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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

‘Final Word’ on Pens, Worilds, more

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media


The joint venture between WPXI-TV and Trib Total Media continues Sunday night at 11:35 p.m. — right after the Channel 11 News — with the latest episode of The Subway Final Word.

>> Who’s on the panel: I’ll be joined by Chris Adamski, who covers Penn State and the Penguins for the Trib, and Mark Madden, top-rated radio host of 105.9 the X. The host will be WPXI-TV’s Bill Philllips.

>> What we’re talking about: The Penguins at the trade deadline, the Steelers’ plan for Jason Worilds and more.

>> How to participate: Each week, we also take comments from viewers through 20-second videos you submit on The Final Word’s Facebook page, as well as comments to The Final World’s Twitter account

>> Where to watch: In addition to the broadcast on WPXI-TV, we have WPXI’s live online stream for Pittsburgh’s many out-of-town sports fans, as well as video podcasts available on both outlets’ Web sites.

Here’s last week’s full episode.

Really hope to have you along, not only watching but also joining in!

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. Thundercrack says:

    ‘ The host will be WPXI-TV’s Bill Philllips. Oxenreiter.’

    Interesting. I guess it will be a surprise as to who the host will be.

  2. Hopefully, Johnny Majors will be okay after his hospitalization and emergency heart valve surgery. Right now, he’s said to be doing well enough.

  3. Anyhow, I’m glad to hear that the Steelers are cap compliant finally after restructuring Antonio Brown’s contract.

  4. Hopefully, Pitt can beat Clemson this afternoon and thus cinch 5th place in post season tournament play.

  5. Sarah says:

    JJ far better w Sutter.
    And Pyatt, much as he seems useless, is actually the mucker retriever that frees up Geno.
    Hope Stemp can develop some chemistry with Sid.

    Or will Bylsma be Bylsma?

  6. Wild Bill says:

    Sarah, seemed to me that the Pens overcame a lot last night. The Ducks are darned good. We played (did we?) the previous night. New faces in new places. Crosby and Malkin haven’t hit their stride since the Olympics.

    You have some good observations. It’s a work in progress; they have to figure out what they do best and how to maximize it. There’s games enough left to do that.

    Btw, you likely saw that the Ducks like stretch passes every bit as much as the Pens do. Flower was pretty good last night, and he had to be.

  7. Poz says:

    Strong performance by Fleury who kept the suddenly impotent offense in the game.

    It sure appears that teams are pressing the Pens in their own end trying to force turnovers. When they don’t turn it over, I’m surprised the Pens can’t take advantage of it with more scoring opportunities. But they know what they are doing.

    Most here are better at assessing a player. But I thought Despres had a solid game.

    Glad no work today. It was a late night/early morning watching it to the end – but the outcome made it worth every second.

  8. Jim S. says:

    I’m glad the Pens escaped with the much needed 2 points. It’s not easy to play the 2nd night in a row in the Pacific time zone, against elite competition, and come away with a win. But, this was a regular season win, with regular season rules (shootout) that don’t exist in the playoffs. The Pens excel in shootouts.

    I didn’t see the game, but it looked like we were outshot pretty badly again – at least through 2. Would we have won this game in the playoffs where it would have taken a goal in game action? Just wondering what others think who saw the game.

  9. Pens were stout on d. Bend dont break, and fleury was good. Few mistakes, mostly smart percentage plays. Overall they played how they need to for playoffs. Sid n sutter come thru at the end :)

  10. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, I watched the shootout replay. Sutter is good on that backhand on breakaways.

    A lot of people don’t like Sutter. He’s not perfect, but I’ll take him. And, I think he’s motivated now after being in the middle of a lot of trade talk that he knows might heat up again in the offseason. I am hoping we see his best hockey down the stretch and in the playoffs.

  11. DJ says:

    It’s clear you cannot pair Scuderi and Orpik together. Neither is quick enough to retrieve a puck at the end boards, turn to see where the outlet is, and then make the proper play.

    There was one play last eve where Brooks had about 10-12 feet on the forechecker bearing down on him on the end boards where I swear he swiped but did not even touch the puck — absolutely horrible.

    It’s no revelation that every other team now exploits this major shortcoming by dumping pucks deep and just pounding both of them, regardless of their partner pairings.

    This is the summer we need a major overhaul of our defense. For now, Depres needs to play every night — his Chicago game non-showing notwithstanding. Otherwise the message to the players is seniority trumps competence.

  12. DJ says:

    I really like Sutter. He has skills and great hockey sense.

    I would, however, like to see him transform his body this summer. Ray should give him Gary Roberts’ number and then pick up his food and lodging.

  13. DJ says:

    Every time I see Sid’s close-in moves in a SO I wonder why he rarely employs them on breakaways.

    Absolutely spectacular hands in tight.

  14. Dom says:

    The final word is the best sports talk show in town!

  15. Sutter was skating like hair was on fire too…dont see him dig in like that all the time. Hope he does it more often.

  16. Brandie says:

    Seems to me like a lot of individuals need to come out of their comfort zones and make necessary in game adjustments to sustain consistency to close out the regular season and head into the Playoffs.

    Seems like the team played better with the hungry WB-S Kids who were not complacent with their individual efforts but were playing solid responsible hockey to continue to earn their time at the big show.

    That said…good quality win when the team needed it the most.

  17. Dom says:

    That avatar is scary.

  18. Eric Bowser says:

    The Penguins just aren’t a well constructed team but they are in a bad conference so that should allow them to hopefully do some different things with their system, line combinations, defensive pairings, and keeping Fleury sharp and rested in preparation for the playoffs.

    Honestly don’t mind them trying different players with Crosby and Malkin. We can’t wait until the playoffs to see who can or cannot play with them. If your team needs a spark, then you should already know how to press those buttons.

    You can’t continue to pound your head against the wall like Bylsma has done for years. I hope some of those changes last night were result of conversations Bylsma had with Shero after last year’s disappointing performance against Boston and even more so because Jacque Martin has some influence.

    What I want to see next is a better 5-man approach to the break outs and tracking back into the defensive zone. The last two games, Ducks and Sharks were quite aggressive with their puck pressure to force turnovers by our defense. There needs to be a forward coming down low to support the defense, especially since Orpik and Scuderi look to have hit a wall and no longer moving as well.

  19. Brandie says:

    It’s just Animal playing the drums. I am thinking about switching to a different one. I found a rather gruesome picture of Tyler Kennedy all gashed and bloody as a Pen. Either that or one of Animal in disco gear.

  20. Brandie says:

    Would you say Bylsma’s issues with change are more a result of wanting to be the smartest guy in the room, complacency, or both? Does this become as Bylsma goes so do the Penguins?

  21. Eric Bowser says:

    What a great morning…. watch last 2 periods of last night’s game, then baseball skills video with my son to help him get caught up with his peers since he barely was able to play last year because of the health issues, then I ran for the 5K and now we’re watching Oshawa-Kingston on NHL Network.

    Guess we should do those required things like his science fair project… 2nd grade, his question to test “Why do fans believe in the Pirates front office?” – ok, not really.

  22. Eric Bowser says:

    Bylsma’s ego….. no doubt.

  23. Brandie says:

    HA! Take a sampling in that question from the biog archives and call it good.

  24. Well, you saw the difference last night when the Pens used Fleury against the Ducks as opposed to Thursday night when they used Zadkoff against the Sharks and the Sharks scored those 4 goals off him that beat them.

  25. Brandie says:

    While a certain amount of ego is necessary to run things, the question becomes will Captain Ego Hamstring the Pens in the Playoffs?

  26. I’d just like to take this moment right now to wish Pitt’s oldest living letterman: Bill Glassford a happy 100th birthday.

  27. Not much choice at times, James. Fleury can’t play every game although he had a long break, plus no Vokoun. You have to have a give-away game occasionally in sports like hockey and baseball where there are so many, and especially with such a great record.

    The tough thing about that game was the way they gave it away after opening up a nice lead.

    And I know very little about hockey, so this is all MHO.

  28. Biog typos in full force already today.

  29. chethejet1 says:

    Goalie was not the problem against the Sharks. He let in one bad goal. He played well. Bylsma will be the issue when the Pens are knocked out of the playoffs. But I have zero confidence in Mario as to seeing why this team has been deconstructed under Shero. Until that changes, either Fitzgerald is put in charge and the Pens bring in a coach like Babcock, the country club atmosphere that is the trademark of the franchise will continue to lose in the playoffs. Crosby will eventually throw in the towel or demand to be traded. Either one is an issue to be aware of.

  30. Brandie says:

    I know Revvie…on not in. Must practice better quality control.

  31. Brandie says:

    Scuse me while I kiss this guy! (I know what the real lyric is. I just happen to prefer the mondegreen or misheard one.) :)

  32. Brandie says:

    BTW Nice avatar.

  33. JohninOshkosh says:

    Big, big game for Pitt today.

    Really need Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna to take it up a notch today. Need that senior leadership to win at a tough venue.

  34. Thanks. I love American eagles and what they stand for, Brandimi Hendrix.

  35. DJ says:

    Can’t see Sid ever demanding a trade or being traded. Could see him having a few private conversations with Mario though.

    A solid RW would be an elixir.

  36. DJ says:

    True. A couple of nice takeaways from behind just by being physical.

  37. Sarah says:

    Thank you for mentioning the Emperor’s clothes!

  38. Sarah says:

    I thought Zat was fine. He got shelled and kept them in t he game. He’s a backup.
    He will make mistakes. When you allow 50 shots on goal the G isn’t the first place you look…..

    But the knuckles from Thornton should’ve been stopped. No question.

  39. Sarah says:

    I think Disco has finally worn Sid down…..he just has that F It look more now, as does Geno. Sad.

    Six years and RS has yet to focus on elite, matching Ws for 2 generational talents. Meanwhile let’s extend Adams and Duper, bring in Scuds while we still have Orpik, and oh yeah give Letang 7 mil. Gotta keep the Country Club family together…..

    Sid does not have it in his DNA to object publicly. On the ice I think we are seeing it tho……

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