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Crosby on Sochi - 02-10-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Prior to the overtime period of  the gold medal game in the 2010 Winter Olympics, Sidney Crosby had a rather pedestrian tournament by his considerable standards. But concerns over his "mere" point per game scoring average and an inability to mesh with all-star linemates such as Rick Nash were eliminated after he shouted Jarome Iginla's nickname and exposed Ryan Miller's five hole with an overtime goal which won a gold medal for Canada in Vancouver on a smaller North American rink.

Four years later, the Olympics are being held in Sochi, Russia on a larger rink and Crosby will lead Canada's defense of its gold medal as the team's captain.

Earlier this season, Crosby addresses questions regarding the games and Canada's history on larger rinks.

The NHL will shut down for more than two weeks and put several of its high profile players at risk to injury. Does the NHL get enough benefit from participating in the Olympics?

"I think they do. It’s great exposure. On top of that, hockey fans, whether you’re a fan of the NHL or other leagues, get to see everybody together at the same time. I think it’s a great thing to be a part of."

There's a nine hour time difference between the East Coast and Sochi. Will any benefit the league gets from television be limited by that?

"I don’t look at it from that standpoint. I look at it from a player’s standpoint. It’s an opportunity to play for your country and basically having the whole world watch, I think that’s good for everybody whether you’re a player or a fan."

What do you expect the atmosphere to be like in Sochi?

"I’ve never been there [to Russia]. They showed us some stuff at the orientation camp in Calgary. I think when you’re there, you’re pretty much practicing. You’re with your group. It’s not like you’re going too far [outside of the Olympic village]. From what I’ve heard, basically that city was built for the Olympics. The village is pretty much where you’re staying for most of it."

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock will be your head coach for Canada as he was in 2010. Dan Bylsma played for him in Anaheim. Are there any similarities in how they coach?

"I think just the style. They want a fast pace game. They like speed. They try to really force guys to move the puck quick, make quick decisions. Play with a lot of place. I think that’s pretty noticeable, at least for me either at Team Canada camp or playing of team Canada and here [the Penguins]. It’s a pretty seamless transition that way. They both expect that. That’s nice for me. I don’t have to change much."

The 2006 Olympics were the last played on the larger dimensions of an International Ice Hockey Federation rink. Canada's management was criticized for taking several players seen as better fits for North American rinks. After finishing in seventh in those Olympics, do you think Canada has taken a different approach to playing on a larger rink?

"Maybe. From what I understood in camp, everything looked to be pretty similar to the way we played in Vancouver on North American ice. Foundation and the way your play and guys’ strength, you’re not going to be able to change that in a couple of weeks. I’m sure there will be tiny adjustments. But for the most part, even with the ice being a little bit bigger, you try to play the same way."

There was a lot of criticism at management when you were left off that team. Do you ever think about that or dwell on it?

"No. Honestly, I didn’t think I had a chance of being considered. I’m 18 years old. I didn’t even think it was possible. So when my name was being thrown around, I was obviously excited. To not be on it… it wasn’t like I expected to be on it. I thought it was just a good thing that I was mentioned in the mix and that meant I had a pretty good start to my first [NHL] year. As soon as I wasn’t picked, I was a fan like everyone else."

Since the NHL first starting participating in the Olympics in 1998, the United States and Canada have only won medals when the tournaments were held in North America (2002 in Salt Lake City and 2010 in Vancouver). Do you think the difference in time zones with tournaments in the Eastern Hemisphere have played a factor?

"I don’t know. [Europeans] are playing here and going over. Whether they’re used to it…I don’t know. I don’t think that had much to do with it. Everyone has to travel back to do the same thing. I can’t see that playing too big of a part. There’s definitely more of a comfort level here [in North America], there’s no doubt. In Vancouver, you know your surroundings and you’re familiar with everything. You get treated probably a little bit better when you’re hosting. You get a nicer room and stuff like that. You get taken care of a little bit better just because you’re the host. Other than that, I think there’s not a great explanation for that."

Are questions or concerns about how the North American teams will play on the larger IIHF rinks overblown?

"I think it’s overblown. It’s a fair point. It’s a fact. But to say that’s the reason for winning, that’s looking into it a little bit too much. I think ultimately the team that plays the best is going to win. It’s not going to matter, the size of the ice. If your goalie stands on his head and steals you a game, the size of the ice doesn’t really matter. It’s a detail of the game. Just like playing a different team, you have to adjust sometimes. I don’t think you have to change the way your team plays. If that’s the case, you’re probably going be in trouble."

(Photo: Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)

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Do you have a Pittsburgh song?

Written by Diana Nelson Jones on .

 
The Post-Gazette held a Best Pittsburgh Song Contest in 2006 and Bob Pegritz gave each one a listen. Bob is a native of Smock, Fayette County who used to live and work in Pittsburgh. He has been living in Lancaster County for several years.

“Some people used melodies that already existed and put in Pittsburgh words,” he said. “Some were original melodies but I got so angry one night that I sat at my computer and this song came out.”

Bob writes: "Mike Gallagher, Pittsburgh Irish and folk music icon was so kind to set my words about my home town to music. Paddy Folan, accordianist in Guaranteed Irish lent his expertise and Jamie Peck, master engineer and part-time bassist and percussionist made our song come alive.

 “I don’t want to make anything from this," he told Walkabout today, "but I want to let people know what Pittsburgh is about. It’s not synonymous with Primanti’s. It’s not the shot-and-beer thing or the Steelers. My grandparents did not break their backs in this town to be told that’s what Pittsburgh’s all about.”
 
Post-Gazette readers cast 14,866 votes in choosing “I Love Pittsburgh” by Jimmy Sapienza in 2006 It has a swinging, uptown spirit and calls out all the sports teams. You can surely dance to it. It won with 64 percent of the vote.
 
My former colleague Monica Haynes reported on the contest result, citing the inspiration as coming from Atlanta’s 2005 commissioning of a song to promote that city. “The result was a hip-hop-flavored R&B tune called the ‘ATL,’” she wrote. “After hearing about Atlanta’s new ditty, folks at the Post-Gazette began wondering what kind of song could best show the world what Pittsburgh is all about.”
 
It has been eight years since the contest. Might be time for a new contest to see how the city is inspiring a new generation. 
 

 

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It's time for WPIAL basketball bracketology

Written by Mike White on .

The WPIAL basketball steering committee is meeting today to determine seedings and playoff pairings. Matchups will be announced tomorrow night at a meeting in Green Tree.

But let's have a little bracketology class today.

CLASS AAAA

I think three teams from Section 3 deserve the top three seeds. Based on what they did this year, and also what happened last year. A year ago, four teams from Section 3 made the semifinals. That's the first time four teams from once section made the semifinals. Last year shouldn't have much to do with this year, but last year proved the strength of Section 3 and it is strong again this year

North Allegheny and Hampton tied for second in the section. It's hard to differentiate between the two because they split two meetings. So let's put them 2-3. (Pictured is North Allegheny senior guard David Haus).

What makes the seedings for this class a little difficult is what to do with the three teams from Section 2 - Franklin Regional, Fox Chapel and Gateway. They should all be seeded somewhere 7 through 12, but it's a little hard because you have to keep them away from playing each other in the first round.

So let's go with this: 1. New Castle vs. 16. Latrobe; 2. Hampton vs. 15. Peters Township; 3. North Allegheny vs. 14. Norwin; 4. Hempfield vs. 13. Mt. Lebanon; 5. Plum vs. 12. Seneca Valley; 6. Upper St. Clair vs. 11 Gateway; 7. Franklin Regional vs. 10. Kiski Area; 8. Bethel Park vs. 9. Fox Chapel.

I thought of moving things around a little to have USC play Kiski Area, but you would also have to make some other changes. That is a possibility. But should Kiski Area, a second-place team from Section 1, drop all the way to a No. 11 seed, even though Section 1 hasn't done well in the playoffs lately?

CLASS AAA

What "Valley" team should get the No. 1 seed - Central Valley or Chartiers Valley? Chartiers Valley has one loss (to Ambridge) and Central Valley two (Obama and Hampton). Chartiers Valley lost to Ambridge and Central Valley beat Ambridge twice. But Chartiers Valley didn't have standout guard Matty McConnell (pictured) against Ambridge.

So who should it be? Well, the coin is in the air and ...

Chartiers Valley is No. 1.

There are 21 teams in this bracket, so there will have to be some preliminary-round games. So I will just give you my top 12 seeds because the preliminary-round games could go so many different ways.

1. Chartiers Valley. 2. Central Valley. 3. Uniontown. 4. Thomas Jefferson. 5. Elizabeth Forward. 6. Indiana. 7. Mars. 8. Knoch. 9. Montour. 10. Steel Valley. 11. Blackhawk. 12. Ambridge.

Does Uniontown deserve the No. 3 seed over Thomas Jefferson? Tough question. Uniontown has only one loss, but troubles in early-round games the past few years make you wonder just how good this Uniontown team is. We'll give them the benefit of the doubt one more year. It's also tough to decide where to put Indiana, Mars and Knoch, who all tied for the Section 1 championship. We decided the best thing is to put them right next to each other in 6 through 8.

CLASS AAMike Mastroianni

Two questions with this class are about Quaker Valley and Beaver Falls. Quaker Valley had only two losses - both to Avonworth - so where should the Quakers be seeded? They have a terrific record, but can't be ahead of Avonworth. (Pictured is Quaker Valley coach Mike Mastroianni). By the way, a shoutout to Avonworth, which won a section title for the first time in 40 years.

And where should two-time defending champ Beaver Falls go? Should an injury affect a team's seeding? Beaver Falls is without standout point guard Elijah Cottrill because of a knee injury. There is no way the Tigers are the same team without him.

Like Class AAA, I am only seeding the top 12. There are 24 teams in these playoffs and those preliminary-round games could go a lot of different ways.

Here goes ...

1. Seton-LaSalle. 2. Greensburg Central Catholic. 3. Aliquippa. 4. Avonworth. 5. Summit Academy. 6. Quaker Valley. 7. Beaver Falls. 8. Washington. 9. Neshannock. 10. Brownsville. 11. Apollo-Ridge. 12. South Allegheny.

CLASS A

The top is easy to do in this class. The bottom is a little hard to do because there are four teams with records below .500 and trying to differentiate between them is difficult. Also, where should Section 4 champion Wilkinsburg go? Should the Tigers get a top five seed because of a section championship or go below Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic and Sewickley Academy, who tied for second in Section 2? North Catholic played a very good non-section schedule.

Here goes ...

1. Lincoln Park vs. 16. St. Joseph. 2. Vincentian vs. 15. Mapletown. 3. Monessen vs. 14. Trinity Christian. 4. OLSH vs. 13. Eden Christian. 5. Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic vs. 12. Winchester Thurston. 6. Sewickley Academy vs. 11. Clairton. 7. Wilkinsburg vs. 10. Union. 8. Western Beaver vs. 9. Carmichaels.

 

 

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How's traffic? See for yourself

Written by Jon Schmitz on .

 

511

PennDOT has upgraded its 511pa.com website, which provides up-to-the-minute information about traffic. The redesigned website debuted last week.

From the PennDOT news release announcing the upgrade:

Incident and construction information is available for 40,000 miles of state roads, essentially the entire PennDOT-maintained system, plus the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The original 511PA system offered information for the 2,900 miles that make up the “core system” of interstates and select U.S. routes.

Information on current traffic conditions has improved with real-time traffic-speed data now available for 15,000 roadway miles, expanded from 659.

The site also now offers access to 30 additional traffic cameras from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, in addition to the 650 already available across the state.

Users who opt to get their traveler information on the phone will find an easier-to-use system that provides information more quickly and includes better voice recognition technology. The phone system is accessible by dialing 511 from within Pennsylvania. Users who call 511PA from outside the state should call 1-877-511-PENN (7366).

In addition to the website and phone options, motorists can sign up to receive personal travel alerts through email and text messages. The alerts can be customized by roadway, time of day and days of the week. Alerts are also available through Twitter feeds assigned to each 511PA region, as well as a statewide feed.

Since 511PA launched in September 2009, the service has had more than 3.1 million website visits, nearly 20,000 alert subscribers and 1.9 million phone calls.

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ICYMI: From Sunday print, 1 in 5 Port Authority buses runs late; you can view a complete list of on-time data for nearly every route here.

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Outbound Parkway East traffic will be restricted to one lane in the area of the 10th Street Bridge starting at 10 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. The restriction, which will be lifted by 6 a.m. each day, is to accommodate Allegheny County’s rehabilitation project on the bridge, which crosses the parkway between mile 70 and 71.

Single-lane closures are possible during overhead sign inspections from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today on the Parkway West between Pittsburgh International Airport and Hopewell; and during the same hours Tuesday at these sites: Route 60 at the Interstate 79 interchange; southbound Route 65 at the I-79 interchange; and northbound I-79 between Warrendale (Exit 75) and Cranberry (Exit 76).

Babcock Boulevard will be restricted to alternating one-way traffic between Greenhill and Schaefer roads in Shaler from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday while crews work on fiber optic cables. Flaggers will direct traffic.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike will slow westbound traffic between Butler Valley (Exit 39) and Allegheny Valley (Exit 48) interchanges at around 3 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday to accommodate an ongoing bridge reconstruction project. Police will pace traffic at 20 to 25 mph. The same thing will happen eastbound at 3 a.m. Feb. 19 and 20.

Restrictions are possible on Walton Road in Jefferson Hills, between old Route 837 and Scheinbach Road, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through Friday, as crews drill and conduct research for a future project. Elsewhere on Walton Road, shoring a hillside and shoulder will shrink traffic to an alternating one-way pattern between Dale Road and Riverview Drive from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Feb. 28.

Also in Jefferson Hills, drilling and research will restrict traffic on Scheinbach Road from Walton to Lobbs Run roads from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily through Thursday.

Monongahela Road at Pangburn Hollow Road in Forward will have lane closures from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through Thursday. More research and drilling.

Port Authority’s Wabash Tunnel will be closed from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily through Friday during work on the ventilation system.

Relocation of a water line will restrict Lincoln Way traffic in White Oak to one narrow lane in both directions between Route 48 and Guice Street from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays through March 6.

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New York Fashion Week: What I wore ... Part II

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

More backstage opportunities and interviews colored my second day of covering the shows at New York Fashion Week. Therefore, I wanted a look that was sophisticated yet in style. I also had a lot of walking in store for me, plus some slick streets leftover from snow earlier in the week, so I needed shoes and an outfit that would be comfortable as I dashed from show to show, venue to venue.

20140209 Dress

Little black dress and textured moto jacket with zipper details, H&M: These are two of my favorite pieces. The little black dress is my go-to for layering. I've paired it with blouses, cropped sweaters and sweatshirts and blazers. It's also stretchy and super comfortable! The jacket is chic yet edgy and has some texture to it for some visual interest.


20140209 Jewelry

Sabika Manhattan choker, www.sabika-jewelry.com; cross necklace, Forever 21; hammered metal silver ring, Wilson Lodge gift shop at Oglebay Park resort; and zebra print hoop earrings: I kept the accessories simple for this look and limited them to silver tones to coordinate with the silver in the zippers of the jacket. The Manhattan choker is one of my favorite necklaces. It goes with practically anything, living up to the philosophy of the Pittsburgh-based business that designed it; all of its jewelry must go with black, jeans or khaki or it can't be part of the Sabika collection. 

The cross added some layers to the neckline and a bit of my personality. The ring and hoops are great neutral pieces that I mix and match with a lot of things I wear. Although I do bring to Fashion Week some of my better jewelry (meaning things I paid a bit more for), I typically stick with costume jewelry while I travel, just in case I were to lose something during the trip.


20140209 Boots

White Mountain boots: Boots (or any style of shoe) by this brand are the epitome of comfort, perfect for the long lines and long days of New York Fashion Week. I ordered these from QVC.com, but they're also available at mainstream stores such as Macy's.

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