Avalanche at Penguins - 12-19-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

-For a game with 13 former first-round picks on the ice, including quite a few No. one, two and three overall picks, there' weren't a tone offensive fireworks. Sure, there were lots and lots of shots but only one goal. That was scored by Blake Comeau and gave the Penguins a 1-0 win against the Avalanche tonight.

-In essence, this game came down to the one first overall pick in this game who doesn't have much to do with his team's offense and as well as a former No. 49 overall pick. This was a staring contest between Marc-Andre Fleury and Calvin Pickard.

-Each goaltender was fantastic. One could argue Pickard was even better given that he saw 48 shots. Either way, the Penguins got another dazzling performance from their franchise goaltender who recorded his league-leading sixth shutout of the season.

-Christian Ehrhoff left the game after the first period due to an undisclosed injury. Head coach Mike Johnston said he would be evaluated in the morning.

-Comeau scored his 11th goal of the season and his third game-winning goal of the season. What a find this guy has been. He scored 24 goals with the Islanders in 2010-11 but that seemed like a lifetime ago. After bouncing around with the Flames and Blue Jackets, he seemed like he was destined to be a ho-hum bottom six forward when the Penguins signed him this past summer. With so many injuries/illnesses up front, Comeau has stepped in and replaced a lot of offense. Yes, playing with Evgeni Malkin is a big help but he's not just a passenger on this line. He's scoring some big goals at big times. At $700,000, he's a bargain value.

-Again, Comeau now has 11 goals this season. In the previous three seasons with the Flames and Blue Jackets, he had 11 combined.

-Sidney Crosby looked fine in his first game back. Not spectacular by any means but okay. Keep in mind, he wasn't playing to the level of his considerable standards before he got the mumps. Within that context, he seemed okay tonight. Johnston suggested Crosby played too many minutes in tonight's game but said it was necessary given the talent on the other side of the puck. He seemed to hint Crosby would have a day off tomorrow.

-The Penguins' lines were different from this morning skate. Tonight, the primary lines were:

Nick Spaling - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist
Evgeni Malkin - Brandon Sutter - Blake Comeau
Rob Klinkhammer - Marcel Goc - Steve Downie
Bobby Farnham - Craig Adams - Bryan Rust

-Rust got a shift or two with Crosby and Hornqvist and showed off some nice speed and hands. Beyond that, he was mostly relegated to bottom six duties. While health is a factor, we would like to see him get a few more chances with either Crosby or Malkin. He isn't intimated by playing with either of those two.

Johnston lauded Rust for helping create the overtime goal:


Tonight in overtime, I put him out there. I thought he really helped create that goal. He made the hit in the corner, kept the puck alive in the zone, made the change. [Evgeni Malkin] got on and [Malkin] and then [Blake Comeau] got the
goal together. We have some confidence in him as a player. It started with his development but it's also … he just seems to be a guy who now he's got the opportunity, some guys relish the opportunity and take advantage of it. And he's
doing that now and he just doesn't seem to be nervous.”


-Rust managed to get six shots in just 8:52 of ice time.

-Scott Harrington made his NHL debut and saw some elevated minutes with Ehrhoff's injury. He spoke on the game:


On playing his first NHL game:

“It was fun. It was quick. It as a little bit nerves in the first period there. It was a quick game against a good team. Each shift, I felt a little bit better and a little bit more comfortable. By the end of the … I guess by maybe the second half of the game it started to feel more like the practices here and I got used to the pace a little bit more. It was a lot of fun. Guys really helped me out a lot there on the ice and it was good.“

What changed with his defensive partner, Christian Ehrhoff, leaving after one period:

“I don't think it really changed much for me because I never really played with any of the guys. So it's not like it was a chemistry issue. Maybe for some of the other guys but it seems like the [defensemen] rotate within the pairings quite often due to injuries and stuff like that. It was a little more ice maybe but like I said, it was good the guys really helped me out. They talk a lot out there and tried to make life easy out there.“


-Harrington had 13:33 of ice time on 22 shifts, including one shift on the power play totaling 37 seconds. He had one shot and was credited with two blocked shots.

-Harrington's parents were able to drive down from Kingston, Ont. to take in the game.

-Bobby Farnham is going to Bobby Farnham. He picked a fight with Cody McLeod in the second period. McLeod, no shrinking violet, didn't seem to know what to expect from Farnham and as a result, McLeod mostly played defense until Farnham slipped and fell on a stray stick. McLeod took advantage of Farnham falling again later in the fight and sort of threw an uppercut as Farnham kneeled on the ice.

-We were willing to give him a few games to get back into the swing of things, but Hornqvist has been rather quiet since he came back to the lineup after being knocked in the head a few weeks ago.

Getting back to Pickard, he was outstanding. And this performance wasn't a fluke. He's probably been the Avalanche's best player most of the season. With all-star goaltender Semyon Varlamov in and out of the lineup due to a recurring groin injury, Pickard has stepped in and played very well. He has been responsible for much of the limited success the Avalanche has experienced this season.

-With the exception of Nathan MacKinnon, most of the Avalanche's stars were pretty quiet tonight.

-The Penguins led in shots on net, 48-29.

-The Penguins led in attempted shots, 60-51.

-Malkin, Hornqvist, Rust, Sutter and MacKinnon each led the game with six shots.

-Downie and Ehrhoff, who only logged 9:03 of ice time due to his injury, were the only Penguins' skaters who failed to record a shot tonight.

-Kris Letang led the game with 28:24 of ice time.

-Erik Johnson led the Avalanche with 24:26 of ice time.

-The Avalanche led in faceoffs, 32-29 (52 percent).

-Marc-Andre Cliche was 9 for 13 (69 percent).

-Crosby was 13 for 22 (59 percent).

-Letang led the game with four blocked shots.

-Johnston led the Avalanche with three blocked shots.

-Fleury recorded his sixth shutout of the season. Only Tom Barrasso (1997-98) recorded more in a single season for the Penguins.

-Wow. This was only the second shutout by the Penguins ever against the Avalanche/Nordiques franchise. Ken Wregget made 38 saves at home against Quebec, Jan. 27, 1994.

-Last Penguins' shutout against a Colorado team saw Gary Edwards make 28 saves in a 6-0 road win against the Rockies, March 21, 1982.

-The Penguins won 1-0 in the overtime period for the first time since Nov. 17, 2001. A Jan Hrdina goal from Billy Tibbetts at 4:41 of overtime lifted Pittsburgh over the Rangers 1-0 at Mellon Arena. Johan Hedberg stopped all 26 shots to earn the victory.

-Some sites. The ice:

-Fans entering the barn:

-Ron Francis and Kevin Stevens were accounted for:

-As was Joe Mullen:

-Beau Bennett Wilkes-Barre/Scranton:

-Jaromir Jagr:

-There were a ton of Avalanche fans here tonight. Other than the Blackhawks, this might have been the most visiting fans from a current Western Conference team we've seen in the history of Consol Energy Center:


-Joe Sakic:

-Ray Bourque:

-Patrick Roy:

-The always Rob Blake/Bill Guerin combination:

-Gabriel Landeskog:

-Matt Duchene:

-Peter Forsberg:

-Clark Griswold:

-There are far too many of these. Larry Murphy:

-This is sharp. Shawn McEachern:

(That usher is all business.)

-Former Penguins/Current Avalanche left right winger Jarome Iginla:

-Jersey of the Night. You score a Stanley Cup-winning goal, you get jersey of the night. Maxime Talbot:

-Game summary.

-Event summary.



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Cold War Embargo

Written by Rob Rogers on .

Normalizing relations with Cuba is way overdue. Fifty years of cold war embargo have not done a thing but hurt the people. 

121914 Cold War Embargo

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Crosby a game-time decision - 12-18-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins center Sidney Crosby could to the lineup for tonight's home game against the Avalanche after missing three games due to the mumps. He centered the team's first line with Evgeni Malkin on the left wing and Patric Hornqvist on the right wing at today's morning skate.

“It's been a boring week, that's for sure” the Penguins' captain - pictured above with how he looked Friday on the left and today on the right - said. “After you miss a week, whether you're injured a different way, you don't skate for a week, you don't feel that great.”

“I wouldn't say I feel great but I'm also happy to be back here.”

Crosby spoke with media following the team's morning skate at Consol Energy Center for the first time since he displayed swelling on the right side of his face after a morning skate prior to Friday's 3-1 home win against the Flames. An image of a video from the team's Web site went viral – pardon the pun – on social media.

“When I saw that picture, that wasn't what I looked like before I went on the ice,” Crosby's said. “It's just one of those things, we were well aware of it everyone did the right things to make sure me and everyone else is protected as you can be. It's just something, sometimes you can't do anything about it. People get sick.”

Crosby dealt with an infected gland in his neck after having his throat grabbed by an opponent during a 3-2 road win against the Hurricanes Nov. 29. He suggested that ailment helped create confusion with regards to his mumps diagnosis.

"To be honest with you, my situation is probably the wrong one to try to analyze because I had a previous thing that happened a few weeks before that that I was dealing with a for at least 10 days to two weeks basically in the same area [of the face] that the mumps affects,” Crosby said. “Of course, it was kind of the perfect situation. Our staff was well aware of it. They've done a great job. We've had all our blood tests run before that. All my tests were negative. The fact that I had that incident before that, really kind of threw everyone off because the tests were negative.”

(Images: Team video)

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About the Avalanche - 12-18-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Avalanche.

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

TV: Root Sports (Pittsburgh market), Altitude (Denver market), NHL Network (rest of the United States), SportsNet 360, TVA2.

Record: 10-13-7, 27 points. The Avalanche is in last place in the Central Division.

Leading Scorer: Center Matt Duchene, 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists).

Last Game: 3-2 overtime home loss to the Blues Saturday. Defenseman Erik Johnson scored both goals for the Avalanche.

Last Game against the Penguins: 3-2 home shootout loss April 6. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 28 saves for the Avalanche.

Avalanche Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Center Daniel Briere. In his past 21 games against the Penguins - including playoffs - he has 21 points.

Ex-Penguins on the Avalanche: Defenseman Nate Guenin, right winger Jarome Iginla (right) and center Maxime Talbot.

Ex-Avalanche on the Penguins: Right winger Steve Downie, and assistant coach Rick Tocchet.

Useless Avalanche Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: Downie, Guenin, Iginla and Talbot are the only players who have been NHL teammates with Penguins center Sidney Crosby (2005) and Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (2013), each former No. 1 overall picks from Cole Harbour, N.S.

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

Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (17-4-2, 2.10 GAA, .927 SV%) for the Penguins. Calvin Pickard (4-5-1, 2.42 GAA, .927 SV%) for the Avalanche.

Injuries: For the Penguins, center Sidney Crosby (mumps) is a game-time decision. Goaltender Thomas Greiss (illness) is doubtful. Right wingers Beau Bennett (knee), Pascal Dupuis (blood clot), defensemen Robert Bortuzzo ("upper body") and Olli Maatta ("upper body"), centers Zach Sill ("upper body"), Scott Wilson (leg), left winger Chris Kunitz (foot) are on injured reserve. For the Avalanche, center John Mitchell (leg), Ben Street (hand), Jesse Winchester (head), left winger Jamie McGinn (back), goaltender Semyon Varlamov (groin) and defenseman Ryan Wilson (leg) are on injured reserve.

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

71 Evgeni Malkin - 87 Sidney Crosby - 72 Patric Hornqvist
17 Blake Comeau - 16 Brandon Sutter - 23 Steve Downie
13 Nick Spaling - 57 Marcel Goc - 36 Bryan Rust
27 Craig Adams - 25 Andrew Ebbett- 20 Rob Klinkhammer/34 Bobby Farnham

10 Christian Ehrhoff - 58 Kris Letang
47 Simon Despres - 7 Paul Martin
10 Scott Harrington - 4 Rob Scuderi

-The Avalanche did not hold a morning skate today. It's expected line and defensive pairings are:

40 Alex Tanguay - 9 Matt Duchene - 12 Jarome Iginla
92 Gabriel Landeskog - 29 Nathan MacKinnon - 90 Ryan O'Reilly
55 Cody McLeod - 25 Maxime Talbot - 48 Daniel Briere
45 Dennis Everberg - 24 Marc-Andre Cliche - 2 Nick Holden

8 Jan Hejda - 6 Erik Johnson
5 Nate Guenin - 4 Tyson Barrie
17 Brad Stuart - 22 Zach Redmond


-"I'm going to talk to the doctors and see what they think. It's been a boring week, for sure." - Crosby on being a game-time decision.

-Fleury's mumps test came back negative. Greiss has been tested for mumps. Test results for Bortuzzo and Maatta are still pending.

-Harrington is expected to make his NHL debut.

-The Avalanche canceled its morning skate as a precaution against the mumps.

-Stuart is returning after missing 16 games and is expected to play in his 1,000th career game. He will be the 100th NHL defenseman to reach that mark.

-Guenin is a native of Aliquippa who grew up in Hopewell.

-The referees are Dave Jackson (No. 8) and Ghislain Hebert (No. 22). The linesmen are Trent Knorr (No. 63), Scott Driscoll (No. 68).

-We will not be writing a live blog for tonight's game due. We will have a post-game blog.

(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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Blackhawk's Omogrosso nears 2,000 points

Written by Mike White on .

Chassidy Omogrosso has four "O's" in her last name. She will soon have three zeroes in her scoring total.

Omogrosso is a senior guard on the Blackhawk girls basketball team who will, barring injury, reach 2,000 career points either tonight or Friday. Blackhawk plays Ellwood City tonight and Mercyhurst Prep Friday.

Omogrosso has 1,972 points. She has been a starter since her freshman year and is a two-time Post-Gazette Fabulous 5 selection. She has signed with Duquesne University.

A total of 36 players in WPIAL history have scored 2,000 career points. The last to do it were Hopewell's Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Jeannette's Ciara Gregory two years ago. The way Omogrosso scores, she would seemingly have a chance to reach the top 10 scorers in the WPIAL by the end of the season. Blackhawk is one of the top Class AAA teams in the state and the defending PIAA champion.

The WPIAL's all-time leading scorer is Monessen's Gina Naccarato, a 1996 graduate who scored 3,364 points. The No. 10 scorer in WPIAL history is Albert Gallatin's Lou Hall, who scored 2,440.

But Omogrosso likely won't be the only WPIAL player to reach 2,000 this season. Vincentian's Brenna Wise entered the season with 1,685 career points.

Wise is a Pitt recruit.

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