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Morning Java: Getting away from our game

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Thursday column goes all Xs and Os over the Penguins’ coaching hire.

Here’s Mike Johnston’s reply to my Q about a pack-mentality strategy:

And here’s Rick Tocchet on same:

The news coverage, by beat man Rob Rossi.

Tocchet’s addition is covered by Josh Yohe.

Blogginess from the scene: As with any major news story, there’s so much more I’d like to squeeze into the column than space allows. The one description I left out that I’d really wanted to include was regarding Johnston’s demeanor. He comes across as anything but a yeller and screamer. That will have some fearing Dan Bylsma 2.0 in that regard, but that would be premature. A real test of a coach’s resolve isn’t what they say or how they say it. It’s what they do. … As much as anything, I appreciated hearing about the approach to the regular season as basically being a tuneup for playoffs. Don’t mistake that to mean not taking the games seriously. What it means, as Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle both told me in pointed terms last month, is that kids like Simon Despres will play. Even if it means a loss in December. … Truth be told, now that this is all done, I’d been communicating with Tocchet for a while. One thing he told me during the search that you might like hearing: ‘I really welcome the opportunity to work with Sidney Crosby more than anything. Can’t tell you the number of times I’ve watched him and thought that I could help him.’ … Another NHL team that changed from a wide-open, stretch-pass offense to a pack mentality in midseason this past year was Winnipeg. And to great effect. Paul Maurice immediately installed a thought process that one should be able to see all five Jets on the TV screen more often than not. … I wouldn’t be surprised to find Jacques Martin working from the booth above, as he often did this past season. That would be one enormously experienced set of eyes to have upstairs. … Best wishes to Tony Granato and Todd Reirden, both good men who worked tirelessly. … Really hoping Johnston gets sole say in the final assistant hire. He ducked a question to that effect yesterday. A head coach should be able to pick at least one man he knows he trusts. … If you read the tea leaves of everything I was told yesterday about strategy, you are most absolutely not trading Paul Martin. He sounds tailored for this. … It will be interesting to watch all concerned and how they conduct themselves this weekend in Philly, as well as beyond. It’s an intriguing dynamic, to say the least.

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

>> David Price shows the Pirates why he’s such a hot commodity. Rob Biertempfel reports on the series finale from St. Petersburg.

Starling Marte passes concussion tests, by Biertempfel.

Scouting the Mets, by Biertempfel.

Here’s Rays news from the Tampa Tribune.

Here’s Mets news from ESPN New York.

Here are official game highlights on

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

>> U.S. vs. Germany with a whole lot on the line?

Yes, please! And with a game thread on top!

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

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

>> I’m headed out to Philadelphia tonight to cover the NHL Entry Draft that takes place tomorrow and Saturday. There will be columns from each day.

>> 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. aaron says:

    Hey DK,

    You were rather adamant that Johnston was the wrong man for the job and were a big proponent of the Pens hiring Ulf. I expected a bit of a different response from you with this hiring decision. Do you still feel the same way now? If not, was it something Johnston said during the press conference that gave you a different impression on the matter? Thanks!

  2. DJ says:

    I’m glad Johnston is not a yeller and a screamer. And we’ve got Tocchet to lower the boom if needed.

    Watched the presser live and again tonight. Was impressed with Johnston’s humility, poise and considered reflection on each question. Looked questioners straight in eyes and gave several insights into his philosophies, not just blurting trite “coach speak.”

    One comment I offered in the presser thread was his emphasis on center of ice play in O-zone, something fundamentally lacking over the last few years. Something basic? Well, yeah, but it’s not all rocket surgery.

    First impressions: Like him.

  3. Poole says:

    Agree with you DJ. The pauses and “get to your game” cliches wore out its welcome with me.

    MJ’s system should really help guys like letang, despres, martin, sid, and Geno flourish. His jr hockey knowledge andneye for talent should help too.

    I may be the one guy that really, really likes the hire. Better than any other candidate mentioned. My only real concern is whether or not Rutherford can get the appropriate players that fit this style of play. No more round peg/square hole or pigeonholing Adams and scuderi in a system that doesn’t fit.

    How much say do you think HCMJ will have in personnel decisions, if any?

  4. GoPens says:

    Hi Dejan,
    How do you think the upcoming change in coaching systems affects our WBS guys that come up to fill in for injuries? The Pens seem to always be plagued with injured guys throughout the year and one thing you could always count on were game-ready guys who were familiar with the system stepping in from WBS at a moments notice…

  5. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    Here’s the only thing I’d ever written about Mike Johnston, and it was in Tuesday’s live chat:

    That can speak for itself, as can the column. Both, I think, are very clear.

  6. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    Can’t imagine that wouldn’t be in place, especially with Fitzgerald, Guerin and Hynes still in charge.

  7. stuck in jersey says:

    Hey Dejan, I got the perfect coffee spot in south phi for you.

  8. Thundercrack says:

    I still have a problem when I hear hockey people say “who cares what happens in December…it’s what happens in April and May that is important”. Tocchet said this – or something close to this -in that video clip. ‘Who cares in December, 6-1 games, pad your stats’. It just seems weird to me that a league has its fans pay for & watch games that will usually be totally different when the playoffs start

  9. Thundercrack says:

    After Worley had a disastrous 2013 season, the Minnesota Twins decided to convert him into a setup reliever during spring training. It was their last-ditch move before giving up on Worley. A few days before camp ended, he was traded to the Pirates to work as a starter.

    “All I was thinking was, ‘Thank God’ because I was back in a role that I’m comfortable with,” Worley said.
    there was a minor discussion the other day regarding starters moving to the bullpen. And someone something like ‘name a pitcher/starter that hasn’t been able to pitch out of the bullpen’

    This quote from Worley supports my thought that not everyone is comfortable with being a reliever and not everyone is successful at it.

  10. JAL says:

    JAL’s Remember Me Morning Links

    Remember Me 1973 Off the Penguin album with more changes. Danny Kirwan was fired from the band due to increasing erratic behavior. Bob Weston was brought in to replace him on guitar and David Walker to replace him on vocals. This was Walkers only record with the band. Christine McVie wrote this song and sings lead. Penguin was their highest charting album yet, breaking into the top 50.


    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

    The Mystery Surrounding Alen Hanson’s Time Off

    Prospect Watch: Harold Ramirez and Josh Bell Extend Their Hitting Streaks

    Tyler Glasnow is Somehow Repeating His 2013 Success at a Higher Level

    6 Bucs Dugout

    David Price dominates as Pirates lose, 5-1

    Gregory Polanco, Pirates still discussing extension

    7 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Rays 5 Pirates 1

    8 Green Weenie

    That One Inning…Bucs, Morton Lose To Rays 5-1



    10 Rumbunter

    Gerrit Cole Will Start Saturday for Pirates

    Baseball Pranks: Nate McLouth and the Hooters Girls

  11. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 NY Times

    Pirates Gambled to Get Gregory Polanco Where He Belongs

    12 Tampa Bay Times

    Rays’ David Price dominates Pirates; trade-talk swirls
    13 Yahoo Sports

    Mets-Pirates Preview–mlb.html

    14 Chicago Sun Times

    Calls for Kris Bryant, Javy Baez may get louder as Cubs fall again

    15 Pirates Site

    Morton’s superb effort not enough for sweep

    Marte improves, but not in lineup for finale

    16 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Reds take series in 4-1 win over Cubs

    17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Gennett, Davis power Brewers to victory in series finale

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Persistent Cards chip away at Rockies, rally for win

    Bernie: Matheny’s finest personal attribute will help Cards

    19 Fangraphs

    On the Block: The 2014 Trade Chips

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    The [Your Team Name Here] Way Power Rankings

  12. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Satonio Holmes touchdown catch the ‘most overrated play’ in Super Bowl history, according to Yahoo!’s Shutdown Corner

    2014 Steelers season scenarios: Steelers’ OLine gives up most sacks in NFL

    Sunshine fits Steelers S Mike Mitchell better

    Ben Roethlisberger’s best magic trick is making receivers appear much better than they are


    22 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Honduras 0 Switzerland 3 – Post-Match Stats & Projections

    Ecuador 0 France 0 – Post-Match Stats & Projections

    Bosnia & Herzegovina 3 Iran 1 – Post-Match Stats

    Nigeria 2 Argentina 3 – Post-Match Stats & Projections

    23 BBC Football

    World Cup 2014: The defining moment for football in the US?

    Luis Suarez: global scrutiny after Giorgio Chiellini ‘bite’

    24 World Soccer

    World Cup Day 14

    25 Pensburgh

    Penguins hire Mike Johnston as head coach, according to reports

    Revisiting Old Wounds, Part I: The Boston Series

  13. Maz In Iowa says:

    Who cares what happens in March/April in MLB? :)

  14. Maz In Iowa says:

    Kiln House was always one of my favorite Mac albums.”Blood on the floor” might be the only thing close to C/W by these guys.Great album cover by Christine Perfect(McVie later) formerly of “Chicken Shack”.Yes I also have the Penguin album too….along with albums by Peter Green,Jeremy Spencer etc.BTW” Future Games” was another very good album as well.

  15. Jandy says:

    Pot stirrer!


  16. Maz In Iowa says:

    Station Man by the Mac.Can you dig this groovy tune?…. plus “This is the rock”..

  17. Maz In Iowa says:

    Ah shucks….. Couldn’t help myself.

  18. Jandy says:


  19. Sarah says:

    Tocchet’s quotes seem interesting to say the least…..

    Something like “when the other guys have 4 back deep, why would you want to stretch pass into a trap?”

    Just for that, I like him.

    Oh, and Rob Rossi is a total delta bravo with his first questions.

  20. TJA says:

    Agree w/you, TC. Another example of early season success and what it means later on: Last year April and May were really important for the Pirates to get to their 90 plus wins.

  21. A1C McG says:

    has anyone else heard a neal for sharp trade rumor?

  22. Sarah says:

    No, but Neal doesn’t exactly fit the description of wingers wanted…..something about “being able to carry the puck, skate, get the puck to Geno/Sid”

    Those Ws do not grow on trees however.

  23. Karen22 says:

    HAHA! Yeah, those games don’t count!! ;)

  24. Jandy says:

    Patrick Sharp? DO IT!

  25. Wild Bill says:

    G-mornin, Sarah. Some of this begs the question: are the holes in players’ games from doing what their system expects them to do, or are they from not being able to do anything else (one trick ponies)? Or is it both?

  26. Steve B. says:

    I won’t offer any opinion on the new coach until I see what the team transforms into under his tutelage. That said; like Bylsma, he is an author too, but I’m glad they at least hired a guy in Tocchet who if you don’t want to read a book, he has no qualms hitting you over the head with it…something this team needed…a no BS respected ex-player on the coaching staff who won’t kowtow to the stars or the egos on the team. Don’t think they had that in Granato or Reirden and surely not in Bylsma. Pretty sure Bylsma’s response to any situation that required him to be a hard a$$, would be to give the player a lower performance number when reporting to Shero. “He played a 4 game but I gave him a 2, that should fix his wagon.”

  27. Jandy says:

    That would be a lotta one trick ponies…

  28. Pucknutz says:

    The bar is set pretty high here in Pgh. Win the Cup or its complete failure.
    Ok, I will temper that a bit….at least ya gotta make the finals.
    Tall order for a first year coach.

  29. DJ says:

    Johnston said essentially the same thing. As a season ticket holder, I have no problem with it. Understood it to mean that while points were important, they shouldn’t be determinative of the larger objective, which should be instilling a comfort level with the systems put in place so they are properly executed, with each player also improving individual skills during the season, so both players and team build to a crescendo in playoffs.

    For example, would gladly have sacrificed a few early season wins/points in if it meant Depres had been learning / growing / improving as a player all along. We certainly need to maximize the young talent that we do have to feed the big club and enable other team-shaping moves to be made with confidence.

  30. Jandy says:


  31. Sarah says:

    I think a lot of players regressed under Bylsma, Neal is one, Letang is another….

    But Neal is not a good skater nor a creative puck carrier. He is an elite finisher. Except in the playoffs.

    Anyway, no one on this team should be safe except 87 and 71.

  32. DJ says:

    HCDB’s pressers, this last year in particular, were absolute torture.

    Looked/spoke like a guy on death row.

  33. PeterL says:

    Haven’t seen any mention of this, but Johnston’s “play as a pack” approach could do wonders for getting Scuderi back to top form.

  34. Wild Bill says:

    Very true, ‘nutz. Overall, I’m feeling encouraged. The new regime seems to have an idea what was missing and what is needed. That is a major start. Change was needed, and it seems to be coming.

  35. A1C McG says:

    key word: SHOULD

  36. Steve B. says:

    I’d be fine if they just showed signs of understanding what it takes to win the cup, even if they don’t make it past the second round. Unlike previous seasons, this one for me won’t simply be: “It’s if you win or lose” as much as “It’s how you play the game”. The latter is almost imperative to accomplish the former.

    Plus, I think they are more than one off-season away from building the team needed to win the cup unless JR is a magician, which I highly doubt. Too many needs on this team as it stands now.

  37. DJ says:

    Johnston on moving as a pack: “More options for the puck carrier.”

    Hey, there’s a concept. And throw in speed and the ability to retain or gain the puck in the O-zone and we’re really on to something.

  38. BillyBaduka says:

    Well said DJ.

    Not only do I have no problem with what Johnstom said, I found it encouraging.

    I understand not liking the reality that the NHL calls the playoffs differently than the regular season.

    But I dislike not accepting that reality and racking up regular season wins and being equipped for playoffs even more.

  39. DJ says:

    Still holding out hope for an E. Kane for J. Neal swap even if it meant a sweetener on our end.

    A pipe dream but, hey, I can always hope.

  40. BillyBaduka says:


  41. A1C McG says:

    what about the rights to someone? neal and rights to nisky for e. kane. not my first thought but it doesnt do us much good to hold rights to players we wont sign. CBJ just got a 5th for a guy they had no intention of signing.

  42. bpn8pitt says:

    Congrats to Vandy…Think UVA was done when Kirby got crushed, but they ‘battled’. It was a good Game 3 thats for sure.

  43. DJ says:

    I’m with you. Need GMJR to get down to business now and think creatively.

  44. chethejet1 says:

    I believe Byslma looked like he was a step behind everyone else in coaching. I just got the impression that he was so predictable that it was a running joke in the locker room. To me he was just unable to elevate his thought process on what he needed to do to adjust to game conditions. John Russell had better press conferences. Let that sink in. Most are glad he is gone and replaced with a coach who on the surface can actually coach. Bylsma is the a bad teacher who simply can’t grasp that he or she is a bad teacher. If Tomlin is Mr. Obvious, Bylsma is Mr. Oblivious.

  45. 21sthebest says:


  46. 21sthebest says:

    I thought it was a great game!

  47. ChefAutomatic says:

    i like the tocchet hire. in nearly every endeavor, when the big boss installs his friends in high-ranking positions, it almost always works. it never, ever backfires.

  48. Jim S. says:

    Johnston looked good to me answering questions. He seems like a bright guy who has waited awhile for this opportunity, and will not want to waste it. Why it took so long, I have no idea. Sometimes guys get passed over. It just happens. I’m very open minded about Johnston.

    I like Tocchet as Asst. I always liked his toughness and fire.

    I never really got the Ulf infatuation all that much. If he was not a former Penguins player, would anyone have been that excited about him? I’m not so sure.

  49. bpn8pitt says:

    Took this one from Chris Mack on the Fan last night… “What happens when the opposing team puts the picket fence up on the blue line?”

    We’ll see I guess.

  50. JohninOshkosh says:

    Really enjoy it, JAL, when you include an informative tidbit about your musical selection. There are a lot of music buffs on this blog whose interests encompass many types of musical genres. I know I like learning about musicians and bands, even if the selection is not one that would normally be within my musical interest.


  51. hockeymonster says:

    Any word on Hynes? Hope HCMJ talks to him and has him stay as assistant.

  52. DJ says:

    Get it behind them and have forwards coming with speed to regain possession.

  53. JohninOshkosh says:

    This baseball season is starting to get serious, ladies and germs. Really looking forward to the second half.

    Congrats to Vandy. I just can’t watch college baseball, though. Something about that unholy ping sound of ball hitting aluminum. Just can’t get used to it.

    Never tire of seeing youthful enthusiasm, though. Does an old body like mine good.

  54. DJ says:

    My guess is back to WB.

  55. BillyBaduka says:

    *not* being equipped…

  56. Arriba Wilver says:

    I hope it doesn’t turn into a battle of wills. I mean, Johnston didn’t hire Tocchet. I know Clint probably was told to keep Banny and Ray, and Tomlin was told to keep LeBeau, but those guys were here already and knew their roles. Stay tuned.

  57. JohninOshkosh says:

    Congrats to Tom P. Condolences to AW.

  58. Arriba Wilver says:


  59. bpn8pitt says:

    Oh I hear you…I just thought possessing the puck wasnt really the problem. In fact, I thought they led the playoffs in puck possession for a time.

    If the other team just lays back on D and waits, what does it matter if three guys come up with the puck as opposed to one.

    Mack was talking to the Winterhawks Asst GM about Johnston. As I heard the system described it was more of a “trap buster” than anything else. Like I said didnt think that was the problem. if the other team has a “Catenaccio style” or all out D, dont see how things will be that much different. Isnt that what the Rangers did? Waited for the Pens to commit a turnover and then exploit?

  60. BillyBaduka says:

    Pens won’t see that D as much if they are moving as a pack. See the two games against Columbus where F3 was back and they had more controlled breakouts (games 3-4 I think). Pens were able to gain zone better in those games.

    They saw it so much because it was effective against thier system and the Pens for whatever reason never had an answer for it.

  61. DJ says:

    Agree with you, Chet. Never seemed to evolve and adapt after the Cup win.

    We needed him to learn and grow as well and he was stagnant.

  62. BillyBaduka says:

    Turnovers will be less and with less dramatic effect if team is moving as pack. There won’t be the same gaps to exploit.

  63. BillyBaduka says:


  64. Jim S. says:

    Lincecum has now no hit the Padres 2x in less than a year. 2 no hitters and 2 Cy Youngs certainly puts him in elite pitching company. He outhit the Padres 2-0 by himself yesterday.

    Remember the Pirates nearly no hit the Padres a few weeks back? I believe the only hit we allowed that afternoon was a bunt single in the first. The Padres only got the ball out of the infield once the entire game. I still shake my head that we managed to lose that game. It was one of the strangest games I’ve ever seen, and one that will sting if we narrowly miss out on the playoffs this year.

    I don’t know how many times the Padres have been no hit in their history, but they have never thrown a no hitter against an opponent. Doc Ellis of the Bucs tossed a no no at them in old Jack Murphy stadium – while, presumably, not on LSD. I think I read that he walked 7 or 8 that day.

  65. DJ says:

    Options. Short, simple passes. See LA Kings.

  66. hockeymonster says:

    I wanna see what the roster looks like but with despres, dumoulin, harrington, mini ulf, payerl, sill, uher and etc possibly getting looks, Hynes should stay. And WB led the AHL in shots against so we know he can coach team D and structure. His 0-2 and 0-3 comebacks aren’t unimpressive either.

    What are chances of Burke trading 4th pick and Diorgano for Neal? Would want Dal Colle with that pick. Diorgano is only signed for 2 more years at 4M so Burke would get a long term sniper at a cap friendly number and we’d get a reliable dman and prospect.

  67. bpn8pitt says:

    Thanks Billy and DJ. Good info.

  68. JohninOshkosh says:

    Two Cy Youngs. Two no-hitters. Two World Series rings.

    Tim Lincecum and Sandy Koufax. That’s the entire list.

  69. DJ says:

    Like Tocchet as well but I have to reacquaint myself to his mannerisms.

    Was looking around as if waiting for his cab to show up. Or maybe he was just looking for someone to hit.

  70. bpn8pitt says:

    Im always impressed by a no-hitter in places like Yankee Stadium, Great American, Coors ect.

    Im not saying for the other ballyards its less impressive, still hard to do…but those parks, its quite a feat.

    What Lincecum did yesterday was awesome and rare, but it wasnt against the ’27 Yankees, Big Red Machine, or Lumber Co…The Padres are an awful hitting team.

  71. Jandy says:


  72. Jim S. says:

    And, Lincecum has a pretty good chance to move ahead in the WS list this year.

  73. Jim S. says:

    AW’s alma mater seems to be advancing pretty far in a few sports this year.

  74. hockeymonster says:

    “If the other team just lays back on D and waits, what does it matter if three guys come up with the puck as opposed to one.”

    If we chip it in we’ll have speed and numbers on the forecheck. And i agree that offense and possession wasn’t our main problem. We switched to more support on breakouts and were better at NZ after that capitals game in november but team D and structure was still an issue. Hope that gets addressed as much as anything.

  75. Pucknutz says:

    Good points Steve. I agree with ya, esp needing more than one off season.
    Question is…. how much patience will the fan base have?

  76. bpn8pitt says:

    Thanks, monster. Hopefully we get the right personel in the coming days.

  77. bpn8pitt says:

    Jandy Jandy, any player you have your eye on the Pens could get in the coming days, thats feasible and a good fit?

  78. Maz In Iowa says:

    Fourthded :)

  79. Arriba Wilver says:

    Thanks, guys. First time they got to the finals I think. The University is probably pretty happy.

  80. AJS says:

    That’s dang impressive.

    Its too bad Lincecum has fallen off a liff against everyone not from San Diego. He could get a third series championship but as much more of a role player than the first two. Heck he may even be considered their fifth starter. how often does the fifth starteractualy get to throw in the series?

  81. Arriba Wilver says:

    Speaking of music, there was an interesting special on PBS last night about the Dave Clark Five. Said they had 15 top 20 hits in a row at one point. Seems like they were a big influence on Springsteen and the E Street Band. I didn’t know that.

  82. Jandy says:

    Well, I do have some players I’ve always liked…

    David Booth is one…LW, with the Canucks I believe.

    Devin Setoguchi from the Peg is another…RW, and I think he’s around 3M cap hit now.

    Would love to see Matt Moulson back…

    What about David Moss? RW from Coyotes…

    Monster Mash is better at this then I am. :)

  83. Jim S. says:

    TL has been known to move to the pen in the playoffs.

    In 2012, he pitched 6x in 3 playoff series’, and only one of those games was as a starter. The Cardinals knocked him around a bit and beat him when he started. But, he pitched great out of the pen that year, including dominating Detroit in the WS.

    I’ve knocked him some for not being nearly the pitcher he was a few years ago, but I give him credit for always taking the ball in whatever situation he is asked. He’s a tough little guy. I actually think he could be a really nice reliever at some point if they decide he can’t continue to start.

  84. bpn8pitt says:

    Can the #1 get one of these players? Would you do that?

  85. Jandy says:

    heck yeah!

  86. Jim S. says:

    Those two schools are cranking out some ball players lately.

  87. Jandy says:

    #1?? that’s tough…maybe for Moulson.

    I dunno…help me out here :)

  88. 21sthebest says:

    And who is the only other pitcher with multiple no hitters and multiple Cy Young’s?

  89. NMR says:

    How do you know he wasn’t successful if he never threw a pitch?

    But great job confirming what you already believed.

  90. bpn8pitt says:

    I dont know.

    Im interested what happens in the next couple weeks. Could be quite a bit of roster shuffling with the FA, trades ect.

    Like many others have said, if they are in win now mode, Im fine with them trading the #1.

  91. hockeymonster says:

    Since jandy dragged me into this discussion i’d like to see us try to bring in Vrbata, raymond, trade for evil stewie, Fayne, winnik, re-sign Goc. But we’d have to create some cap space to create depth.


    That rumor doesn’t make a lot of sense from Chicago’s perspective. The ‘Hawks are looking for a #2 centre behind Toews, and they are willing to part with Sharp in order to get a guy like Kesler or Spezza.

  93. bpn8pitt says:

    Hockey teams seem to shuffle their rosters a lot more than MLB and NFL. Guess its like NBA where you build around a couple guys and implement your schemes.

  94. NMR says:

    Literally may be the worst hitting team in the last 100 years.

    Remember when Chase Headley was good at baseball?

  95. Jandy says:

    #1 is tough to trade, but if you get the right impact player, then it might be worth it.
    But…with so much up in the air with OUR team…who’s to say who the right player is, until things are a bit more settled.
    MJ and company along with Rutherford have a ton of work to do … quickly!!!!!


    I’ve been pleading this case for the past week and a half. How Rutherford has not prioritized getting some return for these players is infuriating.

  97. Jandy says:

    I didn’t hear you screaming nor kicking your feet :P

  98. JohninOshkosh says:


    I always kind of thought of them as Beatles knock offs or wanna bees. Never really that influential. Cool.

  99. Jandy says:

    Mason Raymond? Toronto? Hmmm…

  100. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    So what are the odds that this new Penguins coach is any good?
    2:1, 3:1, 3:2?

    I’m sure Rick Tocchet can get us the true betting line…

  101. SeanAY says:

    And because there’s a lot more money in starting, even as a mediocre starter, than there is as a mediocre reliever. I’m sure that contributed to Worley’s “comfort level.”

  102. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’m not sure, 21, but I did read that the National League has posted the last 7 no-hitters, or something like that. That DH makes for a more difficult slog in the junior circuit.

  103. Milo Hamilton says:

    You look familiar. Do I know you from somewhere ?

  104. The Gunner says:

    The Dave Clark Five was an awesome group with a lot of great hits. Their lead singer, the late Mike Smith, was great.

  105. Maz In Iowa says:

    I was a big fan of Gerry and the Pacemakers also.Tons of hits by them


    Much of the expectations for next season rest on what happens over the next week. For better or for worse, Rutherford has prioritized hiring a head coach above any personnel decisions. He’s finally got his coach, but it’s the eve of the draft and exactly zero personnel decisions have been made since Rutherford took the helm. From the sounds of it, there’s nothing imminent…

    Here’s the score: 11 UFAs. 2 RFAs. One first-round pick in the first three rounds. 14 roster spots out of a required 23 secured for opening night, and under $16M in cap space to do it.

    It’s time for Jim Rutherford to start showing some resolve…

  107. hockeymonster says:

    Isn’t there a 5 day window to talk to UFA’s now? So i think its too late now. Hard to believe no one wanted to talk to orpik or nisky unless we think we’ll be making cap space to sign on of them.

  108. The Gunner says:

    Worley appears to be a good, low cost pickup by the BMTIB thus far – let’s hope it continues.

  109. NMR says:

    Lincecum was every bit as exciting to watch when he came up as Jose Fernandez is now. Guy was just a joy to see do his thing.

  110. JohninOshkosh says:

    Hey Jandy:

    I hope y’all got that little pixie out of the sand!

  111. Arriba Wilver says:

    I thought of them the same way, although I do have a bunch of their 45’s. That was kind of the difference. I’d buy Beatles’ albums and DC5 45’s.

  112. JohninOshkosh says:

    Do you think he has the ability to redefine himself ? Sort of become a Maddux type ? He seems to have good baseball intelligence.

  113. Happy for Vandy, too. You know they’ll never win a NC in football or basketball, but they’re much more competitive in those sports these days, too. Always put out good basketball teams, men and women.

    Did Pedro have any comments about his Alma Mater winning a NC?


    If the Penguins are looking to trade their first round pick to bring in someone to help now, it would have to a high profile player like Ryan Kesler. In that case, it would take the Pens pick and a solid defensive prospect to get Vancouver to play ball.

    The problem with that scenario is it does nothing to address the Penguins most glaring need (a 3rd and 4th line), so it almost forces the Penguins into another move to clear some cap space. The Penguins could conceivably then trade James Neal for a solid two-way forward and a prospect, but now you’re raising questions where there were none before (who is going to replace Neal’s goal production?).

  115. NMR says:

    I don’t, John.

    I don’t think his mechanics – with everything he does for leverage and deception – will ever allow him to be a plus command type of guy. And a complete overhaul at this stage of his career seems unlikely.

    I think he can probably make some changes to his pitch selection that would help him save some walks, and honestly that may be all he needs. Guy still is a pretty damn good pitcher.

    But I don’t think you’ll ever see him become a control-type.


    Yes, it started yesterday, hockeymonster. CBJ got a 5th round pick for Nikitin just yesterday… and the Penguins are sitting on Matt Niskanen. Inexcusable.

  117. NMR says:

    Yeah, I thought that was blatantly obvious.

  118. Thundercrack says:

    I confirmed that everyone is not comfortable

    I’ll have to look up his stats to see if he was successful at it in ST

  119. Tom P. says:

    Thanks, John and sorry, AW. My money would have been on Virginia. Vandy’s last four games show how thin the difference between winning and losing in baseball often is, I like John’s comment about youthful enthusiasm, too. For those of us old enough to remember the 1979 world series, these athletes really are kids to us. The last series was very tight, and both teams should keep their heads up.

  120. Jandy says:

    LOL Oshie, what amazed me, was that she wasn’t the least bit upset about it. At one point we had her buried up to her neck! She never cried or got alarmed. She’s a bright little cookie and never ceases to amaze me.

    She and I were running down to the ocean to get some water in buckets for her “volcano”. Again, she let me hold her hand and we went in up to her chest…she never faltered nor tried to run. Brave little one :)

  121. The Gunner says:

    Good idea, TC – ST stats can be extremely meaningful

  122. Hopefully, the Pirates can do better vs. the Mets this time at home than they did recently in NYC. And also, the US has a decent chance of getting ahead in soccer although Germany will likely be a tough enough opponent and there are those injuries to deal with as well.

  123. Jandy says:

    hey hey, Revvie :)

  124. 21sthebest says:

    Randy Johnson is the third pitcher.

  125. Thundercrack says:

    Randy Johnson and Sandy Koufax.

  126. 21sthebest says:

    Peripheral stats can be even better.

  127. Andrew says:

    Play as pack is referring to the breakout, Scuderi cannot skate, 35 year olds don’t become better skaters.

  128. JohninOshkosh says:

    Yeah, good points. He may be able to redefine himself as a bullpen guy, a la Dennis Eckersly.

  129. Arriba Wilver says:

    Well, shucks, you need to dumb it down for us rubes.


  130. Colin Dunlap, for one, seems to think that the fans have been overreacting to Johnston and Tocchet being chosen as the Pens’ coach and assistant coach respectively, although we can only take a wait and see approach at this time.

  131. Andrew says:

    Turnover are a product of having the puck, they will happen. I really think too many distinctions are being drawn were none really exist.

    Mike Johnston hockey primer has the line,”Safe plays stifle creativity.”

    Then “An area pass is still a direct pass…utilize bank passes off the boards and laying pucks into open spaces for teammates to skate into.” this was the bread and butter of Bylsma’s forechecking system.

    We can debate systems and tactics all we want but in the end, you need players, the Penguins success will depend upon building a bottom six, not what breakout is preferred.

  132. Arriba Wilver says:

    Congrats, Tom P.

  133. Andrew says:

    Good call Chef, I’ve read that the ownership demanding that Tocchet be brought on the staff chased away the first two head coach targets. At least they have someone in place to run the NCAA pool and collect fantasy football dues.

  134. Andrew says:

    I think Hynes will leave eventually he was passed over and is by most accounts a NHL ready coach.

  135. Andrew says:

    Third base trade target Chase Headley?

  136. hockeymonster says:

    Agree about bottom 6. But a safe play can be chipping puck off glass as an area pass. Just hope that moving puck quickly is part of offense. Holding onto puck and reading progressions is a recipe for turnovers. Usually there’s only one open passing option, if it’s not there we’ll need to go off the boards hard to get it out. Or if we have the center or winger streaking we can chip high off glass as an area pass.

    Overall you can expect to see similar breakouts to what we saw Post Capitals game in november. Question i have is what our NZ discipline will look like and how good our team D and dzone coverage will be?

  137. Arriba Wilver says:

    Agree, NMR, about when he came up. Fun to watch. Nomo was like that, if I recall correctly.

  138. hockeymonster says:

    But there aren’t any HC spots open. Why not stay on as Reirdens replacement and run the D? Like the fact that WB were 1st in shots allowed.

  139. cmat0829 says:

    First, let me just say I am NOT GRUMPY today. But let’s see what my posts allow others to deduce about my mental state of mind.

    While I agree that ‘anyone can pitch out of the bullpen’, by definition, there is a difference between guys that can excel in late innings and guys that are ‘depth options’ out of the pen. I think we all can see the difference between Watson and Hughes right now and say, Gomez and Pimentel. If the idea is to move a Worley or Cumpton or Locke to the ‘pen, while I agree they can indeed pitch in spots that Gomez and Pimentel are now, but can they step up and pitch in tight games in the 7-8-9th inning? Are there skill sets optimized for pitching every day in those situations? I don’t know, but it’s not a slam dunk to me that they are.

  140. cmat0829 says:

    SMILING as I type this and in an absolutely happy mood…. I totally agree that baseball regular season is completely important, including April and May games… but that has nothing to do with the NHL. Way more teams qualify for the playoffs in the NHL and even seeding is almost irrelevant due to lack of home ice advantage effect. The NBA is even more pronounced.

    Oh, and if this is a Polanco reference, pretty well documented that we are looking at 1 game or possibly 2 at the most impact so not gonna follow that one down the wormhole.

  141. hockeymonster says:

    Just listened to video of HCMJ and tocchet and all this talk about puck support instead of stretch passing sounds so familar…where have i heard that stuff before? Maybe i read about it somewhere…

  142. cmat0829 says:

    sometimes the best trades you make are the ones you don’t make. I know we all (DK included) were apoplectic that Headley wasn’t a Pirate a few years back, but I prefer Pedro thank you.


    I think if Brian Burke makes that move he’d be run out of town. Neal isn’t worth the 4th overall pick on his own, nevermind with a top pairing defenseman like Giordano.

    Anyway, I don’t see Calgary trading their pick.

  144. cherokee23 says:

    Not sure I agree completely. While we all want them to win the Cup, I think the biggest frustration last 2-3 years wasn’t that they lost early, but how they did it and how they played. Just seemed each year they got further away from the kind of team it takes to be successful in playoffs. Many on the blog have expressed this over last 2 seasons. I can handle them not winning the Cup, but I want to see a more competitive playoff style team

  145. Andrew says:

    Not sure Johnston agrees with you, “Discourage the “dump out” or “no look rim” style of play.”

    I’m joking, I just think way too much is being made supposed tactical shift. Bylsma, when he had depth, from 2009-2012 coached one of the best puck possession teams in the NHL, a different breakout is not going to make Glass or Adams better.

  146. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    I don’t believe the talk of obtaining Headley a year or two ago was to replace Alvarez.

  147. hockeymonster says:

    Dont necessarily disagree but Burke may :)

    But seriously i think a goal scorer like Neal(30-40 with quality center) could be worth the 4th pick and steady dman. Especially if you look at giordano only being signed for 2 more years and neal being signed long term. Kind of depends on how aggressive burke is in trying to win sooner.

    Then we can replace neals goals by committee with UFA’s like vrbata and raymond. I know buffalo needs to hit the floor but perhaps evil stewie could be available.

  148. Arriba Wilver says:

    Don’t you mean AHCRT? ;-)

  149. hockeymonster says:

    Yup…hearing HCMJ & AHCRT sounded like deja vu all over again.

  150. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    I’m really a Starbucks guy, but thanks. There’s one down there.

  151. hockeymonster says:

    If anything Glass and Adams are much less suited for a support game. And in 2009-12 we were able to suffocate average teams via disco stretch but good teams exposed fact that we gave up middle of the ice too easily cuz of overly aggressive forecheck. Philly’s breakouts looking like jailbreaks is example of this. And Boston had no trouble closing gap on our forwards at the dots waiting for disco stretch chip to speed play. Switching to more support breakouts mid season was LOOONNG over due. Not instilling NZ discipline and team D cost us on hagelin’s goal in game 6 and didn’t help in game 7 when our top line got beat down the ice.

    Disco was always trying to instill aggressiveness when it was unnecessary. Why go for an inside straight draw when you can wait for better percentages on the next play or shift?

  152. Sarah says:

    Where would we put Kesler? we need Ws not C’s…..

  153. Mischa! errr Jandy!

  154. hockeymonster says:

    Schenn got 2/5M.

    Good deal for pens with Sutter being a RFA. He’s 3 years older than schenn but should put a limit on Sutter’s raise. 2.8M per year should be a good number for 2-3 years. They both play similar TOI, have similar stats and roles. But schenn is more physical so fact that he’s younger should be negligible factor.

  155. NMR says:

    Yeah, the trade talk assumed he’d magically move back to left field.

  156. NMR says:

    I think he could be really successful in that role, John.

  157. Neil says:

    Great group – Fleetwood Mac. Station Man – very good tune. I really liked this group back in the late 60’s and early 70’s when they were mainly a “blues and boogie” band. I saw them in ’72 at IUP along with Long John Baldry and Savoy Brown, one of the best concerts I have ever been to.

  158. NMR says:

    Man, good call. I had to go check when he actually came up (er, over?)…1995.

    2.54 ERA, 11.1 K/9(!!)

  159. NMR says:

    Wasn’t there talk of him turning down a $100m extension? Ouch.

  160. 1313MckingbirdLn says:

    Does anyone know whether salary can be retained up when making trades in the NHL? The Flyers have given Vinny Lecavalier’s agent permission to seek a trade partner. He has 4 years with a $4.5 mil/yr cap hit. With him being 34, would there be many teams looking to make this trade, providing salary cannot be retained?

  161. Arriba Wilver says:

    Just trying to get the lingo down.

  162. Jandy says:

    is that you, Jason?

  163. Jandy says:

    Lookin’ sharp, AW ;)

  164. 1313MckingbirdLn says:

    Yeah. I figured I’d just use my Twitter handle. I’ve seen a couple Jasons on the board.

  165. Jandy says:

    No worries, just checking :)

    I can’t answer your question, though, maybe Monster Mash can?

  166. 1313MckingbirdLn says:

    S’all good

  167. A1C McG says:

    you can have the other team take on salary which we did with jussi. carolina paid part of his salary but i dont think it counted against their cap. dont bring lecavalier into pittsburgh, he is a downgrade from sutter who is much younger faster, durable, and better as a third line center than vinny.

  168. Arriba Wilver says:

    I think the assumption was Pedro would move to 1B. And wasn’t that the year he was doing really poorly in any event? (2011). Sent back to AAA and ended the season with an OPS less than .600.

    But, let’s just point at one aspect which makes us feel smart . . .

    It’s real easy to just throw darts.


    A team can retain up to half a player’s salary to facilitate a trade. The retained salary counts against the cap of the team trading the player.

    I’m sure Philly would love to find a trade partner. Even picking up part of the salary, it would end up being cheaper for the Flyers (in the long run) then buying him out.


    Good signing for Philly and it’s a good comparable, for sure. If the Pens can get Sutter locked in for 2 to 3 years and under $3M per, I’m sure they’d be happy with that. I’m sure if Sutter can get some decent linemates, he’d be happy, too.

  171. Jandy says:


  172. NMR says:

    It was 2012, and Garrett Jones was having a career year. So no, Pedro was not moving to 1B.


    If Philly was desperate enough to unload Lecavalier and retain half his salary, I’d pick him up for a late round draft pick. He may be on the decline, but Lecavalier does much better on an aggressive attacking system like what Johnston looks to install in Pittsburgh. He’s still got a lot of talent, skates well, and forechecks hard. For a $2.25M, he’d be a great veteran pickup for the 3rd and 4th lines.

  174. hockeymonster says:

    I would pass on vinny. His speed and acceleration isn’t very good anymore and his touch has faded. I hope philly chokes on that contract. Would rather spend the 2M+ on raymond and/or vrbata or depth on D.

  175. Arriba Wilver says:

    You’re right. My bad. The point remains, though, that the Headley talk was not that he was to replace Pedro. I don’t think getting rid of Pedro was part of the calculus, which seemed to be what cmat was saying.

  176. 1313MckingbirdLn says:

    I forgot about Jussi.

  177. 1313MckingbirdLn says:

    Vinny played wing last season in Philly, didn’t he? I haven’t really followed him much, but would he be able to provide that net-front presence the Pens have lacked?

  178. cmat0829 says:

    I wasn’t linking Pedro to Headley in the literal ‘what happens to Pedro if they obtained Headley sense’… simple post was sometimes you are better off not making a deal and now I prefer Pedro to Headley. I prefer Barmes to Headley.

  179. GAWTS2009 says:

    yesterday Sharp’s agent confirmed he wasn’t going anywhere. Take away what you want from that.

  180. AJS says:

    Does he have a tendency to be a Monty Brewster? Can get anyone out once through the lineup? I can’t say I pay any attention at all to the Giants enough to know how he performs.

  181. AJS says:


  182. Aaron says:

    I made the mistake of commenting before I had a chance to read your article, which greatly clarified things. Truth be told, I had a significant change of opinion after hearing Johnston’s system first type of approach. Thanks for answering.

  183. BillyBaduka says:


    Lose playing hard and keeping composure, fine.

    Can’t lose with slumped shoulders (Rangers 14, Montreal 10 game 7) or tantrums (Philly 12, Boston 13).

  184. BillyBaduka says:

    But they won’t be moving out of the zone at top speed and leaving him behind.

    He functioned fine in LA doing this.

    There is still hope that he will improve next year. The ankle injury could have been what put his skating “below the Mendoza line”

  185. BillyBaduka says:

    Kesler can play W without skipping a beat if needed. He did so in Vancouver.

  186. BillyBaduka says:

    Ummm, yeah one has to have the puck to turn it over.

    You’re missing the point.

    The turnovers will result in less odd man breaks because if better gap control. The effects of the turnovers will be less dramatic.

    Unless some one from the opposition is cherry picking away from the play, there won’t be as many breakaways and odd man rushes.

  187. hockeymonster says:

    Uuunnnlessss…you hold onto the puck too long. And was referring to plays once you establish possession. Sometimes you do so under pressure resulting in the need to move the puck quickly. And then there are times when time and space is there. The latter isn’t the issue. The former at times has been in the past. That and team D will determine our fate as much as any depth we can create.

    Don’t want our young D over thinking. If the 1st pass isn’t there it’s ok to use the boards/high glass. Or murphy dumping cross corner to streaking forward. Idea of progressions is what got me wondering. I think that was just press conference fodder. Sometimes you can reverse back if communication is there but alot of times you can’t. All those times letang held onto the puck too long or forced a pass? You really want that?

    And overall i think we’ll be fine offensively. But we all know what this team and flower looks like when we give up the middle of the ice. Try winning tic tac toe without taking center square.

  188. BillyBaduka says:


    my reply was to Andrew, but it shows up under yours.

    Saying that “turnovers are a product of having the puck” got me. The Pens home sweaters are black. The puck is round. True, but what does this do to to support a point or advance the discussion.

    I don’t think moving as pack is be all end all. I agree that they have to do better controlling the center of the ice. Johnston said that is something they need to do better in the offensive zone. I doubt it’s something he thinks is unimportant in NZ or D zone.

    All the times Letang held the puck too long was a product of everyone moving north too soon. The over aggressive Disco breakout.

    And I definitely agree that the Pens need to shore up bottom 6 and forward depth.

    But the topic at hand was the new coach.

  189. KING says:

    I think the Penguins might have missed their window for another Cup. The East should be better next year. Boston real strong & Maple Leafs have a nucleus of young talent. Columbus adding Hartnell was seismic…He should impart talent & experience to the young Jackets. Red Wings should be adjusted to the East teams & should improve.

    Hope Pens keep Real Deal James Neal. Big skilled winger who scores goals. Thats the type of player the Pens are looking for…

    You wonder if PENS will become like early 80’s Steelers. They will ride Sid & Geno for another few years & have to rebuild. These guys (tys )started out late teens in NHL grinding out 82 games + playoffs. Also Olympics & World Champions games. Bodies more like 30 year olds I think.

    Two King thumbs up for the Johnston hire. Too bad we didnt hire him 2 years ago. Tocchet will bring the fire & hammer as A coach.

    PENS remind me of a shattered vase. Some parts can be salvaged & put back in place. Some pieces are too far gone & must be discarded.

    I still think PENS can scratch out 100 points. KING

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