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Morning Java: ‘End of an era’

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Wednesday column calls for the Penguins to change the GM and the coach. It isn’t written lightly. Ray Shero and Dan Bylsma are fine men.

Ownership is ready to act, by beat man Rob Rossi.

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and others on what went wrong, by Josh Yohe.

The Rangers’ early goal proved pivotal, by Chris Adamski.

And Henrik Lundqvist made it stand up, by Jason Mackey.

Blogginess from the scene: The Consol crowd takes its knocks, some deserved, some not, but the place was fantastic for this one, and let no one tell you otherwise. Sad to say, but they wound up more invested in these playoffs than the participants. … That said, the scene at the end spoke volumes about the dissatisfaction with the franchise right now. Boos were loud right at the final horn. A couple of objects made it to the ice. But then, in what was most striking, all through the handshake line, the boos built up, then topped out as the Penguins left the ice. In other words, people stayed to boo. … The Penguins gave up 15 total goals in a seven-game series and lost. If you think this was about Marc-Andre Fleury, you’re chirping an old narrative. … We’ve almost surely seen the last game in a Pittsburgh sweater from Brooks Orpik, the franchise’s all-time most tenured defenseman. What a first-round pick, what a force, what an outstanding person. … Farewell, too, to Jussi Jokinen, barring some surprise. Someone will pay him a ton based on those seven playoff goals. The Penguins don’t have the cap room. … Matt Niskanen? Well, let’s see how this GM/coach thing plays out. … Lundqvist was magnificent in that third period. Won the game by sheer force of will, all with his heels patently back in his net. I’ll never forget it. … Be very, very glad that puck didn’t get poked through Fleury’s pads for an own goal by Olli Maatta. Hard to imagine the impact that would have had on both. … Niskanen threw a game-high six hits, yet stood before reporters and blamed himself for the loss. Because his shot was blocked that led to New York’s four-on-two rush for the opening goal. … The Penguins had a four-on-two in the second period. One of the four, Brian Gibbons, went to the bench. I’ll never forget that, either. … Worst playoff collapse in franchise history? Well, the numbers will forever point to the 1975 Penguins blowing a 3-0 series lead to the Islanders, of course. But in the context of these Rangers being so beaten down by the schedule, this should at least be in the discussion.

In the other bracket, the Canadiens and Bruins have their Game 7 tonight, by the Montreal Gazette.

Here are Penguins-Rangers highlights from the NHL’s YouTube channel:

And here’s the only kind of handshake line Consol knows:

Here’s TribLIVE’s Penguins page, our Chipped Ice blog and our photo gallery by Chaz Palla and Chris Horner.

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

>> Gerrit Cole, meet House of Horrors, by Travis Sawchik in Milwaukee. That AP pic up there is taken from the roof, by the way. Pretty neat.

Andrew McCutchen’s seeing more pitches, by Sawchik.

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

Here’s Brewers news from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Here are official game highlights on MLB.com.

>> I’ll check in with the WDVE Morning Show at 8:15 a.m. Listen online here.

>> My TribLIVE Radio show will air at 2 p.m., and it will feature nothing but your calls, wall to wall, given the nature of the news with the hockey team. All topics are welcome, though.

I’ll have all the necessary info up in a separate post at noon.

>> Thank you, 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.

Comments

  1. Poole says:

    Hey I’m first!

    To quote Michel Therrien “I am so dissapoin”. I can’t sleep. I feel like 5 years of my life were stolen from me. Waste all these years of Sid and Geno’s prime and next thing you know we stink again, and then we all die.

    Okay. A bit dramatic, but I feel better now.

    Might as well start the inevitable discussions:

    I assume everyone at this point is in favor of shaking up the team and especially the Bylsma/Shero direction.

    Who takes Bylsma’s job? I like Trotz.

    If Lemeiux has the guts to fire Shero, who is the replacement? I hope someone with a keen drafting eye.

    What players should go? What players should we target?

  2. Sven says:

    The cap has been so mismanaged, and the drafts so poor, that there may not be much that can be done with the roster in the short term. Penguins’ CapGeek is a horror movie. The Scuderi contract is an absolute killer. Any restocking almost by definition entails trading Neal, since nobody else who might actually move would bring back equivalent value that could fit under the cap.

  3. Petr says:

    Get Jagr back, guys!

    You’ll have at least part of what’s deplored as lacking: passion, sustained efforts and leading BY EXAMPLE!

    Moreover, Jaromie seems to be able to win the Cup with one team only – the Pens.

    Best of luck for the next season!

  4. Eric from G'burg says:

    Neal should be traded. He has been absolutely abysmal. Funny thing, if you move a few letters around in that word, you come up with Bylsma.

  5. TJA says:

    Tough few months for Bylsma and Shero: First the Olympics and then last night…wow…

  6. chethejet1 says:

    In Shero we trust. Management gave him just to much influence. Not that he didn’t ask or clear things with them, he just simply snowed the brass. His drafts, his rosters, his LT contracts are now looking like we have three Luongo’s. The best hope is Letang responds both physically and mentally the next few years. Neal has been disaster but not sure if it is injury, immaturity or needs a coach who will demand he gets it or is gone. Orpik no way. Scuderi, has to play much better or cut him before the season starts. Bylsma not only was a bad fit and quite frankly a terrible coach, he retarded to many young guys who needed to play. Bennett injured but not developed when he returned. Maatta was gassed. Despres should have been up here playing.

    On to who doesn’t come back no matter what the cost or contract is. Jokinen is just to soft. Adams cut, Glass nope. Orpik mentioned it. Martin is just to soft and can fetch something and frees up 5K. Nisky probably priced himself out of here but I would rather have him, a RH shot, than Martin. MAF has one year left and Pens can go with him if they are well coached and have a defense in front of him. No extension. Sutter is a keeper as he just needs two decent linemates. Bennett and Stemps come to mind. Kunitz not sure about him on whose line but he may have trade value and I would look to move him. Kulemin FA is available would satisfy Malkin and has a good relationship with him if he is not to costly. Which brings us to Crosby and linemates. Dupuis give Crosby some needed speed to allow for him to have space and he is a good puck retriever as well. Ottawa shopping Spezza is intriguing to me with Crosby. See what Sens want. Pouliot is not a piece I would trade, If not, then Jets may be willing to move a winger preferably Wheeler, I don’t want Kane as he is soft unless the Pens have a fourth line that is bar room ready. I know long but some things I would be doing as the new GM.

  7. Wild Bill says:

    DK, today’s column was prime rib! The Crosby bashing in the media and blogs has been considerable, but nothing compared to the abuse he took on the ice. I’ve kept thinking that if Bobby Clarke had been roughed up like Sid has been, a riot would have broken out on the ice. But the grit is gone from the Pens game.

    Bylsma surely is gone. I’d hesitate about Shero, though the Scuderi signing has bit the Pens in the butt big time. And we have to draft better. This year I watched a lot of really good collegiate hockey players play against Penn State, including the team that won the NCAAs. There is young help out there, if a team drafts and develops well. Maatta was a good example, but we need more like him. It’s been so tempting tho think we are just one skilled veteran away from a Cup – but that thinking has to change.

    Younger, more mobile, more aggressive – this is what next year’s Pens need to be.

  8. JAL says:

    JAL’s Bicycle Race Morning Links

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xt0V0_1MS0Q

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsjN0zO-DxI0dDNkaWxFNWIwNDVUQzEwYXp5SlpGNkE&usp=drive_web#gid=0

    4 Pirates Prospects

    Pittsburgh Pirates Organizational Probable Pitching Chart

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/probable-pitchers

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Where are the Pirates Breakout Prospects This Year?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/05/first-pitch-where-are-the-pirates-breakout-prospects-this-year.html

    Prospect Watch: Gregory Polanco Just Misses the Cycle in Four Hit Night

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/05/prospect-watch-gregory-polanco-just-misses-the-cycle-in-four-hit-night.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates strand all the baserunners, lose 5-2

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/5/13/5715794/pirates-strand-all-the-baserunners-lose-5-2

    Pirates MiLB recap: 5/13/14

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/5/13/5715594/pirates-milb-recap-5-13-14

    7 Rumbunter

    The Daily Gregory Polanco Drool

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/05/13/daily-gregory-polanco-drool/

    Great Scot – Ep. 13 – State of the Pirates

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/05/13/great-scot-ep-13-state-pirates/

    8 Green Weenie

    Bucs Go Down 5-2

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2014/05/bucs-go-down-5-2.html

    9 WHYGAVS

    Game 38: Brewers 5 Pirates 2

    http://whygavs.com/may-2014/game-38-brewers-5-pirates-2-2.html

    10 Saber Bucs

    The Problem with the Pitching Ain’t Just the Pitching; and how to improve it

    http://saberbucs.net/2014/05/13/the-problem-with-the-pitching-aint-just-the-pitching-and-how-to-improve-it/

  9. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Bradenton Herald

    Bradenton Marauders | Pirates prospect Bell regaining momentum

    http://www.bradenton.com/2014/05/14/5152429/bradenton-marauders-pirates-prospect.html?sp=/99/217/

    12 Yahoo Sports

    Pirates-Brewers Preview

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/pirates-brewers-preview-055937617–mlb.html

    13 Chicago Sun Times

    Grimm, Cubs lose in 12th on walkoff HBP

    http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/27432352-573/grimm-cubs-lose-in-12th-on-walkoff-hbp.html

    14 Sports On Earth

    Baseball’s Middle Class

    http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/75383460/high-number-of-teams-hovering-around-the-500-mark-nationals-mariners-dodgers-red-sox#!Nnjih

    15 Pirates Site

    Bucs’ bats quiet in drama-free series opener vs. Crew

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2014_05_13_pitmlb_milmlb_1&mode=recap_away&c_id=pit

    Notebook: Hughes working to find place in bullpen

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140513&content_id=75348938&notebook_id=75349310&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    16 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Missed opportunities rife in Reds’ loss to Padres

    http://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/mlb/reds/2014/05/13/chapman-gives-home-run-ninth-padres-reds/9062869/

    17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Brewers beat Pirates for seventh time in eight games

    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/ryan-braun-carlos-gomez-exit-during-brewers-win-over-pirates-b99269159z1-259167421.html

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Cards finally score, win in extra innings

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cardinal-beat/cards-finally-score-win-in-extra-innings/article_e1a9da50-b260-5a98-88d5-c8859e71a346.html

    19 Fangraphs

    The Wild, Woolly — and Mediocre — American League

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-wild-woolly-and-mediocre-american-league/

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    10 Ways We’d Improve Umpiring or Replay

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=23554

  10. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    NFL Power Rankings: Steelers fall three spots to 17 after draft

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014/5/13/5714072/nfl-power-rankings-2014-steelers

    Steelers Film Room: Fourth-round pick Martavis Bryant a project but one with excellent upside

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/steelers-film-room/2014/5/13/5712126/steelers-2014-nfl-draft-martavis-bryant-film-analysis-breakdown-scouting

    Tuitt, rookies arrive in Pittsburgh Monday

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014/5/13/5712958/tuitt-rookies-arrive-in-pittsburgh-monday

    Soccer(football)

    22 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    2013/14 in Numbers: Creativity – Gerrard, Hazard, Nasri & Silva

    https://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/football/201314-numbers-creativity-gerrard-hazard-nasri-silva

    23 BBC Football

    Premier League: Ten moments that helped shape the title race

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/27154129

    Nemanja Vidic: Man Utd players did not stop trying for David Moyes

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/27391859

    24 World Soccer

    FIFA plays down World Cup security fears, but local police offer more practical advice

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/world-cup-3/fifa-security-world-cup

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Rapid Recap: Au Revoir, Everything. Rangers 2, Penguins 1

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2014/5/14/5715832/rapid-recap-au-revoir-everything-rangers-2-penguins-1

  11. Wild Bill says:

    Chet, I like much of what you have here, but might like to keep Martin if we can’t find a quality replacement with some snarl.

  12. Jandy says:

    Jokinen had 7 goals this series.

  13. Jandy says:

    oh and Martin was arguably our BEST player during the entire playoffs.

  14. Brandie says:

    Pens need to go gritty not pretty, from coaching on down.

  15. BFD says:

    Besides the obvious – stars not producing, I see the following as the major issues:
    - The team was built soft. Mario and the Pens would like the league to rid themselves of goonish behavior, so they try to set the example, yet no other team follows, thus they are ‘soft’ or easy to play against.
    - How many years have we heard how this team needs leadership and then at the deadline Shero acquires this ‘leadership-type’ guy? If the guys wearing the ‘C’ and ‘A’ are not good enough leaders, the letters should be up for grabs come camp next year. Crosby should not wear the ‘C’ simply because of his talent
    - When the Pens were playing in the finals, they had character guys who could really play and were also tough (and not just in terms of dropping the gloves) – Talbot, Roberts, Billy G., Cooke, Gill, etc. – where are these types on this year’s team?

  16. BFD says:

    two other items
    - I don’t expect Malkin nor Crosby to go anywhere, but this, I am sure will be unpopular, but if only one stays – I’d keep Malkin.
    - I guess you don’t need to address goaltending. Fleurry was fine for the most part, although his propensity for allowing soft goals is maddening, but he was hardly the problem in this year’s playoffs. Scoring 3 goals total while trying to close out a series three times in three games is pathetic.

  17. Jandy says:

    Malkin and Sid are going nowhere so it’s a moot point.

    Agreed on Fleury. He was ok, but had no support. Can win if you don’t score.

  18. radio wave says:

    Pirates in must win games next two days.

  19. AL says:

    yep….they’re built for the regular season but without guys like Cooke, Rupp, Talbot and heck I’ll even throw in Steve McIntyre, they won’t survive the playoff grind.

  20. TJA says:

    Agree w/you Radio…

  21. Graig Fravel says:

    I would not get rid of Fleury, unlike what I thought last year. Sure, he wasn’t perfect this playoffs, but gave up 32 goals in 13 games and had a save percent of .915. That should be good enough. Plus, there are no better options. Don’t extend him, though. However, there is some revamping we need to do. Neal and Letang(even with that big contract) are the first two I would shop. They were truly awful. If you can manage to get rid of them, give the money to Niskanen. We happened to get Scuderi back right as his prime was over, which figures. It’s a shame, but we can’t re-sign Brooks. He’s too pricey and not quite worth it at this point. I’m torn on Martin. He plays really well most of the time, but can’t stay healthy. I don’t know what we want to do as far as free agents go, but I really think that the key is going to be the draft. We have treated it, both fan base and front office-wise, as an afterthought, and it shows. Instead of giving big money to Martin, Michalek, Neal, Kunitz, and other veterans like we have lately, why not build through the draft? It’s how we got to the top….Orpik, Fleury, Malkin, Crosby, Staal(although we could have had Toews….sigh). That’s almost all Craig Patrick, and that’s a pretty good track record. You may say, “That’s all high picks…sure things. That’s easy.” Ask the Edmonton Oilers how all of those #1 pick, “sure things,” are working out for them. You have to know what you’re doing, and Shero obviously doesn’t here. Our third and fourth lines need to be a combination of guys who are big and physical, as well as agitators, who can also chip in and score 10-20 goals per forward. Think Cooke-Kennedy-Staal. I miss that line. We also need, I think, some real protection for Crosby especially. Malkin is bigger and stronger, and probably a better stickhandler/playmaker…he’s really more like 66. Crosby is smaller and more prone to frustration. This is not to excuse his substandard performance, but I would get frustrated and not perform as well, too, if I were getting nailed into the boards, hacked at, and cross-checked in the head constantly like he was. He got ABUSED all playoffs. The bottom line is, in the playoffs, you need a combination of stars and real depth…four lines who can all score some and be physical. All of the last four teams who won have had ungodly depth. They’ve also had elite goal scorers who can put 30-40 in a year consistently(Lucic, Toews, Kane, Kopitar, Carter, etc.). Happy trails, Bylsma and Shero. We’ll always have 2009!

  22. DJ says:

    Wow. Don’t even know where to begin. I’ll start with this. If we’re reshaping our defense as well, let’s find the next Brooks Orpik.

    I wish him the very best.

  23. DJ says:

    Some good points here.

    Martin had a great playoff run but if he could be shopped to help us sign Nisky, I would do it.

  24. Jandy says:

    Hope they fare better than the Pens.

    Radio, good luck to your Rangers, man!

  25. Graig Fravel says:

    Good points, BFD. At this point, I wish we still had Cooke. Was he dirty? Yeah, a bit. But he was basically a better version of Sean Avery. Again, 3rd and 4th liners need to be skilled bangers, if that makes sense.

  26. Jandy says:

    Wow…that’s a tough one….

  27. Jandy says:

    Cookie did and always will have a place in my heart. The guy is a heart and soul player, who could make things happen. Not highly skilled, but an agitator who could still score. I miss him a lot. SO do the Pens.

  28. DJ says:

    No one disagrees we need to get younger, grittier and to bring draft picks along.

    The trick will be finding the right balance of guys to reshape our roster in that fashion while complementing Sid and Geno in their prime. If it’s not already past.

  29. Johnstown Russ says:

    Just throwing it out there. In the right scenario, should Malkin be dealt? Anything should be on the table at this point. The Pens can’t win with him so perhaps the right deal can bring in a couple of top line guys, some toughness that this team needs.

  30. I think that, unless they can finally beat the Brewers this time, the less said about them at this time, the better, especially since the offense again died on them on them last night, just as it did with the Pens.

  31. DJ says:

    Yeah, it is.

    But I’m considering Martin’s age and that he has only one year left on his contract. Save the dollars for Nisky and bring a player or pick in return.

  32. yjtownjohn says:

    Glad to see that apparently ownership realizes it needs to step up to protect its stars, but any thoughts that they wouldn’t have to do so were not realistic. The tough guy philosophy of the NHL is so ingrained. There is no one on the national television teams that doesn’t glorify the clutching, grabbing, and instigating of players with pedestrian skills, “they know their roles and play it well.” If the league cared about showcasing skills, it wouldn’t have spokesmen who revel in the tough guy image. What other league would talk up Marchand over Malkin?

  33. BillyBaduka says:

    Congrats to your Rangers, Radio. They deserved to move on.

  34. Jandy says:

    Logical. My heart just doesn’t want to listen. :)

  35. The tradition continues: the team that wins Game 6 in a Penguins series is 13-1 in the subsequent Game 7. Also, I was amazed when I realized the last time the Penguins won a Game 7 on home ice, I lived with my parents, I was a sophomore in college, I taped the game on a VCR and it would take eight months for me to access the Internet for the first time! That was also when the Penguins were the ones coming back from 3-1 deficits, and the Capitals were the ones collapsing. Maybe we should play them more in the playoffs — only twice this century.

    Yeah, it was a bitter night…

  36. Jandy says:

    hey, hey, good to see you, Alexandre….our Pens flamed out yet again… :(

  37. DJ says:

    Absolutely not.

    If you thought Sid was blanketed this playoffs WITH Geno, consider what teams will do if there’s no need to worry about our second line. Geno makes his own space, something Sid struggles when he’s without two solid wingers.

    Which brings me to Dupuis. Turning point in the season for me.

  38. BillyBaduka says:

    It’s worth considering.

  39. I’d rather have commented after a win, indeed… even though I don’t think they’d have been able to advance past the conference finals anyway.

  40. likeabugonarug says:

    Yanno, maybe here’s something a little more concerning. True, we didn’t have a lot of in-your-face/gritty players, but guys like Kunitz and Adams usually aren’t afraid to get a little dirty. Why was no one on the ice seemingly sticking up for Crosby? Are there some issues the team has with him? How do you let him take the abuse he was taking with NO ONE coming to his defense?

    Someone else said it right….this team isn’t made for the playoffs, but I’ll add one caveat: Especially with the way the league/officials allow them to be played. No suspension for hack-a-head Staal? No suspensions for all the players who have no fear about spearing other players in the groin? All the interference that suddenly isn’t a penalty? All the knee-on-knee’s, and the only guy who gets suspended is Cooke? If they called the playoffs the way the do the season, where a rule broken seems to get called, the Pens would be fine. But, until that happens in the actual games……

    Kevin

  41. Dom says:

    Were there individuals calling for Fleury to get canned?

  42. msantosian says:

    I just saw that since 2009, no draft picks have scored more than 15 goals. It makes me wonder how deep our stable really is

  43. Bradon Gregg says:

    Unfortunately, Fleury’s historical numbers are actually a bit worse in the playoffs (.905/2.69) than in the regular season (.913/2.49) since 2006-07 and they have to be BETTER. This year his regular season and playoff stats were almost identical. Obviously, we can’t expect our “stars” to outscore the opposition.

  44. Jandy says:

    No way they’d get past either the Habs or the Broons, you are right

  45. Jandy says:

    But…Lundqvist gets fined for squirting water in Sid’s face. Uhhh..yeah…that tells you the Garage League’s priorities.

  46. Jandy says:

    Your man did fine, Dom.

  47. And now, I’d like to know what’s been wrong lately with Sidney, since he did so little in the playoffs while insisting he was healthy, and there were words between him and Coach Bylsma during last night’s game-

  48. Bob says:

    Dejan, Love reading your stuff everyday, but your over the top praise for Matt Niskanen is a little overwhelming. Good to see that he is a stand up guy and took blame for the loss, it certainly wasn’t all on him last night, but he was a big factor on why they lost last night. It wasn’t that his shot was blocked that created the scoring chance, he jumped Dorsett at the blue line and that created the scoring chance. Also, he took the penalty that gave the Rangers the power play for the game winner. I agree that Niskanen was the best defensemen during the season for the Pens, but there is no way that I would take him over Letang in the future.

  49. DJ says:

    Was thinking about what may have been Bylsma’s directive following prior year flame-outs, particularly the most recent two, Bruins and Flyers.

    Could see Bylsma looking back at those series and insisting no one — under ANY circumstances — take a retaliation penalty in these playoffs. Which probably infuriated Sid given his ensuing abuse by the Jackets and Rangers.

    Sometimes there is such a thing as a good penalty. Given the refs were not going to call ANY of it, with the first or second offense, we should have beat the living pud out of the offender, and then moved on.

    Not condoning this style of play, just considering the reality of the situation.

  50. DJ says:

    Are half my comments showing up as “awaiting moderation”?

    If so, have no idea why that’s happening.

  51. Graig Fravel says:

    That’s an interesting question to bring up….I thought of it for a minute after seeing NBC’s, “Crosby Frustration Clips.” Why was there no one rushing to his defense except for Kunitz once? Is there a problem with Crosby on the team? Then I remembered, “Oh, yeah, we’re just weenies, except for when when we respond in a dirty way rather than with fists.” I also disagree with the logic of keeping Crosby over Malkin, if said choice presented itself. I love Crosby, don’t get me wrong. Having grown up with 66, though, Malkin can physically dominate the same way. Crosby is more Gretzky-like in his game. There’s nothing wrong with it, but in today’s physical NHL, Malkin(despite his own injuries) is better to have. In the open ice, Malkin sometimes pulls me to the edge of my seat the same way 66 did. I can’t say that for Crosby. Now, if Crosby can get to the net the way he used to(watch his 2009 playoff goals-well over half of the 15(!) he scored were around the net, including all three in the famous double hat-trick game), he’ll be better. Now, though, he is a perimeter player.

  52. Dom says:

    You must be on notice.

  53. Sarah says:

    No.
    This was an edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.

  54. DJ says:

    Guess that’s the reward for complimenting DK on his writing.

  55. Jandy says:

    Same thing happened yesterday to Thunder. LOL Yinz are over the moderation limit ;)

  56. DJ says:

    Warning to Thunder and DJ: We’ve got our eyes on BOTH of you so even ONE slip up and you are so gone.

  57. Sarah says:

    Re-post

    Sarah
    May 13, 2014 at 11:44 PM
    Well I read DKs column and I’m a little confused…..
    Mario and Burkle are Seething at the treatment of Sid and their stars?
    These were the guys that watched as the very types of players that would have protected their stars, that would have made the team “sandpaper” or “hard to play against” were steadily removed …..from Talbot to Rupp to Asham, to exhibit A Matt Cooke, who’s the only guy I can think of in immediate history that might make the likes of Dubinsky or Staal physically afraid, without seriously degrading the line-up, and by that I mean Glass or Engo….
    If we are reduced to saying THOSE two guys might make us tough enough that Sid and Geno could play without concern, then I dunno what to say.
    But Dubinsky and Staal should have been turned into hamburger the next shift on the ice, the first time they touched Sid, and Glass or no Glass, this team has not been prepared to do that for a LONG time. A long time.
    And NOW Mario/Burkle are seething? I’m betting Sid has been seething awhile longer.
    The Pens need to decide what league they are playing in: the NHL they wish existed, or the one that does.

  58. DJ says:

    Said this before but was reminded once again when I saw Kane score the OT winner for the Hawks.

    We’ve forgotten where the center of the ice is. Rare to see Sid or Geno going straight to the net.

  59. Dcpinpgh says:

    Ever think it’s te culture? The overly wussified culture. The word bully is so overplayed but that is why the Pens failed. The part of society that creates it’s own rules. Like, if you hit Crosby, we will inflict pain on you. Doesn’t matter if it’s a legal hit or not. You touch him, you will be sore tomorrow. You bully that into the other team. Then Crosby has an easier time and hopefully scores more goals.

    On the flip side, I would walk up and say anything I wanted to, to Brooks Orpik. If I wanted to, I would call him every name in the book. I know he won’t pop me in the mouth. On the ice you have to respect that he can hit hard, but I doubt anyone fears him…

  60. Jandy says:

    :snicker:

  61. David says:

    Two points:

    1) The Pens were still trying to win under the 2005-2006 rules, where the most important thing was just getting the puck out of the defensive zone ASAP because defenders weren’t allowed to do anything except back up and try to poke check it away. Interference, holding, etc. have slowly but surely crept back into the game and it’s more important now to move up the ice as a unit. Go back to Games 2-4 and you’d see the Pens drop it back to defenders and start the breakout again if they didn’t like a look. At the end of the series, it was the same old 120 foot passes followed by forwards delaying then looking for the late man.

    2) Today sucks. It’s reasonable given the team’s top-end talent to want them to be better and expect more than what some have given. But don’t forget where we came from either. Ten years ago, Dick Tarnstrom led the team with 52 points.

  62. Dom says:

    If DB is let go, when do you feel the announcement will take place?

  63. Jim S. says:

    On the Pens …. I’d consider anything. Anything. Well, not Sid. Anything else, though. This team needs retooled, physically and mentally. Tweaking won’t do it. There is not much depth. Way too top heavy, and I think that only gets worse when Jokinen and Niskanen are gone.

    Mr. Hurdle: Please stop putting guys in RF who were never trained as OF. It really isn’t as easy as you seem to think it is to play out there. Roberto’s ghost must cringe every time he sees Josh Harrison misplay a flyball or launch a lollipop throw on a play at the plate.

  64. Jandy says:

    Jim, good morning! it is my hope that Niskie can be kept on. He gets better every season. He’s also very candid. I like it.

    I didn’t watch the Bucs last night. Harrison in right field? Well, he did ok there the last time I saw him, made a really nice catch and slammed into the wall. But he was fine. I guess he flubbed last night eh? he must be a better infield utility player then ;)

  65. Jim S. says:

    I miss him, too.

    Then, he goes back to stupid stuff that I thought he had outgrown. But, he’s a good player.

  66. SeanAY says:

    It’s May.

  67. Thundercrack says:

    I may be in the minority here, but I think it is still too early to think 2 games in mid-May are ‘must win’. No matter who the opponent is.

  68. Sarah says:

    It certainly is culture to a degree.
    The term Country Club didn’t come out of nowhere.

  69. Lad 9 says:

    Jandy did you read any of the posts well after the game last night? Some disturbing stuff between good people. It was not a happy place….

  70. Jim S. says:

    I don’t blame Harrison. I just don’t believe in putting guys in positions that they have not been trained for. He takes bad routes to balls, misjudges balls, and he has an infielder’s arm. Other than that, he’s a great OF.

    I hear you about Nisky. I would love for him to return. But, if he has good options, why would he return?

  71. Jim S. says:

    Coach Bylsma,

    If you have an inkling it might be your last game, you just can’t go out wearing that suit. ;-)

  72. Scott says:

    There are a lot of things to rant about this morning, but I’ll stick to one particularly irksome topic:

    James Neal is rubbish. He embodies everything that is wrong with this team: mindless penalties, lack of effort, disappearance in big games, sour attitude. He’s now scored a goal in 7 of 38 career playoff games.

    I’m pretty sure he’s the main guy Mark Madden is referring to when he talks about a couple of Pens players who weren’t here in 2009 yet still strut around like they’ve won a Cup.

    If I’m GM, first priority this offseason is trading Neal for whatever I can get. Clear up the cap space, use the money to attempt to re-sign Niskanen, open a spot in the top 6 for Bennett. Addition by subtraction.

  73. Jandy says:

    True about why SHOULD he? We shall see I guess…

  74. Jandy says:

    LOL!

  75. Arriba Wilver says:

    “The Pens need to decide what league they are playing in: the NHL they wish existed, or the one that does.”

    Agree with that 100%. Sounds like from DK’s column they have. Interesting, though, do you think there were mixed signals from on high with the Cooke situation and Mario’s attempts to set an example? Not an excuse for what just happened— there’s no excuse, but just curious. (This is more navel gazing than expecting to know the answer).

    Personally, I thought the stuff yesterday about the speculation that marketing was influencing player decisions was explosive, if true. And that’s on the owners, too, if that is happening.

  76. Jandy says:

    Talk about a disappointing player. When he signed Neal in 2011, he struggled. Then, in 2011-2012, he had a 40 goal campaign. I thought he fit in well. After that…ugh. 21 goals, and 27 goals. Not putrid, but …
    then to see him hurt the team with his stupid penalties, and lazy play (good word, Geno). He can’t be gone fast enough, if anyone will take him.
    I thought Niskie was one of a few players who played well this post season. If we can re-sign him I’d be thrilled. But like Jim S said elsewhere, why should he sign here, he may have better options elsewhere…

  77. Jandy says:

    yes I did Lad, and in an effort not to set off another explosion I am remaining silent. This blog can be extremely brutal at times.
    As I enjoy the interchange between everyone here, I’ll let it be.

  78. Bizrow says:

    Well, looks like the blog survived the meltdown.

    Now lets see what the future brings

  79. Sarah says:

    Or that tie.
    With that suit.

    A surreal presser, really.

  80. Sarah says:

    Neal has put his Nevillewood house up for sale, FWIW.
    A few months ago.

  81. Arriba Wilver says:

    Yes, his penalty when the Pens had the power play was unforgivable, I thought.

  82. 21sthebest says:

    I’ve only ever thought that a must win game means you’re eliminated from playoff contention if you don’t win it.

  83. Thundercrack says:

    As I mentioned before I really don’t watch a lot of hockey on TV. Most of it is for just checking the score or while a commercial is on another station. ( I can’t remember the last time I watched a complete game start-to-finish. Probably when Mario was still playing).

    Two things I noticed last night:

    1) The goal is tiny! DK wrote about it earlier this season. There is not a lot of room to shoot at.
    2) The players are so big now that there is not a lot of open room on the ice. Or so it seems. It just seemed so congested

  84. Milo Hamilton says:

    It’s good to see you this morning Biz.

  85. Jim S. says:

    Isn’t it the English Premier League that has no playoffs? Maybe the Pens should lobby for that format in the NHL. Everyone would think they are a contender every season if there were only 82 games.

  86. Bizrow says:

    You too, Sir ;-)

  87. Sarah says:

    Completely believe mixed signals were sent re Cooke.
    And in my worst moments I think the NYI fight-debacle was when the team began to be neutered…pardon the expression…

  88. Baywatch says:

    Follow the yellow brick road.

  89. Milo Hamilton says:

    Oh well, look at the bright side. This just gives us more time to devote to Rob Blanchflower.

  90. ken robertson says:

    Mario never took the beating that Mark S. put on Syd all series. His team was as big a no show as he was.

  91. ken robertson says:

    +1

  92. Jim S. says:

    I didn’t watch it, but it sounds like it was a dooooosy. “If the inevitable happens …”

    Or, something to that effect? Awkward for Coach B. and everyone else.

  93. TJA says:

    I understand, TC, what you are saying and agree….long way to go. All I was thinking was you just need a couple wins in the “House of Horrors” to get things back on track in their yard. Winning 4 straight series would be good, but winning it in the H of H would be better. Make a statement that we can win there. That was all.

  94. SeanAY says:

    Our football SID tells me that the guy is a stud TE, and a steal in the seventh round.

  95. Wild Bill says:

    Just because of my crabby mood over the Pens: Polanco’s OPS is now 1.021. He better improve big time if he wants to make the majors some time this year.

  96. Lad 9 says:

    I think you are wise and I am going to lay low there myself. Talk to ya soon.

  97. Lad 9 says:

    +++++ Many on the Milo comment

  98. Lad 9 says:

    O thought the same thing about the suit Jim!

  99. Jandy says:

    I’m here anytime Lad. Remember I can be reached at bichlady@aol.com. Always love to hear from friends from this here blog :)

  100. Arriba Wilver says:

    Agree, and that was last year, right? And not addressed. Or am I misremembering the timing?

  101. TJA says:

    to you hockey fans/experts out there: if the bylsma and/or shero get fired….who do the pens bring in? I was just wondering.

  102. Milo Hamilton says:

    I heard him being talked about Saturday on the radio before he was drafted in much the same way.

  103. JohninOshkosh says:

    Tough night in my sports world last night.

    Pens lose and one of my favorite coaches likely to get bum’s rush. I think if this was the pre-internet era when people couldn’t swarm on people like angry Dobermans and every move wasn’t sliced up like smoked carp, then maybe a good man who brought the city a championship might have been recalled more fondly. Like Chuck Tanner, for example. Instead, it looks like most will view him as an incompetent.

    My Wild exit stage left to the great Blackhawks, who benefit from a fortuitous bounce of the puck. Sad the season is over. Y’all can have Cooke and his bloated salary he collects while suspended during some of the most important games in franchise history back!

    Personally watched The Beloved lose to the Nashville Sounds at Miller Park. I entered the stadium at Dante’s gate. The one that says, “Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here”.

  104. Jim S. says:

    That’s a good call, Sarah. That game vs. the Islanders was embarrassing.

  105. Wild Bill says:

    Trotz is being talked about a lot as coach. Makes sense, he’s long established and well respected. And he and Shero have worked together before. But if Shero goes, then it’s up for grabs.

  106. Jandy says:

    I’m no expert, but they could go within and go with Jacques Martin, or look outside, and Barry Trotz has been mentioned already.

  107. Jandy says:

    Sorry about your Wild, Oshie :(

  108. Jim S. says:

    Agreed, TC. But, if they lose these 2, they go back to 10.5 down to Milwaukee. That’s not a good situation.

    Still have hope for the WC, of course.

    FWIW, I think they will win tonight. Tomorrow, I dunno.

  109. Arriba Wilver says:

    I think he thought it was his lucky suit. ;-)

  110. SeanAY says:

    Find a way to get Mike Babcock. The Wings have an excellent coach at their AHL affiliate as well, Jeff Blashill. They may be amenable to working some sort of deal out with Babcock (who has one year remaining on his deal) with Blashill in the fold.

    Babcock knows how to work with a tough-minded team, and he’s also shown the ability to coach superstars.

  111. Jim S. says:

    Hey, Lad!

  112. Wild Bill says:

    Me too, was hoping they’d win for the upset factor and so we could give Milo a hard time. Plus, any team called Wild is one I have to root for!

  113. Jandy says:

    OMG! that would be amazing, if we could get Babs. SeanAy, set up a meeting, quick ;)

  114. Jim S. says:

    “He chose …. poorly.”

    Anyone know what movie that line comes from?

  115. Jandy says:

    +++

  116. Wild Bill says:

    Sean, not denying he’d be attractive, but why would Babcock want to leave the Red Wings?

  117. Jim S. says:

    Would the Wings choose the AHL coach over Babcock, Sean?

  118. Thundercrack says:

    This morning when DK was on WDVE he floated the idea of Babcock coaching the Pens. He said that ‘secretly’ Babcock wants to coach the Penguins

  119. Milo Hamilton says:

    The parallels between the Pens/Rangers series & the Pacers/Wizards series are striking. Both series are all about the underachieving favorites with whispers about what’s going on behind the scenes. Both the Pens & Pacers have dead coaches walking. Both favorites jumped out to a 3-1 series after laying an egg in the first game, then were blown out on their home ice/court in Game 5 with a chance to eliminate their underdog opponent. And I didn’t even get around to the Larry Bird/Mario Lemieux angle.

    Game 6 is Thursday in Washington.

  120. Lad 9 says:

    DK was on WDVE this morning (he was excellent btw) and he brought up a very intriguing name – Mike Babcock. He said that Babcok is on record as stating that he would love to coach the Penguins, and he only has one year left on his contract. DK was very clear that this was pure speculation, but it certainly is fun speculation!

  121. Honestly, I feel a bit for Dan Bylsma. In all fairness, he shouldn’t have been behind the bench this season. Shero went for broke last season and absolutely loaded the lineup. If any Penguins team since the 2009 version was to have a chance at returning to the Stanley Cup Finals, that was it. The Penguins were loaded for bear, but it was the Bruin that won out in the end. Shero thought he was doing Bylsma a favor by keeping the faith in his head coach…

    But this year’s team was not last year’s: too many injuries, too many holes, too little depth. Honestly, the results are indicative of where I thought the Penguins would finish (this says NOTHING of how they finished, which is a different story altogether): a favorable second-round matchup gave them a chance, but this team was not up to the task of taking down either the Bruins or the Canadiens. The expectations, however, did not change. Dan Bylsma was still tasked with delivering playoff hardware, and certainly bettering the team’s results from the season prior. Except, Bylsma didn’t have nearly the lineup to do it.

    This is not absolving Bylsma, as the manner in which the Penguins exited speaks more than the statistics, but Shero did him no favors by keeping him around. I fault Shero for that, but I don’t hold the personnel decisions against him. I still think he did everything he could to win a championship last year, even at the expense of prospect-level depth. I can’t fault him for trying to capitalize on what was probably the last best chance of this core to return to the finals.

  122. 21sthebest says:

    I still have hope for the division. And by the way, the Cardinals really aren’t very good.

  123. Arriba Wilver says:

    Personally, and no expert by any stretch, if Bylsma goes I don’t see any way they keep Shero, who convinced them to extend him for 2 years last year. And I didn’t go to Harvard business school, either, but that wouldn’t make much sense.

    It’s not like he’s Peterson at Pitt, who extended Wandy for how many years and fired him the next year.

    Just joking about that last part. No mixed signals, can’t see it happening. But, I was surprised Shero kept Disco last year.

  124. SeanAY says:

    It’s a hard thing to pinpoint, but that’s the talk around Michigan. There’s been talk of him potentially leaving after next year and taking the U of M hockey job because Red Berenson is likely soon to be gone.

    Like I said, I don’t know that anyone is necessarily talking about getting rid of Babcock, but he does only have one year left on his deal.

    A fella can dream, right?

  125. Arriba Wilver says:

    I love Babcock.

  126. SeanAY says:

    Thunder,

    I heard that interview and kicked the thought around the office full of Red Wings fans. No one outright called it crazy.

  127. SeanAY says:

    I don’t know that it would be choosing one over the other, per se. Blashill is a good coach, and he’s going to get a head job eventually.

    Likewise, Wings fans are lukewarm on Babcock right now.

    Maybe you do it because you feel like you hang on to Blashill.

  128. Jandy says:

    I could see a scenario where he (Babs) might come to the Penguins. The Wings are on a decline right now. Wouldn’t rule it out…interesting indeed…

  129. Jim S. says:

    What do college hockey coaches make per year? That would be a big dropoff from the Red Wings $$ if he were to go to UM.

    I’d love to see him in Pittsburgh, though.

  130. Robert says:

    There are some narratives that are highly overblown.
    1. Crosby can’t perform in the playoffs: For all his talent, he is not nor has he ever been physically big enough to create his own space (especially in the playoffs). Anyone who watches the NHL playoffs knows it a circus of holding and abuse. Playing with Kunitz alone is not enough. He needs a road-paver now more than ever. We’re talking about a guy whose career was nearly put in jeopardy by hits to the head. It makes sense for his career to put him with someone who can dish it out as well as take the pressure off. Could he have produced more? With a little luck, probably. That doesn’t diminish the fact that his line looked completely out-gunned at times.
    2. Bylsma sucks: I know he made mistakes. Coaches make mistakes. After some time to clear my thoughts and without making assumptions about how much influence he has on roster decisions, in terms of trades and drafting, Bylsma won the cup with a roster (excluding commonalities) that included Fedotenko, Cooke, Talbot, Staal, Guerin, Kennedy, Sykora, Satan, Gill, Boucher, and Mark Eaton. Let’s alone not forget Dupuis didn’t play this postseason. No one can tell me that this 2014 team even approaches that team in terms of grit and physicality. That’s a team that was capable of imposing its will. This team, physically, can not. You have to have players willing to get dirty. No amount of motivation or game planning can keep soft players from being soft in the heat of action.
    3. Fleury is awful: Is anyone going to argue that he has had almost no help in front of the net? And the number of odd-man rushes he’s faced in this playoff is mind boggling. He stole a couple of games, by himself. He should be absolved from most of this blame game.

    And something that fires me up is the comparison of Crosby and Malkin to Toews and Kane in Chicago.
    a. First and foremost, Toews and Kane don’t play the same position. They have played together and will continue to do so without one of them having to change positions. That’s a big deal for a lot of players.
    b. Second, they haven’t been more offensively productive than Crosby and Malkin. They’ve combined for 20 points in 24 combined games. 87 and 71 had 23 points in 26 combined games. As a team, Chicago has 35 goals in 12 games and Pittsburgh had 34 through 12 games (not including last night’s game 7). So, please, give me a break. And I don’t really want to hear about scoring goals verses assists. If Crosby had won the scoring title with no goals and 104 assists, he still created the same amount of offense.
    c. Who would you rather have in your bottom 6? The Pens mishmash or Chicago’s Shaw, Versteeg, Saad, Bollig, Kruger, & Smith? I know which one I’d pick. And just ask the 2009 Penguins if those guys don’t make all the difference.

    My conclusions:
    Shero, acknowledging his ability to haggle at the deadline, hasn’t been able to grow much talent through the draft which results in a very OLD team surrounding two of the best players in the world. Maybe that’s scouting, in which case he should have identified it and made the changes, or it’s philosophy. Either way, he should probably be fired and I’m fine with that.
    Bylsma deserves less venom than is directed his way. Did he get the best out of the players? Maybe not. But he also didn’t have enough to work with. Whether people like it or not, these Penguins just weren’t good enough. And I think that’s important when evaluating his performance as a coach.

    That said. Time to move on. Go Bucs.

  131. MarkV says:

    Mario is not going to hire Babcock. He had a coach like that in Scotty Bowman and Bowman was gone pretty quickly even after winning a Cup. I think Mario is looking for another Bob Johnson. Always upbeat. Thought he had that with Bylsma.
    Maybe Mario has changed his mind and now realizes that if Bowman stayed he might have one or two more Cups.

  132. Robert says:

    “These were the guys that watched as the very types of players that would have protected their stars, that would have made the team “sandpaper” or “hard to play against” were steadily removed …..from Talbot to Rupp to Asham, to exhibit A Matt Cooke”

    Absolutely correct. They didn’t step in.

  133. Jim S. says:

    I haven’t given up on the division, either. But, you have to admit, teams don’t come back from 10.5 (plus 2 other teams) very often. It can be done, but it ain’t easy. Everything just seems to be bouncing right for the Brewers this year. I mean, if K-Rod can keep getting people out with the stuff he seems to be serving up …

    The Cardinals have Wainwright, Wacha and a few other pitchers. Their offense and defense are average to below average, in my opinion. It is hard for me to say the Cards or Reds are better than the Bucs.

  134. Jim S. says:

    +++, Sean.

  135. Jim S. says:

    Unfortunately, I think we may also be on a decline right now.

  136. SeanAY says:

    No, I’m sure he’s prefer to stay in the pros.

    But you can basically declare yourself czar with a college hockey job.

  137. Leah Backus says:

    All I can do right now is laugh at some of the ludicrous suggestions that are being made. Thank goodness most of you people don’t own your own sports teams. Within a year or two of running your teams into the ground, you’d be sitting beside Mike Milbury doing bad color commentary. Sheesh.

  138. Patrick(ri) says:

    A new era in waiting was displayed last night in Indianapolis, as everybody knows. Local papers are super impressed by Polanco and his performance last night against the Pawsox. I wanted to add that he destroyed a pitcher I saw last week. De La Rosa is no chump. He regularly hit in the mid to high 90′s and seemed to have a couple of other pitches.

    I “patiently” await the arrival of the savior.

  139. SeanAY says:

    If you’re going to call out people’s suggestions, it’s usually good form to point out what you disagree with, rather than make a blanket “all you people are stupid” statement.

    Unless you don’t feel like actually debating anyone, and are more interested in drive-by mockery.

  140. MarkV says:

    Looking back over the year, the most enjoyable time of watching the Pens was when they looked more like Wilkes-Barre than Pittsburgh. No expectations that they would win as many games as they did. Certainly played more as a team than the group that just got the bums rush out of the playoffs.

  141. Wild Bill says:

    So, Leah, having taken the time to drop by and be snarky, what would be your ideas to improve the Pens?

  142. twentytwo22 says:

    Babcock
    Pros: More skill
    Cons: His teams are softer than Bylsma’s. History of playoff losses to aggressive teams: Anaheim, San Jose, Nashville, Boston. After game 1 people thought maybe Detroit could beat Boston. Boston turned that series into a street fight and the Red Wings wilted. Datsyuk and Zetterberg have been beaten to a pulp in recent years and are breaking down physically. Datsyuk and Zetterberg at times are the ones initiating the physical play to counter the physical play done to them. They get no support from teammates. The book is out on the Penguins players, go after them and get them off of their game. Bringing Babcock in doesn’t change those tactics. I don’t think he’s the man to handle them.

    Hopefully this information being leaked is to be used as leverage against Detroit for an extension.

  143. Jim S. says:

    There are already 130+ comments today, with almost all of them being about the Pens. You really need to be more specific.

  144. Milo Hamilton says:

    And I haven’t even brought up Mike Keenan yet. :)

  145. hockeymonster says:

    Coach Keenan has been around in spirit.

  146. Lad 9 says:

    Hey Jim! One of my favorite movies – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Still laugh out loud funny in spots after all these years. “Son….they got us” :)

  147. Wild Bill says:

    Heard an interview with him on the NHL network on XM last week. Scary to say, but I think he still has the itch to coach.

  148. Poole says:

    Been hearing Babcock is a real possibility as the new coach here. He has one year left on his contract in Detroit which is the main barrier. But according to the ‘insiders’, he is grown tired of Detroit and would love to coach the Pens.

  149. Milo Hamilton says:

    He’s Larry Brown. He’ll always want to coach & he’ll go anywhere to do it. And Like Larry Brown, he’s great at it.

  150. Naterosboro says:

    Wednesday writings…

    * I said after Game 6, that Game 7 didn’t feel good. Felt like Montreal in 2010. The Rangers grabbed the momentum and Henrik Lundqvist was every bit the King he can be in the final 3 games of the series.

    * I said Sidney Crosby had to be the best player on the ice for the Penguins to win. He was not.

    * Marc-Andre Fleury put some of his post-season demons behind him. Too bad the same can’t be said for James Neal.

    * Boy, what a difference 3 months makes. Dan Bylsma was head coach of the US, trying to win a gold, and then head coach of a top seeded EC team in the Penguins. Now, he’s most likely jobless. I think he’ll find another home though.

    * I’m not sure it’s imperative they keep Niskanen. They have Doumolin, Bortuzzo, Despres & Pouliot all needing blue line time.

    * If they do go with a new GM & new HC, I’m 100% on board. I’d like some new voices in here. With that said, if they were to keep it together, I’d also be ok with that too. Shero & Bylsma aren’t chopped liver. And at some level, it comes down to the guys they trusted (and paid) to win, letting them down. GMs & Coaches rarely show up on the score sheet….

    * Here’s a possible new GM: anyone that can move the Scuderi contract. Also, found this on Twitter. If the new GM can assemble this group, next year, Stanley’s Cup is guaranteed to come back to Pittsburgh: http://imgur.com/ChcIG52

    * Johnny Football (crazy to think a guy with the last name Football would be so good at it…) might not have Josh Gordon to throw the ball to. Gordon is facing an 8-16 game suspension for marijuana.

    * The NFL is re-evaluating its stance on marijuana (it’s not retroactive; too bad for Gordon): http://weedmaps.kinja.com/report-nfl-to-change-its-marijuana-policy-reduce-susp-1575911947/+tcraggs22. I’m not sure why you’d want your star athletes drinking and using prescription pills to medicate, when a safer, less (if not totally un-) addictive option is available.

    * Here’s hoping the NFL can help the United States re-evaluate its stance on marijuana. We’ve come a long way from the 1930s. Still have a long way to go.

    * The Pirates lost again in Mil……ahh, I can’t even type it. I hate that stupid team in Milwaukee so much. I hate that ballpark. I hate that stupid mascot. I hate that stupid slide. I hate Ryan Braun. I hate Carlos Gomez. A plague on Miller Park I say!

    Enjoy the rest of your day! :-)

  151. Wild Bill says:

    Nate, our friend John in Oshkosh may have some pointed words for you after that last one.

  152. Poole says:

    Wow, sorry. So many comments I missed that this was already brought up. Sorry for regurgitating information :-)

  153. Cobra39 says:

    It’s a good thing that I don’t give two cents about hockey. If I did, I’d probably be apoplectic like so many here appear to be. I have no idea why hockey is so popular in Pittsburgh; give me an NBA team over an NHL one any day of the week.

  154. Andrew says:

    Pirates need to send a exorcist out to RF and expel the demons that haunt that park.

  155. Jandy says:

    all good, Poole

  156. Andrew says:

    All European football leagues play this way, you play every other team in the league twice home and ways, fairest way to determine a champion.

    Playoffs are entertainment.

  157. Jandy says:

    Leah Backus

    Springfield, Missouri

    Eclectic diva, quirky homemaker, unashamed hippie, anti-soccer mom, professional hockey fan, and mayhem instigator with writerly aspirations.

  158. Jim S. says:

    I love that movie, too, Lad.

    “Nazis. I hate these guys.”

  159. Dom says:

    Are you from Pittsburgh, Cobra?

  160. Bizrow says:

    Any word on Marte?

  161. Jandy says:

    :thwap:

    ;)

  162. Jandy says:

    *when

  163. Jandy says:

    I dunno about that…but Mario’s teammates beat the snot out of anyone who dared.

  164. Andrew says:

    I’ve haven’t seen anything.

    Does anyone remember if Marte had an oblique issue last year in addition to the hand or was that Tabata?

  165. Naterosboro says:

    The league is a 38 game competition. 20 teams playing each other, home and away. 3 pts for a W, 0 for an L, and 1 for a draw. Team with the most points after those 38 games gets the trophy.

    Then there is the League (Capital One) Cup and the FA Cup. These are knockout style competitions with the 1st 2 (League) and 4 (FA) divsions of English soccer competing. These competitions are played during the league season. League Cup Final in in February, and FA Cup Final is May (This Sat. May 17 is this year’s final date).

    Then there is the Champions & Europa League, which are group and knockout style (similar to world cup) competitions with the best club teams in Europe playing a group stage over the fall and winter, and then a knockout stage (top 2 in CL and top 3 in EL (in the groups) advance to knockout) in winter into the spring (Finals are in May).

    I know you were just trying to make a little quip Jim, but Soccer (unless its the MLS) isn’t really like our pro sports seasons (where it’s regular season + playoffs = winner). It’s a bunch of different competitions, with the Top teams having the chance to lift 4 trophies in 1 season. I don’t think thats happened yet tho…

  166. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Babcock is a guy that would not stand for timidly going out of the playoffs like the Pens have in recent years.
    That is definitely someone to try to move on, if at all possible.

  167. cmat0829 says:

    If Polanco is to be the savior of the 2014 Bucs, he will have to hold down 3 or 4 starting pitching slots and play defense at 3B, 1B and perhaps catcher. And work out of the bullpen now and then.

  168. Jim S. says:

    I’m from Pittsburgh, but live near Chicago, Cobra. Given the choice, Chicago sides with the Hawks over the Bulls by a wide margin. Bulls sell out, but that is only because you can’t not sell out with 8 million population. I don’t sense much passion for the NBA here. So, it isn’t just Pittsburgh.

  169. likeabugonarug says:

    I do wonder how much of Niskanen’s and Jokinen’s play was contract related? You know, the UFA $$$$ play? Are they really that good and will continue to be on a consistent basis? Or did things just go the right way at the right time for both of them? (You know, kinda like the crygirls CB who had the picks against O’Donnell in SB XXX, got the big contract, but when it came to reality after that his play stunk).

    In one player’s defense, I do think Letang’s play improved as the series went along. And maybe, with an improvement in disciplined play from a different head coach, he can become the player his contract is paying for.

    Kevin

  170. JohninOshkosh says:

    I love this love for Babcock.

    Last appearance in SC Final was 2009. Last won it in 2008. Has not advanced to Conference Finals since 09.

    Hasn’t exactly been working with chopped liver in Detroit, either. Players and resources abound.

    How is that any better, if not worst, than Bylsma ?

  171. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, totally different mindset toward post-season in US pro sports. I’m sure our playoffs are based on making more money, but they often make the regular season seem pretty unimportant. US fans have bought into them.

  172. cmat0829 says:

    Bitter, frustrating loss again to the Brewers… Bucs are 1-7 vs. the BrewCrew this season, almost singlehandedly resulting in the Brewers hot start and the Pirates poor start.

    I think the Bucs inability to solve Estrada is the most frustrating part of this offense, and it has been the case for YEARS now. The core of the lineup, Walker/Cutch/Pedro, especially when they are not on a hot streak, just can’t bring themselves to set up and hit outside pitches the other way. Estrada is nothing special but he most definitely can paint outside corner at the knees. As much as I joke about the Cardinals ‘punch and judy’ approach, there are certain pitchers you have to do that to. No excuse for the Pirates core to have faced this guy 6-10 times or more the past few seasons and offer up NO ADJUSTMENTS WHATSOEVER. Another listless performance last night. Just once, can I ask, just once for this team, including their power hitters, to show a meaningful adjustment to a pitcher they have no success against? Why not try something different?

    So many ‘swing for the fence’ pull swings on pitches that can’t possibly be hit that way….. why? why? why?

    I thought both Brown and Wehner pointed this out a lot during the telecast last night… Wehner seems to get it, but why can’t the players???

    Defense was sloppy, Cole was not super sharp, but big reason for Bucs despair in Miller Field is their OFFENSE doesn’t show up… you won’t win much in Milwaukee unless you score 4-5-6 runs…..

  173. likeabugonarug says:

    John, not to defend what Cooke did, but IMO he shouldn’t have been suspended. Not because he didn’t deserve it, but why should he be singled out when no one else has been through-out these playoffs for the same thing?

    Didn’t see him play much this year, so don’t know if he just didn’t fit in with the Wild or if his play was just not that good. Do wish he’d been on our team, though.

    Kevin

  174. Jandy says:

    +++

  175. cmat0829 says:

    Interesting quote from Cards GM Mozeliak (sp?) today…essentially that 19-20 is ‘unacceptable’ and they will not stand pat and expect a ‘regression up to the mean’ from their current team… that July is the time period where you can add to the team from outside….. if he were totally honest, he would’ve also called out himself and said “the offseason moves I made were a disaster. Not re-signing Beltran leaves a big void in our lineup. Trading Freese for Bourjos was pretty much pathetic. And DiPoto of the Angels is a real idiot so I worked overtime on that one. If I were dumping Beltran to make room for Tavares, I should have probably called him up by now, but I am waiting for Super2 clearance”.

    Now, Mo is a great GM and he is spot on in calling out his team for underachieving, but so glad his offseason wasn’t that much better than the Bucs terrible offseason.

    I’m waiting for NH to make similar statement…this team is underachieving, especially on defense and what appears to be execution issues on the pitching staff, top to bottom…. starters and relievers, all, seem to be missing spots here and there and that is really bringing the team down. Is focus an issue? This team, as constituted, needs absolutely clean games with everyone clearly focused on the little things. In 2014, I’m still waiting for the first evidence of clean, focused execution of the game plan.

  176. Cobra39 says:

    Western PA, but not Pittsburgh. I’m a Steelers, Pirates fan. I will watch hockey from time to time and if the Pens win the Cup, great, I’m happy for the team and fans, but if they lose I just don’t care very much about it. I just find the sport tedious.

  177. 21sthebest says:

    Well I’m glad we’re not 10.5 back.

  178. Jim S. says:

    I think the Cardinals may struggle on offense all season. And, I think they have range issues on defense in several places.

    Rosenthal blew the save, but it wasn’t costly again as they pulled it out in 12.

  179. Arriba Wilver says:

    I like you SeanAY.

  180. Milo Hamilton says:

    Would someone please find Casey Kasem. I’m starting to get worried.

  181. Jim S. says:

    That’s fair. To each his own.

    If an NBA franchise had been planted here 45 or so years ago, and an NHL franchise had been planted in Cleveland, rather than vice versa, the roles would likely be reversed as far as the popularity of each sport in those cities.

  182. Andrew says:

    Cmat, I agree it is frustrating. My view is most major league hitters are optimized, they have honed what talent they have to be the best hitter they can be, the guys who undergo radical changes, Chris Davis, Joey Bautista, are stories because they are rare. Hitting the ball the opposite way is hard, hitting groundballs the opposite is incredibly hard.

    I think the Cardinals approach is more with their drafting and development, they seem to identify and draft non-toolsy players and make them good hitter for a few years, then sign guys like Holliday who are just damn good hitters.

  183. Jim S. says:

    This might require a long distance dedication.

  184. JohninOshkosh says:

    It’s a very weird story. I do hope he didn’t go somewhere and end it all.

    He has Parkinson’s disease and had been recently feuding with his wife, 80′s sitcom fixture Jean.

    Other weird story of late was internet rumor of the death of Subway Jared.

  185. Naterosboro says:

    The NBA trying to get out from the Donald Sterling mess. By selling more sh*t……

    @darrenrovell 9m

    NBA has now licensed “We Are One” hats pic.twitter.com/byAe54p3Sm (via @Mr_Libros)

  186. Arriba Wilver says:

    He beat him in the Olympics. Did he have a better team?

    Sorry, John, and certainly no offense, but while I agree the Bylsma criticism has been way overboard all season, Babcock’s clearly a better coach. He definitely has better hair.

    But, Bylsma was not responsible for Putin’s takeover of the Crimea.

  187. Arriba Wilver says:

    Almost forgot—and better suits.

  188. Patrick(ri) says:

    2014 arrival does not = salvation. I agree about leaky defense and mediocre pitching, but I almost salivate at the prospect of watching the outfield, no matter where the team is in the standings. At least triple the joy of watching Jack & Freddy in those awful seasons. TBMTIB needs to get to work!

  189. JohninOshkosh says:

    ++++

  190. 21sthebest says:

    DK, I wanted to ask you about this statement that you made in the chat yesterday:

    “The part that ISN’T gray is that the only payments OUTSIDE the company were repayments of a $20 million loan to owners, one from more than a decade ago. It was made against Nutting’s will, his hand forced by minority owners.”

    My understanding from reading the financial statements and from the article that you wrote on August 23, 2010 was that the loan wasn’t repaid but that the $20.4 million payment to the owners was for two separate items (1) $10.8 million paid to the entire ownership group to pay their share of income taxes on undistributed profits for the years 2006 and 2007, and (2) $9.6 million paid to Nutting for interest on the $20 million loan made by Nutting to the team in 2003 (which is calculated by me to be at an interest rate of approximately 7.8%). The $20 million loan was then converted to equity in 2008 at Nutting’s option thereby increasing his ownership stake and reducing that of the minority partners. Therefore, the loan wasn’t repaid in cash but converted to equity.

    Also, what you reported that the minority owners were displeased about was that they were paying their income taxes on undistributed profits out of their own pockets as opposed to receiving distributions from the team, money which is rightfully theirs and customarily distributed by partnerships.

  191. Jim S. says:

    I wonder if the judge may be smelling foul play with Casey.

  192. Jim S. says:

    He has excellent hair. That’s a good and undervalued asset, Arriba.

    Hurdle and Tomlin both have good hair as well. We might be on to something here. :-)

  193. Jandy says:

    AND hats ;)

  194. Milo Hamilton says:

    Suzy Kolber turns 50 today. I’d have never guessed and welcome to the club.

  195. Dom says:

    That’s exactly what I read when the leaked documents became available.

    Nutting GAVE the team $20 in 2003 when the finances were a mess.

    He then only obtained $9.6 of that money back in interest on the loan. He was able to turn the principal balance into shares of the team.

  196. NMR says:

    “if he were totally honest, he would’ve also called out himself and said “the offseason moves I made were a disaster…”

    Pump the breaks on that one for a minute, cmat.

    Bourjos has done exactly what he was brough in to do: field and run. If it wasn’t for Matheny panicking in the first month of the season, he’d have CF locked down by now. Hitting .375/.423/.625 over his last 26 PA.

    Not resigning Beltran for absurd money has allowed Matt Adams to be a full time player, one that has hit better than Beltran.

    And Johnny Peralta has arguably been their best player to date.

    We should wish Huntington’s offseason was that much of a “disaster”.

  197. hockeymonster says:

    smh

    well whats left of it after it just exploded

  198. Jim S. says:

    Good bloodlines there, for sure.

  199. NMR says:

    I think the Pirates bigger issue is hitting changeups. They don’t have a problem hitting Estrada, the have a problem hitting ALL pitchers with plus command of offspeed pitches.

    The issue manifests itself as looking like their trying to pull outside pitches, but really they just suck at identifying and adjusting to offspeed stuff away.

  200. Jandy says:

    ewwww…clean it up!

  201. Andrew says:

    I never understood the fixation upon NHL coaches, for me their expendability speaks directly to their value.

    Like Scott, said up-thread a lot of things to rant about today, I could write something long but the blog might be at its saturation point.

    The Penguins issues began with the loss of Staal, the inability to replace his production and the breakdown of the depth. The issues continued when the front office failed to recognize this and address it. There are other issues but the for me the key is bottom six depth and the Penguins haven’t had it for two years.

  202. Lad 9 says:

    50! Holy smokes. I was thinking while watching the draft that she looks like she gets younger. Very well preserved…..

  203. Ellie says:

    Think this is a fair question, and agree with the Sid-vs.-Geno assessment. Hate to lose either of them, though, and suspect it’s a moot point.

  204. Andrew says:

    Is that something unique to the Pirates though, I don’t watch enough other teams to have an answer?

    If I was going to identify one pitch that the team struggles with I would go with slider, or at least for the RHH.

  205. Arriba Wilver says:

    21′s the blog expert on this.

    Trust me.

  206. Ellie says:

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  207. 21sthebest says:

    I joined that club last Fall. The other day my son who’s almost 23 introduced me to a father of one of the players he coaches and the man said that we looked like we could be brothers.

    I’ve only told that story about a dozen times.

  208. Arriba Wilver says:

    Lad–I appreciated your fair, reasonable input to the blog thing last night. Not that I was surprised, or would expect anything else from you. Just wanted to mention it.

  209. Jim S. says:

    Me, too. It’s 8.5 now.

    I was answering TC saying no 2 games in mid-May are that important. He’s right. But, if we lose these next 2, we will be 10.5 back. So, while there will still be 122 games to go after Thursday, I think the team needs to find a way to win at least one of these next 2. They made some strides on the homestand. I’d hate to see them give it all back from Sun-Thurs.

    I also think the Yanks are ripe for the picking this weekend. I’m still hoping for 4 of 6 on this trip.

  210. JohninOshkosh says:

    You’ve posted stellar posts during the playoffs, Andrew.

  211. NMR says:

    I seem to remember some work Travis had done last year heading into the playoff matchup against Wacha and his plus change where he found the Pirates were worst in the league against that pitch or something in that nature.

  212. JohninOshkosh says:

    It’s called sucking up to the coach’s dad, 21. :)

  213. Lad 9 says:

    Thank you AW! Tough night in blog land….

  214. BillyBaduka says:

    Neal is buyout eligible if he can’t be traded.

    He should be the first player moved.

  215. BillyBaduka says:

    Well said Scott

  216. JohninOshkosh says:

    I think the Pens need to acquire a player like Solange Knowles.

  217. FlBucco says:

    Mo at least did SOMETHING to try and fix problems. Jay is not a major league CF and Bourjos has been what they should have expected. Adding Peralta was very smart. He cannot be blamed for the lack of HR from Craig, Adams and Molina. They still have the best rotation in the division and assets to use to get better. The Bucs are the fourth best team in the division – and stuck there regardless of when they add Polanco

  218. BillyBaduka says:

    It is good to see you Biz

    Here’s a video I thought the blog could use today…

  219. Milo Hamilton says:

    And so it begins …

    http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/6101755-74/sources-bylsma-shero#axzz31SxdL7c5

    I find the part where they think Bylsma was hard on them particularly disturbing.

  220. FlBucco says:

    and a great make up staff

  221. Jim S. says:

    And, wasn’t it mentioned while Wainwright was dominating them that they were pretty close to the worst in the league at hitting curveballs, also?

  222. 21sthebest says:

    I understand what you mean Jim. I think this team needs to win enough games to get the playoffs. What that means as far as the next two games go, I have no idea. I realize that’s awfully simplistic but at this point in the season, that’s just how I look at things.

  223. Dom says:

    But i agreed with him though.

  224. NMR says:

    Well, I don’t agree with the division ranking at all, but you are right that the reason the Cards aren’t scoring runs isn’t the GM. It’s the players.

  225. Dom says:

    Are you against firing Bylsma?

  226. Jim S. says:

    Good choice, Billy. Such a simple, yet brilliant song.

  227. Milo Hamilton says:

    Not at all. In retrospect, it probably should have been done after they lost to the Flyers two years ago. But if they think Bylsma was tough to play for, not only are they choking dogs, they’re delusional choking dogs.

  228. 21sthebest says:

    I fooled another!

  229. Jim S. says:

    +++, 26.2.

  230. Jandy says:

    *Ownership believed Bylsma lost the dressing room this season, specifically the support of franchise centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the sources said.

    Players were unhappy with Bylsma’s numerous meetings and long practices and the decreasing sense of fun within the Penguins’ daily environment, the sources said.

    Crosby and Malkin also grew disenchanted with perceived harsh criticism they received from Bylsma during meetings, the sources said*

    Read more: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/6101755-74/sources-bylsma-shero#ixzz31iMTQDSf
    Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

    WTH? really? That’s wild stuff.

  231. Jandy says:

    +++++

    lol

  232. JohninOshkosh says:

    “decreasing sense of fun.”

    Welcome to the real world, hippies.

    Think I’ll tell my boss that the fun has decreased around the office.

  233. Jandy says:

    ha! You’ll be fired quicker than Bylsma!

  234. JohninOshkosh says:

    Except in the world of millionaire athletes, the inmates run the asylum.

    Like you say, “can’t fire the team…”

  235. Milo Hamilton says:

    Nice call Sean !

  236. SeanAY says:

    Hey now!

  237. 21sthebest says:

    I just tried to picture Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, or Phil Esposito say that there’s a decreasing sense of fun.

  238. Milo Hamilton says:

    I was listening to you on hold.

  239. Jandy says:

    exactly!

  240. Jandy says:

    indeed!

  241. Jandy says:

    They would have been too embarrassed to even think that…

  242. Ellie says:

    Bylsma lost the room because practices were *too long*?! The stars were upset he *called them out*?! They weren’t having any *fun*?! And ownership thinks it’s okay to dribble out this information?! They think this is *okay*?! I’m stunned. Flat-out gobsmacked. Unprofessional, classless, and completely and utterly tone-deaf. Wow. Just … wow.

  243. Bizrow says:

    Don’t you get paid to follow the coaching staff’s direction?

  244. Jandy says:

    Maybe these guys need some Hoka hey training!!

  245. Jandy says:

    I was under the impression, if you DIDN’T follow the coaching staff instructions, you’d get your rear kicked…or something of that nature….or at least get benched…

  246. JohninOshkosh says:

    Good call, Ellie.

    Quit dripping this stuff out to columnists and reporters so they can play point men with the “fire Bylsma” campaign.

    I don’t blame anyone for reporting it but I don’t like this kind of behavior from management. Just nut up, as the kids say, and tell Bylsma in private, mano to mano, we have to let you go and here are the reasons. Before you start singing to reporters.

  247. NMR says:

    Wow. I used to be more into hockey than baseball, and never in a million years would’ve imagined that from Crosby.

  248. Thundercrack says:

    I don’t like taking shot at Mario but it sounds like they are following the owner’s play book…a little

  249. NMR says:

    Ha, you know, for a minute I thought I might be getting the two confused. But I’m pretty sure the Pirates just suck at both.

  250. Thundercrack says:

    Didn’t they go through the ‘mental’ part of the hoka hey training?

  251. NMR says:

    Great post, John.

    Again, I’m by no means an avid hockey fan, but it sure as heck looks like the house is crumbling from the top down.

  252. Thundercrack says:

    Beltran is hurt…already

  253. BillyBaduka says:

    Thanks Jim!

  254. Jandy says:

    Supposedly, but now I’m wondering…

  255. hockeymonster says:

    For the record I don’t support replacing Mr. Shero. I’d like to see what this team looks like with a master tactician behind the bench long before I replace the GM. The scouts are leaving lots to be desired but I would think long and hard before replacing Mr. Shero who is a great administrator.

  256. jzg14 says:

    End of an era is right. I’ve been very frustrated with our entire hockey system, to tell you the truth, since the 2009 system. I really don’t see a philosophical shift from the last time we dumped everyone at the end of 2001/2002. We still don’t chase down 50/50 pucks, we still don’t fight on the boards, we still don’t dump in the puck and cycle … this is all stuff you learn playing hockey when you’re a kid, and yet the entire organization focuses on pretty passes and star value to fill the seats. In my opinion, we need a systems change. We need to teach the team, whoever they are, to SHOOT THE PUCK OFTEN, chase the puck, be physical, take the hit to make the play, go to the net … without that coaching philosophy, we have no chance, and Sid and Geno can’t change that. When we crashed against Columbus and the Rangers, it opened up the ice and we won all of those games. Let’s do it for a WHOLE SEASON and then we’ll have a championship team.

  257. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’ll say one thing for Ray. His decision to trade away all of his draft picks because he had no clue what to do with them if he had kept them was forward thinking.

  258. Glad I don’t know much about hockey. This is shaping up to be a rough sports year in the Burgh.

    Pirates regression. Steelers progression. Penguins recession.

    Mercy.

  259. Jandy says:

    Double Mercy!

  260. hockeymonster says:

    Obviously i haven’t agreed with every move and non move but only way Mr. Shero should be replaced if he really is tied to disco’s hip. Replacing scouts is not an option so if Shero stays and replace scouts he should stay. If he can’t steal away or hire better scouts than i guess we’ll need a new GM as well. About trading picks, that’s what cup contenders do. Trading for HOFers and playing them out of position is a different story. Trading for a slow B. Morrow wasn’t a highlight.

  261. TJA says:

    Do you think as Dan and Ray have aligned themselves…..Sid feels he can fall back to Mario?

  262. Andrew says:

    Thanks, tough lose for the Wild too, beat by cabbie puncher, among other transgressions but that is glossed over because you know the redemptive power of athletic achievement.

  263. Jandy says:

    Good take on that, TC

  264. Jandy says:

    I thought Kane was getting his act together ;)

  265. Milo Hamilton says:

    Could you imagine ? And they thought Disco was no fun.

  266. RELENTLESS_FORECHECK says:

    I’m more on the side of hockeymonster: Ray Shero did everything he can to bring a championship back to Pittsburgh with the current core. If ownership truly was focused on getting back to the Stanley Cup Finals (which I have every reason to believe they were), then Shero’s trading of picks and prospects to get talent to help the Penguins in the short term is a necessary sacrifice towards that goal.

    If ownership is holding Shero accountable for Bylsma, that’s certainly their prerogative. However, if Mario and company want the Penguins to move in an entirely different direction and are willing to flush the entire coach and front office staff to do so, that signals something much bigger. The words “rebuild” come to mind.

  267. 21sthebest says:

    Love the way they worded that. He’s not rumored to be the next coach. He’s rumored to be the POSSIBLE next coach.

  268. hockeymonster says:

    So I hope Mario and Co. realize i was kidding all those times i said i was channeling Mike Keenan’s inner monster, right?

  269. RELENTLESS_FORECHECK says:

    Geesh, I hear Tortorella is available…

    Seriously, there’s no need to swing the pendulum all the way in the opposite direction. Michel Therrien was a disciplined taskmaster. When he lost the players, the Penguins went the opposite extreme to bring in Dan Bylsma The Motivator. All the Penguins need to do is bring in someone with a bit more structure. Someone who is used to dealing with highly talented offensive players, but who has a defensive mindset and a better technical hockey acumen.

    Someone like Alain Vigneault would have been a great fit for the Pens. Of course, Vancouver is already contemplating how Dan Bylsma would look at the wheel of the New-Era Canucks… http://vansunsportsblogs.com/2014/05/13/will-alain-vigneault-drive-dan-bylsma-right-into-canucks-open-arms/

  270. hockeymonster says:

    AV was on my short list last season. Just sayin…

  271. JohninOshkosh says:

    Hahahahahaha.

    Maybe they can get Dave Coulier. He’s a hockey guy and an alleged comedian.

    Bum hasn’t work since “Full House.”

    Cut it out.

  272. RELENTLESS_FORECHECK says:

    Mine, too.

  273. Milo Hamilton says:

    The usual suspect coaching pool is weak this year. It’s probably the only thing that saved Randy Carlyle & Todd McLellan.

  274. hockeymonster says:

    I just did some research and i agree…gonna need more time to come up with a list.

  275. Milo Hamilton says:

    We need the hockey version of Brad Ausmus.

  276. Andrew says:

    Haha, getting is act together and scoring OT winners are the same thing right?

  277. hockeymonster says:

    I know where we can find the hockey version Bill James! ;)

  278. Milo Hamilton says:

    Oh God no.

  279. hockeymonster says:

    I think the hockey version of Bill James has proven to be quite helpful. Well up to a point i suppose.

  280. Jim S. says:

    Wow! I hope there is a reasonable explanation for the assertion that Bylsma lost the stars because the practices and meetings were getting increasingly negative and critical, and things weren’t as fun. The only reasonable explanation would be Crosby and Malkin completely denying the veracity of that claim.

    If that is true, then this team is going nowhere for the forseeable future.

  281. Thundercrack says:

    I think I heard this right:

    Today on Stan Savran’s show, Paul Steigerwald said that if Martin St. Louis’ mother hadn’t died the Penguins would have won the series.

    I believe he said ‘would’ and not ‘could have’. He felt that was one of a few things that brought the Rangers together.

    I was surprised that I was able to keep my car on the road after I heard that.

  282. Jim S. says:

    So, she made the ultimate sacrifice?

    If he really said that, what an absurd thing for someone to say.

  283. Ellie. says:

    ‘Zactly.

  284. Andrew says:

    I always find a good organizational inquest entertaining, especially in sports because in the end it doesn’t matter, these guy aren’t responsible for tax money, road construction, or public safety.

    Only thing I have to say is the Blackhawks are the model. I see there is a lot of discussion about a lack of grit and toughness, however I don’t want the Penguins to become the Flyers in there never ending quest to rekindled the Board Street Bully glory days.

    The depressing thing is the Blackhawks seemed to be following the Penguins model just 2-3 years behind. Two generational talents, then surround them with talented pieces, focus on speed and skill while rest of league goes heavy, puck possession system, and some average goaltending. Chicago had their organizational restructuring when Dale Tallon was fired in 2009, for mishandling the cap, then struggled a bit with the loss of some depth guys following their first Cup.

    But the Blackhawks rectified these mistakes, something I think the Penguins haven’t down. Penguins seemed focus on drafting forwards with longer development time frames. Also one could also interpret the recent moves as a bit of doubling down, at the last deadline Shero seemed to want to trade for everything available regardless of fit. The only good fit was Jokinen and that might not have happen if Crosby’s jaw isn’t broken. Some of these long term contracts don’t look the wisest right now, and Scuderi’s resigning is an outright debacle.

    You have to have a plan, change for the sake of change is just ineffectual.

  285. Arriba Wilver says:

    I agree with Burkle—need a clean sweep. Unless I’m misremembering, weren’t the owners skeptical about keeping Bylsma last year and were convinced by Shero to give him a 2 year extension?

    I hope the businessman genius wins out over the hockey genius. You know, the guy who got Scotty Bowman fired after their last Cup before 2009?

  286. Ellie says:

    I’ve said it before, I’ll probably say it again: Herbie Brooks, you left us too soon.

  287. RELENTLESS_FORECHECK says:

    Let’s not put the cart before the horse. If Shero and Bylsma are both released, the Penguins would probably need to find a GM first… presumably before entry draft on June 27. That’s pretty aggressive…

  288. I’ve heard some lame excuses in my day, but that one takes it.

  289. cmat0829 says:

    Joe Namath still is ‘schrugggg-alingggg” to kiss her.

  290. hockeymonster says:

    I’m really torn about some of the stuff i’m seeing and reading today. Almost feel better about being on sidelines today.

  291. Arriba Wilver says:

    C’mon, Rev. That prediction about the Steelers is just a hunch. Not even minicamp yet. ;-)

  292. Thundercrack says:

    No truth to the rumor that he also said ‘She did score one less goal than Crosby did.’

    Ouch! :-)

  293. That prediction is worth 3 of DK’s “Penguins in 5″ over the Rangers, AW.

    Of course, he couldn’t have predicted St. Louis’s mom dieing and gumming up the works.

    (Didn’t know she was a goalie named Lungfish).

  294. Or her name is really Lungfish.

  295. Arriba Wilver says:

    Don’t you think Shero has some responsibility for failing to get players to protect the Stars? Or do you think he had them, but Disco just didn’t use them?

  296. cmat0829 says:

    ok, I just think that when a GM calls out the players, and rightfully so, it is ok to examine the GM’s performance. Bourjos may be ‘what he is’ but he subtracted Freese from 3B, moved Carpenter who is now an average at best offensive player at his position and left a big hole at 2B… yes, he made room for Craig to play everyday in right, only making Bourjos pretty much have to cover all of the outfield…and Craig is not the offensive player Beltran is. Jury is out on Adams in my opinion, who if he doesn’t hit for power, has negligible value at his size and position.

    Peralta is a good pickup, especially to provide the only power threat they really have.

    I think a fair evaluation (and I was probably too harsh in my earlier post) is that the Cards got weaker in the offseason not stronger. And thank goodness for that.

  297. Arriba Wilver says:

    (Psst—I’m poking Daq.) ;-)

  298. cmat0829 says:

    right, agree… so if you are a hitter and you know a guy has at most a 90mph fastball, wouldn’t you look for offspeed and if its a ‘fast’ball you can recover and go the other way with it? You might not hit HRs that way, but you would make more contact and not strike out.

    If I’m a professional hitter, and I know my weakness is offspeed pitches away, and I know my normal approach doesn’t work, why not try something different?

  299. Arriba Wilver says:

    :-D

  300. Wanna join our group, TC and the Pot Stirrers?

  301. Arriba Wilver says:

    Does Paul work for the Pirates? That almost makes Greg Brown’s commentary on Neal somewhat objective. Somewhat.

  302. Jim S. says:

    I guess next someone will ask why we couldn’t catch a lucky break like that. The whole topic is disturbing.

  303. JohninOshkosh says:

    Turn on “Around the Horn” right now on ESPN.

    Going to talk about Dejan’s column.

    Please let Woody Paige try to pronounce Dejan’s name!

  304. Arriba Wilver says:

    Absolutely Not!

    You guys are too mean. ;-)

  305. Jim S. says:

    My money’s on Dijon.

  306. Brandie says:

    I have long suspected there was some serious tanking going on. Sidney Crosby does not forget how to play hockey. If this is the case then I have lost a tremendous amount of respect for Crosby, Malkin, and the whole Magilla.

    The Rangers were able to rally around Martin St. Louis when he needed them the most. That is what the good teams do…they say “I have your back “and then they prove it. Pure and simple. The Penguins obviously do not have that. For Steigerweird to make that comment means he’s stuck on stupid and passed out on dumb.

  307. Brandie says:

    Amen Elliie Angel.

  308. hockeymonster says:

    Well you may recall my infatuation of trying to get Chris Stewart here precisely for that reason. He’s one of the few players who can bring the combination of hands, size, quality skating given his size, grit and protection. He’s scored 28 goals twice without much Center support and along with Kuni would give Sid all the extra room and protection he’s needed.

  309. hockeymonster says:

    Clearly he was available cuz he ended up in Buffalo at the deadline. So for me, the real question is what the scouts were telling Mr. Shero and what he himself thought of the move. I was even prepared to trade D. Pouliot to make it happen as long as it was 1 for 1.

    And after seeing D. Pouliot recently, that would’ve been the wise move.

  310. Brandie says:

    Organization has been infected for a long time. I can see the point in Stewart though. He has got tools.

  311. hockeymonster says:

    Infected is a strong word. But obviously i’ve felt for some time that tactically the players weren’t being put in the best possible positions to succeed. Hard to skate thru a wall if you think its the wrong wall to skate thru.

  312. edb says:

    Did you just qualify Matt Cooke as a character guy??? He’s a purple cape away from being a supervillain.

  313. BillyBaduka says:

    That game was Feb 11, 2011.

    We never want to become those Islanders but gotta be tougher than the 13-14′ Pens.

  314. BillyBaduka says:

    That would be awesome but don’t see it happening.

  315. Andrew says:

    Hockey, I’ve obviously made some generalizations and my complaint about the front office is the seemed to have overvalued the short-term, this may be an overreaction and I can be talked off of this position but that is my current opinion, (subject to reevaluation.)

    I know you are a fan of Scuderi, I am not, I don’t think he can skate anymore. He was never Gonchar or Lidstrom, why did the Penguins decided to pay him until he is 38? He is not going to get faster, we may have to disagree here.

    Anyway my main fear is firing people and trading guys just to fire people and trade guys and then trying to get grittier, that is how you end up with Dale Hunter and Adam Oates. The Penguins do not needed to be blown up, and I disagree with the organization rot narrative. They need to get younger, faster, deeper, and more skilled, the goal is to win hockey games not appease the mob.

  316. cosmo says:

    And someone in management wanted him on TV over Mike Lange??

  317. hockeymonster says:

    I agree. Which is why I’m hesitant to say Shero should be replaced. If he tied himself to disco then that’s different I guess.

    Piece is way down the list of issues.

  318. Jandy says:

    I’ve always said Steigy in an azzmunch…this just proves it! And he said it himself!!

  319. Jandy says:

    If Keenan becomes the next head coach, I’m holding YOU personally responsible, Monster Mash!

  320. Brandie says:

    Tell ‘em Jandee!!!

  321. Sarah says:

    I can totally believe that Bylsma’s technocrat, meeting oriented approach could wear thin.
    Constantine was the same way, so hyper-prepared that the players lost interest.

    You know I’m starting to wonder if it really was a train wreck hidden behind that locker room door the last months, certainly since the Olympics, when (I’m guessing) players already fed up w Bylsma saw him flame out on the world stage at Sochi, heard his star players take thinly veiled swipes at him, saw the press actually stop calling him Best Coach in the Universe, and grew emboldened to the point where, not just tuning him out, they actually were openly resisting, arguing, and so on.

  322. Sarah says:

    I guess all I can say is – I think if RSs idea of doing “everything he could” to build a team for the Cup began with drafting D and NOT building around the two best centers in the world, neither of whom has been playing with acceptable line mates for too long to remember, then I think he’s not the right guy.

    Neal can score but is a leech, same w JJ.
    Name one thing EITHER of them do to make Geno BETTER and more dangerous.

    Same with Kunitz and Duper. Neither is skilled enough to get Sid the space he needs.

    I will say that Kunitz’s physicality and ability to grind and get the puck to Sid was a boon for Sid, but the last time that’s been noticeable was maybe 2009. He’s become a floater too, esp since the Olympics. Does he think he’s the skill on that line?

    So again, failure to find players to enable Sid/Geno to ELEVATE their game, for years, is on Shero. The only way they elevate is by themselves, going into God-mode, as in Genos single handed goal in Game 5. They succeed by carrying the team on their backs.

    Basically the last elite W that truly could make Sid better was Hossa, in 2008.

    That simple fact is a fire-able offense for a GM IMO.

  323. Sarah says:

    Both.

  324. Sarah says:

    If there’s any way they could get Babs they should go for it even if Grandpa Munster has to be GM temporarily.
    Make JM the interim coach for a year until Babs is available. Hell, put Mario behind the bench.

    Anything.

    Trotz and Shero’s history in Nash make me wary. Tortz is one step shy of Western Psych. Lavs is taken. Ulfi and Tochhett no HC experience, and I’d rather move away from The Family thing. New attitudes all around.

    If we can get Babs in a year and survive til then, I’m all for it.

  325. Sarah says:

    Oh, and Madden came out and said today that was indeed Letang who was going to be traded, but it was nixed by the suits upstairs because he was so “marketable”.

    The apocalypse is officially upon us if this is true. Not sure if canning anyone below the CEO can help if this kind of thing is impacting Operations.

  326. Sarah says:

    Lange was asking for more money. Oh the horror.

  327. hockeymonster says:

    I know Grandpa Munster…and I promise you sarah…Mr. Shero and JM are no grandpa munster.

  328. hockeymonster says:

    Oops.

  329. hockeymonster says:

    You can argue that JJ is good on draws which helps. And Neal is good protecting puck in corner and along boards. And i hear he shoots well.

  330. Ellie says:

    Aw …

  331. Sarah says:

    All those happy w Trotz and Shero in Nash go look at the draft record….Shero is much the same…..lots of D (some very good!)

    Then ask yourself the goal : acquire more D, or to elevate Crosby and Malkin with your personnel, and set them up to succeed. For a change.

    I’m hearing Keenan too. Always thought he was a Nazi. Still say if Babcock is remotely possible, make a play for it. Feel him out now for next year.

  332. Sarah says:

    Both points true re both players.
    Neither help Sid or Geno be BETTER.

    They are expected to carry the team with anchors around their neck on the ice, behind the bench, and in the front office.

    I suspect they got sick of it. After 5 years.

    Kudos to Geno for continuing to bring it through frustration.
    Not much kudos for Sid, who (if not injured which I’m still not sure I buy) could not even show significant interest for much of the playoffs.

    Irony being Geno is supposedly the one subject to mental funks.

    The attempts by the press to join the two stars in the “our stars failed us!” BS is simply assinine.

    Geno brung it.
    Sid did not.

  333. Sarah says:

    I meant Eddie J as GM in interim….is that what you meant?

  334. Sarah says:

    Brandie I don’t think Geno tanked for one second.
    He’s the one that’s been bringing it every game.

    Sid….no explanation.

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