Talkin' Bout Practice - March 27

Written by Sam Werner on .

Before you get too settled in for tonight's March Madness games, here's a quick recap from Pitt's sixth practice of the 2014 spring season this afternoon...

- Overall, Chryst said he was more pleased with Thursday's session than Tuesday's, after which he expressed some disappointment.
"I think guys are giving good effort, and I think watching the tape confirmed that. I just think they're going hard, but they've got to have a little fun doing it."

- We talked with Paul Chryst a little bit about the quarterbacks after practice today. So far, Chad Voytik and Trey Anderson have been getting equal reps with the first and second team. Voytik will still obviously be the guy next fall, but Chryst said he just wanted to make sure both guys (the only QBs on the roster) got plenty of reps with both units. It's also important that both develop rapports with both centers and all the wide receivers on the roster.

- Speaking of Voytik, he has shown some inaccuracy this spring, and Thursday he provided an explanation for why. He said he's spending this spring working on some mechanical stuff (specifically, taking a slightly smaller stride and opening up his lead foot to help get his hips through his throws) and that means some inaccurate passes as he works the kinks out. Spring is a perfect time for something like this, so I wouldn't be too concerned about any accuracy issues until we get later on into fall camp.
Voytik said the mechanics issue was something he knew he had in high school but just sort of ignored it, until this winter when Chryst decided that this was the time to address the problem.
"You never want to see your accuracy be off, but right now I'm changing some mechanics, so I understand that my accuracy is going to have to lack a little bit right now," Voytik said. "I'm changing some things, trying some things, and the result will be a little bit of inaccuracy. We don't have to go into a game right now, so I'm just continuing to make myself better and it's a process. A lot of days before the first game."
Practice ended today with a quarterback sneak for a touchdown from Voytik. He dove head-first into a pile and ended up taking a cleat to the left hand, which left him a little bloodied.

- Former defensive tackle Aaron Donald was at practice today, and Chryst joked that his presence was a nice reminder of what his current group of defensive linemen has to replace next season. I think this is definitely a case where Darryl Render and KK Mosley-Smith are the likely starters, but a lot of guys (including LaQuentin SmithTyrique JarrettJustin Moody and even Jeremiah Taleni) could see the field this year. Moody, in particular, had a nice play today blowing up Rachid Ibrahim in the backfield on a run play. Chryst agreed that it could be a DL-by-committee approach to some extent, replacing Donald's "one-man wrecking crew."

"I thought KK came in spring ball and winter and made a concentrated effort to lose some weight," Chryst said. "I think he's moving, he's playing with an edge to him.
"Tyrique, he's got to continue to drop some weight. It's his second spring, and I think he's approaching it the right way. Darryl's had enough snaps now to kind of be able to draw on those experiences. Justin flashes and does some really good things, but absolutely [it'll be a group effort]."

- Linebacker Anthony Gonzalez was back at practice today after missing Tuesday's session due to injury. Gonzalez might be the most indispensable guy on Pitt's defense at this point, both because of the position he plays (Sam linebacker) and the experience he gives a fairly inexperienced unit.

Ejuan Price and LaQuentin Smith were still both out with injuries, as was left tackle Adam Bisnowaty. Offensive lineman Gabe Roberts and wide receiver Kevin Weatherspoon were back out there for individual drills, but were held out of team drills.

James Conner took another snap with the second team defensive line today. From the looks of it, he's Pitt's emergency defensive end at this point. And that's a position where the Panthers are pretty perilously thin.

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Kings at Penguins - 03-27-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-Last season, after the Penguins lost another wild and wooly loss at home against the Flyers which featured several penalties and post-whistle activity, we asked Sidney Crosby about what role he as captain and the other alternate captains have when it comes to helping the team maintain discipline.

-We don't have the quote immediately available to us, but his remark was something along the line of he can't take someone by the hand and tell that person to not take a penalty. It's on that person to realize he is hurting the team.

-In other words, Crosby isn't going to be Mark Messier or even Shane Doan when it comes to how he captains the team. He's more of a Mario Lemieux or Nicklas Lidstrom. Any hopes of Crosby to offer some rah-rah, "this is how it should be" speech to his beleaguered team would  be a complete departure from his personality. If this makes Crosby a "bad leader," then Lemieux and Lidstrom were bad leaders.

-Dan Bylsma confirmed he benched Jussi Jokinen for a few shifts in Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Coyotes after Jokinen slashed Coyotes forward Antoine Vermette in the offensive zone. The penalty led to a power play for the Coyotes and the eventual game-winning goal.

-The benching of Jokinen in that circumstance was certainly justified. It hurt his team. A lot of questions have been raised as to why that type of punishment isn't extended to his linemates, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal anytime they take a poor penalty. It's a fair question with ideal circumstances. But these are hardly ideal circumstances.

-If the Penguins were to scratch James Neal tonight, who would fill those important minutes on this roster as it's presently constructed? Who would fill in for Neal on the power play with Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Paul Martin and Beau Bennett out of the lineup? Brian Gibbons? Jayson Megna? Discipline is a lot easier to dole out when all hands are accounted for.

-In contrast, the Coyotes scratched Mike Ribeiro and Derek Morris, two of their more established players, for Tuesday's game despite the fact that franchise goaltender Mike Smith was absent due to injury. They maintained their discipline to their system and kept their emotions in check that game and pulled out an impressive road win.

-Puck possession has become everything in the NHL these day. Controlling the puck gives you a better chance of winning. The Penguins have struggled with this area of the game since the Olympics and it's pretty easy to figure out why. Paul Martin and Kris Letang.

-The Penguins are missing their top two puck moving defensemen. Having a player who can move the puck through the neutral zone by either skating it or hitting stretch passes is a huge asset in this area. Matt Niskanen and Olli Maatta have been pressed into being those players most of the season and they've done adequate jobs for the most part but you're starting to see signs of strain on each player. The Penguins, Niskanen and Maatta in particular, could use one or each of those players back in the lineup badly.

-Pay attention to the Kings' Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov tonight if you want to see the value of puck-moving defensemen.

-We're not sure what's up with Beau Bennett. He's been recalled from a conditioning assignment with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton but he's not listed on the team's active roster posted on the Web site.

-If you're a fan of the Manchester Monarchs, this is your game. Two alumni of that team's school of goaltending will get the start tonight in Jeff Zatkoff and Martin Jones. Between those two and Jonathan Quick as well as Jonathan Bernier, the Kings have produced a pretty solid crew of goaltenders. NHL goaltending coach Bill Ranford and minor league goaltending coach Kim Dillabaugh have done a marvelous job for this franchise.

-An EN reader encountered a rather depressed Ron Tugnutt fan:

-Another reader found a poorly edited Chris Kuntiz Kunitz fan:

-A few pregame sights. Dahntahn:

-The barn:

-The ice:

-Matthew Barnaby:

-Zach Sill preseason:

-Mark Recchi:

-Tom Barrasso:

-Beau Bennett:

-Fans entering the barn:

-There are quite a few Kings fans here. Anze Kopitar:

-Drew Doughty:

-Wayne Gretzky:

-Jonathan Quick and Jeff Carter:

-This is tremendous. Stephane Fiset:

-A few former Penguins/Kings. Martin Straka:

-Maaaaannn... Connor James:

-EN readers of a certain vintage recalled there was always an obligatory smashing of Connor James seemingly every game he played:

-Paul Coffey:

-Jersey of the Night: Marcel Dionne:


-Warm ups:

-The Penguins' starters are Sidney Crosby, Tanner Glass, Chris Kunitz, Robert Bortuzzo, Brooks Orpik and Jeff Zatkoff.

-Their scratches are Simon Despres, Evgeni Malkin and the great Joe Vitale.

-In warmups, Deryk Engelland skated with Rob Scuderi.

-The Kings' starters are Marian Gaborik, Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin and Martin Jones.

-Their scratches are Matt Greene and Dwight King.

-Jeff Jimerson blows the roof off this dump:


19:18: A slapper by Voynov from the center point is blocked.

18:39: A wrister by Willie Mitchell is blocked by James Neal.

16:36: Kunitz gets a little space in the right circle and rips a wrister which Jones fights off.

15:53: Stempniak pushes the puck up the left wing, pulls up and taps a backhanded pass to Kunitz who shuffles a forehand shot through the crease and wides of the cage. Play is halted as Muzzin and Crosby mix it up in the crease and knock the net off its moorings.

14:46: Off some strong work down low on the King's end boards. Pyatt snaps off a wrister from the left circle. Jones eats it up.

13:47: Anze Kopitar tries to rush the puck up the left wing and is thumped pretty well into the boards in front of the Penguins' penalty box by Bortuzzo.

13:15: Off a drop pass by Bortuzzo, Stempniak snaps of fa wrister from the right half wall. Jones snags it.

12:24: Off a turnover by the Kings deep in their own zone Neal chucks a backhander from the slot wide to the right of the cage.

11:10: Bortuzzo thumps Kyle Clifford into the left wing corner of the Penguins' zone while racing for a puck.

10:39: Doughty goes in deep on the right wing, fends off Pyatt and slides a shot into the crease where Zatkoff smothers.

7:26: Doughy jumps on a bouncing puck in the Penguins' slot and swats it wide o fhte cage.

7:05: Off a drop pass by Kunitz, Crosby link up the right wing and flings a backhander on net. Jones fights it off but loses track of the rebound. Stempniak jumps on it but punches it wide. A replay showed Stempniak's shot bouncing off Kopitar's stick and going wide.

7:32: Tyler Toffoli races up the right wing and snaps off a shot which Zatkoff smothers.

6:29: The Kings get the first power play of the game as Niskanen is called for interference against Toffoli. The Penguins won a faceoff and Niskanen held him up while battling for the puck. Marcel Goc, Scuderi, Orpik and Craig Adams take the ice.

6:03: Voynov chucks a wrister on net form the left circle. Zatkoff fights it off.

4:37: The Kings strike. Off a feed by Kopitar, Gaborik snaps off a wrister from above the right circle. It sails towards the net and appears to hit something and deflect down under Zatkoff blocker. Officials rule a goal while the Penguins  immediately protest. It appears Carter, positioned into front of Zatkoff, may have touched the puck with a high stick. A brief replay review shows Carter's stick being below the cross bar at the time of the contact. It's a good goal. Gaborik and Kopitar get assists. Kings 1-0.

4:19: Trying to settle a puck in the neutral zone, Voynov is bumped to the ice by Crosby.

3:27: The Penguins will get a chance to tie the game as Mitchell is nabbed for holding Goc. Crosby, Neal, Kunitz, Maatta and Niskanen take the ice. For some reason, the Penguins have Kunitz take the draw which he loses to Jarret Stoll, one of the NHL's best faceoff specialists.

2:21: A partially fanned wrister by Stempiak from the right half wall is blocked wide by Robyn Regehr

1:20: As the Mitchell minor expires, Kunitz collects a loose puck in the slot and whips it over the cage.

0:42: Muzzin bumps Gibbons to the ice in the neutral zone.

0:33: Williamps pumps a slapper on net from the right wing. Zatkoff punches it away.

0:18: Gibbons does what he excels at. He draws a penalty. Gaborik tripped him up in the King's right wing corner. Crosby, Neal, Kunitz, Jokinen and Maatta take the ice.

0:00: End of period. Kings 1, Penguins 0.


-We can't say that period was all that surprising. The Kings did a better job of possessing the puck and generating some quality scoring chances. They have a lead as a result.

-The Penguins got next to nothing in terms offensive chances from anything but the top line.

-The Penguins have a 10-8 lead in shots on net.

-The Kings lead the game in attempted shots, 16-15.

-Niskanen, Pyatt, Stempniak and Williams each lead the game with two shots.

-Voynov leads the game with 9:24 of ice time.

-Crosby leads the game with 8:40.

-The Penguins have a 13-5 lead in faceoffs (72 percent).

-Sutter is 3 for 3 (100 percent).

-Kopitar is 2 for 5 (40 percent).

-No one has more than one blocked shot.

-Former King Rob Scuderi graces the cover of Icetime:


20:00: The Penguins will start the period with 1:42 of power-play time on fresh ice. Neal, Crosby, Niskanen, Maatta and Kunitz take the ice.

19:28: A wrister by Crosby from the right circle is eaten up b Jones.

18:38: Neal fires a spinning, blind slapper from the right circle which hits Mitchell in the legs.

18:23: A slapper by Jokinen from the right circle is fought of by Jones.

18:18: The Kopitar minor is killed. The Penguins did not look very organized there.

15:15: Clifford tries to wheel around the Penguins' offensive zone around Orpik on the right wing and behind the net. He tries to turnover a puck on his backhand but loses as Maatta defends.

15:01: Another penalty. Glass is called for slashing Jordan Nolan on the left knee. Nolan took a fairly easy tumble afterwards and Glass protests. Goc, Orpik, Scuderi and Sutter take the ice.

13:40: Stempniak takes a shift on the penalty kill.

13:26: Brown and RIchard each get chances in tight but Zatkoff holds them out. Attendance is announced as 18,650. It is the team's 322nd consecutive sellout.

13:01: Just as the Glass minor expires, the Kings strike. Alec Martinez takes a pass at the center point and tees up  a slapper. It sales through a few sticks and bodies and clanks off the left post and into the cage. A replay showed it glancing off a stick en route to the net. Toffoli gets credit for the goal. Martinez and Stoll get assists. Kings 2-0.

12:27: The Penguins get one back. Crosby leaves a drop pass for Kunitz on the left half wall. Kunitz fakes a slapper then deals it back to Crosby down low to the left of the cage. Crosby shuffles the puck to the blue paint. Before Jones can freeze it, Megna crashes in and chops it loose. Kunitz sneaks in and sweeps the rebound by Jone's left skate to get a goal. That was a heady play by Megna. The "Hey Song" is played. Kings 2-1.

11:19: Kopitar sneaks a backhander form the right wing corner. Zatkoff kicks it out.

10:45: Goc swings out from behind the cage, spins and chucks a wrist eorn net from the left circle. Jones kicks it out.

10:35: Voynov chops a slapper from the right point wide to the far side.

9:47: Another Penguins' power play. Stoll tripped up Engelland in the right wing corner of the Penguins' zone. Both players crash into the boards. Stoll appears to be shaken up a bit. Either way, he's off for two minutes. Crosby, Neal, Kunitz, Maatta and Niskanen take the ice.

9:31: Crosby chucks a wrister from the right point. Kunitz is in front and deflects it over the cage.

9:03: Maatta cranks a slapper from center point. It hits a body and deflects out of play.

8:15: Carter and Richards nearly strike. Cart lugs the puck out of his defenive zone and sor to flulys the Penguins point ment to sleep by veering to the right wing. he then snaps off a pass to

7:22: Martinez cranks a slapper from the right point. It hit s a body in front. Kopitar settles the puck in the slot and lifts a wrister from the right circle which bounces off the cross bar.

7:01: Another penalty drawn by Gibbons. He races up the right wing and is tripped up  by Martinez. That's two minutes. Jokinen, Crosby, Neal, Kunitz  and Niskanen take the ice.

6:21: Niskanen swipes a slapper form the right point wide to the far side.

6:17: Niskanen fires a slapper from center point which is blocked by Stoll.

5:45: Niskanen pounds a slapper from the left point. A stick deflects it wide.

5:29: Crosby pounds a one-timer from center point. Jones' shrugs it off with his right shoulder.

5:01: The Martinez minor is killed. The Penguins were aggressive

4:47: Neal whips a wrister from the left circle which Jones denies.

4:17: Finally, a little luck for the Penguins. Taylor Pyatt lugs a puck up the right wing and chucks a pretty innocent wrister at the cage. Jones sort of hops up and stops it with his right shoulder. The puck hops up and bounces behind him into the cage.

3:35: Another power play for the Penguins. Clifford tripped up Megna in the Penguins' zone. We'r enot sure Megna proved a tone of resistance to that hit.  Neal, Crosby, Niskanen, Kunitz and Maatta take the ice.

3:26: What a save! Crosby sneaks a pass from deep on the right wing to Niskanen sneaking in on the back door. Niskanen swipes a one-timer which Jones miraculously punches out of play with a blocker. WOW!

1:29: Stempniak whips a wrister from the right circle. Jones kicks it out.

0:51: Fighting for a puck behind the Kings' net, Goc is slammed into the end boards by Muzzin. Goc's left ankle gets caught up on the end boards and bends in a bad way. Ouch. He's helped off the ice by Bortuzzo and athletic trainer Chris Stewart and taken back to the dressing room.

0:21: Voynov chucks a wrister from the right point.

0:10: On a delayed penalty, Voynov pounds a slapper from the right point. Zatkoff eats it up. Adam is called for high sticking after he got a stick into the face off Richards. Glass, Orpik, Sutter and Scuderi take the ice.

0:00: End of period. Kings 2, Penguins 2.


-The Penguins' power play is playing like it needs a by week. It hasn't looked dangerous all night.

-While the Penguins have an advantage in shots, the Kings continue to be a much better team in terms of puck possession. If not for the large amount of power plays the Penguins have had, the Kings would be up in shots.

-Each goaltender has been adequate. The Pyatt goal was inexcusable by Jones but he made up for it against Niskanen.

-The second line has been a non-factor for the Penguins tonight. Jokinen, Neal and Sutter just look lifeless.

-The Penguins have a 24-19 lead in shots on net.

-The Penguins have a 41-34 lead in attempted shots.

-Niskanen leads the game with four shots.

-Voynov and Carter each lead the kings with three shots.

-Voynov leads the game with 17:43 of ice time.

-Crosby leads the Penguins with 16:20.

-The Penguins have a 21-19 lead in faceoffs (53 percent).

-Sutter is 6 for 8 (75 percent).

-Stoll is 8 for 11 (73 percent).

-Bortuzzo, Neal, Voynov, Martinez, Stoll and Mitchell each lead the game with two blocked shots.


20:00: The Kings will have 1:50 of power-play time on fresh ice. It doesn't look like Goc is back on the bench. Sutter, Gibbons, Scuderi and Orpik take the ice.

19:11: Things are evened up as Doughty is called for tripping Stempniak at the Penguins right point. We'll see 1:01 of four on four play.

19:08: Niskanen chops a slapper from above the right circle wide of the cage.

18:24: Bortuzzo rushes up the right wing and lifts a wrister on net. Jones hops up and fights it off.

18:10: Adams' minor expires. The Penguins will 59 seconds of power-play time.

17:35: Off a feed by Maatta, Niskanen fires a one-timer form the right half wall. Jones kicks it out.

17:11: Play returns to five on five. The Penguins did not pose much of a threat with that brief power play.

16:09: Some leaky defense leads to a Kings goal. Niskanen pushes the puck up deep into the Penguins' zone on the right wing. He draws in Scuderi and leaves a drop pass above the right circle. Doughty step up snad cranks a one-timer through a screen by Stoll and on the glove side of Zatkoff. What a shot! The Penguins' defense was spread out on that shot. Brown and Tanner Pearson get assists. Kings 3-2.

14:46: Off a little flurry of activity in tight, Williams chops a one-timer wide of the cage.

13:38: Stoll pitchforks a backhander from the left circle. Zatkoff snags it.

12:39: After Jokinen and Oprik combine on a defensive zone turnover, xx snaps off a wrister from above the right circle wide to the far side.

12:32: Kopitar settles a puck in the slot and and chops it on net. Zatkoff kicks it out.

12:08: Sutter chips and chases a puck in deep on the right wing. After it banks off the end board he chase it down and shuffles it on net. Jones eats it up.

11:50: Another power play for the Penguins. Muzzin high sticked Sutter behind the Kings' net while battling for a puck. That's two minutes, a big two minutes. Crosby, Kunitz, Neal, Stempniak and Maatta take the ice. Stempinak will man the point with Maatta.

10:19: Niskanen cranks a slapper from cneter point. it sneaks through traffic and is stopped by Jones at first. Kunitz and Sutter crash in to punt he puck over the goal line right before the net is dislodged. Officials don't make a ruling at first. After breaking up a would-be scrum, they confer with off-ice officials. After a lengthy discussion, officials rule there was goaltender interference. We're not sure we buy that. Doughty pushed Sutter into Jones. Either way, it's not a goal. Fans offer roaring disapproval of the call.

10:11: Neal rips a wrister from the right circle which Jones denies.

9:55: Niskanen cranks a slapper from the right circle. Jones (or someone in white) stops it.

9:51: With an acre of ice to work with Crosby settles a puck in the left circle and cranks a slapper wide to the far side. The Muzzin minor expires.

9:19: Kopitar tries to jam in a backhanded wraparound form the left of the cage. Zatkoff kicks it out.

8:14: After Maatta fumbles a puck at the Kings' right point, Brown steals it off him and pushes it up the right wing. Brown fends off Maatta and sweeps a wrister on net from the right circle. Zatkoff fights its off.

7:28: Nolan whips a wrister from the right circle. Zatkoff eats it up. Noland and Engelland mix it up a bit and Nolan hits the deck. No penalties.

6:30: Mitchell chucks a puck in deep from the left wing in the neutral zone. As he releases the puck, Engelland slams him into the boards and dumps him hard. Mitchell doesn't appreciate it and gives Engelland some grief. Officials step in and break them up.

5:41: Pearson trips Stempniak inside the Penguins' blue line. NO call. Officials want to get this game over with.

5:05: Maatta dumps a puck in deep from the red line and is thumped to the ice by Nolan.

4:52: After Bortuzzo turns a puck over deep in his own zone, Lewis snaps off a wrister from above the left circle. Zatkoff eats it up.

3:50: Kunitz sort of runs over Doughty int he Kings' slot but not before Doughty gets the puck out of his zone.

2:52: Pearson rips a wrister from the right circle which gets blocked.

1:26: Maatta settles a puck inside the blue line and lifts a wrister which Jones eats up.

1:14: Zatkoff is pulled. Off a cross-ice pass by Crosby, Neal rips a wrister from the right circle. Jones snags it.

1:07: A shot/pass by Jokinen from the right circle is blocked out of play.

0:58: Maatta chips a wrister from the right half wall which is blocked.

0:40: Kopitar airmails a shot from the neutral zone wide of the empty cage.

0:22: After Kings ice the puck, the Penguins call a timeout to get a breather and get organized.

0:02: Crosby has a chance to the right of the cage but can't settle the puck.

0:00: End of game. Kings 3, Penguins 2.


-First things first. Marcel Goc has a "lower-body" injury. No update beyond that was provided.

-Even though they lost by the same exact score as Tuesday's game to the Coyotes, the Penguins played better tonight. Not great but better. They had a more focused effort. They cut down on the penalties. They controlled the puck better (thanks to several power plays granted). They stared a pretty good Kings team in the eye and lost by a single goal.

-No, this was hardly a perfect game. There will never be a banner, or a retrospective video piece offering glowing memories of what the Penguins did. There are a lot of nits to pick out of this game. But in the wake of Tuesday's clunker, this was an improved offering from the home team.

-Clearly, the play of the game was the non-goal by Brandon Sutter. Officials didn't appear to call a goal on the ice then immediately consulted off-ice officials. While it was ruled the puck clearly went over the goal line, officials ruled Jones was interfered with an that nullified the would-be goal.

Here's the NHL's explanation of the call:

"At 9:41 of the the third period in the Los Angeles Kings/Pittsburgh Penguins game, the Situation Room initiated video review after the puck entered the Los Angeles net. The referee informed the Situation Room that after a huddle, the officials' group decision was that Pittsburgh's Brandon Sutter pushed Los Angeles goaltender Martin Jones' pad and the puck into the net, impeding Jones' ability to play his position. According to Rule 78.5 (ix) "Apparent goals shall be disallowed by the Referee when a goaltender has been pushed into the net together with the puck after making a save." This is not a reviewable play therefore the referee's call on the ice stands - no penalty and no goal Pittsburgh.

-SB Nation has a GIF of the play:


-We can't say we disagree with that ruling. Drew Doughty clearly bobsledded Sutter into the net and Martin Jones but that didn't impact Sutter's act of shoving Jones' right leg with his stick. The on-ice officials got that one right in our book.

-Said Doughty:

"It was clear interference. He pushed [Jones’] pad right into the net. Yeah, I gave him a few shots from behind but that had nothing to do with his stick and pushing [Jones’] pad into the net. It’s a great call by the refs and the people in Toronto or New York or wherever it is. “

-After the game, Dan Bylsma expressed a desire to make plays like that subject to review. That's certainly a fair idea but until that time comes, the NHL applied its rules correctly in this situation.

-Frankly, the Penguins probably can't complain about the officiating too much. They were given seven power plays while the Kings only got three. The Penguins had ample opportunity to generate more offense.

-The power play looked worn out tonight. Minus a healthy Malkin (he was injured against the Blues), the power play hasn't looked like a threat for the past three games.

-The biggest of it is injuries. Clearly Malkin's absence hurts but the losses of Paul Martin and Kris Letang are starting to show up. The Penguins had trouble getting it out of their zone. Said Kings captain Dustin Brown:

I thought we did a really good job up the ice. Their power play is pretty effective once they get set up and I think we prevented them from setting up. We did a good job up the ice.”

-Matt Niskanen and Olli Maatta looked completely spent tonight, especially Maatta. With Simon Desres out of the lineup the Penguins were forced to used Lee Stempniak and Jussi Jokinen on the points tonight. Heck, Brooks Orpik even got 50 seconds of power-play time.

-Maatta's struggles continued in a big way tonight. He was sloppy with the puck in the offensive zone. The grind of the NHL season (plus six Olympic games) seems to have finally caught up with him. He's up to 78 games this season including the Olympics. The most he ever played in juniors (including the playoffs and the World Junior Championship tournament) was 82. He needs a break. At this point, a break wouldn't just be for his benefit. The team could be aided by him taking a night off.

-The Penguins' first line once again carried the offensive load for the Penguins. With apologies to Taylor Pyatt, it generated the only legitimate goal the Penguins had tonight (with Jayson Menga taking a shift in place of Stempniak). Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Stempniak combined for 16 attempted shots tonight.

-In contrast, the current version of the second line was underwhelming. Jussi Jokinen, James Neal and Sutter just didn't seem to generate much five on five. They  helped press matters a little bit in the third period but they needed to offer more.

-The Goc-Pyatt-Brian Gibbons line looked okay, even if you discount the fluky goal Pyatt scored. They got dirty in the high traffic areas.

-Gibbons is a penalty-drawing machine. For a player with limited abilities, he keeps finding ways to get opponents to hooking or interfere with him.

-The limited use of Megna continues to be a head scratcher. He was Johnny on the Spot in helping create Kunitz's goal. He hustles and goes to the net. He seems to possess the traits Dan Bylsma enjoys in a player but never seems to get much ice time.

-Jeff Zatkoff was okay. Not great. If he steals a goal, this is a different game.

-His former teammate Martin Jones did steal a goal. After allowing a poor, leaky goal to Pyatt, Jones responded by robbing Niskanen of a goal on a backdoor play. He earned this win.

-What's been kind of scary about this three-game losing streak is that all three of the losses have come against back up goaltenders.

-The Penguins led in shots on net, 37-32.

-The Penguins led in attempted shots, 64-52.

-Niskanen led the game with seven shots.

-Justin Williams led the Kings with four.

-Crosby led the game with 25:48.

-Voynov led the Kings with 24:50.

-The Kings had a 30-28 lead in faceoffs (52 percent).

-Jarret Stoll was 13 for 18 (68 percent).

-Goc was 6 for 8 (75 percent).

-Richards led the game with three blocked shots.

-Neal and Robert Bortuzzo each led the Penguisn with two blocked shots.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.



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Recreating lost music

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

Next Sunday, Trio Nova Mundi -- violinist Maureen Conlon Gutierrez, cellist Elisa Kohanski and pianist Becky Billock -- will perform a concert that required a little score study, as it were. 

From Ms. Billock:

"One of the trios we are playing on the concert (Trio Romantico by Mexican composer Manuel Ponce) is out of print, and the last three pages of the piano score are missing. We've done everything we can think of to track down the missing pages, including trying to get them directly from the composer's living children/grandchildren. We have had zero luck, but thankfully there is a recording of the piece, so after a lot of listening and scribbling I was able to transcribe the last three pages of the piano score so that we can give a full performance."

It was Ms. Billock's first time doing something like this, and it should turn out to be an important contribution to the literature.

"We are planning to play the piece in Mexico when we are there on tour in May, and hopefully we can give a copy of the dictated music to the Ponce estate so they have the full version," she said. 

More about the concert here: 

Sunday, April 6, 2014
7:00 p.m.
First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh, 605 Morewood Ave., Shadyside
Tickets at the door: $18 ($10 for students)


Piano Trio by Amy Beach
Trio Romantico by Manuel Ponce
5 Negro Melodies by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Cafe Music by Paul Schoenfield

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About the Kings - 03-27-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Kings.

When and where: 7 p.m. EST. Consol Energy Center.

TV: Root Sports, Fox Sports West.

Record: 42-25-6, 90 points. The Kings are in third place in the Pacific Division.

Leading Scorer: Anze Kopitar (right), 59 points (22 goals, 37 assists).

Last Game: 5-4 road shootout win against the Capitals, Tuesday. Captain Dustin Brown and Dwight King each had a goal and an assist for the Kings.

Last Game against the Penguins: 4-1 home loss, Jan. 30. Martin Jones made 14 saves for the Kings.

Kings Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Justin Williams. Just because.

Ex-Penguins on the Kings: Glen Murray, development consultant; Jake Muzzin, D (Muzzin is a former draft pick who never played for the Penguins at the NHL level); Luc Robitaille, president, business operations.

Ex-Kings on the Penguins: Dan Bylsma, head coach; Tony Granato, assistant coach; Rob Scuderi, D; Jeff Zatkoff, G (Zatkoff is a draft pick but never played for the Kings at the NHL level).

Useless Kings Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: Muzzin, a fifth-round pick by the Penguins in 2007, has appeared in 123 career games. Only one player who has been drafted by the Penguins under the watch of general manager Ray Shero has appeared in more NHL game. Center Jordan Staal, a first-round pick in 2006, has 551 career games.

Best Kings Video We Could Find: Former Penguins center Dan Quinn, then of the Kings, scoring a penalty shot goal against the Ducks during the 1994-95 season:

Probable goaltenders: Jeff Zatkoff (12-4-1, 2.55 GAA, .915 SV%) for the Penguins. Martin Jones (10-5-0, 1.90GAA, .932 SV%) for the Kings.

Injuries: For the Penguins, centers Joe Vitale ("upper body") and Evgeni Malkin (foot) are out. Right wingers Beau Bennett (hand/wrist), Chris Conner (foot), Pascal Dupuis (knee), defensemen Kris Letang (stroke), Paul Martin (hand) and goaltender Tomas Vokoun (blood clots) are on injured reserve. For the Kings, they are reporting no injuries.

Potential lines and defensive pairings: The Penguins lines and defensive pairings at today's morning skate were:

14 Chris Kunitz - 87 Sidney Crosby - 22 Lee Stempniak
36 Jussi Jokinen - 16 Brandon Sutter - 18 James Neal
49 Brian Gibbons - 57 Marcel Goc - 17 Taylor Pyatt
15 Tanner Glass - 27 Craig Adams - 59 Jayson Megna

3 Olli Maatta - 2 Matt Niskanen
47 Simon Despres - 4 Rob Scuderi
44 Brook Orpik - 41 Robert Bortuzzo

-The Kings expected lines and defensive pairings are:

12 Marian Gaborik – 11 Anze Kopitar – 14 Justin Williams
  73 Tyler Toffoli– 10 Mike Richards - 77 Jeff Carter
70 Tanner Pearson – 28 Jarret Stoll – 23 Dustin Brown
13 Kyle Clifford – 22 Trevor Lewis - 71 Jordan Nolan

6 Jake Muzzin – 8 Drew Doughty
44 Robyn Regehr – 26 Slava Voynov
33 Willie Mitchell – 27 Alec Martinez


-The last time the Penguins played the Kings, this happened:

-Tonight's game will be the 150th contest between the expansion brothers.

-The Penguins' magic number to clinch a playoff berth is one point.

-Adams has 99 career assist.

-Kings left winger Dwight King will miss the game due to a personal matter.

-Kings defenseman Matt Greene has played in 499 career games.

-Our live blog begins at approximately 6 p.m. Please tune in.

(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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Actor Liam Neeson talks candidly with GQ magazine

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .


GQCV00100X50-hi res
325liamneesonblogActor Liam Neeson, 61, talks candidly with GQ’s deputy editor Michael Hainey in the magazine’s April issue which arrives on newsstands April 1. Here are excerpts, courtesy of GQ:
On the movie “Taken”:
“I wanted to do more physical stuff. I really thought it would be kind of a little side road from my so-called career. Really thought it would go straight to video. But it just got great word of mouth. I was stunned.”
On who he wants to work with that he hasn’t yet:
“I’d love to work with Denzel. I have such admiration for him as an actor. I see an incredible nuance of someone who’s so comfortable in front of a camera. There’s an intelligence there; there’s an absolute truth. I’ve never seen that man portray anything less than the truth. It’s pure.”
On working with Woody Allen on "Husband and Wives":
“It was a good experience. There was a lull; a quiet came over the set when he came on. We were out at four in the afternoon. It was [expletive]  great.”
He also described a scene in which he and Judy Davis were in bed, primed for an intimate scene, but they and the crew were uncharacteristically waiting for the filmmaker. He appeared after 20 minutes and nd delivered his instructions to the actors. 
“ So there was no apology; nothing. What happened: His lawyer had gotten in touch with him to say Ms. Farrow has found naked photographs of her adopted daughter [Soon-Yi].”
On his kids:
“I think they do know that I’ll always be there, no matter what happens. But the thing Tasha and I really wanted to instill in them was manners. That may sound like such a basic thing, but I’ve heard so many adults say, ‘Oh, my God, your sons—they look you straight in the eye. They’re very polite and mannered.’ It makes me proud. And it can get you through a lot, in a way. Just showing respect for your fellow man.”
On being a single father:
“It’s just still a day-to-day thing, you know? My boys are teenagers. They’re experimenting. They’re flexing muscles and sometimes dangerous avenues, and you think, ‘[expletive] If Tasha was here, someone could share this.’ But yeah, we’re doing all right, you know?”
“There’s a worry nowadays, with every parent I’ve spoken to. It’s … drugs. It’s a virus. A teenager can take it and suddenly they can be hooked, and it changes their life and their family’s forever. That’s my constant worry. And I trust them, and they’re sensible boys, but it can be just that chemistry that doesn’t work. And now there’s talk of legalizing it. … 
“I was never into drugs, but I had a bad motorbike accident in 2000 and broke my pelvis, my heel. I wasn’t supposed to last the night. And when they took me to the hospital and gave me morphine, ugh, I thought, ‘This is how I want to go, with a big [expletive] jar of this stuff.’ And then when they give you that drip that you give yourself every six minutes. …I knew I was hooked, because I was counting those [expletive] drips, the seconds until I could push that button, and it was instantaneous, that high was.”
On why he gave up drinking:
“I was just — I was drinking too much. It started since my wife died. Pinot Noir: That’s all I drink. I was never into spirits or liquor, hard liquor. And I gave up the Guinness years ago, because it just — past an age, it sticks to you, you know? So last year, I just thought — they’ve been throwing these action movies at me, and I thought, ‘Okay, let’s just change it a little bit.’ And it’s been great. I love it.”
On dating:
“I’m keeping myself to myself. And I like it that way. I’m not hunting. I’m the opposite of a — what would a male cougar be? Is there such a thing? Whatever it is, I’m not that.”
On letting go of his role in "Lincoln":
“Natasha died in March, and then — I want to think it was toward the end of April, Steven [Spielberg] got together a reading, and we all sat: Sally Field, John Lithgow. Oh, just great actors. And Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Steven, of course. We started reading this, and there was an intro, and then I see ‘Lincoln:’ where I have to start speaking, and I just — a thunderbolt moment. I thought, ‘I’m not supposed to be here. This is gone. I’ve passed my sell-by date. I don’t want to play this Lincoln. I can’t be him.’” 
“I was thrilled that Daniel played him, and when I saw the film, I was like, ‘He’s [expletive] Abraham Lincoln. This is perfect.’ Perfect.” 
More information,
Photos: Credit: Paola Kudacki / GQ


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