Penguins destined to make a risky move this summer? That & more in Tonight’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Look for lots of talk over the next 5-6 weeks of this being the summer of Evgeni Malkin — What that means in the team wanting to take care of Malkin. A source said that’s priority number 1 for Jim Rutherford. The Penguins want to get Malkin a winger who they feel he’ll be comfortable with on the ice and off the ice.  They missed that opportunity last summer in not having the stomach to go into the four year, $4 million range for Nikolai Kulemin who ended the season in New York playing with John Tavares on the top line and is in his 20’s, with size and speed. That’s a player you gamble on giving a four year contract. 2. Many coaches, GM’s, executives are gathered at the World Championships and one rumor making the rounds out there in NHL circlesRead More »

On Pirates hitting woes, Jeff Branson, A.J. Burnett & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. In 2014 the Pirates ranked second in the National League with a .333 on-base percentage, first in walks (520) and fourth with 682 runs scored. The Pirates also ranked fourth among N.L. teams with 461 extra-base hits. 2. Entering tonight’s game vs Cincinnati, the Pirates are bottom-5 in the Majors in runs, 26th in the Majors in Batting average (.226), 27th in walks (58), 29th in on-base percentage (.280) and 29th in Slugging percentage (.344). Starling Marte is the Pirates only starter (regular) who is hitting above .220 during the Pirates last eight games (1-7 record). This is nearly the same team as last season minus Russell Martin and Travis Snider. 3. The key area of struggles for the Pirates is they don’t walk. Wednesday’s 3-0 loss to the Reds marked the 10th time this season the Pirates failed to walk in aRead More »

McCutchen’s soft contact at 37%, Tom Brady/Steelers Week 1, Patrick Kane, Guy Boucher/Pens & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings Opinions* 1. Anyone who watches Andrew McCutchen knows he’s playing hurt. When he’s batting it’s all hands as he’s getting no power from his legs. McCutchen has a batting line of .185/.280/.293 in 107 plate appearances and it’s reaching the point where maybe a 15-day DL stint would be beneficial but the player and the team deny the knee is bothering him that much. After an 0-4 night vs the Reds on Tuesday, there’s no excuse making coming from McCutchen. “I take full responsibility for how we’re playing, and I know I’m a big part of it,” McCutchen said Tuesday night. “I’m not doing what I should be doing for the money that I’m making. I’m sick and tired of going 0-for-freaking-4,” McCutchen said. “It ain’t fun taking right turns when you’re used to taking left ones. I’m not saying my legs are hindering meRead More »

On Ray Shero, Justin Williams chatter, Francisco Cervelli, Travis Snider & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. It’s fitting that Ray Shero takes over one of the NHL oldest rosters in the New Jersey Devils after making the Penguins one of the oldest rosters during the end of his tenure. After a year out of the game, the former Penguins General Manager goes into one of the worst situations in hockey. The Devils are an aging team at forward with a bad roster upfront and a poor farm system. When Shero was hired by the Penguins in 2006 he came in with a small-market mindset after long stints with Ottawa and Nashville. Shero had a five year plan, wanted to build through the draft and had a philosophy of not committing a contract more than two years to non-core players who were in their 30’s. After three to four years at the helm, we obviously saw that philosophy thrown outRead More »

Lots of Malkin trade scenario’s being speculated, Ovechkin the games most dominant player again, Josh Harrison Panic Meter & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Not that other rival GM’s are buying it at this point (that the Penguins won’t entertain Evgeni Malkin trade ideas), and the Penguins should be in listening mode at least, but some executives around the league believe David Morehouse took the right steps less than a day after the Penguins were eliminated in saying Evgeni Malkin won’t be traded. “The right thing was to quiet the speculation [for now],” one NHL exec told Inside Pittsburgh Sports. This executive mentioned even if the Penguins end up entertaining trade offers, publicly the best stance will be to deny them even up to the day were they to trade Malkin. “The worst thing Pittsburgh can do is have a San Jose situation on their hands.” I’d argue, maybe it’s time to take the kid gloves off with the core players and start striking some fear intoRead More »

DRAFT FOCUSED: Joey Porter’s impact on Bud Dupree, Arians helps Ravens, Golson best ball-hawking skills since Polamalu was drafted in 03 & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE WEEKEND EDITION (DRAFT FOCUSED) *Rumblings, Musings Opinions* 1. Bud Dupree was looked at by some as a top-10 talent, Steelers among them, and others as a late first round  prospect and went right where he should have. This was just one of those drafts that lacked elite talent where there were a lot of different opinions after the top three to five players in the draft. This marks the third straight draft the Steelers took a linebacker in round 1 and the fourth straight draft they landed a player that was rated in the top-10 on their draft board. David DeCastro, Jarvis Jones, Ryan Shazier the others. Not everyone loves him though. Pro Football Focus had him rated as the 17th ranked edge rusher and 23rd when it come to how Dupree performed against Power-5 [conference] teams. Some feel the production never met the ability. Maybe itRead More »

Steelers draft buzz on Weighing Risks, Trade down opportunities, NHL picks, Mike Babcock chatter, Gerrit Cole & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. The Steelers are likely to be pressed with a situation tonight where a top-10 talent like Randy Gregory, Marcus Peters or Shane Ray is available at No. 22. When you have a franchise quarterback closer to 35 then 30 that you committed another $100 million contract to, one of the NFL’s premier wide receivers and a great running back, you’re a win-now team. That’s one argument being made for the Steelers to make a bold move and go for a risk in taking a talent like Gregory, Peters, or Ray if they fall into the 20’s. There’s a very good chance that Peters will be there.  Maybe Gregory. Both are on the Steelers board. The Steelers in 2006 drafted a problem child in Santonio Holmes. He ended up being a huge problem off the field which fit his draft profile and was hatedRead More »

Rutherford’s Mentoring Role, Forward Spots Open, Pens miss out on KHL star & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Jim Rutherford’s power in the organization has strengthened less than one year on the job. When Rutherford was hired last June, he was portrayed by the organization to the public as being an experienced presence who would help transition Jason Botterill, Bill Guerin or Tom Fitzgerald to the General Manager role within two to three years. No such transition plan is in place now 10 months later. “I feel that we have two or three guys here who are very close to becoming general managers,” Rutherford said last June. “What I will do is give them big roles, a lot of say and a lot of input in my final decisions. “But at the same time, I know I’m mentoring them. I would suspect — I mean, nobody knows what’s going to happen — but I would suspect that this term for meRead More »

One scouts view why Crosby’s more likely to sustain higher level of play into his 30’s over Malkin & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. There’s been a thought, and I’ve kind of been in this crowd, that Evgeni Malkin projects to be the better player over Sidney Crosby into his 30’s because of his size. I’m becoming more on the fence about that by the day. With Pavel Datsyuk still a dominant two-way player at age 36, I broached this subject with some around the league as Malkin is a hot topic just about everywhere right now and one scout believes Malkin’s struggles to stay healthy over an 82 game season the last several seasons is just the beginning and a big red flag for him. Malkin missed 17 games in 2013 (48 game season), 22 games last season and 13 games this season. “He can’t stay healthy,” a long-time NHL scout said. “Why is that, you ask? “Every year it seems to be something and you’reRead More »

Financially driven decisions from Pens ownership, Johnston’s defensive mindset, Winnik, McLellan/Crosby, & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. David Morehouse’s power in the organization can be seen with the decision for now not to even evaluate the General Manager and head coach positions. Morehouse a strong supporter of keeping Jim Rutherford, has won out and some left overs from the Shero regime could be hitting the bricks very soon. Word is Morehouse has been given a mandate not to add cost and cost cutting (front office– more on this later) is expected throughout the organization other than player payroll, Inside Pittsburgh Sports has learned. The directive from ownership has also been that under no circumstances will management be given the authority to consider a trade for Evgeni Malkin. All of the decisions being made right now are financially driven with a primary eye on the ‘value’ of the franchise. Questions are only going to continue to mount whether Ron Burkle remainsRead More »