On Pirates-Astros, Garrett Jones a core hitter, Lockout & waiver talk for players sent to AHL during possible lockout


MONDAY’S DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Opinions & Musings of some of today’s hottest topics* 1. SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE: The Pirates have lost 9 of 12 games and since August 9th, are 7-16 and there’s only one National League team with a worst record during that span……. the Houston Astros who are 5-17 during that span. Something has to give here in a critical three game series for the Pirates who have to take advantage of beating inferior teams with a six game homestand against the Astros and Chicago Cubs. What at the end of the day could become the Pirates achilles heel on missing the post-season for the 20th straight season is their  struggles to beat teams with losing records down the stretch. They have to change that trend this week as Jeff Locke teams the mound this afternoon. Locke went 10-5 with a 2.48 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 24Read More »

On Pitt’s debacle, Penn State, WVU, Pirates struggles vs below .500 teams & Doan


SUNDAY’S DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Opinions & Musings on five of today’s hottest topics* 1. PITT’S DEBACLE VS YOUNGSTOWN STATE:  The Paul Chryst era started bad when Chryst suspended six players including starting DT Tyrone Ezell and freshman running back Rushel Shell prior to the game and then things got worse after kickoff as Pitt’s 31-17 loss to Youngstown State was pathetic and their first ever loss to an FCS team. Pitt’s defense was atrocious as the Penguins converted six of its first seven third down attempts in the game and finished 11 of 16 on third downs. A division 1-AA team shouldn’t be able to come on road and move the ball at will for much of the game. What is mind boggling is that in a new head coaches debut, Youngstown State just wanted it more. “They wanted it more than us, “ safety Andrew Taglianetti said. However, whatRead More »

Saturday’s “Daily Five” on Pirates woes vs “Aces”, Malkin at WC & Steelers O-line talk


SATURDAY’S DAILY FIVE 1. VERLANDER’S ONE HIT SHUTOUT: Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander taking a no hitter into the ninth against the Pirates last night was not a surprise to anyone who follows the Pirates. In the Tigers 6-0 shutout win, Verlander was just two outs from his third career no hitter until Josh Harrison with two strikes on him, bounced an outside breaking ball up the middle for the Pirates first hit of the game. Verlander stifiled the Pirates in his one hit shutout performance, striking out 12 and walking just two batters. Verlander retired 18 straight batters at one point and hit 100 mph on his 93rd pitch of the game. Overall, Verlander threw 76 strikes on 109 pitches. Some of the games best pitchers overmatching Pirate batters has been a common theme this season and likely will continue: April 5, 2012 – PHI Roy Halladay threw 8Read More »

Thursday’s “Daily Five”: On Tortorella’s woes behind the bench in Game 2, Presley, LaRoche, McGehee, & Tomlin


THURSDAY’S DAILY FIVE 1. TORTORELLA FAILED MISERABLY IN GAME 2: The New Jersey Devils evened up the Eastern Conference Finals with a 3-2 victory at MSG on Wednesday night. The Devils controlled the play and the better team took Game 2 as the Devils rallied from a 2-1 deficit scoring late in the second period and early in the third. This game kind of resembled Game 2 of the Devils – Flyers series where the Devils won Game 2 and took over the series from there. We’ll see where things go as New Jersey has momentum with the series shifting to Newark. My top storyline out of last night’s game was John Tortorella for all the wrong reasons. Tortorella failed miserably behind the bench and it became evident that David Clarkson was in Tortorella’s head as he started matching up Mike Rupp against Clarkson in the second period and ClarksonRead More »

MORNING BUZZ: Today’s Daily Five on Shero, Salary Cap, Marrero, Correia & McCutchen


MORNING BUZZ: THE DAILY FIVE 1. While GM Ray Shero and the Penguins brass are still at least three weeks away from laying out an off-season plan, one thing that remains consistent coming out of the organization is that Shero’s highly unlikely to consider trading Jordan Staal at the draft or before July 1, as Staal, Penguins can’t begin negotiations until the first of July. One team source told me a few weeks back that he can’t imagine any scenario that Shero pulls the trigger on dealing Staal without speaking with his camp . Meanwhile, Shero had his first public comments in a few weeks telling Dave Molinari of the Post-Gazette that he hopes to keep the three centers together: “I’d like to do that, if possible,” he said. “We’re looking at hopefully getting extensions with [Crosby and Staal], ” Shero told Molinari. 2. TEMPORARY CAP:While a temporary salary capRead More »

TIOPS Daily Five: On Shero’s struggles to draft well in middle rounds & buzz on Steelers & Pirates


TIOPS DAILY FIVE 1. 2006-2008 DRAFT CLASSES: One former long-time GM once told me any kind of an evaluation of an NHL draft class shouldn’t be made until five years after the particular draft, but good scouting departments find those players in the middle rounds who develop into NHL regulars by three to four years, five at the max. Under GM Ray Shero Pittsburgh has failed to do that and Rob Rossi had a good feature in Today’s Tribune-Review discussing the little return Shero has from the 2006-2008 NHL drafts as Jordan Staal is the only player of the 16 drafted by the Penguins to establish himself as an NHL regular. The lack of NHL regulars out of the 2006-2008 drafts has Rossi making the argument that Pittsburgh has little choice but to stick with the three center model as Shero has struggled mightily to develop forwards. Here’s my Look at the 2006-2008Read More »

Thursday’s Daily Five: On Wallace situation/tampering widespread at combine; Worst matchups for Pens & more


THURSDAY’S DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, musings & opinions* 1. Tampering Widespread: If a team is prepared to go hard after Mike Wallace and surrender a first round pick, agent Bus Cook should have a pretty good idea by the end of the weekend of which teams, if any, are serious about pursuing Wallace. The NFL scouting combine is tampering central and it will be widespread this week like it always is. What Cook finds out this week might dictate negotiations with the Steelers. Wallace’s camp is believed to be seeking top-5 receiver money and are selling the 25 year old receiver as one of the most unique and dynamic receivers in the game who has yet to peak. “I definitely think I need the money, ” Wallace told NFL SirusXM radio, while also saying he feels he’s “done his part for the team” and deserves to be paid. Will a teamRead More »

THURSDAY’S DAILY FIVE; Is Art Rooney II pushing Bruce Arians out the door?


THURSDAY’S DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, musings and opinions* 1. ROONEY PUSHING ARIANS OUT?: There were strong indications days after the 2009 regular season that Art Rooney II was on the verge of firing offensive coordinator Bruce Arians before quarterback Ben Roethlisberger stepped in, playing a big part in keeping Arians in place as offensive coordinator. This time around, Roethlisberger’s input might not matter. Although Mike Tomlin wants Arians back, there is strong indications that Arians will not return in 2012, Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette reports. Based on the information I’ve gathered, it’s because of a push from ownership who have not always been strong supporters of Arians. Rooney is not pleased with the Steelers being ranked No. 21 in scoring and there’s a feeling from some members of the front office that a change is needed. We’ve been down this road before with Arians but if he is out, regardlessRead More »

SUNDAY’S DAILY FIVE: Who’s lying Shero or Kovacevic? Pats expose Tebow like Steelers couldn’t; Boost coming for Pens


SUNDAY’S DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, musings & opinions* 1. WHO’S LYING KOVACEVIC OR SHERO? While there’s been some rumblings for a few weeks now that a player or two in the Penguins locker room believes Sidney Crosby is cleared to play and should be playing, you haven’t heard of any dissension inside the Penguins locker room about Sidney Crosby’s captaincy. That changed when columnist Dejan Kovacevic of the Tribune-Review made a bold claim in a Friday Column, saying that “three sources” told him the team had a 45 minute meeting to discuss temporary captaincy with Crosby out. Kovacevic then wrote, “another source disputed that any such meeting occurred”. Here’s what was wrote: “The Penguins, the public and, yes, Crosby all need to learn how to handle this situation better in the future, ” Kovacevic wrote. “That begins with the locker room. A few, certainly not all, of Crosby’s teammates are of theRead More »

Daily Five Christmas Eve Version: On Ben Sitting; Malkin’s best set of wingers in career; Staal or Neal; Who would you keep?


Christmas Eve Daily Five Version 1. Sitting Ben Roethlisberger is the right move but this quote via Steelers.com from Mike Tomlin has some a little uneasy about the Steelers thinking St. Louis will be a pushover. “Obviously, he’s {Ben Roethlisberger} less than 100 percent, and it’s our desire at this juncture to get him as close to 100 percent as we can for January football. I felt like this week provided an opportunity to do that. The decision to play Roethlisberger vs San Francisco was clearly dictated by the 49ers being a more competitive team, despite what Tomlin claimed last week. 2. The Penguins coaching staff envisioned loading up a top line of Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby and James Neal this season. That plan has been altered and it’s been Evgeni Malkin who has filled that role just as good and maybe better than Sidney Crosby would have. ForRead More »