Sidney Crosby didn’t dazzle last night at Carolina. He didn’t dangle his way through traffic en route to a 4- or 5-point night.
All Crosby did was win the game.
Crosby made a great pass to Chris Kunitz, who executed a great finish. Crosby banked another pass into the net off Jayson Megna’s skate, manufacturing Megna’s first NHL goal. Crosby won a draw to trigger a set play that ultimately saw Tanner Glass net the Penguins’ first tally. Sid finished with two assists and was plus-3. Penguins 3, Hurricanes 1.
Sid won the game.
It didn’t matter who he was out there with. That’s why Crosby is out there so often, and with so many different people. He can elevate anyone.
That’s what truly great players do. They win games.
What a magic moment for Megna. He went to the net, got rewarded with his first NHL goal - and it was set up by hockey’s greatest player. What a memory.
Boston visits Pittsburgh tomorrow. You can’t exact revenge for an Eastern Conference semifinal sweep by winning a regular-season game. But get two points anyway.
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*Memo to Maurkice Pouncey: DON'T ANSWER THE DOOR.
*If Mike Tomlin had handled clock management on D-Day, we'd all be speaking German. Not sure it's possible to do worse in that department.
*Tomlin should hire Flavor Flav. He's all about clock management. (Courtesy @dveBillCrawford.)
*Tomlin isn't the only one mangling things when it comes to tick-tock. Ben Roethlisberger has to know to not call that timeout on the Steelers' penultimate possession. Antonio Brown inexplicably ran out of bounds late in the first half to give the Raiders a chance to get the ball back with decent time remaining.
*Ryan Clark was tackling the running back while Terrelle Pryor was romping 93 yards. Has Clark's career jumped the Shamarko?
*Pryor isn't a threat to do much, but he is a threat to do what he did on the game's first play from scrimmage. How can the Steelers' D allow that? The team's defensive philosophy begins and ends with: DON'T ALLOW BIG PLAYS. How can a Dick LeBeau defense be so unprepared and unfocused?
*Don't canonize Pryor for beating the Steelers. A) It's not that hard. B) Pryor made one big play and not many other plays. His effort was winning, but average.
*Too bad the Steelers got close enough that K Shaun Suisham can be made the scapegoat for his two FG misses. Mathematically, Suisham certainly deserves blame. But the Steelers' failure runs much deeper than a couple of missed kicks.
*Brown makes a lot of good plays. Yesterday, he didn't make enough. His two drops were killers. Brown also scurries OB like #FreeMealFranco.
*The Steelers' play-calling in the red zone has gone way past conservative all the way to chicken****. TAKE SHOTS AT THE END ZONE, FOR GOD'S SAKE.
*The Steelers' offensive linemen are dropping like flies. Sadly, the difference between the starters and backups is negligible. Ben goes down either way. The Steelers can't run the ball at all. That certainly contributed to allowing five sacks.
*Instead of having an offensive line, the Steelers should just opt for 5-Mississippi. (Courtesy of @dveBillCrawford.)
*Two touchdowns in one game: Is that a franchise record? Seems like it.
*The Steelers, down 21-3, took the second-half kickoff and embarked on a 66-yard drive that took 9:11 and produced NOTHING. Suisham missed a 32-yard FG. But let's play the what-if game: Say Suisham makes that kick. The Steelers are still down 21-9. True, eventually things would have added up. But if you're down 18 at halftime and keep the ball for most of the quarter, GET SEVEN POINTS.
*What's the no-show count going to be at Yinzer Stadium when the 2-6 Steelers stagger home to play Buffalo Nov. 10?
*Tomlin seemed livid after the game. But who was he mad at? It's not like player incompetence overwhelmed Tomlin's brilliant coaching. The Steelers are a bad team from the ground up: Players, coaches and upper management.
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I hate the cheap shots.
I hate the lies just as much.
John Scott of the Buffalo Sabres nearly decapitated Boston's Loui Eriksson with a malevolent, blind-side hit to the head Wednesday night.
Here's Scott’s explanation:
"It happened pretty fast. I just thought I was completing a check. But, obviously, I hit his head. It wasn’t exactly what I was aiming for. I didn't want to do that. It's just a bad play, unfortunate it happened."
What a crock.
It's better to say nothing than lie, especially a lie of such mind-numbing falsehood. Scott's hit to Eriksson's head may be the cheapest shot of a hockey season unfortunately riddled with them. Scott skated from a long way away and clearly targeted Eriksson's head.
Scott intended to injure, and he did. Eriksson is out indefinitely with a concussion.
"The guy who did it, did his job," said Boston Coach Claude Julien. "He's out there for two reasons: Either to fight, or to hurt. He did his job."
What's going on at Buffalo? The Sabres have the NHL's worst record at 1-9-1. Patrick Kaleta got a 10-game ban for a similar offense. Now this.
NBC's Mike Milbury said that Scott doesn't belong in the NHL, and that Sabres Coach Ron Rolston is in over his head and should be fired. Right, and right. Boy, it pains me to agree with Milbury.
The NHL is at a crossroads. Head shots are epidemic. Ten-game and five-game suspensions do not appear to be a deterrent.
Two possible solutions:
*Double or triple the suspensions, and make them automatic. Twenty games for the first offense, 50 for the second. You don't go back to zero when the season ends, either. If your second head shot is two years after the first, you still sit 50.
*Prohibit teams from filling the roster spot when a player gets banned. You play with 17 skaters, not 18.
Unfortunately, there just isn't any way to get rid of players like Scott. Coaches always want a fear factor. Nor is there any way to make a low-IQ hack like Scott develop respect for his fellow professionals. What he does is what got him to the NHL. Why would Scott change if no one forces him?
Hockey’s the best game in the world. And it sucks at the same time.
Behold the trailers for ANCHORMAN 2. If they're anything to go by, it's going to STINK. Will Ferrell has simply stopped being funny.
As the hoi polloi debate whether the Pirates should re-sign P A.J. Burnett or OF Marlon Byrd, remember: The Pirates can afford to keep both, and 1B Justin Morneau, too. Owner Bob Nutting has extra revenue generated by the Pirates’ first winning season in two decades, plus $25m in additional TV cash.
But signing players willy-nilly would be foolish. Nutting is flush now. But another playoff season in 2014 is hardly guaranteed. SPEND WISELY.
Paying Byrd what he's likely to get in free agency would be dumb.
Byrd, 36, just had a career year. The season before, he got suspended 50 games for using a banned substance. Byrd says he took Tamoxifen to treat a medical condition. He was allied with BALCO founder Victor Conte as recently as 2012, the last major-leaguer to work with the designer steroid king.
Byrd says he's done nothing wrong. Do you believe him? I'm not anti-steroids, but it's a good bet Byrd used this past season. All those career highs didn't pop up out of nowhere.
Byrd is not somebody the Pirates should sign. He filled a need. Did well as a rental. But it should end there.
If Byrd was using PEDs this past season and continues doing so, he could get pinched again. If Byrd was using this past season and stops, his performance might dwindle. In 2012, when Byrd got suspended, he hit just .210 with just one home run in 153 at-bats. He finished the campaign playing in Mexico.
Too many variables. Too many negative possibilities.
Byrd is not a guy the Pirates should keep. If a big-market franchise signs a player like that and it blows up, that team just spends more money. The Pirates can't.
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