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Vacation thread 2-25-14

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

MOSCOW, Russia — On break until March 10. Please feel free to use this post as a discussion thread, as always.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and more, including his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.

309 Comments

  1. So DK will not be back until 5 days after the NHL trade deadline. Rossi will have to step it up.

    Stuart

  2. Open Blog Fantasy Leagues
    All on Yahoo
    Lunatics
    12 teams currently two open
    Autodraft, head to head
    League ID 29140

    Dejans Lunatics
    12 teams currently 3 open
    Autodraft, head to head
    League ID 29140

    The PBC Blog Inmates
    12 teams, currently 7 open
    Autodraft, head to head
    League ID 29145

    PBC Inmates
    16 teams, currently 6 open
    Autodraft, head to head
    League ID 29147
    If we can get a league filled and folks choose to change the draft type to live or live auction, we can do it, trouble is scheduling a time where everyone can do it. Autodraft is you simply rank the players and when everyone has done that, the draft is held.

    Any questions, please e-mail me at bisbee1203@verizon.net. Thanks, and Beat Em Bucs

  3. It will be good to have Dejan back in the burgh

  4. • • Welcome Lunatics, if you don’t see your current location below, please add a reply to this post

    Dejan’s Lunatic Nation

    Afghanistan – skeetermc*
    Arizona – Tucson, Chandler, Phoenix, Sunnyslope, Davis-Monthan AFB*, Lake Havasu City
    • Argentina, Buenos Aries
    Arkansas – Rogers
    Alaska – Anchorage
    Australia – Mackay, Gold Coast, Geelong, Sydney
    Brazil – Vitoria, São Paulo
    California – Bakersfield, San Francisco, UNION CITY, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Hollywood, Huntington Beach, Yuba City, Solana Beach, Yorba Linda, Yuba City*, Edwards*, Long Beach, Modesto, Davis, Santa Monica, Solana Beach, Canyon Country, Burbank, West Hills, Encino
    Canada – Toronto, Winnipeg, Moncton – New Brunswick, Ontario – Muskoka, Perth – home of the Ottowa RedBlacks
    China – Beijing
    Crete – Vlites
    Colorado – Ft Collins, Estes Park*, Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs
    Connecticut – Cos Cob, Bridgeport, Wallingford, Norwalk, NEWTOWN
    Costa Rica
    Czech Republic
    Delaware – Newark
    Denmark – Greenland – Thule*
    District of Columbia
    England – London
    Florida – Palm Harbor, Orlando, Valrico, Gainesville, Daytona Beach, Oviedo, Tampa, Jacksonville, Sarasota, Palm Beach Gardens, Cape Coral, Coco Beach (Major Nelson and Mary Ann), Niceville (Red Neck Rivera) and a*, St Petersburg, Pembroke Pines, Ft Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, W Melbourne, Melbourne, St Johns, Wesley Chapel
    France – Strasbourg,
    Georgia – Marietta, Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Acworth, Savanna, Hoschton, Grayson, Newnan, Macon
    Germany – Leverkusen/Cologne, Ramstein*
    Hawaii – Honolulu
    Idaho – Mountain Home, Coer d’Aline, Mountain Home AFB*
    Illinois – La Salle, Peru, Payson, Chicago, Palatine (3 inmates there), Lincoln Park, Grayslake, Algonquin, Chicago, Naperville
    Indiana – Indianapolis, Burns Harbor, South Bend, Bicknell, Ft Wayne, Westfield, Munster, Jasper
    Iowa – Bettendorf, Humboldt, Maquoketa, Urbandale
    Ireland – Dublin
    • Israel – Ginot Shomron
    Japan – Tokyo
    Kentucky – Louisville, Bowling Green, Lexington, Georgetown
    Kuwait – Relyks76*
    Louisiana – Slidell
    Maine – Bangor
    Maryland – Arnold, Odenton, Severn, Baltimore, Waldorf, Hagerstown, Chevy Chase, Hampstead, Elkridge, Frederick, Bowie, Sykesville, Columbia
    Massachusetts – Boston, Tyngsboro, East Gloucester*, 617 Strong*, Medford
    Mecca – Slienmann*
    Michigan – Kalamazoo, Eaton Rapids, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Mason, Battle Creek
    Minnesota – Yinzer, St Paul
    Mississippi – Biloxi, Ocean Springs
    Missouri – St Peters***
    Montana
    Nebraska – Omaha, Lincoln
    New Hampshire – Barrington
    New Jersey – Chesterfield, Princeton, Roxbury, Lebanon, Lincoln Park, Berkeley Heights, Somerville, Hammock, Barrington, Delran, Pennsville, Hammonton, Mullica Hills, JERSEY SHORE, Montclair, Monmouth Beach
    New Mexico – Mike, Albequeque, blazer
    New York – New York, Smithtown, Manhattan, Long Island, Nyack, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Lewistown
    Nevada, Las Vegas, Henderson, Reno
    North Carolina – Asheville, Hickory, Charlotte, Raleigh, Wilmington, Chapel Hill, High Point, Winston Salem
    Ohio – Cincinnati, Columbiana, Westerville, Green, Hilliard, Toledo, Louisville, Columbus, Perrysburg, Pickerington, Youngstown, Cleveland, Olmsted Township, Liberty Township, Warren, Oregon, Wintersville, Austintown, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base*, New Philadelphia, Powell, Canton, Salem, New Albany, Bloomingdale, Powell, Howland, Grafton, Northwood, Middletown, Dayton, Cambridge, Martins Ferry, Akron
    Oklahoma – Tulsa – OKLAHOMA CITY/MOORE ,,
    Oregon – Roseburg, Eugene
    Pennsylvania – Downtown, Hopewell, Indiana, North Wales, Franklin Park, Forest Hills, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Du Bois, Reading, Crafton, Arnold, Wexford, Mt Lebanon, Canonsburg, Lancaster, Huntington, York, Boiling Springs, Philly suburbs, Morningside, Harrisburg, Lawrenceville, Bradford Woods, Norristown, Hanover, Clearfield, Sewickley, Plum Boro, Slippery Rock, Wilkes-Barre, Sharpsville, Bessemer, Greensburg, Washington, Imperial, South Side, Duncansville, Newville, Sheppton, Grove City, Butler, Allentown, Ross Township, Blairsville, Flood City (Johnstown), Overbrook, Danny’s Hoagies, Baldwin, Economy, Sharpsville, Erie, North Huntington, Bellfonte, West Mifflin, Kennywood, Pleasant Hills, Beechview (Mad Turk, No 200), Macgunie, Mechanicsburg, Uptown, Cambria County, Mon Valley, Salisbury, Coraopolis, Emsworth, Cranberry Twp, Garrett, O’Hara Township, McCandless Township, 115 Federal Street, Bethel Park, Harrison City, Penn Hills, Kittanning, Dover, Lebanon, Upper St Clair, Rennerdale, Oakland, Scranton, Moon (RMU), State College, Erie, Penn Twp, Stowe, Elizabeth, Hermitage, Easton, Carlisle, Finleyville, Belle Vernon, Madison, Sellersville, Waynesburg, Warren, Beaver Falls, Chambersburg, Green Castle, East Freedom, Leechburg, Banksville City, Ellwood City, Hollidaysburg, Bethlehem, Mars, Verona, Philipsburg, Phoenixville, Hippos Pond, Oil City, Verona, Hookstown, Squirrel Hill, Natrona, Charleroi, FREEDOM, Denver, Midland (the home of good food and many bars), Selinsgrove, Dormont, Scott Township, Blawnox, Arnold, Ligonier, Wells Tannery, Swoyersville, St Mary’s, Titusville, Shippingsburg, Sharpsville, Brookville, Mountain Top, Mt Joy, Bloomsburg, Portage, Carnegie, Homer City, Allepo Township
    The Philippines
    Rhode Island
    Serbia – Subotica
    Singapore
    South Carolina – Duncan, Longs, Columbia, Bluffton, Greensville, Charleston, North Charleston
    South Korea – Seoul, Mike
    Sweden
    Switzerland
    Tennessee – Smithville, Nashville
    Texas – Tyler, San Antonio, Belton, Houston, Katy, Plano, El Paso, Cedar Park, Pleasanton
    United Kingdom – Haslemere
    Utah – Salt Lake City, Provo
    Uzbekistan
    Vermont – North Bennington
    Virginia – JAL, Hampton, Rescue, Richmond, Front Royal, Woodbridge, Suffolk, Warrenton, Springfield*, Virginia Beach, Fairfax, Arlington, Yorktown, Henrico, Aldie, Manassas, Newport News, Clifton, Glen Allen, Roanoke, Vienna, Alexandria, Lynchburg
    Washington – Seattle, Nine Mile Falls, Spokane, Sammamish
    West Virginia – Martinsburg, Morgantown, Wheeling, Mt Olivet, Huntington, Parkersburg, Clarksburg*, Grafton
    Wisconsin – Madison, Oshkosh, Hortonville
    Wyoming – Caspar, Lander
    Unknown – killa_cam7*
    448 confirmed locations represented in the blog, and a couple of strange places
    Lunatic Nation Hall of Fame, people that have, in our opinion, made a difference, either thru talent or character or deeds.
    Nominations are always welcome
    Any Allegheny, Pirate, Crawford, Gray, Steeler or Penguin player in the League’s Hall of Fame, although if Jagr makes it some day, we gotta talk
    Stan “The Man”, from Donora
    Beano
    Lemonade Guy
    The Gunner, Mr Bob Prince
    The Great One, he stays regardless
    Mike Lange
    Myron Cope
    The Honorable Mayor Richard Caliguiri
    Kevin Mcclachety
    Mike Emerick
    Commander Hadfield, courtesy of the Space Station
    Fred Rogers
    Mario Lemieux, ditto to the Great One, he stays as an owner
    Chuck Noll
    Eddie Johnston, aka EJ
    Badger Bob
    Chuck Tanner
    Dick Groat, the best darn multi-athelete and announcer from Wilkinsburg/Swissvale
    Steve Blass
    Danny Murtaugh*
    Rocky Bleier*
    John Challis – Courage + Belief = Life
    All Servicemen and women that have been in battle, ever
    Sgt Doug Vitale
    Gary Sinise and the Lt Dan Band
    Barney Dreyfuss
    George Benson
    Phil Coyne
    • Tony Dorsett
    • Vince Lascheide
    • John Barbaro
    • Art McKennan
    • Steve Dirt Denardo*
    • K9***, Rocco
    First Responders***
    27 countries
    46 states, plus the District of Columbia, missing 4 states, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alabama, and Kansas
    Three planets, at least confirmed, and the Space Station
    Then there was that Cold day in Hell place
    Honorable mention, England – London – Lisa
    “Terrorists will always lose in America, the sooner they figure that out, the better”- truer words have never been spoken
    Asterisks denote confirmed hero’s of any species, military, police officers or firemen/ladies
    • 2/25/2014 12:32 AM

  5. MLB now bans most collisions at home plate. It’ll be interesting to see how that all turns out.

    • I like the idea.

    • I didn’t really view the proposed rules as banning most collisions.

      • I don’t like catchers getting wiped out, but I see this as a big cluster.

        • I don’t know. Seems pretty straightforward. The way I understand it:

          – Runner can’t stray from the path to the plate and can’t use upper body to jar the body loose.

          – Catcher can’t block the plate without the ball unless the throw is up the line.

          • It’s clear but it happens so fast, every one will have to be instant replay.

          • I think there are going to be a lot of issues that need to be decided in a very short space/amount of time.

            One is runners take a different path scoring from 2nd on a single than they do on a sac fly when they are on 3rd.

            I think all 3 (umps, baserunners, catchers) will all struggle with this rule. But, Mike Matheny wanted it, so …

            I foresee the games being slowed down just like the NFL. Baseball games do not need to have more delays.

            • Jim, I don’t understand your different path comment exactly or why it matters. The path to the plate is the path to the plate (sorry!) regardless of where the runner is coming from. If on a sac fly, it’s obviously a straighter line. If scoring from a single from second, the ump can still tell easily enough, IMO, if a runner is taking a direct path to the plate with consideration to how they rounded third.

              Although I don’t like the use of instant replay at all, there’s so few of these plays at the plate that I don’t see much time being added.

              • I just think it is too much for the ump to stay on top of easily. He has to watch the ball, watch the plate, watch for a tag, and now determine whether the runner and catcher both acted legally.

                What I meant by the two different paths is I think that just makes it more complex for the ump. Harder to tell if the player is straying from his path, which is illegal.

                Maybe this is the solution. Maybe they will tweak it and make it work. I just think they are trying to thread the needle of not taking collisions away, while trying to make it completely safe. I don’t think it will be easy to implement.

  6. Since the boss is away until March 10th, lets talk about the Tigers Bullpen!

  7. So Ike Davis had an injury last year and didn’t tell anyone. And according to this report in an a NY paper, he has a reputation that ain’t so good:

    ‘…and not a washout who has struggled for two seasons while fighting a perception around baseball that he liked the nightlife a little too much.’

  8. Over and Under on Lambo first Spring Training HR ABs
    - I’ll go with 22…

  9. You have probably heard by now that the trial of the double amputee South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius for the shooting of his model girlfriend over a year ago will begin on Monday and will be partially televised in South Africa.

  10. Florida is now number 1 in the AP college basketball poll while Syracuse is now no. 4 since its undefeated streak has been broken.

  11. The Pirates will be playing an intra squad game this afternoon at McKechnie Field in Bradenton and the first exhibition game will be played tomorrow afternoon versus the Yankees.

  12. managed some baseball links

    JAL’s Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’ Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21-KOpdwySw

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

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

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

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

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

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

    4 Pirates Prospects Spring Training Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/st2014

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: The Lack of Third Base Depth

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/first-pitch-the-lack-of-third-base-depth.html

    Pirates Claim Brent Morel Off Waivers From Toronto

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/pirates-claim-brent-morel-off-waivers-from-toronto.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates designate Chase d’Arnaud for assignment

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/2/24/5443712/pirates-designate-chase-darnaud-for-assignment

    7 Rumbunter

    Comparing Pirates Black & Gold Game Lineups 2013 vs 2014

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/02/24/comparing-pirates-gold-game-lineups-2013-vs-2014/

    A.J. Burnett Will Make Phillies Debut Against Pirates

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/02/24/j-burnett-will-make-phillies-debut-pirates-sunday/

    8 Green Weenie

    2/24: Flying Dutchman, Wilbur Cooper, Earl Grace, Bye-Bye Bucs….

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2014/02/224-flying-dutchman-wilbur-cooper-earl.html

    9 WHYGAVS

    Pirates claim Brent Morel, designate Chase d’Arnaud for assignment

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/february-2014/pirates-claim-brent-morel-designate-chase-d-arnaud-for-assignment.html

    10 Saber Bucs

    Before You Say, “Bust” . . .

    http://saberbucs.com/blog/2014/02/23/before-you-say-bust/

    11 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Francisco Liriano Tabbed To Start Spring Training Opener

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2014/02/24/pittsburgh-pirates-francisco-liriano-tabbed-start-spring-training-opener/

  13. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Bradenton Herald

    Pirates’ McCutchen a different type of leader

    http://www.bradenton.com/2014/02/25/5013182/pirates-mccutchen-a-different.html

    13 IS Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Jordy Mercer is ready for everyday role

    http://isportsweb.com/2014/02/23/pittsburgh-pirates-jordy-mercer/

    14 Pirates Site

    Would collision rule have blocked Bucs’ playoff path?

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/pit/the-new-collision-rule-might-have-changed-a-key-2013-play-for-pirates?ymd=20140224&content_id=68269738&vkey=news_pit

    15 Beaver County Times

    Thornton a surprise addition to Pirates’ spring staff

    http://www.timesonline.com/sports/pirates/thornton-a-surprise-addition-to-pirates-spring-staff/article_05867324-479d-5200-9703-8ebc19c18d8f.html

    16 Fangraphs

    How Teams Are Allocating Their 2014 Payrolls

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/how-teams-are-allocating-their-spending-for-2014/

    17 Tootblan Tracker

    2013 TOOTBLAN Year In Review: Pirates

    http://tootblan.tumblr.com/post/77673613286/2013-tootblan-year-in-review-pirates

    18 St. Louis Post Gazette

    Bird Bytes: Will it be Kelly or Martinez?

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bird-bytes-will-it-be-kelly-or-martinez/article_693d390f-dc3c-5cd1-af59-64a98b0feffa.html

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    The Week In Quotes

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22889

    20 Chicago Tribune

    Career turnaround in works for Jonathan Sanchez

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-02-21/sports/ct-jonathan-sanchez-cubs-spring-spt-0222-20140222_1_derailed-career-rick-renteria-james-russell

  14. Bless you, brother Joe. Hope you weren’t posting and driving. ;)

    Hard to imagine d’Arnaud had 157 plate appearances with the Bucs. Also hard to imagine they DFA’d him and kept Milo’s favorite pitcher, Andy Oliver.

    Maybe Chase’s injury history and all the utility guys in camp and in the minors just shoved him out. Morel has injury issues, too, though.

    • Morel has some serious plate discipline issues, too.

      • He seemed to have improved that last year in the minors. In 100 some appearances he had a .266 BA and .349 OBP.

        • I believe he has a good glove at 3b. So, there’s that.

          But, there’s no way around it. Pedro is still not allowed to get hurt. Fortunately, he has been durable.

          For all of the Bucs improvements organizationally, they are still woefully underperforming in developing SS and 3b. Those are hard positions to find on the open market – especially on their budget.

    • Probably just figured the chances of another team taking a shot at a big lefty arm were greater than an oft-injured marginal shortstop who can’t get on base.

    • Looks like Chase d’Arnaud will become more of a non-factor than he has been, kinda in the mold of Brian Bixler (who signed a minor league deal with the Phillies on 2/4/2014).

      About the most positive comment I ever heard about Chase was from Mrs. Gunner when she mentioned he resembled a young George Clooney.

  15. Has anyone heard a timetable for Martin’s injury yet?

  16. We throw the word genius around too much. But Harold Ramis was a genius. RIP.

  17. Re Vokoun.
    Reading some interesting comments that MAF should now be the “nominal backup” while we get TV ready for playoffs!

    Hilarious….life on another planet!!!

  18. 2 scoreless for Stormy with 3 strikeouts. He’ll start against AJ on Sunday.

  19. To Jim, who said above about MAF and resurrecting his career here…….

    I too doubted MAF could do it, and advocated his trading out of here. He has done all the right things so far………… but keep in mind it isn’t the post-season yet. he needs all that psychological training to pay off in spades starting the middle of April and beyond.

    He especially needs to be on his game against the Broons.

  20. MLB Network showing Pirates vs Yankees 02/27 @9:00 PM (Rebroadcast). Scanning the guide, that looks like first Pirates broadcast on that network. Probably a YES telecast.

  21. Just heard Beau Bennett has had a setback, and he’ll be another 3-4 weeks off. Ugh….

  22. Tweets by Yohe:

    Paul Martin is out 4-6 weeks

    Shero on bringing in top winger to play with Sid before deadline: “It’s probably far-fetched.” Mentioned cap and lack of sellers as problems

    Shero says he will leave cap room open if Letang can play this season.

    • Given what’s been said above, I’d be OK with getting #24 and #25 on this list and go the cheaper route (should make Mr. Monster happy on #24):

      http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/craig-custance/post?id=1442

      • That link just shows 1st couple unless you’re a member. Who did they mention?

        • Sorry – #24 is Boyes, and #25 is Ruutu. Here is what they said:

          24. Brad Boyes, F, Panthers

          Only T.J. Oshie, Logan Couture and Jonathan Toews have more shootout goals than Boyes, currently at six. That’s not a skill particularly useful in the playoffs, but for a team like the Devils, who can’t buy a shootout win, adding a player like Boyes could be the difference between making the playoffs and missing them. He’s useful at even strength as well. When he’s on the ice, 51.9 percent of the shot attempts are on the opposing goalie (per ExtraSkater.com). His 15 goals so far this season are the most he’s scored since finishing the 2008-09 season with 33.

          Provenzano’s price tag: A third-round pick.

          25. Tuomo Ruutu, F, Hurricanes

          His game is just now rounding into form as he recovers from hip surgery, but the Olympics were a good showcase for Ruutu, whose strong play helped Finland win the bronze. He’s a physical player who can also score and play up and down the lineup. He’s also expensive ($4.75 million through 2015-16) with a no-move clause. That’s not an easy contract to move. Carolina needs a team that knows him well to take that risk, like Columbus, where Team Finland assistant GM Jarmo Kekalainen runs the show, assisted by Ruutu’s former agent, Bill Zito. His current agent, Markus Lehto, politely declined to get into whether or not he’d be willing to waive his no-move clause but confirmed that Ruutu’s health is on the rise. “He had a great Olympics. He played real well,” Lehto said. “He’s getting better and better. Day by day.”

          Provenzano’s price tag: If Carolina retains salary, he’s worth a second-round pick or B-level prospect.

  23. I guess disco had a press conference…anyone know if he was asked about not playing Kessel-pavelski-kane???

    Blaming him for canada loss is silly, even if they could’ve been a little more creative but not combining your best sniper with your best playmaker and best goal scoring center will baffle me endlessly.

  24. Pirates are winning 4-0. Tony Sanchez hit a 3 run homer to the opposite field.

  25. For anyone thinking coaching isn’t an issue with Pitt’s collapse, I give you this quote from Jamie Dixon.

    “Impatience is a big part of our issue offensively right now, something we’ve been stressing and talking about.”

    I had been wondering if they’d tuned him out. Apparently not. Oh my.

  26. Here’s some more players from that top 25 trade targets article that I’ve seen mentioned on the blog in the past:

    6. Dustin Byfuglien, D, Winnipeg Jets

    Despite their surge under Paul Maurice, there’s still the possibility GM Kevin Cheveldayoff makes a significant move at the deadline beyond trading his potential UFAs. Part of the appeal of bringing Maurice into the fold was having an outside voice evaluate the talent, and Maurice has had a chance to get a feel for the Jets’ players. Byfuglien is a handful at forward but prefers to play on defense and could have appeal to a team like the Bruins looking to add more offense from the blue line. One executive said he’d be slightly leery adding Byfuglien unless the team making the trade has a veteran group with strong leadership. We’ve seen the impact Byfuglien can have on a playoff race and there aren’t many defensemen around who can produce offensively at his level. Only Erik Karlsson and Shea Weber have more goals among NHL defensemen. That’s it.

    Provenzano’s price tag: A midlevel roster player plus an A-level prospect.

    7. Matt Moulson, F, Sabres

    Moulson is a guy you can pencil in for 30 goals every season, but his goal-scoring production has dropped in the move away from John Tavares to Buffalo. Last season, he averaged 0.32 goals per game. That number is down to 0.23 goals in his first 40 games with the Sabres. He’s only shooting 9.3 percent with the Sabres, so that also helps explain the lack of goal scoring. Surround him with better players and his production will increase.

    Provenzano’s price tag: A first-round pick and a roster player or B-level prospect.

    8. Chris Stewart, F, St. Louis Blues

    If GM Doug Armstrong is going to be aggressive at the trade deadline, he’s going to need more salary cap flexibility than he currently has. Moving Stewart makes sense, especially since there’s appetite among his fellow GMs to add a player with some term (and in this case, not too much). Stewart has one year remaining on a contract that comes with a $4.15 million cap hit. It’s not a bad number for a guy capable of scoring 25 to 30 goals, but it’s a lot to pay a guy playing only 14:39 per night for Ken Hitchcock in St. Louis.

    Provenzano’s price tag: A roster player for a roster player.

    11. Sam Gagner, F, Edmonton Oilers

    There was speculation that a Gagner deal to the Kings was just waiting for the Olympic trade ban to be lifted, but that still hasn’t materialized. Gagner is small and skilled, attributes in which there’s no shortage in Edmonton. He’s also signed through 2015-16 at $4.8 million, which might sound like a lot, but if he hit the market this summer as an unrestricted with the cap rising, a 24-year-old center closing in on 300 career points would earn at least that much. A team like the Kings is a perfect fit since they already have size and would benefit from Gagner’s skill.

    Provenzano’s price tag: A second-round pick plus a midlevel roster player.

    15. Ales Hemsky, F, Oilers

    There’s no shortage of wingers who can provide offense, but few come with Hemsky’s high-end skill. For the right price, a short-term bet on Hemsky could come with a big payoff. One executive said he’d be lukewarm to the idea of trading for Hemsky, but understood the attraction, saying, “If somebody needs skill for five weeks …” The Devils could use offense, and Hemsky would be a nice fit in New Jersey.

    Provenzano’s price tag: A second-round pick and a B-level prospect, plus the Oilers might have to take salary back.

  27. Howdy Y’all.

    I was reading the news and saw that golfer Steve Elkington made a derogatory comment about Michael Sam on Twitter.

    I went to Elkington’s Wikipedia page and it starts off by saying the following, “Stephen John Elkington (born 8 December 1962) is a homophobic Australian professional golfer who plays on the PGA Tour.”

    • Bill Polian on NFL Network said Sams was really bad yesterday. He said it was questionable whether he would even get drafted on the 2nd day based on yesterday.

      He suggested that Sam should do what Manti Te’o did last year, and have an on-campus workout. Te’o had a similarly bad performance in Indy last year, and Polian says he thinks both guys buckled under the stress.

      He also said our own Aaron Donald was a beast.

      • I read that too. His 40 time was slower than some DTs and managed just 17 reps in the bench press. He doesn’t seem strong enough to be a DE and too slow to be an OLB.

        • I have to say, I didn’t understand the timing of his big announcement so soon before the draft. From a strategic standpoint, I mean. It might have put so much added pressure on him that he just couldn’t perform. Who knows?

  28. Bucs win 4-3 to go to 1-0!

    Hurdle drops to 0-1.

  29. FWIW, Beau Bennett did break his wrist his last season at Denver U. and missed the majority of the season. I have not been able to find out if this injury is on the same side. If so, and given that there’s a reported “set back”, I would not be surprised if he’s out for the rest of the season, with a worse case senario of retirement.

    Wrists (along with ankles) are incredibly complex joints and injuries sometimes never heal 100%. Tough injury for a hockey player-a projected scorer no less-to come back from. This is NOT an injury due to him being “fragile”. Jason Worlids career was set back for over a year due to a wrist injury, hence the Steeler’s conundrum.

    Hope it’s not the case, he seems like a good and talented kid.

    • Retirement ???? Is that your take or in the report?

      • My take…as I said, the worse case scenario, IF it is the same wrist. At DU, (I was living there at the time) it was reported to be bolted back together and he was out several months and was strength limited after that. Again, it was reported that it was one of the reasons he decided to turn pro when he did.

    • Per what I recently heard on the FAN, the injury is on the other wrist

      • Hope that’s the case. The recovery time frames are eerily similar and there were major concerns about him back then that I would assume the Pens were in tune with. Much more significant for a top 6 forward.

  30. Apparently Johe saying Gibbons or Connor on 1st line for playoffs.
    If I’m Sid I ask for a trade.

    Hopefully it’s all bull, cos it’s Johe after all……but if RS stands pat, I think we could actually be there.

    Good grief.

    • Wow! Get him some help, Shero!

      Of course, he probably is smart not to telegraph who he is targeting.

      • AGREE. But almost guarantees GMRS will try to do something. We will have to deal with the cost, later.

        • Just heard Josh Yohe on the radio quoting Ray Shero.

          RS: “If people are expecting me to go out and get a winger for Sidney Crosby, it ain’t going to happen. There is no one out there we can afford.”

          If that’s true, Peeps, I think I’m done w RS, even more than I’m done w Disco.

          More to the point, the Pens are EFFed if we move forward as is into the playoffs.

          God I hope that’s all blather and misdirection from RS.

          • So to be clear…you want shero to trade for a winger? :)

            • YES.
              RW for Sid, LW for Malkin.
              Want Kulemin for Geno if poss, which might actually be possible.
              For Sid…..Oy….open to suggestions! Let’s just say NOT Glass/Adams/Gibbons/anyone on the roster except maybe Neal.

              Have said for awhile that teams key on Sid/Geno, double or even triple teaming, and DARE the Ws to make them pay, and except for Neal, it doesn’t happen. This is the book now I fear.

              Will be the same this playoffs.

          • Sure doesn’t sound like GMRS.

            But if it’s true, not too sure how one could blame him…it’s more a function of the incredible injury run and it’s impact on the salary cap, the disruption of the Olympics and that it appears to be a seller’s market.

            I would be interested in knowing what moves you would suggest.

            • Completely disagree.
              We are pooched now BECAUSE of RSs decisions, primarily to keep Letang at a huge cap hit. Add in extending Adams, and Dupuis, and bringing in Scuderi whilst keeping Orpik (and Brooks willpower be extended in the Country Club Family)….and your options diminish.

              So…..Don’t disagree that NOW it’s hard to find solutions.

              Last year, it was a whole different situation, and RS blew it.

              Those would have been my starter moves.

              • Fair enough.

                Not sure that it was RS alone who decided on Letang, but given his FA status, likely not gotten great return for him (I sure wouldn’t have complained, tho) only for him to then go and win a couple Norris’. THEN the 20-20 hindsighters would be roaring. I see Adams as not a big deal either way – not that much money, and I don’t know how you don’t extend Duper, given all the pheripherals. But that’s me.

                The Scuderi we have seen is not remotely the one that left, not sure how much of that is not only his injuries but all his partners as well. Don’t know if it’s a little or a lot and how much was the “Letang Experiment”.

                The Orpik situation is one that I agree is somewhat unique to the Pens. The business move likely was to move him last year. Now I agree, he prob will get that contract unless he gets crazy…but those type of moves, IMO, are coming from the very top. This is the kind of team and atmosphere that Mario wants. If it wasn’t…and after this season, depending on how it finishes, which looks less promising than a month ago, he may very well blow it up, which is kinda what your suggestions would have been.

                Thanks for your opinion.

              • Just thought i’d add that judging the dmen with the team as is(meaning no bottom 6) is kinda hard. Ice tilted our way with much more regularity. Believe the fancy shmancy metrics for last 20 or so games would confirm that.

  31. Following up on chat with sarah above regarding blame game and ‘reports’:

    Im starting to feel a little guilty for nit picking problems in canada game. We tried to pressure as responsibly as possible but canada’s d was just too fast with too much reach and too much pedigree. There were some things I think i would’ve tried regarding breakouts in the 2nd and 3rd but for most part they were the better and deeper team.

    Now all i’m hearing and reading is how passive they were in the 1-2-2…there’s plenty i could say about those trying to get technical around the country but the canada game had nothing to do with boston series or any other playoff disappointment. Finland game was embarrassing but we have nothing to be ashamed about regarding canada game.

    And criticism i’m reading for orpiks selection is downright comical, especially from those in the nascar belt who think pucks are inflated. Apparently giving faulk the minutes orpik had would’ve yielded a gold medal. And on the Benn goal orpik was originally on getzlaf in the corner and when getzlaf bailed out Orpik went to cover benn who was callahan’s responsibility but it was too late. Callahan turned the wrong way off Benn allowing for separation which allowed him to beat callahan, orpik and an unaware carlson to the spot.

    Did i mention i would’ve tried kessel-pavelski-kane? :)

    • Hey Monster, good stuff.
      Though you and I won’t agree on Orpik…..and on the Benn goal he was lost IMO. But whatever! He will be extended and given a retirement contract by Shero, I concede. I think that’s a wrong move, to go with many wrong Country Club moves.

      Re the CAN game, wow….I think it gets to a really grey area, that 1-2-2…..

      SO much depends on F2 and whether he is aggressive or passive…..it’s been awhile that I’ve been in a locker room or bench talking forechecks,….but that F2….. Does he move in or peel back?? It’s read and react….the coaches could say, “if it’s 50-50 in that puck battle behind the net, GO! Bet on our F1 winning the battle and getting you the puck as you pinch down the slot!”…..
      Or….”Hang BACK unless you see out F1 come out with CLEAR possession…..only THEN go!”

      My GUESS is a) early games the F2 was told to GO if it was 50-50 or better….and it almost ALWAYS was, cos we were playing weaker teams, winning the battles behind the net…so we see this wonderful aggressive forecheck…..F2 deep, cycling away…..BUT…..b) vs CAN, F2 may have been told to ONLY go on CLEAR possession by F1, which almost NEVER happened cos CAN was so dominant…..so we see F2 peeling back high and playing defensive almost every play…..and we scratch our head and say “why so passive?”
      ADD ON that general Fear of CAN made the F2 read incorrectly and back off a lot more often, and it’s even more of a passive mess….

      I just think it’s a lot more subtle than just saying they went to XYZ forecheck.

      • Thanks.

        In canada game i was seeing multiple forecheckers throughout the game, even in the 2nd and 3rd. Problem was the combo of big ice and canada’s skating ability to get to the puck with support from center or winger before our forecheck could knock them off the puck. Fact that F2 was only a few feet from F1 didn’t matter cuz dmen for canada had all the reach, speed and support they needed to chip or poke puck away from our forwards.

        Reason i was calling for line changes going into the 3rd was cuz we needed to acknowledge that scoring and creating off the cycle was going to be impossible for above reasons. Scoring off the rush however, was very possible. Hence the line changes i was hoping for.

        Re: Orpik

        Come on sarah, all those blocked shots and stick on puck situations…i saw him even bail out quick and carlson after that one turnover he had. Orpik was real good against canada and specifically against sid n kuni when he was out there. If you can go back n look at benn’s goal. Orpik was on getzlaf originally and callahan allowed for separation by circling the wrong way. Orpik could’ve reacted quicker but only became an issue with callahan losing benn.

        • Breakouts in the 3rd needed to be adjusted to assist in scoring off the rush as well. 1st period breakouts were smoother with better passing and speed thru neutral zone. But once canada moved the defensive box up to close the gap we had no answers…other than the disco stretch.

          Ok off to check my blood pressure…

  32. Y’all keep it between the ditches: I’m off to work! I was saving my best for today IF Stolmy didn’t do so hot … “Oh Stolmy. Bring back that sunny day.” From The Classics IV! But he had a nice outing.

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