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Vacation thread 3-2-14

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. Bizrow says:

    Open Blog Fantasy Leagues – But openings not updated
    All on Yahoo
    12 teams currently one open
    Autodraft, head to head
    League ID 29140

    Dejans Lunatics
    12 teams currently 1 open
    Autodraft, head to head
    League ID 29140

    The PBC Blog Inmates
    12 teams, currently 6 open
    Autodraft, head to head
    League ID 29145

    PBC Inmates
    16 teams, currently 4 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 Thanks, and Beat Em Bucs

    Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

    March 31 is coming ;-)

    And thanks, Roger, fixed it

  2. Baywatch says:

    Welcome back to the fold CHASE D’ARNAUD, who was DFA’d Tuesday to make room for Brent Morel. Everybody passed on him (I was a little surprised), so he’s been outrighted to Indy.

  3. The Pens, of course, lost last night 5-1. The only reason why this hockey game was played at all was because it would’ve been too expensive to call it off and the NHL had commitments to fulfill after all. At least the Pitt Panthers beat Notre Dame indoors in overtime yesterday.

  4. Okay, so it was the last outdoor hockey game to be played this season, but just the same.

  5. JAL says:

    JAL’s California Nights Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    4 Pirates Prospects Spring Training Tracker

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    You Shouldn’t Be Surprised by the Jameson Taillon/Gerrit Cole Comparisons

    The Pre-Injury Wandy Rodriguez Would Be a Huge Boost to the Rotation

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Notes: Pirates outright Chase D’Arnaud

    7 Rumbunter

    Magic Wandy Rodriguez Makes Good in First Start

    Pirates Injuries Adding Up Early in Spring

    Charlie Morton 93.7 The Fan Interview: ‘There Was Momentum Growing…”

    8 Green Weenie

    3/1: Pirates indeed, Forbes Field, Jumbo, Johnny Ray, The Sick One…

    9 Twins Insider

    BREAKING: Miguel Sano to have Tommy John surgery

    10 Saber Bucs

    Further Evidence of the Cheapness of the Cardinals???

  6. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Bradenton Herald
    Pittsburgh Pirates | Veteran Robert Andino banking on speed, versatility in bid to make club

    12 Beaver County Times

    Three thoughts: Gregory Polanco is ‘a freak of nature’

    13 Arizona Central

    Image can tarnish a baseball star’s legacy

    14 Pirates Site

    Wandy in good shape after return to mound

    15 Chicago Tribune

    Cubs’ Renteria supports McDonald,0,4143462.story

    16 The Hill

    George Will: Baseball’s opening day shouldn’t be a holiday

    17 Beyond the Box Score

    Dayton Moore and the division of baseball theories

    18 St. Louis Post Gazette

    Bernie: Peralta quickly adjusting to Cardinal Way

    19 Fangraphs

    MLBAM Announces New Data Stream: The Future is Almost Here.

    20 SB Nation

    Luhnow discusses analytics, offseason moves, draft pick compensation at MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

  7. The NHL says it will continue holding these outdoor hockey games since the players and the fans love them so much, and they also talk about holding an outdoor game in South Florida in the future, but just the same, they ought to have contingency plans for such games if the conditions warrant, even if the players themselves blame lack of ability to adjust since while the Blackhawks players adjusted since this is their home turf, the Penguins players obviously couldn’t.

  8. DJ says:

    We’re averaging 5.0 goals against in regulation since the Olympics. So much for a “defense first” mindset coming out of the break.

    Equally troubling is the lack of restraint shown by our top players, leading to power plays. Is there any accountability? Isn’t that tone set by our coaching staff?

  9. Sarah says:

    They should have moved it up earlier Saturday. They had time, they knew the weather forecast.

  10. I’d like to know if we have the cap space to bring in more than just kesler? Kesler’s 5M cap hit is a big enough bargain to reshuffle the deck but Kesler for sutter and whoever wont be enough. And the price for kesler seems to be getting pretty high per rossi. Sutter, yet another 1st and 3rd on top of despres or dumoulin? I dunno, kesler is an upgrade over sutter but if you don’t bring in a stewart to play with sid it wont maatta, if you dont bring in a goc and/or boyes for depth it wont maatta either.

  11. Sarah says:

    There’s plenty of accountability…..for the rookies.
    Even when they’re playing well.
    Despres might not be seen again til next year.
    In a different uniform.

    Meanwhile we’ll be playing and paying Orpik and Scuderi til they’re 40.

  12. Ya i hardly even paid attention to the game. How do you turn the fastest game on earth into a snoozefest? Play a game anywhere near lake michigan.

  13. Here’s hoping disco ignores that game all together. Bortuzzo was bad, orpik wasn’t great, scuderi average, crosby indifferent, neal, geno and jussi tried a bit. Bottom 6 never got out of the locker room…etc etc.

  14. Sarah says:

    Well he did tell us the first couple of games wouldn’t be masterpieces!……

  15. Sarah says:

    Poor Adams, he can’t even skate on brand new ice.
    Now put him in a snow drift…

  16. cherokee23 says:

    I don’t have any answers to what the Pens need, but the one word that keeps coming to mind when I watch them play is “stale”.

  17. cherokee23 says:

    Seems like every poor performance has a built-in excuse.

  18. Sarah says:

    Actually for me the word has become “boring”.
    There’s only a couple of guys I’m interested in anymore. One is MAF because I am a goalie, but it is painful to watch him hung out to dry, and more painful to watch his springtime collapses.

    The others are Geno and Sid and I’m guessing they’re finally sick of playing for this coach without the support their talent should get…..hence the frustration, stupid penalties and rinse and repeat……

  19. Sarah says:

    Yes Disco has a Random Excuse Generator in the locker room.

  20. DJ says:

    He did, however, look very sharp in that hat.

    And Fleury’s pads looked neat.

    And I like the new unis.

    So there are a few positives as a takeaway.

  21. Sarah says:

    Did you really like those unis?,…..I kinda thought they were too white….almost reminded me of BOS!!

  22. Sarah says:

    And I thought MAF did well considering the sh-t show in front of him. They had like 4posts too…..could easily have been 7,8-1…. Oy.

  23. DJ says:

    I loved them.

    Not kidding.

  24. theplanisworking says:

    To all the Pens shortcomings, i.e. defense, coaching, lack of effort, etc.

    Were we not examining these same exact issues this past June? System only works in near-perfect conditions, defense totally lost, lack of effort, lack of scoring chances, opposing teams D shutting down the team, frustration, lack of composure, lack of leadership, no grinders…………..

    Sarah, Eric, and I were the biggest supporters of the FIRE BYLSMA movement, but he got extended, instead of canned.

    I might suggest someone in the owners box take notice. Fast.
    This is now on Mario. It has gone past Shero. I simply cannot imagine #66 is any way happy with this.

  25. theplanisworking says:

    For anyone looking for any major piece coming to Pittsburgh, the team does not have the cap space necessary to swing a major deal. If this was next year, it would be different. But look for a minor deal or two. That’s all that can be done with the cap situation, unless the team gets blown up, which won’t happen.

  26. theplanisworking says:

    Unis were the best thing of the night.

  27. DJ says:

    There are so many needs, too many actually. So if we’re building “a team” for the future, I’d prefer we not do anything rash. And that’s from a season ticket holder.

    Our potential roster-shaping chip went down before the Olympics. There’s not enough we can do about that this year.

  28. Sarah says:

    ++++++ Plan.

    I’d actually point out that these issues go back before last spring and most/all were equally apparent after the PHL debacle.

    I think the bottom line is RS loves Disco, so do the players (or so they say, and I cannot imagine that is really true anymore for the skill guys…..the muckers, yes)…..and most of all, Mario cares more about sellouts and regular season ratings and attendance and country clubs, than he does about winning Cups.

  29. DJ says:

    I agree. See my post @ 8:23 above.

  30. Sarah says:

    I do not disagree with that.

  31. cherokee23 says:

    Ya, I thought MAF was their best player last night

  32. Sarah says:

    I “really” hope they let Orpik go….but HM and I diverge on his value rather significantly…….

  33. cherokee23 says:

    another vote for the uniforms!

  34. cherokee23 says:

    agree, the 24/7 show several years ago showed RS & DB joined at the hip. Meeting daily to discuss player performances & strategy. RS obviously approves of what DB is doing

  35. DJ says:

    Yeah, well, I’m staying away from the Orpik thing today with HM. It’s a new day and you can only tell a person he is wrong about a player so many times.

  36. DJ says:

    I believe I heard they’ll be our new away unis.

  37. theplanisworking says:

    I still say Orpik is feeling the effects of the Thornton mugging.

    But I have to go get milk, bread, TP, lunchmeat and snacks for 6 weeks. Snow coming after all.


  38. theplanisworking says:

    Biz, I don’t know how we missed it all that time.
    Oldzheimer’s I guess.

  39. Sarah says:

    Y’know, I thought about that too Plan…..

    I really think he’s not been the same since the ab/hernia surgeries 2 seasons back……but the Thornton thing hasn’t helped, for sure. Sometimes concussions just affect your balance for ages….I’ve had a couple myself and they’re no fun.

  40. Sarah says:

    Yep…..which makes me think that DB is here as long as RS is….

    Though I do wonder about J Martin…..

  41. Sarah says:

    OK now you’re toying w me on the unis DJ!
    Seriously people??? The stripes didn’t match and there wasn’t enough black n gold, and, and and…….

  42. Pucknutz says:

    I would say Genos line is fine , he has the “support” he need. If there is any problem there it is usually Geno going brain dead once in a while.(stupid penalty’s, drop passes to imaginary teammates)
    Sid, well hes got Kuni but would agree some “support” needed on the other wing. Tough to find someone that can actually “play” with Sid though.

    I do agree with you though that it has become a bit “boring” .Other that the three mentioned Matta may be the only other one “interesting”.
    Lotta guys out though, haven’t see enough of Bennett to make a call on him yet.

  43. DJ says:

    His reaction time has been off for the past 2 years, at least. The mugging certainly didn’t help his cause. It’s evident, but you’re never going to get the player to acknowledge it in the slightest once he’s making $3+ million per year.

    Who would?

  44. DJ says:

    Sarah = resident blog fashionista.

    It says something about the team, doesn’t it, when the blog devolves to opinions on the unis?

  45. cherokee23 says:

    ya, I’ve seen you post that and agree with you. Martin has had an impact at times I think, but team always seems to revert back to what it’s always done. Injuries haven’t made it any easier, and they do have best record in the East, but something’s missing. Stale & boring

  46. Eric Bowser says:

    Can Ray Shero Do It Again?

    The Pittsburgh Penguins head into the NHL’s March 5th Trade Deadline with their worst depth chart in years under General Manager Ray Shero and unless he gets creative with the health status for a number of his players, there’s not much wiggle room for the team to address significant holes on the roster for this season and next.

    The one injured player whose status won’t change between now and the end of the season will be Pascal Dupuis.

    This leaves Shero wondering what to do with Tomas Vokoun, Paul Martin, Kris Letang, and Beau Bennett. If he would decide to roll the dice and assign them to Long-Term Injured-Reserve while demoting forwards Taylor Pyatt, Chris Conner, and Brian Gibbons and defensemen Simon Despres, it would leave the team with ten forwards, six defensemen and two goaltenders.

    The net result would give the team $14,085,000 in cap space to acquire a first line right-wing to play with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz, two third line wingers to flank Brandon Sutter, and a veteran defensemen to play with Brooks Orpik until Paul Martin could return in the playoffs.

    Lineup & needs

    1st: Kunitz – Crosby – RW
    2nd: Jokinen – Malkin – Neal
    3rd: LW – Sutter – RW
    4th: Glass – Vitale – Adams
    Extra: Kobasew

    DP1: Orpik – RD
    DP2: Maatta – Niskanen
    DP3: Scuderi – Bortuzzo
    Extra: Engelland

    Starter: Fleury
    Backup: Zatkoff

    Potential forwards available:
    Buffalo: Matt Moulson, Drew Stafford, Chris Stewart
    Calgary: Lee Stempniak
    Edmonton: Ales Hemsky, Sam Gagner, Ryan Smyth
    Florida: Brad Boyes, Sean Bergenheim, Marcel Goc
    New Jersey: Jaromir Jagr
    Islanders: Michael Grabner, Thomas Vanek
    Phoenix: Radim Vrbata
    Toronto: Nikolai Kulemin
    Vancouver: Ryan Kesler
    Washington: Martin Erat
    Winnipeg: Olli Jokinen, Devin Setoguchi

    Potential defensemen available:
    Buffalo: Henrik Tallinder, Christian Ehrhoff, Tyler Myers
    Edmonton: Anton Belov, Nick Schultz
    Florida: Tom Gilbert
    New Jersey: Marek Zidlicky
    Islanders: Andrew MacDonald
    Philadelphia: Andrej Meszaros
    Winnipeg: Mark Stuart

    The Penguins are reportedly very aggressive in their pursuit of Vancouver center Ryan Kesler and based on the theory, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Let’s say Shero is going all in to acquire the American two-way center.

    Predicting the Trade:
    Vancouver deals Kesler
    Pittsburgh trades Sutter, Scott Harrington, 2014 1st Rd pick and 2015 3rd Rd pick

    There is no arguing the Penguins acquire the best player in this deal and immediately improve the skill for their third line center but the move does nothing about their depth problems on the third line wing for this season.

    2013-2014 season ending lineup
    Kunitz – Crosby – Gibbons – Maatta – Niskanen
    Jokinen – Malkin – Neal – Orpik – Martin
    Pyatt – Kesler – Megna – Scuderi – Bortuzzo
    Glass – Vitale – Adams
    Extra: Conner, Kobasew, Engelland
    IR: Dupuis, Bennett, Letang

    Predicting the 2014-2015 team

    1. Re-sign Jokinen to 2-year $6,000,000
    2. Sign unrestricted free agent Nikolai Kulemin 3-years $7,500,000

    Kunitz – Crosby – Dupuis – Maatta – Letang
    Kulemin – Malkin – Neal – Dumoulin – Martin
    Jokinen – Kesler – Bennett – Scuderi – Bortuzzo
    Gibbons – Sill – Megna
    Extra: Adams, Ebbett, Samuelsson

    Player 14-15
    1C – Crosby 8,700,000
    1L – Kunitz 3,850,000
    1R – Dupuis 3,750,000
    2C – Malkin 9,500,000
    2L – Kulemin* 2,500,000
    2R – Neal 5,000,000
    3C – Kesler 5,000,000
    3L – Jokinen* 3,000,000
    3R – Bennett 900,000
    4L – Gibbons** 650,000
    4C – Sill** 650,000
    4R – Megna** 650,000
    4F – Adams 700,000
    4F – Ebbett 550,000
    Forwards 45,400,000

    DP1 – Maatta 894,167
    DP1 – Letang 7,250,000
    DP2 – Dumoulin 831,667
    DP2 – Martin 5,000,000
    DP2 – Scuderi 3,375,000
    DP2 – Bortuzzo 600,000
    DP3 – Samuelsson** 600,000
    Defensemen 18,550,834

    S – Fleury 5,000,000
    B – Zatkoff 600,000
    Goalies 5,600,000

    Team Cap Hit 69,550,834
    NHL Max Cap 71,100,000
    Team Cap Space 1,549,166

    * UFA
    ** RFA

  47. DJ says:

    You get any sleep last night, Eric?

  48. Pucknutz says:

    I agree, he has not looked the same since then. But as Sarah notes had not been the “same” since the surgeries – so maybe like a double whammy there.
    Maybe he is just wearing out, he has not played near as aggressively in the last two years as he used to.

  49. I heard that DJ :)

    BTW- what you find when you dug up old posts? Was looking forward to our trip back in time :)

  50. Sarah says:

    My God that Letang number just hurts my brain……

  51. Eric Bowser says:

    DJ – I got about 6 hours of sleep (2am-8am). Family is out of town, so after a few errands, it was all hockey yesterday. I watched Panthers-Jackets, Jets-Predators, Lightning-Stars, Canes-Kings, Pens-Hawks, and Flames-Oilers. DVR is a great thing.

    Going to be doing the same thing today watching Sharks-Devils 3pm , DVR Panthers-Islanders, and Blues-Yotes 8 pm.

  52. Thats ok sarah, PM’s cap number has been torturing my soul since tampa series. :)

  53. Eric Bowser says:

    He’s going to be paid like a number one defensemen and in three years, if he’s still around, on the third pairing.

  54. Eric Bowser says:

    The worst is Scuderi’s cap number… that salary should be for Niskanen.

    Team might be wise to see if they could try to unload Scuderi to Islanders this summer in order to try to re-sign Niskanen.

  55. DJ says:

    I left you a note on that thread, HM. I’m going to let you do the digging and repost it.

    So far, what you acknowledged yesterday is that you’re on record as giving Orpik three more years. To which I asked, why stop at just three? Why not five?

  56. ziv34 says:

    Didn’t you just say the other day that you predict ‘Kris Letang to announce he will never play again’

  57. theplanisworking says:

    I say we switch to those unis permanently.
    I say MAF gets 100 different masks.

    Beats talking about the putridness of the Pens play.

    ( I seriously like the unis, non-matching stripes or no).

  58. Oh ok…but you were trying to drastically exaggerate my stance on orpik and you misquoted my stance on sameulsson before that so just making sure :)

  59. Eric Bowser says:

    I don’t think he should with his health but until that becomes official, he’s on the cap chart.

  60. theplanisworking says:

    I would not re-sign Orpik.

    His play has deteriorated to the point of diminishjing returns.
    We had the Letang contract last year, we don’t need to make another long-term commitment mistake.


  61. Hey you were the one threatening to dig up old posts…just letting you know what you would’ve found :)

  62. Sarah says:

    Thanks for the heavy lifting analysis Eric!

    I have hopes they’ll get Kulemin…..I’ve thought Genos discipline started sliding when Sarge left. Maybe having a Russian buddy will help keep him settled…..also they tore it up in KHL and I think Kule is the right type of puck retriever for Geno.

  63. Sarah says:

    I thought Scuderi signing was kind of redundant w Orpik. Another reason I hope they let Brooks go…..

  64. theplanisworking says:

    Thank you for this column.
    Very detailed.
    I just wonder how many of these things will come true?

  65. Fortunately for hippo, dj, sarah and everyone else i think there’s a chance Orpik gets an offer he cant refuse. I wouldn’t do more than 3 years but at roughly same cap hit but there’s an excellent chance he’ll get 4-5 year offer for 4-5M+ just based on girardi’s contract alone. Hope he isn’t lookin to max out but we shall see. Hope pens realize the clock is ticking for him and many others…

  66. DJ says:


    I liked that you kept Pouliot out of the Kesler trade. You and HM should get together for a few beers.

  67. Sarah says:

    No question his line has been OK, PN….I think it would be better with Kule on LW, uand then JJ can move down to bottom 6 and help shore that up…..JJ and Sutter have actually looked good the few times they’ve been together……

    We talk about bottom 6, but if we get Ws for Sid and Malkin, now you’ve got guys like JJ, BB, Duper, Sutter, all in bottom 6 (obviously guys need to get healthy)…..

    But I’ve always felt lines 3 and 4 will be fine if they could add the right guys for Sid and Geno.

    Dupers a great 3rd line guy. Always has been. Add skill like BB and JJ… could wind up with Sutter on 4th line….Gladams could become water boys, like they should be.

  68. Eric Bowser says:

    I still have my doubts about acquiring Kesler but the salary cap situation is real but that isn’t stopping fans from thinking the team can re-sign Niskanen, get 2-3 wingers as UFA, and still have Kesler.

    I’m thinking Jokinen and Kulemin are possible targets, what their demands will be, who knows.

  69. Eric Bowser says:

    Absolutely, there’s just no way you can acquire Kesler and then think you can retain Orpik and Niskanen. The Scuderi deal pretty much sealed their path.

  70. DJ says:

    Orpik @ $4-5 mill for 4-5 years?

    You just got back from Colorado, right?

  71. You watch DJ, if he doesn’t re-sign here thats the offer he’ll end up taking.

  72. Sarah says:

    As for Can RS Do It Again?
    I actually hope he doesn’t.

    His moves at the TDL last year destabilized the team for playoffs (combined with a healthy dose of DB having no idea what to do with a HOF RW…..)
    And his re-signing of Letang and others effectively crippled the team for potentially several years.

    But for the cap going up and Letang’s career potentially ending, there’s very little the pens can do to fix multiple issues and even approach being a legit contender. The gap between them and Chi last night was embarrassing.

    And that doesn’t even mention the biggest issue IMO, the Bylsma extension.

  73. theplanisworking says:

    I think Jokinen stays with the Pens. He likes it here, and he has flourished since coming from Carolina.

    I hope Harrington isn’t in any trade talks. But I guess you have to give to get.

    It is just a bit of a mess.

  74. DJ says:

    If he re-signs here at any price then I’m giving up my season tickets.

  75. theplanisworking says:

    Bylsma should have not been extended. We both agree with that.

    I think he should be on a year-to-year type of thing.
    And what exactly did RS bring in Martin for?
    Another head-scratcher……….

  76. Sarah says:

    I guess to cover his arse if/when Mario gives him an ultimatum on Disco….?
    An easy transition to a new HC with minimal disruption…..
    And Ray gets to keep his job.

    I’ll believe all that when I see it however……RS lost me mostly with the Disco extension, and completely with the Letang deal.

  77. chethejet1 says:

    Mario will respond when Crosby’s agent calls him and tells him that Sid is no longer going to be the good solder and watch this fiasco of coaching, no accountability and how soft the team has become under Shero. Sid played for a coach in the Olympics who at least has some idea what it takes to win and what the star players have to perform at win a cup. Mario better wake up and take charge or Sid is calling the shots about where he wants to play next.

  78. For what its worth at the time we signed PM and ZM i was actually somewhat happy cuz of the needs they filled at the time. But after the tampa series i was ready to abandon ship. Especially when i saw the system disco was playing in the season that followed. I knew that PM and ZM would get over exposed facing too many high speed rushes which is why i found any cup predictions to be laughable.

    Part of PM’s resurgence is from the pens minding the neutral zone more often but pens record without him proves that at 5M he’s very replaceable. Pens belief that PM is so irreplaceable is a big reason our bottom 6 looks the way it does. Too bad no one saw that coming…

  79. As long as they got guinness on draft :)

  80. And my suggestion was pouliot for stewart. I’m still wrapping my head around the kesler thing…if thats all we do then we might as well start hittin the driving ranges now.

  81. I’d like to see team’s record breakdown without PM and tanger in lineup. Orpik too for that matter.

  82. DJ says:

    I believe he is talking Olli Jokinen, Plan.

  83. Sarah says:

    PM definitely does better w a more d-oriented system as he did in NJ.
    I was ready to scrap him after the PHL playoffs but thought he rebounded nicely. Maybe not 5 mil nicely it’s true!!
    If they wind up w J Martin I think he’ll be fine.

  84. DJ says:

    Well, there’s something we can agree upon.

  85. I think you should do so if they don’t trade PM’s cap hit to fix bottom 6. And if despres gets scratched for engo you should demand a 10% refund.

  86. Wow tsn saying Luongo getting benched for Lack for 3rd straight game. VAN must really hate their players…

  87. BillyBaduka says:

    I thought it made Adams look faster.

  88. Eric Bowser says:

    That franchise has been mismanaged by Gillis and their player development numbers from ’06-13 has been about as bad as the Penguins and when you don’t have Crosby and Malkin anchoring your franchise, then you’ve got trouble like the Canucks are in right now.

    Luongo will probably be traded but not sure where or when (before deadline or prior to free agency).

    Have to laugh at idea of Canucks, Luonogo, and Tortorella.

  89. Eric Bowser says:

    I was talking about Jussi Jokinen.

  90. Lack looked good when we played VAN but they’re just beggin for distractions. You right about VAN changing GM’s and coaches for the worst. Nonis has done a decent job in TO and VAN probably wishes they had him back…and AV for that matter.

  91. Sarah says:

    Honestly after that final v BOS I cannot believe Lou is still in VAN.
    I guess his contract was too big to move.
    That plus the fact he shrinks in big games.

  92. Sarah says:

    I still chuckle at the back n forth with TimTom and Lou in that playoffs.
    Thomas just so punked Luongo. You just knew game 7 was BOstons….

  93. Maybe luongo wasn’t superhuman but not sure you can argue that VAN was better team when they lost to chicago and others in playoffs. West has been super loaded for many years.

  94. theplanisworking says:

    Sorry, I am in such a panic over the snow, I got lost.


  95. Sarah says:

    Not arguing VAN was better or worse.
    Arguing Louie is Captain Jitters when it counts.
    And the league knows that.
    And olympic coaches like Babcock know it too.

  96. DJ says:

    OK, saw Kulemin and Olli J listed as two of your trade targets.

  97. One problem with the Pens is that what worked well enough when they were playing the softer part of their schedule doesn’t necessarily work when they’re playing the tougher teams and then they’re in the playoffs. Another problem, of course, is those injuries and then, they were off for three weeks because of the Olympics. And then, there was last night when the weather was too much. Now hopefully, all the rust and the extended inactivity will wear off and they can win in Nashville on Monday night.

  98. Cant say i saw van much in playoffs other than a few hawks games so i’ll take your word for it. Clearly canada thought more of price than lou tho.

  99. Sarah says:

    I guess I think the problems are larger.

    Fact is…
    We have (by grace of Lady Luck) two forward of once-in-a-generation talent.
    We have a squillionare owner, and the ability to spend up to cap yearly.

    The product we put on ice from coaching to personnel is simply not competitive for a Cup, and there’s no excuse for that.

  100. The Gunner says:

    I guess this confirms that Chase stinks

  101. Sarah says:

    Here’s an interesting question I saw, Peeps.

    What has Dan Bylsma brought to the Pens?
    What is his “signature”?


  102. Sarah says:

    Maybe better put:
    What is this team’s identity under Disco?

  103. theplanisworking says:

    Underachievers. Confused, frustrated players.

    Cool hats, however.

  104. +++

    I’ll just add that disco may need an outside perspective when it comes to knowing what the likes of sid and geno are thinking. Both of them are too polite to speak up or stand up to disco if something isn’t working. Obviously adams and disco complete each other but sid and geno need someone to speak up when their time and space is taken away by matchups or neutral zone play.

  105. cherokee23 says:

    ……I think initially, he took the reigns off and the team flourished. then for couple seasons, injuries to Crosby & Malkin made it difficult to evaluate the team. Although the year 87 & 71 were both out, I thought might have been Byslma’s best work overall, they seemed to overachieve, but lost to tampa after being up in series. For last couple seasons, i have thought an opposite approach has been needed, tighten the reigns back up! And at times team has played way it needs too, but always seems to fall back to the free wheeling style. Surprises me that given his background as a player/grinder and the vocal desires about being a team that is difficult to play against, that it never seems to play out that way.
    ……Team discipline also an issue. I know our skill guys get whacked and interfered with, but it seems to get under their skin too easily & they seem to retaliate too much. I’ve had some thoughts percolating about this, specifically James Neal and his mentoring/training from Gary Roberts. It’s not gonna work for Neal to be a tough guy, it’s not his game or personality. What you get when you try to be tough and it’s not in you is the cheap stuff like the knee to Marchand

  106. Sarah says:

    Lol!! As Board Fashionista, yes, I loved the fedora!!!!

  107. theplanisworking says:


  108. cherokee23 says:

    Ya know, Madden been saying for some time that the team and locker room are too chummy. No tension.

  109. Sarah says:

    Plan I’m still thinking about this question….but yes –
    UNDERACHIEVERS I fear is the tag that will be hung around the neck of Sid and Geno, through no fault of their own.

    Just as I think it hangs around the neck of Mario and the 90s teams…..though that was much more their own doing….running Bowman out of town, establishing the Country Club, and so on……

  110. Sarah says:

    He calls them the Get-along Gang.

  111. JohninOshkosh says:

    1. Most wins as a coach in Penguins history.
    2. Stanley Cup Champions (Something 11 franchises or more than 1/3 of NHL has NEVER accomplihed).
    3. Never any off ice incidents.
    4. Sold out every home game during his tenure.
    5′. Deep runs in SC playoffs including SC championship and last year’s EC finals.
    6. Respectful, intelligent, face of franchise.
    7. Does not throw players, management under the bus.

  112. theplanisworking says:

    Good points, Sarah.

    With Disco, I feel another huge issue is the inability to adjust. There never seems to be a plan B………. which contributes to the frustration factor. He is so stubborn to keep his system, that he just ramps up the stubbornness factor.

    Like I said above, Mario cannot be happy with this.
    if he is, then we have found the ultimate problem.

  113. Sarah says:

    Great! Let’s keep everything the same!

    Kidding. All good points Osh, though I would disagree w 5). 2 first round losses and a second round loss in the last 4 years doesn’t count as “deep runs” in my book.

    Seriously – are you happy with Bylsma as a coach, with RS as GM, and with the team as currently constructed?

    I think you’ve nailed down the reasons why a lot of fans are sort of conflicted and still defend DB….the et season nbrs are great!…..but….do we really think this team has a shot at going far this year?

    I’m not sure they make it out of the division as is.

  114. theplanisworking says:

    1) Props there.
    2) Some credit must go to Thierien for his system getting the team in shape for the Cup run.
    3) Those are rare in the NHL.
    4) Started under Therien.
    5) 1st and 2nd round exits are “deep runs”? To inferior opponents?
    6) Sid? Mario?
    7) Props there.

    Question to be asked……….. are the Pens better with or without Disco? Answer that, and we might move forward. Being a fancier version of the Canucks (regular-season glory, playoff flameouts) won’t get it done.

  115. Sarah says:

    I think JohnOSh has nailed several reasons why Mario could be perfectly happy as is.
    Regular season numbers, and sell outs, good ratings.

    All more important than actually being competitive for, much less winning, a Cup.

  116. Sarah says:

    They’re not the Canucks. They’re the Denver Broncos.

  117. Sarah says:

    Seriously, there’s lots of props.

    None have bearing on playoff success or Cups wins.

    Maybe THATs Discos legacy.

  118. theplanisworking says:

    I would hope that isn’t the case.
    Plus, look at the Canucks.
    They fired their coach after flaming out in the playoffs every year.

    Oh well, I guess we can always root for IceBurgh……… ;)

  119. theplanisworking says:

    At least we aren’t the Washington Generals. ;)

  120. Scott says:

    I’ve been screaming all year that the Pens need to use a buyout to void the rest of Scuderi’s deal. They still have that opportunity in the offseason and it would make perfect sense, especially if it allows them to re-sign Niskanen.

  121. cherokee23 says:

    I agree, no one is saying they aren’t a very good team. Just exploring ways to improve in the playoffs, that next level of success!

  122. Eric Bowser says:

    Someone told me last night, players who were signed after the CBA deal weren’t eligible for the compliance buyout. That stinks.

  123. Scott says:

    I share your frustration, but let’s not get crazy here.

    There are plenty of excuses, actually, starting with the fact that you have to pay those once-in-a-generation talents the money those talents deserve. It was so much easier for the Pens to challenge for Cups in 08 and 09 when they weren’t yet paying big bucks to all their superstars. That’s why the team was so deep all the way around back then.

    Now, because the cap went way down this year, the lineup is top-heavy, which is to be expected. I don’t see a whole lot the GM could have done to avoid that (short of trading Letang for three bottom 6 forwards or something weird like that.)

    And beyond that, saying the product on the ice is not competitive for a Cup is hyperbole, given that the team reached the conference final last year and is currently #1 in the eastern conference. True, they’re not the favorite to win the Cup this year as currently constructed, but to say they’re “not competitive” is a massive exaggeration.

  124. Sarah says:

    Well, as you know I think the first step is a new coach.
    So I think the only way they can make significant progress is without DB.

    Having said that, what KIND of a coach do they need? Sometimes these things run in cycles….you have a disciplinarian (MT) ….he wears out his welcome, then you go the other end of the spectrum with a Players Coach (DB) and eventually the team loses discipline and accountability and so on…..

    They have JM in the wings….he is known more for attention to D….and more accountability,……perhaps that is now what they need.

    But the roster moves RS has made has really tied their hands, and the personnel they have now are not competitive vs the better teams, esp in West. They have NHL D playing at WB, and AHL Fs playing in Pgh. There’s probably more changes needed than are possible in short run.

  125. Sarah says:

    I think it’s simpler.
    DB inherited an extremely disciplined defensive group.
    He did not have time (by his own admission) to install his system, so he made some tweaks to take off the shackles of a young, fast hungry group, such as allowing the closest Fs to attack the puck, rather than staying locked in their lanes. The young hungry group responded like starving greyhounds let out of a cage after a 3-legged rabbit……

    They got very lucky to not play a D-oriented team til DET, and even luckier when Datsyuk was injured, which altered the matchups in our favor significantly. Max has a game of his life, and MAFs on crack last couple games, and there you go.

    Next season, DB begins to install his Stretch Go North system, and the steady loss of discipline began. IMO it has been fairly clear since then.

  126. Sarah says:

    Y’know Cherokee…..I’m not sure they really are that good. Of course they have Did and Geno. But the number of scrubs on the bottom half. I dunno… to the depth and quality of Chi and BOS…..

  127. Brandie says:

    Too much Ego, Not Enough Substance. Hearken back to an old Pirates tagline from many years ago…spruced up Penguins style.

    The Pittsburgh Penguins…Come Hungry…Leave Famished!!!!!!!

  128. +++

    Just need to add that we shouldn’t take away from cup runs and win though…every team that wins does in part cuz they won battle of attrition as much as battle in corners. They got better and better each year leading up to cup win…thats not an accident…even with datsyuk’s injury. And i recall sid’s knee not being 100% either the year we won. Detroit was better team in ’08 but in ’09 we had more desperation and want to…and tom fitzgerald behind the bench didn’t hurt either IMO.

  129. Brandilicious! Good afternoon muppet. All well in the world for queen of consol dome? :)

  130. Brandie says:

    I think it would work better for Neal to play with grit and discipline. The talent is there, but he needs to stop being someone he’s not or he is going to be long gone.

  131. cherokee23 says:

    I hear ya Sarah….I do think we tend to overestimate our talent at times

  132. Brandie says:

    As well as can be expected for someone who masquerades as a comedy writer. By the way Smash…I miss Max Talbot.

  133. Ditto…a homegrown forward draft pick who worked his way up to be a key role player….ahh the good ol’ days…

  134. cherokee23 says:

    That’s part of my point….Neal doesn’t seem to have much grit. He’s a finesse player……and a good one!

  135. cherokee23 says:

    His kind of player is what has been missing. He and Jordan Staal.

  136. Brandie says:

    I wonder how to mix finesse and discipline? Or is that more of an oil and water thing?

  137. Brandie says:

    He had the original STFU STFD moment! Sorry AJ!

  138. Simple…initiate dont retaliate.

  139. Maybe shero needs to hire Greg Malone back. He and craig patrick hit some home runs in the drafts leading up to patricks dismissal. Just sayin…and malone was super friendly when i had a chance to chat with him. For the record mr. shero was quite friendly too.

  140. Brandie says:

    Amen on Jordan Staal as well. He just quietly got things done, no supple hands needed to massage his ego. :)

  141. cherokee23 says:

    One of my favorite memories……Max getting his tail kicked and then Shhh-ing the Flyers crowd……stuff of legend!

  142. Brandie says:

    Don’t playa hate, celebrate!

  143. Float like a buttafly sting like a bee

  144. Brandie says:

    Exactly. Grit is sorely lacking. No Talbot, Roberts, Guerin, or Bourque! It’s like putting pretty things and finishing touches in a house that is built on sand. Undermines your foundation. I find this team sorely lacking in identity.

  145. Muppet…just say you on tv…looks like you gotta cool new movie coming out.

    P.S. being snowed in is wonderful

  146. jandy alert typo above jandy alert typo above

  147. Brandie says:

    I saw me on a cereal box at the grocery store. There is also a good one of me doing “Fever ” with Rita Moreno on You Tube. Hilarious!

  148. Brandie says:

    Typos, love, and the love of typos make the world go around!

  149. Otherwise you end up with ukraine

  150. Brandie says:

    Maybe this is the point I am trying to make…team lacks balance between grit and finesse.

  151. Sarah says:

    You really think this group is competitive for the Cup? The way they are coached and configured? with Gibbons on SId’s wing, Gladams an Pyatt getting minutes?…

    I HOPE they are competitive for the division.
    I do not believe that is hyperbole and please tell me what indications you’ve seen that they could compete vs Boston or anyone at the top out West come spring.

    They have little flexibility now thanks to an enormous contract given to Letang, a serious mistake by RS IMO. With 7 mil per year to spend, Sid and Geno could have elite wingers, and the bottom 6 are a lot better.

    They continue to lose in the same predictable way and more teams now employ the Book v Bylsma, who was extended by RS again a serious mistake IMO.

    That’s Reality not hyperbole.

  152. Sarah says:

    I think Nealer can be plenty tough when he wants to be, just not really his role as a finisher….points to the lack of a physical puck retriever on Genos line. Feds, Max, could get it done. Malkin felt good about dumping the puck and then looking for space.

    Now he just carries it, or dumps and then has to chase it himself. Of course he’s frustrated……

    Sid has the same sort of problem….comes with speed,looking for help and there’s no one who can convert his plays.

  153. May i simply suggest that pens haven’t looked as good with tanger out? Cant really find reliable way to see team record with certain players out. Eric, any suggestions?

  154. Brandie says:

    Then I am starting the campaign to Bring Back Max! Who’s With Me?

  155. Sarah says:

    I think they’re better with tanger out….I think he destabilizes the whole D with his unpredictability. They brought in Scuds to babysit him. After his mist recent return the were 1for 18 in the PP with himQBing, while giving up 2 shorties.

    No fan of Letang in case you didn’t notice LOL!

  156. Sarah says:

    Hah!! in loved max til he went to PHL!
    Unfortunately, Disco hates him.
    So as long as DB is here, it ain’t happening…….

    (Also he seemed to stabilize MAF, one more thing to think about….)

  157. Ok so the hamster on the wheel has been churnin and came up with following theory:

    If we can’t flip a samuelsson or dumoulin for anyone of use to help fill our glaring needs on a 1st place team then GMRS will seriously need to re-evaluate his drafting philosophies! I understand in theory that puck moving dmen are prized commodities but someone in the room needs to pound the table for an occasional forward.(really hope O’Reilly’s name came up in ought 9 when they drafted despres)

    Everyone loves depth but if you can’t flip anyone without including 1st-3rd round picks then at some point diminishing returns become a factor. Furthermore you get stuck in a self full-filling prophecy cuz you can always make the case that i dont wanna trade player x, y or z just in case player a, b or c goes down. And I’m totally on board with the theory that you can flip dmen for forwards HOWEVER if you can’t quite get what you need, someone in the room needs to know whats up with the forwards.

  158. Sarah says:

    So much depends on Tangers status I dunno what to say…..

  159. Even before it seemed like any trade would’ve revolved around despres and a 1st at minimum. Keep doing that and you end up signing late blooming college and junior prospects who may or may not be able to help you in the playoffs…oh wait…

  160. Sarah says:

    Hah…..well, I love their depth on D and hope they do not give up prospects…..but I guess that is why RS got them!!!

    Having said… many F drafts have we actually got contributing? Seriously?

    Do we need to fire some scouts??? We got nada development on the F side it seems…..

  161. cherokee23 says:


  162. Eric Bowser says:

    Team defense hasn’t been good. Too easy to play against and team speed is lacking. The Penguins like to control the puck and that helps cover up for some deficiencies both at forward and defense.

    When you have Letang and Martin out, your defensemen don’t win the battles to the puck in the corner forcing them to work harder and forwards to spend more time playing defense than needed. You also have guys like Orpik, Scuderi, Bortuzzo, and Engelland struggling to get the puck and move up to the skilled forwards. When you fail to make a simple stick to stick pass, it completely shuts this team down.

    Pens need to get more from Despres, Harrington, and Dumoulin (when he’s back from knee) until Martin and Letang return. And really big IF with Letang.

  163. Eric Bowser says:

    From 2006-2011, Shero has drafted 17 F and 14 D. Those forwards have scored a paltry 164 goals… I believe Staal scored 132 of those for the Pens and Canes.

    This franchise better wake up and change their philosophy about European players, about their need for goal scorers. If they don’t, 2020 will come and Crosby and Malkin will be on the downside of their careers without any support.

  164. How many forwards in top 3-4 rounds?

  165. JohninOshkosh says:

    Wisconsin beat Penn State at State College today 71-66 to improve to 24-5. The Badgers have won 7 in a row. Looking very solid heading into the BIG tournament next week in Indianapolis.

    Selection Sunday is two weeks from today.

  166. Sarah says:

    Eric – I’m not scouring this info the way you obviously are….is it poor scouting? Or scouting philosophy? They’ve obviously done very well on the D side….?

    You mention the attitude re Euro players ?……so that is limiting the scouting for Fs? …..

    All thoughts apprecd!

  167. Oshkosh b’Gosh,

    Congrats! There for a while I was fearing Badgers would not turn it around.

  168. Sarah says:

    Another topic Peeps…..Plan and I have both noted the presence of Jacques Martin…..does anyone think he’s really being utilized? If so, how?

    If memory serves ….early in the year it seemed the pens were committed to a L wing lock, which I guess we attributed to the presence of Martin….but that seems to be mostly fallen by the wayside…..

    Has anyone seen a clear impact lately? Or…..Is JM here for the year and then done?

  169. theplanisworking says:

    Martin seems to be pushed down, so to speak.
    You are correct, he helped implement a left-wing lock. Now, I really don’t know why he is even there, if they aren’t going to give him any responsibilities.

    Just another head-scratcher.
    One can only hope they re-integrate Coach M before the playoffs.

  170. Brandie says:

    Not sure why people have been brought in as window dressing lately in Penguin land. Really confused here.

    Good evening Boss…

    The Plan! The Plan! (Channeling Tattoo again.)

  171. theplanisworking says:

    Hi Muppet.
    Happy Sunday to you.
    Hope you are doing well.

    When I go past your area on the Turnpike this weekend, I will honk. :)

  172. Brandie says:

    Where are you headed to Plan?

  173. theplanisworking says:

    Moving to be closer to family.

    Don’t worry, plenty of Ponds to choose from.
    And, now I can get a Primanti’s when I crave one. :)

  174. Brandie says:

    Awesome. Lots of luck man!

  175. theplanisworking says:

    Thank You, Best Supporting Muppet in a Sports Blog. :)

  176. Brandie says:

    First of all, I would like to thank Dejan’s Lunatic Academy for providing worthwhile topics and lively threads to connect with others. Second, I would like to thank everyone who has been supportive of my meteoric rise to sports blog and typo fame…Hip Hop Hippo, Bowser Blast, Consol Smash, Revvie Baby, Jandelissima, TGI McJimster, Wisconsin’s Finest, Baystacks Calhoun, Damon Dash, Ghostavo, Groatmeal, Sarah Vokoun, Brother Scapper, Double K. Temptress 22,and the others who I will give nicknames to eventually. Without you, those Bison wouldn’t heave!
    (Walks off stage with a Platinum Plated Giant Eagle Shoppers Card while a Ronnie Iris song plays the outro.)

  177. Brandie says:

    Donnie Iris! Gotta do my jib. These typos are not going to write themselves ya know. :)

  178. theplanisworking says:

    Bravo, Muppet! (Golf claps).

    You may take that GE card to get your free cookie. :)

  179. Brandie says:

    Hopefully Heath Bar Crunch. Yummy!!!!

  180. Brandie says:

    RIP Porky Chedwick. 90 Years…What a life.

  181. Brandie says:

    Should be 96 years.

  182. theplanisworking says:

    Yeah, a Pittsburgh Legend.
    Plan Pushin’ Poppa.
    Errrrr……… Platter Pushin Poppa.

  183. Brandie says:

    Daddio of The Raddio..Pork The Tork…The Bossman. That was my momma’s happy music.

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