For Bucs, a Gift; For Pens, a rival; For Steelers, a pick

Gift Ngoepe hugs Cutch

Gift Ngoepe hugs Andrew McCutchen after the Pirates beat the Cubs

https://twitter.com/C_AdamskiTrib/status/857396327700934658

Gift Ngoepe got the call-up, becoming the first African-born player in the major leagues, writes Rob Biertempfel and Jerry DiPaola.

The Pirates built an early lead against Jon Lester and hung on to beat the Cubs, writes Chris Adamski.

Sending our birthday wishes…

…and our deepest condolences

ON THE ICE

On the Chipped Ice A.M. edition, Jonathan Bombulie writes that the Penguins’ slow starts could be killers against the Capitals.

Alex Ovechkin against Leafs

The Washington Capitals have never advanced past the second round with star Alex Ovechkin

My column asks the big question: Are the Capitals chokers or just cursed?

Evgeni Malkin celebrates goal v Isles

Evgeni Malkin leads NHL playoff scorers with 11 points

Jonathan Bombulie takes a look at six players not named Crosby or Ovechkin who could tip the series.

Stanley Cup scouting report: How the Penguins and Capitals stack up, featuring videos, graphics and statistical comparisons.

Carl Hagelin’s speed is a welcome sight at Penguins practice, writes Bill West.

And an update on “Carl”

Patric Hornqvist

Capitals coach Barry Trotz on Patric Hornqvist: ‘He conveniently will fall on your goalie many times’

In the Penguins notebook, Bombulie and Bill West write that Patric Hornqvist holds a special place in Capitals coach’s memory.

From Washington: The Capitals look to speed things up against the Penguins, writes David Driver.

ON THE CLOCK

Guess that depends on how your mock draft goes, Joe.

Steelers beat writer Joe Rutter’s analysis: If pass-rushers are gone, expect Steelers to pick ‘Bama cornerback.

Marlon Humphrey

Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey could be the Steelers’ top choice

Rutter and Chris Adamski rank the top players at each position and break down their mock draft picks for the Steelers.

On the Steel Mill blog, Adamski has compiled a running tally of players who visited the Steelers.

Nathan Peterman 3

Quarterback Nathan Peterman could be the first Pitt player selected in the NFL Draft

Up to six Pitt players could be chosen over the three-day NFL Draft, writes Jerry DiPaola.

Pens try to clinch vs. CBJ, but Bucs swept by Cards

John Tortorella 2

Columbus coach John Tortorella got the Blue Jackets back into their first-round series against the Penguins…

Mike Sullivan

… so it’s up to Penguins coach Mike Sullivan to clinch in Game 5

My column on the chess match between the series coaches: It’s your move, Sully.

Rowney Cullen celebrate

Carter Rowney and Matt Cullen celebrate with Tom Kuhnhackl after his Game 4 goal

Matt Cullen’s line doing things the ‘right way’ for the Penguins, writes Bill West.

Fleury overhead v CBJ

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has faced 143 shots in four playoff games against Columbus

Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury amusing Penguins amid flurry of shots, writes Bill West.

Sidney Crosby v CBJ

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby isn’t interested in the series returning to Columbus

In the Penguins notebook, West writes that Sidney Crosby says the clincher is the ‘most difficult game.’

Jack Johnson

Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson has been among the best blue-line scoring threats in playoff history

In Three Periods, Jonathan Bombulie breaks down the Penguins and Blue Jackets in Game 5.

ON THE PIRATES

Gerrit Cole Dexter Fowler

Gerrit Cole surrendered a solo home run to Dexter Fowler in the third inning of a 2-1 loss to the Cardinals

Fowler’s homers were enough for the Cardinals to sweep the Pirates, writes Rob Biertempfel.

Josh Harrison HBP

Josh Harrison was hit by pitches in his final two plate appearances at Chicago and first two at St. Louis

In the Pirates notebook, Biertempfel writes that Josh Harrison is ‘still recovering’ from four straight plunks</a

ON CAMPUS

Kevin Stallings 5

Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke on Kevin Stallings: ‘I’m excited about working with him’

Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke says the basketball program has ‘ways to go,’ but pledges her support for Kevin Stallings.

Pens lose to Blue Jackets; Farewell, Mr. Rooney; Marte suspended

William Karlsson goal overhead

Columbus’ William Karlsson and Matt Calvert celebrates the Blue Jackets’ early third-period goal

The Penguins started slow again and fell to Columbus in Game 4, writes Jonathan Bombulie.

On the Chipped Ice A.M. edition, Bombulie writes that the Penguins’ momentum was squashed by the second intermission in the Game 4 loss.

Boone Jenner celebrates Game 4 goal

Boone Jenner celebrates his third-period goal against the Penguins in Columbus’ 5-4 victory in Game 4

My column on how the Blue Jackets got to enjoy the sound of victory.

PLUS/MINUS (+/-): Bill West breaks down the Penguins’ Game 4 loss to Columbus.

Carter Rowney Game 4 CBJ

The Penguins’ Carter Rowney fights past Gabriel Carlsson for the puck

Check out Chaz Palla’s photo gallery from Game 4.

Nick Bonino wins Game 4 faceoff

Nick Bonino wins a faceoff in Game 4 against Columbus

In the Penguins notebook, Bombulie writes that Nick Bonino says his face is feeling ‘all right.’

FAREWELL, MR. ROONEY

President Obama leaves St. Paul Cathedral

President Obama leaves St. Paul Cathedral after funeral service for Steelers chairman Dan Rooney

https://twitter.com/C_AdamskiTrib/status/854376355244511235

From Obama to Tagliabue, dignitaries say goodbye to Dan Rooney, writes Chris Adamski.

Dan Rooney at SVC

The late Steelers chairman Dan Rooney watching training camp practice at St. Vincent College

Dan Rooney’s death signals a ‘changing of the guard,’ writes Chris Togneri.

ON THE PIRATES

Starling Marte hits walk-off HR v Braves

Starling Marte hits a walkoff home run in the 10th inning against the Braves

MLB suspended Starling Marte for 80 games for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, writes Rob Biertempfel.

Andrew McCutchen is back in centerfield and regained his swagger in the Pirates’ loss to the Cardinals, writes Biertempfel.

Biertempfel’s scouting report for Wednesday’s game against the Cardinals.

ON CAMPUS

ppg paints arena

PPG Paints Arena to host NCAA hockey, wrestling and volleyball championships, writes Jerry DiPaola.

Guentzel stars for Pens as they go for sweep

Guentzel celebrates Game 3 GW

Penguins rookie winger Jake Guentzel celebrates his game-winning goal against Columbus on Sunday

Penguins rookie Jake Guentzel embraces high stakes, gritty play, writes Bill West.

On the Chipped Ice A.M. edition, a resurgent Marc-Andre Fleury has no time for nostalgia, writes Jonathan Bombulie.

Rust scores on CBJ

Penguins winger Bryan Rust pushes the puck off the stick of Columbus forward Brandon Saad

My column on how the fourth win is the toughest to clinch a series.

Daley and Maatta

Olli Maatta and Trevor Daley are 1-2 on the Penguins’ ice-time chart, each averaging around 22 minutes in the playoffs

Penguins defensemen Trevor Daley and Olli Maatta hit the ground running in returning from injuries, writes Jonathan Bombulie.

Zach Werenski

Zach Werenski celebrated his first-period goal against the Penguins in Game 3…

… but a puck to the face has knocked him out of the playoffs

In the Penguins notebook, Bombulie writes that Columbus lost top defenseman Zach Werenski for the rest of the playoffs.

Brandon Dubinsky game-tying goal in Game 3

Brandon Dubinsky scored the tying goal in Game 3 but his line allowed three goals

In Three Periods, Bill West writes about the Brandon Dubinsky line getting mixed results.

Crosby pulls Jenner off Malkin

A Chaz Palla photo gallery from the Penguins’ 5-4 overtime victory in Game 3.

ON THE STEELERS

Dan Rooney scoreboard

Funeral service for Rooney: ‘We’re going to give Dan a tremendous sendoff,’ writes Jerry DiPaola.

Steelers fans visit Heinz Field for Rooney

Randall Collins of the North Side sheds a tear after visiting the Champions Club at Heinz Field for the public viewing of the late Steelers chairman Dan Rooney

Scores visited Heinz Field to pay respects to Dan Rooney, writes Chris Adamski and Jerry DiPaola.

ON THE PIRATES

Ivan Nova pitches eight strong innings but Bucs lose to Cardinals, writes Rob Biertempfel.

In the Pirates notebook, Biertempfel writes that Gregory Polanco is ‘happy to be healthy’ and drives in the lone run in the loss.

ON PITT

Troy Simons 3

Troy Simons averaged an NJCAA-best 26.3 points a game this past season at Polk State College

https://twitter.com/KarimArdalan/status/854082866497503233

Junior-college transfer Troy Simons, a former Pitt commit, signs with New Mexico, writes Jerry DiPaola.

Sid & The Kids shine as Penguins take 2-0 lead

Overhead ice shot

On the Chipped Ice A.M. edition, Jonathan Bombulie writes that the Penguins ‘just play’ as the Columbus series starts to turn ugly.

Crosby scores v CBJ

Crosby celebrates v CBJ

Sidney Crosby scores and celebrates against Columbus in Game 2 of their first-round series

‘Sid & The Kids’ line tallies two goals as Penguins take a 2-0 series lead over Columbus, writes Jonathan Bombulie.

Jake Guentzel goal vs CBJ

Rookie winger Jake Guentzel got his first NHL playoffs assist and goal against Columbus in Game 2

My column is on how Jake Guentzel’s goal turned the tide for the Penguins

The Penguins eagerly plugged Trevor Daley and Olli Maatta into a heavy defensive rotation, writes Bill West.

Carter Rowney hit on Dubinsky

Columbus forward Brandon Dubinsky drew a minus for his play in Game 2

PLUS-MINUS (+/-): Bill West breaks down the Penguins’ Game 2 win over Columbus.

West also writes that the Penguins’ young players are reaping the benefits of having roots in the city.

ON THE STEELERS

Art Rooney statue with flowers

A bouquet of flowers was placed in the hands of the Art Rooney statue outside Heinz Field in tribute to the passing of Steelers chairman Dan Rooney

Steelers chairman Dan Rooney remembered fondly by his beloved North Side, writes Joe Rutter.

Remembering Rooney: A gentleman to the end, writes Jerry DiPaola.

Steelers radio analyst Tunch Ilkin: Rooney was a man of humility, writes Jerry DiPaola.

Dan Rooney with Patricia 2

Steelers chairman Dan Rooney with wife, Patricia, in April 2015

Bishop David Zubik: Rooney was a ‘quintessential Pittsburgher.’

Rooney’s legacy transcends the Steelers organization, writes Tory Parrish.

Trib Editorial: Rooney was ambassador to the world

ON THE DIAMOND

Gerrit Cole and Josh Harrison v Cubs

Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole celebrates a sixth inning-ending out with Josh Harrison

The Pirates held off the Cubs to snap a four-game skid, writes Rob Biertempfel.

Ray Searage with Tyler Glasnow

After a rough first outing for Tyler Glasnow, Ray Searage simplified his approach

Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage aims to keep Tyler Glasnow focused, writes Biertempfel.

Biertempfel’s scouting report for Saturday’s game at the Cubs.

BLUE-GOLD GAME

Pitt players hungry to impress coaches in Blue-Gold game, writes Jerry DiPaola.

Pitt hires former standout Keith Gavin as wrestling coach, writes DiPaola.

Farewell, Mr. Rooney

DANIEL MILTON ROONEY, 1932-2017

Dan Rooney walks off field

Steelers chairman Dan Rooney dies at age 84

Dan Rooney smiling

Dan Rooney with Patricia

Dan Rooney with wife Patricia

Steelers president Art Rooney II, on his father: ‘He gave his heart and soul to the Steelers’

Joe Greene with Dan Rooney 2

Steelers legend Joe Greene hugs Steelers chairman Dan Rooney after his No. 75 jersey was retired

My column on how the Rooney Rule and Dan Rooney’s rule will be the Steelers chairman’s legacy.

Art and Dan Rooney chalkboard

Dan Rooney with his father, Steelers owner Art Rooney (The Chief), after the club drafted Terry Bradshaw

Upgruv’s Rob Rossi writes that there was Dan Rooney … and then there was everybody else.

Rozelle presents trophy to Rooney and Noll

Former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle presents the Lombardi Trophy to Dan Rooney and Chuck Noll after Super Bowl X

Dan Rooney was lauded by fellow NFL owners as one of the league’s most important figures, writes Chris Adamski.

Ambassador Rooney

U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney at the ambassador’s residence in Phoenix Park, Dublin

Dan Rooney’s death sparked reaction from both inside the NFL and out, writes Jerry DiPaola.

Game 1 against Columbus deja vu for Penguins

Penguins fans before CBJ Game 1

Check out the Trib photo gallery from Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs

On the Chipped Ice A.M. edition, Jonathan Bombulie writes that, at first glance, the Penguins look like they can survive Kris Letang’s absence.

Nick Bonino goal v CBJ in Game 1

Nick Bonino once again came through with a playoff goal for the Penguins

The Penguins took a page from their 2009, ’16 Stanley Cup champions to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of their NHL first-round playoff series at PPG Paints Arena, writes Jonathan Bombulie.

Marc-Andre Fleury vs CBJ Game 1

A last-minute replacement in goal, Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 16 shots in the first period

My column on how Marc-Andre Fleury was a fantastic fill-in as the last-minute replacement in goal.

Evgeni Malkin CBJ Game 1

After missing 13 regular-season games, Evgeni Malkin assisted on the Penguins’ first two goals against Columbus

Evgeni Malkin made an immediate impact in his return to the playoffs after a long injury absence, writes Bill West.

Kessel celebrates goal vs CBJ Game 1

Phil Kessel put six shots on goal, scoring a on wicked wrist shot in the second period

PLUS-MINUS (+/-): West breaks down the Penguins’ Game 1 win over Columbus

ON THE NORTH SHORE

Billy Hamilton and Joey Votto high five

Billy Hamilton and Joey Votto high five after scoring in the Reds’ four-run fifth inning

The Pirates went quietly, as the Reds finished off a sweep, writes Chris Adamski.

Hurdle to the mound

When it comes to his bullpen, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle believes in ‘human analytics’

In the Pirates notebook, Adamski writes that manager Clint Hurdle talks about bullpen usage.

A scouting report for today’s game at Boston.

ON THE SOUTH SIDE

Senquez Golson 2

Senquez Golson was detained when TSA agents found a Glock .45 handgun and 23 rounds of ammunition in his bag

Steelers cornerback Senquez Golson was detained at an Alabama airport for a gun, writes Joe Rutter.

Maybe this next story explains Golson’s mindset…

The Steelers hosted two cornerbacks for pre-draft visits, writes Rutter.

tom Modrak

Tom Modrak worked for the BLESTO scouting service before joining the Steelers as a full-time pro scout in 1978. During two decades with the Steelers, Modrak also served as the team’s director of pro scouting and oversaw the college personnel department for nine seasons

Former Steelers executive Tom Modrak died at age 74, writes Rutter.

Penguins ready to start the Stanley Cup playoffs

Malkin and Kessel

Kessel and Malkin high five

When they were on the ice together, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel outscored the opposition, 29-10, and just might be the most dangerous duo in the league

On Chipped Ice A.M., Jonathan Bombulie writes that the Evgeni Malkin-Phil Kessel combo brings fun to the Penguins playoff run.

Mike Sullivan 2

John Tortorella

Mike Sullivan (above) and John Tortorella worked together as an assistant and head coach, respectively, for one season in Tampa Bay, four seasons with the New York Rangers and one season with Vancouver

The Penguins’ Mike Sullivan and Blue Jackets’ John Tortorella will draw from their years shared behind benches, writes Bill West.

Crosby Dubinsky faceoff

Brandon Dubinsky has a history of getting under Sidney Crosby’s skin like no other NHL opponent

My column focuses on why Sidney Crosby can’t be duped into Brandon Dubinsky’s deeds if the Penguins want to win this series.

Kris Letang 3

Scout, on Penguins playing without Kris Letang: ‘Losing a defenseman of that caliber from any hockey club is extremely damaging’

An Eastern Conference scout breaks down the Penguins-Blue Jackets series, writes Bombulie.

Carter Rowney v Vancou ver

Carter Rowney, a 27-year-old rookie, handles faceoffs, fills in at center and wing, knows how to kill penalties and even offers a physical element

In Three Periods, West breaks down Game 1 of the Penguins-Blue Jackets series.

Matt Murray 3

Matt Murray missed the final two regular-season games but was the first player on the ice Tuesday

The two biggest question marks — Malkin and goalie Matt Murray — are ready for the Columbus series, Bombulie writes.

Practice provided clues to the Penguins’ defensive pairings, writes Bill West.

Pens big screen

The Penguins will bring back the big screen for Stanley Cup playoffs

ON THE DIAMOND

Clint Hurdle talks with bob nutting

Pirates owner Bottom-Line Bob Nutting has a franchise worth $1 billion and a payroll less than $100 million

The Pirates are worth $1 billion, according to Forbes, writes Chris Adamski.

The offense let the Pirates down again in a rainy home loss to the Reds, writes Chris Adamski.

In the Pirates notebook, reliever Wade LeBlanc downplayed his role against the Reds, Adamski writes.


Scouting report
for Wednesday’s game against the Reds

ON THE SOUTH SIDE

Max Browne 3

Pitt offensive coordinator Shawn Watson, on Max Browne: ‘He does the little things you need your quarterback to do. He doesn’t make impulse decisions. He doesn’t take sacks. He finds check-downs. He gets us in the right play. He makes sound decisions in a run-pass defense because he knows what to lean on and that’s all experience’

Former USC quarterback Max Browne impresses at Pitt practices, writes Jerry DiPaola.

Elijah Zeise

Elijah Zeise can play either outside linebacker position for the Panthers

In the Pitt football notebook, DiPaola writes that Elijah Zeise has been named ‘dog soldier’ defender.

Tim Williams

Alabama outside linebacker Tim Williams had 19 sacks the past two seasons but comes with some baggage

The Steelers hosted two more pass-rush prospects, writes Joe Rutter.

Going Behind the Scenes at ESPN’s QB Camp

Nathan Peterman and Jon Gruden

Nathan Peterman conducts drills with Jon Gruden looking over his shoulder

Jerry DiPaola is Behind the Scenes with Pitt’s Nathan Peterman as he goes 1-on-1 with Jon Gruden at ESPN QB Camp.

ON CAMPUS

Cameron Johnson vs Syracuse

Cameron Johnson has two years of eligibility remaining, which makes him hot property

Scholarship offers abound for former Pitt guard Cameron Johnson, writes Jerry DiPaola, but Panthers coach Kevin Stallings has placed some restrictions on which schools are possible destinations.

ON THE ICE

Phil Kessel vs Leafs

Phil Kessel was all smiles after scoring against his former team, the Toronto Maple Leafs

Phil Kessel snapped his 11-game scoring drought but the Penguins lost to the Leafs, who clinched a playoff berth, writes Bill West. In a twist of irony, Toronto got the tying goal from Kasperi Kapanen, who was part of the trade package the Penguins sent to the Leafs for Kessel.

Matt Murray   save

Goalie Matt Murray was one of the six Penguins who were healthy scratches

In the Penguins notebook, West writes that several regulars got rest against Toronto.

On the Chipped Ice blog, West writes that the Penguins played it straight after their loss to the Leafs.

Jake Guentzel v Islanders

Jake Guentzel has a history of performing in the postseason

In their weekly Three Periods, Bill West and Jonathan Bombulie write why rookie Jake Guentzel is a candidate to become a playoff hero.

My column centers around why the Penguins are happy to have earned home-ice advantage, even though they have proven to be road warriors in the postseason.

ON THE DIAMOND

Gregory Polanco vs Braves

Gregory Polanco snapped out of a slow start by going 4-for-4 with an RBI and two runs against the Braves

Gregory Polanco leads the Bucs past the sloppy Braves, writes Chris Adamski.

In the Pirates notebook, third baseman David Freese sat out but says he’s OK after taking a ball to the collarbone, writes Adamski.

Scouting report for Sunday’s game against the Braves.

Pirates beat Braves in home snow-pener

Francisco Cervelli home opener HR

After hitting only one home run last season, Francisco Cervelli launched a solo shot in the home opener…

Cervelli HR bleachers

…And Pirates fans in the left-field bleachers at PNC Park went nuts

Nick DeSantis

Nick DeSantis of Hopewell caught Cervelli’s home-run ball (but gave it to guest services to get autographed)

My column centers around the back-to-back home runs by David Freese and Francisco Cervelli, and the Pirates fan who braved the frigid weather for the home opener and caught a memory.

Jordy Mercer scores vs Braves

Jordy Mercer scores past Braves catcher Kurt Suzuki in the fourth inning

https://twitter.com/Pirates/status/850728712764964870

Rob Biertempfel writes about how shortstop Jordy Mercer’s magic saved the Pirates.

McCutchen home opener

Andrew McCutchen singled in the first and went 3 for 4 against the Braves…

McCutchen sliding catch vs Braves

… and made this sliding catch in the fifth inning

Andrew McCutchen helped the Pirates offense break out of slump, writes Chris Adamski.

clint hurdle intro at home opener

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle: ‘Where I’m at, I don’t know. I don’t feel I’m at the end. I feel I’m in a sweet spot as far as learning. This game has changed dramatically since my first year as a manager, and there’s part of that that really invigorates me and excites me’

In the Pirates notebook, manager Clint Hurdle finds more balance between work and family, writes Jerry DiPaola.

Hot Dog Man

David ‘Chico the Hot Dog Man’ Sakulsky gets the crowd going

A Pirates fan photo gallery from Trib photographers

Nate Smallwood goes behind the scenes to show how the Pirates grounds crew preps PNC Park.

Chad Kuhl vs Rays

Chad Kuhl will start for the Pirates against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey of the Braves

And Rob Biertempfel chimes in with his own thoughts on the From the Cheap Seats blog.

Biertempfel also gives you the scouting report for Saturday’s game against the Braves.

ON THE SOUTH SIDE

Ben Roethlisberger vs Ravens

Big Ben: ‘Informed the team I am looking forward to my 14th season. Steeler Nation will get my absolute best!’

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger erased any doubt about his playing status for 2017, writes Joe Rutter.

ON THE ICE

Evgeni Malkin is up for new challenges, writes Bill West.

In the Penguins notebook, West writes that Carl Hagelin returned to on-ice activity.