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Morning Java: Beau knows loneliness

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

PHILADELPHIA — Morning, Lunatics …

>> The NHL Entry Draft is tonight and tomorrow here on the wrong side of the commonwealth, and I’m here along with our hockey beat guys, Rob Rossi and Josh Yohe, to cover it for you. On my end, I’ll have Saturday and Sunday columns.

The Penguins hold the No. 22 overall pick in this draft, and man, they’d better make it count. That’s because this will be their only pick out of the first 122 choices. Their next pick is in the fourth round, 123rd overall.

Get the sense the draft wasn’t terribly important to Ray Shero?

Well, just wait, because it’s easy to get the same early sense with Jim Rutherford. He’s openly stating he might trade that first-rounder, and he’s also suggesting he won’t be adding picks, either.

Hey, why attend the draft at all, right?

My hope for the evening, at least as far as the draft is concerned, is that the Penguins’ scouts take a forward. No, really, a forward. If they can remember how, that is. Or if they’ve got any clue how to do it. Because recent history would suggest they don’t. Their only forwards of note over the eight drafts under Shero have been Jordan Staal, Beau Bennett, Dustin Jeffrey and … um … wait, I know there was one more … oh, yeah, no one.

Some of that, of course, was because of the plan to take defensemen, then parlay them into trade pieces, something that Shero did exactly once as GM, by the way, with Joe Morrow.

It’s time to add some forwards into the organization, preferably of the skilled variety. Can never have enough of that trait, and can’t keep counting on outside acquisitions to make up for it.

That said, experts are really down on this class, by Rossi.

Here’s the NHL Entry Draft 2014 official page on NHL.com.

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

>> Gregory Polanco is good. Travis Sawchik reports on how the kid mashed the Mets at a packed PNC Park, and yes that’s packed on a Thursday night. Fireworks weren’t all that did it, either. It was Faith Night, a wonderful initiative by the team in which church groups buy up tickets in big numbers and participate in a postgame religious discussion with Clint Hurdle and a few players. It’s getting bigger each summer, too. Very neat.

Gerrit Cole learns his lesson, by Sawchik.

Elsewhere, Jameson Taillon talks elbow rehab with Rob Biertempfel in Bradenton:

Here’s Mets news from ESPN New York.

Here are official game highlights on MLB.com.

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

>> The U.S. ‘are’ through!

And in this case, the ‘are’ plural verb is as applicable as the ‘through,’ because the World Cup context is that the Americans advanced to the round of 16 despite a 1-0 loss to Germany in which they looked dead tired except for Jermaine Jones, DaMarcus Beasley and a fresh Omar Gonzalez, pictured above after the match.

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

>> Pitt’s Lamar Patterson is a second-round NBA pick, taken by Milwaukee but then promptly traded to Atlanta. This is Jamie Dixon’s second pick in as many years, joining Steven Adams, no small feat considering the NBA’s draft is only two rounds.

Lamar will have to work for everything he gets at the pro level, but that’ll be no different than his collegiate career. He’s a quality, smart player. It’s good to see him getting the chance.

Here’s a terrific collection of Lamar highlights from the ACC Network:

>> 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.

 
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