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June 26, 2014
by Mike Palm


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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)

CraigHillier

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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June 17, 2014
by Garrett Conti


4 comments so far - add yours!

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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June 6, 2014
by Mike Palm


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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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 LogJammer

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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 CosmicChaos

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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May 27, 2014
by Garrett Conti


7 comments so far - add yours!

19 of Carnegie Mellon’s biggest Hollywood stars

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Carnegie Mellon University has an excellent reputation for churning out talent on every level of entertainment, especially film and television. So, with our latest Trib List blog, we’re going to point out some of those CMU graduates who have emerged as giants in Hollywood. In no particular order, here are some of the great contributions from the famed Oakland institution:

 

Patrick Wilson

PATRICK WILSON (graduated in 1995) ACTOR

What you know him from: “Little Children,” “Watchmen,” “Lakeview Terrace,” “The A-Team” (movie), “Insidious: Chapters 1 and 2″ and “The Conjuring”

 

Blair Underwood

BLAIR UNDERWOOD (1988) ACTOR (Grammy Award winner)

What you know him from: “L.A. Law,” “Sex & the City,” “The Event,” “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and “In Treatment”

 

MARCHAND

NANCY MARCHAND (1949) ACTRESS (Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner)

What you know her from: “Lou Grant,” “The Sopranos” and “The Naked Gun”

 

Los Angeles Premiere Party for Dark Blue

JAMES JACKS (1968) PRODUCER

What you know him from: “Raising Arizona,” “Tombstone,” “Dazed and Confused,” “Mallrats,” “The Mummy” franchise and “Intolerable Cruelty”

 

2011 Summer TCA Tour - Day 13

JOHN PASQUIN (above left) (1969) DIRECTOR

What you know him from: “Home Improvement,” “Family Ties,” “Growing Pains,” “Roseanne,” “Alice,” “Thirtysomething,” “Newhart,” “L.A. Law” and “Rules of Engagement”

 

Peppard

GEORGE PEPPARD (1951) ACTOR

What you know him from: “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “The A-Team” (TV series), “The Carpetbaggers” and “How the West was Won”

 

GEORGE A. ROMERO

GEORGE ROMERO (1960) DIRECTOR/WRITER

What you know him from: “Night of the Living Dead,” “Dawn of the Dead,” “Monkey Shines,” “The Crazies,” “Land of the Dead,” and “Diary of the Dead”

 

14th Annual Producers Guild Awards - Show

BUD YORKIN (1948) DIRECTOR/PRODUCER (Emmy Award winner)

What you know him from: “An Evening with Fred Astaire,” “All in the Family,” “Maude,” “Good Times,” “Sanford and Son,” “What’s Happening!!” and “Carter Country”

 

ROTH

ANN ROTH (1953) COSTUME DESIGNER (Academy Award, BAFTA and Tony Award winner)

What you know her from: “Midnight Cowboy,” “Silkwood,” “The English Patient,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” “The Hours,” “Closer,” “The Hours” and “Cold Mountain”

 

James Cromwell

 JAMES CROMWELL (1964) ACTOR (Emmy Award winner)

What you know him from: “L.A. Confidential,” “Babe,” “The Queen,” “The Artist,” “W.,” “The Green Mile,” “The People Vs. Larry Flynt,” “I, Robot,” “Six Feet Under,” “Boardwalk Empire” and “American Horror Story: Asylum”

 

John Wells

 JOHN WELLS (1979) DIRECTOR/PRODUCER

What you know him from: “August: Osage County,” “The Company Men,” “I’m Not There,” “ER,” “Shameless,” “The West Wing,” “Southland” and “Third Watch”

 

Quincys Klugman 1981

JACK KLUGMAN (1948) ACTOR (Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner)

What you know him from: “The Odd Couple” (TV series), “The Twilight Zone,” “Quincy M.E.,” “12 Angry Men” and “Cry Terror!”

 

Rob Marshall

ROB MARSHALL (1982) DIRECTOR (Emmy Award winner)

What you know him from: “Chicago,” “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Nine,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” and “Annie” (TV movie)

 

Greg Mottola

GREG MOTTOLA (1986) DIRECTOR 

What you know him from: “Superbad,” “Adventureland,” “Paul,” “The Daytrippers,” “Undeclared,” “Arrested Development” and “The Newsroom”

 

Steve Bochco

STEVEN BOCHCO (1966) WRITER/PRODUCER (Emmy Award winner)

What you know him from: “Hill Street Blues,” “L.A. Law,” “NYPD Blue,” “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” “Columbo” and “Cop Rock”

 

Michael McKean

MICHAEL MCKEAN (1969) ACTOR (Grammy Award winner)

What you know him from: “This is Spinal Tap,” “Best in Show,” “A Mighty Wind,” “Clue,” “Plains, Trains and Automobiles,” “Saturday Night Live” and “Laverne & Shirley”

 

USA Holly Hunter

 HOLLY HUNTER (1980) ACTRESS (Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner)

What you know her from: “Broadcast News,” “The Piano,” “Blood Simple,” “The Firm,” “Thirteen,” “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” “Raising Arizona,” “Saving Grace” and “Top of the Lake”

 

DANSON LONG PERLMAN

TED DANSON (1972) ACTOR (Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner)

What you know him from: “Cheers,” “Becker,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Damages,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Three Men and a Baby,” “Saving Private Ryan” and “Ted”

 

Cherry Jones

CHERRY JONES (1978) ACTRESS (Emmy and Tony Award winner)

What you know her from: “24,” “The Beaver,” “Ocean’s Twelve,” “Erin Brockovich,” “Signs,” “The Village” and “The Perfect Storm”

 

HONORABLE MENTION

— Zachary Quinto (1999) Actor/Producer

— Judith Light (1970) Actress

— Aaron Staton (2004) Actor

— Rene Auberjonois (1962) Actor

— Matt Bomer (2001) Actor

— Mark Frost (1975) Writer/director/producer

— Josh Gad (2003) Actor

— Michael Goldenberg (1986) Writer/director

— Megan Hilty (2004) Actress

— Joe Manganiello (2000) Actor

— Pablo Schreiber (2000)

— Laura San Giacomo (1984)

— Charles Haid (1968) Actor/director

— Barbara Feldon (1955)

— Robert Cummings (1930) Actor

— Gaius Charles (2005) Actor

— Abby Brammell (2001)

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May 14, 2014
by Dan Stefano


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A Yinzer’s Guide to the Summer

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It might be OK to finally say it.
Winter — that long, oppressive string of pipe-bursting months — is over. And spring, for that matter, seems to be passing us right by, if we even had one this year.
Long live summer. Who needs to wait for June 21? I’m calling it.
Temperatures are hopping into the 80s, the sun is shining at least a few times a week, and my mom is nagging me to mow the lawn of her North Side manse.
It’s a great time of year to live in Pittsburgh.
Sure, Western Pennsylvania is a full day’s ride from the ocean, and most Pittsburghers use these months to get out of town, but there are some great events and places to visit in the region while the weather is warm.
If you’re new to the area or a local who needs their memory jogged, here’s a quick guide to enjoying a yinzer summer.
THUNDERBOLT
Kennywood and Sandcastle
This West Mifflin amusement park and its wetter Homestead counterpart are obvious entries in our guide. They’re the quintessential destinations in the region during the hottest months of the year.
No summer is complete without at least one visit to Kennywood. Billed as America’s Favorite Traditional Amusement Park, it’s a unique place filled with world-class roller coasters and good eats alike — not to mention a rendition of Noah’s Ark that even Darren Aronofsky would find a little far afield from the source material.
Short on time? Your humble guide submits the following as the park’s best rides. Depending on the lines, you can probably knock these out in a few hours:
5. Raging Rapids — Arguably, this trip through the un-laziest of rivers is the park’s best water ride. And if you’re the unfortunate one to end up under a waterfall, it’s definitely the wettest.
4. Jack Rabbit — Any local will tell you the secret to this rickety coaster: sit in the back and wait for the double-dip.
3. Turtle — Hey, it’s a traditional park with plenty of “safe” rides. Give this one a whirl for old times’ sake.
2. Phantom’s Revenge — There was a time when this ride carried the appropriate title “Steel Phantom.” Back then, it boasted a serious set of loops and could be pretty brutal on your neck, to boot. Now, the tallest, fastest coaster at the park is just a lean, mean machine with a lap bar and a 230-foot second drop even better than the cliff-hanging first.
1. Thunderbolt — This lauded wooden coaster opens with a pair of drops before you even get to a lift hill. That’s about the only time you can catch you breath on this thriller. Hang on to your hats.
As far as Sandcastle goes, the closer the temperature climbs to triple digits, the busier the place gets — and potentially closes its doors to late-comers.
Once you’re inside, the highlights include one of the region’s few wave pools and a set of speed slides that double as a test of bravery. For a more relaxed trip, try out the lazy river, or if you’re old enough, the Sandbar is a great place to unwind and catch your breath.
artsfestival
Three Rivers Arts Festival
One of the keys to Pittsburgh’s growing recognition as one of the country’s up-and-coming cities is the growth of its arts and cultural scene. But the city’s massive arts festival has been a fixture for more than half a century.
This year’s 55th annual festival centered around Point State Park from June 6 through 15 features a rich blend of music, theater, film and dance. Simply put, there’s something for everyone — and it’s free, thanks to the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and other supporters.
Not into the arts? No problem. The amount of food vendors practically matches the artists. Come hungry.
For a complete schedule of events and more, visit http://www.3riversartsfest.org.
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EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta
Let’s all say it together:
You gotta regatta.
Pittsburgh’s rivers are a treasure to the region, and this is the best use of the three you’ll see all year. The three-day event from July 2 through 4 is packed with races, food, music and culminates with one of the country’s best Independence Day fireworks shows.
The highlights include powerboat racing across the confluence, which will host the F-2 North American Championships on July 4. And for creative types or anyone up for laugh, the Anything That Floats race is a must see.
Even if you’re not converging on Point State Park for the fireworks, there are plenty of great vantage points to catch the show. A personal favorite is Mt. Washington, but the North Shore is great for an up-close view with a slightly thinner crowd.
For a complete schedule of events and more, visit http://www.threeriversregatta.net.
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Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix
There may not be a more unique summer event in the region. And certainly, few have a more worthy mission.
Starting as a single-day race in 1983, the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix has grown to a 10-day celebration of vintage cars, the people who maintain them and their drivers. At no other time of the year will car lovers find such an eclectic and fascinating mix of autos in Pittsburgh.
The highlight of the expanded event remains the July 20 race through a challenging Schenley Park course. Even better, that race and many other events are free to spectators, though donations are encouraged and go to a crucial cause.
Over the course of its three-decade life, the PVGP has raised $3.5 million, according its website, for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Last year’s record haul of $350,000 was split between the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Valley School.
Even if you’re not that into cars, this is one of the city’s great summer shindigs, one that should be experienced at least once. And every little bit helps.
For a complete schedule of events and more, visit http://www.pvgp.org/.
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Get your kicks
It’s no secret, Pittsburgh loves itself some football, but there’s a growing market for futbol, too.
The Riverhounds’ new Highmark Stadium has reignited interest in the franchise, and soccer continues to thrive at the youth level in the region. Another step on sport’s climb in Western Pa. will come July 27 at Heinz Field.
The Steelers’ home field will host two of the world’s top teams in Barclays Premier League champ Manchester City — think of them as you would the reigning Super Bowl champs — and Italian stalwart A.C. Milan as part of the Guinness International Champions Cup.
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Heinz Field Rib Fest
Ribs and football. There are few better pairings on this planet.
Celebrating its 15th year from Aug. 28 through Sept. 1, Rib Fest coincides with the start of football season — the Steelers are home for a preseason game Aug. 28, and Pitt opens its season Aug. 30. The addition of a row of vendors beside Heinz Field hawking Southern-style ribs and other barbecued items almost makes for too much awesome in one parking lot. Almost.
There are six free concerts, as well, featuring a mix of local and national acts — and one that holds both distinctions in The Clarks, who play Aug. 29.
Of course, the return of football signifies fall is just around the corner, but the fest makes for a great way to wave goodbye to summer.
For a complete schedule of events and more, visit http://heinzfieldribfest.com.
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May 7, 2014
by Garrett Conti


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Memorable NFL draft gems of the Steelers

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Earlier this week, we looked at some of the NFL draft busts that the Steelers have had over the past few years. Now, it’s time to look at some of the better picks they’ve made. These aren’t picks like Ben Roethlisberger or Mean Joe Greene. Those guys were picked high and delivered. No, these are afterthoughts, picked in the later rounds. Coming into the NFL with chips on their shoulders, they became starters the Steelers could depend on and went about establishing themselves in the NFL. Here are some of the hidden gems the Steelers have plucked from the NFL draft:

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10. Brett Keisel (2002, No. 242, Brigham Young) A standout defensive end for the Steelers, Keisel became a regular starter in 2006. He played on two Super Bowl-winning teams, and was named a Pro Bowler in 2010. Presently, Keisel is a free agent, and even if he decides on retirement, the defensive lineman known for his wild beard has had a solid NFL career, even after being picked in the seventh round.

Super Bowl X - Dallas Cowboys vs Pittsburgh Steelers - January 18, 1976

9. Ernie Holmes (1971, No. 203, Texas Southern) Picked late in the 1971 draft, Holmes, nicknamed “Fats,” became a key member of the Steelers’ legendary Steel Curtain defense as a feared defensive tackle with a knack for sacks. Holmes played six seasons with the Steelers, and was on the team that won Super Bowls IX and X. The Steelers dealt him to the Buccaneers in 1978, and he retired soon after.

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8. Antonio Brown (2010, No. 195, Central Michigan) Scooped up by the Steelers in the sixth round, the speedy and reliable Brown has solidified himself as a No. 1 receiver and dangerous kick returner in the NFL. In 2013, he put up big numbers, hauling in 110 catches for almost 1,500 yards. A two-time Pro Bowler and a member of the Super Bowl XLV team, Brown looks to have a bright future ahead of him.

Perry

7. Darren Perry (1992, No. 203, Penn State) After a solid career in State College, the Steelers grabbed this safety late in the 1992 draft. Perry was strong out of the gate, picking off six passes in his rookie season. With Rod Woodson, he solidified the defense, and helped to lead the Steelers to Super Bowl XXX. He finished with the Saints, and retired after the 2000 season. He’s now an assistant coach with the Packers.

Andy Russell                   Steelers

6. Andy Russell (1963, No. 220, Missouri) A tough LB, Russell played his entire 12-year career with the Steelers. Russell lead the team into the glorious 1970s, and he was a member of two teams that won Super Bowls. He also had his fair share of Pro Bowls, collecting seven over his career. He briefly left the team to fulfill an Army ROTC commitment, and he was stationed in Germany for two years.

Wagner

5. Mike Wagner (1971, No. 268, Western Illinois) A late-round draft pick, Wagner was originally looked at as a receiver, but he was switched to safety with the Steelers. The move worked out pretty well, as Wagner recorded 36 interceptions over a career that included two trips to the Pro Bowl and a key spot on a team that won four Super Bowls in the 1970s. Wagner retired in 1981 after a decade with the Steelers.

Lloyd

4. Greg Lloyd (1987, No. 110, Fort Valley State) One of the most-feared linebackers to ever play for the Steelers, Lloyd came to the team in the sixth round of the 1987 draft. Lloyd made his name as a pass rusher, and he recorded 54.5 sacks over a steady career that also included five Pro Bowls. He also played for the team that made it to Super Bowl XXX. Lloyd retired from the NFL after the 1998 season.

WEBSTER

3. Mike Webster (1974, No. 125, Wisconsin) A fifth-round pick in 1974, Webster learned the game for two seasons under Ray Mansfield, before stepping into the starting lineup in 1976. He would go on to become arguably the greatest center in NFL history. Webster made the Pro Bowl nine times, and he was a member of a team that won four Super Bowls. He retired from the NFL after the 1990 season and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997.

Greenwood

2. L.C. Greenwood (1969, No. 238, Arkansas-Pine Bluff) The Steelers got a steal in the 10th round of the 1969 draft, taking Greenwood, a tall defensive end. Known for his gold-colored shoes, Greenwood was a big part of the team’s Steel Curtain defense. He was named to the Pro Bowl six times and won four Super Bowls with the Steelers. He recorded 73.5 sacks over a solid NFL career, before retiring in 1982.

Rocky Bleier

1. Rocky Bleier (1968, No. 417, Notre Dame) A member of a Steelers team that won four Super Bowls, Bleier had to battle back from a bad war injury — sustained in Vietnam, where he received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star — to become a remarkable success story. Bleier was a running threat for the Steelers, but he made his name as a punishing blocker for Franco Harris. He retired from the NFL in 1980.

CARLTON HASELRIG STEELERS

Honorable mentions: Carlton Haselrig (1989, No. 312, Pitt-Johnstown), Willie Williams (1993, No. 162, Western Carolina), John Jackson (1988, No. 252, Eastern Kentucky), Dick Hoak (1961, No. 90, Penn State), Dwayne Woodruff (1979, No. 161, Louisville), Frank Pollard (1980, No. 305, Baylor), Orpheus Roye (1996, No. 200, Florida State), Carlos Emmons (1996, No. 242, Arkansas State), Barry Foster (1990, No. 128, Arkansas), Clark Haggans (2000, No. 137, Colorado State), Lee Flowers (1995, No. 151, Georgia Tech), Myron Bell (1994, No. 140, Michigan State), Merril Hoge (1987, No. 261, Idaho State), Tunch Ilkin (1980, No. 165, Indiana State).

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May 4, 2014
by Garrett Conti


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Memorable NFL draft busts of the Steelers

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Despite the success of the Penguins and the sort-of resurgence of the Pirates, the Steelers are still at the top of the mountain when it comes to Pittsburgh sports teams. Arguments can be made, but the Steelers still hold the key to the city. With the NFL draft upon us, hope springs eternal. Can the Steelers nail down a pick that will help out immediately? Can they snag a sleeper in the later rounds? Will they reach for a project that doesn’t pan out? Despite the success the Steelers have had, they’ve certainly had their share of busts in the draft. Here are some of the bigger ones:

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10. Ziggy Hood (2009, No. 32, Missouri) The defensive lineman’s NFL career isn’t over yet, but he never made the impact the Steelers were looking for up front. Hood had trouble cracking the starting lineup and didn’t do much in his time in Pittsburgh. Maybe that’s why the Steelers let him walk. He signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars before the 2014 season.

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9. Ricardo Colclough (2004, No. 38, Tusculum) The Steelers moved up to grab this unknown cornerback in the second round, and it wasn’t a wise move. Colclough struggled with the Steelers — on special teams and defense — before being bounced in 2007. Colclough’s been in the CFL since he was waived by the Chiefs in 2009.

Blackwell

8. Will Blackwell (1997, No. 53, San Diego State) The wide receiver looked to be a can’t-miss prospect after enjoying a fantastic career in college, but he failed to make his mark with the Steelers. Blackwell’s highest output came in 1998, when he caught 32 passes. It was all downhill from there, and he was out of the NFL by 2001. He now coaches high school football in Oakland, Calif.

Shields

7. Scott Shields (1999, No. 59, Weber State) Standing around 6-foot-4 with good speed, Shields was expected to bring some physicality to the defensive backfield. However, Shields never seemed to be a great tackler. His rookie season was OK, but his time was short with the Steelers. The safety lasted only two seasons with the team and bounced around a bit after that.

Tom Worley

6. Tim Worley (1989, No. 7, Georgia) A stud running back out of Georgia, Worley was expected to carry the load at running back for the Steelers for a long time. After amassing an impressive 770 yards in his rookie season, Worley floundered. The running back had problems holding onto the football and with substance abuse. The Steelers dealt him to the Bears for a fifth-round pick in 1993. More off-the-field issues plagued Worley with the Bears, and he was out of the league by 1994.

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5. Limas Sweed (2008, No. 53, Texas) A big target out of Texas, Sweed had all the skills to become a successful NFL wide receiver. Unfortunately, he had problems catching the ball. The drops plagued Sweed throughout his short career with the team. He was released in 2011 and failed to make another NFL roster. He’s presently trying to make his way in the CFL, but that’s not going too well.

Jackson

4. Alonzo Jackson (2003, No. 59, Florida State) With veteran Jason Gildon getting older, Jackson was selected by the Steelers as a possible replacement. The team looked to transition Jackson from defensive end — where he starred with the Seminoles — but it never worked out. Jackson was released before the 2005 season and had short stints with the Eagles and Giants.

Edwards

3. Troy Edwards (1999, No. 13, Louisiana Tech) An undersized receiver, Edwards scored a lot of accolades in college before landing with the Steelers. He even had a productive rookie season with the team, recording 61 catches and performing well as a returner. After that, Edwards sank, and he was traded to the Rams in 2002. He played a few more years in the NFL before ending up in the Arena League.

Stephens

2. Jamain Stephens (1996, No. 29, North Carolina A&T) Arguably the greatest reach the Steelers ever made in the first round, the team drafted the 6-foot-6 offensive tackle as a project. Stephens, though, didn’t last long due to a poor work ethic and a lack of development. He was quickly released by the Steelers in 1999 after coming into training camp out of shape. He landed with the Bengals soon after, and was released in 2002.

Huey Richardson

1. (tie) Huey Richardson (1991, No. 15, Florida) and Darryl Sims (1985, No. 20, Wisconsin) Richardson should be considered the Steelers’ biggest bust ever, but Sims is a close second. Richardson was an All-American defensive end for the Gators, and the Steelers tried to turn him into a linebacker. The plan didn’t work, and Richardson was out the door. He was dealt to the Redskins the following year for a late draft pick. He tried to catch on with the Redskins, Jets and Dolphins, but was out of the league by 1993. Sims was picked by the Steelers as a defensive tackle, and lasted a little bit longer than Richardson. He played two seasons for the Steelers, but never made an impact. He moved on to the Browns, and was out of the league two years later.

Steelers Jeremy Staat

Dishonorable mention (in no particular order): Walter Abercrombie (1982, No. 12, Baylor), Mark Malone (1982, No. 28, Arizona State), Kendall Simmons (2002, No. 30, Auburn), Tom Ricketts (1989, No. 24, Pitt), Aaron Jones (1988, No. 18, Eastern Kentucky), Jeremy Staat (1998, No. 41, Arizona State), John Reinstra (1986, No. 9, Temple), Kraig Urbik, Gabe Rivera (1983, No. 21, Texas Tech).

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May 1, 2014
by Mike Palm


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20 from 20 years ago: Alternative rock albums

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1994 proved to be a golden year for “alternative” music to hit the mainstream. It wasn’t easy to narrow the list down with plenty of albums that have stood the test of time.

We’ll just go in chronological order below:

Alice In Chains — “Jar of Flies” EP — Jan. 25, 1994

Other highlights: “Nutshell”“I Stay Away”

Green Day — “Dookie” — Feb. 1, 1994

Other highlights: “Longview”“Welcome to Paradise”“She”

Nine Inch Nails — “The Downward Spiral” — April 8, 1994

Other highlights: “March of the Pigs” — “Closer”

Soundgarden — “Superunknown” — April 8, 1994

Other highlights: “The Day I Tried To Live”“Black Hole Sun”“My Wave”

Various artists — “The Crow” soundtrack — March 29, 2014

Other highlights: Rage Against The Machine’s “Darkness (Of Greed)” — Violent Femmes’ “Color Me Once”

The Offspring — “Smash” — April 8, 1994

Other highlights: “Gotta Get Away”“Come Out and Play”

Hole — “Live Through This” — April 12, 1994

Other highlights: “Doll Parts”“Miss World”

Live — “Throwing Copper” — April 26, 1994

Other highlights: “White, Discussion” —  “Stage”“Lightning Crashes”

Sunny Day Real Estate — “Diary” — May 10, 1994

Other highlights: “In Circles”“Song About an Angel”

Weezer — “Weezer (The Blue Album)” — May 10, 1994

Other highlights: “Say It Ain’t So”“Undone — The Sweater Song”“In The Garage”

Beastie Boys — “Ill Communication” — May 24, 2014

Other highlights: “Sure Shot”“Root Down”

Stone Temple Pilots — “Purple” — June 7, 1994

Other highlights: “Unglued”“Interstate Love Song”“Big Empty”

Helmet — “Betty” — June 21, 1994

Other highlights: “Wilma’s Rainbow”“Speechless”“Rollo”

Kyuss — “Welcome to Sky Valley” — June 28, 1994

Other highlights: “Gardenia”“Conan Troutman”

Toadies — “Rubberneck” — Aug. 23, 1994

Other highlights: “Mister Love”“Velvet”“Backslider”

R.E.M. — “Monster” — Sept. 27, 1994

Other highlights: “Bang and Blame”“Crush With Eyeliner”

Smashing Pumpkins — “Pisces Iscariot” — Oct. 4, 1994

Other highlights: “Plume”“Hello Kitty Kat”

Nirvana — “MTV Unplugged in New York” — Nov. 1, 1994

Other highlights: “Polly” — “About A Girl” — “All Apologies”

Pearl Jam — “Vitalogy” — Dec. 4, 1994

Other highlights: “Not For You”“Immortality” —  “Better Man”

Bush — “Sixteen Stone” — Dec. 6, 1994

Other  highlights: “Everything Zen”“Little Things”

 

Missed the cut:

  • Ramones “Acid Eaters”
  • Meat Puppets “Too High To Die”
  • Beck “Mellow Gold”
  • Blur “Parklife”
  • Sonic Youth “Experimental Jet Set, Trash & No Star”
  • Rancid “Let’s Go”
  • NOFX “Punk in Drublic”
  • Dinosaur Jr. “Without A Sound”
  • Oasis “Definitely Maybe”
  • Bad Religion “Stranger Than Fiction”
  • Veruca Salt “American Thighs”
  • The Cranberries “No Need to Argue”
  • Korn “Korn”
  • Sublime “Robbin’ the Hood”
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April 24, 2014
by Garrett Conti


9 comments so far - add yours!

The best actors from Western Pennsylvania

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Western Pennsylvania is known for its great collection of athletes, but there are also quite a few actors who have made it from our end of the state. With the area gaining a reputation as a hot spot for filmmaking, why not take a look at some of those who have made a successful career in Hollywood. So, here’s a look at some of the best. And, if we forgot anybody, please let us know.

 

 

10. Charles Grodin — Before taking off for the University of Miami and movie fame in Hollywood, Grodin was born and raised in Pittsburgh. Mostly known as a comedic actor, Grodin is best remembered for lead roles in “Midnight Run” and “Beethoven.” He has a Golden Globe nomination and an Emmy win to his credit. Grodin has somewhat stepped away from the silver screen, moving into political commentating and wrtiting.

 

 

9. Bill Nunn — The son of William G. Nunn Jr., the legendary editor of the Pittsburgh Courier and NFL scout, Nunn is a solid character actor who’s played a ton of roles on TV and in the movies. Perhaps, his best roles were Radio Raheem in Spike Lee’s groundbreaking “Do the Right Thing” and Joseph “Robbie” Robertson in the “Spider-Man” trilogy. Other movies you’ve seen him in include “He Got Game,” “Regarding Henry,” “Sister Act,” “New Jack City” and “Runaway Jury.”

 

 

8. Sharon Stone — The Meadville native will always be linked to her role as a beautiful serial killer in “Basic Instinct,” but really, she’s got much more going than that. Her best role came in Martin Scorsese’s “Casino,” a performance that landed her an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe victory. As she’s gotten older, Stone has transformed herself into quite a character actor, boosting films like “Alpha Dog,” “Bobby,” “Lovelace” and “Broken Flowers.”

 

 

7. Jeff Goldblum — Born and raised in West Homestead, Goldblum moved to NYC at the age of 17 to become an actor. It was a good move, as Goldblum has been a major player in some of the biggest movies ever made. He’s played key roles in “The Fly,” “Jurassic Park,” “Independence Day” and “Silverado.” Goldblum has also done extensive work on Broadway and on the small screen, landing roles on “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “The Simpsons” and “Will & Grace.”

 

 

6. Michael Keaton — Born in Coraopolis and raised in Robinson Township, Keaton started out as a stand-up comedian before working at WQED. That’s where he found an interest in acting. After moving to L.A., Keaton found success in movies like “Gung Ho,” “Night Shift” and “Mr. Mom.” A few years later, he would become a household name when director Tim Burton tabbed Keaton to play Batman. Keaton has also played big roles in moves like “Beetlejuice,” “The Paper,” “Jackie Brown” and a critically acclaimed turn in “Clean and Sober.”

 

 

 5. Scott Glenn — “Silverado,” “The Right Stuff,” “The Hunt for Red October,” “Urban Cowboy,” “Training Day” and “The Silence of the Lambs.” Those are just some of the pictures that Scott Glenn, a Pittsburgh native, has starred in. Glenn developed a rep as being a tough guy in the movies, but moved toward more challenging roles as his career moved forward. He continues to work, and his filmography reads like an actor who’s had an accomplished career.

 

 

4. Charles Bronson — Talk about tough! Bronson, who grew up around Johnstown and once worked as a miner, was a legendary performer on the big screen. Movies like “The Great Escape,” “Once Upon a Time in the West,” “The Magnificent Seven,” “The Battle of the Bulge,” “The Dirty Dozen” and, of course, the “Death Wish” series made him a favorite to an entire generation of movie fans. Besides his move career, Bronson also appeared in a number of popular TV shows, including “The Twilight Zone” and “Gunsmoke.”

 

 

3. Frances McDormand — One of the best character actors of all time, McDormand wasn’t born in Western Pennsylvania, but she grew up in Monessen. Her career took off with her role in “Blood Simple,” the first film of the Coen brothers. From there, she’s graced the screen in titles like “Mississippi Burning,” “Almost Famous,” “Wonder Boys,” “Raising Arizona” and “Fargo,” for which she won an Oscar. She’s been nominated for four Academy Awards. McDormand also has a Tony for her work on Broadway and four Golden Globe nominations.

 

 

2. Gene Kelly — Born in Highland Park, Kelly is always going to be recognized as a Pittsburgher. One might say he’s Pittsburgh’s favorite son. The actor, who specialized in dancing and singing, made his mark in popular films such as “An American in Paris,” “Anchors Aweigh” and “Singin’ in the Rain.” Not only was Kelly a great performer, but he also had a big hand in revolutionizing the musical, and he’s credited for many changes that were made in the genre. In 1952, Kelly received an honorary Oscar for his versatility as a performer.

 

 

1. Jimmy Stewart — Born and raised in Indiana, Stewart will always be a key part of the conversation as the best actor that ever lived. Consider some of the movies he’s starred in — “Rear Window,” “Vertigo,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” “The Philadelphia Story,” “Anatomy of a Murder,” etc. — and it’s a safe bet that he’s one of the best. As far as honors go, Stewart was nominated for five Academy Awards, and he took home one. He also has a Lifetime Achievement award from the Academy.

 

Honorable Mention — Zachary Quinto (“Star Trek” franchise, “Margin Call”), Joe Manganiello (“Magic Mike,” “True Blood”), Julie Benz (“Dexter,” “Rambo”) and Adolphe Menjou (“Paths of Glory,” “The Front Page”).

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April 16, 2014
by Mike Palm


No comments yet - you should start the discussion!

10 top postseason scorers in Penguins history

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With the playoffs set to start tonight, Sidney Crosby could be climbing the ranks on the Penguins’ all-time list of postseason scoring. Here are the top 10 in team history:

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1. Mario Lemieux — 107 games, 76 goals, 96 assists, 172 points

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2. Jaromir Jagr — 140 games, 65 goals, 82 assists, 147 points

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3. Kevin Stevens — 103 games, 46 goals, 60 assists, 106 points

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4. Sidney Crosby — 82 games, 40 goals, 65 assists, 105 points

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5. Ron Francis — 97 games, 32 goals, 68 assists, 100 points

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6. Evgeni Malkin — 83 games, 36 goals, 61 assists, 97 points

Larry Murphy

7. Larry Murphy — 75 games, 15 goals, 57 assists, 72 points

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8. Kris Letang — 80 games, 13 goals, 34 assists, 47 points

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9. Martin Straka — 65 games, 19 goals, 27 assists, 46 points

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10. Sergei Gonchar — 60 games, 7 goals, 34 assists, 44 points

Here’s where the rest of the current Penguins stand on the all-time team list:

11. Chris Kunitz — 64 games, 13 goals, 29 assists, 42 points

15T. Pascal Dupuis — 77 games, 14 goals, 19 assists, 33 points

31T. James Neal — 25 games, 9 goals, 9 assists, 18 points

38T. Paul Martin — 25 games, 3 goals, 11 assists, 14 points

44T. Brooks Orpik — 87 games, 1 goal, 12 assists, 13 points

57T. Craig Adams — 64 games, 6 goals, 4 assists, 10 points

72T. Rob Scuderi — 49 games, 1 goal, 7 assists, 8 points

96T. Matt Niskanen — 26 games, 1 goal, 5 assists, 6 points

131T. Brandon Sutter — 15 games, 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points

131T. Jussi Jokinen — 8 games, 0 goals, 3 assists, 3 points

155T. Marc-Andre Fleury — 80 games, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points

177T. Tanner Glass — 5 games, 1 goal, 0 assists, 1 point

177T. Beau Bennett — 6 games, 1 goal, 0 assists, 1 point

177T. Chris Conner — 8 games, 1 goal, 0 assists, 1 point

177T. Joe Vitale — 10 games, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point

177T. Deryk Engelland — 13 games, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point

Making their playoff debuts for the Penguins: Olli Maatta, Lee Stempniak, Brian Gibbons

{All photos by Tribune-Review photographer Chaz Palla except Ron Francis (Christopher Horner/Tribune-Review) and Larry Murphy (Getty)}

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