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#SettingTheSEEN: Life in the Fast Lane!

Written by Natalie Bencivenga on .

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! Catch up with Sara and I as we check out all the fun at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix! #VroomVroom

Until next time...we'll be seeing you!

Keep up with #wheresNataliePG @NBSeen on Twitter and @NatalieBenci on Instagram.

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Fallingwater's "secret garden" restored

Written by Doug Oster on .

Blog 20150714dofallingwater2Eric Kobal, 24, restored the Pottery Terrace Garden at Fallingwater. Photos by Doug Oster

MILL RUN -- Eric Kobal stretches across a lush planter to examine a brown leaf on a rhododendron he planted in this garden on the Pottery Terrace at Fallingwater. The sound of running water is never far away here, especially this year as Bear Run, the stream that runs under the famous property is flowing fast and high after a summer of plentiful rain.

blog 25 20150714dofallingwater5Ferns are just one of the native plants in the garden.For three years Mr. Kobal has been taking people on tours of the famous house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Pittsburgh’s Kaufmann department store family. In October he began a special project in this garden as a landscape volunteer.

The 5-square-foot Pottery Terrace planter is in an area that’s not on the guided tour. It’s where the Kaufmanns stored their pots on the terrace for the winter.

This “secret garden” was in bad shape after a recent construction project on the house. Workers had trampled some of the few plants that had managed to limp along over the last several years. “It was missing something,” Mr. Kobal said, “It had serious drainage issues.”

Nothing grew well there and when he took a close look at the planter all he saw was water, mud, soil and lots of large rocks. His goal was to bring the space back to its formal glory.

With the help of horticulture specialist Ann Talarek, the two combed the archives for pictures of the garden. “We knew there were rhododendron, moss and boulders, she said, but all the old photos were grainy and hard to see. It wasn’t a very prominent garden in any of the historic photos.”

Mr. Kobal created a plan, which included the two plants known to have been in the garden and added a list of native varieties to his drawings.

While excavating the planter, he was surprised by the large rocks found under the soil. “It was like a jigsaw puzzle, dozens of these boulders were up here and we don’t even know why.” Another unexpected find was the depth of the planter itself. The staff thought it was only a couple inches, but after taking everything out of the garden, he discovered it was 7 to 8 inches deep, with a deeper trench in the middle.

The trench was filled with aggregate for drainage and good soil was brought in from nearby Lower Bear Run.

Then the fun part.  Mr. Kobal was able to fulfill his plan by finding the native plants on the Fallingwater property. The small planter was packed with trillium, mayapple, rhododendron, native sedum, mosses, three species of violets, black cohash, eastern marginal wood ferns, partridge berry and Virginia creeper. The latter will hang over the edges when mature, greeting visitors who look up at the planter as they enter the house. In fall the vines will turn brilliant red to make the garden a focal point.

Some of the rocks stayed in the design to add texture. They are already being covered with green moss harvested from the woodlands.

“Not many people make it to the Pottery Terrace,” Mr. Kobal said. “They don’t even know they can come here.”

While it’s not the guided tour, he said visitors afterward can request to see the secret garden. “I think it just speaks to the site, he said, seeing this, they understand Fallingwater, they understand the grounds. it’s a microcosm of the site.”

His experience as a volunteer here also has inspired Mr. Kobal to become a landscape architect. He will head to Washington University in St. Louis for his master’s degree on a scholarship, partly due to what he’s accomplished at Fallingwater.

As soft light filters through the trees and across the planter, he looks out over the driveway at the beams which tie the hillside to the home, which was built between 1936 to 1939.

“I kind of see these as veins, he says. That hillside is the heart of the property, blood flows through these beams, these veins into the home here.”

Then while pointing down to the planter says, “This is an opening on top of one of those beams, this is where the site bleeds out and you can see what bleeds, it’s nature.”

Blog 20150714dofallingwater4The restored Pottery Terrace Garden is filled with lush growth.

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Empty Netter Assists - Camp's a wrap - 07-19-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-“There’s a whole bunch of us in the running for it and there’s going to be one or two guys who really step up and earn those spots.” - Bryan Rust on the presumed openings on the Penguins' fourth line.

-Forward Ty Loney (above) had a hat trick in the prospect scrimmage yesterday.

-Penguins forward prospect Anton Zlobin played a game (sort of) for the first time since October.

-Happy 53rd birthday to former Penguins defenseman Craig Muni. Originally acquired from the Sabres in exchange for cash Oct. 3, 1986, Muni was traded to the Oilers three days later to complete a deal which brought Gilles Meloche to the Penguins. Muni came back to the Penguins as a free agent prior to the 1996-97 season. He would appear in 64 games that campaign and recorded four assists. In the 1997 offseason, he joined the Stars as a free agent.

-Happy 37th birthday to former Penguins goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin (right). A third-round pick in 1995, Aubin spent parts of six seasons with the Penguins. When Tom Barrasso struggled with injuries in 1998-99, Aubin made his NHL debut by appearing in 17 games and sporting a 4-3-6 record with a 2.22 goals against average, .908 save percentage and two shutouts. The 1999-2000 season was Aubin's finest in the NHL as he appeared in a team-high and career-high 51 games while going 23-21-3 with a 2.58 goals against average, .914 save percentage and two shutouts. During the team's memorable 2000-01 season, Aubin (right) platooned most of the campaign with Garth Snow as he played in 36 games and had a record of 20-14-1 with a 3.13 goals against average and .890 save percentage. Aubin was relegated to back-up duty behind new starter Johan Hedberg in 2001-02 as he only saw action in 21 games and had a dreadful 3-12-1 record with a 3.56 goals against average and .879 save percentage. Aubin served as the team's third goaltender in 2002-03 behind Hedberg and rookie Sebastien Caron appearing in 21 games with a 6-13-0 record, 3.13. goals against average .900 save percentage and one shutout. Aubin's final season with the Penguins was 2003-04. He played in 22 games and had a record of 7-9-0 with a 2.98 goals against average, .908 save percentage and one shutout. During the 2004-05 NHL lockout, Aubin joined St. John's, Toronto's AHL affiliate. In 168 career games with the Penguins, Aubin had a record of 63-72-11, a 2.92 goals against average, .901 save percentage and six shutouts. He is currently a member of Ducs d'Angers of France's Ligue Magnus.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-The Devils re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Seth Helgeson to a two-year contract worth a total of $1.175 million. Coming off an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $595,000, Helgeson's new deal will have a cap hit of $587,500. Helgeson, 24, appeared in 22 games last season and recorded two assists.

-EN Says: Helgeson is a larger player (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) who can play physical but doesn't offer much with the puck. He could find some ice time on the team's bottom defensive pairing.

Central Division

-Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (right), winner of last season's Conn Smythe Trophy, revealed he is going through a divorce.

-"There are pluses and minuses. There's always the pressure of living up to the expectations. … The pressure is high with that." - Blackhawks forward Viktor Tikhonov on having the same name as his grandfather, the legendary Soviet coach.

Norris Division

-Former Blue Jackets/Oilers/Coyotes forward Gilbert Brule has joined Medvescak Zagreb, a Croatian team in Russia's KHL.

(Photos: Steve Babineau/Allsport, Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images and Bill Wade/Post-Gazette)

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Zlobin returns to the ice, scores - 07-18-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

 

 

Playing for Team White during the Penguins' prospect scrimmage at Consol Energy Center Saturday, left winger Anton Zlobin scored a goal from the slot during the first period of what turned out to be a 8-1 win against Team Black. While the goal was surely pleasant for Zlobin, simply being on the ice was far more significant.

It was the first game situation for Zlobin since he suffered a right shoulder injury Oct. 31. The injury required surgery and limited his 2014-15 season to six games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League.

“It's pretty important for me,” said Zlobin. “I didn't play in nine months. It was my first game. I scored. Gaining confidence back. I try to come back in shape because I started skating just last week.”

The Penguins drafted Zlobin, a native of Russia, in the sixth round of the 2012 draft. He admitted his shoulder, which had an ice bag wrapped to it following the game, is still a concern.

“It still bugs me a little bit," said Zlobin. “It's stable right now. I took a hit during the game. It felt pretty good from there.”

His recovery is still a work in progress.

“It's the first competition he's had for a long time,” said assistant general manager Tom Fitzgerald. “He played six games last year for us. That's it. I'm sure he had a lot of fun. He's got a ways to go. He's a great kid. He's been a lot of fun to work with. So our job and goal is to get him to become a regular in the American Hockey League lineup every night. Be consistent. If he's able to get in NHL games this year, great.”

With forward prospects Bryan Rust and Scott Wilson being potential candidates to start the NHL season at the NHL level, Zlobin, who has a history of scoring key goals in postseason situations, cites them as role models in his development.

“That's always a challenge between us,” said Zlobin. “I try to do my best because those guys [are] actually good players. They played good last year. Had good experience in the NHL. I just look at them and try to do the same thing they do.”

 

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Empty Netter Assists - Uher re-signs - 07-18-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-The Penguins re-signed restricted free agent forward Dominik Uher (right) to a one-year, two-way contract. Coming off an entry-level deal with a salary cap hit of $601,666, Uher's new deal will have a cap hit of $575,000. Uher made his NHL debut last season by playing in two games and failed to score a point. In 72 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Uher, 22, scored 26 points (13 goals, 13 assists).

-EN Says: While there are some openings on the fourth line, particularly at the center position, with the NHL roster, Uher has fallen behind prospect Oskar Sundqvist and even minor-league signing Kevin Porter. Uher has developed into a solid bottom-six center at the AHL level and he may get the occasional recall in the event of injury at the NHL level, but his prospects to find a permanent role at the NHL level are limited.

-Expected to take on a bigger role next season, defenseman Derrick Pouliot is taking steps to ensure he has a better diet.

-New Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins coach Mike Sullivan is getting used to the organization and his new players.

-After finally having a healthy season, forward prospect Matia Marcantuoni wants to expand his role.

-Former Penguins defenseman Jim Paek is getting South Korea ready to compete in the 2018 Olympics.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-The Islanders signed former Ducks forward Louis Leblanc to a one-year, two-way contract.

-The Devils re-signed a restricted free agent forward Stefan Matteau (right) to a two-year contract worth $1.225 million. Coming off an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $842,500, Matteau's new deal will have a cap hit of $612,500. Matteau, 21, appeared in seven NHL games last season and had one goal.

-EN Says: Matteau, a first-round pick in 2012, has failed to gain any traction in his development with the Devils. Perhaps with new management, he can get things together. At 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, he has the body to be a power forward in the NHL.

-New Devils general manager Ray Shero is more open to his players using social media than predecessor Lou Lamoriello.

-The Rangers signed minor league defenseman Mat Bodie to a one-year, two-way contract.

Atlantic Division

-The Lightning re-signed restricted free agent forward Vladislav Namestnikov and defenseman Luke Witkowski to one-year, two-way contracts.

-The Sabres re-signed restricted free agent forward Johan Larsson to a one-year contract worth $800,000. Full terms of the deal weren't reported.

Central Division

-The Predators re-signed restricted free agent forward Calle Jarnkrok (right to a one-year deal worth $735,000. Coming off an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $715,000, Jarnkrok, 23, appeared in 74 games last season and scored 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists).

-EN Says: Jarnkrok broke through as a full-time NHLer last season and took on a third-line role. He is expected to move to wing next season. If used in a more prominent role, he can provide a little offense. As it is, he's fully capable of taking on a third-line role. This contracts gives him and the Predators a chance to work out a longer-term deal.

Patrick Division

-Goaltender Matt Skoff, a native of McKees Rocks, is trying to earn an NHL contract while also helping Penn State's program.

-Former Nordiques/Avalanche/Canadiens/Stars/Rangers/Blues forward Martin Rucinsky has retired. Rucinsky, 44, spent the last eight seasons playing in the Czech Republic.

-Retired Canadian broadcaster James A. Waters has purchased the Erie Otters. He has pledged to keep them in Erie.

(Photos: Adam Hunger/Getty Images, Christian Petersen/Getty Images and Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

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