Duquesne lands Butler transfer, former recruiting target Rene Castro

Written by Stephen J. Nesbitt on .

Duquesne has secured the commitment of Butler transfer Rene Castro, a 6-foot-2 freshman point guard. Castro will sit out the 2014-15 season due to transfer restrictions and have three years of eligibility remaining.

Castro, a Worchester, Mass., product, took an official visit to the Bluff in October 2012 and was strongly considering Pitt and George Washington at the point. Butler came on late in the process and earned Castro's commitment.

The Bulldogs lost head coach Brad Stevens to the Boston Celtics, assistant coach Matthew Graves -- Castro's lead recruiter -- to South Alabama, and Castro, a former three-star recruit, wasn't used much in a disappointing 14-17 season. Castro averaged 3.3 points and 8.8 minutes per game as a freshman.

Castro announced Feb. 15 he intended to transfer, but he didn't take any additional visits. He spoke with a few schools, including Duquesne and George Washington, and informed Duquesne coach Jim Ferry of his decision Wednesday morning. He will practice with the team starting this summer but will not play or travel until the 2015-16 season.

Castro was the 2012 Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year and averaged 19 points a game as a high school senior at Worcester Academy.

NOTE: Duquesne will host guard Jordan Stevens, a potential junior-college transfer from Southeastern Community College, for an official visit next week. Stevens is described as a combo guard that can play the point, has good size at 6-foot-1, and is a prolific scorer. He averaged 19 points per game last season.

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About the Blue Jackets - Game 1 - 04-16-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Blue Jackets.

When and where: 7:30 p.m., EDT. Consol Energy Center.

TV: Root Sports (Pittsburgh market); Fox Sports Ohio (Columbus market); NBC Sports Network (Rest of the United States); CBC.

Leading regular season scorer: Ryan Johansen 63 points (33 goals, 30 assists).

Last Game: 3-2 road win against the Panthers, Saturday. Johansen had a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets.

Last Game against the Penguins: 2-1 home loss, March 28. Curtis McElhinney made 29 saves for the Blue Jackets.

Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (39-18-5, 2.37 GAA, .915 SV%) for the Penguins. Sergei Bobrovsky (32-20-5, 2.38 GAA, .922 SV%) for the Blue Jackets.

Injuries: For the Penguins, Center Marcel Goc (ankle) is out. Right wingers Chris Conner (hand), Pascal Dupuis (knee), centers Evgeni Malkin (foot), Joe Vitale ("mid body") and goaltender Tomas Vokoun (blood clot) are on injured reserve. For the Blue Jackets, defenseman Ryan Murray (knee) is probable. left wingers Nick Foligno ("lower body"), R.J. Umberger ("upper body") are doubtful. Right winger Nathan Horton (abdominal) is out.

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

14 Chris Kunitz - 87 Sidney Crosby - 19 Beau Bennett
36 Jussi Jokinen - 71 Evgeni Malkin - 18 James Neal
15 Tanner Glass - 16 Brandon Sutter - 22 Lee Stempniak
49 Brian Gibbons - 46 Joe Vitale - 27 Craig Adams

7 Paul Martin - 44 Brooks Orpik
4 Rob Scuderi - 58 Kris Letang
2 Matt Niskanen - 3 Olli Maatta

-The Blue Jackets primary lines and defensive pairings at today's morning skate were:

38 Boone Jenner - 19 Ryan Johansen - 5 Jack Skille
11 Matt Calvert - 17 Brandon Dubinsky - 13 Cam Atkinson
24 Derek MacKenzie - 42 Artem Anisimov - 14 Blake Comeau
26 Corey Tropp - 55 Mark Letestu - 40 Jared Boll

51 Fedor Tyutin - 7 Jack Johnson (above)
27 Ryan Murray - 21 James Wisniewski
6 Nikita Nikitin - 58 David Savard


-The last time the Penguins played the Blue Jackets, this happened:

-If they play, defensemen Robert Bortuzzo, Olli Maatta, centers Brian Gibbons, Jayson Megna and goaltender Jeff Zatkoff will make their NHL postseason debuts.

-Malkin has 97 career postseason points.

-Our live blog begins at approximately 6:30 p.m. Please tune in.

(Photo: Elsa/Getty Images)

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Lightning - Canadiens preview - 04-16-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Lightning vs. Canadiens

Lightning Leading Regular Season Scorer: Ondrej Palat, 59 points (23 goals, 36 assists).

Canadiens Leading Regular Season Scorer: Thomas Vanek, 68 points (27 goals, 41 assists).

Lightning Expected Starting Goaltender: Anders Lindback, 8-12-2, 2.90 GAA, .891 SV%.

Canadiens Expected Starting Goaltender: Carey Price, 34-20-5, 2.32 GAA, .927 SV%.

Lightning Regular Season Statistics

Canadiens Regular Season Statistics

Lightning Injuries: Center Valtteri Filppula ("lower body") and left winger Ondrej Palat ("upper body") are questionable. Goaltender Ben Bishop (elbow) is out. Defensemen Brian Lee (knee) and Mattias Ohlund (knee) are on injured reserve.

Canadiens Injuries: Center Lars Eller (illness) is probable. Left winger Brandon Prust ("upper body") is questionable. Center Alex Galchenyuk ("lower body") and left winger Travis Moen (concussion) are on injured reserve.

Lightning with Stanley Cup bling: Valtteri Filppula (above), C.

Canadiens with Stanley Cup bling: Brian Gionta, RW; Travis Moen, LW; George Parros, RW.

Something worthwhile about the Lightning: The Lightning scored 10 short-handed goals this season, most among any team in the postseason.

Something worthwhile about the Canadiens: The Canadiens blocked 688 shots this past regular season, most in the NHL among any team in the postseason.

Something useless about the Lightning that is vaguely connected to the Penguins: The first home postseason goal in Lightning history was scored by former Penguins right winger Petr Klima in Game 3 of a 1996 Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

Something useless about the Canadiens that is vaguely connected to the Penguins: The last Canadiens goaltender to stop a postseason penalty shot was Andy Moog. He stopped Penguins right winger Aleksey Morozov in Game 1 of a 1998 Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

Former Penguins on the Lightning: Ryan Malone, LW.

Former Penguins on the Canadiens: Marc Bergevin, general manager; Jean-Jacques Daigneault, assistant coach; Douglas Murray, D; Michel Therrien, head coach.

Who needs to be the difference for the Lightning: Victor Hedman, Eric Brewer, Matt Carle, Sami Salo. With the Lightning dealing a questionable goaltending situation thanks to the health of Bishop, the Lightning's blue line needs to reign in the Canadien's fleet crew of skilled forwards.

Who needs to be the difference for the Canadiens: Carey Price (right). He will be facing a pretty skilled group of forwards for the Lightning. He needs to steal goals.

Best Lightning YouTube Video We Could Find: Lightning left winger Alexander Selivanov scoring an overtime goal in a 4-3 win against the Flyers in Game 3 of a 1996 Eastern Conference quarterfinal series:

Best Canadiens YouTube Video We Could Find: Canadiens right winger Russ Courtnall scoring the series-clinching goal in overtime of a 3-2 win against the Hartford Whalers in Game 7 of a 1992 Adams Division semifinal:

EN Prediction: Everything depends on Bishop's health. If he's not available, this will be a brief series. Canadiens 4-2.

(Photos: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images and Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

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Heirloom bulbs are perfect for an old house

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog best pickwick'Pickwick' crocus was released the same year my house was built. It's fun to grow things from that era. Photos by Doug Oster

blog sidways pickwickWhen I discovered 'Pickwick' crocus was released in 1939, the same year my house was built, I had to grow it.

It doesn't hurt that it's one of the most beautiful flowers in the early spring garden. 'Pickwick' is also readily available at local nurseries in the fall. Like all things in the garden it's ephemeral, often only lasting a few short days when temperatures rise.

I'm always adding bulbs from the pre-war and WWII era. I think it's interesting to plant things which were grown when my house was new. To me the bulbs compliment my old Tudor house. When they bloom, I'm the only one who knows about the connection, unless I happen to have a visitor. Then they'll have to endure the history tour. Good friends don't mind, others might get a little annoyed, but that's the requirement for seeing the spring garden.

One of the coolest bulb catalogs is Old House Gardens, run by Scott Kunst. His catalog is a wealth of information and heirloom treasures which will fill your garden with character and beauty. I can shop by date on the web site, which is perfect for what I'm doing. 'White Triumphator' is a beautiful tulip from 1942 which fits the bill for my spring garden.

Even though we are inundated each season with new improved varieties each season, cultivars which stand the test of time are always a must for my garden.

There are plenty of spring planted bulbs in the Old House Gardens catalog too that work for me. 'Kidd's Climax' dahlia from 1940 produces large pink and yellow blossoms. Dahlias are the queen of the summer garden. Often times people don't plant them because the don't want to lift the tubers at the end of the season. It's a easy garden job, and once you've figured it out you'll be storing lots of bulbs and tubers like I do. I'll cover how to save them at the end of the season.

I also have my eye on 'Blue Rhythm' iris from 1945. It won the 1950 Dykes Medal, the highest honor an iris can win. The blossoms are bluish purple and offer a lemony fragrance.

Growing plants from the same era as my house was built is fun twist to gardening. Old House Gardens has bulbs dating back to the 1500's, maybe even earlier. You can certainly find something which will work in your garden.

blog tight pickwick





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Empty Netter Assists - 04-16-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Playoff Stuff
Penguins - Blue Jackets

-"Not read too much. Not watch [TV]. And remind myself that I have won one more Stanley Cup than a lot of people." - Marc-Andre Fleury (right) on how he deals with criticism directed his way.

-The Penguins have a considerable advantage over the Blue Jackets in terms of postseason experience.

-Evgeni Malkin returned to practice.

-The Penguins assigned Simon Despres, Chuck Kobasew and Harry Zolnierczyk to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

-Have these Penguins underachieved?

-“Given the guys that I played with on the ’09 team, you’d think that they were going to be a perennial Cup candidate. But sometimes it doesn’t work out that way." - Rob Scuderi on the Penguins failure to win a Stanley Cup title since 2009.

-“Just because you want to do it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen." - Sidney Crosby on winning the Stanley Cup.

-Dan Bylsma speaks:

-Fleury speaks:

-Malkin speaks:

-Sidney Crosby speaks:

-Could Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards have been the Penguins' head coach instead of Dan Bylsma?

-“We had good success against them, but it was hard. It’s going to be even harder now.” - Matt Niskanen on the Penguins going 5-0-0 against the Blue Jackets this season.

-“He’s as good a person as he is a hockey player, if you can believe that. But he knows as well as I do that I’m trying to win the Cup as much as he is. It’s well understood between the two of us that we’re going to go as hard as we can. It’s the Stanley Cup. We’ll be friends again afterward.” - Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson on his relationship with Crosby.

-Blue Jackets forwards Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky are expected to see plenty of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin this series.

-Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (right) took the road less traveled to become an NHL star.

-The Blue Jackets recalled goaltender Jeremy Smith from Springfield of the AHL.

Rangers - Flyers

-The Flyers signed defenseman Andrew MacDonald to a six-year contract extension worth a total of $30 million. Currently in the final year of a contract with a salary cap hit of $550,000, MacDonald's new deal will have a cap hit of $5 million. In 82 games this season, MacDonald, 27, had 28 points (four goals, 20 assists). He was acquired from the Islanders at the trade deadline.

-EN Says: MacDonald is just the player the Flyers need. Prior to his arrival, they had mobile defensemen who were old (Kimmo Timonen and Mark Streit) or young defensemen who were immobile (Braydon Coburn and Luke Schenn). MacDonald is something in between. He can skate, blocks shots and is fairly durable. A salary cap hit of $5 million might seem high for someone with limited offensive output, but in this market, that's fair value. That said, this drives up the price on someone like Matt Niskanen who is scheduled to become a free agent this upcoming offseason.

-The Flyers signed defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, a third-round draft pick in 2012, to an entry-level contract.

-Rangers forward Derick Brassard left practice yesterday due to a suspected back ailment.

-The Rangers signed undrafted free agent defenseman Mat Bodie, formerly of Union College. Terms of the contract were not reported.

Bruins - Red Wings

-“Everybody wants to win. I want to win really badly. I know all the other guys, guys who’ve won before, it’s addicting, you want to win again, you want to be on top. That’s why we play." - Bruins forward and former Penguin Jarome Iginla (right).

-Several of the Bruins are dealing with an illness.

-Could Red Wings captain/forward Henrik Zetterberg return to the lineup during this series? He has been sidelined since the Olympics due to a back injury.

-The Smiths - Detroit's Brendan and Boston's Reilly - are brothers.

Canadiens - Lightning

-With 109 points in 108 career postseason games, Canadiens forward Daniel Briere is a proven playoff performer.

-Canadiens forward Brandon Prust ("upper-body"} is considered a game-time decision for tonight's Game 1.

-The Canadiens plan on having plenty of fans in Tampa.

-Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman has taken a big step forward this season.

Avalanche - Wild

-Minnesota forward Mikael Granlund (right) is expected to return to the lineup for Thursday's Game 1. He has been sidelined since March 31 due to a head injury.

-Wild forward and former Penguins prospect Matt Moulson wants two things this summer: The Stanley Cup and his own bed.

Blues - Blackhawks

-“The cavalry is coming." - Blues forward and former Penguins forward Brenden Morrow on his team getting healthier.

Ducks - Stars

-“Think about it every single day of my life. When I’m by myself, when I take a walk … since I’ve been 10 years old. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. It’s not a question of the will and the want not being there. It’s a question of, sometimes you’ve got the opportunity and you’ve got to make good on it.” - Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on the Stanley Cup.

-The Ducks assigned defenseman Mark Fistric to Norfolk of the AHL.

-The Stars signed forward Branden Troock, a fifth-round draft pic in 2012, to a thee-year entry-level contract.

Sharks - Kings

-The Kings recalled forward Linden Vey from Manchester of the AHL.

-Sharks forward Brent Burns was nominated for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy.

Non-Playoff Stuff

-The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins signed  forward Jean-Sebastien Dea, defenseman Clark Seymour and goaltender Matt Murray (right) to amateur tryout agreements. Seymour (fifth round) and Murray (third round) are each 2012 draft picks of the NHL Penguins.


-Happy 51st birthday to former Penguins forward Dean Defazio. A ninth-round pick of the club in 1981, Defazio appered in 22 games for the 1983-84 Penguins and recorded two assists. After spending the next two seasons with the Penguins' AHL affiliate in Baltimore, Defazio was released.

-Happy 40th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Harry York. Acquired early in the 1998-99 season along with Alex Kovalev in a deal which sent Petr Nedved, Chris Tamer and Sean Pronger to the Rangers, York appeared in all of two games for the Penguins that season. before he was claimed off waivers by the Canucks in December.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-The Capitals assigned defenseman Tyson Strachan to Hershey of the AHL.

Atlantic Division

-"I don’t like losing. Some of the games … there were periods in games that were embarrassing, the way we played. We got outshot 20-2 in one period, I think it was. That’s not good for any team at any level, let alone the National Hockey League.” - Senators general manager Bryan Murray on his team missing the postseason.

-The Sabres assigned forwards Nicolas Deslauriers, defensemen Mark Pysyk, Rasmus Ristolainen, Chad Ruhwedel, goaltenders Connor Knapp, Nathan Lieuwen and Andrei Makarov to Rochester of the AHL.

Central Division

-The Predators assigned forward Calle Jarnkork to Milwaukee of the AHL.

-Nashville signed forward Felix Girard, a third-round pick in 2013, to a three-year entry-level contract.

Pacific Division

-The Coyotes assigned defensemen Connor Murphy, Brandon Gormley, goaltender Mark Visentin (right) and forward Tyler Gaudet to Portland of the AHL.

Norris Division

-The NHL's draft lottery was held last night. Here is the order for the first 13 picks:

1. Panthers
2. Sabres
3. Oilers
4. Flames
5. Islanders
6. Canucks
7. Hurricanes
8. Maple Leafs
9. Jets
10. Ducks (from Senators)
11. Predators
12. Coyotes
13. Capitals

-Note: The Devils did not make the playoffs but were not be eligible to win the lottery due to punishments relating to salary-cap circumvention. They will select 30th in the first round.

-Another lawsuit was filed by former players against the NHL in regards to concussion.

IIHF World Championship

-Panthers forward Vince Trocheck (right), a native of Upper St. Clair, was named to the United States' roster for next month's IIHF World Championship tournament. The roster thus far:

Forwards - Jimmy Hayes, Panthers; Kevin Hayes, Boston College; Peter Mueller, Kloten - (NLA - Switzerland); Brock Nelson, Islanders; Drew Shore, Panthers; Craig Smith, Predators; Tim Stapleton, Ak Bars Kazan (KHL); Vince Trocheck, Panthers.

Defensemen - Matt Donovan, Islanders; Jake Gardiner, Maple Leafs; Seth Jones, Predators; Jake McCabe, Sabres; Jeff Petry, Oilers; Jacob Trouba, Jets.

Goaltender - Connor Hellebuyck, Massachusetts-Lowell.

-Former Islanders/Hurricanes/Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette was named the head coach of Team USA.

(Photos: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, Paul Bereswill/Getty Images, Christian Petersen/Getty Images, Jamie Sabau/Getty Images and Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

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