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Morning Java: Second wind

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics, for a special Saturday edition with so much going on …

>> The Saturday column from Game 5 wonders if the Penguins wouldn’t just be better off facing the worst possible situations.

Here’s some of what Sidney Crosby had to say afterward:

The game story, by beat man Rob Rossi.

Play of the game, by Chris Adamski, by the Penguins’ only player in the game.

The Rangers’ reaction, by Jason Mackey.

News and notes, by Adamski and Mackey.

Here’s that Evgeni Malkin goal from the NHL’s YouTube channel:

And here’s the Rangers’ postgame scene inside the locker room, worth watching for the appreciation of Marty St. Louis showing up the day after his mother died:

Blogginess from the scene: Wonderful gesture by the Penguins to give St. Louis the official third star, even though, candidly, he didn’t play at that level. … Marc Staal’s stick assault on Sidney Crosbythe first one, in Game 3 — drew a harsh rebuke from former NHL ref Kerry Fraser in a piece for TSN. And make no mistake: These people in the NHL offices see the same thing. They know the game. They know what happened. There’s just no guts and no leadership from Gary Bettman. … Staal was on his best behavior in this game and, by no coincidence, the early booing the fans were doing with each touch of the puck faded once the Rangers took command of the game. … There’s next to nothing additional I can think to write about the actual game from the Pittsburgh standpoint, at least not beyond what’s in the column. Just a totally nothing game for the Penguins, who are now — get this — 1-7 under Dan Bylsma when having a chance to close out a series at home. … I’ll throw this in, but only for the billionth time: Bylsma and staff embarrass themselves with every single power play that Matt Niskanen watches from the bench.

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

Here’s Rangers news from the New York Daily News.

>> The Steelers go defensive end and … uh, running back? Alan Robinson and Mark Kaboly report from the South Side. And here are official pages for Stephon Tuitt and Dri Archer. Both of the videos on those files are very much worth the watch. Good stuff.

Ryan Shazier has faced his share of hardship, by Ralph Paulk. And here’s some of what this exemplary young man had to say upon making it to Pittsburgh yesterday and meeting with media:

News and notes, by Paulk.

So, no corner, no wide receiver, and no clear pattern at all to what the Steelers are doing so far, right?

Eh, who knows just yet? Still the rest of the draft to go.

But the one thing that can be surmised from the first and third picks alone is that Mike Tomlin’s pronounced use of the word ‘speed’ when he spoke to us Thursday wasn’t by accident. We’ll know more once the draft ends, but I wonder if there wasn’t some broader organizational push made toward just plain old getting faster. It’s a great way to get — or even just look — younger in a hurry.

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

Here’s the official NFL Draft Tracker, set to the Steelers tab for you. All of their picks are there at a glance, with tons of accompanying info and video.

>> The Pirates get another big bop from Neil ‘Babe’ Walker to bury the Cardinals. Rob Biertempfel reports from PNC Park.

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

Here’s Cardinals news from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Here are official game highlights on

>> Another loss and more controversy for the Riverhounds against Orlando City. Matt Grubba reports from Highmark Stadium.

>> It’s right back on the road again today, bound for New York by midnight or so.

>> Here’s how to subscribe to the various versions of the Trib, including the e-Trib edition. Thank you, as always, for reading on whatever platform you prefer.

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. Kiki Berkey says:

    Great stuff as usual Dejan. The Pens need adversity like this. All of the most recent Cup winners haven’t had an easy road to be Champions. I think Pens fans forget before the 2009 Cup that isn’t ever easy. They’ve shown in Games 2, 3 & 4 that they’re capable of playing great 2 way hockey. I expect their best on Sunday.

    I love the Steelers draft so far. I know you’ve seen my tweets about a CB & yes that is still a big need. But, the lack of attention from the fans on the Front 7 confuses me. This team rarely got pressure on the Q.B last couple of seasons. The Steelers have a future Front 7 of Heyward, McLendon, Tuitt, Timmons, Shazier, Jones & Worilds looks pretty good. Archer gives them something different at RB than Bell & Blount. Could have an impact like Sproles with his speed & ability to catch the ball. Also, takes Brown out of KR which is fine. I don’t like our #1 receiver being the go to KR. For a Big WR I’d love to see Bryant from Clemson. Hope he is still on the board when the Steelers pick.

    Also, love the response from the Pirates after Peralta’s 7th inning homer. They’ve won 5 of 7 on this homestand. Cutch, Davis, Walker & Marte have been good so far in May. Jordy had 3 hits. If the Pirates get him & Pedro consistently going as well as continue to have good starts out of Liriano, Gerrit, Charlie & Volquez. I can wait for Polanco if the talent on this team continues to do their job. Could be a good start to get out of the hole they dug themselves in. Last but not least #FreeCumpton

  2. Robert says:

    I think the first two picks make a lot sense together, in terms of a 3-4 defense, especially the zone-blitz heavy version Lebeau choreographs in which pressure is paramount. Tuitt, Heyward, et al clears the road. Shazier,
    Timmons, et al runs ‘em down. And, as much as fumbling is a concern, Dri Archer is faster than Tavon Austin (a player of similar stature) with a little less wiggle. I think he screams slot receiver and return specialist.

    Of course, their level of success probably won’t be fully determined till around March 2017 anyway.

  3. The Pens let their guard down last night and the Rangers naturally took full advantage of it. Now hopefully, they’ll wrap this all up in NYC on Sunday. In the meantime, it was good to see the Pirates beat the Cardinals at PNC Park last night so this wasn’t all a total loss.

  4. DJ says:

    Horrible effort by Pens last night. Expected big things and no one delivered, except Geno.

    Watched Neal a good bit off the puck. Must have been out until 2:00 a.m. night before because he was sleepwalking the entire game. Zero puck support. Let everyone struggle with heavy lifting retrieving pucks deeps while he passed time near the blue line waiting for outlet pass to take up ice. Someone suggested possibility of trading Neal a day or two ago. Earlier suggestion was straight up for Evander Kane. Would do that in a NY minute. Jets wouldn’t.

    5 on 3 pathetic. As bad in person as it looked on TV. Why Dan B had Letang instead of Martin out there for what appeared to be the entirety is beyond me.

    Two soft ones by Flower.

    Goc handed two on silver platter at point blank range and buried neither.

    Sid lackluster, being kind.

    HCDB now 1-7 in last 8 series on home ice with opportunity to close out a series. That’s 1 for last 7 on home ice.

    On to NY and pray no Game 7 for Fleury.

  5. DJ says:

    HM: Saw your views on Edmonton-Portland. Haven’t watched the series so will reserve judgment. But on assessing D-play generally, you were the guy who wanted to trade Martin and resign Orpik for 3 more at just under $4 mill a year, right?

  6. DJ says:

    Oops . . . that’s 1 for last EIGHT.

  7. Sarah says:

    Neal is a leech. Without Malkin he’s a worse leech.
    JJ had no business in the circle on that 5 on 3. Where was the RHS?

    On the bench, with Nisky, while Letang stumbled around.
    (Which no one asked about in the presser BTW…..maybe they all fell asleep after Bylsma’s 90-second befuddled silence trying to answer the home-ice futility question…..)

    Yes they sleep walked through this like an October game v Carolina.
    Yes they’re able to (sometimes) turn it on vs better teams.

    ALl that describes is a team that is getting anywhere near a Cup.

  8. Sarah says:

    Oh, and I guess Sid’s injured again.
    Seriously WTH is going in with him? Geno is getting him all kinds of space.

  9. Sarah says:

    Ugh ISnt of course. More coffee.

  10. DJ says:

    We better get the lead and keep it Sunday. Rangers have their rallying point on Mother’s Day. We play from behind, Lundqvist stones us and there will be a Game 7.

    Until last night, Fleury fabulous but 2 of 4 last night were very weak. Need to avoid resurrecting ghosts by taking Game 6.

  11. SeanAY says:

    Well, there goes my thought that they would take a corner on Day 2. Like everyone else, I’m striking out on predictions!

    As someone who has seen Dri Archer, I’ll say this; he’s not what you would call a running back, per se. Kent liked to move him around and get him the ball with a full head of steam, or get him into space. That dude can absolutely fly.

  12. DJ says:

    Neal must think he’s Ovi.

    Took the entire game off last night.

  13. bpn8pitt says:

    Enjoyed Bucs in person last night. Just want them to fight back to .500. They can.

    I don’t get the Steelers draft. But I’m sure 40 years ago someone had never heard of Mike Webster either. That worked out…Looking over some of the picks by other teams, they aren’t the only one I’m confused by. Where some of these rbs went, kinda annoyed me fantasy-wise.

    You don’t want to go to seven, Bylsma. Jandy and the monster will be pissed.

  14. Sarah says:

    Unfortunately Kunitz is doing a lot of the same thing.
    So that’s 2 more of our supposed top 6 Ws doing Not Much.
    Good thing Sutter is playing so well, and Stemp. And BB also though he’s having some up and down patches.

  15. Sarah says:

    Don’t get me started on the D situation. We’ve got Scuderi for 3 more years and likely we will let Nisky go and extend Orpik with a retirement contract. And the year after that Martin’s gone. Oy.

  16. Eric from G'burg says:

    We can scratch our heads all we want about the Steelers’ picks, but know this — their biggest ‘need’ in this draft was simply to get younger & faster. Count me as someone who is totally on board with this.

  17. DJ says:

    Cannot afford another barren year. Faster is good.

    I like it as well.

  18. Matt Beam says:

    I wonder if they would have still taken Archer if Donte Moncrief doesn’t get taken by the Colts a few picks before them. I’m hoping Martavis Bryant (the other Clemson WR) is still available when they pick in round 4

  19. Milo Hamilton says:

    Darren Sproles-like.

  20. Thundercrack says:

    After reading a lot of the recent posts I get the impression the Steelers are treating their positions of need like the Pirates have treated the first base position since Stargell retired. #ignoring

  21. Naje says:

    TC… cannot ignore that they had major problems getting to the QB the past two years… lack of speed along the front seven is certainly a factor in that. Oh, and age, too. And a commitment to attack with the front seven that will get results, rather than leaving the secondary to cover for six, seven, eight seconds or till a receiver gets wide open.

    No threat out of the backfield…when they drafted the RB out of FSU a few years ago, they thought they would have that, too. He was a bust. Need threats to score from the backfield and the WR/TE positions. And need threats with speed on defense, whether that is along the D-line, LB or in the secondary.

    I’ll reserve judgement till we see results on the field…or not.

  22. JohninOshkosh says:

    It’s kind of embarrassing how hometown official scoring in baseball has become so biased in so many circumstances. Those people are supposed to be impartial.

  23. JohninOshkosh says:

    Look, grading drafts at this point is nothing short of nonsensical.

  24. 21sthebest says:


  25. 21sthebest says:

    It’s amazing how much better a secondary becomes when the pass rush improves.

  26. HeyBullDog says:

    No Sid, No Cup.

  27. Thundercrack says:

    ‘I’ll reserve judgement till we see results on the field…or not.’

    Me too!

    I don’t know enough about the players they drafted and the players that were still available. But it did seem to me that they had a lot of holes/needs….and almost any pick would help.

  28. Naje says:

    I see… :-)

  29. Naje says:

    A big, big downer last night from Sid… exhibit A for Flyers fans and management to ridicule the less competitive, more whiny side of the greatest player on the planet turning himself into a giant negative on the ice.

  30. Patrick(ri) says:

    An oddity, perhaps, but have you noticed former Pirates are starting First
    Basemen for Oakland, Miami, Baltimore, Milwuakee — all first place teams. And that does’t count La Roche, but it does cheat a bit by counting overpay.

  31. Nate83 says:

    He called Elias to get a ruling. He did admit if a no hitter wasn’t on the line he wouldn’t have called. Elias ruled it was a routine play for Rios which I agree with. If you watch the replay you will see Rios is standing within 3 ft of the ball for a good amount of time.

  32. Sarah says:

    Can you blame him? He has Staals stick logo tattooed on the back of his neck, and NONE of the giant pansies that play with him could be bothered to step up and destroy Staal.

    Or Dubinsky beginning Game 1 of the CBJ series.

    I’d lose my sh-t if I was him too, eventually.

    The way the Pens refuse to stand up for their teammates is just simply embarrassing.

    The refs and the league have made it clear they won’t step in, so, the team has to.

    And they won’t. It’s a real shame.

    And it’s one of the top things you can point to when talking about why this team as constructed is not championship material.

  33. hockeymonster says:

    RE: Orpik

    Yes. 3 years just under 4M per would be a great deal but he would really want to stay. After last night and seeing bortuzzo play 13 minutes of average puck you should be ok with 3/12M too.

    RE: PM

    You really upset with how things turned out with PM? I wanted to trade him after philly series for cap space and would’ve considered it after last season if we could’ve got forward depth. However, to PM’s credit, it’s clear he’s raised his game up to the level i envisioned when i started giving him the mike keenan treatment. Definitely stand by every word i wrote and said back then cuz it’s clear they were justified. But PM deserves all the credit in the world. He stepped up like the pro he is and fixed the holes in his game to his, the teams and our benefit.

  34. JohninOshkosh says:

    I get it. And, I have always maintained that is an error. Almost always called a hit, though.

    Not necessarily picking on that play. Just using that as a platform for a broader observation.

  35. hockeymonster says:

    Last night was my fault. Didn’t give them usual pre-game pep talk and strategy session. Thought i’d partake in happy hour instead. Oops.

    Either way i’d just say lundqvist stole one and move on. We got outskated from the start but there’s another game to play. Simple road game could be easier to handle. Thought we got fancy playing at home and passed up obvious shots to make touch plays by the net. Sid, you need to shoot early and often if you want to make plays and passes later. They’re backing off cuz they don’t respect your shot or threat of shot. Establish your shot early then read the play as the game goes on.

    Thought we needed to be sharper with F2 and F3 recognition as well. We got caught chasing on the forecheck when NYR were reversing flow with patient regroups and support breakouts…sound familar? So lets recognize when they want shove our game back in our faces and clog up NZ with F2 and F3 recognition.

    Was even thinking that a 1-1-3 NZ system could give us a good chance to deal with our system being played against us. F1 and F2 could alternate and rotate on the chase so both aren’t caught deep. And when the puck makes it into the NZ we could activate weakside defender to cut across to squeeze off the puck with F3 and back pressure. If they hit a tape to tape pass with speed that springs a rush into NZ then we should ample opportunity to step up and hold the line with F3 being in place and back pressure from F1 and F2.

    Looking forward to seeing a fast, smart, physical and efficient road game tomorrow on my b-day. :)

  36. Naje says:

    Sarah… totally agree about the Stall stuff… punk behavior from a weak, punk athlete. But to lose it last night, with a chance to close out the series, on home ice… seemed all Sid wanted to do was whine. Yes, he had reason to last night on one occasion, but that overwhelmed his play on the ice. He wanted to prove he was getting rough treatment rather than he was the greatest player on the planet…took him out of the game and rendered his jersey a big, huge hole on the ice.

  37. hockeymonster says:

    Memo to disco, sid n geno:

    We ready to talk about the PP?

  38. T.S. says:

    DK, spot on as usual. The only way I think Bylsma keeps his job is if the Pens win it all. Short of that, he should be shown the door, IMHO.

  39. Nate83 says:

    Your right going by the letter of the law if no glove touches the ball on a pop up it is not an error which I never understood. If it is obvious a play should have been made routinely and it wasn’t then it should be an error.

  40. Wild Bill says:

    Shouldn’t Morneau be a part of this list, too?

  41. BillyBaduka says:

    + many

  42. Naje says:

    Also agree about teammates not caring, not stepping in and doing something about it. Either they’re afraid to do so, or tired of the act. Either way, to do nothing is not acceptable…to give nothing on the ice in a close-out situation on home ice…pathetic.

  43. slow train says:

    DJ, spot on comments; agree with all. I add:

    Everybody raves about Goc; when is the last time he did anything offensively? I honestly don’t remember even one moment. We gave up two draft picks for him, including a 3rd?

    I feel so bad for Scuderi. How did he get so slow? And why does he never check anyone? And how did Shero’s scouts not see this? A four year deal, omg. Perhaps Shero’s biggest mistake, and he has made many.

    I think we all know something is wrong with Sid. The lack of fire is inexplicable. Pray it is nothing serious.

  44. slow train says:

    Dejan, could you or someone provide an email or phone number for fans to complain to the NHL regarding the Staal vicious cross check to the head of Sidney Crosby?

    It was so egregious, so dangerous, and so exactly what the NHL ‘preaches’ against, but yet it did not even merit 2 minutes? Simply unbelievable.

  45. Arriba Wilver says:

    There we go with the prospect lists again.


  46. Arriba Wilver says:

    See, the Pirates don’t care about 1B. ;-)

  47. Andrew says:

    I really like how we are constantly told how arrogant the Penguins’ team and organization is, but when the Penguins fail to win four games in a row the consternation and wrath fly from the fans and media. With better goal tending the 3rd period likely starts 2-1, avoid the senseless delay of game, and too many men, 3rd period likely starts 2-1.

    Game 2 was 1-0 game and the Penguins got the next goal, Fluey frankly stole the 3rd period of game three. Maybe we shouldn’t use the last game to judge the ability of a team, the Rangers play some fairly good hockey.

    Vigneault is good at getting matchups at home and they have a solid defensive corp. Need to beat the Rangers one more time and hold off the fire everyone, trade the rest, until the next loss.

  48. Andrew says:

    I prefer the Penguins do what the Blackhawks did when Toews was injured by Orpik. I think the onus is the on the league, there was a time when hitting was a means to an end, mainly separate the player from the puck. I’m not sure if it was the introduction of helmets, pushing out of goons or other factors but now players just hit to hit. It is on the league to be proactive, I love how there is never a suspension until someone is hurt.

  49. Sarah says:

    Difference being Toewes was blown up by a perfectly clean hit. And in that case I completely agree Andrew, the best response is to turn it up and outplay the opponent rest of the way ( in contrast to the BOS goon response on Orpiks clean hit earlier in the season).

    But when it’s flat out dirty, illegal, intent to injure, assault, and the refs/league had their chance to do something, and didn’t, that simply means it’s open season.

    And when THAT happens, as with Dubinsky, as with Staal, the onus is on the Penguins to nut up and wreck the guy. Staal should not leave this series on his feet,period. Damn the suspensions. Call someone up from WBS, hell, put in Glass with instructions to run Staal on EVERY shift.

    They will NEVER do that , and it’s why no one is afraid of them, why they can’t deal with adversity, why a lot of things.


  50. Tom P. says:

    At the risk of having to turn in my blog membership card for admitting that I listen to something other than sports on the radio, here is a clip of Andrew McCutchen on Bloomberg TV/Radio that I heard on the way home yesterday. I thought he did a good job, especially for being interviewed by someone who knows little about sports, You may need to cut and paste the link into your browser.

  51. Baywatch says:

    ++++ In all honesty, VERY HAPPY for all these 1B Men who have gone on to have fairly serviceable careers. I’m particularly happy for Moss whose star faded early on and looked to be washed up at one point.

  52. Baywatch says:

    For any going to the game tonight, or who would just like to have dinner with us, me & Mrs. Bay LIKELY will be eating before the game at Rivertowne, North Shore. I’ll be signing copies of my book: “How I Came To Accept My Lunacy.”

  53. Wish I could be there. Have a great time and bring back another W. You were awesome last night!

  54. Thundercrack says:

    Is that available in e-book format?

  55. hockeymonster says:

    I think the league and refs were caught up in evening the playing field for NYR cuz of schedule situation. Easy to say boys will be boys when you’re trying to give NYR the benefit of the doubt before puck ever drops. Lopsided PP chances for NYR back this up. Not saying we didn’t get away with any late hits or calls but usually the refs want PP chances to be more even than what we’ve seen this series. Especially when certain calls against NYR are no brainers, i.e. crosscheck to head and neck.

    That said, it’s time for a PP seminar. 4 lefties with sid and geno on same unit is too easy to defend. Just sayin…

  56. hockeymonster says:

    So you’re saying that expecting one sweep after another is unrealistic?

  57. Wild Bill says:

    Stuck in Central Pa., Bay. Hope to get there for at least one game in the Cubs series, the second week of June.

  58. cmat0829 says:

    Well, I think a few things on this:

    1) It is an absolute S-T-R-E-T-C-H to assign any ’cause and effect’ to the 1Bmen on those clubs and their first place status. Does anyone really think that the REASON these teams are doing well are Overbay, Pearce, Jones and Moss? Other than Moss, and I suppose Jones to a lesser degree, the other 2 are the definition of dumpster.

    2) I agree that any post lamenting former Pirates 1Bman who ‘ got away’ really has to start and end with Justin Morneau who has ‘rediscovered’ himself in Colorado, much to the chagrin of Minnesota (who spent lots of $$s and patience waiting for it) and Pittsburgh (who got NOTHING out of him in the stretch run last year. Seriously, NOTHING.)

  59. cmat0829 says:

    And THAT (If there was not a nohitter involved I’d have called it a hit) is the REASON THIS IS AN AWFUL SCORING CALL. There should not be a bias to game situation in a scoring play. What good is a no-hitter that is obviously tainted with the wrong scoring call?

    Fact is that is called a hit 100% of the time in baseball history. Notwithstanding it should be an error, a mental error, it is never called that way. End of discussion.

  60. Baywatch says:

    We ARE the E-Format!

  61. Baywatch says:

    Bill, where ’bouts are you in Central PA? I lived in Bedford for 4 years, did a summer tour in Shamokin and have travelled somewhat all points in between. Have Sheetz, will travel!

  62. Wild Bill says:

    Selinsgrove, 50 miles north of Harrisburg.

  63. Baywatch says:

    Don’t think I ever made it to Selingsgrove, Bill. Closest was Sunbury (which if I recall was locally pronounced “SunBURRY!”).

  64. Wild Bill says:

    Only one g in Selinsgrove. Sunbury is very close across the Susquehanna River, and you recall its pronunciation exactly right. The ‘grove is pronounced with a long e sound, by the way.

  65. Patrick(ri) says:

    Who said anything about “cause &effect”? I labeled it an “oddity” which proves nothing more than how sad it is we can’t fill the position while others can with our “cast offs.” Btw, if Washington wins before the others in that division play, you can add LRoche to the list. A case could be made, if you wish, that this proves the FO was’t so far off with these guys — just bad timing. My personal reaction is painful bemusement, not that all these teams are in first place because of whose on first, so to speak.

  66. Andrew says:

    It is hard to win games, Rangers were a better 5v5 team than the Penguins in regular season. When you spot them a couple man advantages, don’t score on your own and have less than solid goal-tending, probably not going to win.

  67. Sarah says:

    From DKs Twitter:

    Dan Bylsma, today, on Rob Scuderi: ‘Rob has probably played some of his best hockey for us in these playoffs and this year.‘ Good Lord.

    ….seriously, beyond delusional. Just insulting to anyone who’s actually paying attention.
    Bylsma needs gone.

  68. JohninOshkosh says:

    Let’s go Hans!

  69. JohninOshkosh says:

    Haha. *Habs* Stupid autocorrect.

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