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About the Kings - 03-07-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Kings.

When and where: 10 p.m, EDT, Staples Center.

TV: Root Sports, Fox Sports West, Sportsnet, TVA2.

Record: 31-21-12, 74 points. The Kings are in fourth place in the Pacific Division.

Leading Scorer: Center Jeff Carter, 50 points (22 goals, 28 assists).

Last Game: 4-3 home shootout win against the Canadiens Thursday. Right winger Marian Gaborik had two regulation goals for the Kings.

Last Game against the Penguins: 3-0 road loss Oct. 30. Goalteneder Martin Jones made 30 saves for the Kings.

Kings Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Carter. He has a four-game scoring streak.

Ex-Penguins on the Kings: Development consultant Glen Murray, defenseman Jake Muzzin (Muzzin was a former Penguins prospect but never played for the organization.), president, business operations and alternate governor Luc Robitaille (above).

Ex-Kings on the Penguins: Head coach Mike Johnston, general manager Jim Rutherford, defenseman Rob Scuderi; assistant coach Rick Tocchet.

Useless Kings Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: Robitaille (ninth round - 171st overall) as the second-most points (1,394) among players selected in the 1984 draft. Penguins owner Mario Lemieux (first round- first overall) is first (1,723 points).

The last time the Kings played the Penguins, this happened:

Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (29-14-6, 2.21 GAA, .923 SV%) for the Penguins. Jonathan Quick (27-17-10, 2.40 GAA, .913 SV%) for the Kings.

Injuries: For the Penguins, defenseman Christian Ehrhoff (head) is doubtful. Right winger Pascal Dupuis (blood clot) and defenseman Olli Maatta (shoulder) are on injured reserve. For the Kings, defenseman Alec Martinez (concussion) and left winger Tanner Pearson (left fibula) are on injured reserve.

Potential lines and defensive pairings: The Penguins did not hold a morning skate. Their lines and defensive pairings against the Ducks last night were:

39 David Perron - 87 Sidney Crosby - 72 Patric Hornqvist
14 Chris Kunitz - 71 Evgeni Malkin - 17 Blake Comeau
26 Daniel Winnik - 16 Brandon Sutter - 19 Beau Bennett
13 Nick Spaling - 40 Maxim Lapierre - 27 Craig Adams

7 Paul Martin - 58 Kris Letang
12 Ben Lovejoy - 51 Derrick Pouliot
4 Rob Scuderi - 28 Ian Cole

-The Kings lines and defensive pairings at today's morning skate were:

 

12 Marian Gaborik – 11 Anze Kopitar – 22 Trevor Lewis
74 Dwight King – 77 Jeff Carter – 73 Tyler Toffoli
23 Dustin Brown – 28 Jarret Stoll – 14 Justin Williams
13 Kyle Clifford – 37 Nick Shore – 71 Jordan Nolan

44 Robyn Regehr – 8 Drew Doughty
3 Brayden McNabb – 7 Andrej Sekera
6 Jake Muzzin – 2 Matt Greene

 

Notes:

-Prior to the game, the Kings will unveil a statue of Robitaille outside of the Staples Center. No word yet how many former New York Islanders will be included in it.

-Scuderi has 98 career points.

-Center Evgeni Malkin has 699 career points.

-Defenseman Slava Voynov is suspended indefinitely as he awaits trial on a felony domestic-violence charge.

-Center Anze Kopitar has 595 career points.

-The referees are Jean Hebert (No. 15) and Kevin Pollock (No. 33). The linesmen are Vaughan Rody (No. 73) and Brad Lazarowich (No. 86).

-Our live blog, direct from our couch, begins at approximately 9:45 p.m. Please tune in.

(Photo: eBay)

 

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Rapid Reaction: Robert Morris 66, Bryant 53

Written by Megan Ryan on .

Hello, all. Here's a super quick rapid reaction for you guys.

Turning Point: A Kavon Stewart layup that started an 18-5 run to win the game in the final seven minutes. Since about the 15-minute mark, Bryant had pushed the Colonials for the lead, tying the game three times and taking the lead three times. But Robert Morris was able to buckle down defensively and get its own offense back on track to build another big lead and see it out to the buzzer.

Game Ball: I mean, Kavon Stewart, obviously. The sophomore functions mostly in the shadows of Reed, Pryor and Jones. So for him to finally take advantage of other teams' preoccupation with the three stars and make a career night by a handful of points and steals is impressive. Especially considering its just his second collegiate postseason. Not a bad time to have the best game of your career.

What It Means: Well, Robert Morris is finally showing the depth it has secretly had all season. While no doubt Reed, Pryor and Jones have been solid, Stewart stepping up just shows the potential of this team if all the players can be at the top of their respective games. And for the postseason to finally be bringing out some consistency in offense and defense for the Colonials is a big deal, considering its been such a struggle for the "immature" team, as Toole has lamented.

What's Next: It's the championship, my friends! Looking at the score now, it's probably going to be against No. 1 seed St. Francis (N.Y.) on the road. It's going to be a tough one, because St. Francis has been the most successful and consistent team all season. But Robert Morris has beaten the Terriers before this season, so the Colonials could do it again, hypothetically. Are you excited?

Random Shoutout: To Bryant's senior guard Dyami Starks. He has one of the cleanest shots I have ever personally witnessed, nothing but net nearly every time. And the dude has played almost six more games than Robert Morris' leading minutes player. That's outrageous. He's carried Bryant on his back and is the NEC leading scorer. He also hails from the greatest state in these here United States: Minnesota. So, congrats on being great, Starks.

All right, that's all I got. Hit me up on Twitter if you need anything else Robert Morris related. Enjoy your weekend.

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Robert Morris headed to NEC Tournament championship with 66-53 win over Bryant

Written by Megan Ryan on .

All season, the spotlight’s been on Robert Morris’ scoring trifecta from the Northeast Conference Second Team: freshman guard Marcquise Reed, junior guard Rodney Pryor and senior forward Lucky Jones. They’re the ones making the flashy plays and scoring double-digit points, the ones other teams focus on defending.

And that was Bryant’s first mistake.

Sophomore guard Kavon Stewart took advantage of being under Bryant’s radar to record a career game that led Robert Morris to a 66-53 NEC Tournament semifinal win Saturday at the Sewall Center.

Stewart scored a game-high and career-high 19 points and seven steals, as well as eight assists. He shot 6-for-11 from the field, 2-for-3 from beyond the arc and 5-for-6 from the free throw line. Prior to this game, he had averaged just 5.7 points per contest.

“It was the most important performance of his career,” coach Andy Toole said. “The stats obviously jump off the page at you, but there was so much more that he provided for us today. It was incredible.”

Toole said when his team first played Bryant this season at home, the Bulldogs made the same mistake of slowing down only Reed, Pryor and Jones. But Stewart was a little bit unsure of how to capitalize on all his space.

He learned in time for the postseason, though, not only scoring big shots and free throws but also acting as one of the key defensive players – which was necessary in the second half when Bryant attempted a comeback, tying the score and taking the lead three times each.

Stewart called it by far his best game ever.

“I just wanted to come out and be aggressive,” the point guard said. “I know it starts with me on the defensive end and the offensive end, so I just wanted to come out with tons of energy.”

Stewart really found his rhythm in the second half after sinking a 3-pointer, when he started yelling at Toole on the bench, “Let’s take over the game.”

Pryor scored 12 points, Jones 11 and Reed eight – well below their averages. Jones said Stewart has matured a lot this season and was the leader against Bryant despite being just a sophomore.

“Tonight, one of our teammates stepped up big time for us,” Jones said. “Obviously, Rodney, myself and Marcquise didn’t shoot it very well, but at the end of the day, the most important thing was getting to the championship.”

Bryant senior guard Dyami Starks, also the conference’s leading scorer, also scored 19 points. But when his team committed 19 turnovers, missed key free throws late in the game and lost senior guard Joe O’Shea to fouls with five minutes to play, Starks’ buckets weren’t enough.

Robert Morris will face either No. 1 seed St. Francis (N.Y.) away or No. 5 seed Saint Francis (Pa.) at home in the championship Tuesday. After making the final three of the last four years and losing, Jones said his team just needs to remember to stay together.

“This is probably our best chance to win a championship,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of depth, a lot of athleticism, a lot of heart. And this year, I think we’re more together than any team that’s been here the last four years.”

Megan Ryan: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 412-263-1722 and Twitter @theothermegryan.

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Late winter is the perfect time to prune shrubs and trees

Written by Doug Oster on .

By Doug Oster / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

20150304-dohomespruning2-1Sharp tools are an important part of pruning. Photo by Doug Oster


As Dick Till gets ready to prune a hawthorn tree, he explains why the end of winter is the perfect time to prune woody plants.
“The insects aren’t active,” he says, noting that insects are attracted to fresh pruning cuts. “And there are no disease spores flying around in the air which can land on a fresh cut and infect the tree.”
Mr. Till, assistant district manager and certified arborist for Davey Tree Expert Co., also says that trees and shrubs have an abundance of stored energy and will grow quickly to callus over the pruning cut in the spring.
He’s carrying a pair of long-handled loppers, a bypass hand pruner and a folding pruning saw as he carefully navigates an icy parking lot on his way to the hawthorn. The first thing he looks for are interfering branches. In this case, a smaller branch is crossing a larger branch.
“You pick the more desirable, dominant one and remove the one that’s rubbing against it,” he says.
Sharp tools are important; they ensure a good cut that will heal more quickly. As he smoothly saws through the smaller branch, he hold its end so the bark doesn’t tear. When he’s close to completing the cut, he gives the saw a quick push for a perfect, clean cut.
This tree was pruned a couple of years ago and has sent out water sprouts in response to those cuts. He’s going to remove those, too. Mr. Till carefully inspects the area where the sprouts are attached. When he prunes them, he won’t make a flush cut. He leaves a little bit behind so the tree can heal properly.
He points to the raised part of the stem where it meets the trunk. “It’s called the branch collar or branch bark ridge,” he says.
It’s important to step back in between cuts to observe the overall shape of the plant. It’s easy to start cutting away inside the plant only to realize later it’s been cruelly disfigured.
At the bottom of a struggling ash tree are lots of branches emerging from the trunk.
“These are called epicormic branches,” he says. They are the tree’s last-ditch effort to survive. He’ll saw those off, but he doesn’t hold much hope for the tree as it’s been infested by emerald ash borer.
Even though most deciduous trees and shrubs can be pruned right now, some should be left alone. Mr. Till talks about spring bloomers. “Any time you cut off the ends of the branches, you’re going to be cutting off the flowers.”
Spring-flowering plants that should be pruned right after they bloom include rhododendrons, azaleas, crabapples and dogwoods. Although a hawthorn also flowers in the spring, Mr. Till says, it was more important to prune it while it was dormant.
Mr. Till moves to a dogwood, and even though it’s also an early blooming tree, he trims out some interior branches to improve its shape.
Regardless of the blooming season, deadwood should be removed as soon as it’s discovered. He points out some dead branches as we walk under a huge zelkova tree. As we stare upward into the canopy, I ask when is the right time to call an expert.
“The rule of thumb is, if you have to climb up in the tree you should leave it to the professionals,” he says.
Sounds like good advice indeed.

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Empty Netter Assists - Recapping Penguins-Ducks - 03-07-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-The Post-Gazette's recap from last night's game. “When he’s got the puck, he does some pretty special things. You just try to get open, get around the net, try to get some shots.” - Blake Comeau on Evgeni Malkin.

-The Orange County Register's recap. “Every year. Every game we play him, he’s always done that.” - Ducks forward Corey Perry on Patric Hornqvist having 22 points in 21 career games against the Ducks.

-The Los Angeles Times' recap. “I’ve got to be better." Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen.

-The Associated Press' recap. "We know we can beat anyone. We just have to get hot." - Hornqvist.

-Highlights:

-Mike Johnston speaks:

-Hornqvist speaks:

-“I wasn’t expecting it.” - Ducks defenseman Simon Despres on being traded by the Penguins Monday.

-The Kings will unveil a statue of former player and current executive Luc Robitaille outside the Staples Center prior to tonight's game against the Penguins. Robitaille spent one season (1994-95) with the Penguins.

-Jeff Zatkoff made 21 saves for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 6-3 loss to the Manchester Monarchs. Carter Rowney recorded three assists for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

-Highlights:

-The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins failed to record a point for the first times in 10 games.

-Happy 35th birthday to former Penguins forward Eric Godard. A free agent signing in the 2008 offseason, Godard spent three seasons with the Penguins. In 2008-09, he set career highs in games played (71), points (four), penalty minutes (171) and got his name on the Stanley Cup. He followed that up in 2009-10 by playing in 45 games, netting three points and 76 penalty minutes. In 2010-11, Godard saw action in 19 games, recorded three assists and accumulated 105 penalty minutes. In 135 career regular season games with the Penguins, Godard scored 10 points and recorded 352 penalty minutes.

-Happy 59th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Greg Hotham. Acquired from the Maple Leafs midway though the 1981-82 season in exchange for a draft pick, Hotham spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins. He finished 1981-82 by playing in 25 games for the Penguins and scoring 10 points. He appeared in five postseason games that spring and recorded three assists. In 1982-83, Hotham played in 58 games and scored a career-high 32 points. He followed that up in 1983-84 by playing in a career high 76 games and netting 30 points. Hotham's final NHL season was 1984-85. He was limited to 11 games and two assists. After spending all of 1985-86 with the Penguins' AHL affiliate in Baltimore, Hotham was released in the 1986 offseason. In 170 regular season games, with the Penguins, Hotham scored 74 points.

-Happy 47th birthday to Pirates broadcaster former Penguins defenseman Greg Brown. A free agent signing in the 1993 offseason, Brown appeared in 36 games for the Penguins in the 1993-94 season and recorded 11 points. He spent most of the 1994-95 season in the IHL before being traded to the Jets. He is currently an associate head coach with Boston College.

-Happy 54th birthday to former Penguins forward Bryan Erickson. Acquired from the Kings midway through the 1987-88 season along with Chris Kontos in a deal that sent a draft pick to Los Angeles, Erickson played 11 games for the Penguins that season and recorded five points. He left the team in the following off season when he joined HC Merano in Italy.

-After the Jump: Reilly Smith and Torey Krug get paid.

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