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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

‘Final Word’ on Shero, Pirates, Steelers

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media


The joint venture between WPXI-TV and Trib Total Media continues Sunday night at 11:35 p.m. — right after the Channel 11 News — with a live edition of The Subway Final Word.

>> Who’s on the panel: I’ll join Rob Rossi, the Trib’s Penguins beat man, and Mark Madden, top-rated radio host of 105.9 the X. The host will be WPXI-TV’s Alby Oxenreiter.

>> What we’re talking about: The Penguins’ firing of Ray Shero, the status of Dan Bylsma, the Pirates in the Bronx and the Steelers at rookie camp.

>> How to participate: Each week, we also take comments that viewers submit to The Final Word’s Facebook page and Twitter account.

>> Where to watch: In addition to the broadcast on WPXI-TV (811 on Comcast), we have WPXI’s online stream for Pittsburgh’s many out-of-town sports fans.

Here’s last week’s full episode.

Really hope to have you along, not only watching but also joining in!

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.


  1. Bizrow says:


    What a day to get no Saturday paper from the Trib

    But at the price, that thing happens

    IMO very good to see Playoffs back for a bit.

    BTW, please tell Greg Brown, the Bucs have won TWO games in the Bronks

    Seriously disappointed in that fellow. :-)

  2. The Pirates may have won twice in the Bronx, but they certainly couldn’t do anything vs. the Yankees today since Volquez got bombed and they messed up something fierce on the bases, and it will be a miracle if they split in the Bronx tomorrow.

  3. Bizrow says:

    Just raggin on Mr Brown

    And yeah, I am worried about a sweep

  4. Arriba Wilver says:

    Other than the 4 homers he pitched pretty good.

  5. Bizrow says:

    Yes he did, not a bad outing

    But Mr Brown, yada, yada, yada about never winning in the Bronx

    Lost a lot of points, from this seat in the peanut galery

    I would hope they rip him long and and hard tomorrow as we sweep the Yanks

    Just wondering, did Paul Alexander get the axe from Root?

  6. Reading says:

    Pretty soon they’ll be saying Jeter is better than Honus, and Ruth is better than Clemente. Or that Ruth has more home runs in Pittsburgh than the Pirates have wins at Yankee Stadium (old or new). Wait … what? Ruth hit his final 3 homers at Forbes Field as a Brave. How about ’27?

  7. Stuart says:

    Nice to see playoffs look in.

    Complete the following sentence: If Burkle and Lemieux owned the Pirates…

    Hey,remember Bob “round tripper” Kipper?

    It looks like it’s going to be a long season.


  8. USMarine1977 says:

    …it would mean Bob Nutting sold the team to them.

  9. Ghost says:

    A lot of baseball left, but our pitchers overachieved for us last year and even if what they’re doing now is underachieving, safe to say we just don’t have enough bullets on this club. Help is on the way, starting with Polanco. More good young pitching should start showing up next summer.

    I do, however, wonder how much of this pitching tailspin is due to Russell Martin not being in there behind the plate. Sanchez’ bat plays, but even a layman like me can see he’s not as quick (let alone as accurate) gunning down runners. More importantly, does Sanchez even approach Martin’s ability to steal strikes, call a game, and coax the best out of each pitcher? Do the Pirates still let Martin walk after this year? If so, how much improvement can we anticipate from Sanchez as a defensive catchet?

  10. Wild Bill says:

    Right on point, Ghost. The Pirates need Russell Martin next year. At least.

  11. JosePagan says:

    When Sanchez was drafted lo those many years ago, we were told he had near-major league defense. What happened?

  12. JoeyBats says:

    Complete the following sentence:

    Gaby Sanchez is SO SLOW ………………………………………………..


  13. bpn8pitt says:

    I asked about Martin a week ago and the ERAs were just as bad WITH him. Someone suggested he had caught Wandy the most.

    Personally I think a lot of our opponents did their homework on the Bucs pitchers and are now attacking them differently. They did play nothing but div opponents that first month.

  14. I saw Kipper a couple years ago, Stuart. He was the pitching coach for a Low-A team that played down in Bowling Green. He looked the same, but his hair was white. Thought about trying to talk to him, but decided to just leave him alone.

  15. …………molasses in Winnepeg in January can outrun him.

  16. Eric Bowser says:

    It needed to be said. I think there’s more to be said as well but he had limited space to write about it.

  17. Eric Bowser says:

    It was eight years ago last month when the Penguins were in this spot looking for a new general manager. The last time around, Mario Lemieux had to fire Craig Patrick, a career hockey man that Lemieux respected considering their time together. Patrick was the General Manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins for 17 years and when he left, the team had an obscene collection of quality young hockey players.

    Ray Shero took over a team that featured Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury, Brooks Orpik, Ryan Whitney, Kris Letang, Colby Armstrong, Max Talbot, Alex Goligoski, and Tyler Kennedy. In addition to that, Shero had the second overall pick for the 2006 draft (Jordan Staal) and plenty of salary cap space to make key acquisitions.

    Since the Penguins won the Cup in 2009, one narrative always at the top of everyone’s mind was Dan Bylsma coached Michel Therrien’s team to the Cup and as much as that had some truth to it, maybe the same should be said about Shero managing Patrick’s team.

    It was Patrick that had to move star player after star player because of the financial problems the team was facing and agreed with ownership to rebuild the franchise through the draft.

    Just as Bylsma was credited with making a few adjustments to the team’s puck retrieval system in the defensive zone and releasing the hounds on the forecheck, Shero did the same by adding speed, grit, and character to the roster. When Shero was hired, he identified those traits as needs for the organization, a bit of a critical statement on Patrick’s team building philosophy coming out of the lockout.

    Funny, eight years later and we’re seeing the same things said about the organizational needs under Shero’s stewardship but this time coming from Lemieux and Ron Burkle.

    The next general manager will need to build a roster around the draft to keep costs down and not have a laser focus on a single position (defensemen), same type of player (under 6′ forwards), or from the same geographic location (i.e. North America).

    For the last three years, Pens have lacked the youthful exuberance like they received during the 2008 and 2009 playoff runs to the Stanley Cup Finals. Those teams created by Patrick and Shero had skill, size, speed, grit and character, the team that lost to the New York Rangers had very little of it.

    Over the next two weeks, we’ll hear plenty of names to replace Shero, none hotter than 49-year old Pat Brisson.

    Brisson is currently an NHLPA agent that represents Crosby and is the co-head of the Hockey Division of Creative Artists Agency (CAA) with J.P. Barry, the agent for Malkin. Brisson’s experience in hockey started as a player reaching as far as the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Brisson had a respectable junior career as he played in 245 games and scored 112 goals. It was during his time in the QMJHL that he struck a friendship with former Los Angeles Kings star Luc Robitaille and while his playing career ended after the 1986 Memorial Cup loss to the Guelph Storm, he decided to move to California.

    He would begin to help Robitaille in marketing and it was during this time Brisson’s connection to him that he got to know Lemieux better as former QMJHLers.

    Brisson’s business relationship with Robitaille and Lemieux helped him grow his t-shirt and other businesses but more importantly, it led him to meet agents Tom and Steve Reich and eventually their sports agency, IMG.

    In 2008, Brisson was named as the 12th most influential agent in sports because of his success to get the top players under his representation such as Crosby, Patrick Kane, and Erik Johnson. It was Brisson that helped negotiate Crosby’s deal with Gatorade that featured the first NHL player in a US commercial since Wayne Gretzky. This isn’t the first time Brisson’s name has been connected to a GM opening in the NHL as the Montreal Canadiens had showed some interest in him before they hired former Penguins defenseman Marc Bergevin in 2012.

    At the time, Brisson said he didn’t want to leave the business he helped build and really cared about his players. Hiring Brisson would present a risk to the organzation because of his lack of experience managing a hockey operation and his connection to Crosby and Malkin could make others feel uncomfortable, especially any coaching staff.

    Brisson isn’t the only candidate with an inside connection as the Penguins have promoted Jason Botterill to interim GM until a replacement has been named.

    Botterill, who will turn 38 on Monday, was the Assistant General Manager under Shero for five years. Prior to this change, Botterill was responsible for scouting, player development, contract negotiations, managed Hockey Operations, and GM for the AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins.

    Before joining the Penguins, Botterill worked in the NHL Central Registry and scouted for the Dallas Stars. Botterill’s name was connected to recent GM openings in Buffalo and Vancouver.

    What is not known is whether ownership will look to clean house by bringing in an outsider or if Botterill has an inside edge because of his familiarity with the franchise. Considering ownership believes the team doesn’t need to be blown up, this could work to his favor.

    Other candidates:

    Predators Assistant GM Paul Fenton – Could the Penguins strike twice hiring the understudy of Nashville GM David Poile? Fenton, 54 years old, worked as Nashville’s Director of Player Personnel for eight years and since Shero’s departure with the Predators, he’s served as their Assistant GM for eight years. Prior to arriving in Nashville, Fenton worked with the Ducks for five years, three as a scout and then two as the Chief Pro Scout. A strike against Fenton could be the Predators have struggled to draft and develop a franchise scoring star and have placed an emphasis on defensemen, something the Penguins under Shero may have gone a little too far in their approach.

    Bruins Assistant GM Jim Benning – The 54-year old hockey veteran has interviewed with the Vancouver Canucks twice and based on the timing of where Trevor Linden is in the process, it is unlikely the Penguins would be in a position to speed up their search before the Canucks make a decision. Benning has been serving as the Bruins Assistant GM since 2006 and previously worked as a scout from ’93-94 (Ducks) and ’94-98 (Sabres), then Director of Amateur Scouting from ’98-2004 (Sabres). Benning’s experience working with the Bruins could be viewed as a positive since they have had a good mix of young and experienced players with speed, grit and character.

    Sabres Special Assistant/Advisor Craig Patrick – Yes, we might as well admit there’s going to be some talk about this reunion. Patrick, 67 years old, is likely to make a call and based on his relationship with Lemieux, could get at least a sympathy interview. Patrick has had time to reflect on what went right and wrong during his tenure as GM. One thing Patrick won’t let happen again is hiring a coach with no experience like he was pushed to do with Ed Olczyk. Considering the success of Patrick’s last few years drafting talent with Greg Malone at the helm of scouting and most of that talent responsible for the Penguins winning the Cup in 2009, he might be able to convince the team to give him another opportunity. Stranger things have happened in sports, just re-watch yesterday’s press conference with CEO David Morehouse.

    Lightning Assistant GM Julien Brisebois – This 37-year old hockey executive is another young rising star in hockey after serving the last four seasons under Steve Yzerman. Brisebois has been involved with all aspects of the hockey operations by negotiating contracts, advising Yzerman on player personnel decisions, salary cap management, and serves as the team’s GM for the AHL affiliate Syracuse Crunch. During the 2010-11 season, Brisebois was recognized by the Hockey News as the top hockey executive under 40 years of age. He worked for the Montreal Canadiens for nine seasons in different aspects of the franchise as Director of Legal Affairs, Director of Hockey Operations, and GM of Montreal’s AHL affiliate, Hamilton Bulldogs. Brisebois’ resume could be the most impressive set of credentials for any hockey executive that has yet to serve as an NHL GM.

  18. Arriba Wilver says:

    Seems like 2 pitches in the face, two broken jaws and the yips got him. Either that, or someone was fibbing. Your choice. ;-)

  19. 21sthebest says:

    Gabby Sanchez is so slow, however, his OPS is .917.

  20. JosePagan says:

    I think that there is a parallel between the “Corporate Penguins” and the “Corporate Crosby.” The Pens have been criticized for being more concerned with protecting the brand than perhaps winning the Cup. I think that Crosby is more concerned with protecting his brand than being Captain/a good team mate. Sid has succeeded in portraying an aura that he is The Captain and Leader. How often have we heard that this is “Sid’s team?” From the day he was drafted it was speculated that he would become the team leader and team captain. Even Mario had to prove himself…

    I thought it was very interesting that Starkey alluded to a whisper campaign against Malkin. Could Malkin’s funks be more than a simple issue with his temperament – that things said about him play on him a bit or a lot? I wonder if the side benefit of everything playing out at Penguin Corporate HQ will be a bit more transparency and more aggressive reporting that will shed some light on what actually went on in the locker room.

  21. So what do we do with him? Start him running at third? He could run up the line then back.

  22. hockeymonster says:

    Welcome Marine! Can Dejan get you a cup o joe?

  23. Thundercrack says:

    IMO the catcher had little to do with those pitches going over the RF wall yesterday.

  24. hockeymonster says:

    I dont want to risk Starkey referring to me as a sycophant BUT i did see Sid take a slash towards end of regular season, he took off his glove and shoot his hand or wrist. Really dont think he was the same after that. Might explain his shot being non existent. But he did pass up chances to take the puck to the net. Makes me wonder if he’s trying to avoid head shots. It was like watching MJ not want to dunk the ball.

    If he is trying to avoid head shots by not going to the net than Mr. Burkle and Mario need to have a pow wow with the league about officiating and whether or not cross checks to the head and neck of the League Logo is in the best interest of the league.

  25. hockeymonster says:

    I can save Mario, Mr. Burkle and DM alot of time next few weeks. If Don Maloney from phx is available the search should be over. He’s the guy if he wants the job. He would probably bring Dave King with him and if he and JM take over behind the bench the pens would be set from a tactical and credibility standpoint. I think King even coach Geno in Magnitogorsk. Maybe coaches Granato and Reirden even stay to round out the staff.

    Would also want to look at Jim Benning who’s assistant GM from boston but i thought he had inside track on another job. Thought it was vancouver.

    The people I listed the other day from Anaheim in chicago would probably on my list if Maloney isn’t available. And I would definitely interview Scott Neidermeyer.

  26. Thundercrack says:

    Do you really think Craig Patrick is a candidate? Here’s a friendly wager: If he even gets the ‘sympathy interview’, you can just dictate your columns and I’ll type them for you

  27. Thundercrack says:

    After listening to Mark Madden, especially the past few days, it looks to me that Starkey’s column was directed at him.

    I thought it was a very good column

  28. Flbucco says:

    Good point AW!

    It is important to focus on the positive!

    Too many Pirate fans care about things that they shouldn’t – like wins and putting the best team on the field and trying to compete for the World Series.

    Huntington is spot on – why sign a guy who goes out and tries as hard as possible to win every start for 14.1 M when you can have a guy who is mentally fragile and lost 5 mph off of his fastball for 5

    And isn’t it great that the bucs will save 10+M by keeping a major league player in the minors until late June while they trot out a couple of stiffs to play RF who have combined for 3 HR and 19 RBI and an OPS around .600.

    Time for fans to get on board – years of control and saving as much as possible – even if the season is a waste are what really matters

  29. hockeymonster says:

    If Sid’s agent becomes GM I’ll puke.

  30. hockeymonster says:

    Sid wont admit to it but i really thought something changed after that slash.

  31. hockeymonster says:

    Oops…took off his glove and shuck his hand or wrist.

  32. hockeymonster says:

    Holy typo alert…anaheim AND chicago….

    Darn you jandy.

  33. Flbucco says:

    Thunder – how dare you question the pupils of the great Searage – clearly TS was to blame for those HRs!

    Tony is solely responsible for the Pirates not being in first place – just read the posts on him on this and other Buc sites – he has single handedly brought this talented pitching staff down!

    For the life of me I cannot understand why they don’t start the great Chris Stewart – he was after all one of the three most important off season moves made by the Great Huntington!

  34. Eric Bowser says:

    I wouldn’t interview him but after the way things went down on Friday, I can’t even remotely understand what’s going on with Morehouse as the guy who wants to be the go between the new GM and owners.

  35. Eric Bowser says:

    I am not in favor of Pat Brisson becoming the next GM. It would present too many problems for the franchise from a perception point of view.

  36. hockeymonster says:

    I don’t want to sound like i’m pre-judging Morehouse but i’m not sure how much of a hockey guy he is. When Ken Sawyer did his GM search, he did so after years and years of experience working in the Montreal organization and in the league offices. He was clued in from a hockey and business perspective. Morehouse was a hockey fan, like us, who got his break and opportunity via Mr. Burkle and his political connections. Can he run a business, yes. Can he control the message, yes. Maybe not well, but yes. Can he ask a potential GM the right questions? I dont know and cant say. Mario should call Mr. Sawyer and have him work with Morehouse on this one.

    I mean after all, its only Sid and Geno’s legacies at stake.

  37. hockeymonster says:

    I really hope sid is against it too.

  38. Andrew says:

    On the year Martin has been the better framer, Sanchez about league average. I saw something yesterday about Nevin Ashley because Tony Sanchez may be hurt, but Sanchez is in the lineup today.

  39. Andrew says:

    Alternate theory: If 9 points in 13 games undermined your teams’ playoff chances maybe the other members of your team are not good enough.

  40. Eric Bowser says:

    I don’t think Sawyer left on happy terms because of Morehouse.

  41. Andrew says:

    Hiring your star, sorry former star now saboteur, player’s agent as a GM is like letting the color guy coach the power play. Also no way it would make financial sense for Brisson.

  42. bpn8pitt says:

    I kinda thought one of the Yankees strategies yesterday was bunt, force Pedro or Sanchez to field the ball. Wouldn’t at all be surprised to see them try it again today.

  43. Sarah says:

    Alternate theory….the world media found out In Sochi that DB and RS might actually not know what they’re doing.
    The local media, who have had the info under their noses for years and still defended the coaching and mgmt, now look like morons. And they know it.
    So they need a scapegoat.
    Starkey blamed the crowd at Consol recently for Godsakes…..he wrote a long article about how haarrrddd it is to get up for meaningless games in February…..

    Maybe what you were watching all along Joe, was a team that DID NOT BUY IN to what the coaching staff was selling.

  44. bpn8pitt says:

    I see speed brought up a lot.

    Didn’t have Dupuis most of the year…but it extends beyond him for sure.

  45. Sarah says:

    He’s not a hockey guy he’s a marketing/message guy.
    He worked in Clinton’s campaign I believe.

  46. hockeymonster says:

    Then Burkle may be betting on the wrong horses.

  47. Sarah says:

    The word sycophant describes Starkey perfectly, it’s just not Sid he’s defending.

  48. Sarah says:

    Yeah I saw that…..doesn’t explain everything.
    I actually hope he’s not concussed again.

    And even if he was half azzing it at times, I don’t care. Change was needed and if that was the message he wanted to send, it’s fine w me.

  49. Sarah says:

    And the bit about Hossa and getting Ws was hilarious.
    Yes, in 2008 he tried to get the guy.
    Then FIVE years later he rents Iginla, without asking how Dan will use him.

    Anything in between Joey?

  50. hockeymonster says:

    If amateur hour wasn’t running the pens we would’ve switched systems 2 months into 2011-12 season. And if amateur hour wasn’t running the pens disco would’ve been FORCED to switch systems after philly series, if he refused he should’ve been replaced then. Let alone after boston series.

    And i agree that Mario let Team USA’s brass take him and burkle for a ride. Shero wanted to go into the olympics with ‘his’ guy and his guy coached just like we all knew he would.

    Hopefully pens realize that there are people outside their echo chamber that are good talent evaluators too. Cuz if they don’t they’ll miss out on forwards who have upside and potential. Again.

    And does Mr. Burkle realize that roger ailes is running his PR and media relations? Insulting the fans intelligence wont endear you to anyone. At least not the fans in pgh. Insulting people in politics is a lot easier…obviously.

    I love that narrative we heard from shero that Mario and Mr. Burkle were on board with retaining Disco and that he didn’t even need to sell them on keeping disco after boston series. That smelled like BS then and now they only look more petty disclosing what everyone knew back then.

    And if you are trying to control the message, would it be wise to lie to an industry full of reporters right before the entire industry shows up to your press conference? I’m no media expert but if i wanted their cooperation on anything, i’d start by not feeding them BS.

  51. hockeymonster says:

    Sometimes its ego more than money.

  52. 21sthebest says:

    Are you sure you have the endurance TC?

  53. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t recall much criticism of Shero, from you or Eric or anyone regarding Shero. At least beyond him backing Disco.
    Disco was the “bad guy” in just about everything, from playing Iginla to playing the young guys to sending the young guys down, et cetera.

    I think it’s a little more complicated, and Joe is bringing an important point to the table. At least consider it, because its credibility affects everything.

  54. Arriba Wilver says:

    Yep, and Kerry’s. I have to say, while I didn’t get the overwhelming negative reaction to what Mario and Burkle said that some did, even while reading it the repetitive nature of the grit, character and speed theme reminded me exactly of both political parties in how they try to control their message. And maybe thats’s just marketing, but it comes off badly, I think, in this context. Sounds too canned.

    (And the way Morehouse butted in was the worst part.)

  55. Arriba Wilver says:


  56. hockeymonster says:

    AW, was that for me or Sarah? Cuz i’m pretty sure you know that i was critical of Disco, his systems and the fact that shero had his head in the sand regarding tactics.

  57. Arriba Wilver says:

    Didn’t ask? And you know this how? Maybe he did ask, but Sid wanted his own guy. I actually mentioned that as a possibility at the time.
    But no one ever wants to question Sid. Good for Joe for at least raising the issue.

  58. Arriba Wilver says:

    You are right, HM. That’s why I mentioned her specifically and not you. ;-) The use of “anyone” was a mistake.

  59. Arriba Wilver says:

    Sorry, didn’t say her specifically, but, yeah, I hadn’t seen your post till I posted mine, or I would have been clearer. My bad.

  60. hockeymonster says:

    No problem. Just want Mr. Burkle and Mario to know who they should’ve been listening to going back YEARS!!! But i do recall sarah being quite critical of Shero and Disco.

  61. Thundercrack says:

    So if your star player and Captain ‘half azzing it’ at times in the PLAYOFFS and you don’t care about that?

  62. hockeymonster says:

    And eric has been all over shero’s drafting record. Just hope the botterill wasn’t solely responsible for drafting forwards. They definitely need outside help in that department.

  63. hockeymonster says:

    Isn’t Hillary gonna need some extra help?

  64. hockeymonster says:

    Check out this analysis of the pens message and what may or may not end up happening:

    “You know who didn’t play with grit and character in the playoffs? Sidney Crosby and James Neal. You put them on the trade block and you could get a big bucketful of gritty character players in return. Do you want to do that? Of course not.

    Frankly, this criticism of the Penguins organization comes up every couple of years. It leads to a draft where three of your first four picks are Ryan Stone, Dan Carcillo and Paul Bissonnette. Then the criticism goes away.”

    I agree with this concern. Pens seem need to be focused on making the best decisions based on options available to them. Being too concerned with one position or a certain type of player is a fools errand. We all like grit and character but you can’t draft with that in mind. You need to draft based on talent then fill the holes as you go. If the stars align and you get the best of all worlds, great. But you can’t let the tail wag the dog.

  65. hockeymonster says:

    Pens need to be….darn you jandy.

  66. Arriba Wilver says:

    Sorry, I guess in my mind it got drowned out by the incessant criticism of Disco. Not going to argue the point.

  67. hockeymonster says:

    AW, it wasn’t for no reason that the criticism was incessant. Disco’s system revolved around the hope that the other team would give up and cave in just cuz we were aggressive on our forecheck. Turns out the opposing players and coaches get paid too.

    I tried desperately and vehemently to get this changed and i truly believe it helped this season. But by the time disco agreed that defending NZ was good idea, it was 2-3 seasons too late. And shero is on the hook for not recognizing same tactical flaws. Players having no faith in tactics and structure led to disco’s demise and sid’s lack of interest. And Shero’s ego and wish to have his guy go to sochi cost us a season and it cost team USA a medal.

    Next coach needs to be a master tactician.

  68. Andrew says:

    I saw that too, I thought maybe it had to do with Volquez being slow off the mound, but you may be right about Pedro and Tony. The better strategy was to put balls in the air.

  69. Andrew says:

    The loss of Dupuis definitely hurt, he is good two-way forward, especially when there has not been much of a bottom six for the last two season. I just am not a fan of trying to weave grand theories and make bold pronouncements from the starting point of 7 to 14 games. Jonathan Toews had a goal and 8 assists over the first 20 playoff games last year, but showed some great leadership/effort/intangible/drive in the final two.

  70. Ghost says:

    A catcher that can get the best out of a pitcher, as well as call a game that keeps batters off balance, doesn’t allow five HR’s. But you already knew that. Or maybe you didn’t.

  71. hockeymonster says:

    If he was half azzing it with geno giving his all then shame on sid. But i dont think it was that simple.

  72. Sarah says:

    You’re right AW….I guess if I’d said it better, the point was either way that’s on RS.

    He either DID ask DB and got Iggy anyway (fail)
    Or he DIDN’T ask DB (fail)

    Of course it is on DB also…..playing Iggy on LW when it was so obvious he was uncomfortable that Neal actually purposefully switched with him.

    Plenty of Fail to go around there.

  73. Sarah says:

    Yeah, agree. But really if someone like Sid gets to the point that he’s thrown up his hands (and this is a competitor who is almost maniacal he’s so driven)….then Starkey is absolutely simple minded that Sid’s play was the problem.

    It was the SYMPTOM ….of something much larger and more pervasive.

  74. Sarah says:

    And to be clear, I agree Shame on Sid for coasting at times, if he was physically capable not to….just saying that when a player like that packs it in, there is a HUGE problem.

  75. Sarah says:

    I believe I am on record as saying SHero has to go, and outlining a few of the deals I had issue with, including Letang’s extension and the return of Scuderi.

  76. Sarah says:

    You know what really fried my eggs about the whole “draft and develop blue chip D so we can trade for what we need” vision they tried so hard to sell was, Shero apparently didn’t believe in it enough to really follow through:

    We traded guys too early like Lovejoy and Morrow and didn’t get good enough return ….
    We did NOT allow the truly promising guys to develop and d-cked them around (Despres) to the point where I hope they don’t bolt the first chance they get…..
    We brought in relics on D (Scuderi) thus undermining our OWN message about drafting / building D
    We further undermined it by giving the farm to Letang…..

    All the above at the expense of getting Ws for Sid and Geno that actually enable them to be better and more effective. Shero’s been here 8 years and we had Hossa for one, and Iggy on left wing for a few weeks.

    It’s a fire-able offense IMO.

  77. Thundercrack says:

    I’ll have to go back and re-read Starkey’s column. I didn’t get that he thought Sid’s play was THE problem.

    And no player, especially the captain, should just throw up his hands

  78. Sarah says:

    He did more. He basically implied Sid orchestrated a mutiny.

  79. hockeymonster says:

    Or how about the narrative that disco went to Mr. Shero and asked for JM to help out? Another corporate driven BS campaign to save face. As if disco was ever open to change. Please.

    And I think you and I have always respectfully disagreed about specifics and certain players but we definitely both agree that the drafting ideology was counter productive. Also i think we agree that their definition of the kind of players we needed around sid was borderline malpractice. Actually, it was malpractice. You can’t go into the playoffs thinking that quick lil buggers like gibby and stempty were gonna give sid the kind of time and space that’s at a huge premium in the real season.

    Or what exactly is megna and his 170lbs gonna do? I know they were counting on duper but genesis of this issue has nothing to do with this season.

    They thought they were bringing players to play a chip to retrieve disco stretch system and overlooked the fact that it may be a slightly different animal in the playoffs that you need to fight through.

    They should’ve been drafting the occasional high pedigree forward but their scouting staffs were either unable or told not to focus on identifying forwards to pound the table on. I’m not saying draft a forward for sake of drafting a forward, but the list of forwards we passed on is staggering.

    Instead they passed on CHL forwards to draft CHL dmen and thought they could sign late blooming college prospects to fill in around sid. The word delusional comes to mind…and to make it worse i think their signing strategy was specifically geared towards this. By passing on CHL forwards who would need to be signed 2 years after being drafted they instead saved money by not drafting them which allowed them to save up for College FA’s. Enter Gibby, megna, letestu, lovejoy, engo, sill and on and on and on as Mr. Burkle stated.

    Thinking late blooming college FA’s can step out of college and onto sid’s wing is laughable. Really…as in ha ha…laughable.

    Factor in disco’s lack of NZ structure, chaotic dzone coverage and tactical stubbornness, and the results were actually quite easy to predict.

  80. hockeymonster says:

    Side note: they also drafted college forwards knowing they’d have 4-5 years to sign them vs. the 2 years you have with CHL players.

  81. Sarah says:

    HM – spot on all points.
    We don’t always disagree!

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