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Morning Java: Do svidaniya

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

SOCHI, Russia — Доброе утро, Lunatiks …

>> The Monday sports column is about Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, their common gold, their much-maligned chemistry.

The Monday news column, meaning the one on the real-news front page, applauds Sochi’s effort but without apology to the hosts.

Here are all of the Sochi videos for Channel 11 News, including the final one about the scarcity of merchandise …

Here are all of the Sochi podcasts for TribLIVE Radio, including my post-gold interview with Kunitz.

Here’s the Trib’s Olympics page.

Here’s the official Sochi 2014 page, with all the final tallies.

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.

>> Russia’s a strange place, man.

I’ll come away from this experience with that sentiment above all. The gap in the warmth you feel from the younger generation that’s not at least a couple decades of something less than completely autocratic rule, it’s so different than the squinted eyes, mistrust and other creepy things you get from those older. What you hope, whether it’s here or Ukraine or Georgia or anywhere this battle is still being fought in a sociopolitical realm, is that the brighter lights win out. I’m not so sure.

I’ll come away with a feeling of guilt and excess, walking down marble-lined back stairwells in the opulent venues and driving on roads so elaborate and futuristic it seemed a shame to put tires on them. All that for two-and-a-half weeks, then who knows what? The IOC must find a way, at the risk of invoking the salary-cap concept, to make sure no one ever approaches $51 billion on an Olympics. Among other reasons, it isn’t fair to smaller nations doing the bidding for what might be a fine Games in their own right.

I’ll come away, in the sporting sense, feeling more hollow than after any Olympics. There were no truly great, transcendent performances, not by any country and most certainly not by the U.S., which would have come home with two measly golds had it not been for the still-nascent X games events. The USOC needs to look hard in the mirror at its athlete pool and, as it relates to speedskating in particular, completely clean house after their epic embarrassment here of training at the wrong altitude, then wearing new suits without having tried them before. No one can survive that purge.

I’ll come away with a hockey tournament that was mostly a dud. Not just because scoring was way down — only 4.46 goals per game, or less than a full goal below the average NHL game — but also because the gold game was a no-touch, non-competitive affair between a powerful Canadian roster and a Swedish team missing four of its best forwards. The rest of the tournament, save for T.J. Oshie’s shootout and the wonderful Slovenes, wasn’t any better. The NHL must go to Korea, though, and it’s funny to me that this discussion even comes up. Go look at the TV ratings for U.S.-Canada. The NHL can’t get that kind of exposure or emotional investment from a broader audience with a Stanley Cup Game 7.

I’ll come away with countless images that resonate.

I’ll come away with the experience of having met so many terrific, fascinating new people, though the hurry-hurry of the Olympics doesn’t always allow you to catch a name. The really tall Danish reporter was a fountain of knowledge about Nordic sports, and he wanted to learn all he could about ‘ice hockey,’ so we traded. For hours. The young lady named Irina working in the McDonald’s who saw me come in one night after midnight dragging myself with the longest of faces. She didn’t know much English, but she used her fingers to push up her own face into a smile as a suggestion. The camaraderie of co-workers new and old, from NHL.com’s Corey Masisak sneaking out what ended up becoming my oh-so-controversial Starbucks cup, to Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times always offering a sturdy and inspiring presence in her 11th — yes, 11th — Olympics, from Bill Hancock of the USOC managing the toughest of jobs in deciding which writers get special accreditation for the biggest events and always remembering the nobody from Pittsburgh, to Gary Lawless, my good friend and constant companion from the Winnipeg Free Press. Gary’s good people. He helped this stay somewhat sane.

I’ll come away somehow even more grateful than ever for a diverse, dynamic readership that feels just as comfortable writing, blogging or tweeting me about bobsled rules as they do about Big Ben’s passing. Seriously, check last Friday’s chat. Got into it over curling and figure skating. I love that. It’s a big world with so much more to see and learn than what’s out our back windows.

Thank you for that, for reading and commenting, including when we disagree. Means most of all.

>> Flying out of Sochi tonight for Moscow, where I’ll have 12 hours, hopefully enough of a chance to ride into Red Square for some cheesy selfies and a Russian Starbucks. From there, it’s back to the good place.

I have been instructed in no uncertain terms to take a minimum 10 days off upon returning to the U.S., and that’s what I’ll do. The next column will be March 10, one of those smorgasbord things catching up on a ton of stuff I’ve missed. I’ll then spend a week in Bradenton, as always, covering the Pirates’ spring training. After that, it’ll only be another couple of weeks until the annual pilgrimage to Manitoba’s provincial capital April 3.

All the usual game posts will go up here, as well as daily vacation threads each morning to continue the discussion.

Do svidanja, as they say. Oh, and spasibo!

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.

Comments

  1. Dom says:

    Great column and blog entry DK!

    Enjoy your well deserved time off.

  2. BillyBaduka says:

    Have a safe trip DK. Enjoy your well deserved vacation.

  3. Jandy says:

    Oh this is priceless, from the link Dejan posted about “controversial Starbucks cups” ^^ there:

    For Pittsburgh Tribune-Review sports columnist Dejan Kovacevic, the Starbucks lockout has been tough.

    As a newspaper journalist, Mr. Kovacevic can’t get past the invisible velvet rope that bars his access to the Starbucks. Withdrawal pangs have set in for the three venti-iced-chai lattes he normally sucks down in a single day.

    “I have something of an obsessive personality,” says Mr. Kovacevic.

    So instead, he goes to McDonald’s. A lot. The chain’s branch in the media center basement includes a McCafé that serves sweet cold drinks like strawberry-banana smoothies. Mr. Kovacevic says his wife, seeing his credit-card activity, asked with some wonderment recently: “You went to McDonald’s eight times in a day?”

  4. Jandy says:

    Then add this:
    At one point, Mr. Kovacevic had a connection who could hook him up with Starbucks drinks. But that friend is now working on the other side of the Olympic Park, leaving Mr. Kovacevic to walk around with an empty green and white cup. He pours vending machine coffee into it. “It’s a status symbol,” he explains. “It shows I’m not some kind of lowlife.”

    LOL!

  5. Jandy says:

    Dejan, again, THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the information you poured out to us Lunatics from Sochi. it’s deeply appreciated! Enjoy your well deserved time off.

  6. Jandy says:

    Mike Babcock is a great coach. And a winner.
    That is all.

  7. Dan Bylsma is a great coach.

    What can a coach do about missed break-aways and botched penalty shots?

    Only one team had Sidney Crosby.

    That is all.

  8. I’m glad now that the Olympics are over and that they went off without a hitch and that Dejan and everyone else came back here safe and sound, and that it’ll be 2 to 4 years before we have to worry about this again. Russia won 33 medals and the US came in second with 28 and both were humiliated in hockey. And now, it’ll be all back to normal. It was fun while it lasted anyhow. Too bad Pitt lost to Florida State in basketball. At least the Daytona 500 was raced to completion last night and there won’t be another major race in Daytona until the July 4th 400.

  9. theplanisworking says:

    Did you find Grilli yet?

  10. Jandy says:

    I didn’t say Bylsma wasn’t a good coach. Babcock is a great coach.

  11. DJ says:

    Totally agree, Jands.

    And what a stark contrast between him and Bylsma. Babcock is confident and totally comfortable in his own skin. Dan struggles mightily. Go back and watch the press conference after the US-Canada game. Sure, Canada won so Babcock had reason to be self-assured. Bylsma, however, seemed to melt on the podium, every question regarding tactics and strategies seemingly a Rubik’s Cube for him to solve in a 30-second sound bite.

    It will be interesting to see how this year plays out. I mentioned the other day that if we go out like lambs, as the USA squad did, I think Shero and Mario need to reevaluate.

  12. Brandie says:

    Fine work on the columns, blogs, and video entries. Have fun eating and sleeping, reading and sleeping, and catching up with your family and sleeping.

  13. Jandy says:

    DJ, I love DB a lot, but …
    His track record isn’t that great. People look at results.

    I hope for his sake and the Penguins’ sake, that he does well this playoffs and gets to the final.

  14. Jandy says:

    And drinking Starbucks ;)

  15. Jandy says:

    Do you have any news for us Sistah???

  16. Sarah says:

    Remember that presser at the end of the BOS series? I couldn’t even understand some of the stuff Disco was saying.

    But I honestly dont think Disco is going anywhere.

    Shero chose him. He’s Ray Shero’s guy. Therrian (by way of contrast) was not.

    I feel like the only way DB’s gone is if RS’s also gone.

    And that’s up to Mario.

  17. DJ says:

    Did anyone else start to get a little freaked out by the bear, hare and leopard in the closing ceremonies?

    A little Disney-esque portrayal for the kids is great fun. But they were on screen so long — particularly the bear — that I started getting a little uneasy. Then the fake tear came down the bear’s face and I just had to switch to Sports Center . . . eerie.

  18. Sarah says:

    I’m at a loss, Jandster….dunno what to hope for.
    I think (as PLan has mentioned) that as currently coached and configured, they cannot win a Cup.

    So….unless DB undergoes a large transformation, I think we need to hope for a new coach before we can realistically compete for a Cup.

    And I don’t think DB will change.

  19. Jandy says:

    Now remember, the loss to Canada wasn’t all on DB. Patrick Kane had 2 PENALTY SHOTS and failed to score on either one. Where was Kessel? USA needed a hero…no one stepped up.
    When Canada needed a hero, someone stepped up. Carey Price stole that game for Canada. Sid and Kuney stepped up in the gold medal game.

  20. Brandie says:

    Not yet dearest.

  21. theplanisworking says:

    +++++++++

    Not saying Bylsma is bad, but he is overmatched at times.

    Square pegs, round holes.
    Stick to a system, even when it isn’t working.
    Baffling personnel decisions.
    Precious few adjustments.

    How much different could the past few seasons been with a few tweaks here and there? I think last year’s boston series exposed all the problems with Duck’s coaching style, and I also think it was a big reason Martin was brought in. All that being said, I don’t think Mario is going to do anything with Bylsma or Shero. They have made many good moves, and the team is profitable.

    Hopefully Ducky has learned something from this Olympic experience. We shall see.

  22. Jandy says:

    OK…patience :)

  23. Jandy says:

    nah…I rather enjoyed them…but I’m such a kid….that’s just me :)

  24. Sarah says:

    Kane was 1 for 11 on SOs this year.
    There were better options.

  25. Sarah says:

    Kessel had Toewes in his face whole game – cos DB apparently WANTED that matchup.

    Coach’s job is to put players in best position to succeed…..I just don’t think that happened.

  26. Jandy says:

    This wasn’t shoot out, this was penalty shot Sarah.

  27. theplanisworking says:

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

  28. DJ says:

    Not so sure anymore, Sarah. Ray’s a smart guy. I said the other day it may be more about how they play than how far they go, particularly if they don’t make the SC Finals.

    If Ray and Mario conclude this year we are frittering away prime years of our best players, I can actually see a change being made at year end. Certainly, I don’t think his Olympic showing did Dan any favors.

    We’ll see.

  29. Jandy says:

    It’s worrisome, I agree. :sigh:

  30. Jandy says:

    I’m totally with you on the Olympic showing. To start the tourney 4-0-, then not even get a bronze medal….ugh!

  31. Sarah says:

    Sorry Jandy I’m cranky this AM!!!!
    Just so tired of this same fish LOL!!!!

  32. JAL says:

    Traveling so no morning links until Friday

  33. Sarah says:

    Hope that’s true DJ! You figure RS got J Martin for a reason.

  34. Sarah says:

    Well, they’re the same thing for all intents and purposed, and Kane was having a shite year.

    Now Disco had to choose him on the second one.

    But not the first.

  35. Brandie says:

    Safe travels JAL.

  36. Brandie says:

    Time for filet mignon then.

  37. DJ says:

    It was a spectacle for about 10 minutes for me . . . then it got freaky.

    How many KGB guys do you think were inside that bear? Ha!

  38. Isn’t Kane 1 for 11 in nhl shootouts? I think on one of those he could’ve picked anyone from the bench and on the other anyone from the ice.

    I dont blame disco for the canada loss cuz the defense we faced was nothing short of stupendous. BUT i still want answers regarding lack of adjustments to breakouts as game went on and why Kessel-Pavelski-Kane weren’t united down a goal in the 3rd??? Scoring off the cycle was going to be impossible with canada’s D, scoring off the rush was very possible and that line combo is the only line combo with the arsenal necessary to breakthrough agaynst our friendly neighbors.

    Why disco why???

  39. Ya kane wasn’t lighting it up one on one that game anyway. He needed more help than he was getting from parise too. Putting him out there with our best navy seal sniper and our best goal scoring center would’ve been spock’s move.

  40. theplanisworking says:

    See my post right below yours.

  41. I hear ya hippster…sarah and I broke things down yesterday as well. My morning coffee has me jumpy enough to jump back in though :)

  42. Sarah says:

    The rule as I (now!) understand it is:
    1st Penalty – DB can choose anyone who was on the ice at the time
    2nd Penalty on the same player – MUST be that player that takes the PS.

    Doc Emmerick had it wrong on the broadcast I believe.

  43. DJ says:

    Absolutely loved Babcock’s “mic drop” moment. Not about the goals, all about the gold.

    For us, it’s apparently about the bronze . . . or not.

  44. JohninOshkosh says:

    Babcock hasn’t coached a cup winner since 2008! None of his teams have reached Conference Finals since then as his team’s have exited early! Teams have failed to make adjustments in playoffs! Great regular season coach but can’t win the cup every year and loses to teams he shouldn’t

    Fire Mike Bylsma…err I mean Babcock!

  45. Jandy says:

    Sarah, I was so disappointed! Feeling kinda cranky myself to be honest.

  46. Tom P. says:

    Dejan,

    Thanks for your coverage and recap entry today. I like your McDonald’s story. I was in China about 10 years ago, and was paying for for my purchases in a department store. (The digital cash register is a great invention; no need to communicate the total.) When I was done, I said “Thank you” in Chinese, one of about six phrases I know. The cashier thinks for a moment, and says “It is my pleasure” in English. Folks really do try to be welcoming.

  47. Jandy says:

    I learned something new :)

  48. Not to pile on but wanted to paste my post from yesterday in the midst of sarah and i breaking things down regarding disco’s mindset and why he may need an outside perspective regarding high end offense much like he needed an outside perspective regarding defense.

    Re: gladams

    I’ve also come to the conclusion that disco may need an outside perspective when it comes to knowing what the likes of sid and geno are thinking. Disco has a GREAT feel for what the muckers are thinking but his feel for the high-end guys is lacking.

    Maybe i wasn’t a 1st rounder but i do know what skill players look for when it comes to breakouts and having passing options available in certain spots. Disco’s inability to read the defensive structure his guys are facing and adjust to give them an advantage is getting to be a little ridiculous. Having a mindset where you wanna give your guys a road map then stick to it doesn’t work when the other team is willing to adjust on the fly, match lines obsessively, and frustrate our ringers knowing that the pens wont adjust and get agitated enough to take stupid penalties. Easy to say stay disciplined but when you’re not put in situations to succeed, especially in the playoffs, keeping your cool is easier said than done.

  49. Jandy says:

    Be safe, Joe!

  50. Jandy says:

    That may be true, Oshie, but he sure made DB look bad…

  51. theplanisworking says:

    Nice to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. win the Daytona 500 yesterday, even if it took 12 hours. Dale Jr. has endured some rough patches in his sport, but he has persevered over the years. He has changed teams, crew chiefs, sponsors, anything to win again.

    A few coaches in other sports could learn a lesson from him.

  52. New road map:

    “We had to work for this,” he said. “We had to come here and make real adjustments, to the bigger ice, to what other teams were doing. I think our work ethic, our desperation, our defense and our goaltending made the difference. Everyone was committed as a group.”

    “real adjustments” “other teams were doing” “desperation”

    Sweeter words have never been spoken…

  53. Jandy says:

    wrapped in bacon!

  54. DJ says:

    Sid for player-coach then?

  55. Luiz Mello says:

    I don’t comment much, but I surely read everything. Thanks a lot for your coverage, Dejan. Your reporting and insight is greatly appreciated (*especially* when we don’t agree).

    Have a safe trip back home.

  56. All i know is that we cant be playing checkers when the other coaches are playing chess.

  57. Jim S. says:

    Safe and enjoybale travels to you, JAL.

  58. JoeyBats says:

    This article about the 49ers and “Harbaugh the GREAT” is amusing…..; his ego grows, and Grows and GROWS !!!

    http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/writer/jason-la-canfora/24455137/jim-harbaughs-relationship-with-49ers-brass-is-getting-worse

  59. Jim S. says:

    In other news, pitchforks are apparently unavailable within 90 miles of Pittsburgh.

  60. Lad 9 says:

    DK – Thank you for your wonderful, diverse and always informative coverage. Those of us lucky enough to be your readers probably don’t realize how much you spoil us. Please have a safe trip back home and enjoy those ten days.

  61. theplanisworking says:

    But I have torches……… ;)

  62. theplanisworking says:

    DK, thank you for the columns and coverage from Sochi.

    Please travel safely, find a StarYucks, and enjoy the time off with your family.

  63. DJ says:

    . . . and so your response is that it’s always on the players, right?

  64. Jim S. says:

    I commented on this on Saturday afternoon as well, Joey. Harbaugh is apparently one of those guys who is so abrasive to work with that, at some point, no matter how good the results are, the team will decide enough is enough. You can probably only take that for so long.

    He supposedly demanded to be made the highest paid coach in the NFL with 2 years left on his deal. The 49ers told him he needed to win a Super Bowl first. A lot of guys would probably step back, think for a minute, and agree that winning a championship is a fair requirement to be the highest paid coach. But, when you have this guy’s ego, apparently everyone else is just supposed to take his word for it that he’s the best coach in the league.

    I also believe this brings in to focus some of the seemingly bizarre decisions Cleveland made regarding their coaching situation. First, they hastily ran off Chudzinski after one year. Then, we were all perplexed that they waited so long after that to hire a replacement, and ended up with the DC of the Bills. Certainly looks now that what they were doing was making a strong play for Harbaugh in trade. I know it is fashionable to rip the Browns because … well, they have deserved it for the last 30 years or so. You could say this move blew up in their face, and that is a sign of their continued futility. But, what I take from it is that they are no longer the same old Cleveland Browns. They are going to aggressively attempt to do whatever it takes to put a winning team on the field. They are stockpiling draft picks, and part of the Harbaugh play was to use picks in trade for him. It didn’t work, but it was a bold move. I think it will be interesting to see how the Browns’ fortunes play out 3-4 years from now vs. those of the Steelers. One of the teams, to me, has an owner who is focused on winning above all. The other, well, the owners are interested in other things right now IMO.

  65. DK, dont forget to catch up on PSU hockey as well :)

  66. Jim S. says:

    Make sure you are asking top dollar, plan. They are in high demand as well.

  67. Sarah says:

    You kind of wonder what SId really thinks of DB esp after getting the perspective of playing for the Coach that beat him…..

  68. Sarah says:

    LOL!!!
    I only wish…..don’t tempt me Peeps!

  69. theplanisworking says:

    Every purchase will be heavily moderated.
    And, I also have corned the market on fuel for the torches.

    Top dollar doesn’t begin to describe it.

  70. Jandy says:

    :TEMPT:

    ;)

  71. Stuart says:

    Dejan enjoyed your front page article and all of your articles from Sochi.

    I also feel like I learned something from the blog regarding pitchforks and area coaches. I carried mine avidly for Mclendon and the Snoozer,but have put it away for now. I now view most coaches like I do local school board members; who in the world needs that kind of grief!

    Welcome back

    Stuart

  72. DJ says:

    What’s interesting to me is that apparently NFL coaches don’t have “no trade” clauses in their contracts. I would have thought that would be different.

    Maybe the coaches union now adjusts.

  73. Milo Hamilton says:

    DK,

    Thanks for being our eyes & ears. Sounds like you could use a hug from your wife and kids. Hopefully we’ll be in Bradenton at the same time. I’ll buy you a Starbucks.

  74. Observations from Bradenton:

    ——Arrived late at practice after attending Church on Longboat Key. Sometimes it’s just great to sing to God.
    ——Only got to see tail end. Got to see sliding practice, the first they have had. Funny to see every player take off his shoes and run/slide in their stocking feet into this big puffy tarp. Marte of course went head first. (Just kidding) Pedro didn’t slide: he just jogged around the tarp.

    ——Forgot to mention yesterday: Neal Huntington usually comes out to practice around Noon, and stand off 3rd base line on a couple fields. For effect? For visibility? For evaluation? I think the latter. {I still can’t get out of my mind him hugging Lambo a couple days ago!} Saturday he is out an hour early. Surprise. Shortly thereafter he is joined by ESPN’s Buster Olney and they stand behind the 3rd Base Coach’s box talking for almost 2 hours. Pay attention to Buster’s love for Neal this week.

    ——I have little respect for Country Club Frank. I stood beside a Lexus Club member Saturday who was singing his praises to me. I bit my lip and smiled at all the right times. Of course those are Frank’s kind of fans.
    ——Coonelly arrived on Wednesday, very late in practice. I heard him tell about how much snow he had been shoveling and how that made him late at 3 different venues. Every time I would change fields he would follow me. Clint Hurdle always stands behind the backstop at every field, so he can evaluate the pitcher and the batter at the same time. Coonelly comes to the field where Hurdle is, while Hurdle has turned to answer some question one of the field crew has posed to him. Hurdle turns back to his spot to find that Coonelly has slipped into his spot, right in front of him; Hurdle looks him up and down, then quietly moves to the end of the backstop. Intentional by Frank or just awkward? Hurdle’s reaction was smilingly appropriate. No words, no handshake, no obvious reaction: just move away.

    ——Since I saw so little Pirate practice yesterday, I stuck around a half hour to watch the Minor Leaguers. Lots, lots, lots of them . . . . all with no names or numbers on their backs. It was easy to pick out Stetson Allie———I just looked for a big stocky kid with a bad haircut who looked like he was from Cleveland! Josh Bell is a big kid! I wished I could have seen him hit, but after exercises the coaching staff took the Minor Leaguers into the hitting cages for about 45 minutes. I finally left. Hey, it’s a warm day and I’m at Dejan’s favorite place other than Winnepeg: The Beach!!

    ——Before I left I found Luis Heredia near the fence and got to talk to him for a little while. While I was talking to him a kid came over with a bat to sign and Luis signed it lefthanded. I asked him about that——he’s a hard throwing right handed pitcher——and he told me he eats and writes and does everything lefty except pitch. Amazing, because he throws so hard. He is a mountain of a man——has the build of Levon Kirkland. Yet he is smaller than last year. I told him he looked smaller than last year, and he said he had lost close to 40 pounds. I said, “Did you just cut down on Mama’s cooking?” He said, “Oh no. I lost it through hard work!” —pause . —pause . —pause . Then he smiled because I kept looking at him . . . “and I had to cut down on Mama’s cooking.” Nice guy. When he first signed he could not speak English, but he speaks well now. I left him with, “Throw it hard.” He responded, “I’m going to have a big year this year.” I like the confidence. I hope he does.

    Off to Pirate City for the last practice there this Spring. Tomorrow the team moves to McKechnie . . . .

  75. DJ says:

    Maybe Sid has a few pointers for Dan . . . or an entire bag.

  76. Jim S. says:

    New ad campaign from the American Farmers Association:

    “Pitchforks: Not just for moving hay nowadays.”

  77. Jim S. says:

    Enjoyed your work in Sochi, DK. I hope you got to Reds Square. That reference has nothing to do with baseball, btw.

  78. Jandy says:

    “I bit my lip and smiled at all the right times.”
    Did it bleed???

    Heredia a natural leftie but pitches right…pretty odd. he sounds like a gem :)

    Thanks for the update, Groat!

  79. Now now hippo, you dont want anyone confusing you with a putin chronie now do you? :)

  80. theplanisworking says:

    No comrade.
    I only do that capitalist thing.

    Tis good, no? ;)

  81. theplanisworking says:

    No Grilli sighting. Sigh.

    Glad you got to be with your “friend”, Frank.
    Him following you sounds awful. Hopefully you aren’t too scarred…..

    Nice you get to chat with players.
    I want Heredia to succeed.

    Hi Frank !!

  82. Jim S. says:

    I’m glad Frank follows you from field to field, Groat. It’s a little creepy of him … but, better you than the rest of us!

    Great nugget on Buster and Huntington. I’m sure Buster got the memo around August last year that it is now fashionable to think the Pirates are smart. But, that will be shortlived for him. He has to run and breathlessly report about the Yankees 4/$52 extension for the great Brett Gardiner, and how they are going to now spend a gazillion dollars per year signing every top foreign talent that the Dodgers can’t sign.

    Love the stuff like you said about Heredia. Now, I’m rooting for him big time. Seems like a good kid.

  83. Milo Hamilton says:

    Speaking of eyes & ears, thanks for these reports Mr. Groat.

  84. I was biting my tongue up until yesterday…needed stitches.

  85. Warm baseball thoughts are nice….

  86. JohninOshkosh says:

    No, my response is that Bylsma is one of the top three coaches in the league. Along with Babcock. That Pittsburgh is lucky to have him. That winning SC championships are one of the hardest things in sports (sorry, 21, but that’s how I feel). That Pittsburgh’s personnel isn’t so superior to everyone else that they are guaranteed long runs in the playoffs and championships every year. That there is a worth to a franchise financially and structurally to having terrific regular seasons year in and year out. That, there isn’t anyone else out there as a coach who is both available and better. That people should be careful what they wish for.

  87. Milo Hamilton says:

    I am counting the days.

  88. theplanisworking says:

    I am not a big fan of 40 yard dash times for evaluating a player, but……..

    Aaron Donald, who weighed in at 285 pounds, just ran a 4.65 40 time.

    Wow.

  89. Andrew says:

    Babcock, that guy, had one of the greatest defensemen ever playing 25 minutes a night, best two way forward in the game, won five division titles, seven >100 point seasons and only two Stanley Cup trips. Not sure how he has a job, he rode a career performance by Osgood to a Stanley Cup, but did not do much before or since.

  90. Jim S. says:

    His stock is rising, I think.

  91. Arriba Wilver says:

    2 gold medals?

  92. 21sthebest says:

    That was faster than about a dozen running backs.

  93. TK says:

    “It was easy to pick out Stetson Allie———I just looked for a big stocky kid with a bad haircut who looked like he was from Cleveland!”

    So, Stetson Allie looks like Drew Carey?

  94. Oshkosh, i dont disagree with anything you said. HOWEVER, i’ll just add this:

    Sure would be nice if disco can overachieve instead of underachieving with the rosters he’s had. I know that winning cups 3 our 4 years is next to impossible these days but IMO the sign of a great coach is one who can get his teams to overachieve every now and then. Even with great talent in detroit they had a goalie in Osgood who was not considered elite but the system they had along with talented players led detroit to cups while limiting pressure osgood was under.

    Other than season when sid n geno were out when we pushed tampa to 7 games when did disco overachieve for a full season? Releasing the hounds post therrien doesn’t count.

  95. Jandy says:

    woah!!!

  96. Jandy says:

    ZING!!!!!

  97. Jandy says:

    I guess they don’t count, eh?

  98. Jandy says:

    All good points, Oshie.
    As I said, I really do like DB. But this winter Olympics is gonna sting for a long while :/

  99. JohninOshkosh says:

    Appreciate your points, Jandy and HM. I’m through commenting about Bylsma. Obviously, two camps about him have developed here on the blog through the years. I’ll just let Camp Bowser have their say and quietly hang out in Camp Groat.

  100. Brandie says:

    The answer yo tout earlier question is no unfortunately. :(

  101. Jandy says:

    Darn! hang in there and don’t give up! HUGZ!

  102. DJ says:

    Just to be clear, I was not calling for Dan’s job last year or before that.

    That said, he is starting to look and sound like a coach who would be relieved if he were fired. He doesn’t have to answer to the media/public for everything, but his explanations — often non-answers — are revealing on his coaching mind, particularly on strategies.

    If this team goes out like lambs this year, I think it will be time for a change. And we shouldn’t be afraid to make one.

  103. theplanisworking says:

    Sorry, Muppet.

  104. 21sthebest says:

    “That winning SC championships are one of the hardest things in sports (sorry, 21, but that’s how I feel). ”

    :-)

    No need to be sorry.

  105. Jandy says:

    Zactly!!!!!

  106. DJ says:

    Some would say only an exhibition, AW.

    Others would say very difficult meshing players and styles over 6 games to bring about an optimal result. I’m in this category.

  107. Andrew says:

    He coached Canada, a country that supplies 50% of the players for the top league in the world, and won one on home ice.

    I wish this blog had a sarcasm font. I think success in the playoffs is a little more ephemeral than most fans want to believe. I keep reading how Claude Julien and Boston are so much better built for the playoffs, the same coach and team that blew a 3-0 lead to the once ascendant Flyers.

    I mainly agree with Oshkosh, I think the goal should be Stanley Cup finals, but if that is the expectation every year you are going to spend a lot of time looking for someone or thing to blame.

  108. Andrew says:

    Read somewhere that Cleveland has spent $100 million in coach and staff buyouts since a team was re-constituted in Cleveland.

  109. theplanisworking says:

    Actually Andrew, the Boston team that lost to Philly was back in 2010. The Bruins have won a Cup since then, and been to another Finals.

    And, in the playoffs, you need defense, grit, and a superb goalie to win a Cup most times. The Pens D is still a work in progress………. not many Pens are gritty, and we have Fleury. Now granted the Pens have Sid and Geno, but they alone can’t get the job done. So, IMHO, Boston is definitely built better for the playoffs than the Pens.

  110. Sarah says:

    Ahh, rats…..

  111. Jandy says:

    “He coached Canada, a country that supplies 50% of the players for the top league in the world, and won one on home ice. ”

    50%? really? You have back up for that? Just curious :)

  112. DJ says:

    I also agree that winning the Cup is the hardest thing to do in sports.

    Now if we could only get to one more I’d be happy.

  113. Sarah says:

    I’m not sure how arguing Babcock is or isn’t good has anything to do with discussing Dan Bylsma’s limitations.

    Whether he’s the top 3 or top 2 or top 9 in someone’s opinion, is meaningless.

    He doesn’t get near optimal results with the group of players he has. He got a group of all stars and the same thing happened, in the same way.

    THAT is the problem.

  114. Bizrow says:

    Thanks for the update Mr Groat

    Open Blog Fantasy Leagues
    All on Yahoo
    Lunatics
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    Any questions, please e-mail me at bisbee1203@verizon.net. Thanks, and Beat Em Bucs

  115. Sarah says:

    That is the goal, not the expectation.

    The expectation is to play up to the team’s potential which requires schemes, adjustments, strategy, match-ups, motivation.

    Nobody is saying DB should be gone cos he didn’t win us a Cup every year.

    The problem is not that he loses.

    IT’S THE WAY HE LOSES.

  116. Sarah says:

    Jeebus these Straw Mans make me crazy.

  117. DJ says:

    Well stated, Sarah.

  118. I’m just glad that they got in the entire race since after a six and a half hour rain delay, the longest such in NASCAR history, there was the threat of yet another storm hitting Daytona that stalled only 20 miles from town.

  119. Andrew says:

    http://www.quanthockey.com/TS/TS_PlayerNationalities.php

    Canada’s dominance has declined. This is another reason, I agree with Oshkosh, the talent pool in the NHL is so much bigger today and combine that with the numbers of teams, that the days of dynasties with three Cups in a row or four in five is gone.

  120. Arriba Wilver says:

    Of course Frank was following you around, Groat. He’s a regular blog reader.

    Great stuff!

  121. Jandy says:

    Actually the talent pool is watered down. At least, it seems that way to me.

    And thanks for the link, Andrew, good stuff!

  122. Sarah says:

    That young man is going places!

    And going there FAST apparently!

  123. Andrew says:

    Cannot really argue with that, the game certainly changes in the playoffs, but I think you can go too far on the grit with Tortella being an example. I really do not want skill players going to ice to block shots.

  124. RightSaidTed says:

    DK – GREAT coverage! Enjoyed it all the way. By my cout the US won at least three “traditional” golds (Davis/White, Shiffrin and Ligety), but the point still holds — we need to do a lot better in that are, especially speed skating. Where have you gone, Eric Heiden?

  125. Arriba Wilver says:

    I wasn’t talking about Bylsma or comparing him and Babcock. I was talking about Babcock.

  126. Jandy says:

    Hello, Mr. Right :)
    Have you checked in with your home town, so Biz can add it to the list of Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum?

    I was rather upset with all the medals we COULD have won, LOST. (Speed skating in particular).

  127. Jim S. says:

    There is an old M.A.S.H. line in which Hawkeye was putting the moves on a nurse. He said, “Bite your tongue. Or, better yet, let me do it for you.”

  128. Jim S. says:

    They also stole a #1 pick from Indy for their RB. I’m not predicting the Browns will be a future powerhouse at this point. But, I think they are showing signs of life.

  129. 21sthebest says:

    Eric Heiden. One of my all time favorites. Competed in two Olympics winning 5 gold medals, held 15 world records, then became a world class cyclist. When that career ended, he became an orthopedic surgeon.

    Under achiever.

  130. Jim S. says:

    Didn’t he have a sister who also was an Olympic speed skater? The name Beth runs in my mind, for some reason.

    I remember that she won at least one medal, though not a gold. And, then some people actually had the nerve to criticize her for not being as good as her brother, the greatest speed skater of all time.

    Talented family.

  131. The movie: Draft Day starring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Gardner which concerns the Cleveland Browns is due for release on March 11 in a theater near you. Seriously.

  132. JohninOshkosh says:

    I forget, where is Heiden from ? Oh yeah, Madison, Wisconsin!

  133. 21sthebest says:

    Yup. She has a bronze.

  134. Jim S. says:

    Yes, they are. After I posted about Beth, I had to look her up. She was a monster athlete at a bunch of sports. Won a bronze on a bum ankle. I do recall some criticism of her, which was so unfair. Kind of hard to live up to your brother’s accomplishments when he’s basically Superman.

  135. Dont tell her Ted! Jandy is well known as a serial :thwapper: and telling her your hometown will only lead to size 9 violence :)

  136. Jim S. says:

    We just had a 5 post string about speed skating. I guess it could be 6, including this one.

  137. monster athlete you say? :)

  138. Jim S. says:

    It should concern everyone. :-)

  139. Arriba Wilver says:

    I heard he has the largest thighs of any orthopedic surgeon in the US. (Sorry, no link).

  140. 21sthebest says:

    Now let’s move to cross country skiing! That 50 km race yesterday was spectactular!

    No sarcasm. Seriously.

  141. Lad 9 says:

    Keep that head up Muppet. Tough times don’t last – tough people do. Your day will come! :)

  142. theplanisworking says:

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

    to the WAY HE LOSES !!!!!!
    ( Boy, it feels good to use caps)………. ;)

  143. theplanisworking says:

    And she bites………… ;)

  144. And now, in case you’re all interested, it’s been proposed by the NFL that a 15 yard penalty be imposed on a team during a game for racial slurs. It will be interesting to see how that ends up.

  145. Jim S. says:

    Yep, if she was on here, her handle would tennissoccerspeedskatingbikingmonster. :-)

  146. JohninOshkosh says:

    Don’t agree with me, Andrew. My comments are meaningless strawmen.

  147. Jim S. says:

    I think you may be on your own for this one, 21. I got nothing.

    Well, was it dominated by Norwegians and Swedes? That’s all I got.

    It is a grueling sport, though.

  148. Wow, she must have great legs :)

  149. theplanisworking says:

    Careful, Jim.

    People may call it “pathetic” that you talk about topics that are’t liked.
    Wouldn’t want that, would you?

    Personally, what do you think about those figure-skating judges? ;)

  150. Thanks again, Groaty. Glad you enjoyed church.

  151. Oops…didn’t mean to steal your joke AW :)

  152. 21sthebest says:

    The Russians swept the medals in the 50K. Race went right to the end. It was pretty exciting actually.

  153. Arriba Wilver says:

    So, in the Miami case, Miami could be penalized 15 yards if one of its players used a racial slur against one of its other players during a game?

  154. Jandy says:

    No way guys! Don’t listen to them, Ted :)

  155. Deb says:

    IN the Olympics, the coach chooses who takes penalty shots.

  156. theplanisworking says:

    Morning, Reverend.

    May your grass be blue.

  157. Arriba Wilver says:

    Totally lost me on this one.

  158. Arriba Wilver says:

    :-D

  159. Jandy says:

    USA’s Noah Hoffman made a brave showing early, I saw him in second at a lot of the middle of the race, but…he fell behind.

    I think everyone who finishes that 50K should get a medal of some sort….grueling indeed.

  160. theplanisworking says:

    Rumor has it you just signed a multi-year deal with a dentist for repairs to your teeth. Why would you do that?? ;)

  161. Jandy says:

    NEVER believe rumors, Oh Purple One!

    :P

  162. Jim S. says:

    I think figure skating remains the most rigged sport in the Olympics, plan. In fact, any Olympic sport that requires someone to “interpret” performance opens itself up to corruption IMO. Figure skating has a long history of that. And, maybe I just don’t have the Olympic spirit when it comes to international judges. But, when it comes to judges having the ability to brazenly determine the fate of some kid who devoted every day of her life to a sport, I don’t like it.

  163. theplanisworking says:

    Newbies beware!
    There is a Jandy on the loose!

    :D

  164. Jandy says:

    :tosses AW a lifeline:

  165. Jim S. says:

    I’m thinking they will be adding other kinds of slurs as well, based on recent developments.

  166. 21sthebest says:

    I thought his interview after that race was fantastic. Very humble and gracious.

  167. Jandy says:

    Yes, it was. Hubby and I were both watching it, and man, we both just couldn’t believe the pace those guys set. Amazing!

  168. theplanisworking says:

    Very good analysis, Jim.

    The IOC has a long, storied history of corruption in many areas.
    The old joke in the Cold War-era was ……….. “and the Russian judge gives her a (insert low score here)”…………..

    Wish there was a more objective way to do the judging.
    Maybe after I sell all out of torches, I can apply???

  169. Jandy will send you your royalty check on my behalf…right after she gets her teeth fixed. Hippo’s reporting not mine.

  170. Jim S. says:

    5 posts on cross-country, counting this one.

    Ok, moving right along to that one where they cross-country ski, stop, shoot at things, then keep skiing … anyone have a comment on that one? Personally, I would like the things they shoot at to be moving. I think they should also have to duck shots at them. That would make it really exciting. Kind of like cross-country paint ball skiing.

  171. Jandy says:

    :thwap:

  172. theplanisworking says:

    For some players in the league, get a muzzle, or else they will be penalized 24/7.

  173. Jandy says:

    I think Jim’s finally lost it! ;)

  174. 21sthebest says:

    Jerry Seinfeld had something to say about the biathlon:

    Some of the events in the Olympics don’t make sense to me.
    I don’t understand the connection to any reality…
    Like in the Winter Olympics they have that biathlon.
    That combines cross-country skiing with shooting a gun.
    How many alpine snipers are into this?
    Ski, shoot a gun… ski, bang, bang, bang…
    It’s like combining swimming and strangle a guy.
    Why don’t we have that?
    That makes absolutely as much sense to me.
    Just put people in the pool at the end of each lane for the swimmers…

  175. theplanisworking says:

    They shot at people? ;)

    It’s the Biathalon, Jim.
    Must be rough to do that.

  176. JohninOshkosh says:

    Waiting for Dejan to dismiss all the medals awarded for cross country and biathlon because the Russians and Scandinavians had unfair advantage with head start in those sports by farmers hunting for centuries in that manner.

  177. theplanisworking says:

    DUBBLE ZING !!!!!!

  178. Classic stuff on Ukraine from seinfeld too…

  179. RightSaidTed says:

    Consider me warned. I’m right here in the City of Pittsburgh. That didn’t hurt too much!

  180. Jandy says:

    Monster Mash, you STILL need an avatar :P

  181. RightSaidTed says:

    Completely agree! Was mesmerized by this race. Made me long for the days of Wide World of Sports.

  182. Jandy says:

    Welcome, Ted, as a Lunatic, you see what I put up with ;)

  183. Arriba Wilver says:

    I agree with Jerry, but, just to be clear, I don’t think it’s “pathetic.” ;-)

  184. Jandstar my dear, there are many things i need and want for that matter, but an avatar is waaaay down the list. :)

  185. Jim S. says:

    I’m sure you would be fair, plan. Don’t they throw out a score that is way out of the range of the others? I thought I heard that once. But, even that doesn’t stop a judge from making a very small mark down to kill a kid’s chances.

  186. 21sthebest says:

    Personally, I say let the players police themselves. But then again, this is the league that has a penalty called, “Excessive Celebration.”

  187. Jandy says:

    Well then, my Monster friend, move it UP the list :P

  188. Jim S. says:

    Finally, Jandy? Assuming I ever had it, I lost it a long time ago. :-(

  189. News update and analysis regarding the country of my birth:

  190. Jim S. says:

    There was the episode where Kramer and Neuman were playing Risk, and Kramer called the Ukraine a “road apple.” That was highly upsetting to a Ukranian guy.

  191. theplanisworking says:

    The thing I don’t get, is that one judges will value loops, but another judges will value jumps, and yet another judge will value a skaters follow-thru. They seem to be looking at different things. That is where I feel the wide range of scores comes in.

    A similar sport that is judged better is gymnastics. A lot of different things go into a gymnastics routine, but the judging is much more uniform. Certain things get judged on their own merit, but every technical thing is judged evenly.

  192. Baywatch says:

    (Central Standard Time) MORNING, Y’ALL!

  193. theplanisworking says:

    Morning Bay!

  194. Andrew says:

    Agreed, I assume international sports organizations are corrupt until proven otherwise. FIFA is attempting to hold a World Cup in desert country in the middle of summer without any domestic soccer league.

    Not sure if it was mentioned here http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/feb/21/sochi-2014-south-korea-russia-figure-skating-gold-sotnikova-kim-yuna.

    Apparently one of the figure skating judges was suspend previously for attempting to fix ice dancing in the 1998 games.

  195. Jandy says:

    hey Bay! :)

  196. Baywatch says:

    Can’t wait until tomorrow. Buccos back to competition, and I THINK we’re still undefeated in Black & Gold play!

  197. Jim S. says:

    IOC is a lot like the UN, with some sports sprinkled in.

  198. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    It’s too early for baseball!….It’s a week till even March.
    Apparently it’s been too early for baseball with the FO too.

  199. Arriba Wilver says:

    I agree about gymnastics. It seems more uniform. The commentators usually are pretty close to the final scores because there are some accepted objective measures it seems. But there is always a subjective aspect to scoring by judges, just like officials in baseball, football, basketball and hockey calling penalties. Not sure how you get around it.

  200. Scroll down…wow jim you’re just an encyclopedia of knowledge :)

  201. Jim S. says:

    What’s up, Bay? Is it hot in Texas?

  202. Arriba Wilver says:

    But is it “pathetic” to talk about it now?

  203. Jandy says:

    if it is, who cares?

    :)

  204. Jim S. says:

    I’m thinking that’s a yes, monster. I Wikipedia’d her. She’s in her 50′s now, but she appears to still compete. I’d guess that the sticks have held up for her.

  205. theplanisworking says:

    But, there is plenty of time left!!!
    Keep the faith!

    :D

  206. Jim S. says:

    Ok, nice goals to wrap it up, Sid and Kuni! And, nice photo ops afterward. Very nice. Babcock is wonderful – even though he seemed to dislike both of you for awhile. Now, let’s get back to work over here.

    I am so ready for the NHL to be back. I wonder if this layoff will affect some teams more than others. Will key players that went over there be worn down as the playoffs near? Will it be better for guys who competed over there because they kept facing good competition, while everyone else stayed here and basically shut down?

    I’d say there will be a lot of guys who did not play in the Olympics who will have an extra pep in their steps now down the stretch.

  207. theplanisworking says:

    +

    Now, how about that Tigers bullpen? ;)

  208. Jim S. says:

    It’s never too early to discuss that in my book.

  209. theplanisworking says:

    HA!!!!!!

  210. 21sthebest says:

    I think it’s too late to talk about it being too early for baseball.

  211. theplanisworking says:

    Harold Ramis died today. He was 69.
    Big loss in the entertainment industry.

  212. Jandy says:

    lol 21, good one…pass the red wine, please :)

  213. Jim S. says:

    Wow, that’s sad.

  214. Jandy says:

    Gotta go get some plans made, catch yinz loonies in a bit :)
    be good!

  215. Well, anyhow, the Grapefruit League will begin play on Wednesday, weather permitting.

  216. JHadar says:

    I have often wondered why the Olympics couldn’t be held in area with at least of the most of the facilities already in place. There are plenty of stadiums, ice rinks, ski runs, swimming pools, hotels and motels, gymnasiums and most of the rest of what’s required available within a reasonable distance of each other in many locations for both the summer and winter games.

    Just a thought.

  217. JHadar says:

    Well you might have to build a velodrome or a bobsled run … but it seems so often you read about tremendous investments being made and then torn down a short time later.

  218. mtglass says:

    I’m tired of hearing how much “pressure” Canada has on them. They have the best players, to barely beat Norway, Austria and Latvia. Then a one-off to beat USA in the semifinals.
    They were 1-1 late against Latvia, and they could have been eliminated. They played like garbage all tournament up until then. They always do this. Then they play they US and suddenly they are the best again. Meanwhile, USA dominates the first four games, then runs into Canada. This is the pattern now. If Canada played the same way against Slovakia, Slovenia (who played well) and Russia, then the Czechs, they might not have survived in a short tournament.
    But Canada, and Crosby, equate this with the Cup?
    It’s NOT the Cup. Believe me, come back in June, when you see the same DD fizzle by the Penguins and Crosby, by the same tactics the USA used: it’s NOT the Cup. You can’t barely beat Norway, Austria and Latvia and win a Cup.
    You have to maintain your speed, forecheck, balanced lines, aggressiveness (hello DD and USA, and Penguins) to win a championship. That’s not what the USA did vs. Canada, which opened things up for their 1-0 win. And that’s not what the Penguins do in the playoffs.
    Canada won their gold medal again. hooray. After all their line mismatches and missed chances in the first four games against an easy schedule, then running into a passive USA team, and an injured Sweden team,
    How hard is it to mesh the best players against weak competition? The USA did it with their players in a short time (5 goals per game)? They almost psyched themselves out of the tournament.
    Ohhh, the pressure. I consider them lucky once again.

  219. Rob says:

    Second City TV was the best.

  220. This was the most corrupt and expensive Olympics in history, and that included yesterday’s closing ceremonies. And one thing I can’t understand is why the IOC couldn’t have checked things out and chosen a cheaper, less corrupt alternative to Sochi, where the temperatures were often around, if not above 60 and hardly the place to be holding outdoor winter competitions since they had to manufacture snow for the sledding and skiing events and it rained far more often than it snowed. And I saw a video in which a female skater had the ice break up from under her and she fell in the drink.p

  221. Bizrow says:

    51 Billion for two and a half weeks is nuts

    Next Olympics should hire Slick Frank to run the budget

    The TV contract will take a hit though ;-)

    DK: Roughly half went into permanent new airports, bridges, tunnels, hotels and World Cup soccer stadium, but your point stands.

  222. scapper says:

    Just got around to reading the blog and column. DK’s is spot-on about how NHL participation gives the league max exposure.

    And therein lies Reason #213 why I am against NHL participation in the Olympics. What if the NHL fanbase does increase?

    How can a larger fanbase be good for current, devoted hockey fans? More fans means increased viewership, which means more money coming into the league, which means higher salary caps, which mean higher salaries, which means that money has to come from somewhere…which means, I would assume, even higher ticket prices and a higher rate for the Center Ice package. My initial question is not rhetorical. Please school me on how this benefits those of us who are already spending fans.

    And I wonder if the league is right about fans watching Olympic hockey and it translating into some kind of crossover effect to the NHL. I never watch soccer…until it’s World Cup time. Then for some reason I watch game after game. I love it. But when the World Cup ends, I don’t even think about watching soccer for four more years. But that’s just one idiot’s take on things.

  223. Sarah says:

    Hate this notion.

    Impossible to enforce and you cannot control what comes out of your mouth in the heat of extremely physical exertion.

    People that say “well it’s just like any other job where you can’t call somebody a ” have not grasped the direct connection that occurs between brain and mouth in violent confrontation.

  224. Jim S. says:

    +++, Rob.

    Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, John Candy, Harold Ramis, Dave Thomas (as the Beaver), etc.

  225. It was Dan Bylsma who approached Shero and asked permission to bring in Jacques Martin, not the other way around.

  226. Arriba Wilver says:

    Animal House, Ghostbusters, Stripes, Caddyshack, Groundhog Day . . . A real funny man legend.

    RIP

  227. Baywatch says:

    We’ve had a run of nice 60-70 degree days the past 2 weeks, Jim.

  228. Sarah says:

    RIP Egon. Rats.

  229. I just look at it from perspective that i want to see elite talent play elite talent. I think i can live with scrapping plans for olympics if they replace it with World cup of hockey.

    But regarding this olympics i was saying the other day that the format we just had doesn’t lend to meaningful pre-lim games. All 12 teams moved on to round post pre-lims and with the coaches knowing that they played possum in pre-lim games by sitting back and just playing vanilla defense and offense.

    2 groups of 6 with 5 pre-lim games then top 4 teams from each group moving on would’ve been better format for entertainment and on ice results. As is every team only had 3 pre-lim games with 2 of those games being against the likes austria and latvia. For example it would be more interesting if USA had to play Russia and sweden or finland in pre-lims on top of slovakia and slovenia. Or if sweden was in canada’s group along with finland.

    Then the pre-lim games have meaning cuz bottom 2 teams from each group get eliminated based on pre-lim performance. This IMO would’ve increased entertainment value and forced coaches to play more aggressive from the start.

    And it would’ve entertained milo more.

  230. Arriba Wilver says:

    +++

  231. Here’s something that should be even more embarrassing to USA hockey than finland game:

    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/sochi-olympics/miracle-ice-player-rebounds-despair-n36646

    They need to fix it…yesterday!

  232. JHadar says:

    There was a time when you could stage a war for $51B…

  233. Arriba Wilver says:

    DK—you in Moscow? Enjoy the java, and the sights.

  234. Jim S. says:

    I wish we could say the same in Chicago.

  235. I think Team USA’s performance in the Olympics exemplifies Dan Bylsma’s limitations as a coach at the professional level. While he excels in allowing his players room to maximize their individual potential, he fails in providing any structure or discipline. At a certain point, no matter how talented your players are, you’ll eventually run across an opponent that can neutralize your talent advantage. Then, once the all-star game turns into a chess match, Bylsma finds himself quickly out of his depth.

  236. Geez, should’ve posted video on tigers bullpen instead… :)

  237. Sarah says:

    Good stuff Monster! When would you see this World Cup happening?….And how often?…..

  238. Thanks. Umm..i guess soonest would probably be 2 years from now…summer of 2016. I’d be ok with that kind of tourney every 2 years i guess. How bout you?

  239. Thundercrack says:

    The other half went into a few people’s pockets.

  240. And now, an NY Times article says that the Russians don’t know what they’re going to do with Sochi now that the Olympics are over, which seems to be the common fate anymore of these overly expensive, over hyped international and national prestige affairs.

  241. My sources tell me they may put a KHL team there.

  242. Sarah says:

    Yes the story of Mark Wells is just heartbreaking.
    Great telling of it in the book Boys of Winter.
    Read it Peeps!

  243. Bizrow says:

    Pirates claim Brent Morel, 40 man move pending

  244. Jandy says:

    isn’t he a 3B?

  245. Milo Hamilton says:

    Yes. Played for the White Sox. A bad back has derailed his career. He’s only 26.

  246. Jandy says:

    ewww…not good.

  247. Milo Hamilton says:

    He says he’s a diehard Steelers fan. He’s pretty excited. Guess he’d be more excited if he was a diehard Colts fan.

  248. Jandy says:

    I’d be more excited if he didn’t have a bad back.

  249. The Gunner says:

    maybe Pedro is on the block?

  250. Jandy says:

    I sure hope not.

  251. Jandy says:

    or maybe they’re moving him to 1B?

  252. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’m going with Andy Oliver to be DFA’d.

  253. JandyGirl,

    A 1 – 0 score is not Babcock making Dan Bylsma look bad!

  254. Jandy says:

    Groat my dear darling, you’re right, DB made himself look bad. :)

  255. I dont get it…USA hockey couldn’t hire him as a rep or consultant and give him a group insurance policy? Not to get political but if he was a canadian citizen his quality of life would’ve been better even if he never played hockey, let alone if he won a gold medal with them. For USA hockey to bury their heads in the sand and let one their 1980 guys have these kind of problems that could’ve been alleviated with a simple health insurance policy is asinine and shameful.

    Goes to show how easily any of us can be used as pawns. For all this talk about 1980 this and 1980 that, it should be a total embarrassment to all of us that USA hockey didn’t do something, anything to help this guy not have to sell his 1980 gold medal!!!

  256. Ski says:

    Great reporting as always Dejan! Made us feel like we were there with you. Have a safe trip back to the USA and enjoy your time off.

  257. Sarah says:

    I was thinking every 2 years also. Just not sure exactly when in the schedule?…..After the SC seems too much…..late Summer maybe? Else the NHL has to suspend again….?

  258. Baywatch says:

    LOL! Hey, Milo! I did not even KNOW Andy Oliver was still in our system! I see we’ve had him pretty much since the Russell days. Where have they been hiding him?

  259. Sarah says:

    Wells is a tragic story. He had a back injury that basically crippled him.

    And really watching him totter around on skates didn’t make me feel a whole lot better! But God bless him he seems to have a good attitude considering all that he has been through.

    There;s a bunch of interesting and sad stories in that book. Mark Pavelick amongst them. Took a friend’s life inadvertantly in a hunting accident when he was younger. Never could speak about it.

    We hear all about Jim Craig or Mark Johnson or Eruzione making a career out of the rubber chicken circuit….but it was those other guys down the depth chart that always interested me.

  260. Was thinking they can blend it into training camp time before season. That way world cup players get ready for season while rest of the players are at camp.

  261. Baywatch says:

    ++++, as well.

  262. Well it just seems like those cases are problems that fall into a different category. Wells issue could’ve been resolved just by USA hockey having some perspective.

  263. Is that the same NY Times that reported that half the rooms for media and participants were unfinished as games began?

  264. Milo Hamilton says:

    Hey Bay !

    He spent last year in Indy walking everyone in sight. I don’t think they’d miss him.

  265. Baywatch says:

    Players, ball boys, trainers, coaches … man, he was walking them ALL! EVERYONE IN SIGHT! LOL! Morel has a little pedigree. I see he was rated the Sox 2nd best prospect going into 2011, when he got a full season and hit 10 home runs. Who knows …

  266. Sarah says:

    Peeps I’m no baseball fan but if they traded Pedro, would any of you guys keep watching the Pirates?…..

  267. Sarah says:

    Yeah. I guess back then they did not have that kind of perspective. Certainly not much money. I think he was alcoholic too, and/or addicted to pain meds. Quite understandable.

    Very sad story.

  268. Sarah says:

    Mark Madden is having a hissy fit.
    It;s really too funny.
    Him, ROssi, Rorabaugh.

    Savran eviscerated them today.

  269. theplanisworking says:

    Doesn’t Madden always have a fit?

    Love it when Stan calls people out.

  270. What did they say? Usually i give more credence to savran but madden usually is on the right track with his topics.

  271. Thundercrack says:

    What exactly is he having a hissy fit about?

    And what did Stan say?

  272. pattonbb says:

    The Yankees sign Brett Gardner to a 4 year/$52M extension.

    Brett Gardner.

  273. Thundercrack says:

    I had just about the same reaction pattonbb. The only thing I could find was that he was in the top 30 in runs scored – in the American League – last year.

    He’s going to be 31 years old this season.

  274. theplanisworking says:

    It seems stupid, but I don’t care what the Yanks do.
    I fear for what this would mean for the Pirates in future years.

    If marginal players get big $$$$, smallish teams won’t stand a chance.

  275. Thundercrack says:

    So you should care what the Yankees do.

  276. theplanisworking says:

    Not really.
    I am worried more what the next CBA will do to address this.

  277. JohninOshkosh says:

    Did anyone have trouble logging onto the blog this afternoon or is it my device ?

  278. Denise Givens says:

    Great summary blog, Dejan and great coverage these past 2 weeks. Enjoy the time off, and that first iced chai back at home!

  279. theplanisworking says:

    It was down for a while.
    All Trib blogs were.
    Not you.

  280. JohninOshkosh says:

    OK, thanks. I just started using this Kindle a few weeks ago. Never know.

  281. pattonbb says:

    Mike Trout’s soon-to-be-signed extension is believed to be worth $25-30 million PER YEAR.

  282. theplanisworking says:

    And, he is eligible to become a FA when he is only 28, in his prime.

    YIKES !!

  283. Milo Hamilton says:

    Chase D’Arnaud DFA’d. Stinks.

  284. JohninOshkosh says:

    You know, these contracts don’t even phase me anymore. It’s just the state of baseball today. Apparently, there is a ton of money out there coming from somewhere. It is the market now. And teams from Seattle to Cincinnati to Minnesota to Philly are willing to pay it.

    Pirates will either have to pay or perish. Because, I’ve never heard of contracts going down as time goes by.

  285. theplanisworking says:

    Hahahahahahahahaha!

    10 minutes to go in the NBA’s version of “embrace the suck” bowl…….

    Milwaukee 108
    Philadelphia 76.

    Hahahahahahahahaha!

  286. theplanisworking says:

    Yeah, agreed, sadly.

    But to give a contract when a player can be a FA so young?
    I call insanity on this.

  287. Milo Hamilton says:

    They’re probably doing everyone else a favor by not letting him set 3 (or 4) arbitration records. Of course, $35 million for 2020 & $38 million for 2021 doesn’t do anybody any favors. Trout wants over $40 million a year for those years.

  288. theplanisworking says:

    Yeah. I agree.
    I just can’t help but wonder if he suffers a major injury?

    I just can’t wrap my head around stuff like this.
    Pirates couldn’t do this type of contract even if they wanted to.

  289. I have always really liked Chase d’Arnaud. I have watched him closely down here.
    I was going to talk about him some tomorrow.

    Very disappointed! I hope he goes somewhere where he is appreciated and becomes a starting shortstop.

    The concussion he got stealing 2nd in the 2nd game of the season last year (catcher’s throw hit him directly in back of head) kept him out almost 4 months.

    He is/was the best base stealer the Pirates have/had. Better than Marte.

  290. When it came time to pay Garrett Jones, they let him go.
    When it came time to pay A. J. Burnett, they let him go.

    Publish or perish . . . I mean, pay or perish?
    BMTIB chooses perish.

    How could BMTIB have allowed this once in a lifetime team——or at least once in 21 years——to enter the season worse than last year?!?

  291. theplanisworking says:

    “How could BMTIB have allowed this once in a lifetime team——or at least once in 21 years——to enter the season worse than last year?!?”

    I am glad I am not the only one who thinks this is true.

  292. Thundercrack says:

    How was he not appreciated? He couldn’t stay healthy and couldn’t hit.

  293. Thundercrack says:

    The Angels will have Trout for a lot of his prime. He started young.

    I actually like the length of the contract for the Angels.

  294. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’m starting to inch my way out on the ledge about this upcoming Pirates season.

    Help!

  295. Arriba Wilver says:

    My uneducated guess is he ends up in Indy.

  296. Arriba Wilver says:

    Kinda depends whether you’re talking about the end of year team or the team that started the season methinks. Hard to say it’s worse than the team that left Spring Training last year. Am I happy about the offseason “moves,” no. But most thought they sucked at this time last year.

  297. Don’t nudge me off when you get there!

  298. Sarah says:

    Basically called them idiots for calling CAN defense slow.
    Madden is protecting Bylsma more vociferously than usual, in between re-tweeting porn.
    (I thought he called for Disco’s ouster last year?)

    Anyway. Amusing. I like Stan.

  299. Jandy says:

    hey Ski! Have you posted your hometown so Biz can add it to the list of Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum? Welcome :)

  300. Jandy says:

    Really Relentless? I didn’t know that…that changes perspective quite a bit.

  301. Ya i believe someone even so far as to call canada’s d ‘immobile’…who woulda thunk it…

 
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