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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Blues 1, Penguins 0

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to faceoff …

Game: Penguins (46-19-5) vs. St. Louis Blues (47-16-7)

Time: 1:08 p.m.

Site: Consol Energy Center

TV, radio: Root Sports, NHL Network (national), Fox Sports Midwest (St. Louis), 105.9 The X

Here’s the official live summary.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Penguins page and our Chipped Ice blog. Rob Rossi and Josh Yohe are on the scene for the Trib.

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. Rbilak says:

    A much better test to see where this team really is. Nice to see them beat Tampa but the a Blues play a style that HCDB has yet to be able to adjust to.

    1. Does Neal go on a streak now?
    2. Does MAF and th defense bounce back?
    3. What adjustments if ant does HCDB make vs the Blues?
    4. Would love to see more of Maatta on the point on powerplay, he is the anti-Letang at the point. Smooth, no panic, smart passes that do not lead to odd man rushes.
    5. Play down low vs Blues forwards key, Scuderi cannot let them deeper than he is and unchecked.

  2. d says:


    1. NO
    2. NO
    3. NONE
    4. So would I, but Disco Dani won’t do that because it makes too much sense and JMartin probably thought of it.
    5. Scuderi is turning out to be a HORRIFIC signing by THE GREAT, ALL IN ray shero

  3. NastyNate82 says:

    Off-track but both Glasnow and Taillon will miss the start of the season. Glasnow with back issues, Taillon with elbow discomfort. Gulp.

  4. Sarah says:

    3) what is this term “adjustment” you speak of?

  5. Aaron says:

    I would love to see Adams, Pyatt, and Engelland replaced for a long stretch by Megna, Zach Sill, and Bortuzzo respectively.

    Perhaps Bennet will actually stay healthy and replace Gibbons?

    No answer for the Scuderi mess at present.

    Today will be a great barometer game.

  6. Sarah says:

    What about Glass ? I’ve actually been OK with Engo on 4th line.
    I believe Gladams shouldn’t go near the starting lineup…..

  7. hockeymonster says:

    I just want to see 2 consecutive games of disciplined play for 60 minutes unlike yesterday where they thought nhl games are 58 minutes.

  8. hockeymonster says:

    Oh and I really hope the pens don’t plan on Ryan Reaves owning the ice like he did last time we played in stl. He’s still on my trade wish list for our 4th line but for today lets shut him up and sit him down.

  9. Aaron says:

    Glass? Eh…disco needs to do something and Sill and Megna bring some grit and speed respectively. Maybe Engelkand on the 4th, but not on D at the expense of Bortuzzo.

    A bottom six of Megna, Sutter, Goc, Sill, Glass/Engelland, Vitale mixed and matched in some form or fashion would be a nice experiment.

  10. Brandie says:

    So memo to Ryan Reaves…STFU AND STFD! Is that about right Monsterovsky?

  11. Sarah says:

    Agree that Sill Megna have done something to be on DB’s SL.
    So tired of him playing all these favorites.

  12. Sarah says:

    Are you holding your breath my dear ??

  13. Aaron says:

    Okay, so Adams is on the third line today.

    Gibbons – Sutter – Adams
    Glass – Goc – Engelland

    So instead of getting rid of gibbons, Adams, glass and Engelland we get all four, excellent.

  14. Jandy says:

    You tell ‘em Sistah!!!

  15. Jandy says:

    Why the hatin’ on Glass? I don’t get it,. The guy does nothing but play physical and gets minutes against the opponents’ top lines.

  16. Brandie says:

    I am good with Glass as long as he does not break like Glass. Good Sunday to you Ms. J.

  17. Jandy says:

    After the fun, busy day we had yesterday with Mischa I’m having a slow day today :)

  18. hockeymonster says:

    STL is in shooting lanes even before we’re ready to shoot ready to block shots. We’re gonna need to run some ‘side of net’ plays and re-directs in high slot. Just counting on getting pucks to the point for shots won’t really work. Kuni needs to scoot up from net and get in position for high slot tip and sid needs to get to side of net for those re-directs he likes. Same goes Jussi and geno and everyone else. And that play where forward moves up to center point that worked for stempty’s tip the other night would help too.

  19. hockeymonster says:

    Indeed Brandiskaya! How you doing this fine funday?

  20. Aaron says:

    Not hating on glass….see my comment above. I would like to see Megna and Sill in the lineup instead of Adams and Pyatt. Engelland on the fourth is fine, but I hate seeing Bortuzzo benched because of Engelland which is not the case today.

    Glass getting the nod over Pyatt is fine with me, but I’m not a huge fan of Gibbons. I just don’t understand what Dan has against Megna and Sill.

  21. Brandie says:

    Hopeful. I have not felt that way in a long time. :)

  22. Andrew says:

    Have to capitalize on the man advantage, Blues are not going to give you much even strength.

  23. Brandie says:

    Bless you. Do not get too riled up at the Penguins.

  24. Sarah says:

    He’s slow and brings nothing offensively.

  25. Jandy says:

    I better not, I have to go to the grocery store when the game is over. If Iget too riled up, I’ll ram my cart into someone ;)

  26. Sarah says:

    File under, Bylsma, personnel management.

  27. Barb says:

    Good afternoon all. Okay let’s see if we can score on a 5 on 3 at the start of the 2nd period.

  28. Jandy says:

    Agreed on Sill and Megna. Sill is pretty physical as well. Megna has some nice skill. I’d like to see more of them

  29. hockeymonster says:

    This 5 on 3 is the game. STL will get calls later, gotta get the lead now.

  30. Jandy says:


  31. hockeymonster says:

    Turning purple :)

  32. hockeymonster says:

    And when stl loses possession on ozone they’re doing a good job of not letting us gain the red line for dump ins. Would like to see weak side dman step up to be an outlet when we’re looking to carry the puck out.

  33. Jandy says:

    Power Play 0-3 so far. HM is right..we MUST score on this one the start of the second, or it will bite us in the butt

  34. Brandie says:


  35. Brandie says:

    Time for Bylsma to employ one of those adjustments he is sooooo famous for. ;)

  36. hockeymonster says:

    This is definitely a good practice run for playoffs.

  37. Barb says:

    Yea the Source showed up but not for long. I have a busy afternoon so guys keep the Pens feet to the fire and SCIRE!

  38. Brandie says:

    Applying for Psych Rehabilitation Worker Position through Skills.

  39. Brandie says:

    Will do Barb-aloo!

  40. Jandy says:


  41. Jandy says:

    dumb penalty

  42. Brandie says:

    Very rare we talk about smart penalties.

  43. Jandy says:

    True. Just don’t want to give the Blues any advantage. It’s gonna be a tough game.

  44. hockeymonster says:

    And some cross corner murphy dumps would help when you can’t get the red line. Gotta manufacture ways to get possession and shots towards the net. STL trying re-directs and where just seeing what sticks to the walls. We’ve sprung rushes and chances by getting pucks airborne into the neutral zone. Need to start getting a little creative.

  45. Jandy says:

    Craig Adams will get himself hurt tryin to take on Lapierre

  46. Dom says:

    0-4 on the power play.

  47. Jandy says:

    Our PP seriously sucks.

    Say what you want about the Hobbit, but he’s beating everyone to loose pucks and pucks in the corner He’s FAST

  48. Brandie says:

    Our Power Play Plan Isn’t Working!

    Where is Plan when you need him?

  49. Sarah says:

    Hah! Tops in the NHL!
    Only blows when it counts!

  50. Jandy says:

    Where are you Oh Purple One???

  51. Brandie says:

    Just got a cartoon image of Plan busting through a wall wearing a cape…here to save the day, or at the very least the Power Play. Thanks for that Jandy-licious! :)

  52. Sarah says:


    Niskanen – 13:16
    Orpik – 12:52
    Scuderi – 12:11
    Maatta – 10:10
    Engelland – 8:27
    Bortuzzo – 8:25
    Despres – 7:56

    Best D last couple names with least TOI. Wow.

  53. It’s been a tough game all right. Pen and Blues 0-0 at the end of two periods.

  54. Jandy says:

    LOL! I can just picture it too ;)

  55. Jandy says:

    Bortuzzo and Depres are NOT better than Niskanen, sorry

  56. Sarah says:

    Nope they aren’t. Last couple games Despres has been better tho. Deserves more TOI.
    No way Despres should be last on that list.

  57. Sarah says:

    And didn’t mean to suggest Borts there. He’s been borderline for sure.
    Just sad to see Despres remaining on Bylsma’s SL.

  58. Jandy says:

    I like both Depres and Borts, but keep this in persective :)

  59. Jandy says:

    this game is going to get chippier and chippier the longer it goes with no score

  60. Sarah says:

    Well my perspective is Despres is playing well and still remains in DBs dog house. Disagree?

  61. Sarah says:

    Engo with Orpik?

  62. Brandie says:


  63. Sarah says:

    ….and now w Scuderi? I’ve no idea what Bylsma is doing, I thought Despres was at F last shift…

  64. Brandie says:

    Niskanen is a priority to be kept. He is a workhorse and just gets it done day after day. Bortuzzo and Despres need to play more to see what each really brings to the table either for possible trade or to see how they fit in with the team.

  65. Sarah says:

    And Glass out there w Geno….Byksma is smokin something….

  66. Sarah says:


  67. Jandy says:

    No Sarah, I don’t disagree with that statement, but no way is Depres near Niskie’s level

  68. Jandy says:

    well said Brandiskaya!

  69. Andrew says:

    Well, damn

  70. Sounds good. What is Skills?

  71. Jandy says:


  72. Sarah says:

    That guy between Orpik and Scuderi was like 7 ft tall….

  73. theplanisworking says:

    You can say that again………

  74. Sarah says:

    Totally agree, would love to keep Nisky,
    Think Orpik gets a retirement contract instead however….

  75. Sarah says:

    I think you guys misunderstood me. Despres has been one of their best D last couple games.
    No way is he better than Niskannen.
    Not yet anyway.

  76. Sarah says:

    So hey let him stand there!!!

  77. Brandie says:

    So frustrating. With a 1-0 bad guys on top score, and Bylsma throwing CRAP at the wall to see what sticks, next thing you know we will have dogs and cats living together.

  78. Jandy says:

    ahhh okies, gotcha :)

  79. Brandie says:



  80. Jandy says:

    Hey hey, it’s the Purple One!

  81. Brandie says:

    Until Bylsma and Despres get on the same page we will not know what his ceiling really is. I find that disconcerting. Why put the money out there to not use the kid to his fullest potential? Send him back down to WBS to get his head out of his rear when necessary, but how long can one player sit in coach’s Duck (in the case of Disco) house?

  82. Sarah says:

    I’m actually really glad they did not trade him at the deadline. I guess we’ll see what happens.
    Maybe there will be a different coach next year after all….

  83. Sarah says:


  84. Sarah says:

    MAF playing really well

  85. Jandy says:

    So frustrating…what were the PENS on the PP? 0-10? Can’t win hockey games that way

  86. Jandy says:

    Yes, he kept them in the game…they didn’t do their part

  87. Jandy says:

    I hope there aren’t any more afternoon games left.

  88. hockeymonster says:

    That was sequel to Montreal series. Bodies and sticks in shooting lanes and we had no answers. And the answers are obvious we just don’t put them into practice. Blood pressure boiling…

  89. Sarah says:

    PHL buried these guys yesterday

  90. Brandie says:

    Yeah…afternoon games are nothing but trouble!

  91. Final Score: 1-0 Blues. Tough game, tough Pens loss.

  92. Brandie says:

    Looks like someone can use a hug!


  93. Jandy says:

    I’m going to the grocery store…sheesh

  94. theplanisworking says:

    Did Plangela Lansbury take a Planhattan Transfer? ;)

  95. theplanisworking says:

    You Rang?

  96. theplanisworking says:

    Any doubts as to what the playoffs hold for the Pens?

  97. scapper says:

    Fine game between two solid teams. Neither team with a lot to play for, but both played intense hockey. And that’s all there is to it. Just a March hockey game between two very good teams. Sure hope people don’t try to turn this into some bigger picture game. If you use that logic, then it’s just obvious from yesterday’s game that the Flyers are far superior to the Blues. Good game. Go get ‘em Tuesday.

  98. Jandy says:

    Whatever the playoffs hold, I’ll be watching and rooting for the Pens. Simple as that.

  99. hockeymonster says:

    For all the creativity we see with set plays off faceoffs, it boggles my mind that we don’t have any set plays in Ozone to counter bodies and sticks being in shooting lanes. Did we even try to use the center point for shots? Or any shot/passes into high slot for re-direct? It’s the obvious move when teams are moving weak side players into shooting lanes even before we’re ready to shoot. We’re playing right into their defensive strategy while not even recognizing what they’re doing so we can work around it.

    At what point do you go around the wall if you can’t get thru it?

    And instead of soft plays up the boards or cross ice, why don’t we occasionally try the cross corner murphy dump play? I know you cant do it all the time cuz there’s risk in miss handling the flip into the air BUT a lot of times its the only way to give the forwards a chance to pressure the D.

    Ok I’m done.

  100. hockeymonster says:

    Thanks Brandilicous! :hugging back: :)

  101. Andrew says:

    The Blues have one of the best defenses in the league so it is not like other teams have found obvious answers, frustrating loss but I cannot complain about a lot given the nature of recent games.

  102. Andrew says:

    Well said.

  103. hockeymonster says:

    Just didn’t see anything to suggest we’ll have answers when teams do what montreal did a few years ago and what STL just did now. Could’ve been game 8 of that series.

  104. poz says:

    That looked like playoff hockey.

    Two recent articles I read on this site.

    “Pens stars taking more penalies” and “Pens undisiplined play of late resembles team’s recent playoff losses.”

    STL did not score on the pp, but Malkin’s frustration penalty contributed to the only goal.

    Doesn’t seem fair when STL has a guy like backes in front of the net late and the Pens have Gibbons.

    Much respect for Fleury. As often happens with the Pens, the team struggled in it’s own end, but Fleury stood tall. It is one of the best games I’ve seen him play all year.

  105. hockeymonster says:

    Refer to my comment below.

  106. theplanisworking says:

    I will be also, but I just don’t feel comfortable with this team…….

  107. Andrew says:

    I understand this, but is not like it is a problem unique to the Penguins, the entire league does not score against much against the Blues. The optimist in me hopes if the Penguins encounter a team like 2010 Montreal that the Penguins do not have an epic collapse of goal tending.

    I think some semblance of a bottom six can help in tight games like this.

  108. theplanisworking says:

    If dee playoffs were to start today, the Pens would face Toronto in the 1st round.

  109. hockeymonster says:

    I know they’re good but that sounds like a built in excuse for losing. That can’t be acceptable to any team with cup aspirations. I’m just tired of losing while not exhausting all our options. That can’t be acceptable to anyone.

  110. Andrew says:

    The Pens can and do seem too stubborn in their zone entries, not sure if you can hope for a radical shift in philosophy.

  111. Andrew says:

    I agree, what is the old maxim you have to win four series four different ways, maybe Martin has brought some new ideas. I saw the 1-3-1, earlier in the year, for me the biggest thing is the system does not matter when you are have AHL forwards in your bottom 6, and the opponent is rolling with four lines.

  112. Well, the Pirates and Orioles are in the 11th inning with the score tied at 7.

  113. hockeymonster says:

    Actually I’m ok with breakouts and zone entries now that the disco stretch isn’t primary way to get north. But once you’re in the zone you need to recognize what opposition is doing. And when they get multiple players in shooting lanes from weak side not to mention strong side, then you need to work the puck into the open spaces to give yourself a chance to get pucks towards the net. Using the high slot and center point is mandatory in those situations. The F3 needs to shadow the puck back to the high slot area when we move it to the point so dman can either shoot or move it to someone in an open enough area for a shot or re-direct. It’s not rocket science…just hockey.

  114. poz says:

    Not certain the value of addressing match-ups with critical games to play. But Toronto is in a tail spin. They may not make the playoffs if they don’t fix things – quickly.

  115. hockeymonster says:

    Well ya, the bottom 6 is still inferior to the boston’s, stl and philly’s…and Anaheim and LA kings and probably a few other teams. But those teams don’t have our top 6 so it would behoove us to exhaust all our options against the better teams that force you out of your comfort zone.

  116. Pirates 7, Orioles 7 in 10, an exhibition final. Gerrit Cole started and he gave up 6 of Baltimore’s 7 runs. So much for Pittsburgh sports today.

  117. chethejet1 says:

    Nisky is a decent defensemen, but he wouldn’t play on St Louis top 6. Maataa would see PT but that’s it. That tells you all you need to know about Shero and Bylsma’s judgment of defensmen. Letang will not come close to earning that contract. He is a a very skilled player, but his decision making and grasp of making the ordinary play most of the time has to improve. I am pulling for him nonetheless.

  118. Brandie says:

    Skills provides job training, case management, and opportunities for persons with psychiatric impairment to learn and use positive coping skills within their hone communities. Best way to explain is to look up Person Centered Therapy and its off shoots.

  119. No. 8 Kentucky just upset Wichita State in NCAA Tournament play 78-76, so now, there’s no more undefeated college basketball teams.

  120. Sounds right up your alley.

  121. Brandie says:

    Revvie I will secure an interview. I wish I could take you with me for extra confidence. One thing I have learnedly is to have faith and reach out. It can only boomerang in a positive way to you.

  122. Brandie says:

    Shockers got Zapped! This is why they play the games!

  123. theplanisworking says:

    Oh, I was assigning no value to it……… just a discussion point.
    Right now, the bottom 6 teams are kind of jumbled.

  124. Eric Bowser says:

    Great time in Cooperstown yesterday.

    Son had a blast at the National Baseball Hall of Fame… his eyes lit up seeing all the history of the game, especially Roberto Clemente, Babe Ruth, and so many different game worn jerseys by the hall of farmers.

    Bought mini-bats and got both kids names engraved and then headed next door to the Wax museum. Strange strange place.

    Told my son, there’s not many catchers in the hall of fame and his reaction, ‘good, I want to play catcher.”

    I can scratch another off the bucket list…


    Penguins went 1-1 over the weekend and only good news about today is they battled to the end against the Blues. Not impressed with the box score at all and some of the stuff that I’ve read here and elsewhere.

    Pens are 4-16 when they have scored 2 goals or less, they are a lousy +11 at 5on5 while Boston is +59. Pens need to get better at 5on5 or it will be a short run in the playoffs.

  125. theplanisworking says:

    Glad you and your boys had a good time.
    Cooperstown is a neat place.

  126. The latest Pirates news is that Starling Marte has turned down two multi year contract offers although both sides are open to a contract extension, and Liriano may not start the opener because of his groin injury.

  127. cherokee23 says:

    In Pens notebook, interesting comments from Morrow about Pens system & how he didn’t fit. And St. Louis system and how he does fit

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