Geno lights up Bolts

Mark Streit 2

Mark Streit celebrates his first goal with the Penguins

Newcomer Mark Streit scored in his debut to lift the Penguins past Tampa Bay, writes Bill West.

Ian Cole

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan split Justin Schultz and Ian Cole, pairing Cole with Chad Ruhwedel

In the Penguins notebook, West writes that the team is testing new defensive pairs after the trade deadline.

Evgeni Malkin 6

On the Chipped Ice blog, West writes why Evgeni Malkin loves the Sunshine State, especially playing against Tampa Bay.

IN BRADENTON

Jung Ho Kang 6

Frank Coonelly said the Pirates will have a “serious discussion” with Jung Ho Kang about his DUI conviction when he rejoins the team

Pirates president Frank Coonelly said the team is withholding a decision on possible punishment for third baseman Jung Ho Kang, who received a suspended sentence for his third DUI.

Gerrit Cole 2

The Ace: Gerrit Cole

Tyler Glasnow 3

The Future: Tyler Glasnow

Drew Hutchison

The Question: Drew Hutchison

The Ace, Future and Question in Pirates rotation show mixed results, writes Rob Biertempfel.

John Jaso agreed to try right field in an effort to earn more playing time

In the Pirates notebook, Biertempfel writes that John Jaso battled the elements in right field.

IN INDIANAPOLIS

Nathan Peterman Senior Bowl

Nathan Peterman’s stock rose after the Senior Bowl

Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman continues to impress, writes Joe Rutter, and draw comparisons to Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins.

In the NFL Combine notebook, Rutter writes that no man is an island but West Virginia receiver Shelton Gibson wants to win one.

On the Steel Mill blog, Rutter has notes on Pitt and Penn State prospects.

Justice Kithcart

Justice Kithcart’s dismissal might be the beginning of housecleaning at Pitt under Kevin Stallings

Speaking of Pitt, coach Kevin Stallings dismissed freshman point guard Justice Kithcart from the team just before the Panthers play their season finale at No. 23 Virginia, writes Jerry DiPaola.

And it’s no coincidence …

https://twitter.com/ChuckyHumphries/status/837727836110716928

Troy Simons 3

Polk State’s Troy Simons received a scholarship offer from the Panthers this week

Less than a month ago, I wrote about how City League product Troy Simons was drawing major-college attention and he’s now leading the nation’s junior colleges in scoring.

ON THE STEELERS

Ryan Harris

Ryan Harris, limited to four games because of a leg injury, was scheduled to make $2,237,500 this season

https://twitter.com/salaams_from_68/status/837819366309769217

Steelers offensive lineman Ryan Harris announced his retirement, reports Rutter.

https://twitter.com/Broncos/status/837866520369844224

ON PREPS

Check out the Trib’s comprehensive coverage of the WPIAL basketball, wrestling and swimming and diving championships at the high schools page.

Dog Days of NFL Combine

Amazing, isn’t it, to see how their stories turned out?

Rushel Shell was the ballyhooed running back who set the state rushing record at Hopewell and chose to follow in Tony Dorsett’s footsteps at Pitt. James Conner was recruited as a defensive end out of McDowell a year later, in a Pitt recruiting class that signed only one running back.

When Shell quit the Panthers during spring drills amid a tumultuous freshman season, the shell game was a test of character for the star back and first-year Panthers coach Paul Chryst.

Shell’s departure opened an opportunity for Conner, who finished his freshman season by breaking Dorsett’s school record for rushing yards in a bowl game. It was a performance that drew compliments for Conner from the Pitt great.

Where Shell struggled at West Virginia, Conner starred at Pitt.

Conner became a hero for putting a brave face on his battle with leukemia. Shell never quite lived up to his four-star billing, at Pitt or West Virginia.

Now, both are at the NFL Combine trying to make a positive impression.

Conner is one of the top dogs, Shell one of the underdogs.

That their stories intertwined — one an inspirational tale, the other a cautionary tale — is telling, given the difference in hype that preceded their arrival at Pitt and their status entering the NFL Draft.

James Conner

James Conner: ‘My mental toughness and my physical toughness, I feel, is second to none’

The NFL Combine is the latest test for James Conner, reports Joe Rutter from Indianapolis, and it’s one the former Pitt running back is ready.

In the NFL Combine notebook, Rutter writes that former West Virginia running back Rushel Shell relishes his role as an ‘underdog.’

West Virginia football is sporting a new look, writes David Statman.

IN BRADENTON

Felipe Rivero

Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage is a fan of Felipe Rivero’s ‘Bugs Bunny changeup’

Change is good for Pirates reliever Felipe Rivero, reports Rob Biertempfel.

Jordy Mercer grand slam

Jordy Mercer’s grand slam was one of four home runs for the Pirates against the Tigers

In the Pirates notebook, Biertempfel writes that Jordy Mercer’s grand slam was part of a power display.

Biertempfel’s breakdown of Pirates 11, Tigers 1.

Jung Ho Kang 4

Jung Ho Kang was sentenced to eight months in prison, to be served in two years

In a report out of South Korea, Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang received a suspended sentence for his third DUI.

ON THE ICE

Marc-Andre Fluery 5

The Penguins kept goalie Marc-Andre Fleury but expect to trade him before the June 21 draft

In a Penguins analysis, Jonathan Bombulie and Bill West ponder the team after the trade deadline.

Pens deal for defense

Mark Streit

The Penguins traded for three-time All-Star Mark Streit to add depth to their defense

The Penguins made two moves at the trade deadline to shore up their defense, writes Jonathan Bombulie.

Frank Corrado

Frank Corrado hopes for a career turnaround similar to what Justin Schultz has done with the Penguins

One of those defensemen, Frank Corrado, is eager for a fresh start with the Penguins, writes Bill West.

Derrick Pouliot

Defenseman Derrick Pouliot has five goals, 14 points and a plus-10 rating in 23 AHL games since Jan. 1

In the Penguins notebook, JB writes that the call-up gives Derrick Pouliot another chance to prove himself.

Marc-Andre Fleury 4

Keeping a goalie the caliber of Marc-Andre Fleury was the smart move by the Penguins


This is a good problem to have…

My column focuses on how the Penguins did right by their defense and made the sound move by keeping goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

Marc-Andre Fleury v Blackhawks

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby on Marc-Andre Fleury’s 25-save performance: ‘To see that he’s still here, we’re happy and he played great tonight’

Despite Fleury’s strong performance, the Penguins were unable to stop Patrick Kane and the Blackhawks, writes JB>

On the Chipped Ice blog, JB shows his appreciation for an awesome hockey game.

ON THE STEELERS

Heinz Field

The Steelers’ relationship with the Sports & Exhibition Authority raises concerns with Heinz Field hosting future events like the Super Bowl.

At the NFL Combine, Joe Rutter writes that Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said the team will be able to do business during free agency.

James Harrison

James Harrison had five sacks last season and owns the Steelers sacks record with 79.5

The Steelers sign James Harrison to a two-year deal, writes Joe Rutter.

Le'Veon Bell 2

Le’Veon Bell set back-to-back Steelers single-game postseason rushing records

In the Steelers notebook, Rutter also reports that no decision has been made on whether Le’Veon Bell should have groin surgery.

IN BRADENTON

Pat Light 2

After drafting him in the first round in 2012, the Boston Red Sox told Pat Light to stop throwing a splitter

Pat Light’s splitter is shining for the Pirates, writes Rob Biertempfel.

Josh Lindblom

Reliever Josh Lindblom pitched in the Korean Baseball Organization

In the Pirates notebook, Biertempfel writes that Pirates reliever Josh Lindblom is starting to feel at home.

Biertempfel’s breakdown: Pirates 3, Twins 1

Steelers bank on Brown

Antonio Brown Art Rooney II

Antonio Brown on Steelers president Art Rooney II: ‘Once he gives you his word, he sticks to his word’

All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown is ‘grateful’ for his new contract and trust in the Steelers, writes Chris Adamski.

Antonio Brown 5

Antonio Brown on Le’Veon Bell: ‘I think he knows how special it is to be here’

My column on how Brown’s handling of the contract negotiations should serve as a model for Le’Veon Bell.

ON THE ICE

Matt Murray v Stars

Penguins goalie Matt Murray stopped the first 23 shots he faced before allowing three goals in seven minutes

The Penguins blew a 2-0 lead in the third period in falling to the Stars, writes Jonathan Bombulie.

Chad Ruhwedel

Chad Ruhwedel scored a goal in the NHL Stadium Series game against the Flyers at Heinz Field

In the Penguins notebook, defenseman Chad Ruhwedel keeps an eye on the trade deadline, writes JB.

On the Chipped Ice blog, JB wonders: Does blowing a lead change the Penguins’ trade deadline approach?

IN BRADENTON

Adam Frazier

Adam Frazier thought the Pirates were playing a prank when asked to play outfield

As the Pirates’ super utility player, Adam Frazier is a fit for many mitts, writes Rob Biertempfel.

In the Pirates notebook, Biertempfel writes that Ivan Nova is able to relax with his spot in the starting rotation secure.

On the Bucco blog, David Freese is ‘fun to watch’ at first base, Biertempfel writes.

Crosby: Pens want desperation, not a deal

Sidney Crosby 4

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby: ‘As a group, we want to find another level’

Then again…

Penguins players prefer to stand pat at the trade deadline, writes Bill West.

Marc-Andre Fleury 4

Marc-Andre Fleury will head west with the Penguins for games Tuesday in Dallas and Wednesday in Chicago. Whether he returns with the team is another story

In the Penguins notebook, West writes that Marc-Andre Fleury is still talking with the Penguins about his options as the trade deadline nears.

IN BRADENTON

https://www.periscope.tv/w/1MnxnLzjwBwGO

David Freese

David Freese plays first base, third base and, sometimes, air guitar for the Pirates

David Freese shows his versatility on and off the field for the Pirates, writes Rob Biertempfel.

Chad Kuhl

Chad Kuhl retired all six batters he faced Monday, tossing two scoreless innings against Toronto

In the Pirates notebook, Biertempfel writes that Chad Kuhl also is experimenting with a changeup. On his Pirates A.M. report on the Bucco blog, Biertempfel writes that the Bucs are taking notice of Ivan Nova.

IN HIGH SCHOOLS

The iPreps blog takes you on the path to the Pete, site of the WPIAL basketball finals.

Chris Harlan’s recruiting column focuses on the offers rolling in for Butler’s Jake Kradel.

AB: ‘Steelers for Life’

antonio brown

Antonio Brown 4

Business is boomin’ for All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown, who signed a four-year, $68-million contract extension with the Steelers

Steelers’ Antonio Brown signs four-year extension, becomes NFL’s highest-paid receiver, reports Joe Rutter.

Le'Veon Bell

Under the exclusive franchise tag, the Steelers are the only team that can negotiate with Le’Veon Bell

Meantime, the Steelers placed the franchise tag on running back Le’Veon Bell, reports Rutter and Chris Adamski . On the Steel Mill blog, Rutter tries to makes sense of the NFL salary cap and clear up Bell’s franchise tag number.

On Upgruv, Rob Rossi counts down the top 10 Pittsburgh athletes who bank the most bucks.

WHAT THE PARTIES ARE SAYING ABOUT AB

https://twitter.com/steelers/status/836347292936507392

WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING ABOUT AB

https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/836343581128323074

WHAT THE FANS ARE SAYING ABOUT AB

https://twitter.com/ThePostGame/status/836357082303586305

Minding the Pens’ net

Marc-Andre Fleury 3

Marc-Andre Fleury 2

There are a number of reasons trading Marc-Andre Fleury won’t be so simple for the Penguins

The Penguins face a decision on Marc-Andre Fleury as the NHL trade deadline looms, writes Jonathan Bombulie.

Matt Murray 2

Matt Murray 3

Matt Murray stopped 16 shots in the first period of the Stadium Series game against the Flyers

Bill West writes that Matt Murray’s mettle and moxie are what the Penguins need to
in Metropolitan Division battle.

IN BRADENTON

Tyler Eppler

Tyler Eppler has a new pitch that’s a mix between a slider and cutter, and can you guess what it’s called

Pirates pitcher Tyler Eppler hopes his new pitch helps him become more effective so he can reach the majors, writes Rob Biertempfel.

Tyler Glasnow 2

Tyler Glasnow’s fastball showed plenty of life in striking out six against the Orioles

In the Pirates notebook, Biertempfel writes that Tyler Glasnow struck out the first five batters he faced against the Orioles.

ON THE SOUTH SIDE

Kevin Colbert

Kevin Colbert hopes that the NFL’s fan experience doesn’t affect scouting the NFL Combine

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert </strong>hopes NFL Combine changes pass the test, writes Joe Rutter.

IN OAKLAND

Mike Young v UNC

Pitt’s Mike Young tries to score over North Carolina’s Tony Bradley in the Panthers’ home finale

Pitt looks to shake its slump and finish strong, writes Jerry DiPaola.

In the Pitt Locker Room blog, Jerry D. writes that 40 years ago, Pitt won only one conference game — and here’s how it happened.

Pens top Flyers in Stadium Series game at Heinz Field

Penguins at Heinz Field

The Stadium Series game was a resounding victory for the Penguins, who beat the Philadelphia Flyers behind the play of Minnesota natives Matt Cullen and Jake Guentzel, writes Jonathan Bombulie.

Crosby Heinz 1

Crosby Heinz 2

Sidney Crosby celebrates his first-period goal against the Flyers at Heinz Field

My column on how Sidney Crosby got his goal at Heinz Field, one that put distance between the darkest hour of his hockey career and allowed him to hear cheers inside the Steelers’ stadium.

Mother Nature provided (almost) ideal weather for the outdoor game, writes Chris Adamski.

On Chipped Ice, Bill West writes about the aftermath on a night of pageantry.

IN BRADENTON

Tony Watson

Tony Watson pitches in the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles in the Pirates’ spring training opener

‘Loosey-goosey’ Tony Watson is more confident in closer’s role for the Pirates, writes Rob Biertempfel.

In the Pirates notebook, Biertempfel writes that Gerrit Cole has been named the Opening Day starter.

IN OAKLAND

Rozelle Nix

Pitt’s Rozelle Nix fouls North Carolina’s Tony Bradley in the Panthers’ home finale

After falling to North Carolina, Pitt is in danger of a losing season, writes Jerry DiPaola.

It’s a Hockey Night … at Heinz Field

Malkin Heinz Field

Penguins Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin skate in practice at Heinz Field

The NHL’s Stadium Series outdoor games remain a ‘cool’ spectacle, writes Jonathan Bombulie.

Crosby Winter Classic

Sidney Crosby missed 101 games after getting concussed in the 2011 Winter Classic

My column on why Sidney Crosby is the key to the Stadium Series game, and why the NHL must put player safety at a premium.

JB breaks down the Penguins-Flyers at Heinz Field.

2011 winter classic

The Penguins played host to the 2011 Winter Classic at Heinz Field

Chris Adamski revisits the Penguins’ past outdoor games.

Kris Letang 3

Kris Letang, who has an upper-body injury, did not skate Saturday morning

Speaking of injuries, Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is out against the Flyers, writes Bill West.

Ron Hainsey 2

Ron Hainsey’s first practice with the Penguins was at Heinz Field

In the Penguins notebook, West writes about how newly acquired defenseman Ron Hainsey joined the Penguins at a ‘hectic’ point.

Stadium Series 2

In the Flyers notebook, Adamski writes that Philly isn’t intimidated by the Penguins or the setting.

At Upgruv, Rob Rossi gets Penguins goalies Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury debating black vs. gold pad preferences and the inside story on how Train replaced One Republic at the first intermission.

ON THAT OTHER TEAM THAT PLAYS AT HEINZ FIELD…

Ladarius Green

Oft-injured tight end Ladarius Green

If there was a plus-side to the injuries to free-agent signees Ladarius Green and Ryan Harris, it’s that the Steelers were awarded a third-round compensatory draft pick, writes Joe Rutter, and it will be the 105th overall selection.

Maurkice Pouncey.

Three people injured in an altercation with the Pouncey twins are seeking more than $500,000 in damages

The civil suit against Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey is set for trial, writes Megan Guza.

IN BRADENTON

Drew Hutchison

Drew Hutchison was Opening Day starter for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015

Drew Hutchison has tweaked his delivery in search for a spot in the Pirates’ rotation, writes Rob Biertempfel.

Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte

Andrew McCutchen moved to right field and Starling Marte to center this season

In the Pirates notebook, Biertempfel writes that the starting outfield is ready for the Grapefruit League opener.

IN OAKLAND

For Pitt’s seniors, UNC game is their day, writes Jerry DiPaola.

For defensive depth, Penguins add Hainsey

Rob Hainsey

Defenseman Ron Hainsey has missed only two games since 2013

With injuries piling up on the blue line, the Penguins acquired veteran defenseman Ron Hainsey from Carolina, writes Jonathan Bombulie.

On the Chipped Ice blog, JB has a Q&A with Hainsey.

Justin Schultz

Justin Schultz practiced for the first time since suffering a concussion Feb. 16

In the Penguins notebook, Bill West writes that defenseman Justin Schultz eyes Saturday for a return date.

https://twitter.com/penguins/status/834940915475222528

ALSO INVOLVING HEINZ FIELD

Sidney Crosby backhand against Steve Mason

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby flips a backhand against Flyers goalie Steve Mason

The history of the Penguins and Flyers franchises is joined together, like twin brothers, writes Jonathan Bombulie.

Stadium Series sign

JB gives also delivers an interesting Stadium Series preview: Penguins-Flyers top five countdown list.

The Stanley Cup came to town in celebration of the NHL’s centennial anniversary, writes Jack Fordyce.

On the Steel Mill blog, Chris Adamski writes that Steelers linebacker Arthur Moats ‘absolutely’ expects James Harrison back next season.

On the Pitt Locker Room blog, Jerry DiPaola writes that quarterback Nathan Peterman and Jon Gruden will pair up on ESPN.

Meantime, in basketball…

I’m sure that has nothing to do with the fatigue factor, given the lack of substitutions.

IN BRADENTON

MLB Players Association boss Tony Clark says the union is keeping close tabs on the Jung Ho Kang case, writes Rob Biertempfel.