Well, Christmas is over. Now we can look forward to returning all the gifts we don't need. Happy Holidays from your friends at the NSA!
DETROIT -- Pitt coach Paul Chryst met with the media after Pitt's practice at Ford Field today. Here's some video of the proceedings...
You'll notice that Chryst was, as usual, mum on which guys will or won't play on Thursday. I would make an educated guess that the injured guys (WR Devin Street, WR Kevin Weatherspoon, LB Shane Gordon, LT Adam Bisnowaty and LG Cory King) will all be out for Thursday's game. Some of them may be closer than others, but given that none of them practiced today, I would say it's unlikely any of them go Thursday. Other guys, like Ejuan Price and Scott Orndoff are out for sure.
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-Shelly Anderson's recap from last night's game. Pascal Dupuis left the game in the first period due to an apparent right knee injury.
-The Ottawa Citizen's recap. The Penguins were shutout for the second time this season.
-The Associated Press' recap. "We had several good opportunities to score but we don't cash in and certainly the game turns on that stretch where we had three power plays in the second and we don't get a goal." - Dan Bylsma.
-Jussi Jokinen and Ottawa's Craig Anderson each kept an eye on this puck:
-Sidney Crosby speaks:
-Dan Bylsma speaks:
-NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has upheld the 15-game suspension for Bruins forward Shawn Thornton in regards to his attack to his of Brooks Orpik Dec. 7. Thornton has seven days to appeal to an independent arbitrator is he chooses to do so.
-EN Says: We're willing to bet Bettman wants this to go away as soon as possible. Hence the announcement on Christmas Eve.
-The Penguins assigned Philip Samuelsson and Harry Zolnierczyk to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
-The new collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and NHLPA mandates a three-day holiday break.
-Happy 84th birthday to former Penguins coach George "Red" Sullivan. The franchise's first coach, he led the team to a 27-34-13 record during its inaugural season of 1967-68. In 1968-69, the team went 20-45-11. He was replaced in the 1969 offseason by Red Kelly. In 150 games with the Penguins, Sullivan had a 47-79-24 record for 118 points.
-Happy 28th birthday to former Penguins forward Nick Johnson (right). A third-round pick in 2004, Johnson spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. In 2009-10, he saw action in six games and collected two points. Last season, he appeared in four games and scored three points. During the 2011-12 preseason, he was claimed off waivers from the Wild. In 10 regular season games with the Penguins, Johnson scored five points. He is currently a member of the Bruins organization.
-Happy 40th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Shawn Heins. Acquired midway through the 2002-03 season in a trade which sent a draft pick to the Sharks, Heins' Penguins career amounted to 27 games and two points that campaign. In the 2003 offseason, Heins joined the Thrashers as a free agent.
-After the Jump: The Sabres with with a "butt goal."
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Something-something baseball, something-something Pittsburgh Pirates, something-something. Also Jon Hamm.
Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh were the first two players from India to sign contracts with Major League Baseball. After Singh won a reality show in India called "The Million-Dollar Arm" in 2008, and Patel captured the interest of the show's scouts, the Pirates signed the two to free agent contracts.
The movie, stars Jon Hamm, as Jeff Bernstein, a sports agent who came up with the idea for the game show after watching cricket players in India.
The trailer is a little holiday gift from Disney, we think.
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No surprise that as the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated grow, so do the numbers of those who don't believe in the historicity of the Nativity accounts in the Bible -- virgin birth, angels, wise men, star, etc.
What may be more surprising is that doubters of the Nativity details are growing even in church circles.
I wrote about the survey in today's Post-Gazette (I'll post an exact link when I get it), asking pastors how they prepare their Christmas sermons for audiences that may be more skeptical than in the past. Those I talked to didn't seem too worried about it. Even those affirming all the historical details said they weren't using the Christmas pulpit as debating forum.
But clergy are going to have to take note of the fact that even their own flocks are more open to interpreting such stories symbolically than literally.
Public Religion Research Institute says 49 percent of Americans believe in its historicity -- down from 67 percent a decade ago -- and 40 percent see them as stories illustrating theological truths.
Roman Catholics' belief in the literal Nativity dropped from 72 to 51 percent. It was down 10 points among racial minorities who are Protestants and down 12 percent among white evangelical Protestants, although huge majorities among both those groups still believe. Among mainline Protestants, 56 percent of whom say the accounts are historical, the results haven't budged since 2004.
A renowned Roman Catholic biblical scholar, the Rev. Raymond Brown, wrote in his massive study of the narratives that it's ironic that seminaries spend relatively little time on the Nativity -- since preaching about it is one of the most important pulpit tasks of a pastor's year.
There's ongoing debate among Christians over whether someone has to believe these details to be a Christian or to believe in essentials of the faith.
"Whether or not the infancy narratives were historical, whether or not they were based on eye-witness testimony, whether or not they had a pre-Gospel existence, Matthew and Luke thought they were appropriate introductions to the career and significance of Jesus. ... From this point of view the infancy narratives are not an embarrassment but a masterpiece."
"It was not with the timelessness of myth that Jesus came to be born among us. He belongs to a time that can be precisely dated and a geographical location that is precisely defined. ... God intervenes directly in the material world. … God is God and he does not operate merely on the level of ideas."
Photo is of the Pittsburgh Creche