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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Vacation thread 2-28-14

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

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, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.


  1. Jim S. says:

    That was not a good performance at all. The defense was awful, and so was Fleury. They made it as easy as possible on a weak Montreal goalie in shootout. I knew this layoff for the Olympics was going to screw with the whole league. Hopefully, the Pens can right the ship before tomorrow night.

  2. Jandy says:

    Agreed all around. And that horrendous call on Glass just handed it gift-wrapped to the Habs. Had we played defense a bit better, that wouldn’t have been an issue, tho.

  3. Jim S. says:

    So, here’s the thing with Derek Jeter. He’s one of the greatest SS of all-time. He has well over 3,000 hits. He has been an All Star selection many times. He is a multiple World Series winner. The guy is the real deal. They don’t need to resort to hyperbole and flat out making stuff up to make him seem greater than he is.

    But, as I was driving home last night and listening to MLB Radio, the host (Holden something or other) said, “The Pirates beat the Yankees 8-2. Big deal. The only thing to take away from the game was that it was an historic occasion. It was the first at bat of the first game of the last Spring Training for Derek Jeter.” Yep, they are reaching that far to come up with ways to say how every breath The Captain takes this year is just amazing.

    Then, on MLB Tonight after the game, I heard this from my favorite host, Mitch Williams, on the routine DP ball that Jeter hit in the first inning: “When it counts, that will be a hit.” Yeah, Mitch, because Jeter is going to hit 1.000 this season when it counts.

    This is going to be a long year. At some point, I predict Jeter may ask them to stop making fools of themselves.

  4. Damon says:

    I’m willing to give them a pass for last night – they looked like a team that hadn’t played in awhile. Also probably wouldn’t put too much into how they play tomorrow night either because of the venue. Fleury is notoriously a slow starter from long breaks/starts of seasons, so I’m not worried about him yet. Given all that they still got a point and probably should have had two if the ref doesn’t make that 5 min major call against Glass for making the Canadian punch himself in the face.

    The end to end action was fun to watch though….

  5. Jim S. says:

    I thought Therrien bought that call with all his complaining.

  6. Jandy says:

    yeah it was a fun game Damon, just not a smart one. lol

    I think I’m crabby since I’m tired of snow and ice and cold and winter. -5 here this morning in central Pa.
    Enough is enough already!

  7. Jim S. says:

    I know it was a long layoff, and hopefully it was nothing more than shaking off 3 weeks of rust. But, the defending was ugly.

  8. Jandy says:

    I like Derek Jeter. He’s one of the few popular/famous athletes that hasn’t attached a scandal to his name.

    The media is doing him no favors by drooling all over him. Enough already, you idiots. Quit making everybody hate the poor man.

  9. Jandy says:

    The defense was horrible. You’re so right, Jim.

  10. Damon says:

    Tell you what…Gibbons played well on the top line last night. He drew some penalties, put pressure on, forechecked well.

    Given all that, crankshaft sent him flying with a shove. Size could still be a problem with him if he were on the top line in the playoffs.

  11. Jandy says:

    Gibbons (The Hobbitt) always plays well on Sid’s line. Crankshaft can send anyone flying lol.

    But yeah, I see your point.

  12. DJ says:

    He might have.

    When was the last time Dan bought one? Or, better question, has he ever bought one?

  13. Damon says:

    You and Jandy are right….defense was definitely sloppy. I think most of the Canadian goals & chances came off the counter-rush. Scary how familiar that looked. Plenty of time to clean that up though.

  14. Replay review on penalties perhaps? Maybe a challenge or 2 a game for coach?

  15. Jandy says:

    I’d love it. That has terrible last night.

  16. DJ says:

    When I saw him last night with the big “C” on his sweater, first thing I thought was “Crankshaft.”

    You don’t get better nicknames than that one.

  17. Jim S. says:

    I predict that by June someone on MLB Network (probably Mitch) will have said that Jeter climbed 10 stories up the side of a building to rescue 10 orphans from a fire. He may also foil a terrorist plot or two this season.

    They analyzed, in depth, every step of him running out a grounder to first base yesterday.

  18. Jim S. says:

    I liked the back and forth with Sid on the dual minors.

  19. Maybe 5min calls like that should be subject to someone telling the ref to get his out of his azz. Probably wouldn’t want challenges or reviews on minors but on majors maybe giving coach challenge right could prevent home team with paying customers from getting pooched…as sarah would say.

  20. Jim S. says:

    I hope not. That really opens up a can of worms. Of course, it seems to be the trend in every sport. So, why not.

  21. DJ says:

    I’m sure Montreal would take that swap every time.

  22. Im not sure what i think about myself, but i guess if its limited to majors maybe it could be useful.

  23. Jim S. says:

    I wonder what a team’s scoring rate is on 5 man advantages. It’s probably more than a 1 goal average. Refs need to think long and hard before making those calls.

  24. Jim S. says:

    Meant, 5 min man advantages. Haha!

  25. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, for sure.

  26. DJ says:

    The whole Depres ordeal, including Dan’s explanations, has gotten slappy.

    And don’t get me started on our so-called “shutdown” D-men.

  27. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’m not sure sometimes what I think about you, either, HM. :-P

    Just kidding!!!

  28. What did disco say bout despres? I missed it.

  29. Oh hahaha…Good one AW :)

  30. Morning coffee not kicking in it. :)

  31. Damn! Morning coffee not kicking in yet. Darn you jandy!!!

  32. Jim S. says:

    You need a dose of Stewart Smalley’s Daily Affirmations, monster. “I am a good person. I’m smart and nice. And gosh darn it, people like me.”

  33. Jandy says:

    I missed it too

  34. HAHA!!! I remember when MJ did that scene on SNL. Nobody could keep a straight face…funny stuff.

  35. Damon says:

    Here is a tweet from Josh Yohe – might be it:

    Bylsma was asked about last year’s comment that Despres is a top-four guy. He explained that comment came before Scuderi and Maatta arrived,

  36. DJ says:

    Here you go, HM, and have a good laugh. Starts at about 1:46.

  37. 21sthebest says:

    Sumatra was the dark brew at StarYums this morning. Very nice.

  38. DJ says:

    Yeah, and Dan might as well have added it was before Depres starting growing a squirrely little mustache, and forgot to take out the trash . . .


  39. Jim S. says:


    Thanks for the tip that NHL Center Ice is free for a week after the Olympics! Got to see the Pens last night as a result.

  40. Jandy says:

    Sounds good, 21!

  41. 21sthebest says:

    But the Dukes were on NBC sports!

  42. Thanks DJ. So i guess its simple: Engo = Adams

    Why bother playing a sharp dman who has been playing in WB when you can play engo whose been sitting on his azz during break?

  43. Jim S. says:

    I didn’t know that, but I wish I had watched it. Billican Beatdown!

  44. 21sthebest says:

    I’m not sure how good St. Louis really is but I’ll take it. The Dukes looked like they had a fire lit under them.

  45. DJ says:

    Sure, and hope that’s the link. I clicked on it after I copied it and got a Sid interview, but Dan’s presser is on the same page.

  46. JoeyBats says:

    Congrats to Jim Ferry and the Dukes on the UPSET last night! :-)

  47. Jim S. says:

    I think they are really good, 21. They were very good last year as well. I didn’t see the game, but beating them is an impressive win.

  48. Good enough to be ranked number 10 and undefeated in the A-10. Maybe something to build on for Duquesne.

    Sure has been a strange season in college basketball, especially with the rankings and the supposes parity.

  49. Damon says:

    Engelland needs to be the 4th line RW. That shot he ripped coming down the right side was very nice. Not sure why they are insisting on moving him back to D.

  50. Jim S. says:

    I say that because there are a lot of tough venues in this conference. Those small schools in the NE, with those little gyms where people are in your face screaming at you from 20′ away the whole night … very tough to win at those places. St. Louis was mowing everyone down.

    There’s a reason power conference team seldom want to do home & home series’ with a lot of A10 teams.

  51. Sarah says:

    ….and accidentally spoke to Disco in French.

  52. Sarah says:

    Because they have to sit Despres.

  53. Jim S. says:

    Micah Mason … shooter extraordinaire!

  54. Jandy says:

    Damon, I agree. I’ve been saying I liked Engo on wing since they first tried him there.

  55. 21sthebest says:

    The only reason I say that about St. Louis is because they don’t have any quality wins that I can see.

  56. 21sthebest says:

    He’s amazing. But with just over two minutes to go, he had a breakaway layup that he missed, and he was truly by himself, that would’ve put the Dukes up by 10. St. Louis had it down to 5 with a minute left but the Dukes held on and Micah hit his free throws down the stretch. 6 of 7 I believe.

  57. Hard to say who has this season. KY started out number 1 and they lost their 7th last night, at home. OSU was swept last night by PSU, which is the first time in my memory of that happening. OSU was as high as number 3 this season. Both of those rankings were way off, but both those teams have “quality wins” on their resumes.

    Very confusing season. Wichita State, even in that mid-major type conference is 30-0.

  58. AL says:

    Just curious if anyone thinks Ray Shero will keep drafting defensemen yet again this year.
    Also…how big a hole do the Pens have in their draft class this year? They gave up a lot of picks last year for guys that didn’t stick around.

  59. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, probably their best chance at a signature win was vs. Wichita State, and they lost by 5.

    They don’t get much credit for wins at places like St. Joe’s, but those are hard to come by. There’s a bunch of tiny gyms in the A10 where it is brutal on an opponent.

    I wish there were a way to force the big schools to play more home and home series’ with mid-majors. I bet the A10 is a deeper conference than a few of the so-called power conferences. They may not have the power teams at the very top, but they have a ton of teams that are in the #30-50 range.

  60. 21sthebest says:

    I think it is a bizarre season Lucky and it seems like filling out the brackets is going to be tougher than ever which is a good thing as far as I’m concerned.

  61. For sure, 21.

    Bracket butchers as opposed to bracket busters.

  62. Damon says:

    From SB Nation (for Monster):

    Any playoff team that needs a two-way center to do some heavy lifting on their third line should be picking up the phone and calling the Panthers about Marcel Goc, not only one of the better defensive forwards in the league, but a guy that can also chip in a little bit of offense while playing tough minutes. He’s not only really good, but his cap hit ($1.7 million for the season) is very manageable. A team like Pittsburgh or Anaheim should be very interested.

  63. theplanisworking says:

    Last week, I said the exact same things you are about Jeter.
    I do not look forward to the 25/8/366 coverage of his every move.

    * Look, Jeter has a coffee!
    * Look, Jeter is reading the paper.
    * Look, Jeter caught a fly ball!
    * Look, Jeter foul-tipped that ball!


  64. Clemente’s the Best,

    Don’t say that out loud here. All the Pitt apologists will jump on you, saying that out-of-conference scheduling doesn’t matter at all!

    A win against Woodland Hills Junior Varsity is the same as against UCLA. That’s why Wichita State should be #1.

  65. Andrew says:

    Not sure I agree that the Habs’ goals and chances where off the rush, at least not the goals, two were PPs and the 4th goal was effectively a PP goal. The first Hab’s goal was off a turnover by Sutter in the Pens’ end, and Briere’s even strength goal he came from behind the net and was aided by some terrible defensive rotation by the Pens.

    Penguins had the best SV% shorthanded in the league I think that is due to regress a bit. I agree overall the defense was sloppy, and there were several rushes, hopefully it can be improved.

  66. Milo Hamilton says:

    The only thing a tougher schedule would give them is more losses.

  67. Baywatch says:

    Go, Dukes!

  68. Jandy says:

    Damon, lol, you obviously remember that Monster Mash has been saying that about Goc for some time.
    Oh, and he likes Boyes, too ;)

  69. Baywatch says:

    Morning All/Y’all/Yinz

  70. Jandy says:

    AL, I do believe most draft picks are made from the BEST AVAILABLE pick. No so much in consideration of what position it is.

  71. Milo Hamilton says:

    He was too close.

  72. theplanisworking says:

    Yesterday, ESPN hinted the Pens picking up Matt Moulson from the Isles.

  73. Jandy says:

    hey Bay !

  74. Now that’s some smart analysis :)

  75. Andrew says:

    I think this is to be expected, no sport is so caught in with its own ethos and history as baseball. Combine that with the need for 24/7 programming and a retiring one team player, which harks back to the days of yore when players stayed with a club and all was right with the world, means this type of coverage will be everywhere.

  76. theplanisworking says:

    Good Morning, Mr. Hasselhoff.

  77. Jandy says:

    Again, poor Jeter.

  78. Baywatch says:

    +++ Hey, Milo! Going for my haircut today. Your Dad would be pleased! (Now, I’m no Jaff Decker … or is it Jaff Dacker?)

  79. Jandy says:

    Munchkin Briere’s goal came after he held Maatta’s stick for some time until the puck came to him. Friggin Munchkin!

  80. ESPN . . . the heartbeat of hockey.

    ESPN . . . the Bleachers Report of hockey.

  81. Baywatch says:

    I have to Google on these things, Plan, as I’m not much of a TV person … You can just call me MISTA Hoff! Wonder if there’s anyway Jimmy Hoffa could’ve dropped out of sight, buffed up, and come back as David Hasselhoff?

  82. Milo Hamilton says:

    Hey Bay.

    I’m getting mine next week. I know Jandy went yesterday. Anyone else ?

  83. theplanisworking says:

    Actually Scott Burnside, who I have some respect for.

    He was just throwing out some potential deadline deals, nothing more.

  84. theplanisworking says:

    Did you get to attend either Buc game so far?
    Did you find Drew?

  85. theplanisworking says:

    Only if he was Houdini…………

  86. Thundercrack says:

    When it counts Jeter will hit it harder that is why it will be a hit.


    I actually think Mitch Williams is really good when he talks about pitching.

  87. Andrew says:

    Dixon has his faults but scheduling is not one.

    ” Pitt’s Jamie Dixon is rarely lauded for his scheduling — if anything, the knock on him has been that he doesn’t schedule hard enough when he has an elite team — but here, he looks shrewd. He’s the best coach in the country at consistently turning a mildly efficient NCSOS into a respectable NCSOS in the eyes of the RPI, and thus, the selection committee. As he says, “I look at kenpom statistics — I love all the stats he does — but in scheduling, the NCAA is gonna look at RPI. So I care about RPI.” ”

  88. theplanisworking says:

    In Allen Texas, their $60 million dollar HIGH SCHOOL stadium had been shut down indefinitely. Seems cracks have been found all throughout the upper concourse.

    No activities are allowed there, the schools graduation won’t be held there, and an engineering firm has been called in. Place shut down until atleast July.

    Glad to see a school district that has its’ priorities straight.
    Wonder what $60 million could have done for science labs………

  89. Baywatch says:

    Hey, Jandricita!

  90. Jim S. says:

    FWIW, I don’t think Jeter asked for any of this. They have just taken it upon themselves.

    But, I’m waiting for someone to give him the Thomm Brennaman over-the-top in describing Tim Tebow treatment:

    “He makes everyone around him a better person.”

  91. Al’s Drive In,

    I’ll give you credit: since no one has yet started teeing off on Dan Bylsma for the loss last night——

    ——you attempted to take criticism a step further by moving to start complaints of Shero’s multiple drafting of defensemen. Nice touch also of mentioning traded-away draft picks.

    Way to prime the pump! I commend you!

  92. Thundercrack says:

    Yesterday I was listening to a little bit of the Pirate game.
    When Locke was pitching he got a called strike (can’t remember if it was for the K), and Bob Walk mentioned that getting those calls is important for Locke. Walk felt that part of the reason Locke struggled in the second half was because he wasn’t getting as many called strikes – his location wasn’t as good as the first half.

  93. Jim S. says:

    Then, someone interrupted and said, “Shut up and talk about LeBron.” :-)

  94. Jandy says:

    Let’s hope he has his mojo back.

  95. Damon says:

    The only way the Pens trade for Moulson is if they agree to terms with him on an extension before making the trade. Shero insists he doesn’t want a rental.

    That said, the trading price for Moulson will probably be too high.

  96. Jandy says:

    Milo! You paid attention! :D

  97. Baywatch says:

    The three most important aspects of home plate real estate claimature (coined that one): LOCATION, LOCATION and LOCATION!

  98. Jim S. says:

    But, it seems like Pitt always gets underseeded by the committe relative to its RPI. Or, am I wrong on that?

  99. Jandy says:

    of course he didn’t ask for this circus, Jim. But he’ll be the victim of it.

  100. Except when we pass on O’Reilly…

  101. Baywatch says:

    It’s not rocket science down here, Plan. Football is more important than science. Down here where Football is King, and Dairy is Queen. Seriously, the most popular fast-food eatery statewide.

  102. Jandy says:

    I can’t comment on that. lol

    Sometimes hindsight is better than foresight tho.

  103. Was wondering the same thing, Groaty. You still in Florida or are you home?

  104. pattonbb says:

    Agreed. He’s pretty informative when he’s talking about pitching.

  105. Jim S. says:

    His walk rate was way up last year. I think he became afraid of contact. He has to be more confident of his stuff. I know he can’t live in the middle of the plate consistently. But, if you try to live 3″ off the edge w/o a reputation from umps that gets you those calls, batters are going to lay off once they figure it out. I think that happened a lot.

  106. AL says:

    Jandy……agreed…. but I remember last year DK saying that defensemen are the most prized commodity in the NHL and Shero was stockpiling them like poker chips to be used as trade bait. I don’t think he would ever come out and say that of course.
    It’s just a style of drafting that is based upon position whether you need help at that position or not.
    Personally I think it’s time to look at drafting the best available forward this year.

  107. Jim S. says:

    One thing I think we can all agree upon, whether we prefer the Penguins or the Pirates – if Shero doesn’t make the sort of deadline deals to make the Pens a bona fide playoff contender, it is because Nutting is cheap.

  108. Jim S. says:

    And, I should add, if Shero does make those deals … Nutting is still cheap!

  109. Jandy, sometimes i wish i could be in the room just to chime in with the occasional “are you effin kidding me?”

  110. Jim S. says:

    :-), Bay.

  111. Jandy says:

    I guess we’ll see come draft da, eh Al? I do think Shero is good at what he does. I hope he drafts some forwards.

  112. Jandy says:

    LOL! You took the words right outta my mouth!

  113. AL says:

    Thanks Groat!
    I’m just an old guy trying to get into heaven so the last thing I want to do is to start controversy!!

  114. Jim S. says:

    I thought something about you seemed different today, Jandy.

  115. Last I saw Drew, he was chasing that extraordinarily hot girl in the revealing wifebeater and pink boyshorts. He fell behind her when he tripped on his tongue.

    Back home in da Burgh. Got in my car at 82°———got out of my car (still in my shorts and t-shirt) at 7°.

    12 days of bliss. (2 days of driving hey!) Caught a Russell Martin ball. The guy beside me told me I had good hands: I corrected him, telling him they were in fact “supple.”

    Carried my glove around, hoping to get signed for 1st Base. Hurdle told me, “Nice glove,” when he bumped into me one time, but got no closer to the dirt portion. Guess we’re stuck with Lambo.

  116. Jandy says:

    I’m just dying to see what Shero does this trade deadline. Pickings are slim and the available money is too. It’s also not clear what’s available in all cases. I’d hate to be in his shoes, that’s for sure.

  117. Jandy inspired me yesterday———I cut my own hair.

    Now I REALLY need to schedule an appointment!

  118. Jandy says:

    Ahhhh…what a graceful way to avoid a confrontation. Well played :)

  119. Jandy says:

    Oh and Al? A lot of us are ol farts, join the club…no dues !

  120. Jandy says:

    that’s draft DAY. I need more coffee..sheesh!

  121. theplanisworking says:

    And, I might add, Shero would get extended in secret!
    Wait a second…………….

  122. Jandy says:

    Jim, you noticed! :D

    Groat, now that’s scary!!!!!!!!!!!

  123. Thundercrack says:

    Even though we got the Astros to pay some of Wandy’s salary, I think BN has spend at the deadline to help make the Pirates more of a contender. I would say that the deadline deals last season made them a bona fide playoff contender for 2013.

  124. I’d LOVE to be in his shoes! I’ll bet they’re Gucci . . . . or at least not from the kind of store I buy MY shoes.

  125. Thundercrack says:

    He was afraid of contact because when the hitters made contact they smacked it pretty good.


  126. Jandy says:

    someone tweet and find out if Shero wears Gucci! Quick!

  127. JohninOshkosh says:

    The Academy Awards are Sunday night. One of my favourite nights of the year. We DVR it. My wife makes some delicious hors d’oeuvres and we watch it together after the kids go to bed with a fine wine.

    I did this last year so, here once again, is the will win, should win picks for the Oscars. I’ve seen all the nominated best pictures.

    Supporting Actress: Will win: Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle. Should win: June Squibb, Nebraska. Would love to see Squibb’ s acceptance speech but Lawrence’s popularity should carry the day in a close call over the stunning Lupito Nyong’o.

    Supporting Actor: Will win: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club. Should win: Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave. Put it in the bank for Leto winning. Biggest shoo in of the night making viewers endure his insufferable acceptance speech. The handsome Fassbender’ s portrayal as a loathsome plantation owner was extraordinary.

    Best Actress: Will win: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine. Should win: Sandra Bullock, Gravity. Bullock carried almost an entire film without interacting with another actor. An exceptional achievement, really.

    Best Actor: Will win: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club. Should win: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street. The Academy can’t resist beautiful people who transform their looks, like McConaughey impressively did, but, aw right, aw right, aw right, the underrated DiCaprio was tremendous as the amoral, 1980’s wealth at all cost Wall Streeter.

    Best Animated Feature: Will win and should win: Frozen. Delightful film.

    Best Picture: Will win and should win: 12 Years a Slave. Outstanding film about our nation’s most despicable era.

    My wife loves fashion so I’ll go with the resplendent Reese Witherspoon as best dressed. Will likely be some moving moments as this past year saw the loss of James Gandolfini, Harold Ramos and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. And, please, as much Steve Coogan as possible.

  128. Arriba Wilver says:

    You’re such a Duke snob, Groat. Syracuse and Virginia playing for the regular season ACC title Saturday in C’Ville.


  129. AL says:

    Thanks…I thought it was just me. (Wouldn’t Medicare cover the dues anyway?)

  130. Jandy says:

    You saw Frozen? COOL!
    I haven’t seen it yet, but I will…love those animated movies.

  131. Jandy says:

    Medicare won’t cover too much under the new Obama Care, dude ;)

    never just you…not in the Lunatics’ Asylum.
    Speaking of…is your hometown registered with biz?

  132. Bucs enter 2014 with MANY holes, and only “patches” like Volquez to fill them.

    They are one major injury away (McCutch, Walker, Martin, Pedro, Marte, Jordy) from being below .500.

    And . . . Pirates must have good years from all those above to be over .500 again this year.

    I am usually overly optimistic about Pirates; I am not so this season.

  133. Andrew says:

    You could be right Jim, the main think I took from that article, which is two years old, was that Dixon likes to schedule non-BCS schools (is that a term anymore) who he thinks will win their conference while obviously avoiding teams from the stronger conferences.

    Didn’t work this year non-conference strength of schedule is 220.

  134. JohninOshkosh says:


  135. Jandy says:

    Wow. That’s not good, Groat. I count on you to pull ME up with your optimism!

  136. Wilver Dornel,

    Made me smile and shut my mouth!!!

  137. Thundercrack says:

    Interesting. I thought you only critiqued FC’s wardrobe

  138. JohninOshkosh says:

    I have a daughter in grade school. I see EVERY animated film, Jandy!

  139. Jandy says:

    Ahhhh I am envious :)

  140. Jim S. says:

    His wife wears Jimmy Choo.

    I prefer Jimmy John’s. :-)

  141. Ironic . . . I was in my Anna Maria Island apartment watching Stripes when I saw the announcement that Ramis had died.

  142. Arriba Wilver says:

    Those deals pro rated weren’t that expensive. They were smart, but they didn’t make a case for him being willing to spend IMHO.

  143. JohninOshkosh says:

    I can probably quote Animal House, Caddyshack and National Lampoon’ s Vacation verbatim.

    Milo, put it best. Genius.

  144. Jim S. says:

    Yes, I’ve read that as well, Andrew. I think it is a pretty good strategy.

    The power schools get to play each other at neutral locations. As long as the game is close, neither team gets hurt because it’s not embarrassing for MSU to lose to Duke, or for North Carolina to lose to Arizona, etc. – especially on a neutral court.

    But, ask any of those schools if they have any interest in playing a home and home at St. Joe’s or VCU, or any of about 50 other small schools where you get no credit for beating them, but you get crushed if you lose. And, btw, in college hoops today just about any schools would lose a decent % of the time at some of these small venues. They know it, and it’s why they don’t go there.

    The little schools are largely frozen out of the top slots in the tourney, as a result.

  145. theplanisworking says:


  146. Jim S. says:

    This is true, TC. But, he has no future if he stays timid.

  147. Jim S. says:

    Wait, is there still some actual rocket science going on in Houston, Bay? :-)

  148. Jim S. says:

    The return of “supple.”

  149. AL says:

    Not sure but it would be Butler, Pa.
    Is the asylum for regular lunatics or raving lunatics only?

  150. NMR says:

    LOL at any of those players other than Cutch and Martin being “major”.

  151. We have seen NO indication that Nutting and his BMTIB are willing to spend: a.k.a. AJ Burnett!

  152. Arriba Wilver says:

    One of the interesting things I read about him was that he had the ability to work with egocentric a-holes and make them better.

  153. On the Pirates they are MAJOR!

  154. theplanisworking says:

    Please don’t laugh, but Locke may be a very important key to the Pirates success this year. If the “1st-half” Locke returns, it would help immensely.

  155. Arriba Wilver says:

    And Ellen Degeneres is an excellent host.

  156. Thundercrack says:

    I don’t know if he was timid.
    But it looked to me that his control was not the same during the second half.

  157. JohninOshkosh says:

    Chevy Chase.

  158. No laugh there. Very wise!

  159. Arriba Wilver says:

    And Bill Murray.

  160. Milo and Sweet Jimmie,

    Cortez Kitchen——turn right at 1st light getting off Cortez (southern) bridge of Anna Maria Island. That “outdoor” restaurant I mentioned a few weeks ago that has great seafood and is located right next to the Bay.

    Also Anna Maria Oyster Bar at Cortez and 66th———GREAT clam chowder and fried scallops.

    I’m a southern part of Anna Maria Island preference guy. I like to see the ocean from my house/condo/apartment. I ran on the beach every morning just after the sun came up in the edge of the water in my bare feet, and it was invigorating and inspiring. A very spiritual experience for me: like meeting God face-to-face as He wakes up the world!

  161. Competition for Moulson is expected to be steep. Unlike some of the other pure goal scorers available (including Brad Boyes), Moulson excels at the physical game. Like Ott, he’s built for playoff hockey.

    With limited depth and so many injuries, I’m not sure the Pens can afford to get into a bidding war with anyone right now.

  162. Al’s Drive In,

    Glad you have joined us!

  163. Hmmm…not sure i equate moulson with physical play. Savy yes, physical? Egh not so sure. Boyes isnt a beast but underrated on the boards. His skill is getting open for quick shot.

  164. Jandy says:

    The ocean ALWAYS makes me think of God. Powerful, unending. Great way to look at it, Groat.

  165. Something caught my eye this morning in my NHL reads: Tom Gilbert from the Florida Panthers. He was bought out from Minnesota last season and is under a 1-year deal paying him, gasp, $900k. Yet, he’s been on the Panthers top pairing all year, eating up a ton of minutes, and putting up strong numbers in the process. He’s not very physical, but he’s mobile, smart, and very capable offensively.

    He’s a UFA at season’s end and, considering that Florida has virtually nothing invested in him, wouldn’t cost much. Tom’s not a high-profile player like some of the other defensemen on the rumor mill, but he’s got a similar toolbox to Paul Martin. Considering the injuries to the defense, having another veteran puck-mover that can eat up minutes and see time with the man advantage is an attractive option.

  166. Jandy says:

    Al, it’s for ALL Lunatics :)
    Welcome aboard.

    I’m sure Butler is on the list.

  167. Jandy says:

    interesting indeed!

  168. pattonbb says:

    Good stuff, John. My wife and I go as far as filling out our own ballots. We’re movie nerds.

    I agree with all of your picks, except Best Supporting Actress. I think Lupita Nyong’o is a lock. Bet the house on her.

    I was disappointed that “Inside Llewyn Davis” didn’t get recognized in a couple of those categories.

  169. Jim S. says:

    Thanks, Groat! Your insights from ST are excellent.

  170. Egh…i would pass on gilbert.

  171. Jim S. says:


    I guess we should assume he is saving all that extra money to apply to locking up key guys to extensions. Yeah, that has to be it.

  172. Arriba Wilver says:


    Best stuff on the web!

  173. Jim S. says:

    I like Ellen. I think she’s great in that role.

    I also like her taste in women. Can I say that?

  174. Jim S. says:

    I say that because he averaged 2.5 BB/9 his entire minor league career, and he was at 4.5/9 last year.

    Trust your stuff, Jeff! You have no chance otherwise!

  175. Jandy says:

    sure…why not?

    And she’s a great host…hostess…whichever you want to call her ;)

  176. Jim S. says:

    Hostess makes me think of cupcakes with filling.

  177. NMR says:

    No, no they are not.

  178. Nate83 says:

    I personally am not seeing them as being much less prepared to compete this year then they where last year at this point. The team is actually deeper then last years opening day line up. Not everything went right last year and they still ended up with 94 wins. Morton, Cole and Liriano didn’t even start the year with the team. Locke and Wandy didn’t finish the year with team. Walker and Jones had sub par years. We got very little offensive production from shortstop. Grilli, Walker and Marte all got hurt for periods of time.

    Somehow they where able to patch it all together last year and still be competitive. I’m not sure why they wouldn’t be capable of doing that this year especially if they get contribution from Taillon and Polanco. It would have been nice to get more this off season but the team definitely isn’t left with less then they had in 2011 when the competed for a good portion of the year. This is still a good baseball team with many good players on it and players ready to help from the minor leagues.

  179. Jandy says:

    Why do you think they aren’t needed NMR? When Marte went down with the hand injury, we had issues, if I recall. Pedro isn’t major? I’m confused.

  180. Damon says:

    Just heard on 970 (Stan Savran) – Rob Rossi said the reason Despres didn’t play last night was because when they brought him up, he was really bad in practice (someone else was saying he wasn’t really playing all that well in WBS either). Rossi also said the Pens may still make that offer for Kesler because they want to get back to the three-center model they had with Staal. Not sure Kesler would be very happy on the 3rd line and/or playing with the players Sutter has had to deal with.

  181. theplanisworking says:

    Whatever you are on, I want some.

  182. JohninOshkosh says:

    Thanks, patton. I agree with you about ILD. Really liked that movie. I guess all the quirky indie love went to “Nebraska”. Although, I thought Will Forte ought to have gotten a nomination. He was really good.

    Yep. My wife and I are movie nerds, as well. I’m a pretty simple guy, really. Movie nerd. Music nerd. Sports nerd. Probably in that order, too. Throw in comic book nerd, too, but I ultimately can’t compete with the likes of Dejan.

  183. Jandy says:

    34 games played, 6 goals, 16 assists, 37 PIM, +18
    He’s not playing well in WBS? Baloney!

  184. Practice? You talkin bout practice?

  185. Samuelsson’s number took off when despres got down there too…

  186. Arriba Wilver says:

    Was 2011 a typo?

  187. JohninOshkosh says:

    Yeah. Very good stuff, Groat. Thanks. But, it was your description of the hot fortysomething, and not the Gulf talk, that made me appreciate God.

  188. Jandy says:

    obviously, someone is smoking crack.

  189. Jandy says:

    maybe the issue isn’t Depres anymore…maybe it’s someone else, just sayin’

  190. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t know if you can, Jim, but if you can I will second that emotion.

  191. Arriba Wilver says:

    Well, hockey is a Canadian sport.

  192. Shero needs to stand up to bylsma bout this. We all love engo…and on this roster he’s very valuable for depth and presence but at some point it gets to be beyond ridiculous. I’m glad i’m not a season ticket holder…if i was i’d demand at least a 10% refund cuz of this issue alone.

  193. And not the good stuff :)

  194. Damon says:

    I think they were referring to how he was playing over the Olympic break, but yes – they need to either sh.t or get off the pot with Despres….he is an asset either way. Mark Madden had a good quote – Pens have NHL defensemen playing in WBS, AHL forwards on the NHL team.

  195. Jandy says:

    Not anymore it’s not, AW

  196. Jandy says:

    Depres has been doing very well in WBS for a long while. This is baloney. I’m not picking on you, Damon. Just sayin’. If the kid improved his attitude, then let him play. if he didn’t, then it’s time to move on. Trade him so he CAN play somewhere. he has the tools.

  197. Jandy says:

    Well, I like Engo, too. He impressed last night. I’d move someone else before Engo.

  198. Damon says:

    yes I’m just the messenger….and I agree. One way or another, they need to deal with him.

  199. Arriba Wilver says:

    Tell that to Toronto and their Mayor.

  200. PSU Hockey Update:

    Big weekend and test for the Hockey Valley faithful! Road trip to Minnesota and we know the gophers are one of the top programs in the country. If PSU studied up and did their homework they know they’ll have to pack it in around Skoff so he can continue giving his mates a chance to win. Offensive touch for several players starting to come around, especially for Bailey. Glen, Scheid and Richard seem to be holding their own down the middle and will need to be huge down low to help an injury riddled defense. Williamson, who is arguably their best all-around dman is probably most likely to come back but their depth on back end has taken a hit. Hope Holmstrom at center is a thing of the past now that it’s been well established that his defensive instincts are a liability at center, especially when he can be an effective winger with his speed and playmaking ability. Speaking of speed and playmaking when is Loik going to play in the top 9? Last time PSU played MN i recall Loik being all over the ice and being one of the few offensive forces for hockey valley.

  201. Oh i’m not looking to trade engo. But playing him ahead of despres is maddening.

  202. At some point, someone in the organization has to question how Bylsma develops younger players. I knew when he arrived in Pittsburgh that he had a proclivity towards playing veterans, but the revolving door on prospects is becoming a significant concern.

    It seems like WBS does a good job of preparing these players to transition into the NHL, but they can’t seem to get any traction once they arrive. So, we see what happens with Despres: there’s nothing more he can gain from WBS, but Bylsma won’t give him the time and patience necessary to find his footing with the Pens. I remember it wasn’t too long ago that Bylsma was penciling Simon Despres as the first-pair defenseman alongside Kris Letang. Now, he can’t even pass Engo on the depth chart.

    Despres’ situation is hardly new. I can’t think of a single prospect that has developed into a regular player under Bylsma. Anyone?

  203. Jandy says:

    Vitale will never be more than a 4th line grinder, tho.
    We need someone to replace Adams, right :)

  204. Jandy says:

    Well, a couple of doubles and it’s a ball game again.

  205. Well i suppose you can argue that they like BB and trust him enough to keep him here. But you’re right…maatta is the exception and despres is the rule. :shaking head:

  206. Baywatch says:

    Game thread up, Jandy. I’m headin’ over there. C’mon, I’ll walk with you!

  207. Jandy says:


  208. You know…now that i think about it, before BB, maatta, despres and bortuzzo came around i’m not sure disco had many youngsters that were worth shuffling roster for. But it took a major rash of injuries for bortuzzo to get the occasional game in, despres apparently insults disco down to the core and BB pulls a hammie everytime he laces up his skates. Then there’s Maatta. So i guess we can point to drafts if we want to know why disco has infused a minimal amount of young talent.

  209. Jim S. says:

    It’s official.

  210. Jim S. says:

    Everyday I’m shufflin’ …

  211. Dodkong says:

    For AL, who asked about the Pens draft picks, the Pens are down a 2nd round pick (lost in the Douglas Murry trade when the Pens made it to the ECF) and up a 5th round pick (acquired in the Ben Lovejoy trade)

  212. Pouliot for Stewart! DO IT!!!

  213. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says tomorrow night’s outdoors Penguins/Blackhawks game in Chicago could be called off or postphoned should conditions warrant, especially since it’s forecast to be 8 above 0 and a chance of snow at game time.

  214. Actually, the NHL doesn’t want to discuss postponement of tomorrow’s hockey game in Chicago because of weather, but it does have a number of plan Bs under consideration.

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