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Vacation thread 3-4-14

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.

Comments

  1. BJ says:

    Can we please acknowledge that Mr. Nutting is one of the worst owners in professional sports. Pirates will regress this year for the following reasons:
    1. Game they played with Burnett and salary failed miserably. If they attached a draft pick to him would he be a Philly?
    2. Where is the spending they “saved” on Burnett Byrd and others?
    3. Who will play 1st now that their platoon is over with Jones leaving?

    Ticket prices have increased as the streak was finally broken. In return we get a return to revenue sharing and higher profits for Mr. Nutting. They must really believe that a sucker is born every minute if they think that their off-season has gone unnoticed.

  2. JoeyBats says:

    PITT hoops team playing tighter and regressing as tournament time draws near…the WRONG time to be playing your worst ball. :-(

    Very disappointing performance AT HOME against the NC Wolfpack last night (a) 2 offensive rebounds the entire night ? (b) Lamar Patterson bad shooting night …4-12 from the field (c) …..where was Cam Wright….. 0 pts in 19 minutes?

  3. Well, at least the Pirates held off the Bosox 7-6 in exhibition ball yesterday although Edison Volquez was wild in one of his two innings pitched though not the other, but as for the Pitt Panthers blowing it last night at home, well, I would certainly hope they wouldn’t do that in their last season game at home on Saturday, although I think you can forget it as far as post season goes.

  4. And as for last night’s Pitt basketball game being the TJ Warren Show, especially in the second half, while Pitt had only two offensive rebounds, well, I’m just glad I dozed off during the second period so I didn’t get to see the unfolding debacle.

  5. JAL says:

    JAL’s Wish You Didn’t Have to Go Morning Links

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xu4OIGLF-fQ&feature=kp

    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: Five Big Stories to Watch From Minor League Camp

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/first-pitch-five-big-stories-to-watch-from-minor-league-camp.html

    The Four Hidden Wins the Pirates Are Getting From Their Catchers

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/the-four-hidden-wins-the-pirates-are-getting-from-their-catchers.html

    2013 Draft Picks JaCoby Jones, Adam Frazier, and Erich Weiss BP (Video)

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/2013-draft-picks-jacoby-jones-adam-frazier-and-erich-weiss-bp-video.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Dry Land: Reading info, summary, advance praise

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/3/3/5463358/dry-land

    7 Rumbunter

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Terrifying Times

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/03/03/pittsburgh-pirates-terrifying-times/

    Why Pittsburgh Pirates Payroll Is So Low, an Answer for Mark Madden.

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/03/03/pittsburgh-pirates-payroll-low-answer-mark-madden/

    8 Green Weenie

    3/3: Yaller Phelps, Debs Garms, Neal Heaton, Trent Jewett…

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2014/03/33-yaller-phelps-debs-garms-neal-heaton.html

    9 City of Champions

    Can The Pittsburgh Pirates Count On Jason Grilli For A Full Season?

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2014/03/03/can-pittsburgh-pirates-count-jason-grilli-full-season/

    10 Rant Sports

    Does Stolmy Pimentel Have A Shot to Crack Pittsburgh Pirates’ Starting Rotation?

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2014/03/03/does-stolmy-pimentel-have-a-shot-to-crack-pittsburgh-pirates-starting-rotation/
    Casey Sadler is a Sleeper to Grab 5th Spot of Pittsburgh Pirates’ Rotation

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2014/03/03/casey-sadler-is-a-sleeper-to-grab-5th-spot-of-pittsburgh-pirates-rotation/

  6. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Boston Herald

    Pedro Alvarez, Russell Martin homer as Pirates beat Red Sox 7-6

    http://bostonherald.com/sports/red_sox_mlb/boston_red_sox/2014/03/pedro_alvarez_russell_martin_homer_as_pirates_beat_red_sox

    12 Sarasota Herald-Tribune

    McGuiness working toward roster spot

    http://springtraining.heraldtribune.com/2014/03/03/mcguiness-working-toward-roster-spot/

    13 KDKA

    Tony Sanchez Talks Battling Criticism, Who The Pirates’ Next Cole/Taillon Is

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2014/03/03/tony-sanchez-talks-battling-criticism-who-the-pirates-next-coletaillon-is/

    Andrew Lambo: Pirates Giving Him A Chance ‘Instills A Lot Of Confidence’ In Him

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2014/03/03/andrew-lambo-pirates-giving-him-a-chance-instills-a-lot-of-confidence-in-him/

    14 Pirates Site

    Abundance of lefty relievers gives Bucs options

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article/pit/pirates-abundance-of-left-handed-relievers-gives-them-options?ymd=20140303&content_id=68614984

    15 MLB

    Brewers feel ready to rise up in challenging Central

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140303&content_id=68651486&vkey=perspectives&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

    16 Toronto Observer

    Colton Cain is living his dream

    http://torontoobserver.ca/2014/03/04/colton-cain-is-living-his-dream/

    17 Wilkes Barre Times Leader

    NL Central

    http://www.timesleader.com/news/baseball/1228519/NL-Central

    18 St. Louis Post Gazette

    Leyland will go to Hall of Fame for La Russa

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/leyland-will-go-to-hall-of-fame-for-la-russa/article_c3552711-b6df-5ce8-a4fb-549dbac44972.html

    19 Fangraphs

    Can Baseball Get By Without a Commissioner?.

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/can-baseball-get-by-without-a-commissioner/

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    Framing and Blocking Pitches: A Regressed, Probablistic Model

  7. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Jason Worilds Receives Transition Tag

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014/3/3/5467296/jason-worilds-receives-transition-tag

    Transition tag given to Jason Worilds all but cuts LaMarr Woodley

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014-steelers-free-agency/2014/3/3/5467478/jason-worilds-lamarr-woodley-steelers-outside-linebackers-contracts-depth-chart

    22 Steelers Depot

    Breaking Down Decision to Use Transition Tag on Worilds

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2014/03/breaking-down-the-steelers-decision-to-use-the-transition-tag-on-lb-jason-worilds/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Liverpool’s passing style leaves them vulnerable at the back

    http://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/football/liverpools-passing-style-leaves-vulnerable-back

    24 BBC Football

    Premier League: Garth Crooks’s Team of the Week

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/26411733

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Penguins trade rumors: Pens interested in Andrew MacDonald?

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2014/3/3/5467268/penguins-trade-rumors-pens-interested-in-andrew-macdonald

  8. DJ says:

    The Olympics seem a distant memory and totally insignificant now given what is happening in Ukraine.

  9. DJ says:

    I suspect the Steelers may be saving the franchise tag possibility for Ben.

    If they don’t have other options by the end of this year, I can see them being willing to pay him top dollar — the average of the top five salaries at the QB position — but not be willing to set or come very close to a new high water mark.

  10. AL says:

    Just read the article about what Shero is willing to give up for Kesler. Seems like a lot to give up for a third line center nearing the end of his prime. I would agree that the third line just hasn’t been the same since Staal left and I have no problem parting ways with Sutter and Despres but after giving up draft choices last year for now departed rental players, do we really want to give up two more early picks this year too? Can a team really survive with that big a hole in their draft class?

  11. DJ says:

    The picks leaving are troubling.

    If he leaves Pouliot out of the mix, I’ll be okay. Otherwise . . .

  12. Jandy says:

    Way too much to give up for one player…kesler.

    I don’t think that’s the entire trade, or it’s a messed up rumor.

  13. Jandy says:

    ++++

  14. DJ says:

    Hey, how about that Stoli Pimento martini?

    I recall NMR called this one last year — nice job. Could open some eyes.

  15. DJ says:

    Jandhi, the enlightened one:

    The fact that Rossi reports that Ray is willing to sweeten the deal is disconcerting. I have this feeling that I’m not going to like what I hear come tomorrow. Until then, I’ll try to keep the faith.

  16. Jandy says:

    This 2 game suspension for a hit that’s ridiculous is why the NHL remains a garage league:
    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/capitals-orlov-suspended-two-games-retaliatory-hit-brayden-221053490–nhl.html

    Disclaimer: I cannot stand Schenn, but this hit is pre-meditated and totally ridiculous. Orlov got a slap on the wrist. I can only imagine what would happen if Matt Cooke did this.

  17. Jandy says:

    You and me both, DJ, but tomorrow will bring answers. I’m hanging in there.

  18. Brandie says:

    Cooke would have been suspended so long and so hard his progrny’s progeny would have felt it!

  19. Brandie says:

    And there’s your typo..progeny.

  20. Jandy says:

    ZACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Top O’ the morning to ya sistah :)

  21. Dom says:

    Any word on the circumstances of Heath Millers restructed contract, yet?

  22. DJ says:

    Friggin’ Dupuis. It’s all his fault.

  23. Jandy says:

    LOL!

  24. theplanisworking says:

    How does getting Kessler help Sid’s wing?

    That would be my main point of emphasis….

  25. theplanisworking says:

    Little Miss Muppet, sat on her Tuppet,
    Eating her Curds and Weigh.
    Along came a Carp,
    And sat on her tarp
    and scared our Muppet away.

  26. Brandie says:

    Not lime knees need intact ligaments to hold them in place. I agree…Dupuis is Soffff! :)

  27. Brandie says:

    Like not lime.

  28. DJ says:

    Doesn’t, Plan.

    I think Ray is just assessing the situation and thinking if they cannot count on the bottom two lines for even the occasional contribution in the playoffs then we’ve got zero shot. Of course, this assumes Kesler can turn coal into diamonds with his linemates. Good luck with that.

    It’s shaping up as an ugly year end.

  29. Brandie says:

    Good Morning Jandalissima and Plantonio!

  30. DJ says:

    Yes, Brandie, instead of his superhuman offseason workout regimen he should have gone with a super-Duper-human workout regimen.

  31. Brandie says:

    Super-duper! I like it DJ Blogs n Stuff!

  32. Sarah says:

    I heard that Rossi tweeted whatever deal VAN got, he would beat it.
    That REALLY doesn’t sound like Ray.
    Maybe all mis-direction, who knows.

    But I’d rather get a couple of good players we can afford (Kulemin, Stewart….) than a very good player who doesn’t like W that we cannot afford.

  33. Brandie says:

    Ladies and Gentleman…The blogs own Limerick Laureate…Irwin’s own…our beloved…Plans n Nat!

  34. Jim S. says:

    Pitt … stinks. 12 pt lead blown at home to a very mediocre NCSU team. No effort on the boards. Just passing the ball around the perimeter and chucking it up with 5 seconds left on the clock. No attempt at an inside game. Nothing close to a go to scorer. Don’t belong in the tourney.

    Pens … We’ll see. If they make a panic move and give up way too much for Kesler I think you have to question the direction of the team. They are not a Kesler away from winning a Cup, IMO.

    Steelers … Feels like it will get worse before it gets better. And, it’s already not very good.

    Pirates … Just getting going this year. I don’t see Carp in black and gold.

  35. theplanisworking says:

    Plans n at.
    HA!!!

    Hope you are doing well.
    I have no idea why I made you a nursery rhyme.
    None at all.

  36. Sarah says:

    Morning all!

    Y’know what’s REALLY sad is the awfulness of the bottom 6 is actually having me MISS guys like Cooke and Kennedy…..

    Oy!

  37. Jandy says:

    Sounds like a lot of baloney to me ;)

  38. Brandie says:

    Have to deal with the now and the future at the same time. Could be delicate and messy at the same time.

  39. +++ on stewart

    Rossi sayin kesler, zidlicky and hemsky top trade targets…careful makin your way thru the smoke…

  40. Sarah says:

    I guess they are thinking Kesler could play on Sid’s W if needed…..but he doesn’t like W.

    He has gotten lots of his points on PP….which sounds like he would supplant Kunitz on 1st PP….

    But yes, if we go back to the 3-C model….Sid remains RW-less….

  41. Jandy says:

    Happy fackin cold Tuesday, Brandissima!

    Plans n at, how are you this fine cold morning?

  42. Jandy says:

    I’ve missed Cookie since the first day he was traded…

  43. Brandie says:

    Sarah missing Cookie Monster and Pig Nose?!

    Yikes!

  44. DJ says:

    . . . plus they avoid the huge bonus money commitment. Instead, Ben gets paid as he plays each year.

  45. Shero wants to drive the price up for philly…rossi must not mind being strung along…

  46. Jandy says:

    Pig nose! LMAO!

  47. Brandie says:

    For a great deal on Arena Ice making equipment and a bag of practice pucks. I agree. This has not worked out too well. :(

  48. theplanisworking says:

    I hate to Carp on you, Jim, but you are correct about Pitt.
    Just awful to see them in the second half last night.

    Kessler coming here……. not a fan.
    But, the next 2 days should be interesting.

    BTW, have you heard more about Gaby’s injury?
    Is that the same leg he hurt in 2011?

  49. Brandie says:

    You know what they say…where there’s smoke, there’s lots of coughing!

  50. DJ says:

    This is what happens when you sign a D-man to a 7+ mill / yr contract. Not enough cash to round out the roster.

  51. Have no fear sarah, hockeymonster here…cookie? :)

  52. theplanisworking says:

    I guess it’s better than pig’s feet………

    I still say things changed when Max left.
    Team hasn’t had that same attitude since.

    Not pushing Talbot for any Hart trophies, but he was the team’s soul.

  53. theplanisworking says:

    Or a burnt steak……..

  54. Jandy says:

    that doesn’t kick in until NEXT season, DJ

  55. Jandy says:

    :tosses HM a Scooby snack:

  56. Sarah says:

    Yeah I miss Cooke too Jandy…..just that I got to feel his antics disrupt the team so he kinda wore out his welcome w me…..could be totally wrong on that.

  57. mmm…blackened steak..yummy…a lil creole, basil n garlic…magnafic(french accent)

  58. Jandy says:

    Cookie cleaned up his act,….for well over 2 seasons….not like he was traded when he was so notorious.

  59. Brandie says:

    Like I said Sunday…Max had the original STFD STFU moment with his Shhhh! The closest the Pens have come to that wad the Aaron Asham night night moment after some ridiculous fight I think two seasons ago. Asham is gone too.

  60. Jandy says:

    LOL Ok who made the Monster hungry? Feed him!

  61. DJ says:

    That was my thought as well, HM. Philly tendered a contract to Kesler a few years back, right?

    Where have all the Reply buttons gone?

  62. Brandie says:

    Be careful with what is in those Scooby snacks. They had the dog talking! The dog talked. Feed those to Hockey Trekking and he will be thinking he can play top 6 or run the team or something to that affect.

  63. DJ says:

    I know, but Cooke wasn’t going to take a one-year contract.

  64. JAL says:

    Ben still has two years on his current contract so no need to tag him yet

  65. theplanisworking says:

    Throws monster a burnt steak……. and a Carp…. ;)

  66. Sarah says:

    Absolutely true. I always felt Mario wanted him gone….could be wrong on that too!

  67. Brandie says:

    Looks like TGI McJimster could use a hug. (Sends a hug).

  68. Jim S. says:

    Plan:

    The word on Gaby, from everything I’ve read, is that he tweaked it. He was back taking BP yesterday, and they say there is no structural damage. Now, how quickly he can get back on the field for games I guess we’ll have to see. But, they don’t think it is a long term thing.

    Kesler for Sutter, Depres or Dumoulin, + a 1st & 3rd rd. pick? Wow! Let Chicago or Philly give away their farm system. It might put Chicago over the top. It might set Philly back again, and that is always good.

    Pitt simply does not have any offensive talent. We’ve said it all year. They have zero presence inside, and last night they didn’t even try to work the ball inside.

    – Newkirk tried to be the spark last night. I’ll give him credit for that. He might turn into something.

    – I have liked Robinson, but he only works if there are a couple of legit scorers because he is not going to beat anyone off the dribble. He is not getting any better right now. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, but he is so passive and athletically limited.

    – I am not very impressed with Artis or Young. They show flashes, but nothing consistent. More typical “they’ll be pretty good by senior year” Pitt role players. More Zannas in the making.

    – Cam Wright can’t shoot.

    We’ve all said it a million times. You can’t win in March just on toughness, character and over-achieving alone. Their whole team is based on those things. They really need to sprinkle in more talent. From what I can tell, that is the plan in the future. We’ll see if Jamie can coach talent if he has it.

  69. Come on brandie, thats just silly….

    Or is it? :pinky to side of mouth:

  70. Jim S. says:

    Thanks, Brandie. I’m a little down about what Pitt and the Pens have shown lately. But, I’m fine.

    I went back and read all your “fish” puns from yesterday. Very funny! Then, I went for a workout to build up my mussels. :-)

  71. AL says:

    ya know, sitting here thinking I wouldn’t want Shero’s job. He can’t worry about mortgaging the future because the future is now. He feels he MUST make moves because Crosby and Malkin aren’t getting any younger. I only hope that after making moves the past few years that didn’t result in a cup that he doesn’t turn into a panic buyer like what we’re hearing rumors of now.

  72. :puttin on my bib:

  73. Jim S. says:

    I think they just got tired of being connected to the guy. Guilt by association. You can’t really complain about other teams’ dirty tactics and say you want the game cleaned up if you have a serial offender in your midst. He really did clean up his act, but no one on other teams or the national media would even allow for that possibility while he was here.

  74. Steve says:

    Jim,

    Dixon is often criticized for preaching defense and rebounding over offense. If ever there was an argument to be made in his favor, last night was it. Pitt simply couldn’t defend. Warren beat them every way possible and when they focused on him, it only opened things up for someone else. Don’t think Pitt had any second chance points and as you know they were dominated on the glass. What’s really perplexing is they built a 13 point first half lead and appeared to be on the verge of blowing NC State out of the gym.

    They have regressed as the season has gone on. Injured hand or not, Patterson’s shooting touch is off and I think he was 50% from the free throw line when it mattered most. Wright’s poor performance last night was the most stunning. I think Young and Artis will be OK. They are freshmen. Ideally both would be subbing in for a few minutes each game and getting valuable experience. Probably playing moe minutes than Dixon would prefer.

  75. DJ says:

    Right, JAL. But if they went franchise tag on Worilds they would not have that card to play in the future with Ben. I don’t believe they want to use the franchise tag on Worilds for multiple years because it would just be prolonging the inevitable at getting a permanent solution at one OLB position. I’m also certain Worilds is going to be looking for a lot of up front bonus money that the Steelers are probably unwilling to pay at this point, with only a half season of solid production.

    As it stands, the Steelers may believe this scenario gives them the greatest flexibility.

  76. Ya i hope we dont trade for kesler, but if philly gives up a similar package plus a sweetener than mission accomplished.

  77. theplanisworking says:

    These puns are getting a-tripe-shess………

  78. Jandy says:

    LOL Brandissima!

  79. theplanisworking says:

    Pitt has regressed this year.
    Gone are the 14-1 team.
    The NCAA committee looks at stuff like that.

    That is what makes me so sad……… they are unravelling before our eyes……..

  80. Brandie says:

    I think I may have missed my comedy calling.

  81. Brandie says:

    Someone better snapper you up Plan!

  82. theplanisworking says:

    I think you jumped the shark, Brandimal.

  83. theplanisworking says:

    It would be a whale of a career change. :)

  84. Brandie says:

    Tablet does not like Gremlin. Changed to Trekking. Not even friggin close!

  85. bpn8pitt says:

    5th or 6th place in the ACC is not terrible. Could have been much worse after losing Adams and Durand Johnson mid-season.

    I had them pegged for much worse honestly. Frustrated by the same results though.

  86. Brandie says:

    Holy Mackerel. I may have Plance Parrish!

  87. Sarah says:

    Peeps, I am clueless about college BB….but how much of our early hopes for Pitt were because of a soft early sched?

    Are they really regressing, or settling back into the norm of a more representative schedule???

  88. Jim S. says:

    Great points, Steve. Their defense was terrible. We could go on an on about them. I don’t think the guards defend man-on-man well at all. They don’t get low consistently and concentrate on keeping their man in front of them.

    Patterson’s free throw shooting is spotty. He took some really bad, lazy ouside shots last night.

    I agree that Artis and Young will be ok. But, “ok” is getting old. It ends your season at the round of 32. Neither of them will be an impact player IMO.

    I think Jamie is a good coach, and he has taken this program to new heights. But, it looks as though he doesn’t know how to get it to the next level.

    Is it so much to ask for them to recruit at least one explosive player? They should have a couple. But, they never even have one.

  89. Jim S. says:

    It’s a good question, Sarah. They did not play much of a pre-conference schedule, and when they beat up on those teams and played a fast paced style, maybe it fooled us into thinking there was more there than there actually is.

  90. bpn8pitt says:

    All I keep seeing is that they were able to lower that 9.5 figure.

    It seems as if a lot of the local beat writers think Ike Taylor is done, depending upon what happens with Worilds.

    Personally I think Worilds is going to get a tremendous offer elsewhere and they may try to rework Woodley instead of just cutting him. Not saying I want Woodley back. Just hard to envision a scenario without both, considering the lack of depth at LB.

    Their first pick has to be on the defensive side of the ball. Way too many needs.

  91. Damon says:

    Had a quick chance to pop in here, and here is what Rossi is saying on his blog about who the Pens are chasing right now:

    http://blog.triblive.com/chipped-ice/2014/03/04/rossi-sheros-top-3-targets-are/#axzz2v09RBqOa

    Rossi also said they may be interested in MacDonald from the Isles….

  92. Brandie says:

    Could it also be that settling back to the norm magnifies what Pitt is missing, especially with Durand Johnson being injured?

  93. 21sthebest says:

    Speak for yourself Jim. :-)

  94. Jandy says:

    Again, way too much for Kesler

  95. Damon says:

    I agree….he could make other less-expensive moves that could help just as much. I think he is stuck on wanting that guy like he was with Iginla last year. It looks like once again the Pens will have no top draft pick next year, but I guess that is what it will cost to make the team a Cup contender in his mind.

    I still trust him though. Shero maybe looking at Kesler’s saltiness as a necessity to shake up the dressing room too. A player of his caliber should garner attention in the dressing room, but then again that is why they brought Iginla and Morrow in last year…..

  96. Brandie says:

    While I am all for saltiness, I sm concerned that Shero is only taking certain qualities into consideration and not looking at the whole picture. This may also be because the Pens, being so solid, have not had to do much contingency planning.

  97. Jandy says:

    This one’s for the dogs, Seavey’s in it again…

  98. bpn8pitt says:

    Sarah, my concern is, what happens moving forward? Most people had the ACC as being down this year. Hell, Virgina won the conference and that hadnt happened since Ralph Sampson.

  99. 21sthebest says:

    Now Brandie, THAT was funny! ;-)

  100. JoeyBats says:

    So disappointed in PITT hoops……I’ve heard them called …”the Kings of December” for obvious reasons.

    Another dig at them…think I heard this one on 93.7FM the other morning >>>> “PITT misses more bunnies than Elmer Fuddd” . Unfortunately…..oh, so true! :-(

    Hopefully Coach Jamie can turn this trainwreck around………

  101. Brandie says:

    Thank you Forever 21 (takes a curtsy) . :)

  102. Arriba Wilver says:

    Hard to say. At least for me, I wasn’t expecting much and thought the ACC transition might be tough. But once they got into the conference schedule they were doing better than most anticipated. But even some of their recent wins have been ugly. Even with all that, last night was their first “bad loss,” which I understand the Committee looks at. What’s really surprising is their record at the Pete.

  103. Jim S. says:

    For all those Penguins fans who get concerned about the future when risky deadline deals are made and future players, draft picks, etc. are lost …

    Let me tell you about a condition I suffer from. It mostly affects me during July of baseball season. But, it carries over to the Penguins as well. The clinical term for this condition is Prospect Horde-A-Phobia.

    There is help out there. It starts with admitting your problem. It may be as simple as saying, “Hi, I’m Jim, and I am a Prospect Horde-a-Phobiac. I just know if we keep giving away young prospects and first round draft picks, our team is going to stink in a few years. Our GM and Coach will be working for some other organization, and we fans will be stuck with the mess.”

    :-)

  104. Damon says:

    Shero’s got a tough job with that though – there isn’t a clear cut answer to getting the Pens back to the Cup finals. I think they may see the room is getting a little stale, and Shero sees Kesler as the best fit for that good 3rd line center + saltiness combination. It’s a chance to help the bottom 6 and add a character.

    I think he actually is looking at the whole picture, but may be willing to give up too much to get a piece to the puzzle. Management seems to be getting very desperate….

  105. Saw that…but i read your mind brandicita :)

  106. Damon says:

    Good point Jim. It’s hard to part with potential and get burned in the end (Marcus Naslund anyone?).

    How did your party on Saturday go – any issues?

  107. Brandie says:

    There are support blogs for this condition. Remember our motto…one trade at a time. (Disclaimer … This Muppet is NOT making fun of AA NA lot any of those fine organizations that help folks stay straight and sane each day).

  108. Jim, you hear about Crawfords pads? Hilarious! Only in chicago…then he cracks a joke bout johnny’s and how he’ll see his pads on the ice before hawks practice….ahhh the good ol’ days…when i was 20 pounds lighter….

  109. Jim S. says:

    No issues, Damon. Just some ribbing. Would have been nice had the Pens … you know … shown up and tried.

  110. Jim S. says:

    I did see that, monster. The case of the purloined pads.

  111. Jim S. says:

    Exactly! I mean, this isn’t Mike Carp we’re talking about. :-)

  112. Brandie says:

    Where is Scooby Doo and the gang tor this one?

  113. If he thinks someone from johnny’s did, I may have a list of suspects for him to investigate :)

  114. pattonbb says:

    Ian Kinsler is my new favorite non-Bucco ballplayer.

  115. Brandie says:

    Guess it does get a little harder when the talent pool is quite murky.

  116. Brandie says:

    Why and what will it take to sign him?

  117. pattonbb says:

    He said he hopes the Texas Rangers go 0-162 this year, and called their GM a sleazeball. I agree with him on both.

  118. Damon says:

    Couple thoughts on Kesler though – from bits I’ve heard here and there on the radio:
    1. One Vancouver writer was saying when the Canucks were in the finals against Boston a few years ago, Kesler stole the playoff series against Nashville almost single handedly. Sounds like someone who could add that extra factor like Staal used to.
    2. Several writers have said Kesler is a better player than Staal, so he would make the 3-center model even better.
    3. Kesler would be facing 3rd or 2nd D-pairings all the time, so his offense could prosper even more than it does with Vancouver.
    4. Glass-Kesler-Bennett doesn’t sound too bad actually….

  119. Jim S. says:

    He clearly has some issues with Texas, and especially Jon Daniels. A lot of venom being spewed.

  120. Brandie says:

    All right. That takes grit! Could the Pens use him?

  121. tdb1977 says:

    Not sure how many follow auto racing – but Kurt Busch (NASCAR) has announced he is running the double this year, the Indy 500 (IRL) and the Coke Cola 600 (NASCAR). He will be the 4th to make the run attempt on the same day. Indy is ran at Noon and the Coke 600 is ran at 6PM. Going to attempt to run the 1100 miles in two different disciplines.

  122. bpn8pitt says:

    Hockey is not strongpoint for me but…

    Considering what they would have to give up for Kesler, Id much rather use those resources to find a decent right winger for Sids line, and good two way forward to put on the third line. Maybe even another blue liner. None of those guys have to be superstars or even great.

    Heck, a Doug Murray type or younger Craig Adams would work for me on the defensive side. Not sure whats out there RW.

    If they do swing Kesler I hope the price is right, and he isnt the only addition.

  123. 21sthebest says:

    Just to be clear, I am not related to Roberto Forever.

  124. Jim S. says:

    Your Avatar is.

  125. theplanisworking says:

    The only problem I have with a new 3 center model is this………………

    You would have 3 good/great centers, and only Neal as a quality winger.
    That isn’t a recipe for success……….

  126. I trust that you all have heard about the proposed change by the NFL concerning extra points: putting the ball on the 25 yard line and kicking it 43 yards. Apparently, there isn’t much support for that right now although NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says that eventually, they may well come up with a new scoring system.

  127. theplanisworking says:

    Much wisdom here.

    I think Kesler would be window dressing, and wouldn’t address the winger for Sid.

  128. Jim S. says:

    See ya, Ike. Base salary of $7 million, cap figure of $12 million due to restructuring last 2 years. $5 million dead.

  129. NBA Team owner Mark Cuban, a native of Pittsburgh, says that the Developmental League would be better for NBA prospects than one year of college although most student prospects have been discouraged from participating in that so far due to low salaries and low crowds.

  130. Brandie says:

    I was not implying any relation 21 and Dangerous To Know!

  131. Jim S. says:

    Maybe we can get Kinsler and Kesler.

  132. Damon says:

    Kunitz has 27 goals and 55 points, so I’d include him as well. When the won the Cup, Sid had Guerin and Kunitz on his wings, Geno had Fedotenko and Talbot/Sykora. Jokinen-Malkin-Neal is much better than Geno’s Cup line, Sid’s line is better because Kunitz is a better player now. Rumor also has it that the Pens are in on Hemsky to play on Sid’s RW. Plus if the Kesler trade goes as rumored the third line would be Glass-Kesler-Bennett/Gibbons which isn’t bad and is comparable to Cooke-Staal-Kennedy.

  133. Sarah says:

    yeah are we really convinced the 3-C is the way to go?
    Esp as it seems to mean 0-Ws!!!

  134. theplanisworking says:

    Maybe.

    I just don’t see Kessler as the answer.
    Especially if the Pens have to give up an Igllo worth in return.

  135. Sarah says:

    And as good as Neal and Kunitz are reg season, they have been not so good in playoffs (esp Neal who had a ridiculous long no-score streak IIRC)….

  136. theplanisworking says:

    Yeah, Frank said we have all that TV money available………….

    never mind. ;)

  137. theplanisworking says:

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

  138. theplanisworking says:

    You are on a fresh baked roll this morning !!

    Much wisdom coming from your over-sized goalie pads today.

  139. Sarah says:

    Out of curiosity…..what draft picks/developed players on FORWARD are actually in the starting line-up now?
    Anyone?
    Beuller?

    Is the only one BB? And he’s on the shelf…..

  140. Sarah says:

    I tend to think this year is pretty much pooched. So much depends on Letang’s status which will be unclear for awhile.

    I’d hate to give up prospects, picks, or even Sutter for another Rental.

    When we know more about Letang, we’ll know more what we can do long term.

    With an elite W for Crosby and a Max Talbot/Fed/I-hope-Kulemin type guy for Geno…..much of the bottom 6 looks a whole lot brighter by osmosis.

    But that isn’t happening this playoffs, and I would hate if we mortgaged more Future for a Now that probably won’t happen this year.

    Am I a Debbie Downer????

  141. Milo Hamilton says:

    I agree with Mr. Kinsler 100%. I think I may have even played the 0-162 card.

  142. theplanisworking says:

    I was thinking the same thing.

    Maybe the pens just sit tight this year, and see how far they can go. With all the injuries, just wait til the offseason……… you can see how the injured players progress, you see what your needs are, then do something when the cap number goes up.

    Yes, I also don’t want to give up much for a rental.
    Maybe punt this year, to address future years.

  143. theplanisworking says:

    Eric has been on Shero for the lack of quality forwards for 2 years now.

  144. JohnS says:

    Who is this Bennett of which you speak?

  145. pattonbb says:

    I loved the “sleazeball” quote.

  146. Jim S. says:

    And even on those rare occasions when he’s not on the shelf, he’s not zactly setting the world on fire.

  147. Jim S. says:

    No. I’d be inclined to take my chances with what they already have if the only way to improve is to pay through the nose.

  148. theplanisworking says:

    I think that Christmas cards are off the table this year…..

  149. Milo Hamilton says:

    Only 64 times in NBA history has someone scored 60 or more points in a game. Wilt Chamberlain had 32 of those.

  150. Milo Hamilton says:

    The next highest – Michael Jordan & Kobe Bryant with 5.

  151. bpn8pitt says:

    You know, James, I think that would hurt the Steelers significantly, in Heinz Field at least.

    Although, on the radio this morning, there were many opinions that it would increase teams going for 2.

  152. Andrew says:

    Pitt’s main issue is lack of depth, their 5th, 6th, 7th, guys in minutes are all freshmen. Whether it is a sound strategy or not Pitt rarely has freshmen who are anywhere near finished products. I think Pitt is feeling the effects of the transfer of Khem Birch and Steve Adams jump to the NBA. Combine that with Johnson injury and Jim is right they have very little in the front court.

    I am not sure if it is that lack of depth or a deficit of good on ball defenders but Pitt has played more 2-3 this year than I ever remember. Last night because of front line foul trouble they were in zone a lot and Warren just killed them as he showed an ability to hit outside shots, something that his shooting percentage and shooting form would not suggest.

    I think it is just a down year, Dixon’s best teams had multiple seniors and depth, something the 2014 team lacks.

  153. bpn8pitt says:

    Its a mess, aint it Jim?

    Down the road, they still have to come with money for Ben, Pouncey and Heyward. I know the cap is going up in the next few years, reportedly anyway. Im just getting sick of the restructuring. Heck, Romo and Flacco have already redone deals they signed less than a year ago. Like the NBA’s system, I dont think im every going to fully understand it.

  154. Damon says:

    No, and I can see how you or others can feel the way you do. I just think the Pens were a dominate team a couple months ago without Letang and Martin in the line up, and still have the same players now. They have a month or so to get back into that rhythm, and a few pieces here and there could help give them a breath of fresh air. Is Kesler the answer? I stated above I think it is too much to pay for him, but the three center model did work before and has its pluses and minuses. My statement you’ve responded to is trying to see the possible positive sides of getting Kesler, which in my opinion could work.

  155. Sarah says:

    LOL!!!

    Where have you gone, Beau DiMaggio……???

  156. Sarah says:

    Yup…and you worry about wrist injuries. Tricky, and take forever to heal….

  157. theplanisworking says:

    This is why I still say Wilt was the greatest player of all time.
    He set so many records, both offensively and defensively.
    He led the league in scoring AND assists and rebounds, and blocks!
    They widened the lane because of him. Only one other time was that done………… for George Mikan.

    For those who say Jordan was the greatest, the rules were changed in his favor multiple times. With Wilt, they were changed against him.

    Plus, just think about the 3-point line. Jordan’s numbers would have gone down.

  158. Jim S. says:

    It doesn’t look pretty to me, bpn. We lose key players, and we never sign anyone else’s key players. We are an injured QB away from winning about 3 games next year, if you ask me.

    Hopefully, we’ll have a great draft.

  159. Andrew says:

    I agree with the forming consensus on Kesler, not only is the price too high, but he brings a $5 million cap hit for the next two seasons, which then severely limits the ability to upgrade the bottom six. Something needs to be down to address the wing quality of the bottom six, Sutter is not the issue. If Kesler is brought to play on 1st line’s wing, this further exacerbates the depth problem.

  160. Milo Hamilton says:

    Worilds has signed his tender. The 2 sides are working toward a long term extension that will significantly lower that cap hit.

  161. Milo Hamilton says:

    +100

  162. Damon says:

    All this Kesler talk is probably moot since it seems the Flyers are hell bent on overpaying again:

    http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2014/03/04/report-flyers-table-substantial-offer-for-kesler-also-inquiring-about-edler/

  163. JohninOshkosh says:

    I agree with you, Plan. But I never saw Wilt play in person.

    I have seen Magic, LeBron, Kobe, Jordan and Bird play in person. Of those, I would say James is the best. Sort of a combination of Magic’ s all around abilities and Jordan’s athleticism and defensive play.

    NBA talk?! Dejan must be on vacay!

  164. Milo Hamilton says:

    Chuck Kobasew has cleared waivers. In other news, the sun will set this evening.

  165. Jim S. says:

    Don’t old timers usually counter that Russell was better because of all the rings, plan? Seems like he had a whole lot more talent to help him than Wilt ever did. I always preferred Wilt, but I didn’t see either of them, except in clips. I think I saw a wee bit of Wilt’s last season or two with LA. He definitely changed the game more than Russell ever did.

    I don’t know that I would automatically agree Wilt was better than Jordan. I saw an awful lot of games, playoff and regular season, where Jordan just flat took over and won them because not only was he better than everyone else, but he just didn’t accept losing. I’m talking about games against Drexler, Barkley, Stockton/Malone, Ewing, Isiah – everybody.

    But, it’s a fair argument. Wilt revolutionized the game. First dominant big man.

  166. Jandy says:

    Amen

  167. theplanisworking says:

    :D

  168. Jandy says:

    insanity

  169. I think the Pyatt experiment has concluded as well.

  170. theplanisworking says:

    Russell had a much better supporting cast.
    Wilt was basically an island. But, when a player overcomes rules changes against him, and still dominates, that says something. And, when Wilt and Russell went head to head, it wasnt close.

    Jordan would be in my top 5. But with the 3 point shot, and various defensive rules changes, they all benefited him immensely.

    But that is half the fun about discussing different eras.

    BTW, my top 5 of all-time……

    1) Wilt
    2) Russell
    3) Jordan
    4) Robertson
    5) Johnson/Jabbar. (tie)

    LeBron will make it when he retires.

  171. Jim S. says:

    Maybe I’m just getting panicky since they played poorly the game right before the Olympics, then lost Martin in the Olympics, and now have not looked good since coming back. We are suddenly pretty easy to score on.

  172. theplanisworking says:

    Set, or drop? ;)

  173. Jim S. says:

    Sometimes I wonder if they’d be better off now not being married to the 3-4. It has become harder to find LBs with other teams vying for the same small universe of guys. So, now a guy like Worilds, who didn’t seem to do much until the 2nd half of this year, is suddenly going to command a huge contract. I hope they are right about him.

  174. Jim S. says:

    I was going to ask where you would put Jabbar as well. I think that is a good list. We could all move the names around a little, but the usual suspects are there. Magic would also be knocking on the door, for me. LeBron is headed in that direction, for sure. And, Kobe is there if we go to a Top 10.

    And, “Send it in, Jerrome” Lane, of course. Ok, maybe not him. :-)

  175. Jandy says:

    drop

  176. theplanisworking says:

    Magic is there Jim, with Jabbar.

    Bill Raftery lives !!!!! ;)

  177. theplanisworking says:

    Hiya Nun!

    Hope all is well with you.

  178. Jandy says:

    it’s ok I guess. Tryin to read and keep up with the crazy pace here at work lol.

  179. theplanisworking says:

    Well, I am going to let you police the blog, lol.
    See you on the dark side…………. err I mean Pens thread. ;)

  180. Jandy says:

    I’m a Nun, not cop, I detest cops! :P

  181. theplanisworking says:

    Send Jandy a jelly donut til tonight……… :)

  182. Dom says:

    On second thought, I think it would have been better had the Steelers have franchised Worilds. It only would have cost two million more and it would require a team to part with two first round picks to obtain him. I thought it was going to cost a lot more than two million to franchise him.

  183. theplanisworking says:

    This why I questioned this yesterday.
    But, it is all moot now that he signed.

  184. Jandy says:

    LOL :P :P :P

  185. Dom says:

    You called it yesterday. I had no idea he signed.

  186. theplanisworking says:

    I am a blind squirrel, Dom. ;)

  187. Dom says:

    Anyone else think it was a tad foolish of him to sign the tag? I don’t know why he didn’t wait for free agency to begin.

  188. Dom says:

    Anyone else feel for Ivan the great corner if he is cut? I know the Steelers aren’t breaking any rules but it doesn’t seem fair for us to offer Ike a contract and back out of it at the very end.

  189. Jim S. says:

    Wouldn’t a team have to have a screw loose to give up 2 1st rounders for Jason Worilds, Dom?

  190. Jim S. says:

    Better move the pitchforks and tiki torches to the front of your display space, plan!

  191. Jim S. says:

    I love Raftery. Give me him over Dickie V any day.

  192. Jim S. says:

    32 actually seems low for Wilt. He averaged 50 & change/game one year and almost 45/game another year.

  193. Dom says:

    They sure would.

  194. Dom says:

    Is there a rumor out that Ike has been released? If so, where is that from? I can’t find it online.

  195. Jim S. says:

    All I have seen is the Kaboly story, with speculation from Ike that teams usually find a way to dump guys in his situation.

  196. NMR says:

    I understand ESPN is in the business of entertainment and it can be difficult to tell what is dramatized and what is not, but this a truly pitiful picture painted of a broken man…

    http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/10542793/the-whistleblower-last-stand

  197. pattonbb says:

    Not yet, some expect him to be released before FA starts next week.

  198. Jim S. says:

    What is the track record for NHL players from CA?

  199. JohninOshkosh says:

    Powerful read NMR. Thanks for the link. Terrible, ancient and tragic story of what Power often wroughts.

  200. theplanisworking says:

    I’m on it, Jim !

  201. brandie says:

    Hurt me to read this. He is going to be raked in the WhistleBlower Trial. McQueary is a broken man looking to find his way in a world that will forever judge him for what he said or did not say. I wish Mike McQueary nothing but peace and good will.

  202. theplanisworking says:

    Read this earlier.

    Sad commentary on our society where a person who wants to do the right thing will be vilified. Most whistleblowers are.

  203. brandie says:

    Gives me a moment of pause…I have problems to be sure, but I will recover and come back stronger than ever. I can only hope the same for Mr. McQueary.

  204. theplanisworking says:

    I just pray for our society.
    We have a long way to go in many areas………

 
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