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Morning Java: And Tocchet, too

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Thursday column pushes Ulf Samuelsson for the Penguins’ coaching vacancy.

I’ll expound on another name right here, too: Rick Tocchet is an absolute no-brainer addition to this staff. Jim Rutherford and his new lieutenants are known to be focused on finding a way to get more out of their stars and, in what can’t be a coincidence, straighten out their locker room. It’s an unusual dynamic, one that most teams don’t have. There aren’t a whole lot of Bill Guerin types out there with the moxie to speak up around players like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Tocchet most assuredly is one of them. He’s one of the toughest players anyone’s ever seen in these parts, and he’ll compete just as hard off the ice.

The latest on the search, by beat man Rob Rossi, adds another name to Rutherford’s list. And if you’re interested in the full list, this file is the one to click.

The Penguins’ preseason schedule is released. The big one is next week.

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

>> The Pirates had another dark and Stolmy night. Beat man Rob Biertempfel has the game story from PNC Park.

Gerrit Cole could return next week, by Karen Price.

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

Here’s Reds news from the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Here are official game highlights on

>> Joey Porter is loving his second NFL career about as much as you’d expect he would. Beat man Alan Robinson covers the Steelers’ minicamp, which ends today.

Jason Worilds was never offered an extension, by Mark Kaboly.

Will Johnson is working as the no-huddle tight end, by Kaboly.

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

>> The Riverhounds faced an MLS team, the Chicago Fire, and it was a cut-short loss. This was part of the US Open Cup tournament.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Riverhounds page.

Here’s the official World Cup 2014 page and the U.S. Soccer page.

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

>> 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.


  1. Maz in Iowa says:

    Do I like Snider more as a pitcher or a hitter?

  2. Poole says:


    You convinced me on Ulf. Really good article. I never got to watch him play but have heard much about him. My exact concern was the one you cited…that he is a feel good story but not qualified. Now I know how his resume looks, I’m onboard with it.

    I was upset about Stevens not permitted to interview but the more I think about it…he just seems very blah to me. I think we need some fire and some energy

    Hynes, Desjardins, Tocchet… I’d be ok with any of these guys as assistants too. And make sure someone on the staff is a real hardcore X and 0 coach.

  3. Poole says:

    Oh since we are isolating Ulf at the moment….what is his “system”? What could we expect systematically to be different than Disco Dan?

  4. Bizrow says:

    Tomorrow, tomorrow

    I will pass till I have the Trib in my hands

    Not even half way thru the season

  5. Bizrow says:

    I like his character

  6. Bizrow says:

    A 50 cent newspaper

    USAToday is 2 bucks, saw that when I struggled to find things to read in the airports

    And crappy

    Trib is most usually wrapped so its dry

    Crap, a little one knocked on my door and sold me lemonaide for 50 cents

  7. scapper says:

    Convincing argument, but the knee line is a bit disturbing. I understand the point you’re making with it, but still, that line was kind of distasteful.

  8. chethejet1 says:

    DH hit on the most important point, credibility. Ulf may or may not turnout to be the next Scotty Bowman, but he won’t listen to excuses and what has passed for heart or lack thereof. Think Geno will be told, not asked, to play 180 feet. Think Ulf just stands behind the bench while the flyer coaches are screaming at him while only Granato showed the cajones to answer the call.

  9. chethejet1 says:

    meant DJ

  10. JAL says:

    JAL’s Get off my Cloud

    Get off my Cloud Rolling Stones


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    4 Pirates Prospects

    2014 Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Pick Signing Tracker

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Where Will Josh Harrison Play When Neil Walker Returns?

    Prospect Watch: Kingham With Another Gem; Allie Hits 12th Homer

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Reds blow out Pirates, 11-4

    Pirates should replace Jason Grilli at closer

    7 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Reds 6, Pirates 5

    8 Green Weenie

    6/18: Ron Necciai, Elmer Riddle, Hal Smith, Don Leppert, Charlie Morton & More…



    10 SaberBucs

    Tony Watson to the Rotation? Francisco Liriano to the Bullpen?

    11 Rumbunter

    Pirates Bullpen Worst in NL Central

    The Looming Pittsburgh Pirates Bullpen Decision

  11. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 USA Today

    Pirates defend Polanco move, but will it cost them?

    13 CBS Sports

    Reds v Pirates Game Preview

    14 Chicago Sun Times

    Jeff Samardzija reportedly turns down Cubs’ latest contract offer

    15 Pirates Site

    Polanco takes place in Bucs history in loss to Reds

    Collision rule creates dispute in Pittsburgh

    Watson displaying closer makeup in bullpen

    16 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Reds, Pirates confused by interpretation of Rule 7.13

    17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Brewers come up short, end winning streak in Arizona

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Cardinals still can’t solve Colon

    Lynn undone by unexpected source

    19 Fangraphs

    Prospect Watch: The Best & Worst of Gregory Polanco So Far

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    The Lineup Card: Seven Small-World Baseball Stories

  12. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Marcus Gilbert wants to be ‘a complete and top right tackle’

    Ben Roethlisberger stepping up as Steelers’ ultimate leader

    LaMarr Woodley’s release gives Steelers ability to factor into Phase Two of NFL Free Agency

    Steelers sign DL Stephon Tuitt to 4-year contract


    22 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    World Cup Projections: Group A

    World Cup Projections: Group B

    Japan vs Greece – Match Preview

    23 BBC Football

    Spain 0 Chile 2

    Australia 2 Netherlands 3

    Cameroon 0 Croatia 4

    24 World Soccer

    World Cup Day 7

    25 Pensburgh

    NHL Revenues, the Rogers Deal & Maybe the Pens Will Survive After All?

  13. bpn8pitt says:

    JAL, read that USA today article yesterday on Polanco. Kinda like some of the things NH and FC said. They were kinda damned if they did, damned if they didnt.

    Really, I think the whole money thing is a dead issue. He’ll either be extended or traded before that final year or two anyway…Glad he’s play well.

    Hope you’re okay Lucky…

  14. radio wave says:

    Maybe the Pens coach will come from a unexpected place . Twice mlb teams went to the broadcast booth to find a mgr. Two nba teams hired players with no previous experience to coach. There could be a coach from college or juniors hockey we have never heard of who gets the job.

  15. AL says:

    I was thinking that with all the Pen’s young defensive talent in the pipeline, Ulfie would be a great fit as coach.
    He might be licking his chops at the chance to mentor all of these guys.
    Hey….wouldn’t he be coaching his son Philip at some point too? Has their ever been a father-son duo at the NHL level?

  16. Pucknutz says:

    Ha, great minds think alike! !! LOL
    Just last evening after hitting a small white ball numerous times and saying many bad words after each hit……
    sanity set in and consumption of liquid bread began.
    A discussion on the merits of Ulfie as Pens Coach ensued. Most of the points DK mentioned in his column today were discussed. The two big ones….coaching credentials and “straighten out the locker room” were well hashed over.
    The consensus among 4 or 5 FOF’s that had seen Ulfie play was unanimous. Do it now and Tocchet too!!

    Pleasantly surprised this morn to see that DK is a sharp cookie and agreed with the FOF,s!! LOL

    ” And yeah, by the way, he’s Ulf.”

  17. Steelkings says:

    Whats the difference between Edison Volquez and Wandy Rodriguez?

    Just sayin!

  18. court jester says:

    Ulf=grit and character. I want a coach that isn’t afraid to hurt feelings. Bylsma never shook up the PK or the PP for fear of making someone upset. He played the stsrs all season instead of getting the young guys some ice time and experience. I want a coach that does what is best for the team and doesn’t worry about hurt feelings.

  19. JAL says:

    Simple–Wandy was finished, Volquez is still capable of pitching a good game, like his 7 shutout innings in his previous start. If you looks at Volquez over his career he is usually either very good in a game or very bad.

  20. Dom says:

    The Steelers will wear a patch for Chuck Noll this season.

  21. DJ says:

    . . . meant DK.

    It’s okay, it’s early, Chet.

  22. DJ says:

    Like Ulf best of names out there but hope he’s an X and O guy as well.

    Team needs both.

  23. NMR says:

    Where were you during his last five starts, Steel?

    Vacation? Hospital? Mental Ward? ;)

  24. DJ says:

    Was it just me or was Volquez yukking it up a tad too much on the bench when we trailed by 3 the night before?

    Know it’s unrelated but give me Cole’s demeanor and focus a day before a start.

  25. Dan H says:

    Love the article, DK. While this was not your point at all, Ulf was always my favorite player and I still wear his jersey to games. I even tried to name my son Ulf, but my wife nixed that idea… Anyway, couldn’t be more excited at the prospect of Ulfie being named Pens coach!

  26. Arriba Wilver says:

    So, what do you think of Pedro?


  27. The Gunner says:

    Volquez just had a really bad game last night. AJB had a few games like last night’s outing when he was a Bucco. Overall, EV has done pretty well this year – he’ll get it back on track.

    But, there is no way he is like the 2014 version of Wandy.


    This news just yesterday: the LA Kings just promoted John Stevens to Associate Head Coach. It sounds like Head Coach Darryl Sutter is grooming his eventual replacement, which explains why the Kings denied the Penguins permission to speak with him. Smart move. Every team with a coaching vacancy was keen to speak with John Stevens.

    As DK pointed out, Ulf has a lot of the same attributes I liked in Stevens. Which means, now that Stevens is off the table, many of those same teams with coaching vacancies will look at Samuelsson as a potential candidate. I think, because of history, roster (including his son in the system), and the fact that the Pens are already a playoff team, Pittsburgh has the advantage… if Rutherford decides to go with Ulf. Honestly, I think it would be a good move.

    The Carolina connection continues, as Rutherford tipped that he is looking to bring Rod Brind’Amour into the organization… in a capacity other than Head Coach. Along with Tocchet, he’s another one I’d see as a good candidate for player development coach.

    Also, Rossi indicated that “initial” conversations have begun with only certain UFAs. It’s pretty late in the game to be starting the discussions. The ideal scenario would be for the Penguins to have a clear picture of who they believe they can sign prior to the entry draft on June 27. This would allow the Pens to move the rights to anyone they didn’t think they could sign for draft picks in this year’s draft, which is expected to be very deep. Of course, this doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for the Penguins to make that determination…

  29. NMR says:

    Haha, awesome.

    But +1 to DJ anways for use of “yukking”.

  30. bpn8pitt says:

    About .2 WAR

    Liriano -.1 > Volquez -.3


  31. Arriba Wilver says:


  32. 21sthebest says:

    That was the day before Gerrit’s last start. We did win both of those games and it’s a darn good thing too!

  33. NMR says:

    Good stuff from Coonelly.

    But holy crap does that writer know how to weave a tale. Resurected playoff hopes? Cool to wear back and gold again?

    Good lord, give me a break.

  34. Jandy says:

    Almost to Ocean City. No word yet from Revvie. I’ll check in later. Be good :)

  35. Nate83 says:

    I personally don’t take issue with it at least not during a regular season game in June. These guys know they are going to lose at least 60 games every year. Still having fun while playing the game winning or losing doesn’t mean your not focused. They came back and tied it so they didn’t give up.

  36. DJ says:

    Ha! You’ll need to tell me if that was a day before a start, 21.

    Larger point is Cole is never satisfied. Always have sense he’s looking to improve by studying smaller aspects of the game. A pro who’s not only physically preparing himself but mentally as well. Not wanting to single Volquez out in particular (because I like him) but the aspect of continually challenging yourself to be consistently great separates guys like Cole from others. Give me more of that.

  37. Arriba Wilver says:

    Thx, Jandy. Have fun.

  38. Nate83 says:

    We’ll be good or at least better then the Pirates effort last night. Have fun!!!!

  39. bpn8pitt says:

    Wandy was a full -1.0 WAR.

    Sorry, I got my bad pitchers mixed up.

  40. DJ says:

    Heard it relaxes him.


  41. AB says:

    Hey DK, has anyone from MLB explained why the force out at home was overturned? Martin could have potentially fielded the throw in front of the plate, however, that is exactly where the runner slid trying to take him out. So in my opinion, Martin avoided contact as best he could by taking the throw where he did.

  42. Jandy says:


  43. Arriba Wilver says:

    Agree with you about Cole. Been that way from day 1.

  44. The Gunner says:

    Interesting stat

  45. Nate83 says:

    DJ I get what your saying completely but every person is built a little different. 25 Coles on the team would lead to a lot of bench clearing brawls and some intense dugout moments between teammates. The guy seems to have laser like focus and intensity through the roof and that’s what works for him. That doesn’t work for everyone. I personally think it takes a nice mix of personalities to make a solid team. It allows you to handle almost any situation in the clubhouse. The Dodgers biggest problem in my opinion is too many egos and me first players. They got all the poison that the Red Sox didn’t want.

  46. 21sthebest says:

    From what I know, I have no issues with how Cole or Volquez prepare. Or how they behave in the dugout at any time.

  47. Maz in Iowa says:

    I keep checking mlbtraderumors with the faint hope the Pirates will do a stealth trade to improve the pitching.Each day I cry a little more.Ahh I guess I’m getting used to tear soaked toast. :)

  48. bpn8pitt says:

    But on the brightside Gunner, AJ Burnett has given up two more runs than Volquez. However, he still maintains almost a full 1.0 WAR better.

    Meanwhile they both are the Top Ten of most earned runs in the NL.

    So go figure that one. I sure as hell cant.

  49. NMR says:

    via Link #15:

    “Banished from the game, Hurdle used his free time to phone Joe Torre, MLB’s executive vice president of baseball operations.

    “I can tell you we’re still working our way through finding out what is and isn’t obstruction,” Hurdle said. “I don ‘t know how much experience they’ve had with this particular play in that room [the Replay Review Command Center]. Joe and I had specific conversations about a number of things; definition and interpretation of rules and common sense all need to play a part.””

    Does anyone know WHO the people are making the calls in the replay room?

  50. NMR says:

    WAR is based on FIP and not ERA.

    Since judging a pitcher’s value based on the runs a math equation says he SHOULD have given up makes so much more sene than judging a pitcher’s value based on the runs he ACTUALLY gave up. SMH.

  51. Arriba Wilver says:

    Larry, Moe and Curly?

  52. bpn8pitt says:

    Stinks. ;)

  53. 21sthebest says:

    At some point during the game, they said that the word from the New York replay crew was that Martin didn’t create a lane to the plate.

    That has to be a joke.

  54. NMR says:

    Sounds about right.

  55. Arriba Wilver says:

    I wasn’t referring to the dugout per se, just his whole demeanor. (There’s that word again). He just seems a cut above. Like a young AJ. (Duck)

  56. Maz in Iowa says:

    Game thread is up

  57. Wild Bill says:

    What are they expecting him to do, offer the runner a sandwich and a beer as he comes in?

  58. NMR says:

    Pitcher WAR has never made the least bit of sense to me.

  59. pattonbb says:

    Jerry Meals

  60. bpn8pitt says:

    Travis Snider’s is -.1 in case you were wondering. :)

  61. Nate83 says:

    It has to be. He not only gave the entire plate since he was standing on the center of it insteald of in front of it but it was a force play so as soon as he catches the ball the guy is out. Not to mention he fell out of the way the second he touched the ball.

    Alverez call later in the game according to Red’s announcers was overturned not because the catcher blocked the plate but instead the just missed the call and Pedro got the hand down before being tagged.

  62. hockeymonster says:

    Molinari and PG reporting that Pens never did talk to Desjardins.

    Too bad. He seems accomplished.

  63. mike says:

    Stevens, while he’s done some great work in LA, had trouble controlling the group he had in Philly….not necessarily what is needed here….i wouldn’t mind seeing ulf and tocchet in there…

  64. 21sthebest says:

    Oh I know. I was responding to D.J.

  65. jds182 says:

    I think you’ll see a simpler breakout, no more stretch passes. Maybe abandon the 2 d-men on the puck on dump ins that gets the defenseman killed evey once and a while.

    Bonus: Ulf knows a thing or two about beating the Bruins

  66. 21sthebest says:

    Pedro made an amazing slide.

  67. Nate83 says:

    Well we found out yesterday he is one of our best baserunners. It’s the only thing he does well so he better keep doing it :)

  68. scapper says:

    Yes, Dan Bylsma and Craig Adams-Bylsma. Nepotism is only logical reason for the latter’s steady playing time this year.

  69. scapper says:

    NJ or MD?

  70. Poole says:


    Can you please write a column about the coaching search becoming a circus? That’s the magic touch to get these guys moving. History shows they will hire a coach the next day :-)

  71. Andrew says:

    I stop reading the article when it discussed the Marlins and prospect promotion. It was a good reminder that you can a terrible process that sometimes leads to great results.

  72. Andrew says:

    FIP is the simplest way to measure what a pitcher has the must control over. Neither FIP WAR or RA-9 WAR is correct, but where do draw the line?

  73. buggee says:

    had more sour grapes after dinner last night. you’d think that grapes in the Philippines would be honking sweet? But noooooo…
    it’s also like 8 thousand degrees and the air is like a sopping sponge. Nice to get a reality check by checking in with the DKBLOG! woo hoo! oh yeah, do the Pirates stink or what?
    Just askin’
    Hiya JandyLion. All the Little Pinoy-People around me say ‘hi’ too

  74. hockeymonster says:

    If pens are only offering 2-3 years than it may not matter.

  75. Poole says:

    Reports now that Bill Peters is the favorite for Pit.

  76. BillyBaduka says:

    I don’t think the coach’s contract length will be tied to Rutherford’s tenure.

    Do you think a 2-3 year tender would prevent some from taking the job?

    I think 3 years is pretty standard for a new coach, particularly for one new to head coaching ranks (many canidtates are assistants).

  77. hockeymonster says:

    Less proven coach like hynes or peters probably will but not someone who is more accomplished. Didn’t mention 2-3 years cuz of JR but cuz of his recent quote where he said “contract length shouldn’t matter”. I’m paraphrasing but he was implying that the coach shouldn’t be worried about term. Sounds like they want someone to take 2-3 years and earn an extension which is fine but may limit options.

  78. That,s the trouble with Volqeuz: He’ll either pitch a strong 7 innings or he’ll pitch as atrociously as he did last night. And you never know what he’ll do from one game to the next.

  79. pattonbb says:

    Who is Willie Desjardins? Anyone?

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