As soon as you see the post go up, submit an entry in the chat field.

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 more, including 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 top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.

349 Comments

  1. DK, spasibo for the job you do.

  2. Очень хорошо Дayh!

  3. Pirates’ President Frank Coonelly says he thinks that despite the loss of AJ, the Pirates will be better this year. We shall soon see.

  4. JAL’s Babel Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWza_On7ajs

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsjN0zO-DxI0dDNkaWxFNWIwNDVUQzEwYXp5SlpGNkE&usp=drive_web#gid=0

    4 Pirates Prospects Spring Training Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/st2014

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: What Got the Pirates Here and What Will Keep Them Here

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/first-pitch-what-got-the-pirates-here-and-what-will-keep-them-here.html

    Andrew Lambo Doing Defensive Drills at First Base (Video)

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/andrew-lambo-doing-defensive-drills-at-first-base-video.html

    Bob Nutting on the 2014 Pirates, TV Deals, Prospects and Trade Deadline

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/bob-nutting-on-the-2014-pirates-tv-deals-prospects-and-trade-deadline.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates place seven in BA’s top 100

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/2/19/5428370/pirates-place-seven-in-bas-top-100

    7 Rumbunter

    Clint Hurdle: New Season, New Message

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/02/19/clint-hurdle-new-season-new-message/

    8 Green Weenie

    2/18-19: Manny Mota, Bob Miller, Bruce Kison, AJ…

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2014/02/218-19-manny-mota-bob-miller-bruce.html

    9 Rant Sports

    Fantasy Baseball 2014 Team Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://www.rantsports.com/fantasy/2014/02/19/fantasy-baseball-2014-team-preview-pittsburgh-pirates/

    10 Saber Bucs

    How Much Power do Pirates Need in RF.

    http://saberbucs.com/blog/2014/02/19/how-much-power-do-pirates-need-in-rf/

    11 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors: Bucs Still Looking For First Baseman

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2014/02/19/pittsburgh-pirates-rumors-bucs-still-looking-first-baseman/

  5. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Bradenton Herald

    Pittsburgh Pirates | Owner says Pirates already on to next challenge

    http://www.bradenton.com/2014/02/20/5003933/pittsburgh-pirates-owner-says.html

    13 Sporting News

    Why young power pitchers are taking over MLB

    http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2014-02-19/pitcher-rankings-2014-jarred-cosart-nathan-eovaldi-garrett-richards

    14 Pirates Site

    Nutting highlights expectations in address to Bucs

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/pit/bob-nutting-highlights-expectations-in-address-to-bucs?ymd=20140219&content_id=67950812&vkey=news_pit

    15 Cardinals Site

    Young arms Wacha, Taillon enjoy budding friendship

    http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140219&content_id=67954224&notebook_id=67956790&vkey=notebook_stl&c_id=stl

    16 Fangraphs

    The Best Transactions of the 2014 Off-Season

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-best-transactions-of-the-2014-off-season/

    17 New Pittsburgh Courier

    Diversity a priority for Kellum, Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://newpittsburghcourieronline.com/2014/02/19/diversity-a-priority-for-kellum-pittsburgh-pirates/

    18 St. Louis Post Gazette

    Bernie: Cutting through the deep grass in center field

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bernie-cutting-through-the-deep-grass-in-center-field/article_2b1eaee3-a4ce-559b-b835-d31eb12ff1cd.html

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Eight Players We Expect to Decline in 2014

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22846

    20 Grand Haven Tribune

    PAINTER: Remembering who the true heroes are

    http://www.grandhaventribune.com/opinion/community-columnist/873431

  6. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Gonzalez in, Marino and Sharpe out on ‘The NFL Today’

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/latest-news/2014/2/19/5425620/gonzalez-in-marino-and-sharpe-out-on-the-nfl-today

    Steelers Trades: Jeremy Staat was ‘surprised’ when Pittsburgh traded for his rights

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014/2/19/5425240/steelers-trade-history-nfl-draft-jeremy-staat

    22 Steelers Depot

    Kevin Colbert Reveals His Steelers Mount Rushmore

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2014/02/breaking-kevin-colbert-reveals-his-steelers-mount-rushmore/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    How does age affect performance in Europe’s top leagues?

    http://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/age-affect-performance-europes-top-leagues

    24 BBC Football

    Everton: Duncan Ferguson given permanent coaching role

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/26267968

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Evgeni Malkin: post-disappointment of Sochi

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2014/2/19/5425656/evgeni-malkin-olympic-stats-sochi-russia-hockey-loses

    Song: First Snow in Brooklyn Jethro Tull

    25 Pensburgh

    Pens Points Wednesday: A Very Penguin Christmas

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/12/25/5239634/pens-points-wednesday

  7. I feel really bad for Malkin and the Russians bombing out in their homeland Olympics.
    But my heart is breaking for Lauryn Williams. She is one heck of a competitor and one of the classiest ladies ever.
    I’d love to see her come back for more competition, but how much disappointment should she be expected to bear?

    Spasibo, Lauryn, for giving your all.

  8. The US has now won 21 medals at Sochi to lead the pack right now. Keep up the good work! Now as for the Russians, well, I feel for Geno Malkin and hope he can shake that all off and help the Pens win the Stanley Cup.

    • I hope he’s really MAD & takes it out on all opponents through JUNE!

    • I think Geno is disappointed and dejected. I also think he’ll get over it and focus on the task at hand in about a week … you know, the task that he actually gets paid for.

      Disappointment is one thing, but lack of professionalism is totally unacceptable. If he really can’t get motivated to win a Stanley Cup at this point, then what good is he? I’m serious. This should not even be a question, and I don’t think it will be. But, since we know he has bouts of moodiness I do hear where everyone is coming from on this.

      I love Olympic hockey, but it really screwed with the NHL season. Now, Tavares is out for the season.

  9. I got 30 seconds into Bob Nutting’s video before I had to end it. He is not showing appreciation to the fans by continuing to be a skinflint.

    • Mr. Nutting will eventually have to start spending some money or else he’ll lose all his good players. After all, he can’t hope to compete on the cheap anymore and use the Pirates’ being a small market team as an excuse.

    • A “skinflint!” LOL! Cobra, I think that’s the first I’ve heard that word used since I watched the old “Red Skelton Show” as a kid! LOL! (I’m not a Pittsburgher/Yinzer, mind you, it may be part of the everyday vocabulary there!)

  10. I’m sorry about Lauryn Williams as well since she’d hoped to win her second straight gold although she can console herself on having won the silver. Let’s hope she can eventually come back in a big way.

  11. Dejan deserves a Gold Medal, too!! Outstanding work…really have enjoyed following your columns and you make us feel like we are there in Sochi. Thanks, Dejan!

  12. Great first two paragraphs from Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise today:

    SOCHI, Russia — Alex Ovechkin is going home in the first round of the playoffs. Sidney Crosby’s team somehow survives. And Dan Bylsma is outcoaching everyone, even when he doesn’t always have the best players on the ice.

    Disconcerting, no? I walked into the Olympic hockey tournament Wednesday and a Washington Capitals season broke out.

  13. I watched the Nutting video above. Not much to see there, however, he seemed to be a bit more realistic, and thankful this year. Nice to see someone in that FO took a PR 101 class when speaking to the media. I just have to give credit where credit is due.

    Now if only he could have had Coonelly and Huntington go to the same PR 101 class. They are still a work in progress.

    • I give you credit for watching, Plan. I just can’t. Nutting’s first priority – it seems to me – is to be profitable in everything he does. If winning happens while doing it, great, but not the first priority. I’ve heard others say differently, including DK, I think, but I’m not in buying mode.

      Public relations is always useful to the really smart businessman. And Mr. Nutting IS smart.

      • Oh, I agree with you that profit is job 1. That is just business.
        I have a hard time wrapping my head around all the extra money coming in, and none of it has made its way to payroll. That is what I object to. If the extra money wasn’t coming in, then fine.

        In years past, listening to Nutting every ST was akin to playing “Tomorrow” non-stop. Lose 105 games the previous year? Go win the division !! This year he sounds different, that is why I gave him credit.
        Just think if the Pirates FO utilized a PR firm from the beginning?

      • I think two of the goals are to win and to maintain a cash flow that doesn’t require you to incur additional debt or ask the partners for additional contributions. They go hand in hand and I have a hard time listing goals numerically.

        With the way sport franchises appreciate in value as evidenced by sales transactions over the years, Nutting doesn’t have to worry about the team profiting to build his own personal wealth. He can even lose money from the team’s annual operations, borrow from banks if he has to, and the value of the team will still appreciate. He gets his cash when and if he sells the team.

        • But, with all of those partners, it is harder to stick with that philosophy – if that is his philosophy. Maybe those guys want cash in hand each year.

          • If you’re referring to the distribution of profits each year to partners, I doubt that’s written into the partnership agreement other than to pay their share of taxes on undistributed profits. You don’t invest in sports team, even limited partners, to cash flow each year. You invest for the long term appreciation in value and the ego of owning a sports team. Owning teams are hobbies for pretty much every owner.

            • Ok, then he should be ok with breaking even each year on his “hobby.” I’d love for him to treat this as a hobby. I don’t think he does that.

        • Madden had a segment that actually made some sense yesterday. He said if Nutting is using the extra money to pay down debt, that’s really the same thing as putting it in his pockets because he (or his family) get more when the franchise is sold. But since it’s not technically in his pockets today, and they can argue that nobody is “taking out profits,” it is somewhat camouflaged.

          • He’s not correct and I’ve heard this argument before. If you paid down debt, you used cash. Not sure how that generates more cash in sales proceeds than what you paid down in debt. It also depends on how a potential sale is structured as well as many other factors.

            When you pay off your house, does it increase the value at which you can sell your house? No. I think this analogy works.

            • No, but if you sell it, it increases your personal profit.

            • I think I understand your argument, 21, but I also agree with Jandie. It doesn’t increase the value of your asset, but it increases what you receive in your pocket at the end. But the difference in the house analogy is that you really can’t generally use profits from your house to pay down what you owe on the mortgage, unless you rented it out of course. But in the Nutting case, assuming it were true, he’d be taking money generated from the asset to pay down the debt. The only difference is does he take it now or later. Technically, though, it’s accurate to say it’s going back into the Pirates.

              • Okay, try this on for size.

                Let’s say I’m buying your business and we agree that it has a fair value of $1M and it has $300k worth of debt. I’m paying you and you’re pocketing $700k. Fair value less the debt that I’m assuming, obviously.

                Now let’s say that you paid off the debt right before I buy the company. The business is still valued at $1M and that’s what I’m paying you for it. So you’re still netting $700k because you used $300k to pay down the debt.

              • But I can use my personal profits to pay down the mortgage. Doesn’t matter if it’s rent or some other income I have.

              • It’s the source of the money used to pay down the debt I’m suggesting is the difference. In your example, to me the comparable thing would be Nutting using money from Seven Springs or personal assets to pay off the debt, not the proceeds from the business we are valuing.

              • Got it, but the net amount going into your pocket is no different under any of these scenarios.

          • it’s still baloney!
            Hooey!

  14. What Ray Rice of the Ravens did to his fiance at that Atlantic City casino was positively dreadful! And on video tape yet! One would certainly hope he’ll get more than just the book thrown at him!

  15. Ok so i caught up on the canada game and the US game and even the swedes game against slovenia…but still cant decide on my picks in the semi’s. :scratchin head:

  16. * Syracuse was living on the edge for a long time. They have not been playing very good offensive basketball for some time now, except at the ends of games. Their luck ran out.

    * I mentioned the Ray Rice thing last night. The video of him dragging his unconscious fiance off the casino elevator is pretty scary. His agent says don’t jump to conclusions about what happened. Witnesses are apparently saying he knocked her unconscious with a punch. There are also more videos from the casino that the police have not released, from what I have read. This is very sad.

    * Mr Nutting: The Pirates are not a ski resort. There are only so many people available who can run a franchise and manage a team at the MLB level. In my opinion, you have 2 very good ones right now. Their contracts need to be extended ASAP. Stop telling us you aren’t cheap, and start proving it with your actions.

    • “Having talked with both of them, I don’t think that’s the first topic on anybody’s mind right now,” Nutting said. “There’s so much work to get done for this team between now and Opening Day. We’re early in spring training. It’s not a time to have that discussion.”

      Does anyone really think Nutting won’t pick up the contract options for 2015 for CH and NH? They are less than a week into spring training and some are worried about this? In reading BN’s quotes I took him as meaning that everyone wants to focus on getting the team prepared for the season right now.

      My guess is that they will announce contract extensions Opening Day or when they break camp.

      And I am grateful that we don’t have a David Ortiz on our team who seems to always be b*tching and moaning about his contract status….and lack of respect

      • Ortiz is, to me, the most unlikeable person in baseball. I can not wait until he retires. Of course, five years after that comes the loathsome HOF debate. So, careful what you wish for, I guess.

      • I hope you’re right, TC. And, even with extensions, those guys have been so far on the low end of the pay scale in their profession that they would probably still be bargains. And, we know how Bob likes bargains.

        Every time I start to trust him, though, something happens and I go back to square 1 with him.

        • In the sound bite I heard on radio, Nutting said this wasn’t the time to have that discussion or to make an announcement. Either he misspoke or slipped if you ask me by adding the word announcement. That indicated to me that something is in process.

  17. Observations from Pirate City:

    Yesterday’s workout was a day primarily for pitching. Therefore, not much action on the fields.

    Pitchers did their normal bullpen work, which I enjoy. (They have moved the chain back about 8 feet, so where we used to get 12-15 feet behind catcher, it’s a little further, but still good.) Then the pitchers went out onto 3 fields to pitch live batting practice to the players. It’s not as exciting as it might sound, as batters are instructed not to swing unless the pitch is an obvious strike. That leads to a whole lot of throwing and not much swinging. It appeared great when Gerrit Cole stepped in to face McCutch’s group, but McCutch faced maybe 15 pitches in 3 AB’s and swung maybe 3, at most 4, times.

    First, appearances. Gerrit Cole has shorn the beard, but his hair is aiming toward Grilli in length. Josh Harrison has a long and scraggly beard around his jaw, and Clint Hurdle kept calling him Amish Man. Jeff Locke has cut his curls in back and looks to have gained 10 pounds. Both Jose Tabata and Gaby Sanchez look to have lost 10 more pounds each.

    Highlight of the day was watching Edinson Volquez and Francisco Liriano warmup side by side in the bullpen. Both really pop those gloves. There was a big difference though: after a few pitches to loosen up and get the range, Liriano popping the glove was down, down, down. Volquez popping the glove, while impressive sounding, was up, up, up. The pitches looked like meatballs! Ray Searage stopped him twice and Jim Benedict once during his 25 or so pitches——to adjust his starting position with his hands or his stride and release point. Each time the next pitch would be down . . . then Volquez would go right back to throwing high. Martin was his catcher and he talked to him between almost every pitch and kept giving him lower targets, but even his last pitches were up in the zone. Meanwhile, Liriano is throwing just as hard beside him, throwing everything from thighs to ankles. Very interesting!

    Watched Lambo almost exclusively during fielding. I don’t want to go long here, as I want to get quickly from Anna Maria Island to Pirate City soon. I have commented in past years that Pedro, despite his errors, has really soft hands. Over the years he has increased his former small range while still keeping his soft hands. That’s why I support keeping him at 3rd. We can talk about his concentration in the field another time. Gaby Sanchez has really soft hands. Lambo does not have soft hands. Even when he fields grounders or takes throws cleanly, his hands are impediments rather than assets. I’m not sure soft hands can be taught. If so, he has yet to learn that. We’ll see.

    I’ll end with this: The near end of practice had a MOST unusual sight. Everyday players got a chance to jump in for batting practice against coach pitching at end of day. Lambo had the most impressive batting practice of the lot, hitting scorching line drives to deep left and high rising moon shots to right over the fence. He was pounding the ball. Clint said, “Good job, Big Boy” and slapped him on the rear from his spot behind the cage. (Lambo made it a point to come off the field the wrong side so he had to walk by Clint!)

    Neal Huntington was standing against the fence down near the 3rd base coaching box. Now Neal is about as button down, stand above, keep away, New England-cool as a guy could be. Amherst! Very personable but not a ‘toucher.’ Lambo walked over toward his bag to deposit his helmet and bat, and Huntington approached Lambo and gave him a big side hug, putting his arm around Lambo’s shoulders. I was flabbergasted! That is NOT the Neal Huntington I have observed on these fields over the years. Ever!!

    From that action alone, don’t look for another pickup from the BMTIB to assist Sanchez at 1st Base.

    Off to Pirate City . . .

    • Jandy
      February 20, 2014 at 9:54 AM

      “Lambo does not have soft hands. Even when he fields grounders or takes throws cleanly, his hands are impediments rather than assets. I’m not sure soft hands can be taught. If so, he has yet to learn that. We’ll see.”

      I’m no coach or baseball expert, but it sounds to me as though Lambo is FIGHTING the ball. Perhaps he needs to focus on “going with it”. Does that make sense?

      Thanks Groat, for all this, as I can “see” practice through your eyes :)

      Reply

    • Great reports Groat!
      When Drew gave us reports he would tell us how big everyone’s butt was.

      And someone else would say how tall all the players were. (oh wait a minute…that was my reports)

    • Thanks, groat. I can see past the 6 feet of snow, and 4 inches of ice to see the grass now!

      Beware Edinson Volquez.

      • Up in the zone. Isn’t that a pseudonym for Jonathan Sanchez?

        • Or the new Auto Zone commercial…….

        • Good point, Lucky. It has been written that Jonathan Sanchez was stubborn last year, and would not adopt the Benedict/Searage philosophies of keeping the ball down with 2-seam fastballs and inducing groundballs. Plus, the guy was just plain wild. My understanding is Volquez is much more receptive to what they are preaching.

          I think Groat was just giving us a snippet of info. from 25 pitches or something. Volquez is a work in progress. I hope no one thought he was as good, coming in, as Liriano was last year.

        • You guys have got to be kidding me.

          • NMR
            Are you trying to throw a wet blanket on reports from Spring Training or the evaluation of Volquez’ performance so far?

            • I’m being realistic about the foolishness of evaluating anything more than the size of a players rear at this point.

              Groat’s reports are great.

    • Great stuff, Groat. Keep it coming, man!

    • I’m wondering if Lambo’s lack of soft hands that Groat points out is just a product of never needing to get down in an infielder’s stance and actually taking ground balls in the past since he was an OF. In other words, is that something that “can” go away? I would say even if it can go away, it will be tough to “make” it go away in 6 weeks. That kid has a lot on his plate right now. He is not an established hitter at the MLB level yet, and he is learning a new position – a position that touches the ball a lot! And, he is being asked to do both things for a team that is expected to contend for a playoff spot.

      Lambo’s power is not a fluke. Those 33 HR he hit last year were not done in the Pacific Coast League. I think he is going to be a pretty good MLB hitter. But, I still say it is likely he will not be the hitter this year that he will be next year and the year after. If he gets thrown in the deep end of the pool in April, both from an offensive and defensive standpoint, he might struggle. Garrett Jones took a long time, and a 2nd organization before he broke through to become a decent MLB player.

      If this were 3 years ago, I’d say let Lambo go for 50 games and let’s see if he improves. This is not 3 years ago, though. 50 games of futility could really hurt. This is a tough call, and I assume they are working on acquiring a lefty 1b bat. But, I’m sure they also don’t want to seem to eager to other teams.

      • “Lambo’s power is not a fluke.”

        Remember Steve Pearce?

        • Lambo has a better pedigree than Pearce, 21. Don’t you think?

          I don’t think Lambo’s power is a fluke. The question is, will he be able to duplicate last year’s success at the MLB level? I really do believe he is a lot like Garrett Jones – maybe a bit better.

          • I’m not sure who has a better pedigree or if that matters now. And I have no idea if Lambo’s power is a fluke. Hopefully he discovered something. But I do think that Gaby and Lambo at first this year if that’s how it plays out doesn’t make that position worse than last year.

    • Thank you, Groat.

      To look at a potential (emphasize “potential”) silver lining on the Volquez info. Perhaps that is an indication that Volquez’s problem is fixable?

  18. Great comeback by the SUI womens team to steal bronze away from SWE.

    The ice is AWFUL, BTW.
    is that what 50 billion buys?

    • All the venues are crappy there. Ice on rinks are poor-they had to go to NHL rules for play stoppage for ice maintenance. Half pipe was poorly constructed resulting in a bump at base of slope. Weather so warm they had to condition snow with salt and then sprayed water resulting in ice rink conditions with sugar like snow shifting on top. Made for dangerous and rough conditions on alpine courses, half-pipe and slopestyle courses. Probably cost Miller and White medals.

    • Apparently, maintaining “good ice” is not as easy it sounds.

      - Penguins/CONSOL

      • Then that should give the Penguins who are at these Olympics some kind of advantage since they play on crappy ice all of the time. Unless there are varying degrees of scrappy.

        Seriously…career threatening or ending injuries will abounds unless this issue is addressed at Consol. People would have a sideways cow to see Crosby or Napkin or anyone go down with a knee.

        Tablet changes Malkin to Napkin. Just thought I would leave it is Napkin for gits and shiggles.

  19. “Lambo does not have soft hands. Even when he fields grounders or takes throws cleanly, his hands are impediments rather than assets. I’m not sure soft hands can be taught. If so, he has yet to learn that. We’ll see.”

    I’m no coach or baseball expert, but it sounds to me as though Lambo is FIGHTING the ball. Perhaps he needs to focus on “going with it”. Does that make sense?

    Thanks Groat, for all this, as I can “see” practice through your eyes :)

  20. I dont like Nutting. I dont think he has the financial resources to run a competitive proffesional baseball franchise, anually. I think in one of these little speeches, he actually told the team to win the NL East one year.

    That being said, given the same financial restrictions of the Pittsburgh market, I think half the people on this blog would probably run the franchise the exact same way, give or take 10 million in payroll. The other half would run in straight into the ground.

    • What does Nuttings financial resources have to do with running the Buccos?

      The Buccos spend the amount that they bring in. I will admit that it certainly seems they could spend more at the moment but find it hard to believe that there is a billionaire out there who would be willing to dump tens of millions into the team each year in order to keep up with the Joneses.

      • Dom, almost every other owner or ownership group in the major leagues(for that matter professional sports) has a billion dollar business/businesses that help supplement their franchise AND/OR a billion dollar TV contract they collect from.

        The Nuttings own some newspapers and a couple of local ski resorts, and a TV deal in the “Top Half of baseball” according to them.

        Wheres the beef, Dom?

        There isnt any. You also have an average ticket price near the bottom in all of baseball, if not pro sports.

        • I think a big issue with the Buccos is the lack of funds from parking.

          The Buccos did drop the ball on the TV contract. I won’t dispute that.

          I have heard of some franchises, such as the Mariners, that have a separate business supporting them but I have no idea if this was ever verified as true. Do you have any sources that you can provide where a separate enterprise is supporting a sports team?

          Of course the Nuttings do have money. I believe they’re worth about a billion. However, I don’t feel they should be required to spend any of the dough they get from their other business on the Pirates. The league should have adequate revenue sharing.

          • I’ve seen the Mariners financials as of the end of 2008 and there’s no evidence of outside businesses supporting them or additional partner contributions. The Mariners also have zero debt and my read of those financials is that there’s no need for outside support.

        • bpn, how do you know that other owners make additional contributions to the teams that they own?

      • There are teams that have openly professed that year-to-year operating profit is not a goal. I have heard that expressed by AZ and Detroit recently. I don’t know any who are saying they are trying to lose money, though.

        • Heard the same things Jim. My question remains the same. How can the Pirates compete with a team like Detroit that can stand to lose 30 million dollars in a single season?

          As I type this, I am working on a piece of equipment owned by Guggenheim. Go figure that one, huh?

          • But the issue here is that the league is a joke and not Nuttings unwillingness to pump $30 million into the team. If I were also worth billions, I also wouldn’t pump that type of money into the team.

          • They have to be smarter. It’s their only chance. They don’t get to spackle over their mistakes.

    • So, you’re saying there are two ways to run the franchise? Nutting’s way or failure? Man, I can’t agree with that one.

  21. About USA/canada game i just hope disco settles on 6 dman instead of rotating carlson as the 7th like he did yesterday. These guys are used to having 6 dmen and pairings for top 6 all look great. Suter-mcdonagh, orpik-martin, fowler-shattenkirk are clearly the top 6. Disco got it right by having wheeler sit, here’s hoping he does the same regarding top 6 d.

    I mentioned late last night that rumors of the canadians demise have been greatly exaggerated. They didn’t play all that bad against latvia and they basically kept getting robbed the latvian goalie who is also Stevie Y’s 3rd round draft pick in tampa. Dude was unconscious and canada just didn’t play with enough desperation to bury them. Effort yes, desperation no. Will be interesting to see how babcock approaches ice time issue but no matter what, USA/Canada will be epic.

    • Good stuff, Monster. Yah I still can’t make a pick, for either game.
      I think US looks a LOT more organized, fast, and hungry than CAN tho….and agree Babs needs to stop effing around and shorten bench/increase TOI for Sid and others in the top 6-9 and create some continuity. Biggest questions for me are actually in goal….neither Quick nor Price have been appreciably tested. I wonder if it simply comes down to a soft goal. That would be a shame.

      No softies in SWE-FIN tho! That’s another pick’em.

      Really – I got nuthin LOL!!!

      • Agree that price hasn’t been tested but IMO quick has passed the eye test. Against russia and yesterday he was sharp when the squad wasn’t. If i pick the US team it will be partly cuz i trust quick more than price and cuz i suspect backes will haunt sid’s nightmares regardless of outcome.

        • Yeah if I had to pick Price v Quick, I think I narrowly lean Quick.
          But Goal is the question mark for me. That and ice time from Babs.

  22. Don’t know if anyone posted this yet, but John Tavares is gone for the year with a torn MCL.

    Islanders not going anywhere, but likely still really ticked.

  23. I know the guy threw two no hitters, but I just dont think Homer Bailey is 100 million dollar pitcher. But today he is.

    Man, are Cole and Alvarez going to get paid…

    • As I Pirate fan, I absolutely love the Reds CONTINUING to hand out big money contracts to their home grown stars.

      Since that really served the Minnesota Twins well.

      • So, are you saying you also don’t think Brandon Phillips will be the best 2b in MLB not named Robbie Cano for the next several years? :-)

        • I put Votto in this group as well. Now, I think Joey Votto is the best pure hitter in the National League, Cutch included.

          But $25m per year for a 1B in his mid to late 30′s? That is a luxury, not a necessity.

          In two years, the Reds will be spending roughly $45m per year on a guy who pitches once a week and a non-premium position player. That’s just not smart mid-market baseball.

          • And, they’ll still be paying for Phillips in 2 years. I agree wholeheartedly. They are trying to play high stakes poker with an Old Maid budget. They are trying to dine on filet mignon with a hamburger salary. They are trying to … you know.

            Maybe they are looking to lock up Cueto next week.

    • They are making a huge bet that he finally turned that perverbial corner last year, bpn. Bailey is just entering his prime, and he’s a horse. But, he’s been spotty. It’s a gamble that big money teams make all the time, but a bigger gamble for a team like Cincy.

      • I like NMR’s logic on it. Just not a fan of how it continues to drive up the cost of our own homegrown players.

        For years the Pirates issue was producing their own talent internally. Retention seems to me, will shortly become their new problem.

        • Right now we’re witnessing the peak, and eventual end, of the homegrown extension craze. Teams are going to begin growing weary of betting a large chunk of their payroll on a guys performance 5, 6, 7 years out.

          • And, the Braves are busily grabbing up every last item on the shelves before it ends. Haha!

            • Ha! The extensions like Teheran’s and Simmons’ will continue, but I don’t see the one’s like Freeman’s lasting long. And I don’t like Kimbrel’s either, but for different reasons.

              • Yeah, I don’t like the Kimbrel one at all. That is crazy money for a guy who gets 200 outs per season. And, I love Kimbrel.

                Wait … I can faintly hear the voice of Mitch Williams claiming he has something to add. What’s he saying? I can almost make it out now. Oh yeah. “But, not everyone can get those last 3 outs, Jim”

                That man haunts me, I swear.

          • I actually see it the other way. That agents will take their players to arbitration, force a trade to a team with money, and/or test the market after their walk year.

            I think teams had money to burn this year. Problem was their wasnt a lot out there under 30 to blow it on.

            • Oh I agree that will happen, but only when teams stop paying their homegrown players like free agents as you’re starting to see now.

              I seriously doubt Joey Votto would get $25m/yr til age 40 on the open market right now. I seriously doubt Freddie Freeman would get more on the open market right now. Same with Elvis Andrus.

              If agents start pushing extensions to free agent prices, then I see teams less wiling to role the dice so far away from those dates. There’s so much risk in paying a guy that far out that a team has to feel they get enough value to offset.

  24. Good morning, All! I just tried to leave a first-timer comment on the DK Chat, and wasn’t sure I did it right. Do you just leave the comment, then use the same handle you use on here? Or do you have to sign up especially to do chat?

  25. Good morning blog faithful.

    Thanks to Groat Meal for his wonderful posts from ST.

    You tell ‘em Revvie!

    Dominator:
    Sad news about Tavares though I am not sure how you stop grown men from competing for their country in the Olympics. Time to make it amateur perhaps?

    DK:
    Thanks for the awesome!

    Jandy, BPN8, Hippocrates, Jim-nasium, Sassy Sarah, Consol Smash, LAD 9:
    Holy Heaving Bison Batman!

    :)

  26. Good morning also to Wisconsin’s Finest and Baywatch!

  27. DK tweet from a few hours ago: Just asked Bylsma if we can expect David Backes on Sid. He smiled. “That’s possible.” Better believe it. Backes owns him.

    So, when people ask if players are able to put aside what happened in Sochi vs. their own NHL teammates, that is a fair question. I think players will be able to put those things behind them and unite again in their common quest to win a Cup.

    What about if it is your NHL coach who is actively trying to get under your skin one week, then depending on you to carry his team to the Cup the next week?

    I don’t care what anyone says, there are uneasy aspects to this. If the Pens sacrifice even a small % of their chance to win the Stanley Cup by what is taking place in Sochi, none of this will have been worth it to me. That’s just my opinion.

  28. I’m sorry, I say giving Homer Bailey $105 million for 6 years of work is SERIOUSLY throwing some money down a hole!

    • Makes me fret for when Cole hits arbitration.

      • I doubt we have him for the full 6 years, or even 5. No wonder they didn’t care about Super 2 with him.

        • Why don’t you think we’ll have him for the full 6 years, Arriba?

          • His arbitration number will be too high for the BMTIB. IF he’s that good. When they were looking at Pence, Neal said $13-14 mil in arb was too high for the Bucs. With AJ, Neal said $14.1 Mil was too high for the Bucs. And he was talking from a financial perspective, not based on the player value IMO.

            • So you don’t think payroll will raise at all in the next six years?

              • Of course it will “raise,” but there is lots more money available from the national TV contract from 2 years ago when the Pence statement was made, and attendance has increased quite a bit from when the Pence statement was made. Similar figures still used. And no, I’m not saying that will be their “cap” when Cole reaches arbitration.

                You think they’d risk paying Cole $20 mil in arbitration in 2 years? Maybe they would, but I see no evidence of that at this point.

              • Or in 4 years?

              • Well, Cole won’t be making $20m in two years, so that is a moot point.

                I do think Cole could make $20m through arb by his last turn through, and I do believe the Pirates would pay it. I don’t see any way the Pirates have a payroll lower than $100m by 2020, which would put Cole’s theoretical arb number squarely in line with Huntington’s previously stated 18%-20% of payroll goal.

            • I see what you’re saying. Thanks.

          • I hear ya, and I admire your optimism. I’m still skeptical . . . And cautious. My experience with these guys is when it comes between spending a little more and a little less, a little less wins 95% of the time. And the higher the number the more it is true.

            • I should’ve been more clear. I completely agree with your skepticism of this specific front office.

              I was coming at it from a “could” angle, not a “will” angle, since I would be surprised if these specific guys (Huntington, et al) are around by 2020.

        • I agree that it will be difficult, Arriba. Today’s “controllabe” is not your father’s “controllable.”

          I know there is a lot more money now, but a guy like Cole, and some of the other young, rising stars this team has/likely will have are going to make it very hard to afford them in future arb years, I think.

    • You mean The Warner Brothers Acme Portable Hole, the Alice in Wonderland Rabbit Hole, or one of these many fine winter freeze/thaw portholes holes? Please be specific.

  29. Here’s hoping John Tavares will become the poster-child for ending this NHL-in-the-Olympics nonsense. Just ridiculous. Two more games left for Sid (or anyone else) to suffer a similar injury. Tavares is a big enough name that it might do the trick, ending NHL participation and bringing terrific hockey back to the Olympics.

    Oh, and this is in no way implying any kind of joy over Tavares getting hurt. I love the guy and feel so bad for him.

  30. Question to you hockey experts: If there even is: Who has the advantage tomorrow when the US and Canada hook up “between” Crosby and Blysma? I know, Blysma isn’t on the ice, but he knows Sid better than anyone. And Sid, of course, knows his coach pretty well. Is there an advantage? Just wondering. Thanks.

  31. hahaha! Good job, Revvie!

    LuckyNKentucky:
    Now that it’s almost over, are you looking forward to a real bed in a real house or have you gotten used to a dorm room and sausage and brocoli?

  32. There’s no score in the US/Canada women’s hockey game after the first period. Both sides have so far been quite good defensively.

  33. Guest 23:
    Besides family and Starbucks what other thing American are you Jonesing for ?

    Dejan Kovacevic: Wife, children. Been too long. Makes me respect all the more the men and women who are away from home and family for much, much longer to do much, much more important jobs than mine.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  34. Great chat Peeps!

  35. Got lucky!

    Meanwhile SCIRE US women!!!!!

  36. Terrible job by Canada on 5-3 PP.

  37. Who scored? Cammy Granato? I try to keep current on these things.

  38. It seems the USA girls’ speed is actually helping them out.
    Still 2-0 USA

  39. Hey sounds like there’s some PSU hockey peeps here so here’s the state of the union regarding PSU hockey per monster sources:

    Last weekend was disappointing losing both games to MSU. Skoff and Mcadam gave them good chances to win in net but they couldn’t bear down to finish chances they created. MSU goalie who i believe is from wexford was basically too good. But PSU played without their top 2 puck moving dmen and still held their own. If it wasn’t for a boo boo on PP by koudys that led to shortie for MSU friday’s game should’ve been a W for PSU hockey. Good news is that some of the repetitive mistakes that were being made early in the year by the dmen are now being limited and their breakouts are little less predictable and more effective. Bad news is that they keep finding ways to lose.

    They play Michigan this weekend who will have revenge on the mind after allowing PSU to win their 1st big ten game couple weeks ago. Big test for PSU hockey this weekend, especially if jensen and Juha are out again.

  40. Canada scores. 2-1

  41. If (when) they blow this I’ll have a two word analysis.

  42. And now, the US and Canada, as you’d expect, are in overtime.

  43. Who is the analyst with JR ? Sounds like every woman I talk to in Wisconsin convenient stores.

  44. If you are real quiet, you can almost hear the choking sounds from Sochi.

  45. This doesnt come down to a shoot out does it? I cant imagine it would

  46. To quote from Whitman. : My verse is that I’m sick of this commercial.

  47. Quick congrats to the Pens Katie O on landing a gig as Communications Director for the City of Pittsburgh.

  48. Americans should’ve ended it there.

  49. Ok just started watching our ladies…they’ll get it together and win.

  50. Apparently, penalties will not be called in OT.

  51. 4-3 PP OT PP
    TO for USA
    Whew!

  52. Death wish. Penalty USA

  53. Slashing penalty on USA

  54. Should’ve been penalty shot. Knight tackled the breakaway Canuck.

  55. I cant remember the time when i saw such a soft call on slashing.

  56. Every time I see Kevin Dineen I can’t help but think of one Easter Sunday night & Robbie Brown losing his mind and beating the living bejeesus out of him. Ahh, great memories.

  57. Canada wins.

  58. Choking Dogs.

  59. I rarely conplain about officiating, but just terrible throughout entire women’s tourney.

  60. The subject probable as is value should be bracketed by sold comp values, after the adjustments. This should fall within the range of the adjusted sold comp prices.

  61. One can only hope that the men win over Canada tomorrow.

  62. Does anyone feel that should have been a call on USA? When did they score? would it have been during our powerplay?

  63. North America wins the gold!

  64. I heard there was a bet on this game between the US Prez and the Canada PM

    The loser has to keep Justin Bieber

  65. Women’s Olympic Gold medal drought in hockey will extend to 20 years. It is becoming US men like!

    Played not to lose….and then lost.

  66. Did the USA get robbed?

  67. Never wanted to hear Oh Canada less since I guess the Sid game in Vancouver.

  68. I’m with Dom on the subject probable . . .

  69. You know, the US girl gets a two-handed cross check to the face for a call, and the make up call is a tap on the goalies pads for a rebound? Where were the whistles when the Canadian women were taking down the US at the end of the 3rd period? REALLY?!?!?! Unreal….

  70. Swiss very happy to get Bronze. Very nice to see.

  71. Braves continue to lock up their players. Andrelton Simmons signs 7 year $58m deal. That new stadium better pay off.

    • It better or the Braves will be in big trouble.

    • The Kimbrel one still has me scratching my head. He’s a closer.

      Simmons still needs to prove he can hit – although his defense is stellar.

      I’m starting to wonder what kind of message they are sending to the rest of the team. If I’m, say, Medlin. What message does this send me? Or, will they also sign him? There will be a lot of guys on the team who will feel like they have just been told they are not key players. I think they are going to regret a big chunk of this.

    • This one doesn’t seem too bad. I think there is a good portion of risk with the contracts they gave to Tehran and Venters

  72. Sorry to see our women come out with the loss. Lesson is be valiant and glassy in both victory and defeat.

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