Print

Empty Netter Assists - 07-25-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-New Penguins forward Blake Comeau will be inducted into the British Columbia Hockey Hall of Fame along with other members of the 2003-04 Kelowna Rockets team which won the Memorial Cup.

-Former Penguins defenseman Pat Price (right) will also be inducted.

-Happy 33rd birthday to former Penguins forward Jani Rita. Acquired along with Cory Cross midway through the 2005-06 season in a trade which sent Dick Tarnstrom to the Oilers, Rita's Penguins' career amounted to 30 games and seven points the rest of that campaign. Since the 2006-07 season, he has played for Jokerit Helsinki, now of Russia's KHL.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-The Islanders re-signed restricted free agent goaltender Kevin Poulin to a one-year two-way contract.

Atlantic Division

-The Canadiens re-signed restricted free agent forward Lars Eller to a four-year contract worth a total of #14 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $1.325 million, Eller's new deal will have a cap hit of $3.5 million. Appearing in 77 games last season, Eller, 25, scored 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists).

-EN Says: While Eller is coming off a lukewarm offseason, he had a much stronger postseason as he appeared in 17 playoff games and scored 13 points (five goals, eight assists). He has developed into solid two-way center. Arguably the team's top faceoff specialist, Eller is capable of keeping up with the opponent's top forwards. His biggest issue is consistency. This is a fair contract.

Central Division

-The Jets re-signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Keaton Ellerby to a one-year two-way contract.

Pacific Division

-The Flames re-signed restricted free agent goaltender Joni Ortio (right) to a two-year contract worth a total of $1.2 million. Coming off an entry-level deal with a salary cap hit of $617,500, Ortio's new deal will have a cap hit of $600,000. Appearing in nine NHL games last season, Ortio, 23, had a 4-4-0 record with a 2.51 goals against average and .891 save percentage.

-EN Says: Ortio figures to be in a battle to be the team's backup goaltender next season.

-The Canucks signed forward Jared McCann to a three-year entry-level contract.

Patrick Division

-Former Blackhawks/Hurricanes/Flames defenseman Anton Babchuk has joined Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod of Russia's KHL.

-Former Blackhawks/Bruins/Senators/Canadiens forward Martin St. Pierre has joined Medvescak Zagreb of Russia's KHL.

(Photos: Adam Hunger/Getty Images and Penguins Hockey Cards)

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Camp flashback: 1974 opens with player strike

Written by Dan Gigler on .

This being the 40th anniversary of the Steelers first Super Bowl season, the Post-Gazette will periodically run reprints of articles from that season in print and online. 

The '74 campaign got off to an inauspicious start, not just for the Steelers, but for everyone in the NFL via a players strike that began on July 1, but became 'official' on July 14, when veteran players were to report to training camp (rookies, then not covered by the CBA, had reported a week prior). 

 Below is legendary Pittsburgh sportswriter Phil Musick's column about that first day. While it reads as quaint then -- a 'labor strike' in a town that really knew labor strikes -- it is fascinating to read with the hindsight of what the NFL has become: a multi-billion dollar industry dealing with a grave health crisis regarding it's current employees and retirees. 

(also, late in the column, Chuck Noll gives a great quote regarding the disruption. The ultimate coach.) 

1974strike pic

Steeler Vets Vow They Will Block Pre-Season Games

(From ‘Sound of Musick’ column)

By Phil Musick / Pittsburgh Press

LATROBE – The strikers dismounted their Lincolns and Porsches to fight the good fight against management tyranny. Their leader shook hands warmly with his company counterpart. The pickets lolled in the sun and sipped beer and signed autographs.

It was not a labor battle Samuel Gompers would’ve recognized.

Nevertheless, as the mid-morning heat rays shimmered up from the two-lane blacktop road where they were encamped for the non-confrontation, the Pittsburgh Steelers struck their first blow in behalf of organized labor yesterday.

Caught firmly in the grasp of tedium as the day wore on they held their ranks staunchly and fell back only after, as one wit put it, “the beer ran out.”

So it was yesterday when the Steeler Chapter of the National Football League Players Association, some 13 veterans strong, took to the picket line in defense of the sort of personal and professional liberties Vince Lombardi would have termed treasonous.

Armed with the sage admonishment of Teddy Roosevelt, the Steelers pickets spoke softly – “We’re not trying to eliminate the system, just change it,” said player rep Preston Pearson – but they spoke freely of a big stick.

In this adult version of Blind Man’s Bluff, the NFL owners have adopted the posture that they will, if necessary and unconcerned with the aesthetics of such a maneuver, play the exhibition schedule with rookies.

Sitting in the trunk of his car, Pearson pulled up an NFLPA big gun and swung it into position.

“We’ll shut down the preseason games,” he said. For the very first time, here was talk a red-blooded union man could’ve warmed to.

“We’re not true-blue pickets,” Pearson went on. “But if it gets to the preseason games, then we’ll talk about something different. Then we’ll put up a picket line for that purpose.”

The implication was clear – that here in this two-lane, eight-tenths of a mile from, and out of sight of, the Steeler training facility at St. Vincent, there was something of a charade taking place. But the charade will stop if the owners attempt to use rookies in the exhibitions.

“We feel, after speaking with other labor unions, that we can close down those games,” Pearson said. Beyond the threat, and Dan Rooney’s reaffirmation that the vets would not be permitted entrance to the facility, the first day of confrontation was one of cordiality.

The mood was struck early when Pearson stopped in the Steeler dining hall at breakfast time and was informed by a grinning Steeler official, “No football, no food.”

Pearson and Steeler vice president Dan Rooney shook hands before Pearson, Rocky Bleier and Sam Davis spoke for an hour with the rookies and free agents on the advantages of supporting the strike. Their words fell upon deaf ears and drills will begin in earnest today.

But if the players’ mood was low-keyed, the commitment of most to the goals of the NFLPA seemed resolute.

“The sooner they realize they need the players to play, they’ll start talking and we’ll be able to get going,” Pearson said. “We’re not all wrong; they’re not all wrong. I’m just saying ‘let’s talk.’”

Pearson sought to move the site of the picketing closer to the training facility. The idea was turned down by Rooney, who didn’t want the veterans in sight of the practice fields. Otherwise, everything was harmonious.

“We don’t have it that bad here,” Pearson said. “The club has been good. But other teams are running their camps like concentration camps. But we’re not just concerned about here. What happens if you get traded and slapped with a $1500 fine for not wearing your helmet on the field?”

Still, on the picket line, there seemed no imminent danger of sign swinging. Bored with the 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift for the cause, Jack Ham toyed with the idea of a diversion. “It’s no freedom, no football. They didn’t say anything about basketball,” he told Gerry Mullins. “Let’s go up to the gym.”

Somehow later it seemed more to the point when Dan Rooney sternly insisted Ham would not have been welcome. But, with as much of what took place yesterday, the point was moot. The gym was closed.

*          *          *

Coach Chuck Noll indicated that time lost because of the strike will be made up. “We’ll work Sundays and go to three-a-days,” he said. “We lost 10 days during the last strike (in 1970) and never did catch up.”

*          *

The rookies began two-a-day drills this morning and, for the duration of the strike, the training camp will be closed to the public ...

Top draft pick Lynn Swann hasn’t arrived ... Pearson said the striking veterans will not set up their own camp ... Picketing yesterday were: John McMakin, Jack Ham, Jon Kolb, Sam Davis, Roy Gerela, Franco Harris, Frenchy Fuqua, J.T. Thomas, and Gerry Mullins.

1974strike pic2

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Leadership

Written by Rob Rogers on .

Obama has come under fire for not showing leadership lately. Well, I've got news for republicans. Leadership does not mean rushing into pointless wars willy-nilly like George W. Bush without considering the long-term ramifications. Sometimes leadership means having a thoughtful, measured response. 

072514 Leadership

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Affleck sports stubble as Batman

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

BtVnM xCAAAydY8
Zack Snyder tweeted this new image of Ben Affleck as Batman and, according to Variety, it also turned up as part of a 75th anniversary montage of images of the character created for Comic-Con in San Diego.  
 
Batman doesn’t smile but he apparently also doesn’t always shave. You can see some stubble in the picture which continues to build anticipation for “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” 
 

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Bargain perennials are great to plant now

Written by Doug Oster on .

 

Blog double scoop raspberryaThis coneflower is called 'Double Scoop Raspberry.' Photo by Doug Oster

Summer is a great time to find bargains for perennial plants which come back year after year. A good nursery has kept them fed and watered.

Now that we have a cool spell, it's also a great time to plant.

Here's a segment from Pittsburgh Today Live with all the discount plants I found at Hahn Nursery.

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.