Archive for March, 2010

Here’s An Arrogant Dave Wannstedt Quote

March 30, 2010

Remember two years ago when Dave Wannstedt was in danger of getting fired by Pitt and kept pleading to the media that he was positive he had the program going in the right direction, and came off as more than a little desperate?

Consider that buried in the past — this quote, following Wannstedt’s two-year contract extension earlier today, seems just a tad on the arrogant side:

“With the last couple of years we’ve had, in most cases coaches would be out there shopping their name around and exploring other jobs,” Wannstedt said. “People here know that’s not what I’m about. They know this is my last job. I’m totally committed to this city and this university.”

Wannstedt added, “I’m glad you didn’t even think of calling me for your head coaching vacancies, USC and Notre Dame, because I would’ve had to be like ‘you can GO TO HELL cause I’M STAYING PUT!!!’ and everyone at Pitt would’ve cheered and demanded I crowd surf through them so they could touch the martyr that I am with their own human fingers. Although seriously you guys, I could totally leave for a better job if I wanted to.”

“Also, Jessica Biel – I am not going to fuck you. I am committed to my WIFE. So don’t even begin to ask, because it’s not gonna happen, even though I know you want this.”

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Penguins Reward Letang’s Drop In Play With 4-Year, $14 Mil Extension

March 30, 2010

The Penguins today announced a 4-year extension for RFA-to-be Kris Letang worth $3.5 million per season.

In a semi-related story, this song was blasting on the loudspeaker at Southpointe while Sergei Gonchar was taking his rehab skate:

$3.5 mil isn’t cheap for a guy who’s noticeably played worse this season than last, a drop-off not quite as dramatic as Ryan Whitney’s a year ago but still concerning, and even though Letang is a right-handed offensive defenseman and still 22, he’s only scored 3 goals in 67 games this year despite ample power play time. He also would’ve been a restricted free agent at the end of this season, so teams wouldn’t have been able to sign him without giving up draft picks to the Pens, and I can’t imagine someone would’ve been falling over themselves to throw away first round picks to outbid the Pens for a 5’11” defenseman after a down year. Well, besides Kevin Lowe.

Still, the Letang contract was necessary, if perhaps a tad expensive. (Continued After The Jump):

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Penguins 5, Maple Leafs 4 (OT-SO): You Know Who’s Not Good? Luke Schenn

March 30, 2010

Didn’t have time to write a proper recap for this game, but just wanted to raise one quick point before this game disappears into the ether:

Luke Schenn is not a good NHL defenseman.

I don’t scout the Leafs or anything (nor do I scout anyone, but I registered a free WordPress blog so listen to my thoughts dammit!!!), but every time I watch Toronto play, against the Penguins or someone else, Luke Schenn is constantly exposed on defense in repeatedly noticeable ways, and offers little in the way of offensive contributions. And yet, every broadcaster for every team, especially the Hockey Night In Canada dudes, will point out what a good young up-and-coming defenseman Schenn is, essentially just repeating the mantra because he is a young defenseman and is in the NHL and on a high-profile team and has a cool name that’s easy to say.

Last night, Schenn was painfully out of position on both Sidney Crosby goals, covering an invisible phantom player on the opposite post instead of the leading freaking goal scorer in the NHL wide open in the slot twice. That’s not the stuff of up-and-coming young defenseman and growing pains, it’s just unambiguously terrible. Granted, maybe I just happen to keep catching Schenn on isolated bad games, but still, the discrepancy between the constant praise of Schenn and his actual on-ice play is consistently jarring.

Every team in the NHL has a Luke Schenn, often multiple Luke Schenns or better Luke Schenns — would you trade Alex Goligoski for Schenn straight-up? Maybe? It’s not a no-brainer, though, cause they’re comparable players, which is my point. But any discussion of the best young defensemen in the NHL begins with Drew Doughty of L.A., along with Shea Weber, Brent Seabrook, Mike Green, and Tyler Myers, and yet, Schenn seems to get mentioned with the regularity of the aforementioned players, despite not only not being in their class, but also by barely playing as an impactful NHL defenseman.

Schenn is 20 and some of those guys are 22-24, which is an important distinction, and Schenn does have an impressive +4 rating on Toronto somehow (though just 6 goals the past two seasons, tying him with Mark “Sniper” Eaton in that span), but his profile continues to be disproportionately bolstered by the visibility of playing for Toronto, much as the profiles of average MLB players like Melky Cabrera or A- prospects like Austin Jackson become extra well-known because they’re constantly mentioned in Yankee trade rumors, even though every team in baseball has those guys.

Perhaps Schenn will develop into a force, but that’s not my point; he’s still a liability on defense at this current point in time and hasn’t shown much offensive skill, which is totally acceptable for a 20-year-old, but can we please stop saying what a great young defenseman he is as he’s costing his team a game with multiple high-school-caliber mental lapses? He’s like the Emperor’s New Defenseman, where no one in the kingdom has the guts to shout out the obvious about how not-great he is. Consider me that a-hole kid.

Capitals 4, Penguins 3 (OT-SO): “Third Period” Sounds So Much Like “Turd Period”

March 25, 2010

Man, that Jose Theodore is some regular season goalie, isn’t he? He turned in another stellar regular season performance last night to earn the Capitals another crucial 2 regular season points. A lot of people had questions about whether or not Theodore would ever be a truly elite goaltender in the regular season (when it matters), and he is proving those doubters wrong with his clutch regular season play. No doubt about it: The Caps are definitely set in goal for a very long regular season run.

Yeah, sure, I’m a little bitter. Sure, I had my first “remote throw across the room” in front of our new third roommate (welcome to the club, buddy! I take things too seriously!), but honestly, I’m so frickin’ numb to seeing the Capitals score against the Pens at this point that any time they let a shot go, it either goes in and I make a “Whatever” W with my hands, or it somehow doesn’t go in and I party for three hours (I do this on every shot).

Could there have been ANYTHING more certain than the Pens blowing that 2-1 lead in the third? I considered renting a supersonic Lear Jet from a Lear Jet rental agency (those exist right?) and hurrying to Vegas faster than the speed of sound during the second intermission in the hopes that I might possibly get to a casino in time to put my life savings on the Pens blowing that third period lead. Damn — if I’d managed to get that $460 on the Pens blowing that lead, with the 1-to-80,000,000,000 odds of it happening, I would have like, $460 and a fraction of a cent right now! Eh, hindsight’s always twenty-twenty.

Complaining along…

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Just Bought The Crap Out Of This T-Shirt

March 23, 2010

Ooh, Ooh, Lemmie Guess: It’s NOT Cocaine, Right?

March 23, 2010

They Even Love Pittsburgh Over In Israel

March 23, 2010

Sorry for spotty posting the past two weeks (i.e., zero posts), I wasn’t just numbed into silence by the Roethlisberger situation, but rather, I was traveling across worlds to the nation of Israel.

To prove it, check out these Hebrew Pittsburgh shirts (note the lack of a Pirates one):

Before we get all big-headed about how awesomely international our teams are, I will point out that just to the left of these shirts was a Hebrew Toronto Raptors shirt, so I think they’re more or less just random. Or maybe they’re just a really unique cross-section of fans that love Pittsburgh sports but fill the basketball void with a random affinity for Chris Bosh. Yeah, it’s probably that.

NHL Trade Deadline Review: Golden Gods And Worthless Pieces Of Crap

March 4, 2010

Thursday after the NHL Trade Deadline: The day every hockey site on the internet issues their Deadline “Winners and Losers” or “Deadline Report Cards,” always qualifying the lists with the standard admission “We won’t really know who the real winners are for months or years to come…” but proceeding with the gimmicky analysis nonetheless.

It’s true that some of the trades can’t be definitively analyzed the day after they occur, and the majority of the trades are too inconsequential to even merit either team being dubbed a “winner” or “loser”, but who wants to read a level-headed, non-kneejerk, middle-of-the-road writeup about a bunch of third-line wingers getting traded for draft picks? The answer is that no one [effing] does.

That’s why, instead of backing down from a Deadline Winners/Losers column, I’m taking an even more extreme step and naming my Trade Deadline GOLDEN GODS and WORTHLESS PIECES OF CRAP, i.e., teams that will definitely win the Cup because of their deadline pickups versus teams that will plunge into a ten-year pall of defeat because of their actions at the deadline. NO IN-BETWEENS. Let’s get started.


GOLDEN GODS:

Phoenix – Added F Wojtek Wolski, F Lee Stempniak, D Mathieu Schneider, D Derek Morris, F Alexandre Picard, G Miika Wiikman, F Petteri Nokelainen

So many dudes!!! Wojtek Wolski is a top-tier talent with 30-goal potential who needs a change of scenery, and Derek Morris and Mathieu Schneider are required to get dealt at every trade deadline, so they should bring some solid having-been-traded experience to the Coyotes’ blue line! Phoenix is our first GOLDEN GOD and is now the favorite for the Stanley Cup.

Pittsburgh – Added F Alexei Ponikarovsky, D Jordan Leopold

Awwwww yeahhhhh Alexei Ponikarovsky’s name has been said a lot the last few weeks and now the Pens got him and also they got Jordan Leopold so OUTTA THE WAY conference this team is a DEADLINE GOLDEN GOD and are now the favorite for the Stanley Cup!!!

Anaheim – Added D Lubomir Visnovsky, D Aaron Ward, G Joey MacDonald, G Curtis McElhinney

Lubomir Visnovsky is a legit veteran power play specialist who can take the reigns from Scott Niedermayer when he retires, and Aaron Ward is veteran veteran veteran Cup! Two more goalies and moving Vesa Toskala’s contract? The stuff of GOLDEN GODS. Anaheim has just won the Stanley Cup.


WORTHLESS PIECES OF CRAP:

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ESPN Takes Another High-Larious Swipe At Hockey

March 4, 2010

“Dammit, fellow ESPN execs — that Olympic Gold Medal game gave the NHL waaayyy too much positive exposure. If we don’t squelch this momentum now, people might actually falsely believe that this niche Canadian cult thing is as important as regular season college basketball games or NFL Draft coverage nine weeks before the event occurs. Any suggestions? Yes, Jenkins?”

“How about we make another poll on ESPN.com ripping on hockey for no reason, even though we’d never do a poll questioning the importance or watchability of a sport that our network owns the broadcasting rights to?”

“Brilliant. Make it happen. Remember to put it on the ESPN.com NHL page, too, so it specifically insults people who’ve gone the extra step to find our hockey coverage. And make the jab at hockey really really lame, too, so the unfunnyness matches the lack of necessity…”

“That should take care of that. Next item on the agenda: Combining NFL Draft coverage and after-the-fact NBA Trade Deadline Talk into some sort of all-in-one, Devastator-like ESPN Behemoth. Ideas, anyone? Something involving radiation?”

Penguins Complete Deadline Dealing By Acquiring 6th Round Pick For Playoff Run

March 3, 2010

Going into the trade deadline, I predicted the Pens would acquire a veteran defenseman, a winger, and a random Craig Adams-type depth pickup, so I thought one more Pens deal was on its way after the Ponikarovky acquision, and boy was I right:

The Maple Leafs and Penguins have completed their second trade in as many days as Toronto has sent a sixth round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry draft for defenceman Chris Peluso.

The 23-year old Peluso is playing at Bemidji State and was originally selected in the seventh round, 194th overall in the 2004 NHL Entry draft.

Dayyyuumnnnn!!! That Ray Shero, man, he’s becoming notorious for these deadline-day blockbusters.

To make room for the 6th round pick on the roster in the playoffs, the Pens are double-benching Jay McKee.