Comeau: 'I'm looking for a fresh start' - 09-16-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

In terms offseason acquisitions who have cantankerous histories with the Penguins, Blake Comeau was overshadowed by the signing of Steve Downie and training camp invitation of Daniel Carcillo, each former Flyers.

But that doesn't mean Comeau hasn't butted heads with his new employer in the past.

While with the Islanders, Comeau suffered a concussion after being hit by former Penguins forward Maxime Talbot in a 3-0 home win by the Penguins Feb. 2, 2011, which was far more notable for a one-sided fight between Penguins goaltender Brent Johnson and his New York counterpart, Rick DiPietro:

Upset with the Penguins, particularly over Talbot's hit, the Islanders routed the Penguins, 9-3, nine days later on Long Island in a contest which featured several brawls, penalty minutes, suspensions and embarrassment for both organizations and the NHL as a whole.

Last spring in Game 6 of a first-round postseason series, as a member of the Blue Jackets, Comeau rattled Penguins forward Beau Bennett with a hit in the corner. Former Penguins forward Joe Vitale responded by striking Comeau with a low hit which injured both players:

Comeau's willingness to mix it up physically as well as his scoring touch - he had 24 goals with the Islanders in 2010-11 - are two attributes which Penguins management liked in Comeau when it signed him to a one-year contract worth $700,000 in July.

Able to play either wing position, Comeau, who has also played for the Flames, is in the mix to fill in on the team's third line which struggled to find a cast of regular wingers last season.

Yesterday, Comeau talked about joining the Penguins:

What attracted you to the Penguins as a free agent?

"Well it's a pretty easy decision. You have a chance at winning the Stanley Cup every year. They're a great organization. They treat their players and their families really great. Any chance you have a chance to go to an organization that wants to win the Stanley Cup and they're committed to doing everything they can to win it, it's an easy decision for a player to go to a team like that."

You've been involved in some heated confrontations with the Penguins. What is that like joining the other side of that?

"It's a little different. Obviously, we played Pittsburgh in the first round of the playoffs last year and anytime you're playing in a playoff series, things get heated. There's good rivalries formed. But that being said, once you meet most guys off the ice, everyone's great guys. Everyone gets along really well. Some new faces. The guys who have been around have been very welcoming and they're making everyone feel very comfortable. "

With the Islanders, you scored your first NHL goal against the Penguins in a 4-2 road win, Dec. 21, 2007. What do you remember from that?

"I just remember coming down the wall and pulling up. I think it was [Penguins center Evgeni] Malkin that skated past me and I just buried my head and took a slap shot. It went in on [Penguins goaltender Dany Sabourin]. It's one of those goals you can't remember everything about it. It was definitely an exciting time for myself."

You had a career-best 24 goals in 2010-11. What worked for you that season?

"I think I got a good opportunity to play. I was playing in all situations. As I've gone to different teams, I've had to adapt to different roles. There's nothing wrong with that. I think I really learned to play in both ends of the ice since I left [Long Island]. Last year in Columbus, I was in more of a fourth-line checking role and didn't get a whole lot of penalty kill time for whatever reason. This year, I'm looking for a fresh start. That's something I definitely can bring to the team is a physical style as a responsible forward. Like you said, I've scored 20 goals before so I think I still have that. I've just got to get the opportunity and make the most of it. "

What do you need to do here to nail down a role on the bottom two lines?

"For myself, it's just going out and playing the way how I know to play. Playing that power forward physical style. That's when I'm involved and things are working for me. It's not about going out and doing anything different. As long as I play the way I know how I can play, I'll let the cards fall into place where they may."

(Photos: Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

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Don't bother Wolf with details

Democratic candidate for governor Tom Wolf speaks outside a school in Canonsburg. (Robin Rombach/Post-Gazette)

The Battling Toms continue to battle and Harrisburg has a month to get some stuff done before November's elections. Add it all up and you have a pretty busy Tuesday.

  • Tom Wolf, the Democratic nominee in the race for governor, reiterated his
  • ...

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Empty Netter Assists - 09-16-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-Goaltending prospects Tristan Jarry (above) and Matthew Murray are still a ways away from helping the Penguins at the NHL level.

-"Perfect." - Brandon Sutter on new head coach Mike Johnston's emphasis of having centers drive the team's offense.

-“You have less time with the puck, you have to know what you’re doing with it before you get it. It’s tougher in the corners, being a defenseman, moving some of the bigger guys because they are men and not 16, 17-year-olds." - Penguins defensive prospect Scott Harrington on making the jump from junior to professional hockey.

-Former Penguins forward prospect Keven Veilleux has joined Thetford Mines Isothermic of Quebec's LNAH.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-The Devils re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Eric Gelinas (right) to a one-year contract worth $900,000. Coming off an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $660,000, Gelinas, 23, appeared in 60 games last season as a rookie and scored 29 points (seven goals, 22 assists).

-EN Says: Blessed with a rocket shot and decent size (6-foot-4, 210 pounds), Gelinas impressed at times last season. But he also struggled with consistency while trying to figure out how to play defense for the Devils' demanding system. With the season about to start, this seems like a compromise on both sides to get Gelinas to camp. Presumably, a longer-term deal will be worked out in the future.

-"I've said it many, many times, that I think [Ryan Johansen] can be special. His potential is great. But we’re not there yet, after one year, when we’re willing to invest the franchise-type of money into his future. Do it once or twice more. Make us pay. Go ahead and make us pay!" - Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on Johansen, currently a restricted free agent, potentially holding out during training camp and beyond.

-Former Canadiens/Maple Leafs/Hurricanes defenseman Mike Komisarek will attend the Devils' training camp on a tryout basis.

-“I’m much more prepared. Last year, I got here the day before.  That was not very professional.” - Rangers forward J.T. Miller, a native of East Palestine, Ohio, on his approach to his upcoming training camp.

-“It’s at the point where you don’t want to ever say never but it’s kind of a make-or-break year.” - Former Penguins forward Zach Boychuk on his chances of breaking through as a full-time NHLer with the Hurricanes.

Atlantic Division

-A back injury will force Red Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson (right), current an unrestricted free agent, to miss the start of training camp.

-Former Ducks/Blue Jackets/Canucks/Stars defenseman Aaron Rome will attend the Red Wings' training camp on a tryout basis.

-Bruins forward Milan Lucic will be limited in training camp due to a wrist injury.

-After seeing former captain/forward Brian Gionta walk as a free agent this offseason, the Canadiens will not have a captain this season. Defensemen Andrei Markov, P.K. Subban, forwards Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec will serve as alternate captains.

-Former Flyers goaltender Cal Heeter will attend the Maple Leafs' training camp on a tryout basis.

Pacific Division

-The Ducks are still trying to re-sign restricted free agent forward Devante Smith-Pelly.

-A knee injury will sideline Sharks forward James Sheppard for the start of training camp.

-Former Stars/Devils/Panthers forward/enforcer Krys Barch will attend the Coyotes' training camp on a tryout basis.

Patrick Division

-Former Stars/Jets/Wild forward Antti Miettinen has joined Eisbären Berlin of Germany's DEL.

-Happy 34th birthday to the patron anti-saint of Empty Netters, Patrik Stefan. Why does the first overall pick in the 1999 draft have such a special place in our hearts you ask?

(Photos: Kenneth Andersen/Getty Images, Al Bello/Getty Images and Photobucket)

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"Picture" Jordan Whitehead's athletic ability ....... Schifino to Steel Valley?

Written by Mike White on .

Central Valley running back-defensive back Jordan Whitehead is one of the most heavily recruited players in Western Pennsylvania. He is an excellent all-around player with way above-average athletic ability.

Want evidence of his athletic ability? Look at the great photo below taken by the Post-Gazette's Rebecca Droke during Friday's game against Penn Hills.

Whitehead actually got penalized on the play for, in a way, being too athletic. He was running the football and literally hurdled over a defender as the defender was starting to make a tackle attempt on Whitehead. Whitehead actually jumped over the Penn Hills player's head. It was quite a sight to see.

But under high school rules, Whitehead was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. In high school, a player can't hurdle a defender, unless the defender is on the ground, or at least kneeling.

Anyway, below is the photo, and Whitehead is actually on his way "down" in this play. Just call it "JORDAN'S JUMP"

Jordan Whitehead leap

Whitehead, by the way, did not visit anywhere this past weekend after going to Pitt and Ohio State the first two weekends. He will go to West Virginia and Penn State the next two weekends.

Schifino to Steel Valley?

Steel Valley reportedly will hire a boys basketball coach Tuesday night and sources said it most likely will be Drew Schifino, former star at Penn Hills High School. Schifino was Waynesburg's coach this past season and had a 6-16 record.

Shawn McCallister is Steel Valley's athletic director and boys coach. He said this summer, the school board opened all coaching positions for winter sports and spring sports. He would not comment any further, except to say he has interviewed for his job as boys coach and he believes the school will hire someone Tuesday.

Carlynton coach quits

Mauro Monz lasted only three games as Carlynton's coach. Monz handed in his letter of resignation today, which came as a shock to Carlynton officials.

Monz was in his first season and Carlynton was 0-3 since moving up from Class A. Monz said his team has fewer than 25 players because of injuries and he also said his team can't compete in Class AA after six seasons playing in Class A.

Monz claims Carlynton should've done something about moving up to Class AA because they are only three boys over the Class A cutoff. But classifications are determined by the PIAA based on school enrollment. Schools have no idea what classification they will be placed in or what classification cutoffs will be when they hand in enrollment figures every two years. They can't change their enrollment figures after classification cutoffs come out from the PIAA.

"For me, it's an ethical issue," Monz said. "I didn't realize until this Saturday when I was informed by our athletic director [Nathan Milsom] that we were only three boys over. We only have 22 or 23 players, which would be functional for Class A. We've had some major, devastating injuries. The game are hard to watch. I just think something should have been done, whatever was needed, to stay in Class A.

"Parents are complaining. Everyone is complaining. I didn't put us in this league, so I'm falling on the sword, I guess."

More in tomorrow's Post-Gazette.

Canon-McMillan hires Vulcano

It's good to see Frank Vulcano wasn't out of an athletic director's job very long.

Chartiers Valley didn't renew Vulcano's contract, despite him doing some excellent things as the school's AD. But Vulcano was hired tonight as Canon-McMillan's AD. He takes over for Guy Montecalvo, who retired.

State rankings

In case you missed it, here are this week's Post-Gazette state rankings:



1. Central Catholic 3-0

2. Woodland Hills 3-0

3. St. Joseph's 1-2

4. Pennsbury 3-0

5. Parkland 3-0


1. Archbishop Wood 3-0

2. Bishop McDevitt 3-0

3. West Allegheny 3-0

4. Erie Cathedral Prep 3-0

5. Thomas Jefferson 3-0


1. South Fayette 3-0

2. Aliquippa 3-0

3. Southern Columbia 3-0

4. West Catholic 1-2

5. Seton-LaSalle 3-0


1. Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic 3-0

2. Clairton 3-0

3. Wellsboro 3-0

4. Jeannette 3-0

5. Sharpsville 3-0



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George Clooney will be honored during 2015 Golden Globes

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

GC-302x400It’s a good thing George Clooney looks good — and comfortable — in a tuxedo. 
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association will give him the Cecil B. DeMille Award on Jan. 11.  If he marries this month in Venice or elsewhere, he will still be considered a newlywed and beyond that, he is a popular, well-regarded filmmaker, actor and humanitarian. 
The HFPA has about 90 members and yet commands time with directors and actors and, of course, puts on an entertaining TV show that helps to kick off awards season. 
Here is part of the press release announcing the honor: 
He has won three Golden Globes during his career and now George Clooney will be honored with the 2015 Cecil B. DeMille Award.
Clooney, an actor, writer, director and producer, who is also known for his humanitarian deeds, will receive the award at the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 11.
“The HFPA is honored to bestow the Cecil B. DeMille Award to George Clooney to celebrate his outstanding contributions both in front of and behind the camera,” said HFPA president Theo Kingma.
The Cecil B. DeMille Award is given annually to those who have made an incredible impact on the world of entertainment. 
Recent recipients include Woody Allen (2014), Jodie Foster (2013), Morgan Freeman, (2012), Robert De Niro (2011), Martin Scorsese (2010), Steven Spielberg (2009), Warren Beatty (2007), Anthony Hopkins (2006), Robin Williams (2005), Michael Douglas (2004), Gene Hackman (2003), Harrison Ford (2002), Al Pacino (2001), and Barbra Streisand (2000).
Clooney last year appeared in “Gravity” and through his Smokehouse production company he most recently produced, directed and starred in “The Monuments Men.” He will soon be seen starring in the upcoming sci-fi film “Tomorrowland” for Disney.
Clooney’s achievements as a performer and a filmmaker have earned him three Golden Globes, two Academy Awards, four SAG Awards, one BAFTA award, two Critics’ Choice Awards, an Emmy and four National Board of Review Awards.
He is recognized as much for his global humanitarian efforts as he is for his accomplishments in the entertainment industry.
In 2006, Clooney and his father, Nick, went to drought-stricken Darfur, Africa, to film a documentary. The following year, Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle and Jerry Weintraub founded Not on Our Watch, an organization whose mission is to focus global attention and resources to stop and prevent mass atrocities in Darfur.  
In 2008, Clooney was designated a U.N. Messenger of Peace, one of eight individuals chosen to advocate on behalf of the U.N. and its peacekeeping efforts.
Two years later, Clooney, along with Joel Gallen and Tenth Planet Productions, produced the “Hope for Haiti Now!” telethon, raising more than $66 million. The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences gave Clooney with the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award and later that year, Clooney received the Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award for his dedication to humanitarian efforts in Sudan and Haiti.

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