Print

Empty Netter Assists - 07-05-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-Brian Gibbons (right) signed a one-year two-way contract with the Blue Jackets. Gibbons, 26, appeared in 41 games last season and scored 17 points (five goals, 12 assists).

-EN Says: Gibbons emerged as a pretty useful player last season but was pressed into duties above his abilities last season, especially when he was used on the top line. If his ice time is limited to a bottom-six role and on the penalty kill, Gibbons can be a contributor.

-"I feel we've improved ourselves at all positions." -  Jim Rutherford.

-Associate general manager Jason Botterill will take a different approach to restocking the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins' roster.

-Happy 29th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Alexandre Picard. A free agent signing last summer, Picard appeared in 17 NHL games last season and recorded four assists. After not being re-signed by the Penguins, he joined HC Lev Praha of Russia's KHL. This past season, Picard played for the Graz 99ers of Austria's EBEL.

-Happy 45th birthday to former Penguins forward John LeClair. An all-star with the rival Flyers, LeClair joined the Penguins as a free agent following the 2004-05 lockout. He appeared in 73 games in 2005-06 and recorded a respectable 51 points. After 21 games and seven points in 2006-07, LeClair was released in December. In 94 games with the Penguins, he scored 58 points.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-The Blue Jackets re-signed restricted free agent defenseman David Savard to a two-year contract worth a total of $2.6 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $709,275, Savard's new deal will have a cap hit of $1.3 million. Appearing in 70 games last season, Savard, 23, scored 15 points (five goals, 10 assists).

-EN Says: Savard emerged as a legitimate NHL defenseman last season.  He's a solid puck mover who can quarterback a power play. He has solid size (6-foot-2, 219 pounds) but needs to work on his physical game. This is a fair contract.

-The Hurricanes signed former Flyers forward Ben Holmstrom to a one-year two-way contract.

-The Capitals signed former Coyotes forward Tim Kennedy and former Flyers forward Kris Newbury to one-year two-way contracts.

-The Flyers re-signed unrestricted free agent forward Chris VandeVelde to a one-year two-way contract.

Atlantic Division

-The Senators signed former Red Wings forward David Legwand to a two-year contract worth a total of $6 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $4.5 million Legwand's new deal will have a cap hit of $3 million. Appearing in 83 games last season, Legwand, 33, 51 points (14 goals, 37 assists).

-EN Says: The Senators needed a center to replace Jason Spezza who left via trade. Legwand is no Spezza in terms of offensive production and playmaking but Legwand is proabably a better two-way player. He gives Ottawa a legit top-six center. 

-The Lightning re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Andrej Sustr (right) to a one-year contract worth $874,125. Coming off an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $925,000, Sustr, 23, appeared in 43 games last season and scored eight points (one goal, seven assists).

-EN Says: Despite being pretty massive, Sustr (6-foot-8, 225 pounds) isn't a particularly physical player. He more relies on his long reach and good positioning to defend well and is a fairly decent passer. This is a depth signing.

Central Division

-The Predators re-signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Joe Piskula to a one-year two-way contract.

Pacific Division

-The Canucks re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Yannick Weber to a one-year contract worth $850,000. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $650,000, Weber, 25, appeared in 49 games last season and scored 10 points (six goals, four assists).

-EN Says: Weber is an offensive defenseman who has a good shot and can produce a bit on the power play. Beyond that, he doesn't offer much.

(Photos: Al Bello/Getty Images and Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

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

Summer is a great time to plant

Written by Doug Oster on .

Blog Tom in gardenTom McMeekin, owner of Quality Gardens in Valencia looks over some of his vegetable plants which are on sale. Photos by Doug Oster

By Doug Oster / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Blog Quality greens 25These greens will be ready to harvest in weeks or sooner.Bright red ‘Supersweet‍ 100’‍ tomatoes ripen in pots next to flats of multicolored greens at Quality Gardens in Adams, Butler County.
“There‘s still plenty of time to plant,” said owner Tom McMeekin.
Local garden centers are overflowing with deep green peppers and other plants looking for a home.

Like many nurseries, Quality Gardens marks down vegetables and other plants in early July.
“We’‍re at half price right now,” Mr. McMeekin said. “We’‍ve done all the hard work, and now all you have to do is stick them in the ground and you’‍ll have a crop practically overnight.“
It might seem strange to be talking about starting or adding to the vegetable garden in the middle of summer. But the heat actually accelerates the growth of plants and seeds.
“Things that would take 10 days, two weeks to come up in the early spring will sprout in three or four days this time of the year,” he said.
Any crop that will reach fruition in 80 days or so can be planted from seed now. Bush beans, beets, carrots, spinach, cucumbers and more will be ready by fall. There are lots of plants to get in the ground, too. Squash, cucumbers, cabbage, tomatoes and peppers all benefit from summer planting.
One trick that Mr. McMeekin has for older tomatoes that become leggy is to plant them horizontally. Here’s how:
Remove the lower leaves from the plant and dig a long shallow trench. Gently lay the plant in the trench on its side. Once the stem is covered with soil, it will grow roots. Because they are close to the surface, the new roots can enjoy the warmth of the sun and easily access water and fertilizer.
Certain vegetables do well in containers, even when planted late. Some tomatoes have been bred to grow in small pots such as hanging baskets.
‍”They produce prolifically, and they are very, very tasty,” Mr. McMeekin said.
He also suggests getting an early cucumber or squash growing in a pot up a trellis. Over the years, he’‍s learned to add a little topsoil to each pot on top of the planting mix. It improves the flavor of the harvest, he said.
For gardeners who didn’‍t get started in May, he suggests doing a small garden. It’‍s e‍asier to weed, water and maintain than a large plot. “You don’‍t have to have the biggest garden on the block, just the nicest,” he said with a smile.

blog Karen TribouKaren Tribou and her son, Micah, run Plumline Nursery in Murrsyville. They still have interesting vegetable and fruits available to plant now.
In Murrysville Karen Tribou and her son, Micah, run Plumline Nursery. They have sold all their tomatoes, but there are plenty of other edibles waiting to be planted.
blog plum peppers 25'Super Chili' peppers are ready to pick, even before they go in the garden and will continue to produce until frost.Mrs. Tribou‘s vegetable garden consists of tomatoes, peppers and her favorite herbs planted in decorative containers.
“Depending on the size of the pot, you can mix up the herbs and have your own kitchen garden,” she said.
Her herb garden contains lemon balm, oregano, thyme and more.
‍“I can’‍t stress enough how great herbs are. They look pretty, and they are easy to grow,” she said, adding that she also uses thyme in the landscape as an aromatic ground cover.
She amends the soil in her containers with a slow-release granular fertilizer. ‍“Plants tend to tell you when they are thirsty. When they start wilting, give them lots of water.” If the slow-release product wasn’‍t added first, she recommends feeding them every week with a liquid fertilizer.‍
‘Super Chili’‍ peppers at the nursery are loaded with fruit, some of which are turning bright red. Mrs. Tribou also recommends tomatillos.
“They are fun to grow and super easy,” she said.‍‍
Right next to the peppers are blueberry bushes, something else that could find a home in the garden right now. ‍
“They‘re a pretty shrub,” she said. “‘Pink Lemondade’‍ is an interesting variety. Our employees eat them off the branches all day long.”

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

"Setting the Seen": Happy 4th of July!

Written by Natalie Bencivenga on .

Enjoy this special holiday edition of "Setting the SEEN". We filmed this week at #SEENHotSpot Grit & Grace to get fabulous party recipes. After watching the video, try making these yummy treats for your party tonight (or all summer long!)

Jungle Bird

1.5 oz Goslings Dark rum

1.5 oz Smoked Pineapple Juice (or regular pineapple juice if you don’t have access to a smoker)

¾ oz Campari

½ oz Fresh lime juice

½ oz Simple sugar (simply equal parts sugar to water; you will want to bring up the water to a high heat in order to properly incorporate the sugar)

Mix all ingredients together in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake. Strain over one large ice cube, if possible, and garnish with leaves of the pineapple.

Refreshing Mocktail

¾ oz Housemade Orgeat (see recipe below)

¾ oz Housemade Lime preserves

1 ½ oz Fresh Orange juice

Top w/ Soda Water & Peychauds Bitters

Mix all ingredients together in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake and strain over ice. Top the glass with soda water. Add Peychauds’s bitters for a bright red contrast in color and a balance if bitter flavor. Garnish with fresh fruit.

Make homemade Orgeat

8 oz Almond meal

5 cups Sugar (divided)

8 cups water

5 drops Rose water

8 drops Orange Blossom Water

½ tsp Almond Extract

Combine Almond Meal + 1 Cup Sugar + Water on high heat, bring to boil. Remove from heat, cover and let sit overnight. Next Day: strain through cheesecloth + China cap into saucepan. Add 4 Cups Sugar and on a medium heat, dissolve sugar. Cool. Add Rose Water + Orange Blossom Water + Almond Extract. NOTES: Makes 5 Cup Serving; can be made in larger batches and frozen.

 

And impress your friends with Grit & Grace's (fancy but simple to make!) asparagus salad with tarragon Dijon dressing, bulgur wheat, pickled egg, radish and bibb lettuce:

Roasted asparagus
1 bunch large asparagus
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
Remove woody stems and toss in olive oil salt and pepper.
Roast for 6 min and chill.

Tarragon dressing
2 tbsp
1 large shallot
2 oz white balsamic vinegar
1 oz water
6 oz canola oil
1 tbsp tarragon
Add all ingredients except the tarragon and oil in the base of a food processor or blender. With the motor running slowly emulsify in the oil and fold in the tarragon. Salt and pepper to taste.

Pickled eggs
4 hardboiled eggs
1 quart red wine vinegar
1 cup sugar

Bulgur wheat
1 quart bulgur
1 ½ quarts boiling water
Bring water to a boil and pour over bulgur wheat and wrap with cling film. Let stand 5 min and fluff with a fork and cool.

 

 

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

Empty Netter Assists - 07-04-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-The Penguins re-signed unrestricted free agent forward Zach Sill (right) to a one-year two-way contract. Sill, 26, made his NHL debut last season by appearing in 20 games last season with no points.

-EN Says: Sill showed off a little bit of what he could do at the NHL level last season and was more than competent in a four-line role. He probably would have seen more time in the NHL last season but an arm injury suffered in an AHL game sidelined him for several months. Expect him to be in line to compete for a full-time NHL job in training camp.

-Jim Rutherford will start focusing on restricted free agents.

-"The first couple of hours there, I still thought it was a dream." - Patric Hornqvist on finding out he was traded to the Penguins.

-The Nashville Predators had a microphone on general manager David Poile during last week's NHL draft for a video. Things revealed in the video include:

  • Some negotiations involving the trade which brought Hornqvist and Nick Spaling to the Penguins in exchange for James Neal.
  • According to Poile, Rutherford was trying to acquire the No. 23 pick from the Avalanche in an attempt to flip it along with the Penguins' No. 22 pick to the Predators in exchange for the No. 11 pick.
  • Also according to Poile, before the Neal-Hornqvist/Spaling trade could go through, Rutherford had to get permission from owner Mario Lemieux.

-The parts involving the Penguins is are early in the video:

-Kudos to for the heads-up on that video.

-Former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins defenseman Cody Wild has joined the Nottingham Panthers of the United Kingdom's EIHL.

-Happy 52nd birthday to former Penguins forward Kevin McClelland. Acquired along with Pat Boutette as compensation for the Whalers' signing of Greg Millen, McClelland spent parts of three seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 1981-82, he appeared in 10 games and recorded five points. He also appeared in all five of the team's playoff games that spring and contributed two points when the Penguins nearly upset the defending Stanley Cup champion Islanders in the first round. In 1982-83 McCleland played in 38 games and scored nine points. After appearing in 24 games and scoring six points in 1983-84, McClelland and a draft pick were traded to the Oilers in exchange for Tom Roulston. In 72 games with the Penguins, McClelland scored 20 points. He is currently the head coach of the CHL's Wichita Thunder.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-“I regret my actions on Canada Day and sincerely apologize to my fans, teammates and the Philadelphia Flyers organization for my misguided attempt at humor. Following an investigation, law enforcement determined that charges are not warranted.  I have the utmost respect for law enforcement and apologize to the Ottawa Police Department and specifically the individual officer. I will be making no further public comment on this matter. I will not be distracted from my ongoing preparation for the upcoming season.  I remain 100% committed and focused on working with my team to return the Stanley Cup to Philadelphia.” - Flyers captain/forward Claude Giroux in a statement regarding his arrest for grabbing the buttocks of an Ottawa police officer Tuesday.

-The Devils are trying to sign goaltender Cory Schneider to a contract extension. He is entering the final year of his current contract.

-Can the Capitals fix defenseman Mike Green?

-The Hurricanes re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Michal Jordan and forward Jared Staal to one-year two-way contracts.

-The Rangers signed former Panthers forward Nick Tarnasky. Terms of the deal were not reported.

Atlantic Division

-The Maple Leafs signed former Canucks forward Mike Santorelli (right) to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $550,000, Santorelli, 28, appeared in 49 games last season and scored 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists).

-EN Says: Santorelli is a quick skater who can play all three forward positions. He has some scoring ability as evidenced by the 20-goal season he recorded with the Panthers in 2010-11 but defense is not a strong suit for him.

-The Maple Leafs signed former Blackhawks forward Petri Kontiola to a one-year contract worth $1.1 million. Kontiola, 29, appeared in 53 games for Chelyabinsk of Russia's KHL last season and scored 37 points (15 goals 22 assists).

-The Maple Leafs re-signed unrestricted free agent forward Troy Bodie to a one-year contract. Terms were not reported.

-The Sabres signed former Capitals defenseman Tyson Strachan to a one-year two-way contract.

-The Senators signed former Bruins defenseman Aaron Johnson to a one-year two-way contract.

-The Senators re-signed restricted free agent forward David Dziurzynski to a two-year, two-way contract.

Central Division

-The Blues signed forward Jori Lehterä, a third-round pick in 2008, to a two-year contract worth $5.5 million. He will have a salary cap hit of $2.75 million. Lehtera appeared in 48 games last season for Sibir Novosibirsk of Russia's KHL and scored 44 points (12 goals, 32 assists).

Pacific Division

-The Flames re-signed unrestricted free agent forward Paul Byron (right) to a one-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not reported. Byron, 25, appeared in 47 games last season and scored 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists).

-EN Says: Byron (5-foot-7, 153 pounds) is a quick, little waterbug of a forward who produced a fair amount of offense in limited time on a bad team last season.

-The Flames signed former Penguins goaltender Brad Thiessen to a one-year two-way contract.

-The Canucks re-signed restricted free agent forward Zack Kassian to a two-year deal worth $3.5 million. Coming off an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $870,000, Kassian's new deal will have a cap hit of $1.75 million. Kassian, 23, appeared in 73 games last season and scored 29 points (14 goals, 15 assists).

-EN Says: Kassian (6-foot-3, 214 pounds) is a fairly large player with a physical game and a willingness to drop the gloves. His scoring touch a bit limited but he can contribute enough to be a viable third liner. This is a fair contract.

-A chance to play on a line with the Sedin twins lured free agent forward Radim Vrbata to the Canucks.

-The Coyotes hired former Sabres general manager Darcy Regier as senior vice president and assistant general manager.

Norris Division

-Hockey Hall of Fame forward Pat LaFontaine has joined the NHL as vice president of Hockey Development and Community Affairs.

(Photos: Claus Andersen/Getty Images, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images and Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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

Setting the SEEN: Fourth of July edition with food and fun

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

What are you doing to celebrate America's 238th birthday? How about throw a party with some festive food and drinks!

In a very special holiday episode of "Setting the SEEN," SEEN editor Natalie Bencivenga and I stopped by Grit & Grace, Downtown, for tips on drinks and dishes for summer celebrations. Plus we checked out the newly renovated Mellon Square Park and talked tips for throwing the perfect summer party.

Find it all in the video below. If you like any of the treats that you see, some recipes are below, too.

Happy Fourth of July, and until next time -- we'll be seeing you!

 

 

RECIPES FOR THE FOURTH OF JULY (or any summer celebration ...)

Jungle Bird cocktail
1.5 oz Goslings dark rum
1.5 oz smoked pineapple juice (or regular pineapple juice if you don’t have access to a smoker)
3/4 oz Campari oz Fresh lime juice
1/2 oz simple sugar (simply equal parts sugar to water; you will want to bring up the water to a high heat in order to properly incorporate the sugar)

Mix all ingredients together in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake. Strain over one large ice cube, if possible, and garnish with leaves of the pineapple. If you are featuring this cocktail for a party you can pre-batch the cocktail and put in a decorative glass bottle so guests can help themselves and nobody has to play bartender all night. Just keep the ice full!

Summer Refresher mocktail
3/4 oz house-made Orgeat
3/4 oz house-made lime preserves
1 1/2 oz fresh orange juice
Top with soda water & Peychauds Bitters

Mix all ingredients together in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake and strain over ice. Top the glass with soda water. Add Peychauds’s bitters for a bright red contrast in color and a balance if bitter flavor. Garnish with fresh fruit.

To make Orgeat ...
8 oz almond meal
5 cups sugar (divided)
8 cups water
5 drops rose water
8 drops orange blossom water
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Combine almond meal + 1 cup sugar + water on high heat, bring to boil. Remove from heat, cover and let sit overnight. Next day: strain through cheesecloth + China cap into saucepan. Add 4 cups of sugar and on a medium heat, dissolve sugar. Cool. Add rose water + orange blossom water + almond extract.

NOTES: Makes 5 Cup Serving; can be made in larger batches and frozen

Asparagus salad with tarragon Dijon dressing, bulgur wheat, pickled egg, radish and bibb lettuce
Roasted asparagus
1 bunch large asparagus
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove woody stems and toss in olive oil salt and pepper. Roast for 6 min and chill.

Tarragon dressing
2 tblsp
1 large shallot
2 oz white balsamic vinegar
1 oz water
6 oz canola oil
1 tblsp tarragon
Add all ingredients except the tarragon and oil in the base of a food processor or blender. With the motor running slowly emulsify in the oil and fold in the tarragon. Salt and pepper to taste.

Pickled eggs
4 hardboiled eggs
1 quart red wine vinegar
1 cup sugar

Bulgur wheat
1 quart bulgur
1 1/2 quarts boiling water
Bring water to a boil and pour over bulgur wheat and wrap with cling film. Let stand 5 min and fluff with a fork and cool.

 

 

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.