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Sunday column: Five alive

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Sunday column is about the Penguins regaining some health. And not of the physical variety.

Here’s Sidney Crosby told me about Marc-Andre Fleury:

The game story, by beat man Rob Rossi, goes inside the team’s approach about meeting expectations.

Jussi Jokinen’s winning tap-in is broken down by Chris Adamski.

The Blue Jackets bemoan their net-front work, by Jason Mackey.

Brooks Orpik was lost to injury, and other notes, by Rossi and Yohe.

Blogginess from the scene: The uniting of Crosby and Evgeni Malkin came with kind of odd results: They did create some chances but, as the column notes, they weren’t dominant. So, why did Dan Bylsma stick with them? One part of that, as Bylsma acknowledged, is that the two stars originally had the idea. They wanted to bust out together. The other is that Columbus had a hard time with this. Maybe it was that Brandon Dubinsky couldn’t corner one opponent. Maybe it was that it messed up the Jackets’ line matchups. … If you’re gonna rip ‘em when they stink dept.: Kris Letang was good. Rob Scuderi did well, too. … Those quotes from Fleury in that column, read them with a healthy amount of healthy anger. He’s different, people. I’m telling you. … The Blue Jackets went into the biggest game in franchise history riding a tidal wave of unprecedented support … and gave up 51 shots on goal. Process that. OK, now add in that the Penguins also had 16 missed shots and 15 others blocked. That’s 82 attempted shots. Eighty-two! … The crowd was wonderful, front to finish. Excellent atmosphere, one befitting the playoffs in Pittsburgh.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Penguins page, our Chipped Ice blog and our photo gallery., including that shot above by Chaz Palla.

Here’s Blue Jackets news from the team’s official site.

Here are official game highlights, from the NHL’s YouTube channel:

And here’s Matt Niskanen wired up during Chris Kunitz’s power-play goal, sound that makes you feel like you’re out on the ice:

>> I’ll be joining the crew for the drive back to Columbus later today and cover Game 6 tomorrow. Thanks, as always, for reading.

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. Wild Bill says:

    Thanks, DK, for all of that column, but especially the stuff about Flower. He’s easier to read than Sid will ever be.

    A key to the changes was the return of Goc. Having another very capable center gave the Pens the freedom to use Malkin differently. If some doubt has now been placed in the Columbus players, Monday night could turn out well.

    Still only seven total hits for the Bucs, but a few timely ones for a change, and really good pitching.

  2. bpn8pitt says:

    Nice to see over 50 shots. I thought Bennett and Stempniak created a few chances.

    What is it with James Neal becoming an agitator every time the Pens take a lead? He was almost put in the box right after they took the 2-1 lead.

    Good to see Fleury bounce back from such an awful end of game 4.

    Jandy’s boys are alive.

  3. d says:

    So, let me see if I have this right, it takes Disco Dani to go all “medieval” on the team, a very rare locker room visit by none other than Mario himself. As reported in the Trib, Mario consoled MAF and then “surveyed” aka brow beat the contents of the room. And it also took fans on social media and a hint of some of the local media types to question this teams effort level in print. It took all of this to get this Penguins team to play a decent 60 minutes of hockey against a number 7 seed? UNBELIEVABLE!! Can’t wait to see if they can duplicate this effort in game 6??? I’m going to say that there will be a game 7 and then all bets are off. Better buckle up buttercups because Columbus will learn from game 5 and Todd Richards will have them ready to play.

  4. JoeyBats says:


    Pittsburgh 2
    Ohio 0
    Missouri 0

    ….another SUPER HUMAN effort!! ;-)

  5. Ray Haluska says:

    The team’s effort is questioned every night by Twitter. Every shift is obssessed over. Back up, look at big picture. (((Sarcasm alert))) That crappy coach with the lazy uncaring supestars and unworthy supporting cast has this team where it should be–with two chances to put an inferior, not worthy of being in the NHL opponent out of the playoffs. (Sarcasm over). This year’s team may not be one easy to fall in love with, but they are in one of six series that can be decided in the sixth game.
    It’s a great game, have fun. Respect and accept outcomes. If Columbus ends up winning this series–all they have to do is win at home they make the Penguins play a toss-up game 7–then that was the outcome. Both teams has squandered two goal leads in this highly entertaining series. Enjoy the action as it happens and not hold the game to what you think should happen. This is the best two weeks of the year with thrilling games every night. Long live Hockey!

  6. JohninOshkosh says:

    South Carolina 0

  7. Arriba Wilver says:


    How did you fix your post (or how did it get fixed) ?

  8. hockeymonster says:

    I expect coach richards and columbus to channel some of what we did last night. They’re going to wanna get speed and numbers scootin thru the NZ so they can get a forecheck going to establish possession like we did. And like we should’ve done in 3rd period of game 4.

    We’re gonna need to make sure dmen have good gap and hold the line(russell crowe/maximus style) with a strong backtrack from F3 during sequences when we’re not in trapping formation in NZ. Would like to see a lot of NZ faceoffs just from dmen deflecting passes and holding the line on their rushes. With the Goc-ster back we should thrive on FO’s. Especially with Sutter skating like his hair is on fire.

    And i expect them to crowd the house a ton when we’re pressuring and getting shots from the point, so lets make sure we’re organized enough to use the high slot and center point to counter. PoP plays are there all day long. Let’s shoot high early so BOB comes out of the net to cut down angles then pepper his pads for rebound plays like we did on Kuni’s and Juicy’s goals.

    And disco, i think you now realize that when it comes to system, the players have it covered. PM, tanger, real deal, nisky, sid, sutter and juicy are you’re player/coaches. Let them run the breakouts and determine if D to D, or a reverse to change point of attack is the prudent play or not. We got this!

  9. scapper says:

    Enjoy? ENJOY?! You must be new to this blog. The level of angst regarding the Pens is off the chart.

    Your post is wonderful. Keep ‘em coming.

  10. Arriba Wilver says:

    Looking over the posts yesterday, did the Boss really say that people who wanted Polanco up before Super 2 didn’t understand the economics of baseball? No, seriously, did he Tweet that?

  11. Mike says:

    Sutter looked great. One of the few consistent forwards so far in the playoffs. Still surprised by no 87 or 71 goals (not even empty net). glad to see disco put them together and try something new. That said iI don’t think they looked very good together.

  12. hockeymonster says:

    I think putting geno with sid was response to geno being real shaky with the puck early in the game. He started out at center but disco made a good move by taking away defensive responsibility from him by moving him to wing. I don’t mind playing them together with the Goc-ness monster back in the fold but don’t be surprised to see more mixing n matching on the road.

  13. Arriba Wilver says:

    OK, nevermind, I just read over some posts from the other day about Super 2 not affecting negotiations, but rather Polanco’s performance would be the deciding factor. It wasn’t by the people calling for bringing him up now, but the opposite. I stand corrected, some people don’t understand baseball economics, or negotiations for that matter.

  14. JohninOshkosh says:

    Nice win and game for the Buccos. Best game of the young season.

    Baseball oddity. The division leading Brewers have not lost a weekend game, Friday-Sunday, yet this year.

  15. Sarah says:

    Shutter was indeed skating like his hair was on fire. The short ones lol!

  16. JohninOshkosh says:


  17. Brandon says:

    WB…Gov was a key for another reason…the Pens finally were affective in the faceoff dept after only winning 46% through game 4. I questioned that issue in one of DK’s chats and he didn’t think it would be an issue at that time. It sure was important last night to win key faceoffs in the defensive zone. Great win for the Pens!

  18. hockeymonster says:


  19. radio wave says:

    What do folks up there think of all this? Crew can’t play .750 forever.

  20. JohninOshkosh says:

    They’ll come back to Earth soon enough. Long season. I’d rather have them peaking now.

  21. bpn8pitt says:

    Good post. The fact Fleury was able to come back strong game 5 has me optimistic. Crosby is due for a monster Pedro-like week.

  22. bpn8pitt says:

    Still though, I think a lot of people underrated the Crew. Good rotation, tough lineup.

  23. gmuny2002 says:

    Oh, you better believe that! Game 6 is going to be tough, especially in that building! Have to admit I’ve gained some new-found respect for Richards, Dubinsky & the rest of the “Blue Jagoffs”!

  24. theplanisworking says:

    Didn’t see one second of the Bucs or Pens yesterday, and they both won.
    Maybe I shouldn’t watch them as not to jinx them?

    Nice to see the Pirates get 4 games worth of runs in one game.
    The injuries are starting to become a concern. A big concern.

    Pens need to match Game 5’s intensity in Game 6.
    And hope Philthy doesn’t win.

  25. Arriba Wilver says:

    OK, someone sent me the tweet. Nevermind the “nevermind.”

  26. Brandie says:

    Missed you on the threads Adrian Plantley.

  27. That’s my doing. I used one word “economics” to combine 3 that shouldn’t have been combined. Here’s his words. My apologies for the confusion.

    “I’ve read and heard a lot of passionate arguments to bring up Polanco from people who demonstrably don’t know rules/system/cost or anything.”

  28. Sarah says:

    Rags up 3-0 on Bullies…..Wonder if they shoulda stayed w Emery!

  29. Arriba Wilver says:

    Not sure what you are saying, Rev. Are you saying he was right to refer to you and Milo as nincompoops?


  30. theplanisworking says:

    Thanks Brandimal.

  31. No. I’m saying the word “economics” was a summary word.

    Neither I nor Milo said to bring him up. Speaking for myself, I like to let everyone know what’s waiting until June while we struggle, not only scoring runs but getting hits.

    I’d love to see him called up and, in the old days which are gone forever, he would have been. But I also understand why they won’t. 15 million to the Pirates, even in 2020, is like 150 million to the Yanks or Red Sox.

  32. He may not have even been referring to either of us. Certainly he knows Milo understands those rules/systems/costs, right?

  33. BillyBaduka says:

    Great win by Pens last night. Fleury was solid, as DK assured he would be.

    Scored both goals by crashing net and sticking with it.


  34. scapper says:

    Just re-read the today’s column. Guess it was too early in the morning when I read it the first time, but…damn! That is as good as it gets when it comes to post-game, deadline-driven column writing. What a pleasure to read.

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