What is it? - 04-16-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


(Note: This is an updated version of something we've published at the start of the playoffs the past few seasons. It's something we get a lot of feedback on and we always enjoy writing it.)

If someone were to ask us what the Stanley Cup playoffs mean to us, we'd have a hard time giving a simple, concise answer.

-It's Bobby Orr leaping through the air.

-It's the Miracle on Manchester.

-It's Bill Guerin finding the little opening on Martin Biron.

-It's Richard Brodeur not being camera friendly.

-It's Kris Letang keeping the Penguins alive.

-It's Steve Yzerman lifting the Stanley Cup with one knee.

-It's Doug Weight lifting the Stanley Cup with one shoulder.

-It's Pat LaFontaine ending a long, exhaustive Easter Sunday.

-It's Vladimir Konstantinov flipping Claude Lemieux.

-It's Bobby Ryan making David Legwand look like a pylon.

-It's the reason Joe Louis Arena smells like fish.

-It's Jaromir Jagr beating the Devils on two bad groins.

-It's Jarome Iginla and Vincent Lecavalier duking it out when it mattered most.

-It's "The Save."

-It's 1940, 1955, 1961, 1967, 1972 and 1975.

-It's Mike Crombeen taking advantage of some poor defensive zone coverage by Randy Carlyle.

-It's Jason Arnott taking advantage of some poor defensive zone coverage by Sylvain Cote.

-It's Dave Andreychuk and Ray Bourque finally getting to touch the Cup.

-It's George Ferguson blowing by Ken Breitenbach.

-It's Dale Hunter tearing through the Flyers' defense.

-It's Bryan Bickell avoiding Josh Harding's poke check.

-It's the hole in Cam Ward's glove.

-It's David #*&! Volek.

-It's John Tonelli.

-It's Ed Westfall.

-It's Brooks Orpik.

-It's plastic rats.

-It's "Bury Graves."

-It's Nathan Horton taking advantage of a screen.

-It's Evgeni Malkin having enough of Henrik Zetterberg.

-It's Jarret Stoll finding just enough space on Cory Schneider.

-It's "The Geno."

-It's Mike Green letting Dominic Moore walk right in.

-It's Mike Green letting Vincent Lecavalier walk right in.

-It's Ken Wregget stopping Joe Juneau and Mike Richter stopping Pavel Bure on penalty shots.

-It's Semyon Varlamov robbing Sidney Crosby.

-It's "May Day! May Day! May Day! May Day! May Day! May Day!"

-It's Damien Brunner cleaning up the garbage.

-It's Ty Conklin making a mistake at a terrible time.

-It's Matt Cooke barging in at the last second (or the last 5.7 seconds to be precise).

-It's Brett Hull's foot in the crease.

-It's Patrick Marleau ending the Canucks' season.

-It's David Steckel sending things back to Washington.

-It's Alex Burrows remembering Luc Bourdon.

-It's Jordan Staal changing everything.

-It's "Darren Helm! Darren Helm!"

-It's "Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!"

-It's Patrice Bergeron snuffing out any hopes the Penguins had.

-It's Maxime Talbot shushing Daniel Carcillo and an entire city.

-It's Derek Plante giving the Senators a rude introduction to the playoffs.

-It's Joffrey Lupul giving the Capitals a rude introduction to the playoffs.

-It's Tom Fitzgerald blowing a slapper by Tom Barrasso from Centre Avenue.

-It's Ron Francis blowing a slapper by Mike Richter from Centre Avenue.

-It's Steve Yzerman blowing a slapper by Jon Casey from Livonia.

-It's Steven Stamkos refusing to let something like a slapper to the face end his night.

-It's Martin St. Louis scoring on the biggest rebound of his life.

-It's Tonelli to Nystrom.

-It's "the best player in the world" hitting the actual best player in the world.

-It's Scott Niedermayer giving the cup to his brother, Rob.

-It's Matt Carkner keeping the Senators alive.

-It's Toews and Kane ending the Kings' reign

-It's Alex Ovechkin taking out Sergei Gonchar.

-It's the delight of a double deflection between Dave Bolland and Andrew Shaw.

-It's Alex Burrows getting Tim Thomas to bite.

-It's Mario Lemieux "retiring" in stunning fashion.

-It's Vladimir Konstantinov's "skate" with the Cup in his wheel chair.

-It's the fact that Shawn Chambers is probably still trying to figure out where Mario Lemieux is.

-It's Jamie Baker and the Sharks doing the unbelievable against the Red Wings.

-It's Andrew Brunette weaving through the Avalanche's defense.

-It's Hal Gill busting up Ryan Malone's already mangled schnoz.

-It's Stu Barnes putting one over Johan Hedberg's shoulder and off the cross bar.

-It's Oilers fans making us wish we were Canadian.

-It's Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin trading hat tricks.

-It's Igor Larionov displaying the most patient backhand ever.

-It's Sidney Crosby spinning Jason Spezza silly.

-It's Lanny McDonald making his only goal of the playoffs count.

-It's James Neal just taking one.

-It's watching a game with a few thousand friends.

-It's the Penguins piling on Darius Kasparaitis.

-It's the 24 white banners in Montreal.

-It's Oilers owner Peter Pocklington trying to sneak his dad's name on the Stanley Cup.

-It's Ron Francis saving the day when Mario Lemieux and Joey Mullen were hurt.

-It's Martin Gelinas sending his former employer to the golf course.

-It's Pavel Bure undressing Mike Vernon.

-It's Jaromir Jagr dancing through the Devils' defense.

-It's Jaromir Jagr dancing through the Bruins' defense.

-It's Jaromir Jagr dancing through the Blackhawks' defense.

-It's the Hurricanes stunning the Devils in the final 1:20 of a Game 7.

-It's Marc Savard shaking off the rust.

-It's "The Shift."

-It's Mike Fisher playing with a terminally-ill three-year-old boy.

-It's Maxim Afinogenov going for a swim.

-It's Ron Hextall jumping Chris Chelios.

-It's Gary Roberts tormenting the Senators.

-It's Evgeni Malkin having younger, fresher legs than his fellow countryman, Sergei Fedorov.

-It's Brian Campbell not having a prayer on a three-on-one against the Red Wings.

-It's that little "rattle" in Mike Lange's voice when he let's us know "H-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e shoots and scores!!!!"

-It's Brenden Morrow sending the Sharks home after four overtimes.

-It's Alex Ovechkin getting stoned on his breakaway in Game 7.

-It's Sidney Crosby not getting stoned on his breakaway in Game 7.

-It's the civility of a handshake.

-It's the beauty of a "hockey face."

-It's the ugliness of a finger point.

-It's the brilliance of a CBC pregame montage.

-It's Adam Deadmarsh helping Tinseltown beat Hockeytown.

-It's getting a hand (as well as a stick, a foot and a shin) from Rob Scuderi.

-It's Kyle Turris' perfect shot.

-It's Mike Krushelnyski's blooper over Mike Vernon.

-It's Simon Gagne helping the Bruins join an exclusive club with the 1975 Penguins and 1942 Red Wings.

-It's Pascal Dupuis going far side while falling on his butt.

-It's Joel Ward crashing in on Tim Thomas.

-It's that trainer from Toronto spraying a water bottle to celebrate Nikolai Borshevsky's overtime goal.

-It's Arturs Irbe's moldy goaltending equipment.

-It's the eternity of 17 seconds.

-It's Gary Roberts destroying Andreas Lilja and giving Adam Hall a chance at scoring.

-It's (Adam) Henrique being better than Henrik (Lundqvist).

-It's Jonathan Toews willing his way to a clutch shorthanded goal in Game 7.

-It's Alex Burrows and the Canucks finally beating the Blackhawks.

-It's Uwe Krupp bringing a championship to Colorado.

-It's Bob Baun scoring an overtime goal on a broken ankle.

-Its Jakub Voracek catching the Penguins standing around.

-It's Benn Ferriero giving himself the best birthday gift ever.

-It's Mario Lemieux making the Civic Arena probably the loudest it has ever been.

-It's Scott Walker being a villian in Boston.

-It's Alexander Steen benefiting from Jonathan Quick's error.

-It's Marian Hossa almost keeping the hopes alive.

-It's Daniel Alfredsson finding a big hole in the Penguins' defense.

-It's Jeff Carter circling the zone.

-It's Dustin Byfuglien putting Chris Pronger in his place.

-It's Tim Thomas putting Henrik Sedin in his place.

-It's Colin Greening scoring despite having pieces of fiberglass in his face.

-It's Jim Lorentz killing a bat.

-It's Marian Hossa being in the right place at the right time.

-It's Petr Nedved and Keith Primeau breaking tired, weary hearts.

-It's Brad Richards and Marc Staal figuring out Braden Holtby.

-It's Erik Cole's beard.

-It's Stephen Walkom doing his job.

-It's Brent Seabrook saving Walkom a lot of grief.

-It's Brad Park cleaning up his own rebound.

-It's Robbie Brown really making Ron Hextall mad.

-It's Dan Boyle and Steve Smith finding the wrong nets.

-It's Chris Kunitz windmilling Kimmo Timonen.

-It's Joe Thornton proving he can be clutch.

-It's Joe Pavelski always being clutch.

-It's Maxime Talbot making us stay up late.

-It's Marc-Andre Fleury simply refusing to finish his season.

-It's Petr Sykora calling his shot.

-It's closing Mellon Arena in a nightmare fashion.

-It's Theo Fleury slipping and sliding all over the ice.

-It's finally seeing a Stanley Cup celebration in Mellon Arena, just not the one most of us were hoping for.

-It's the Winnipeg White Out.

-It's #ImGregoryCampbell.

-It's Alexei Poniarovsky taking advantage of a bad rebound by Ilya Bryzgalov.

-It's Luc Robitaille's goal and Francois Leroux's goofy little kicking celebration in the corner.

-It's Daniel to Henrik after four overtimes.

-It's Carey Price preforming some self-dentistry during a game after taking a skate to the face.

-It's refusing to touch the Clarence Campbell Bowl or Prince of Wales Trophy.

-It's doing away with at least one of those silly superstitions.

-It's Brad Marchand dangling on Roberto Luongo.

-It's Garry Valk poking one by Tom Barrasso.

-It's Patrick Kane scoring a goal only he saw.

-It's Russ Cournall beating Frank Pietrangelo from the high slot.

-It's Anze Kopitar getting loose on Martin Brodeur.

-It's Patrice Bergeron being Boston Strong not once, but twice.

-It's Evgeni Malkin making some toast out of Martin Biron.

-It's Maxime Talbot taking advantage of a Brad Stuart turnover.

-It's Maxime Talbot showing why he's a "superstar."

-It's Marc-Andre Fleury winning the game everyone said he couldn't win.

-It lifting the Stanley Cup on their ice, a year after they lifted it on your ice.

-It's all of those things.

-And it's so much more.

Over the course of the next two months, much of what happened in the above video will be repeated in some fashion. In mid-June Gary Bettman is going to awkwardly hand the Stanley Cup to a gentleman with a "C" on his chest and someone will have one big long summer party.

And it all begins tonight.

(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Ed Piskor's 'Hip Hop Family Tree' nominated for two Eisner Awards

Written by Sharon Eberson on .


edpiskorPG0416PG"Hip Hop Family Tree," the roots-of-the genre series by Munhall-based comic-book artist/writer Ed Piskor (right), has been nominated for two Will Eisner Awards: best reality-based work and best lettering.

Winners of the annual awards, considered the Oscars of the comics world and named for the pioneering comics creator and graphic novelist Will Eisner, will be revealed at a July 25 ceremony during Comic-Con International in San Diego.

"Hip Hop Family Tree" (Fantagraphics) a New York Times graphic books best-seller, tells of the early days of hip hop and the charismatic artists who shaped it, such as DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, with Russell Simmons, Debbie Harry and Keith Haring among the names making appearances along the way.

For a full list of 2014 nominees, visit the Comic-Con website's Eisner section.







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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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