It comes down to Game 7 for Penguins-Capitals

Crosby and Beagle exchange blows

Both Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Capitals center Jay Beagle played in Game 7 of the 2009 ECS

My column centers on the Penguins’ Game 7 edge over the Capitals and how their veteran leaders plan to share their stories of winning in Washington in 2009.

Crosby and Ovechkin

The Capitals have not advanced past the second round since drafting Alex Ovechkin in 2004

The Penguins face tactical decisions and personnel matters for Game 7 against the Capitals, writes Jonathan Bombulie.

In a surprise move, Matt Murray returned to practice and will be the backup goalie for Game 7.

Hagelin celebrates goal v Caps

Cullen celebrates shorty v Caps

Penguins Carl Hagelin (above) and Matt Cullen have impressive Game 7 resumes

On the Chipped Ice A.M. edition, Bombulie writes that Carl Hagelin and Matt Cullen have Game 7 pedigree.

Crosby crashes into boards

A doctor cleared Penguins captain Sidney Crosby of concussion protocol after head-first hit into boards in Game 6, writes Bombulie.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby crashed head-first into the boards in Game 6

Penguins search for smarter ‘space plays’ against Capitals, writes Bill West.

In the Penguins notebook, Jerry DiPaola writes that players stay loose despite urgency.

CONGRATS, CHAZ!

Tomlin gives official an earful

Tribune-Review photographer Chaz Palla has been honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The above photo of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin screaming at an official, titled “Ear Full,” was selected as Photograph of the Year for the 2016 NFL season.

ON THE DIAMOND

Josh Harrison throw vs LAD

Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison’s throw couldn’t get Julio Urias out at first in the fifth inning

The Pirates fell to the Dodgers in extra innings, writes Glenn Rabney.

In the Pirates notebook, Rabney writes that Gregory Polanco returned to right field.

Jameson Taillon at Marlins

Former Phillies star John Kruk shared advice with Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon, who had surgery Monday for suspected testicular cancer

John Kruk has a message for Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon: Don’t rush back from cancer treatments, writes Rob Biertempfel.

Former teammate Andrew Lambo confident Taillon will beat cancer, writes Biertempfel.

ON THE SOUTH SIDE

https://twitter.com/JamesConner_/status/862032325877669892

https://twitter.com/steelers/status/862306039995256833

James Conner will wear No. 30 for the Steelers.

Capitals crush Penguins to force Game 7; Taillon treated for cancer

Holtby save on Sheary

Capitals goalie Braden Holtby makes a save on a Conor Sheary shot in Game 6 at PPG Paints Arena

The Capitals routed the Penguins to force a deciding Game 7 in their Eastern Conference semifinal series, writes Jonathan Bombulie.

Crosby vs Caps Game 6

My column centers on why the Penguins shots went missing.

The Penguins collapsed under the Capitals’ up-ice pressure, writes Bill West.

The Capitals’ refusal to panic has them on brink of completing comeback, writes Jerry DiPaola.

On the Chipped Ice A.M. edition, Jonathan Bombulie writes that it’s a matter of momentum for the Penguins and Capitals.

Backstrom upended by Sheary

PLUS/MINUS (+/-): West breaks down Game 6 of Penguins-Capitals

Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom is upended by Penguins winger Conor Sheary

Check out Trib photographer Chaz Palla’s photo gallery from Game 6.

ON THE DIAMOND

Jameson Taillon v Blue Jays

Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon is being treated for testicular cancer, writes Glenn Rabney.

Doctors say Taillon’s prognosis should be favorable, writes Wes Venteicher.

Yasiel Puig homers off Trevor Williams

Yasiel Puig homers off Pirates pitcher Trevor Williams in the first inning

A big first inning powered the Dodgers past the Pirates, writes Glenn Rabney.

Chris Adamski has the scouting report for Pirates-Dodgers on Tuesday.

ON THE SOUTH SIDE

Brian Allen

A converted wide receiver, Allen made 12 starts at cornerback for Utah and had four interceptions in 2016

The Steelers signed their fifth-round pick, cornerback Brian Allen, writes Chris Adamski.

ON THE COURT

Rozelle Nix

Rozelle Nix averaged 1.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 6.3 minutes for the Panthers this past season

Rozelle Nix to transfer from the Pitt basketball team, writes Jerry DiPaola.

Crosby returns, but Caps escape elimination

Lars Eller celebrates Ovechkin goal

Lars Eller celebrates the third-period goal by Capitals star Alex Ovechkin

The Capitals rallied to beat the Penguins and extend the series to a sixth game, writes Jonathan Bombulie.

Alex Ovechkin celebrates

Alex Ovechkin, demoted to the third line, scored a third-period goal to give the Capitals a 4-2 lead

My column focuses on how the Penguins had a chance for a storybook ending but the Capitals rallied to escape elimination.

Crosby vs Caps Game 5

Sidney Crosby returned to the Penguins’ lineup after suffering a concussion in Game 3

Crosby’s presence helped the Penguins on the power play but couldn’t deliver the clinching win, writes Bombulie.

On the Chipped Ice A.M. edition, Bombulie writes that Capitals goalie Braden Holtby finaly one-upped
the Penguins’ Marc-Andre Fleury
.

Patric Hornqvist defends Ovechkin

Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist: ‘I can only play one way. It doesn’t matter who my centerman is. I try to get energy to the team and finish some checks and be hard to play against in front of the net. That’s my style’

In the Penguins notebook, Crosby’s linemates try to adopt the same approach, Bombulie writes.

PLUS/MINUS (+/-): Bill West breaks down Penguins-Capitals Game 5

Check out Trib photographer Chaz Palla’s Game 5 photo gallery.

https://twitter.com/penguins/status/860987359189487616

ON THE DIAMOND

Josh Harrison’s walk-off hit scores Gift Ngoepe, as Pirates down Brewers in 10 innings, writes Rob Biertempfel.

Jameson Taillon v Reds

With Jameson Taillon out with a sore groin, Trevor Williams will start Monday against the Dodgers

The Pirates sent pitcher Jameson Taillon to the 10-day disabled list, writes Biertempfel.

Biertempfel has the scouting report for Sunday’s game against the Brewers.

Crosby a game-time decision for Game 5 against Capitals

Surprisingly, Sidney Crosby skated in full-contact practice but his return for Game 5 is not guaranteed, writes Jonathan Bombulie.

My column centers on why Crosby’s return is no stunt.

In the Penguins notebook, Bill West writes that Conor Sheary returns to practice as recovery from concussion continues.

Bryan Rust v CBJ

Bryan Rust has a history of scoring goals to finish off playoff opponents

On the Chipped Ice A.M. edition, Bombulie writes that Bryan Rust hopes to nail down the closer’s role for the Penguins.

For the Penguins, Bill West writes, there are no pats on the back yet.

Alex Ovechkin penalty box

Alex Ovechkin against Leafs

Alex Ovechkin has a goal and three assists in four playoff games against the Penguins

In Three Periods, Bombulie writes that the Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin has had half his shots blocked against the Penguins.

Alex Ovechkin back

The Capitals might move Ovechkin to third line as they face elimination, writes David Driver.

ON THE DIAMOND

Rainbow over PNC Park

The Pirates worked through a rain delay to beat the Brewers, writes Rob Biertempfel.

Bell celebrates HR vs Brewers

Josh Bell celebrates his home run against the Brewers with Gregory Polanco

https://twitter.com/Pirates/status/860700474697105408

In the Pirates notebook, Biertempfel writes that Jared Hughes’ return to PNC Park was ‘a little emotional.’

Biertempfel has the scouting report for Saturday’s game against the Brewers.

Sidney Crosby skates but remains day to day

Sidney Crosby smiling

Sidney Crosby skated Thursday for the first time since suffering a concussion Monday in Game 3

In the big news of the day, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby skated in a workout, writes Bill West.

Alex Ovechkin penalty box

The Capitals have not advanced past the second round since drafting star Alex Ovechkin in 2004

Fans of both the Penguins and Capitals know about blowing a 3-1 series lead, writes Jerry DiPaola.

Justin Schultz w Fleury

Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz has scored in each of the past two playoff games

The Penguins and Capitals vary in methods of producing offense from their defensemen, writes Bill West.

ON THE DIAMOND

Ivan Nova v Reds

Pirates pitcher Ivan Nova allowed 10 hits, including four for extra bases, in the 4-2 loss to the Reds

Ivan Nova faltered as the Pirates dropped a rain-delayed game to the Reds, writes Chris Adamski.

In the Pirates notebook, Adamski writes that catcher Francisco Cervelli was added to the lineup.

Adamski has the scouting report for Pirates-Brewers on Friday.

ON THE COURT

Kevin Stallings 5

Kevin Stallings on Pitt’s roster overhaul: ‘Now we have an opportunity to build from scratch and do things the way we feel they have to be done’

Pitt men’s basketball coach Kevin Stallings gets candid about the 2016-17 season, writes Jerry DiPaola.

No Crosby? No problem. Pens beat Caps, on verge of clinching series

Hainsey and Hornqvist

Penguins defenseman Ron Hainsey and winger Patric Hornqvist celebrate the 3-2 Game 4 victory over the Capitals

https://twitter.com/penguins/status/859932821258989569

The Sidney Crosby-less Penguins battled like their captain to beat the Capitals and take a 3-1 series lead, writes Jonathan Bombulie.

Hornqvist beats Holtby

Patrick Hornqvist beat Capitals goalie Braden Holtby to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead

On the Chipped Ice A.M. edition, Bombulie writes that Patric Hornqvist stood tall for the Penguins.

https://twitter.com/penguins/status/859950042668560384

My column focuses on how Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has been impenetrable against the cracking Capitals.

Marc-Andre Fleury v Caps Game 4

Bill West writes that Fleury is like a ‘fine wine’ in the playoffs.

PLUS/MINUS (+/-): West breaks down Pens-Caps Game 4.

In the Penguins notebook, West writes that Mike Sullivan tweaked the lines in the absence of Crosby and Conor Sheary.

ON THE DIAMOND

Taillon watches Hamilton HR

Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon watches Billy Hamilton round first after hitting a three-run homer

Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon struggled in a loss to the Reds, writes Chris Adamski.

In the Pirates notebook, Ivan Nova is ‘excited’ to be named National League pitcher of the month, writes Adamski.

Adamski has the scouting report for Thursday’s Pirates-Reds game.

Crosby out for Game 4; Glasnow recovers to help Bucs beat Reds

Crosby cross checked

Sidney Crosby suffered a concussion and was ruled out for Game 4, writes Jonathan Bombulie.

Niskanen checks Crosby 2

Niskanen checks Crosby 3

The NHL will take no further disciplinary action on Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen for Crosby hit, writes Bombulie.

Evgeni Malkin celebrates goal v Isles

My column centers on Evgeni Malkin and how it’s time for him to step out of the shadow of the Sidney Crosby-Alex Ovechkin rivalry and make some noise.

Evgeni Malkin 7

Evgeni Malkin is averaging 1.88 points per game in the playoffs

THREE PERIODS: Bill West writes that Malkin is capable of picking up playoff scoring.

Crosby’s absence complicates the Penguins’ matchup plans, writes Bill West.

Scott Wilson over Shattenkirk

Scott Wilson goes over Capitals defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk for a loose puck

Conor Sheary concussion

Conor Sheary suffered a concussion in a collision with teammate Patric Hornqvist

In the Penguins notebook, Scott Wilson could replace close friend Conor Sheary in the lineup, writes Bombulie and West.

With Crosby out, Carter Rowney could be in the mix, writes Jerry DiPaola.

ON THE DIAMOND

Tyler Glasnow hit

Tyler Glasnow pitched a career-long six innings and delivered the go-ahead hit in a 12-3 victory over the Reds

https://twitter.com/Pirates/status/859590121259016193

After another rough first inning, Tyler Glasnow steadied himself and the Bucs broke out their bats to beat the Reds, writes Chris Adamski.

Pirates reliever Daniel Hudson has struggled this season but nowhere near as much as last season

In the Pirates notebook, Daniel Hudson has experience working through rough patches, writes Adamski.

Adamski has the scouting report for Wednesday’s game against the Reds.

Caps take out Crosby, beat Pens in OT in Game 3; Bucs fall to Reds in 10

Niskanen checks Crosby

Crosby cross checked

Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen (above) crosschecked Sidney Crosby, who missed the rest of Game 3

The Penguins lost Game 3 to the Capitals in overtime, without Sidney Crosby, writes Jonathan Bombulie.

My column centers on the cheap shots by the Capitals that injured Crosby.

Crosby down v Caps

Penguins head athletic trainer Chris Stewart tends to Sidney Crosby

Upgruv’s Rob Rossi writes that Alex Ovechkin is the real culprit in Crosby’s injury and that the NHL must punish the Capitals star.

On the Chipped Ice A.M. edition, Jonathan Bombulie addresses Game 3 moments that could provide a blueprint for the Penguins.

Malkin checked by Orpik

Shut out in Game 3, Bill West writes that the Penguins power play could face challenges with Crosby out.

PLUS/MINUS (+/-): West breaks down Game 3 of Pens-Caps.

Fleury and Cole Game 3 Caps

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury taps defenseman Ian Cole before Game 3 against Washington

A Game 3 photo gallery.

ON THE DIAMOND

Cutch homers v Reds

Andrew McCutchen’s home run in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds tied him for the second-longest active streak of reaching safely in consecutive games (20)

More miscues at second base contribute to Pirates’ loss at Reds, writes Chris Adamski.

In the Pirates notebook, Adamski writes that Elias Diaz was recalled for depth at catcher.

Adamski has the scouting report for Tuesday’s game at the Reds.

ON THE SOUTH SIDE

Zach Mettenberger 2

Zach Mettenberger was inactive for 12 regular-season and all three playoff games for the Steelers

After drafting a quarterback, the Steelers released Zach Mettenberger, writes Joe Rutter.

Penguins crush Caps; Steelers select QB in 4th; Nova shines again

Sidney Crosby smiling

Sidney Crosby has two goals, two assists and a plus-4 rating in the series against the Capitals

On the Chipped Ice A.M. edition, Jonathan Bombulie writes that Sidney Crosby has the upper hand in the marquee matchup with Alex Ovechkin.

Malkin fends off Carlson

Evgeni Malkin fends off John Carlson

The Penguins roughed up the Capitals for a Game 2 victory, writes Bombulie.

Matt Cullen shorty

Matt Cullen celebrates his short-handed goal against the Capitals

My column centers on how the Penguins are winning despite defying playoff convention.

The Capitals are stuck in a deep hole as the series returns to Pittsburgh, writes Bombulie.

Carl Hagelin v Caps

Carl Hagelin’s return allowed for the return of the Penguins’ HBK line

In the Penguins notebook, Bombulie writes that Carl Hagelin returned despite not participating in the morning skate.

Jake Guentzel vs Caps Game 2

Jake Guentzel matched a team high with three points, including his seventh playoff goal

PLUS/MINUS (+/-): Bill West breaks down Penguins-Capitals Game 2

ON THE DRAFT

GM Kevin Colbert says ‘not many surprises’ as Steelers branch out in Day 3 of draft, writes Joe Rutter.

https://twitter.com/Vol_Football/status/858374916395204608

The Steelers selected QB Joshua Dobbs in the fourth round, writes Rutter.

Joshua Dobbs Pro Day

Former Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs will compete with Landry Jones and Zach Mettenberger

In the Steelers draft notebook, Chris Adamski writes that Dobbs adds to the backup QB competition.

No surprise, writes Chris Adamski, that the Steelers took another corner in the fifth round.

Even Colin Holba was stunned that the Steelers selected a long snapper, writes Chris Harlan.

Harlan also has the story on the linebacker that went with the final pick.

Harlan has draft capsules for each Steelers selection in rounds 4-7.

And Rutter reports on the WPIAL products the Steelers signed as undrafted free agents.

ON THE DIAMOND

Ivan Nova v Marlins

Ivan Nova needed only 95 pitches in a complete-game shutout of the Marlins

Ivan Nova was brilliant again, as the Pirates blanked the Marlins, writes Rob Biertempfel.

The Pirates placed David Freese on the DL and called up Danny Ortiz, writes Biertempfel.

Biertempfel has the scouting report for Sunday’s game against the Marlins.

Steelers win NFL Draft by selecting Pitt’s Conner; Pens ready for Game 2

James Conner Pro Day 2

https://twitter.com/BeauWTAE/status/858165696538267648

TAKE 5: My five thoughts on the Steelers winning the second day of the NFL Draft.

The Steelers won the NFL Draft Friday night when they selected Pitt star James Conner in the third round, writes Jerry DiPaola.

Juju Smith-Schuster

Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley, on USC wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster: ‘If you had to say what he excels at, I’d say his ability to catch the ball in combative situations, 50-50 balls as we call them, he usually comes down with them’

In the second round, the Steelers selected USC wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster, writes Chris Adamski.

Cameron Sutton

Steelers secondary coach Carnell Lake, on cornerback Cameron Sutton: ‘The more versatile he is, the quicker he can get on the field’

In the third round, the Steelers addressed their secondary by taking Tennessee cornerback Cameron Sutton, writes Joe Rutter.

T.J. Watt with Art Rooney II

Steelers first-round pick T.J. Watt with team president Art Rooney II

Steelers top pick T.J. Watt overcame injuries to follow his brothers to the NFL, writes Joe Rutter.

Chris Godwin

Penn State’s Chris Godwin was chosen in the third round by the Buccaneers

Tampa Bay grabbed Penn State wide receiver Chris Godwin, writes Jerry DiPaola.

ON THE ICE

Ian Cole 2

Penguins defenseman Ian Cole blocked eight shots in Game 1, the same number as the Capitals

My column on how the Game 1 victory was worth the
bruise
for Penguins defenseman Ian Cole.

Bonino beats Holtby 2

Penguins center Nick Bonino beat Capitals goalie Braden Holtby for the winner in Game 1

Penguins’ Bonino meets close friend Shattenkirk in playoffs for first times, writes Jonathan Bombulie.

Conor Sheary 2

Penguins winger Conor Sheary: ‘If you’re giving up goals and not scoring any, it doesn’t look good on your part’

Jonathan Bombulie writes that Conor Sheary is trying to shake out of his playoff slump.

Carl Hagelin

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan on Carl Hagelin: ‘Regardless of what line you put him on, he brings that element of speed, his ability to stretch the ice. His pursuit game forces turnovers all the time, and we create a lot of offense off if it’

In the Penguins notebook, Bombulie writes that lineup decisions are near as Carl Hagelin is close to returning.

Fleury save vs Caps

Marc-Andre Fleury’s save percentage (.943) in Game 1 represented his best mark in a road win since his 35-save shutout of the New York Rangers on May 5, 2014

Three Periods: Bill West gives an inside look into the Penguins-Capitals series.

The Capitals are not in panic mode after their Game 1 loss, writes David Driver.

ON THE DIAMOND

Jameson Taillon at Marlins

Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon (2-0) gave up a run on five hits, walked two and struck out four

The Pirates cruised in a blowout of the Marlins, writes Rob Biertempfel.