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April 17, 2014
by Dejan Kovacevic


386 comments so far - add yours!

Morning Java: Fifteen to go

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

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>> The Thursday column off Game 1 comes in praise of Dan Bylsma, the playoff coaching wizard. For Game 1, anyway.

The game story, by beat man Rob Rossi.

The Columbus perspective, by Jason Mackey.

Play of the game, by Chris Adamski, of course, was Brandon Sutter’s goal, described in the video below by the Canadian legend Bob Cole, who’s been on air since 1969 and will retire after these playoffs:

Gary Bettman in the house, by Rossi.

The city coffers benefit big-time, by Bob Bauder.

Other news and notes, by Adamski.

Blogginess from the scene: Not wild about Todd Richards’ demeanor so far. I get that he’s a rookie coach as far as playoffs go, but there’s no point in saying this about his Blue Jackets after the game: ‘We aren’t here just to go to school. We’re here to win.’ Uh, who’d  have thought any less of the legit No. 7 seed in the conference? … I’d love to see the NHL adopt an NFL-style review for plays that happen in games that aren’t called penalties and aren’t suspension-worthy but could still merit fines. Case in point was Brandon Dubinsky’s ridiculous slew-foot of Sidney Crosby. … Man, what a wonderful hockey player Matt Niskanen is becoming, huh? Just think of all those dollar signs being attached to every performance like this one. … Niskanen and Paul Martin need to be on the power play. Do what you have to from there. … I don’t see or understand the Brian Gibbons thing. … Crosby’s keeping a healthy approach about when and how he’s used by Bylsma in matchups: ‘Whenever Dan tells me to get out  there, it doesn’t matter. You get ready to compete. What makes you successful against Dubinsky is the same thing that makes you successful against Johansen.’ … MIA for Pittsburgh: Chris Kunitz, no points, minus-2, lots of unambitious plays. MIA for Columbus: Ryan Johansen, a 33-goal scorer with no points and three shots. … Am I the only one who thought Sergei Bobrovsky actually played worse than his line? Visible lack of confidence at times. … Expect R.J. Umberger to be back for the Jackets in Game 2. … Columbus wound up with a 48-27 edge in hits. The Jackets also had two giveaways to the Penguins’ 10. … That gold-out was a failure. The number of people who showed up wearing gold, from what I saw outside, couldn’t have been as high as 5 percent. And the feel with the freebie T-shirts … eh. Just forget it. We are who we are. Give us towels.

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

Here’s Blue Jackets news from the team’s official site, including this neat video of old friend Mark Letestu mic’d up for the game.

Here are official game highlights on NHL.com.

>> Yesterday’s TribLIVE Radio podcast began with your calls on Penguins-Jackets, the Pirates’ speed bumps, the Steelers’ draft and more, and here’s video of that segment …

>> Johnny Cueto could be taunting the Pirates after shutting them out. Travis Sawchik reports from Great American Band Box.

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

Here’s Reds news from the Cincinnati Enquirer.

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

Here are official game highlights on MLB.com.

>> Thank you, as always, for reading. I’ll cover the Pirates’ return to PNC Park today and write a Friday column from there.

April 16, 2014
by Dejan Kovacevic


272 comments so far - add yours!

On location: Penguins 4, Blue Jackets 3, Game 1

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to faceoff …

Game: Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Game 1, Stanley Cup playoffs, Eastern Conference quarterfinal

Time: 7:38 p.m.

Site: Consol Energy Center

TV, radio: Root Sports, NBC Sports (national), 105.9 the X

Here’s the official live summary.

Here are TribLIVE’s Penguins page and our Chipped Ice blog. Rob Rossi, Josh Yohe, Chris Adamski, Jason Mackey and I are covering for the Trib. I’ll write a Thursday column from here.

Some videos from both teams’ skates this morning …

Tanner Glass, on the importance of the forecheck:

Jack Johnson of the Blue Jackets, on being the underdog:

April 16, 2014
by Dejan Kovacevic


6 comments so far - add yours!

Podcast: Calls, calls, calls

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Today’s TribLIVE Radio podcast began with a wonderful string of your calls on Penguins-Jackets, the Pirates’ speed bumps, the Steelers’ draft and more.

Here’s video of that segment …

Hope you can check the full podcast with that first link up there, as it also includes a talk with Trib hockey writer Josh Yohe and, of course, the latest installment from @SuckMeter.

Thanks to all who listened, called and emailed!

April 16, 2014
by Dejan Kovacevic


216 comments so far - add yours!

Reds 4, Pirates 0

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (7-7) vs. Cincinnati Reds (5-9)

Time: 12:35 p.m.

Site: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati

TV, Radio: Root Sports, Fox Sports Ohio, 93.7 The Fan

Here’s the official live box score.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page. And here’s our Bucco Blog with all the pitching matchups, lineups, etc. Travis Sawchik is on the scene for the Trib.

April 15, 2014
by Dejan Kovacevic


160 comments so far - add yours!

Morning Java: Drop the puck!

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The TribLIVE Radio show today — 2-3 p.m. — will feature you once again. We’ve got all kinds of ground to cover, so I’ll open by taking your calls on any topic. Will the Penguins sweep the Blue Jackets? Or will the series take five games? Still worried about the Pirates at first base? How about the rotation? You name it.

So do it. Call me at 412-320-7925.

Feel free to email sportstalk@tribweb.com if you can’t call. But I’d really rather hear from you.

At 2:30, we’ll be joined by Josh Yohe, the Trib’s hockey beat man.

And at 2:45, we’ll have more wit and wisdom from our @SuckMeter, this on Tony Sanchez.

To listen, just click on the link up top. If you’re mobile, try the iPhone version of the TribLIVE Radio app, or the Android version. Both are free and ridiculously easy to use.

>> Here we go!

Sidney Crosby is no Kid anymore when it comes to playoffs, by Yohe.

Evgeni Malkin is ready and raring, by Rob Rossi.

Marc-Andre Fleury has plenty to prove, by columnist Joe Starkey.

Tomas Vokoun will merely provide depth, by Chris Adamski.

The Blue Jackets sound confident, by Craig Merz in Columbus.

Advanced metrics of the matchup, by Jesse Marshall.

Honestly, I don’t have much to add beyond what the Monday column described: Penguins in five.

Any two teams can be pitted, no matter how lopsided, and someone can concoct reasons why a series should be tight or could even swing an unexpected way. That shouldn’t happen here. It can’t happen here. The Penguins have markedly superior skill on the top two lines, are much better on both special teams, have a more accomplished and mobile defense … they’re even healthier than Columbus, if you can believe that. The variable that still screams out is that of Fleury vs. Sergei Bobrovsky, and goaltending always can be enough of a variable to dwarf all others. But I don’t see it. I really don’t.

I’ll respect Bobrovsky and his 2013 Vezina Trophy enough to presume he’ll steal one game. No more.

Oh, and if it’s a Cup pick you want, it’s Teemu Selanne going out on top.

Our panel on WPXI-TV’s Subway Final Word each picked one possible way the Penguins could lose this series:

And here’s what TribLIVE Radio‘s morning team of Ken Laird and Guy Junker had to say about the playoffs finally being upon us:

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

Here’s Blue Jackets news from the team’s official site.

Here are official game highlights on NHL.com.

>> The Pirates had to settle for a pseudo-split with the Reds. Travis Sawchik reports from Great American Band Box.

Wandy Rodriguez’s vanishing velocity, by Sawchik.

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 MLB.com.

>> The Steelers pick up another punter, by Alan Robinson.

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

>> Thank you, as always, for reading. I’ll cover Game 1 today, the Pirates’ return to PNC Park tomorrow. Hope you can call the show!

April 15, 2014
by Dejan Kovacevic


169 comments so far - add yours!

Reds 7, Pirates 5

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (7-6) vs. Cincinnati Reds (4-9)

Time: 7:10 p.m.

Site: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati

TV, Radio: Root Sports, Fox Sports Ohio, 93.7 The Fan

Here’s the official live box score.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page. And here’s our Bucco Blog with all the pitching matchups, lineups, etc. Travis Sawchik is on the scene for the Trib.

April 15, 2014
by Dejan Kovacevic


108 comments so far - add yours!

Pirates 8, Reds 7

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (6-6) vs. Cincinnati Reds (4-8), resumption of last night’s game that was suspended after six innings and a 7-7 tie

Time: 5:30 p.m.

Site: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati

TV, Radio: Root Sports, Fox Sports Ohio, 93.7 The Fan

Here’s the official live box score.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page. And here’s our Bucco Blog with all the pitching matchups, lineups, etc. Travis Sawchik is on the scene for the Trib.

April 15, 2014
by Dejan Kovacevic


354 comments so far - add yours!

Morning Java: All systems go?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The weekly chat will move to Tuesdays a week from today, with a new start time of 1 p.m.

There are a bunch of scheduling reasons for this, but the principal reason — as with just about everything I prioritize — is Steelers. The chat will almost immediately follow the Mike Tomlin press conference, providing a forum for football fans to air out right away.

The chat this week will still be Friday at noon.

>> Dan Bylsma’s system will be scrutinized more closely than ever this spring, reports Josh Yohe.

The biggest issue I’ve got with the Penguins’ style — and I’ll get into this more once the playoffs start — is the 1-3-1 formation in the neutral zone. The left defenseman is often left on an island, and that can create for some ugly scenes. We saw a few late in the season, even with a terrific skater like Olli Maatta. It just isn’t easy stopping an NHL forward with a full head of steam one-on-one. Moreover, Maatta specifically is the one left defenseman required to stay back. Anyone who saw his forays into the rush this season will know why that’s hardly ideal.

Who will man the third and fourth lines? Rob Rossi has answers.

Who needs to step up? Rossi again.

The Penguins are asking fans for a ‘Gold-out’ Wednesday, which is obviously an improvement over the Whiteout they’d been using that belongs to the hockey fans of Winnipeg.

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

Here’s Blue Jackets news from the team’s official site.

Here are official game highlights on NHL.com.

>> The Pirates and Reds combined for 10 homers and still aren’t done. Travis Sawchik reports from Great American Band Box on the suspended game.

Clint Hurdle on Gregory Polanco’s ridiculous start, by Sawchik.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page and our Bucco Blog.

Here’s Reds news from the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Here are official game highlights on MLB.com.

>> Our panel on WPXI-TV’s Subway Final Word assessed the Pirates through their first dozen:

>> Thank you, as always, for reading.

April 14, 2014
by Dejan Kovacevic


234 comments so far - add yours!

Pirates 7, Reds 7, suspended, rain

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (6-6) vs. Cincinnati Reds (4-8)

Time: 7:10 p.m.

Site: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati

TV, Radio: Root Sports, Fox Sports Ohio, 93.7 The Fan

Here’s the official live box score.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page. And here’s our Bucco Blog with all the pitching matchups, lineups, etc. Travis Sawchik is on the scene for the Trib.

April 13, 2014
by Dejan Kovacevic


346 comments so far - add yours!

Morning Java: What’s round on the ends, high in the middle?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Monday column celebrates the spirit of, um, cheeriness surrounding the Penguins all winter long by wondering aloud what manner of apocalypse will befall the franchise with a loss to the Blue Jackets.

Here’s my talk after the 82nd game last night with Jussi Jokinen:

The game story, by Josh Yohe.

Sidney Crosby and others get a break, by Rob Rossi.

The Blue Jackets’ many similarities, by Rossi.

The matchup, by Jason Mackey.

How the Penguins will or won’t advance, by Rossi.

New guys are always key, by Rossi.

The blue-line pipeline runneth over, by Jonathan Bombulie in Wilkes-Barre.

Here’s the first-round schedule.

A look ahead to the Columbus series, by Jason Mackey.

Blogginess from the scene: Not much to say because it wasn’t much of a game. Or anything else. … Most unfortunate to see Tanner Glass engage the lunatic Chris Neil in a first-period fight, but says a lot about why Glass is so respected by his teammates. … All the necessary disclaimers out of the way, I’m still seeing Beau Bennett force too many obvious passes onto opponents’ blades. … Kris Letang’s endurance is just ridiculous. The guy can skate all day, all night and never look any different. … The Penguins used to give out their team awards on the ice before the final home game. Now, it’s been reduced to some lame video presentation between the second and third periods, when no one is in their seats. … Honestly, not much else to say from here. There’ll be plenty in the days ahead.

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

Here’s Blue Jackets news from the Columbus Dispatch.

Here are official game highlights on NHL.com.

>> The Pirates lost in Milwaukee. Rinse, repeat. Rob Biertempfel reports from the House of Horrors.

Here come those Reds … from last place? Biertempfel looks ahead.

Pitching-turned-hitting prospect Stetson Allie continues to climb. Bob Cohn reports from Altoona.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page and our Bucco Blog.

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

Here’s Reds news from the Cincinnati Enquirer. It’s going to be an Ohio kind of week in these parts. Browns busy?

Here are official game highlights on MLB.com.

>> The Steelers’ depth is a work in progress, by Alan Robinson.

>> Our panel on WPXI-TV’s Subway Final Word had too much fun late last night. I was joined by Robinson, Mark Madden and Alby Oxenreiter.

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

>> Thank you, as always, for reading.

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