Daily 5: Pirates disaster of a series; Penguins top-6 winger search; Phil Kessel; Beau Bennett & more


 TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. The Pirates disaster of a series with the Washington Nationals was capped off with a 9-2 loss on Sunday where the Nationals put up nine runs in the first inning. Pittsburgh was outscored 19-3 in the series and the Pirates saw first hand they weren’t playing the White Sox or Phillies anymore. The Pirates after getting within four games of first place, have now fallen back to six games behind the Cardinals. Still so much baseball to be played but the National League playoff picture remains the same as a month ago. There are six true playoff contenders, Nationals, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants, Pirates and Cubs. Don’t expect any of that to change from now until September. Can’t buy into the Mets, Braves as legitimate contenders. With the way Pirate hitters can be so overmatched against an elite pitcher like they were against Max ScherzerRead More »

Daily 5: Neil Walker could solve one issue for Pirates; On talk of Russian winger for Malkin; Anisimov for Perron?


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. A major discussion in Pirate circles from now until the deadline is whether they go out and make that major move that can put them over the top. Neal Huntington’s philosophy is never going to change, don’t kill your system for one potential playoff run, basically don’t take the risk the Oakland A’s did last summer. Despite the Pirates play for David Price and Jon Lester last summer, they never put Austin Meadows, Josh Bell or Tlyer Glasnow in play and those three will be off-limits once again but should they or even a Gregory Polanaco be considered for the right deal? The Pirates have the system where they can realistically go out and get anybody they wanted that’s available and financially they could afford a $20 million a year player if they wanted. Giving up the farm for a rental like JohnnyRead More »

Daily 5: Forget the Brandon Saad talk, a gusty move by Penguins of presenting an offer sheet to J.T. Miller isn’t being ruled out internally & more


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Are the Pirates turning into something special? A ton of baseball to be played but in May no one could have predicted the Pirates having the third best record in the Majors and third best run differential in the Majors by June 17. The Pirates have been the best team in the National League over the last 37 games with a 25-12 record and this pitching staff 1-4 is downright scary good right now. Just amazing numbers of late, five shutouts over their six games, Pirates starters have an 0.21 ERA during that span and are 17-3 with a 1.92 ERA over the Pirates last 24 games. The Pirates are 19-5 during that stretch. This is a Pirates team where the No. 1 strength is pitching/bullpen. Liriano, Cole are good bets to sustain their level of pitching, especially Cole, but If this teamRead More »

Penguins determined Scuderi buyout didn’t make financial sense (towards cap) & more in Today’s TIOPS Daily 5


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Prior to last night, the last team to win the Stanley Cup three times in a six year span was the Detroit Red Wings, 1997, 1998, 1992. That 2001-2002 Red Wing team was a situation of being able to buy a dream team with the NHL having no salary cap in the Red Wings adding Luc Robitaille, Dominik Hasek, and Brett Hull in the summer of 2001. No one looked at the Red Wings as a dynasty then but in a cap era, what the Blackhawks are doing with three Cups in six years, it’s the best run by an NHL franchise since the Oilers in the late 80’s when you factor everything in. What makes the Blackhawks unique is they’re a step ahead of the rest. They believe in a vision, style of play and stick with it. After their mini tearRead More »

Penguins off-season blueprint coming into picture & more in today’s TIOPS Daily 5


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. The Penguins blueprint for the off-season has been laid out through organizational meetings. The team plans to be very aggressive to acquire a top-6 forward via trade at the draft and are looking to fill depth third and fourth line spots by resigning their own, group that includes Blake Comeau, Daniel Winnik, Andrew Ebbett, Bobby Farnham or fill a spot or two through free agency. At the forward position, if the Penguins dip into free agency it’s going to be for role players like last summer on 1-2 year deals. The Penguins are certainly confident of being able to move a salary or two where they can take on a salary for a winger in the $5-$6 million range if need be, a source says. 2. The Penguins are putting it out there that they plan to turn to a youth movement onRead More »

The Dupuis news is great him but is it great news for the Penguins? That & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Pascal Dupuis receiving clearance today to play next season is great news for him personally. Dupuis has been determined to not go out this way and he’s been passionate about playing again. Everyone knows the risks (if you have had pulmonary embolism once, you are more likely to have it again which is what happened with Dupuis) as does Dupuis and with four young kids it would certainly be easy to just go on long term injured reserve the next two seasons and collect the $7 million in salary he has left on his contract. However, it’s his life, who are we to judge whether he’s doing the right thing or not. This is what he wants to do. 2. While the news of Pascal playing again is great news for him but is it great news for Penguins? As great of aRead 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 »

Melancon’s future, Ike Taylor, Similar situatons for GM’s in Pittsburgh/Boston & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Neal Huntington and his scouts have a niche for finding high upside relievers who cost next to nothing. Arquimedes Caminero is the latest potential gem the Pirates have found. Caminero has flashed nasty stuff with a fastball that sits around 98-99 and a slider that hits 91 mph. Huntington is one of the best in the business in a building a Major League bullpen on a year to year basis and his belief of not paying high salaries to relievers has been a blueprint that’s worked for years now. Fans are likely looking at the last season Mark Melancon is around, who is already making $5.4 million and with his drop in velocity, the Pirates will move him before next season. Heck, some won’t be surprised if he struggles to hold on to the closers job. 2. Ike Taylor called it quits onRead More »

Kasperi Kapanen to the rescue? Coaches compensation, Ovechkin, World Series talk & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* View image | gettyimages.com 1. Kasperi Kapanen to the rescue? The Penguins are in the process of bringing their 2014 first round pick to North America and join the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins, which has been the plan all along once his season ended. A few logistics are being worked out between the Penguins and the agent. As expected, the agent is looking for a way to burn a season on Kapanen’s deal. For Kalpa, Kapanen went from 7 goals and 14 points in 2013-2014 up to 11 goals, 21 points this season for Kalpa. Kapanen, though, is viewed by scouts as wearing down as the season went on and had 5 points in his final 24 regular season game but his production did tick up in the playoffs, with 5 assists in five games, something Jim Rutherford touted to Jenn Menendez yesterday of theRead More »

Saving the sinking ship, John Hynes, Bylsma/Coaching Market & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Penguins head coach Mike Johnston is a coach that looks to be overwhelmed right now and quite surprised at what’s transpiring with this hockey club in that his message just isn’t getting through. Johnston is a believer and rightfully so that it’s not always about the scoreboard but it’s about whether you’re playing the right way. There was a sequence in the second period of last night’s game when the Penguins started breaking down defensively and Johnston is shown on a couple occasions trying to fire up his team and there was no response what so ever from the players and it looked like he was talking to a block wall. As others have said, the Penguins are a group that feels one Stanley Cup made them entitled and it started long ago with everyone in the organization always telling them how goodRead More »