10 biggest first-round busts in Penguins history

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This year’s NHL draft is approaching this weekend, so it might be a good time to take a look through the Penguins’ draft history — specifically the first round — and see where they might want a do-over. Here are the Penguins’ top 10 biggest first-round busts, including three who never played in the NHL:

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Center Angelo Esposito (2007, 20th overall)

0 NHL games

Could have drafted: Left wing Max Pacioretty (22nd overall); defenseman P.K. Subban (43rd overall)

Notable: Dealt to Thrashers in deal that netted Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis.

Robert Dome

Right wing Robert Dome (1997, 17th overall)

7 goals, 7 assists in 53 NHL games (52 with Pens)

Could have drafted: Left wing Brenden Morrow (25th overall); defenseman Brian Campbell (156th overall)

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Goaltender Craig Hillier (1996, 23rd overall)

0 NHL games

Could have drafted: Center Daniel Briere (24th overall); defenseman Zdeno Chara (56th overall); right wing Craig Adams (223rd overall)

Defenseman Stefan Bergkvist (1993, 26th overall)

0 goals, 0 assists in 7 NHL games (all with Pens)

Could have drafted: Center Brendan Morrison (39th overall); defenseman Kimmo Timonen (250th overall)

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Defenseman Zarley Zalapski (1986, fourth overall)

99 goals, 285 assists in 637 NHL games (190 with Pens)

Could have drafted: Defenseman Brian Leetch (9th overall); left wing Adam Graves (22nd overall)

Notable: Dealt to Hartford Whalers in deal that netted Ron Francis, Ulf Samuelsson and, ultimately, the 1991 and ’92 Stanley Cups.

Center Roger Belanger (1984, 16th overall)

3 goals, 5 assists in 44 NHL games (all with Pens)

Could have drafted: Goaltender Patrick Roy (51st overall); right wing Brett Hull (117th overall); left wing Luc Robitaille (171st overall)

Right wing Blair Chapman (1976, 2nd overall)

106 goals, 125 assists in 402 NHL games (227 with Pens)

Could have drafted: Bernie Federko (7th overall); defenseman Randy Carlyle (30th overall)

Goaltender Gord Laxton (1975, 13th overall)

4 wins, 9 losses in 17 NHL games (all with Pens)

Could have drafted: forward Tim Young (16th overall); right wing Dave Taylor (210th overall)

Center Garry Swain (1968, fourth overall)

1 goal, 1 assist in 9 NHL games (all with Pens)

Could have drafted: Left wing John Marks (ninth overall); left wing Curt Bennett (16th overall)

Goaltender Steve Rexe (1967, second overall)

0 NHL games

Notable: To be fair, only one of the 10 first-round picks in this draft — the Flyers’ Serge Bernier — ever played in the NHL

 

Photo credits: Jasmine Goldband: Angelo Esposito; Tribune-Review file: Robert Dome; Penguins: Zarley Zalapski; AP: Craig Hillier; legendsofhockey.net: Stefan Bergkvist; gamewornauctions.net: Roger Belanger; penguins-hockey-cards.com: Blair Chapman; goaliesarchive.com: Gord Laxton; hockeydb.com: Garry Swain; benchedathletes.files.wordpress.com: Steve Rexe

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All the baseball movies you must see

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With basketball and hockey winding down, baseball season is in full swing. Whether you’re backing the Pirates or another MLB team, the best way to get a fix when baseball’s not on TV is by watching one of these great movies. If you haven’t seen all of them, what are you waiting for?

 

 

“Pride of the Yankees” (1942, 128 min.) Gary Cooper stars in a tear-jerker about the life and career of Yankees legend Lou Gehrig, one of the best baseball players who ever lived. Directed by well-known filmmaker Sam Wood, the picture is a fantastic portrait of baseball history, not to mention one of the sport’s greatest players.

 

 

“42″ (2013, 128 min.) An intense biopic, filmmaker Brian Helgeland tackles the early professional career of Jackie Robinson, the man who broke the color barrier in the majors. Boosted by strong performances from Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford, “42″ is a very powerful film that tackles an incredibly important moment in baseball history.

 

 

“The Bad News Bears” (1976, 102 min.) Let’s get one thing out of the way now. Skip the 2005 remake of this wonderful film at all costs. The earlier version is excellent and stirs those memories of playing baseball at a younger age. Oh, it also carries a memorable performance from the curmudgeonly perfect Walter Matthau as the coach.

 

 

“Major League” (1989, 107 min.) A spectacular cast — Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Wesley Snipes, Dennis Haysbert and Corbin Bernsen included — got passing grades as baseball players in this epic sports comedy about an outrageous pennant-chasing Cleveland Indians team. Don’t waste your time with the two sequels, though.

 

 

“Eight Men Out” (1988, 119 min.) Much like “Pride of the Yankees,” “Eight Men Out” has its roots in baseball history. Unfortunately, the story stands as a black eye for baseball. The feature film covers what is referred to as the Black Sox scandal, or when a group of the White Sox players notoriously threw the 1919 World Series.

 

 

“Field of Dreams” (1989, 107 min.) Adapted from the award-winning W.P. Kinsella novel “Shoeless Joe,” “Field of Dreams” has a spot in every baseball fan’s heart. It not only details the magic to be had from the baseball diamond, but the importance of family. Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones serve up terrific performances in this spiritual quest.

 

 

“Sugar” (2008, 114 min.) If there’s one film on this list that not enough baseball fans have seen, this is it. “Sugar” details the difficult trip through the minor leagues by a Dominican pitcher. While the baseball stuff is a big part of this movie, the off-the-field struggles are the most important aspect of “Sugar.” This is a true under-the-radar gem.

 

 

 ”Money Ball” (2011, 133 min.) While not as good as the book it was adapted from — Michael Lewis’ 2003 bestseller of the same name — “Moneyball” is a strong look at the game behind the game, as far as putting a team out on the field goes. Throw in top-shelf performances from Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and you have a superb picture.

 

 

“A League of Their Own” (1992, 128 min.) Hey, why not give the ladies a chance to play? Director Penny Marshall brings forth the story of the first female professional baseball league in this excellent dramedy that wears its emotions on its uniform sleeve. An A-list cast includes Geena Davis, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell and Tom Hanks.

 

 

“The Natural” (1984, 138 min.) Adapted from the 1952 novel of the same name from Bernard Malamud, “The Natural” will also have a place among the top baseball movies. Robert Redford, Glenn Close, Robert Duvall and Kim Basinger star in a film about Roy Hobbs, a prodigy of a baseball player who takes the sport by storm years after a mysterious accident.

 

 

“The Rookie” (2002, 127 min.) Based on a true story, this inspirational baseball story explores the road to the majors by a Texas high school coach. Jimmy Morris — played by Dennis Quaid — attempts to try out for a major-league team after losing a bet to his baseball team, and ends up surprising everyone. Especially himself.

 

 

“The Sandlot” (1993, 101 min.) It’s not the best baseball movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s another film that successfully brings back memories of playing ball with all of your old friends in the neighborhood. The pic follows a group of teens who fill their summer days by playing baseball and making some mischief.

 

 

“Bull Durham” (1998, 108 min.) Most consider “Bull Durham” the best baseball movie of all time, and it’s definitely a contender. Ron Shelton wrote and directed this highly enjoyable portrait of life in the minor leagues, as a journeyman takes a top prospect under his wing in an attempt to prep him for the bigs. Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon are fabulous.

 

 

Extra innings: “Cobb” (1994, 128 min.), “Bang the Drum Slowly” (1973, 96 min.), “Game 6″ (2005, 87 min.), “Fever Pitch” (2005, 104 min.) and “Mr. Baseball” (1992, 108 min.).

 

 

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Kennywood, from the top to the bottom

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If you grew up in Western Pennsylvania, it’s more than likely that you spent some time at Kennywood for school picnics or just a day at the amusement park. With more than 30 rides to choose from, we thought it might be useful for newbies if we rank the rides so that you can make the best use of your time.

After a totally informal polling of Trib Total Media staffers, here are the best (to worst) rides at Kennywood:

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Thunderbolt

Josh Yohe: The quintessential wooden American roller coaster.

Rob Biertempfel: The granddaddy of ‘em all.

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Jack Rabbit

Sue Jones: A classic that never fails to entertain.

RB: The double-dip always gets me.

JY: The double-dip has stood the test of time.

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Phantom’s Revenge

MP: The buildup to the top seems to take forever before the first big drop, and the second drop is even more of a doozy.

JY: An adrenaline rush few rides can match.

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Log Jammer

Keith Hodan: On school picnics, that had to be a favorite (especially at night) of 15 and 16-year-old boys who were lucky enough to visit with their girlfriend or crush BECAUSE … the ride requires the girl to lay back against the guy between his legs, so the boy would wrap his arms around the girl. Floating along in the dark, it was the location of many first kisses (and second, third and more)!

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Cosmic Chaos

MP: When you’re spinning at the top of the ride, it feels like you’re going to go flying off into the trees.

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Swing Shot

MP: The weightless feeling at the top, and the belief that you might go over the top, make this a winner.

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Racer

JY: It isn’t very fast, and the seats are too small. A unique concept, but better in theory than in execution.

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Aero 360

KH: Means you are able to vomit north, south, east, west, up and down without ever leaving your seat. And for extra points, I think it’s the only ride where you can vomit on the way up and have it land back in your own mouth on the way down!

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Sky Rocket

JY: It defies physics. In a good way.

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Black Widow

SJ: Rode it for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and that was the end of my day.

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Raging Rapids

SJ: Great fun on a hot day.

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Wave Swinger

RB: Simple. Fun.

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Pittsburg Plunge

Kitoko Chargois: After getting sunburn from waiting in long lines at Kennywood all day, the Pittsburg Plunge starts to feel like the best ride the park has to offer.

Melanie Wass: My kids have stood in the splash zone for as long as an hour to cool off on a hot day when the lines for actual water rides were waaaaay too long.

KH: A perfect ride for a hot day. You will get soaked, plus it’s fun to watch unsuspecting visitors standing on the bridge get soaked as well.

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Bayern Kurve

SJ: Oh no, not for me, particularly if you’re the person on the outside or back getting squished.

RB: Always makes me wanna hurl.

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Turtle

RB: A classic since 1927.

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Pirate

MP: A good icebreaker for getting the day started at Kennywood.

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Kangaroo

SJ: You have to work really hard not to smile on this ride.

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Exterminator

Adam Brandolph: The Exterminator is my favorite. Not only does it whip you around like a rag doll, it’s in pitch black darkness so you can’t brace yourself. So much fun!

KC: If you’re of height, I don’t think you can have the full Kennywood experience without riding this one.

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Whip

Whip

MP: A classic — literally — dating back to 1918.

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Volcano

John Lehner: Ah, the Volcano! What used to be the Enterprise, the ride is probably known as being one of the most vomit-inducing rides in the park. In my youth, I used to love this dizzying thriller, but there seems to be an indirect correlation going on; the more gray hairs that sprout on my head, the less my stomach can stomach this ride.

 SJ: Did it once and thought I was going to fall out.

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Merry-Go-Round

MP: A ride that’s stood the test of time — make sure you get a horse and not the chair.

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Ghostwood Estate

Kelsey Shea: I think in the age of Wii and smart phones, Ghostwood Estate’s draw is a little lame. Shooting ghosts? There’s probably an app for that. Relatedly, you can’t shoot ghosts! They’re ghosts. Maybe if you sucked them into your backpack, Ghostbusters style, I could get on board.

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Gran Prix

JY: Too many cars creates little speed. Blah.

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Paratrooper

MP: The line doesn’t look that big, but it always takes too long  for a short payoff.

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Noah’s Ark

Jim Wilhelm: Nostalgia. Generations have visited that ride at the park, going through the vibrating/shaking floor and the rocking boat that weaves inside and outside.

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Garfield’s Nightmare

JY: My kids don’t have nice things to say about it.

SJ: The line takes forever, and the ride is lame.

RB: Honorable mention for Hardheaded Harold’s Horrendously Humorous Haunted Hideaway (now called Garfield’s Nightmare) — back in the day, when I was in high school, it was a five-minute romantic getaway.

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4HFair

Musik Express

MP: The lack of padding is no fun for the person on the outside, and the smoking area right next to the line only makes it worse.

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Auto Race

MP: Not sure how this doesn’t qualify as a kiddie ride.

Note: Not included are Kiddieland rides and attractions with extra charges (like the Skycoaster and Paddle Boats).

Photos by Sidney Davis, Keith Hodan, Jasmine Goldband, Heidi Murrin, Steve Adams & Mike Palm.

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