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Vacation post - 08-29-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

-Today would've been the 96th birthday of former Penguins general manager and Pittsburgh Hornets goaltender, head coach and general manager Aledge "Baz" Bastien. In 527 games with the Penguins as general manager, Bastien had a record of 193-248-86. His wins are third-most in franchise history behind Craig Patrick and Ray Shero. He was killed in a car wreck, March 15, 1983 at the age of 63.

-Happy 31st birthday to former Penguins defenseman Dylan Reese (right). A native of Upper St. Clair, Reese joined the Penguins in the 2012 offseason as a free agent. He appeared in three NHL games in 2012-13 and did not score a point. During the 2013 offseason, he joined Amur Khabarovsk of Russia's KHL as a free agent. He is currently a member of the AHL's Springfield Falcons.

-Happy 55th birthday to former Penguins forward Tim Tookey. A free agent signing in the 1983 offseason, Tookey's Penguins career amounted to eight games and two assists in 1983-84. After spenting all of 1984-85 with the Baltimore Skipjacks, the Penguins' AHL affiliate, Tookey was signed by the Flyers in the 1985 offseason.

 

-Today's Obligatory Video: Iron City Beer's commercial tribute to the Penguins' 1991 playoff run:

 

(Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

 

 

 

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Vacation post - 08-28-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

-Happy 83rd birthday to former Penguins and Pittsburgh Hornets forward Andy Bathgate (right). An all-star and former Hart Trophy winner with the Rangers, Bathgate was claimed by the Penguins in the 1967 expansion draft from the Red Wings, Bathgate spent two seasons with the Penguins. In 74 games with the expansion club in 1967-68, Bathgate led the team with 39 assists, 59 points and four game-winning goals. During that season, Bathgate scored the franchise's first goal in a season-opening 2-1 loss to the Canadiens, Oct. 11, 1967. A week later, in a 3-3 tie against the North Stars, Bathgate recorded the first hat trick in franchise history. In the 1968 offseason, Bathgate was loaned to the Vancouver Canucks of the Western Hockey League. After two seasons in Vancouver, Bathgate returned to the Penguins in 1970-71 and appeared in 76 games and recorded 44 points. He retired in the 1971 offseason. Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1978, Bathgate appeared in 150 games for the Penguins and recorded 103 points, 82nd-most in franchise history. Bathgate currently owns and operates a driving range in Mississauga, Ont.

(Photo: eBay)

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Steel Castings: The Michael Vick dilemma

Written by Dan Gigler on .

This week: Post-Gazette sports editor Jerry Micco and Dan Gigler discuss the issues surrounding the signing of Michael Vick from a football and emotional perspective and ask fans what they think, as well as hear from Vick himself on rectifying his heavily checkered past.

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Countdown to Friday Night Lights - rankings, Fab 5 players, preview for AAA and AA

Written by Mike White on .

One in a series previewing the four classes of WPIAL football and also the City League.

The Class AAAA preview ran earlier this week. Today, we've got a double dose of previews - Class AAA and AA.

WPIAL CLASS AAA

By The Numbers

Top returning statistical leaders from last season (regular-season stats only):

RUSHING

Chacar Berry, Ringgold - 1,245 yards on 125 carries 

SCORING

Chacar Berry, Ringgold - 22 touchdowns, two points on a conversion, 134 points

PASSING

Jacob Zilinskas, Indiana - 100 of 181 for 1,494 yards

RECEIVING

Dylan Stapleton, Indiana - 31 catches for 427 yards

FAB 5 

Chacar Berry, Ringgold - Put up big statistics last season in helping the Rams reach the WPIAL semifinals.

Aidan Howard, Gateway - 6-4 receiver who has committed to the University of Virginia.

Braden Pahanish, Thomas Jefferson, LB - First-team all-conference pick last season. Three-year starter for the perennial power Jaguars.

Terence Stephens, West Allegheny, RB-DB (pictured) - Rushed for 912 yards last season. Some Mid-American Conference schools interested. Bowling Green has offered.

Jacob Zilinskas, Indiana - Son of coach Mark Zilinskas. Jacob and Dylan Stapleton could make for a terrific pass-catch combination this season.

Top 10 rankings

1. Central Valley - It is extremely hard to pick a No. 1 team in Class AAA in the preseason. There doesn't seem to be an overwhelming favorite. Central Valley doesn't have a great playmaker any more like Robert Foster or Jordan Whitehead. But the Warriors are the defending champs.

2. West Allegheny - Stephens will be one of the Indians' leaders, but this is one of Bob Palko's biggest teams on the lines. 

3. Thomas Jefferson - This is shaping up as a TJ team that could go far (what else is new?)

4. Franklin Regional - The Panthers have big, experienced linemen and also one of the Greater Allegheny Conference's top QBs in Santino Birty.

5. Montour - If the Spartans' QB (Randall Labrie) didn't sustain a torn ACL, the Spartans might be the team to beat in the Parkway. An excellent opening-night game is Montour at Central Valley.

6. Ringgold - The Rams could be Berry, Berry good. Get it? Chacar Berry is back (I'll be here all week, tip your waitresses). Another good opening-night game is Thomas Jefferson at Ringgold. And don't sleep on West Mifflin in this Big 10 Conference. 

7. Hampton - The Talbots won the Greater Allegheny last year and are good enough to win it again. Matt Rech returns at RB along with some solid linemen.

8. New Castle - Skill-position players make the Hurricanes a team to watch.

9. Gateway - Will Tom Nola's second season at the helm be better than the first (4-6 record)?

10. Mars - Don't be surprised if the Planets end up fighting for the Greater Allegheny Conference crown. John Castello is one of the best TEs in Class AAA.

WPIAL CLASS AA

By The Numbers

 

Top returning statistical leaders from last season (regular-season stats only):

RUSHING

DeWayne Murray, Steel Valley - 102 carries for 1,255 yards

SCORING

Duane Brown, Apollo-Ridge - 28 TDs, 4 points on conversions, 172 total points

RECEIVING

Dylan Hochbein, Freeport - 54 catches for 873 yards

Fab 5

Paris Ford, Seton-LaSalle, WR-DB - Rated one of the top juniors in the state and one of the top junior defensive backs in the country. Pitt, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame and numerous others have already offered.

Hunter Hayes, South Fayette - Rushed for more than 2,000 yards last season for WPIAL and PIAA champion Lions.

Donovan Jeter, Beaver Falls, TE-DE (pictured) - Another junior with a number of major-college offers, including Pitt, Penn State, Ohio State. Also a talented basketball player, but future is in football.

Kaezon Pugh, Aliquippa, RB-DB - Four-year varsity player. A force on both offense and defense. Pitt, West Virginia and Maryland are three schools he likes.

Logan Thimons, Freeport, TE-DL - Freeport's leading tackler past two seasons. Committed to West Virginia before last season.

Top 10 rankings

1. Aliquippa - The Quips might not be quite as strong early in the season as they were the past few years. But it's hard to bet against this team at least going to the title game. They've made it seven years in a row.

2. South Fayette - The Lions have a 32-game winning streak. They can't be as strong as the past few years, can they? Hey, Brett Brumbaugh's not at QB any more. But Hunter Hayes is still there along with some other talented players. It's possible this could be South Fayette's last run in Class AA. A growing district, South Fayette could be Class AAA next cycle.

3. Beaver Falls - These Tigers are big, experienced and good. But can they beat the Quips? 

4. Seton-LaSalle - The Rebels are more than just Paris Ford. Look for a possible deep playoff run.

Mike Bosnic5. Washington - Coach Mike Bosnic (pictured) has done a terrific job in building this program back up into a consistent winner.

6. Highlands - The Rams were Allegheny Conference champs last year. Another title is in the cards.

7. Beaver - Darius Wise could easily be in that Fab 5 list.

8. Mount Pleasant - Some key players graduated, but the Vikings are Washington's top challenger in the Interstate.

9. Apollo-Ridge - Tre Tipton is gone, but "downtown" Duane Brown is back. That means wins.

10. Steel Valley - DeWayne Murray rushed for almost 3,000 yards as a freshman and sophomore and is another one that could easily be in the Fab 5. 

 

 

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VIDEO: Tyler Boyd

Written by Sam Werner on .

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