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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Saturday column: Self-inflicted wound

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

SOCHI, Russia — Доброе утро, Lunatiks …

>> The Saturday column doesn’t deal with the what of the U.S. loss to Canada as much as the how. Which is the part that should hurt most.

I’ve also got a Canada sidebar on Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz going for gold, not goals.

And a Finland sidebar on Olli Maatta and Jussi Jokinen.

And the latest on Paul Martin’s hand injury.

The weekly chat again was all Olympics.

Here are all 13 videos for Channel 11 News so far, including yesterday’s from inside the Bolshoy Ice Dome, where I tried to buy stuff …

I’m also doing weekday reports for TribLIVE Radio, and here’s a bunch of audio clips from U.S.-Canada last night.

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 security here, as I’ve been writing throughout the Games, has been subtle. It’s there, and you can tell it’s strong, but not in your face.

That’s changed a bit these past couple days.

There’s been more of an armed police presence, two officers walking side by side with clubs in black suits, looking all menacing and stuff. They’re walking right in the common areas, too, not off to the edges. They want to be seen.

Patdowns have come into play, too. They were almost nonexistent early, then only when something would set off a metal detector, then only the men, and now it’s everyone.

This isn’t the sort of thing where you’re going to get an explanation from the Russians, so don’t expect one. If I had to guess, based on the timing, they’d like to finish strong. Only this weekend remains, with the Closing Ceremony on Sunday night. Not much left.

Why mess it up now?

>> I’ll be at the bronze medal game today, gold tomorrow, Moscow the day after that, the good place the day after that.

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. kr70 says:

    Hoping when you get home they give you some well earned time off with your family and maybe a starbucks….

  2. Jandy says:

    This hurts a lot. A lot.
    Can Bylsma live it down?
    I love the guy…but man….

  3. Deb says:

    Amazing how similar to the Pen’s seasons this Team USA loss was….think about it. Team going great, offensive powerhouse, run and gun against weaker team, Dan becomes entrenched in his “play the right way, stick to our system” then they meet a team with a solid goalie, strong defensive commitment and boom, team loses.

    The USA lost this game for two reasons: the coach did not adapt, and the players become overconfident/cocky playing run and gun against Florida Panthers caliber teams and didn’t know how to respond when faced with a solid St Louis Blues type team. Same as Dan’s NHL team.

  4. Wild Bill says:

    Thanks again for all the new stuff, DK. My sense of the hockey game was that Canada was concerned enough about the US team to deliberately try to take away what the US does best – and they did.

    Security should always be changing; it is not good to pattern one’s self in that regard. Hope there’s nothing more than that behind the changes.

    A shout out once again for PSU hockey, as they won their first B1G road game, 5 – 4 over Michigan, in OT. And a big shout out to the PSU student body, now in the middle of the massive and annual Thon charity fund raiser. The biggest and best student charitable activity in the nation.

  5. Wild Bill says:

    We had an interesting discussion the other day about unusual town names. There’s another that I always associate with its high school nickname, rather than a mascot – Boiling Springs, in Cumberland Co. – home of the Bubblers.

  6. Wild Bill says:

    Will be traveling today, so see yinz later.

  7. Great job as always by DK. Will be good to have him back. Jandy has behaved and Drew has been hiding, but still not enough bold reamings while he’s gone.

  8. Congratulations to 18 year old Mikaela Shiffrin, who won the gold yesterday in the slalom, the first for the US in that event since 1946.

  9. Hockey game in a little while. Maybe the typo twins, Jandy and Brandie (or their names in Mexico or Kentucky, Jandezita and Brandelita), the man called the plan, Sarah, and the crew will be in.

    Bronze is still worth playing for. And folks have been saying this entire Olympics that it’s not about the medal, right?


  10. Observations from Pirate City:

    ——Slow start to day as Pirates showed up an hour late. It was picture day, but no one told us gathering to take in practice, or even the security guards, until that morning. When the players trickled out, they did their stretching 400 feet away from us all, just inside the center field wall.
    ——Alert: Watching guys move their arms in circles for an hour from 400 feet is NOT exciting!

    ——200-300 crowd walking around. 20-25 regulars like me whom I see every day; lots of retirees with their wives, usually in a wide variety of Pirate shirts; a number of unattached women in their 40’s-50’s; one smoking hot woman in her 40’s wearing pink boyshorts and a wifebeater with little else (Jandy, were you here?). I thought maybe she was Drew’s wife, but she had no man shuffling along behind her carrying a stupid looking little dog dribbling down his leg.

    ——A surprising number of Dads with their 8-13 year old sons here. I love listening to their interactions: the psychology of being a Dad sharing the love of baseball with his son. No daughters thus far this year, although there have been so in past years. Also a college baseball team from Georgia, in uniform top, watching every drill and then discussing it. The wife of the Coach kept drilling them about what was happening, while the Coach held and talked to their little baby. Heaven!!! Heaven twice actually: a woman who knows her baseball and a man getting to coo to his baby at baseball practice!!! Tony Sanchez walked by and gave the baby a baseball!
    ——One 12 year old (beside me actually) was interviewed by a writer for Sports Illustrated for what he said was to be a cover story on Andrew McCutchen coming in April. Andrew had given the kid an autograph and the writer asked the kid, “Why McCutch?” The kid had good answers: “I look up to him.” “He doesn’t trashtalk.” “He loves to play the game.” “He hustles everywhere in the field.” The kid was from Michigan and his Dad had taken him out of school to be at Pirate Spring Training for a couple days.

    ——When players finally appeared, no pitchers. No bullpens. Lots of defense.
    ——Infield grounders. Lots. Throwing to 1st each time. Double plays. Bunts. Gaby Sanchez has such supple hands at 1st. Andrew Lambo has stiffer hands than Garrett Jones. One drill had infielders intentionally throwing shorthops to 1st: Lambo got 2/3; Gaby got 9/10. Lambo especially weak to his backhand.
    ——Practiced cut-offs from outfield, first without ball with Martin confirming that infielders were lined up properly, then later ending with ball in play. Marte, McCutch, Tabata, and Polanco the outfielders. Marte is the best outfielder of the 4, just ahead of Cutch. As fast as McCutch’s legs move, Marte ALWAYS flows to the ball. The only guy who could not resist showing off his arm, of course, was The Rook, as he overthrew the cutoff man frequently on throws to the plate. They will take advantage of that in AAA. He may end up with a lot of outfield assists in Indy, but not on direct throws to bags, but on relays from the catcher to whatever bag guys are moving up to because of overthrowing cutoff. He’ll learn . . . . he needs time at AAA.
    ——That said, it is obvious Gregory Polanco is one of 4 best outfielders/hitters here in camp. Yet he will be a much better Pirate after he spends time in AAA. Don’t make him stretch to be here———make him demand to be here! Polanco has only 1/2 a season at AA (he hit .262) and 8 AB’s at AAA: I’d love to see him spend the whole season at AAA. He will be better for Pirates in long run. Cardinals did that last year with their #2 Prospect in all of baseball!

    ——Here’s the Adult Table/Field team: McCutch, Marte, Tabata, Polanco, Gaby & Lambo, Walker & Barmes, Jordy, Pedro & Josh Harrison. Barmes spent Monday at short, then most of every day since at 2nd. JHay has been at 3rd the whole time. Martin, Stewart, & Tony Sanchez rotate at catcher.

    ——Travis Snider has fully participated the last 2 days, but he and the stocky midget Jaff Decker have been relegated to the Kiddies’ Table/Field, with the likes of Chase d’Arnaud, Matt Hague, Travis Ishikauwa, Jeff McGuinness, Bobby Andino, Martinez. All the Minor Leaguers and the non-rosters. Interesting!! They hit together on their own field and do the same fielding drills as the Big Boy Field, but with Minor League coaches and managers, not Nick Leva, Jeff Bannister, Dave Jauss leading drills. Only Hurdle comes to watch them for short times. Verrrrry interesting!! Long Spring Training still to go.

    ——Last thoughts: It’s just batting practice, but Pedro is not driving the ball as in past years. When he hits the ball in BP, it has a different sound: one can tell it’s him hitting even if sitting at another field by the sound. That sound has not appeared yet.
    ——Neil Walker is the nicest guy in the world. He is so patient and signs so many autographs. He’s amazing. Most players don’t have time——read this TAKE THE TIME——to sign autographs . Neil does!
    ——End of batting practice, Neil is signing autographs and this 15 year old kid shoves a bat for Neil to sign while saying, “I met you at so-and-so. Remember me?” I cringe mightily as I hear that: I have a public kind of job, speaking here and there, and there is nothing worse than someone coming up and saying, “Do you know my name? Do you remember me?” Neil takes a good look (I relate to his frantic thoughts), pauses that long pause (as he thinks of how to let this kid down gently), then says, “I remember you. You go to N.A. (North Allegheny), right?” The kid floats away with his autograph, relishing that Neil Walker knows him personally, and I marvel at Neil Walker.

    Off to Pirate City . . . . . .

  11. JohninOshkosh says:


    Might want to pick up latest SI for some vacation reading. Excellent cover story about Coach K and Parker.

    Thanks for ST reports. You’re a regular Jimmy Olsen. :)

  12. scapper says:

    Here’s the whole story. USA throws together a good collection of players, practices a few times, then goes 4-1 against similar squads from around the world, their only loss being 1-0 in a single-elimination game to that ridiculously talented Canadian team. And that’s it. There’s not some bigger story to this whole thing. U.S. hockey is fine. It’s beyond fine. We’re equal to the best in the world. Have been for a while. They lost a tight game. It signifies nothing.

    If this had been a team that had practiced and played together for two months and then badly lost a best of 7 to Canada, okay, then we can gnash our teeth and ask questions.

    But Olympic hockey is now just a way to give the Olympics something to hype and for the NHL to mistakenly think it’s going to bring in new fans. The silly marketing exhibition is almost over. Real, meaningful hockey returns this week. Can’t wait!

  13. I can only hope that the US will win the bronze now that Coach Dan Bylsma has guaranteed that it will.

  14. Jandy says:

    Lol Revvie! We’re heading to Johnstown to help our kids buy a new used Jeep. :)

  15. JohninOshkosh says:

    One of the stories of the Games. Maybe, she can replace the rather unlikeable Lindsey Vonn as the superstar darling of women’s alpine skiing.

    How’s the weather down there, JT, for The Great American Race tomorrow ?

  16. I don’t know why Coach Dan Bylsma is so accepting of yesterday’s loss when another coach would’ve mad as heck at the team if not at himself. After all, the US lost by only 1-0 and virtually caved in to Canada.

  17. theplanisworking says:

    Sure Bylsma can live it down.
    He flames out each year in the SC Playoffs.
    What I fear is that the Pens do that again this year.

    Just look at Rask…….. Boston is better built for the playoffs than the Pens. Sure we have Crosby, but after that? We never know which Geno shows up from game to game, Fleury, well, yeah. I hope for a different outcome this year, but………………………..

  18. theplanisworking says:


  19. theplanisworking says:

    Penalty on the Reverend, two minutes for fibbing. ;)

  20. Eric Bowser says:

    Well, well, well…. I got to sleep in, kids are playing, wife is heading for some errands, and I’ve got my two favorite girls on Channel 4 giving me the news. I feel good after dealing with those stupid kidney stones and healing up, enough that I’m going to get a light run today.

    Can’t say I’m pleased about the performance of Team USA men’s hockey team. Players and coaches both. Like Dejan wrote, who builds a quick team with aggressive in your face fowards and then decides to go with a 1-2-2 trap?

    Even with those maddening coaching skills by Dan Bylsma, players still had a few chances to score a goal on the power play. This disappointing result (losing to Canada again and no Gold, again) is on Zach Parise and Patrick Kane for not stepping up and producing offense.

    Really stinks about Paul Martin because I don’t think Kris Letang will be back this season and frankly, ever. So now their defense will be Orpik-Engelland, Maatta-Niskanen, Scuderi-Bortuzzo with Despres, Dumoulin or Samuelsson getting a recall.

    I’d hope to see one of the younger, more mobile defensemen in the top six than the proven playoff disaster that is Engelland but we know Bylsma isn’t much of a coach as it comes to adjustments or love for Engelland.

  21. theplanisworking says:

    Yes Bronze is still worth playing for, Reverend. Disappointed about not getting a batter medal. This will just confirm DK’s statement that the Americans “screwed up” their Olympics. Pay no mind to the fact the USA right now leads the medal count.

  22. theplanisworking says:

    Thanks, Groat!!!

    Best line of the year about the smokin hot woman and Drew.
    I don’t think that will be topped !

  23. The US has been dominated by Canada in hockey at the Olympics long enough. Why should we accept this?! Why not do something about this?!

  24. Pucknutz says:

    Agree 100% with your first two paragraphs.

    Agree with half of the third .. ” . Real, meaningful hockey returns this week. !”

    But….. I do think that is does bring in “some” new fans. Enough to offset injuries ect ? Maybe.
    And I sorta suspect that the new fans it brings are mostly from the established northern markets. Not necessarily a bad thing getting a bigger fan base no matter where it is. (ain’t never gonna win the south anyway).

    Personally I have enjoyed it.
    It was nice to see a lot of players from other teams in a situation that ya don’t get to see just watching the Pens.
    I was also mildly surprised how “happy” “excited” these guys were to be playing in the Olympics. They all seemed to love it.

    Ya, its pretty much an “exhibition” – a big all star game but with a real edge to it.
    Overall I think its a good thing for hockey.

  25. Reading and hearing a lot of disco criticism but overall i i think systematically they were fine. The problems they had yesterday stemmed from the team selection as much as disco’s unwillingness to change up the lines. I would’ve tried adjusting some details regarding breakouts and in the o-zone we needed to do better job of getting the puck back to the point and use the mid and high slots for redirects more often but in general we didn’t lose cuz of system.

    Going back to the team selection i remember responding to Burke’s ‘nightmare scenerio’ by saying that my nightmare scenerio would be not being able to handle canada, russia or sweden by the net and along the boards. Reason being is that by adding carlson and faulk to shattenkirk and fowler there’s way too much redundancy with finesse puck movers but not enough physical presence and defensive awareness with reach. And for all the talk about being abrasive why not add a couple Johnson’s to the roster?…Erik and Jack that is.

    What made canada so dominate yesterday? Why did it look like they could cycle at will while we got shutdown more and more as the game went on?

    Its simple really…their defense has the mobility, reach, awareness and physical presence necessary to root out any semblance of a cycle before we could establish possession and get the puck back to the point to use the traffic that was in front. This became more and more routine as the game went on for canada. We weren’t able to respond in kind cuz unfortunately Suter and Mcdonagh are the only 2 dmen that could possibly challenge for spots on team canada. By adding Erik johnson’s reach and Jack’s physical presence instead of taking carlson and faulk that would’ve provided the buffet of options necessary to give you a chance to handle canada down low and disrupt cycles with reach and presence.

    And wheeler and stepan over saad??? At the time team was selected saad was something like 7th in 5 on 5 corsi(although he’s 14th now per I wonder if his possession skills would’ve been useful yesterday?

    But in regards to disco…I’d like 1st question at press conference back here to be why he didn’t put together a line of kessel-pavelski-kane in the 3rd? We were one snipe away and allowing your best playmaker to play with your best sniper and goal scoring center would’ve been spock’s move. Followed by JVR-Kesler-Parise and Paciorrety-backes-callahan(which was put together in 3rd). If his answer is that Kessel and JVR play together in TO and have been good all tourney, then the entire press corp would be within reason to stand up in unison and walk out of said press conference.

  26. DJ says:

    I like Dan Bylsma as a person. Nice guy, knows his roots, thoughtful, not cut from the standard professional league coaches’ cloth. That said, he always seems very uncomfortable and one beat off in dealing with the public/media. Guaranteeing a bronze is just odd.

    In my view, this should be a make-or-break season for him. But rather than saying that he should be out if he doesn’t win or at least make the SC Finals, I’ll just say that management will need to do serious soul searching if his team — the Pens — goes out like a lamb. The USA squad went out like a lamb.

  27. Reports of us strictly using 1-2-2 is false. Multiple forecheckers were being sent but canada’s d was too good breaking up the cycles and forecheck.

  28. Brotherhood of the Redus says:

    Thanks groat…no offense to the professionals but this is how you cover spring training

  29. Sarah says:

    I think he said Kessel v Toewes was the matchup he wanted.
    Which is mind boggling really.

  30. The “batter” medal will come during baseball season. ;)

    I guess it’s the type triplets, Jandy, Brandie and Plandy.


  31. JohninOshkosh says:


  32. Or should I say “typo” triplets? (or quadruplets)

  33. I think he was channeling the russian coach in the 3rd.

  34. Sarah says:

    Hardly matters the forecheck scheme if you’re not winning physical battles in the corners and behind the net. And they seemed REALLY timid at times. Was it Backes that admitted they didn’t give it their All??

    Speaking of battles and cycling Monster you’re spot on that the opposite was happening in our end: CAN was getting us off the puck, establishing lengthy possessions, cycling and grinding. Erik Johnson would have been a God send. I thought Orpik was out matched frequently. Glaringly at times.

  35. JohninOshkosh says:

    Sorry, premature post!

  36. Sarah says:


  37. Jim S. says:

    I’m thinking he might buy a Starbucks. I mean a Starbucks store.

  38. DJ says:

    Coach K and Jabari Parker? I thought the “cover story” this week was swimsuits.

  39. Sarah says:

    Is that batter medal deep fried??? :-D

  40. Ya at times it seemed like we thought we were in a 7 game series instead of a game 7 elimination game. But i honestly think that defense would’ve had me demoralized too.

  41. Sarah says:

    It’s tough. They take the middle, cover your stretch pass, force you to dump and chase. Then somebody’s gotta go outmuscle some huge D behind the net…..and doesn’t….and they break it out.
    Rinse, repeat.
    Demoralizing indeed.

  42. Reporting for duty Sir! :)

  43. JohninOshkosh says:

    “Canada played as close as you’ll ever see to a perfect game in Friday’s 1-0 win over USA in the Olympic semifinal, a game that featured a frenetic pace, all kinds of personal sacrifice and outstanding goaltending. It’s a credit to USA, and particularly to goaltender Jonathan Quick, that the Canadian team played as well as it did, yet only won the game by one goal.”

    -The Hockey News

  44. theplanisworking says:



  45. theplanisworking says:

    Yes it is……….. in cornmeal!

    Love me some cornbread………….. :D

  46. There were times i thought our d should’ve gone d to d more often when we established possession in our end to give our forwards time to circle back and build up speed in closer support. Making short horizontal passes with speed would’ve led to more chip to speed scenerios if chances off the rush were taken away. Another reason i wanted kessel and kane together in the 3rd is that canada established that scoring off the cycle would be impossible so adjusting to load up for rushes would’ve been prudent…unless you’re channeling the russian coach… No disrespect (in john stewarts jersey accent) :)

  47. theplanisworking says:

    Mercy !

  48. Eric Bowser says:

    They weren’t aggressive and having the passive 1-2-2 mixed in didn’t help.

    Safe hockey is death…

    I hate trap hockey…. Herb Brooks would have said as much after yesterday’s performance. Remember what he said about Kevin Constantine and coaches like him after he took over for the Pens?

  49. Jim S. says:

    Love your random thoughts, Groat.

    I wonder if there is anything to Barmes doing so much work at 2b. Maybe they plan on sitting NW vs a lot of lefties, but my call would be to have Jordy play 2b on those days and put Barmes in at SS. Even JHay at 2b. Don’t take Barmes away from the one thing he does really well. Probably nothing to that.

    Love to hear the nice things about NW and Cutch. Those things matter to me, as a dad with a son who adores baseball. I really like Walker, and it has nothing to do with where he was raised. He gets it. And, what’s not to love about Cutch.

    Jack Z supposedly still kicking the tires on Morales. I guess you can never have enough slow 1b/DH-types on your roster. But, maybe Smoak will still become available.

  50. Oh and big ups to PSU hockey! Here’s hoping they keep finding ways to win…

    They gave up a bad goal late in the game with about 3 minutes to go but hung tight to tie it up with the goalie pulled then got it done in OT after a Michigan turnover. Skoff big in net again!

  51. theplanisworking says:

    You got your answer to the soul-searching last June.
    They are sticking with Bylsma, for better or worse.

    I fear worse, because , as constituted, they aren’t a Cup Finalist.

  52. kr70 says:

    Thank you…as we await another polar vortex your reports give us hope!

  53. JohninOshkosh says:

    What’s “wisdom”, Groat ? That playing for your nation has been deemed exhibition status ? That millions glued to their office TV’s were being duped by marketers ? That the only thing that matters in sports is the narrow view that winning your professional league title alone is all that counts ? I guess the KHL champions, whoever the hell that is, are a more important story than the Russian flame out at Sochi ? I guess Shiffrin’s Gold is merely an exhibition prize because the World Cup circuit is the regular professional season in alpine skiing ? Why have any Olympians on any talk shows? Please hand back your medals White and Davis because the Grand Prix figure skating events are the true season for figure skating. Sure glad this 2 week exhibition of sports is over so we can get back to the regular season and enjoy Shiffren compete at Kvitfjell in a couple of weeks, a meaningful skiing event. Or about that Edmonton-Florida midweek game coming up. Can’t wait.

  54. Andrew says:

    I like the blog, usually do not comment, but one thing I notice is some of the comments on hockey start from an anti-Bylsma premise and reason from there leading to some absurd conclusions. Canada was the weaker team?

  55. DJ says:

    That was then and I do believe they will reevaluate depending upon how they play in the playoffs this year — likely more than how far they go given variables such as injuries.

    On an unrelated topic, I wonder what it would take to pry Shea Weber loose.

  56. Where’s tonya harding when you need her? :)

  57. Eric Bowser says:

    Orpik, Maatta, and Jokinen need to just stay healthy….

  58. theplanisworking says:

    Sorry DJ, I can’t agree with you and the re-evaluating part. I would love to see it, which would mean the organization taking responsibility and accountability, but I can in no way see it happening, unless the team gets swept in the 1st round.

    Prying Shea Weber loose?
    I don’t know if Shero has the chips to get him. We have no draft choices to speak of, and I don’t know what players to give up.
    Nice thought, though. :)

  59. Sarah says:

    Yah WTH was that about?

  60. Thundercrack says:

    ‘Gaby Sanchez has such supple hands at 1st.’

    1) You have been in the sun too long Groat
    2) You should have brought a thesaurus with you – you may be running out of adjectives
    3) Maybe you meant to use that word in describing the 40-something, smokin hot woman in the pink shorts

    Love the reports Groat :-)

  61. Sarah says:

    Refresh my memory!

  62. Jandy says:

    Canada was not the weaker team. They simply played smarter and made adjustment to win. That about sums it up, Andrew. Comment more often, it’s all good :)

    Where do you hail from, we can add your hometown to the list of of Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum :)

  63. Jandy says:

    screw the &^%$#% polar vortex! ;)

  64. Andrew says:

    Harrisburg, I think you guys already have it.

  65. Jandy says:

    They have medicine for that…. ;X

  66. Jandy says:


  67. Supple and soft mean the same thing?

    Better not go there, right?


  68. Jandy says:

    Ok thanks :)

  69. Jandy says:

    go for it! :P

  70. theplanisworking says:

    Another mid-stater. Welcome. :)

  71. Jim S. says:

    She’s terrific.

  72. theplanisworking says:

    Man, do I ever foresee a FIRE BYLSMA if the US loses today.
    Scarier, is I see this happening to the Pens in the playoffs.
    Almost like a bad dream.

  73. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, what is this polar vortex stuff all about? Is that just a fancy way of saying it gets cold every winter and this one is a particularly cold one?

    I remember when weather people just told us what the weather was going to be like.

  74. Jim S. says:

    Supple was a stretch. :-)

  75. Sarah says:

    Well it sure seems Shero married himself to DB after last playoffs.
    But then he got J Martin.
    So I hope that means…..something.

  76. Sarah says:

    Really? Hmm. I dunno.

  77. scapper says:

    I wasn’t implying that the hockey tournament was completely meaningless. Sure, I’d have enjoyed seeing the U.S. win, but I just can’t muster any kind of great enthusiasm for the whole thing. These weren’t even “teams” until two Sundays ago at their first practices. That’s why it feels so contrived compared to all the other Olympic events. If the U.S. team was a collection of young men who had been a true team for any real length of time, then it would seem like a bigger deal with more painful losses and more triumphant wins.

    I guess I’m too cynical and see NHL participation as nothing but marketing.

  78. Andrew says:

    Thanks I usually stick to the Bucco Blog, but the Blysma discussion among Pittsburgh fans fascinates me and the individuals here have intelligent criticism, better than the boilerplate stuff I see elsewhere.

  79. scapper says:

    Now THAT’S funny stuff!

  80. theplanisworking says:

    Maybe, Sarah.

    If Disco Ducky get bounced in the 1st or second round, there may be movement. If he reaches the ECF, zilch, zip, nada.


  81. Andrew says:

    Remember though, Therrien was extended until 2010-11, before the 2008 season.

  82. theplanisworking says:

    Boston is built better for the playoffs than the Pens.
    I understand Shero may do a deal before the deadline, but I hope they face someone other than Boston.

  83. Jim S. says:

    I wanted the US to win as well. But, I think you nailed it Scapper. It was a 1-0 loss to a really talented team. Could they have made better strategic decisions to change the outcome of a Game 2, if there were one? Maybe.

    Canada is still better at hockey. This is news?

    I think some are being a bit harsh on Bylsma. But, that’s just an observation. I’m not a hockey expert by any means.

  84. Sarah says:

    Totally agree they cannot beat BOS in current player/coach configuration.

    Just have this queasy feeling DB is locked in til like 2025…..ugh.

  85. Jim S. says:

    Who said he’s not disappointed at himself and the team?

    Was he supposed to go all “Torts” at his post-game news conference?

  86. theplanisworking says:

    Dont get me wrong…….. Bylsma is a great guy. He certainly appears to know his stuff. But the stubbornness, and trying to fit round pegs in square holes baffles me.

    And, even though I criticize him, I desperately want him to succeed.

    And, stick around more often. Lots of good discussion in here, on many different subjects. Even soccer. ;)

  87. Sarah says:

    Yep…..but he had totally lost the team.
    The team loves Disco. And so does RS.

  88. theplanisworking says:

    Good points, both of yinz. :)

  89. theplanisworking says:

    Oh no!
    Pitchforks and torches would be passed out by mr. Bowser and I !! ;)

  90. Pucknutz says:

    “It was a 1-0 loss to a really talented team. ”
    Also see Johns quote from the Hockey news below.

    Harsh on DB – yes – but whats new about that? :)

  91. Sarah says:

    Marketing for the NHL?

  92. Jandy says:

    OK Off to Johnstown to look for a vehicle for the kids…enjoy the day everyone, bring home the BRonze boys :)

  93. Jim S. says:

    MLB Network Top 100 Players shows were aired last night and again this morning. For the Bucs, Cole was #94, Pedro was #79, and Cutch was #4.

    Interestingly, right after Cole, they plopped down Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha and Trevor Rosenthal of the Cards as #93-#91 (the countdown goes backwards).

    I hoped to see Liriano and Marte make it somewhere, but no such luck. Not a huge slight. Russell Martin is very underrated as well. But, I don’t expect the talking heads to figure out that catching is more than 80% defense any time soon.

    But, Trevor Rosenthal (who was an 8th inning pitcher last season) ahead of Cole-train? Please.

  94. JohninOshkosh says:


    Guess it was because someone mentioned the SI swimsuit issue.

  95. Sarah says:

    Hah! I just sometimes feel Disco isn’t going anywhere unless RS is gone too. They’re joined at the hip, in the Olympic effort also. RS can’t slam Disco for an olympic poor showing, when he helped pick the team too. As long as Ray’s here, so is Disco.

    Yes, I’m a DEbbie Downer right now LOL!!!

  96. Andrew says:

    I do not disagree, I think tactically stubborn is a fair characterization. I really do not a strong opinion on Blysma either way because I do not have watch enough hockey/know enough of other coaches to answer the question what next.

  97. No score between the US and Finland at the end of period one. Can Coach Bylsma guarantee the bronze? We’ll find out in 40 more minutes if there’s no overtime.

  98. I say we hire Brian Burke as GM and mike keenan as coach.

  99. Jim S. says:

    If yinz hockey types insist on continuing with the “Fire Bylsma; No, keep Bylsma; Fire Shero; No, keep Shero” talk all through the spring ‘n at, you might get accused eventually of beating a dead horse. :-)

  100. Are we going to go thru the ENTIRE olympics without seeing Kane and Kessel aka american 2-headed monster???

  101. Sarah says:

    Good God.

  102. theplanisworking says:

    Jim, you will have to take that up with the “moderation committee” ;)

  103. theplanisworking says:

    OK, EYE will jump the gun…………….

    Not really, but the team looks flat.
    Oh well, at least the US leads in the medal count, and I am sure there will be other things to watch.

  104. Sarah says:

    …suddenly I don’t feel so old anymore….43 years old,the Finnish Flash.

  105. Sarah says:

    That second goal, quick got faked all the way to his knees before the pass across. Rarely see that.
    They’re stunned.

  106. The Finns just scored two quick goals to begin period 2. It doesn’t look good for the US right now.

  107. Disco dan is no broadway joe…at least not yet…

  108. Sarah says:

    Ok this is getting wild

  109. theplanisworking says:

    And…………….. 0 fer 2 on penalty shots.
    Talk a big game, come up short.
    I have seen this before, I want a different movie, please.

    Oh well, GO BUCS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  110. florida steeler says:

    Bylsma’s stupidity never ceases to amaze. Selecting Patrick Kane for a penalty shot is absurd. Kane and Pacioretti have been awful in these games. Did he forget we have Oshi on the team???
    He never changed Kessel’s line ONE TIME even though people like Roenick were screaming for change.
    Byslma wins in Pittsburgh because of outstanding athletes, not because of anything he does.

  111. Pucknutz says:

    I also was not meaning to imply that the Hockey was meaningless. Yes….I did call it an “exhibition”and I will stand by that. All Star games played with meaningful intensity. As noted by scapper calling them true “teams” may be a stretch but none the less I don’t mean to denigrate the winners accomplishment.
    In spite of all the angst that US hockey is not up to par…. losing to Canada 1-0 (as your quote from HN below sums up nicely) is not the end of the world.
    There certainly is a different dynamic at work between the individual sports and the Hockey “teams”. Not comparable IMHO.
    An Olympic Gold is an Olympic Gold—Tough thing to get—certainly not meaningless —something to be truly proud of!

  112. scapper says:

    And the Olympics. In fact, the Olympics probably benefits more. I’ve heard people talking about hockey results who never mention hockey at any other time. Really smart move to get NHL participation. Has to be a boon to viewership.

    I suppose it’s good for the NHL, too, as it does seem to generate discussion — both positive and negative — and as long as it’s getting talked about, that has to help. Not sure how many new fans it brings in, but I guess some do check out more NHL after the games.

    In the meantime, Martin’s hand is broken, Tavares’ knee is wrecked, Zetterberg’s….
    (Okay, that horse is officially beaten to death. I’m done. Sorry.)

  113. Hey i just saw wheeler try to hit someone…followed by him promptly falling on his ass.

  114. Sarah says:

    Couldn’t pick Oshie, he was not on the ice at the time of the penalty.

  115. florida steeler says:

    My bad?? Doc said Bylsma could choose anyone for the shot.

  116. Sarah says:

    Doc’s drunk.

  117. Jim S. says:

    I’m glad you recognized that I was just having a little fun there, plan. Just pointing out that some issues are universal regardless of the sport: Fire Colbert/Tomlin/old Steelers coaches, Rooneys are cheap, Hurdle/Huntington/Coonelly/Nutting must all go, Bylsma/Shero need to go also, Jamie Dixon can’t change with the times, Chryst is a passive wimp.

    It’s what we do as fans because we’re passionate. We dissect everything, from every angle. And, we speculate … endlessly … because, it’s fun! And we care!

    That said, if this keeps up I’m going to kindly ask that you all take it to the Yohe or Rossi blogs.

  118. Eric Bowser says:

    “We’re going to play an up-tempo, dynamic game. It’s ice out there — it’s not blacktop, wood or dirt. We’re in a hole right now. The first thing is to get back to even and play a type of game that fits into the abilities of the players we have here.”

    …. later on after his hiring….

    “Some nights, I wonder what the NHL would have done to Michael Jordan.”

  119. Jim S. says:

    Since a major topic today seems to be coaching ability …

    I heard a description once by an old Southern college football coach about another old college football coach. Or, maybe they were college basketball coaches.

    “He could take his’n and beat your’n, and he could take your’n and beat his’n.”

    I’m thinking not many here believe that applies to Dan Bylsma.

  120. Jim S. says:

    It’s still Bylsma’s fault. Oshie should always be on the ice :-)

  121. florida steeler says:

    No longer–down two to the Russians.

  122. Sarah says:

    Last time he beat a higher seed was 2009

  123. Eric Bowser says:

    Parise and Kane just brutal….

  124. Eric Bowser says:

    I have my opinion on Bylsma, this tournament did nothing to change it.

    The phrase will be used when the Penguins fail to make the Stanley Cup finals. There are no excuses, injuries or not.

  125. Jim S. says:

    I don’t dispute that. But, part of it is there usually are not a lot of higher seeds.

  126. Must be…he just said ‘shutdown’ and ‘washington capitals’ in same sentence.

  127. Sarah says:

    LOL! sorry the Disco focus Jim, I know we can be tiresome. (Sigh….)

  128. scapper says:

    I LOVE this comment!

  129. scapper says:

    I meant Jim’s sarcastic comment about Oshie. Soooo funny.

  130. Sarah says:

    Good point. There have been many lower seeds since 2009….. Unfortunately we’ve lost to a few of them.

    Really Jim in think our frustration is not THAT we lose w Disco, it’s the WAY we lose…..which is depressingly familiar, and as Plan and others have mentioned, re-evaluation and adjustments never seem to happen. Sigh again!

  131. theplanisworking says:

    Jim, are YOU the moderator on those 2 blogs? ;)

    If we didn’t care, we wouldn’t criticize.
    I don’t understand those who just passively accept things in the name of fandom.
    I am not talking about trolls, who criticize just to criticize.
    I am talking about passionate, knowledgeable, (or semi-knowledgeable in my case) fans who just want the best at all times. Isn’t that the definition of a fan?

  132. florida steeler says:

    Add Pacioretti and Wheeler to the mix.

  133. theplanisworking says:

    Jim, that was Bum Phillips that said that.
    I don’t know who he was referencing.

  134. theplanisworking says:

    No shame in losing.
    No shame in losing occasionally to a lower seed.
    When it happens every year, well………….

  135. Brandie says:

    Just as I suspected…Pout Fest 2014 Olympics Edition is here…No way Finland should be up 2-0.

  136. Jim S. says:

    Plan, I think you are right! It was Bum Phillips. Leave it to Bum to turn “your’n” into a new word.

  137. Jim S. says:

    I hear you. Last year was so painful. I’m often hard on the guy, too.

  138. theplanisworking says:

    Hey pal, take it to the Rossi blog. ;)

  139. theplanisworking says:

    Was he talking about Chuck Noll?

  140. MJ would’ve retired to take up curling….in russia.

  141. theplanisworking says:

    Get your BisonZ after them ! ;)

  142. Jim S. says:

    I’m really just having a little fun with you all.

    I’m the same way with coaches a lot of the time.

  143. scapper says:

    Brilliant political Olympics-related comic from the Sacramento Bee. And no, this is not me injecting political discussion into this blog. Trust me, we’re probably all on the same page with this one.

  144. NMR says:

    Thanks, Groat. I don’t know if you caught my comment yesterday, but you gotta start compiling all these reports into a journal. That would make for some fun reading a few years down the line.

    Oh, and you might want to factor the little part about Oscar Taveras being hurt last year from May to the end of the season before claiming the Cards purposely held him in AAA. :)

  145. Sarah says:

    CBC very critical….saying US bench lifeless, no emotion.
    Paying no attention to Bylsma.
    Yikes, eh?

  146. Jim S. says:

    True story from youth sports about a very similar situation.

    My daughter plays soccer. A player got tripped in the opponent’s goal box by a defender. The ref called it a foul, and when it happens in the goal box it is an automatic PK.

    They have one player who is particularly adept at nailing the PK’s. But, she was not on the field at the time. She was getting her one 2 minute rest of the game. Anyway, one of the dads yells, “Why isn’t Katie taking this PK?” Another dad says, “Because she’s not in the game, so she can’t take it.” First dad says, “Well, she should have been in the game. What is this coach thinking?”


  147. Jim S. says:

    (Head slumped down, dejectedly, and walking away.)


  148. theplanisworking says:

    Where have we seen this before?

  149. Jim S. says:

    Possibly, but I think it was someone else. Could have been Noll, Shula, Landry, Walsh.

  150. Brandie says:

    Greetings Sarah Vokoun, Consol Smash, Revvie, Jimmerz, Brother Scap, Gary Redus is My Homeboy, Bowser Blast, The Plan Is Twerking, and everyone.

  151. Sarah says:

    I was gonna say sounds like a Pens playoff game!!

  152. Brandie says:

    Bye Bye Bylsma The Musical.

  153. Jim S. says:

    I believe it is, yes.

    Fan is short for Fan-atic.

  154. theplanisworking says:

    Thanks for overlooking the “semi-knowledgeable” point about me, friend. :)

  155. Sarah says:

    Greetings! Too early for a stiff drink? US not lookin good…..

  156. Jim S. says:

    Hey, Brandie! Happy Saturday!

    My son wants us to take him to see Pompei today. I have not read anything about this movie.

    I think he’s hoping he gets to see lots of lava covering people.

  157. Almost 5 and a half periods of being shutout and hardly a line adjustment….sorry jim…cant take it anymore but mixing in wheeler with kessel doesn’t count.

  158. Jim S. says:

    As my old boss used to say, it’s 5:00 somewhere.

  159. theplanisworking says:

    With the Anvil Chorus?? ;)

  160. We cant seem to twerk it out today ;(

  161. The Finns have just scored again! So much for Coach Bylsma guaranteeing that we’d win the bronze!

  162. Jim S. says:

    I appreciate the apology, monster. But, I’m ok with the criticism of Bylsma. These have not been shining moments for him the last 2 days.

  163. theplanisworking says:

    Brandie, you in no way want to see me twerking!


  164. Milo Hamilton says:

    All this AND we’ve lost Paul Martin. Why do they do this again ?

  165. Sarah says:

    Holy shite. The Flash strikes again.

    Gonna be a long plane ride home.

  166. Jim S. says:

    Ok, so I live in the Chicago area. A buddy (gigantic Hawks fan, btw) just texted me.

    “Kane misses 2 PKs. He truly is a choke artist!!!!”

    Yep, he used 4 exclamation points.

    So, a lot of people are feeling this frustration.

  167. theplanisworking says:

    Foot in mouth disease.

    Only good thing about this game, is Teemu Selanne gets a medal in his last Olympics.

  168. Sarah says:

    Cos the players and the NHLPA want to.

  169. Jim S. says:

    I wish Kuni and Sid had the Russian flu right about now.

  170. Eric Bowser says:

    4-0 Finland

    What a pathetic showing by many on Team USA in these two losing ‘efforts’.

  171. The Finns have scored again! Something tells me that Coach Bylsma should’ve kept his mouth shut!

  172. Jim S. says:

    Then, he followed up with, “And Toews isn’t any better. You watch!!!!”

    Hawks have 2 extremely recent Cup victories. I guess my buddy forgot.

  173. Kane wont be able to hear your buddy due to 2 stanley cup rings being stuck in his ears :)

    Ok i’m all out of patrick roy references

  174. Jim S. says:

    Well said, JT.

  175. theplanisworking says:

    Found it !!!!!
    He was talking about Don Shula.

    Now I feel better !

  176. Milo Hamilton says:

    If that’s all it is there’s an easy fix. Just tell them no from now on. Problem sol-ved. :)

  177. Jim S. says:

    And, Olli gets his first.

    I repeat my comment from earlier this week. 5.4 million people in Finland. They must all play hockey.

  178. florida steeler says:

    What a bunch of quitters. Backes said some did not give effort yesterday. What was today???

  179. Jim S. says:

    Don or David?

  180. And to think, the US scored 20 goals and won the first 4 games. What the devil happened besides them losing Paul Martin anyhow?

  181. JohninOshkosh says:

    Much appreciated, Pucknutz. And, you and Scapper’ s opinions I value. (Scapper, back then Scrapper, was one of the first people to respond to one of my posts, lo those many years ago!).

    The international competitions, save the ridiculous WBC, have always meant the most to me. Whether, it be the Olympics or World Cup. Olympic memories in a myriad of sports from Munich to Sochi are burned into my sports memory. I was raised a North Stars fan from the day I was born. But, even their two losses in the SC Finals to the Islanders, and then getting clowned by Mario and the Pens, does not reside in the same realm of Olympic memories.

    So, yeah, I’ll hang onto the hurt of yesterday. Especially, if the NHL ceases to participate. Because, that effectively means my nation will not win Olympic Gold in men’s hockey again in my lifetime.

  182. Sarah says:

    DKs already on twitter telling people to layoff the Pens/Bruins/Bylsma/Rask stuff.

    Sorry but the are just too many common denominators. And I don’t just mean the points above.
    Too many head scratchingly poor performances in huge games.

    It’s a valid discussion to have even if DK is tired of it (as many are!)

  183. Sarah says:

    Man Crush Olli SCIRES!!! Wow! So glad for the kid.

  184. Milo Hamilton says:

    Maatta looks tired to me. :)

  185. Sarah says:

    Same questions asked last spring after a four game stretch v the same goalie…..

  186. Sarah says:

    Yeah he’s gotta be wiped. Hope he gets some days off and discretionary practice-skips….

  187. DJ says:


    Nice to see that our best all around D-man can shoot a one-timer.

  188. Jim S. says:

    Putin just smiled for the first time in a few days.

    Wait a minute. I’m sure he hates Finland as well, and probably has plans of re-acquiring them someday.

    No, he hates us more. He’s smiling.

  189. theplanisworking says:

    As Jandy would say……….. :THWAP: :)

  190. If only disco learned from his mistakes as fast as olli does…if only….

  191. Milo Hamilton says:

    Sarcasm alert.

  192. theplanisworking says:

    + many.

    DK seems to be a bit edgier than normal.
    Must be the lack of Starbucks…..

  193. Eric Bowser says:

    Byslma coached team getting blown out, American hockey players quitting…

    yep… nothing new there.

  194. Jim S. says:

    Pot stirrer!

  195. Sarah says:

    Go read Seth Rorabaughs tweets. Embarrassing.

  196. Milo Hamilton says:

    What an embarrassment.

  197. Jim S. says:

    Sure, it’s valid.

  198. Jim S. says:

    Olli Maata just showing off for the boss on the big stage. “Hey, coach. Don’t even think about cutting my minutes.”

  199. Sarah says:

    Don’t tempt him!!!! I really think Olli has been under utilized now….seeing how comprehensively well he can play in so many roles. PP, PK, tons of minutes, important minutes.

    It will be interesting to see if the number / type of minutes he plays changes back in Pgh.

  200. Eric Bowser says:

    yep….. Bylsma, Kane, Parise, Suter and so on….

  201. Milo Hamilton says:

    It’s not stretch to say that in the near future he’s going to be the Penguins best defenseman. And by the near future I mean next week.

  202. JohninOshkosh says:

    “Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. America plays to win all the time.”

    -George S. Patton

  203. DJ says:

    Oops, meant “Olli(eeeeeyeahh!)”

  204. DJ says:

    Next week? See above.

  205. theplanisworking says:

    The thing I am most perplexed by was the timidness the past 2 games.
    Just a very afraid looking team.
    Total deterioration.
    All we heard about was how the team was constructed, then they won their 1st 3 games by a 20-4 margin. Only to be shut out the past 2 games.
    No offensive chances in the 3rd period.
    No discipline.

    But Penguin fans should be used to seeing this in the playoffs every year.
    But hey, I applaud the Finns, they wanted it more.
    Hats off to Selanne and Maatta.
    I think I will go watch some skiing. :)

  206. Do us all a favor, will you, Coach Bylsma?! In the future, please don’t guarantee anything, not even the Stanley Cup! Okay?! After all, this has got to be among the most embarrassing moments in Pittsburgh if not US sports, and we’ll be smarting from this for some time, even if the Penguins win the Stanley Cup in the future, especially since the Russians will likely be getting the last laugh from all this!

  207. theplanisworking says:

    Parise on what happened……….. “I don’t know”.

  208. Sarah says:

    More goals than Sid, Malkin! Kunitz combined!
    Sounds like he needs to back to WBS for more experience.

  209. JohninOshkosh says:

    They should just give both losers in semis the Bronze and dispense with this game in the men’s tourney. No need for a consolation game. NCAA learned that many years ago with Final Four.

  210. Sarah says:

    Don’t forget “we didn’t show up”. To go with “we didn’t give it our all” from Backes yesterday.

    Honestly for a team that seemed completely Bought In up til yesterday, something made them bail fast. WTH?

  211. Jim S. says:

    I think he followed that statement up with, “Can someone check if my ride to the airport is here yet?”

  212. Eric Bowser says:

    Parise said team was “too passive” offensively

  213. Jim S. says:

    I think within 3 years he may be the best D-man in the NHL.

    He was probably in high school a year ago. I say “probably” because I don’t know how education is structured in Finland.

  214. Eric Bowser says:

    Dejan has quote from Parise – “We were passive. We had one forechecker at times, let them break out of their zone.”

    Think players are happy with Bylsma…..

  215. DJ says:

    Can’t even imagine what the kid is going to be like next year with a summer of off-season conditioning and a few more pounds.

    I mentioned earlier it would nice to have the blue line hammer for this year’s Cup run (a la Weber) but good to know we have one well on his way.

  216. Ghost says:

    Wow. I don’t even know hockey. But 5-0?

    BTW, I’ve always wondered why you guys call Dan Bylsma “Disco” Dan.
    But what the heck. One bad effort deserves another:

  217. DJ says:

    If Finland had its full complement of players and Rask in the semis they would have had an excellent chance at gold.

    Then again, with just Rask in the semis they’d likely be playing for gold and might have pulled that off with one or two bounces their way.

  218. Jim S. says:

    I was going to mention that.

  219. brandie says:

    Some thoughts on professionalism…

    The US players were not professional at all. You do not pout over the positions you put yourselves in. You play to win the game, period, no matter the color of the metal. Just a pi$$ poor effort all around.

    Good on you Ghost for posting the Disco Duck video. Those were the days.

  220. brandie says:

    Metal or Medal.

  221. brandie says:

    Twerk your jelly Plan, Just Twerk your jelly!

  222. brandie says:

    Congratulations to Olli, Jussi, and the Fightin’ Finns on their bronze medal. Way to Mail It In USA.

    Can’t spell abysmal without Bylsma.

  223. Ghost says:

    Yes, happier days.
    How did the moniker “Disco” Dan come about in the first place, though?

  224. Sisyphus says:

    Is that any different from what you see in Pirates or Steelers discussions?

  225. Ghost says:

    Excellent wordplay!

  226. Good he’s not alive to see this game, John.

  227. Sisyphus says:

    “One drill had infielders intentionally throwing shorthops to 1st:…”

    At first, I read that as “…infielders intentionally throwing SHORTSTOPS to first…”, which sounded like an odd sort of drill, and dangerous as well.

  228. It’s DK’s fault, anyway. He predicted a bronze for the U.S.

  229. brandie says:

    When Bylsma was a player, his teammates gave him the nickname Disco because he was always dancing in the locker rom.

  230. Dodkong says:

    End of first paragraph under “Professional Playing Career” with a footnote leading to an article by a competitor.

    Would have posted said article instead, but figured that would be in poor taste.

  231. theplanisworking says:

    Thanks Brandie !

  232. brandie says:

    I have also called him Pepto Bylsma as well. Will this experience humble him and finally convince him that he does not know all? Only time will tell. Oh well…off to do the Disco Stretch.

  233. Stuart says:



  234. brandie says:

    And we are back to reality with Komrade Bylsma.

  235. Dejan has also said that there’s no curative like winning and the US and Coach Bylsma have just been twice humiliated, so he’ll just have to bear with this for some time to come.

  236. Passive would imply that they played today…

  237. brandie says:

    What are you plussing Stuart?

  238. Ghost says:

    Thank you, Brandie and Dodkong.

  239. Ghost says:

    And that’s a good one, too! I do declare, you’re quite good at Branding people. ;-)

  240. BillyBaduka says:

    Great smile. She definitely can replace Vonn.

  241. scapper says:

    Beautifully put.

    That’s why this is the only reader comments section not only participate in but even read. Civilized, thoughtful and full of great points from 27 sides of every issue.

  242. BillyBaduka says:

    It’s when arctic air from the pole is pulled south by a meandering jet stream.

    The causes are debated but the phenomenon is not.

    Satellite images show it well.

  243. Anyhow, I’ll be happy that the Olympics will be over after Sunday and the hockey season will again resume on Thursday. And then, there will soon be Pirates exhibition and then regular season baseball. And there’ll be no more Olympics until 2018 in South Korea.

  244. Dodkong says:

    Well, no more Winter Olympics till then. There’s still the Summer events in Rio in 2 years.

  245. TK says:

    “During the 1994–95 labor stoppage, Bylsma earned the nickname “Disco Dan”. The nickname was adopted by teammates while playing for a minor league team in Phoenix. Veteran goaltender Byron Dafoe already went by Bylsma’s former moniker of “Bysie” so the name “Disco Dan” was given due to Bylsma’s penchant for dancing in the locker room”

  246. Well then, they’ll have at least 24 months to get over their humiliations, savor their triumphs, lick their wounds and then resume their rivalries and pursue their dreams in Brazil, when it starts all over again during the summer of 2016.

  247. Sarah says:

    So did Disco change dramatically the scheme to lose the team so completely? I don’t think so…..I think they just could not execute the scheme well v CAN (unable to enter the zone w speed, then unable to win physical battles to retrieve the puck after dumping)….got frustrated, and had no answers.

    Got more frustrated. By the end of FIN game, they were taking stupid penalties, getting zero chances and gave up 3 PP goals in the third.

    We’ve seen this fish before.

  248. theplanisworking says:

    And it stinks !

  249. Wild Bill says:

    Wow gang! Was on a road trip and missed the hockey game. Looks like I was lucky from what I’m reading.

  250. Sarah says:

    Thank goodness Bylsma didn’t promise a medal or this would have been even more embarrassing.
    Oh, um…..

  251. brandie says:

    Not a good day on the ice Big Willy Thrills.

  252. Sarah says:

    Well…..let’s just say that if you watched the BOS series last spring, you don’t need to bother to watch a replay!

  253. brandie says:

    Your praise is appreciated Ghost Dawg!

  254. My opinion on the whole thing, which is worth nothing, is these pros aren’t as hungry as amateur athletes and, when they think they’re out of the big prize, they just phone it in. I’d love to see only college hockey players in the Olympics, but that’s just an outsider’s opinion. I’m not for the Dream Team stuff in basketball, either.

    Looked to me like they had good pressure on Rask in the first period, but I stopped watching after that to do Saturday chores. I’m glad I did.

    Fins were hungrier.

  255. If John checks in later, big win for the Badgers on the road at Iowa.

  256. theplanisworking says:

    I feel awful for Lad9.

    I gave him 20 the other day for Bethel Park facing New Castle.
    I didn’t give him enough.
    New Castle leading 48-22 2 minutes to go in the 3rd period.

  257. Sarah says:

    And re the 1-2-2 apparently per Orpik there was no change in style at all …..I’m no expert watching the o zone….but all I saw was that starting w CAN the US could no longer entree the zone w speed, either carrying the puck or dumping. That made puck battles completely different and harder to win. And it all flowed from there.

  258. JohninOshkosh says:

    No doubt about it, Lucky. Badgers on a roll. Always good to see because everyone else in my family either went to, or works for, the University of Iowa. :). Bragging rights next Thanksgiving!

  259. Sarah says:

    Way, way WAY hungrier. Ravenous.
    US got down 2 and said, “Check, please!”

  260. theplanisworking says:

    73-46 final.
    Poor Lad.

  261. Zactly why i referenced above going d to d a few times so forwards can come back and build speed with dmen. Too many times we tried squeezing puck into gap behind forecheckers and in front of dmen only to have dmen step up and forwards strip the puck on backcheck. Last few months going back to capitals game in november the pens have done a great job of this in lieu of the disco stretch and the result was explosive offense and one W after another.

    I know canada’s forwards were on our dmen fast but thats what reverses and puck support is for…so you can change point of attack and still have passing options in close proximity. Adjusting the breakouts could’ve generated some momentum and flow in the 2nd and 3rd when it was desperately needed. Faceoff results weren’t exactly in our favor either. I think they won something like 11 more faceoff than us. I dont need a degree from MIT to know that directly accounts for at least a 2-3 minute swing in possession.

  262. Jim S. says:

    Some things I heard today:

    * Ravens coach John Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome are expressing “supprt” for Ray Rice. Ozzie admitted the video doesn’t look, but he feels good about what Ray has done since the incident. I have no idea what that means. I also have no idea why, as a GM, you say anything that even makes it remtely possible for you to look foolish and callous in this situation to your fans. No word yet on whether Harbaugh or Newsome expressed any “support” for Ray Rice’s fiance. Supposedly, there is more video to be released, and some testimony from witnesses. There are not a lot of places to hide from cameras in a casino.

    * We have been wondering why the Browns have acted so oddly about their head coaches since the season ended. I heard a rumor earlier this week that the Browns had attempted to pry Jim Harbaugh away from the 49ers for a #1 and other draft picks. Then, today, while in the car I heard a lot more about this story. So, it appears to be true that the 49ers were in discussions with Cleveland about trading Harbaugh to them. I guess that explains why Cleveland fired their coach so abruptly, and then took forever to replace him. It all blew up in Cleveland’s face, of course. But, I would say we should be careful in dismissing them for the future. They are going to be very aggressive and serious now about putting a winning team on the field.

    As for Harbaugh, he apparently demanded to be made the highest paid coach in the league with 2 years left on his current deal. 49ers told him they would not do that until he won a Super Bowl. It has leaked out, which should be a suprise to no one, that Harbaugh is difficult to work with, is demanding nd considered “combustible”, etc. etc. Anyone who thinks that is a surprise after watching him on the sidelines isn’t watching closely. The 49ers know he gets great results, but it sounds as though his act is wearing very thin in SF.

    ESPN says SF is furious that the story was not kept under wraps when they denied it, because Cleveland never denied it. It was the talk of the Combine in Indy last night. Well, that, and the fact that Johnny Football has really big hands and feet for a guy 5’11.75″.

    * If any of you hockey fans are wondering, ESPN Radio, which never even mentions hockey in any capacity for about 364 days a year, has been breathlessly announcing the failure of the US Men’s Team in Sochi to start off each news update this afternoon. They hate hockey, but when they get a chance to tell us how bad hockey is in this country, it is like Christmas Day for them and they are taking full advantage.

  263. Jim S. says:

    I listened to the last 10 minutes or so in the car. Great game. Excellent last 5 minutes by Wisky.

  264. They swept them. Of course there’s the BIG tourney to cope with.

  265. That story adds to the nauseating feeling that comes on us with any mention of a Harbaugh. Say what you want about Tomlin, but I still believe he’s a good person. Not the punks that Jim and John are. Glad to have him and his mediocrity at times.

    Now is he can assemble a winner and be the coach he needs to be………

  266. theplanisworking says:

    This is for Jim………………..

    Things I learned today……..

    1) Bylsma and Team USA blew it, but it’s only an exhibition,
    2) ( awaiting moderation…..)


  267. Sarah says:

    How many potential free agents learned whAt it’s like to play for Disco this week?

  268. theplanisworking says:

    A few.
    But with the Pens cap situation, it wouldn’t have mattered if Team USA won every game by 10 goals.
    You do raise an interesting point.

    And, I bet other teams now see how easy it is to disrupt Disco’s system.
    Ahhhh, good times.

  269. cherokee23 says:

    DK told us in saturday column not too compare Team usa/Bylsma results to the Pens. From post above, he also made that request thru Twitter. Disregard Twitter because it’s just for fun. DK latest column goes on to compare Team USA/Bylsma results to Pens…………I’m confused

  270. Ghost says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more, Lucky. Could not imagine this kind of story being about Tomlin. As for the Harbaughs, I don’t have much use for John. But Jim is the one that really nauseates.

  271. Jim S. says:

    I spoke to the moderation team. They are allowing your comments.

  272. Jim S. says:

    Jim seems a lot worse than John to me. And, I don’t particularly care for John.

    Jim was the same way as a QB. He always thought he was better than he really was. No one could stand his act in Chicago for very long, and I doubt it was much better in Indy.

  273. Their father (John) is a real nice guy. He coached here at Western KY and won a national championship in the old 1-AA. Everyone liked him. Wasn’t arrogant or self-serving at all like the boys. More humble than the 2 of them put together.

  274. Jim S. says:

    Oh good. I had BP +31.5.

  275. Sarah says:

    Thee are too many parallels to ignore. Especially in a situation with two different groups of players…..yet the same issues.
    There is a common denominator.

  276. Sarah says:

    ESPN jumped the shark long long ago.

  277. Sarah says:

    Yeah I suspect the book is out on DB….and really, has been for awhile. Just not every team can manage it.

  278. Jim S. says:

    So, it’s mom Harbaugh’s fault? :-)

  279. theplanisworking says:

    HA !!!!!

    Here ya go, Jim……… highlight from the game.

  280. Jim S. says:

    Is anyone here a House of Cards (Netflix) fan? My wife and I are going to start on Season 2 tonight, and I hear it is better than Season 1. Kevin Spacey = tremendous actor.

  281. theplanisworking says:

    Agreed Lucky.
    The old man was a class act.

    The kids are an a$$ act.

  282. theplanisworking says:

    Thank You for your support. :)

  283. Jim S. says:

    Maybe BP went into a slowdown late to preserve my margin of defeat.

  284. ++++++++++++on both Jim and plansky.

  285. Jim S. says:

    Thanks, Billy.

  286. Jim S. says:


  287. brandie says:

    Or both are a$$ hats.

  288. brandie says:

    MichelPlangelo and Jimmerz:

    How does one moderate a hippo? Hippos are pretty big and I am not sure they can be moderated.

    Side Note: Penn States annual Dance Marathon is taking place now. Let us hope they raise more than 12 million dollars this year for pediatric cancer research. I danced in this when I was a sophomore many moons ago. 46 hours with no sleep had me seeing Socrates and Plato playing the card game War. I am not kidding. One of the best things I have ever done in life.

  289. brandie says:


    This also comes down to individual effort. Bylsma takes the lion share of the blame, but, at the end of the day, the team mailed it in and just gave up. They had one mother of a tantrum and came off looking lazy and unprofessional. This is what gets people fired from their jobs or, in professional sports, promoted. (See the Phrase FUMU or F Up Move Up).

  290. theplanisworking says:

    I was up there one year visiting friends when it was going on.
    It was done in Rec hall, I think.
    Fascinating to watch, and great charitable work.

  291. theplanisworking says:

    Oh and how does one moderate a Hippo??
    Very carefully. ;)

  292. brandie says:

    When I danced, it was in the White Building. This year it is in The Bryce Jordan Center. Good Times Man. I will remember to moderate the hippo very carefully in the future. Good advice.

    VIVA NEW CASTLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  293. theplanisworking says:

    In the video above re: New Castle……… my friends who always text me the updates, can be seen in the upper left of the video after the dunk. My buddies son is the one in the white shirt jumping up and down.

    Just hysterical.

  294. JohninOshkosh says:

    Real big fan, Jim. Season 1 blew me away. Thought Season 2 was strong as well.

    And Robin Wright…..

  295. Sarah says:

    But players get frustrated at lack of Plan B when A is not working.

  296. theplanisworking says:

    Square peg-round hole syndrome.

    Sid and Geno’s window for Cups is starting to close.
    I think a different system could have gotten at least 1 more Cup.
    I see no more Cups with Disco Duck as coach.
    He is just simply unwilling to change and adjust.

  297. theplanisworking says:

    Oshie………… now that our 2 NBA teams are the worst in the league……..

    Philly dumped 2 of their best 3 players Thursday, for 100 2nd-round draft choices, it seems. Milwaukee didn’t do anything……… which is odd, becasue that team has some awful players and contracts they should have tried to unload. I didn’t know OJ Mayo was still alive, let alone playing.

    YIKES !!!!!!!!!!!!

    Philly now has 7 draft picks this year, and Milwaukee will get a great 1st-rounder, but that is it.

  298. pattonbb says:

    I met Kevin Spacey when he was doing “The Iceman Cometh” on Broadway. He was a total jerk.

    Great actor, though.

  299. brandie says:

    Bylsma must take the lions share and eat that sandwich. I like it when coaches and players come into their positions with a bit of swagger, but to not adjust when things are clearly going awry is asinine.

  300. brandie says:

    Milwaukee is native speak for Land of Bad Basketball. Meanwhile, the Sixers have completely embraced the suck. Not much you can do when you continually live in a land of delusion that your way is the best way (see Dan Bylsma).

  301. brandie says:

    All Dan Bylsma has to do is look at the history of one term presidents to see what happens when one does not adjust. Most people remember one term presidents as “meh”, but not stellar. Danny B has one cup, but he must realize that all of this talk goes away with proper adjustments and less disdain for actual coaching.

  302. JohninOshkosh says:

    The Bucks traded Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour to Charlotte for Ramon Sessions and Jeff Adrien. Surprised you did not hear as I’m sure it was a national news.

    Was surprised they didn’t move Ersan

  303. Stuart says:

    You on professionalism.


  304. theplanisworking says:

    Nope, didn’t hear that one.
    I feel bad for you, as that team needs totally blown up, but I don’t know how they can rebuild without picks…………

  305. JohninOshkosh says:

    I gotta take one of those pills Jandy was talking about. lol.

    Ersan Ilyasova.

    They don’t have too many bad contracts. Their organization is where the Buccos were after Neal’ s purging.

  306. JohninOshkosh says:

    Watching a stupid Daytona 500 show on Fox.

    I get Charissa Thompson and Danica Patrick.

    I don’t get Jeff Gordon.

  307. theplanisworking says:

    I wish them well. No stockpile of picks to rebuild with…… man, what a mess. Philly could have 2 top ten picks this year. That helps.

  308. JohninOshkosh says:

    Doesn’t surprise me a bit. Often goes hand in hand with great actors.

  309. JohninOshkosh says:

    The number of draft picks doesn’t matter as much in the NBA.

    I’m more concerned about their efforts to get a new arena. Don’t think the appetite is there to publicly fund a new arena. Could be scooped up by some investor, perhaps in Pittsburgh, with their shiny new arena.

    Already had my childhood hockey team move to freakin’ Dallas. Would be devastated if the Bucks left. One reason I’ll never completely chastise Gary Bettman. He worked to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh. Awful when teams leave cities.

  310. Stuart says:

    Pretty pathetic when disappointment with the hockey results leads to a discussion about the NBA.

    I believe the Rev expressed a desire to see some college amateurs next time. I’ll second that. When players are used to being motivated by dollars, it’s easier to not care about a brass medal. I can’t blame Dan for the lack of inspiration. The inspiration should come from within.


  311. theplanisworking says:

    Yeah, moving the Bucks would be awful.
    That would be a big blow.

    With the new NBa CBA, draft picks are now much more valuable than before. With the increased luxury taxes, teams just can’t spend wild. (Except for Brooklyn).

    Kansas City and Anaheim are the most rumored places for an NBA team to go, along with Seattle. Isn’t Milwaukee’s arena fairly new (20 years)?

  312. JohninOshkosh says:

    Hey Stuart, what can I say ? Plan brought it up! I try not to talk about it, unless asked out of deference to the blog and Fearless Leader. lol.

  313. JohninOshkosh says:

    It was outdated the day it opened.

  314. theplanisworking says:

    That’s ok, Osh. I will take full responsibility. You are 100% absolved of any wrongdoing.

  315. brandie says:

    Thank you Stupendous.

  316. brandie says:

    FWIW Digging the line of thinking Disco Stu.

  317. scapper says:

    I thought the same thing.

    I still think you can’t indict Disco for the U.S. getting no medal. I’ll say it yet again…team practiced 2-3 times then played six games. That’s all. NBC and the NHL get their publicity and that’s that.

    Bring on the fair criticism of Bylsma come playoff time, but the Olympic team’s performance has nothing to do with that.

    And for what it’s worth, he went 4-2.

  318. brandie says:

    Both you taking responsibility and giving absolution to Jimmerz are currently awaiting moderation.

  319. Stuart says:

    No sweat Whisky John. I’ve never cared for pro basketball, and I go back to George Mikkleson and the Minny Lakers!

    The real pathetic thing was the US hockey effort.

    Just sayin.


  320. Lad 9 says:

    I appreciate the shout out. If we played New Castle 100 times, we would lose 100 times. There is a large talent disparity. They are REALLY good and extraordinarily well coached. Hard to believe that Malik Hooker considers basketball his second best sport. He is tremendous, and from what I saw, is a very classy young man on a classy team. Plan, you should be proud.

    That being said, props to Bethel Park junior guard Joey Mascaro, who didn’t back down an inch and had to be close to 20 points. He won’t go D1 due to his height, but he is a playuh.

    If New Castle wins the WPIAL, BP will advance to the state tournament where they will be matched in the first round against…. The New Castle Hurricanes. The PIAA really sucks.

  321. Stuart says:

    BTW Paul Arizin was my favorite NBA player (Philly Warriors). He died 7 years ago.


  322. theplanisworking says:

    Lad, my deepest sympathies. I really don’t see any team in the West matching up with them.

    Want to hear something really screwed up about the PIAA?
    Today, the Pittsburgh City league had their championship. Obama Academy was 22-0. Allderdice upset them 55-54.
    Obama Academy does not get to go to the state playoffs.
    Nada. Zippo.

    How as the crowd at the game, Lad?
    How much % were the NC fans?

  323. Lad 9 says:

    Wow. I saw that Dice upset them, but I didn’t realize that Obama would be shut out of the states. But hey, District 1 will get 10 teams in the tourney and none of them play each other in the first round.

    The place was packed Plan. Literally to the rafters. I would say 75% of the crowd was New Castle. No problems either. Good fans. After the Hooker alley oop, I have never heard a gym that loud. Anywhere.

  324. DJ says:

    One writer’s view, and a reference to DK as an added bonus:

    A little over the top but a few points well made.

  325. theplanisworking says:

    Lad, NC fans are some of the best around. Passionate, but not obnoxious.

    I double-checked the brackets, and only 1 team goes from the City League, 1 from Erie, 1 from Altoona-State College, 5 from WPIAL. That is it from all of western Pa. 7 slots have moved from the west to the east. Unreal.

    That is a very unsettling thing for New Castle’s opponents, Lad. The sheer numbers of fans that follow the team, and the noise factor gives New Castle a huge advantage.

    My friend is in the video above. His son is the one jumping up and down in the white shirt after the dunk.

    And you raise a great point……….. BP makes the states, and they get slaughtered again by NC. Not fair, but with so few spots given to the west, the WPIAL champ plays the lowest remaining team…… which this year is BP.

  326. Jim S. says:

    What a finish as Duke holds off Cuse. 10 seconds left, Duke up 2, Fair drives to the hoop for the tying hoop and we have the classic charge/block. Very close call that looked to me like the right call. Boeheim totally loses it and bursts on the court screaming, “B*llsh*t” to the ref about 5 times. The ref has no choice but to T him up 2x and he gets the automatic DQ. That, effectively, ended the game.

    Dickie V., of course, defends Boeheim for a couple of minutes, saying that Boeheim’s outburst was to be expected and that he should not get a T. Fortunately, his caretaker Jay Bilas was there to restore announcing order and explain that, in fact, the ref had no choice but to T him up. You can’t have a coach running around like a nut, no matter how bad he thought the call was.

    Boeheim was actually very funny in his presser afterwards.

  327. Jim S. says:

    So, I hear, Osh. We waited so long for Season 2.

  328. Jim S. says:

    That’s too bad, patton.

  329. Stuart says:

    Amazing that Dan both “over thought” and under thought the last two games! Sorry PuffDaddy, the players choked.


  330. Lad 9 says:

    Guaranteed rematch. Stupid.

    I think we will play the Canes much better second time out at least Plan. BP had never seen a team like that. We won’t win, but it will be better.

  331. theplanisworking says:

    Lad, NC is a tough matchup.

    Run with them, forget it.
    Slow it down, the press. Forget it.

    Only way to beat NC is to shoot 100%.
    Last year, Lower Merion beat NC by matching the athleticism, and they were much taller.

    If it is any consolation, 3 teams in New Castle’s section are also the top 3 seeds, and all have advanced.

    Normally I am very happy with a win, but because you are a fellow blog dweller, I feel for you and your son. At least you saw something special that doesn’t occur often.

  332. DJ says:

    Wow! Two writers blaming him, just like my post up above.

    Hey, wait a minute there . . .

  333. DJ says:

    Erkka Westerlund, Finland’s coach, sitting next to HCDB in the post-game presser: “The United States was the best team in the tournament.”

    I wonder if Dan cringed as every word of that was spoken.

    DK: “Still, that doesn’t pardon the stubbornness of sticking by the same system, the same lines, even the same exhausted goaltender in Quick when Ryan Miller was available. ‘I won’t second-guess that,’ Bylsma said of starting Quick. Of course he won’t. He didn’t second-guess anything that went awry here. He apparently didn’t learn from any mistakes, either. Or adjust when it looked like the opponent might have had a superior strategy, such as, say, Jonathan Toews utterly smothering Phil Kessel despite Bylsma holding last change. I don’t like to mix Winter Olympics and Penguins, but stop me if any of this sounds familiar.”

    Okay, you can stop right there, DK.

  334. Lad 9 says:

    I know – what a section they play in. I have seen Hampton and they are really good. And they lost to NC by 18 and 11! It’s all good though. :)

  335. DJ says:

    To me, the best coaching minds are those that can adjust on the fly, dissect things as they are happening and under pressure, and then answer immediately in kind. And that’s regardless of the particular sport.

    I posted before the game this morning that HCDB always seems just one beat off, as I was trying to be kind. Being realistic, it’s a full measure.

  336. Great Game!! Intense!!

    What goes around . . . . remember Duke lost by 2 at the ‘Cuse when Hood was obviously fouled (no call) on dunk to tie game. Now Hood takes the charge that negates the tying bucket by Orange with 10 seconds left.

    Of course, I have a little bias, but as a former basketball official I would have call a “Charge” there as well.

    Jimmy B. was totally out of line running onto the court as he did. I think he knew game was over and he was doing it to charge up his guys for next game. Still no excuse.

  337. BillyBaduka says:


  338. BillyBaduka says:

    Too push your metaphor a little further, HCDB only knows one tune.

    No matter what the band is playing, Dan’s always banging out that classic riff “Getting to Our Game”.

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