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Morning Java: 87 + 71 = W

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Morning, Lunatics …


>> The Tuesday column off Game 6 applauds Brandon Sutter. Because Sutter’s been worth applauding on so many levels.

Here’s part of the talk we had about his playoff surge:

The game story, by beat man Rob Rossi, focuses on the frantic finish.

Here’s what Sidney Crosby had to say when I asked about his role in that finish, since he hardly ever left the ice:

Marc-Andre Fleury got it done, too, by Josh Yohe.

The young Blue Jackets look to the future, by Justin Boggs.

Blogginess from the scene: Crosby and Evgeni Malkin did their thing, stepped up for their team, both skating as hard as at any point all season. Kudos to them. Seriously. Wish I could have had two columns to write off this one, because that obviously would have been the other. Great players came up big. … Malkin’s hat trick came by finishing half his six shots, and all by beating Sergei Bobrovsky low to the blocker side. Coincidence? Nope. Malkin said he saw the area open on the first and third goals, while candidly conceding ‘I couldn’t see the net at all’ on the second. … The Blue Jackets spoke openly afterward about exploiting the Penguins without Sutter and Joe Vitale. Remember that if experiencing any angst over those final few minutes. It was basically up to Crosby and Marcel Goc to man the center position for an entire period. … Crosby took 23 of the Penguins’ total 59 draws. That’s insane. And he won one more than he lost. … Goc was pretty strong out there. Usually easy to tell who are the guys coming off injury, in part because they’re fresher. … The three late goals on Fleury came on a screen and two tips. … In good times and bad: Mario Lemieux made another appearance at Fleury’s stall, this time with a firm ‘Good job.’ … Sounds like Game 1 will be either Friday or Sunday, and if it’s the latter so much the better for the home team. Sutter and Vitale aren’t the only ones who could use a breather. … Olli Maatta did some special things in that game, as far as handling players one-on-one. Cam Atkinson, a quick forward, came at him hard in the second period, and Maatta chased him all over creation before nullifying him and calmly sending the puck out. … Asked Fleury why goalies always seem to fall for Sutter’s backhand move on the breakaway. ‘It isn’t easy to read,’ he said. ‘You know it’s coming, but he’s pretty good with the stick.’ … Wrote this in the column, but it bears a repeat for emphasis here: The move of the series was made by Bylsma in uniting Crosby and Malkin. It wasn’t rocket science, but it was an adjustment. … It’s good for the NHL, good for the sport to see Columbus get this emotionally invested in the Jackets. The finishing rally had the crowd standing, roaring and chanting ‘C-B-J!’ long after the horn had sounded. Good stuff.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Penguins page, our Chipped Ice blog and our photo gallery.

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

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

And here’s the handshake line:

>> The latest on Gregory Polanco’s godlike status with the Pirates, by Rob Biertempfel.

That topic came up on TribLIVE Radio, too, with John Fedko and John Steigerwald squaring off:

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page, our Bucco Blog and our photo gallery.

Here’s Orioles news from the Baltimore Sun.

Here are official game highlights on

And here’s what the Subway Final Word panel had to say when asked if the 2013 Pirates were merely some aberration:

>> Our daily position-by-position NFL draft preview today looks at the linebackers, by Alan Robinson.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Steelers page and our Steel Mill blog.

>> Our weekly chat will be today at 1 p.m. right here on the blog, although you’re free to submit entries inside the chat field as soon as you the post go up this morning.

>> I’ll check in with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m.

>> Thank you, as always, for reading.

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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.

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