Head coach Pat Narduzzi:
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In soccer terms, Allderdice feels the WPIAL deserves a yellow card for its decision on site selection for Allderdice's boys soccer playoff game.
Melissa Friez, Allderdice's school principal, used the word "personal" to describe the WPIAL's decision to have the Allderdice boys team play a road game Monday at Peters Township in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs. She wonders whether the WPIAL has something against Allderdice or the City League.
Now, let me say first the WPIAL is unjustly criticized for a lot of things. People complain about everything under the sun, from what balls are used to playoff seedings and sites of games. But when you look at the facts of this situation, the WPIAL's decision is a real head scratcher.
The situation is that four City League schools are associate members of the WPIAL in a handful of sports. Allderdice, a City League school, plays in the WPIAL for boys soccer. Allderdice won the WPIAL Class AAA Section 4 championship, beating out, among others, Central Catholic, Bethel Park and Mt. Lebanon. (Pictured is Allderdice's soccer team before Monday's game against Mt. Lebanon).
The WPIAL playoff pairings came out yesterday. The league seeds teams for playoffs and decides sites. Consider this:
**** In both the boys bracket and the girls bracket, all of the top eight seeds have a home game in the first round - except Allderdice. The Dragons were given the No. 6 seed and Peters Township No. 11, but still Allderdice has a "road" game.
**** There are a number of neutral sites for first-round games in the other classifications. But of all the first-round games, from Class A to AAA, there is not one team seeded in the top eight that has to play an away game - except Allderdice. In other words, all of the teams seeded in the top eight in their classification are playing either a home game or at a neutral site - except Allderdice.
"It's just not fair to the kids. It's unethical," said Friez. "I know there are different committees that make decisions about who plays where, and who plays at neutral sites. But this seems personal. Out of all the teams, the only team not getting an opportunity to play at home or a neutral site is the City League team?
"I'd even take a neutral site."
The City League plays all of its soccer games at Cupples Stadium, a nice complex on the South Side. City League athletic director Mike Gavlik said the site is available Monday. Cost wouldn't be a factor, either, because Gavlik said the City doesn't charge rent when a City League team is involved in a playoff game. The only charge to the WPIAL would be game personnel, such as ticket takers and those who work the scoreboard. Those are costs charged at every site.
WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley was apologetic this morning, saying the Allderdice site selection was no slight to the City League.
"We have to swallow our mistake and move forward," said O'Malley. "It was not anybody's intention to slight anyone. We're attempting to find facilities that have functioned for playing games in the past. It is not easy. If in having done that, we erred from the perspective of Allderdice, I apologize for that."
And maybe this is coincidental. Nonetheless, it still doesn't look good in this situation that the head of the WPIAL soccer steering committee is Joe Maize, the baseball coach at Peters Township and a former athletic director at Peters Township. Every sport in the WPIAL has a steering committee that decides everything from section alignments to playoff seedings and pairings.
O'Malley said he will not change the site of the Allderdice game because "everyone else would want to change."
Sorry, but there is an easy solution to this situation. Just change the site to Cupples.
It's Thursday. The game is Monday. That is plenty of time to change. If you truly did make an error, fix it. Saying "My bad" is really OK. Doing something to fix it is even better.
The Allderdice-Peters Township game is the second game of a doubleheader at Peters Township. The first game is Seton-LaSalle boys against Aquinas Academy. It's not a far drive to the South Side for either of them.
"We're disappointed in the process," said Gavlik. "We just feel Allderdice is deserving of a home game and we're surprised they didn't get one, when you look at everything."
Friez said, "Our kids were really excited. They thought they were getting a home game. To get that info that 'Sorry, you have to travel to Peters and play at their place?' That's just not right."
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A preview of the Stars.
When and where: 7 p.m., EDT, Consol Energy Center.
TV: Root Sports, Fox Sports Southwest, Sportsnet 360.
Record: 5-1-0, 10 points. The Stars are tied for first place in the Central Division.
Leading Scorer: Left winger Jamie Benn, 10 points (6 goals, 4 assists).
Last Game: 2-1 road win against the Flyers Tuesday. Benn and center Tyler Seguin (right) each had a goal and an assist for the Stars.
Last Game against the Penguins: 3-0 home win Oct. 8. Goaltender Antti Niemi made 37 saves for the Stars.
Stars Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Benn. Just because.
Ex-Penguins on the Stars: Defenseman Alex Goligoski, amateur scout Jiri Hrdina.
Ex-Stars on the Penguins: Associate general manager Jason Botterill, assistant general manager Bill Guerin, special assignment scout Gilles Meloche, player development coach Mark Recchi, amateur scout Warren Young.
Useless Stars Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: Stars left winger Antoine Roussel is one of five French-born players to score a goal against the Penguins. The others are current Flyers left winger Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, former Blues left winger Philippe Bozon, former Senators center Stephane Da Costa and former Jets left winger Paul MacLean.
The last time the Penguins played the Stars, this happened:
Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (3-3-0, 1.85 GAA, .937 SV%) for the Penguins. Antti Niemi (2-1-0, 2.33 GAA, .930 SV%) for the Stars.
Injuries: For the Penguins, right winger Beau Bennett (undisclosed) and center Eric Fehr (left elbow) are on injured reserve. For the Stars, left wingers Curtis McKenzie ("lower body"), Travis Moen ("upper body") and right winger Patrick Eaves ("lower body") are on injured reserve.
Potential lines and defensive pairings: The Penguins had an optional morning skate. Consider this a guess at their lines and defensive pairings:
14 Chris Kunitz - 87 Sidney Crosby - 81 Phil Kessel
39 David Perron - 71 Evgeni Malkin - 72 Patric Hornqvist
11 Kevin Porter - 13 Nick Bonino - 9 Pascal Dupuis
61 Sergei Plotnikov - 7 Matt Cullen - 17 Bryan Rust
28 Ian Cole - 58 Kris Letang
8 Brian Domoulin - 12 Ben Lovejoy
4 Rob Scuderi - 3 Olli Maatta
-The Stars' lines and pairs at today's morning skate were:
14 Jamie Benn - 91 Tyler Seguin - 10 Patrick Sharp
13 Mattias Janmark - 90 Jason Spezza - 43 Valeri Nichushkin
21 Antoine Roussel - 20 Cody Eakin - 83 Ales Hemsky
38 Vernon Fiddler - 12 Radek Faksa - 22 Colton Sceviour
33 Alex Goligoski - 3 John Klingberg
47 Johnny Oduya - 4 Jason Demers
2 Jyrki Jokipakka - 24 Jordie Benn
-Right winger Pascal Dupuis is expected to return to the lineup after being sidelined the first six games of the season due to a "lower-body" injury.
-Right winger Daniel Sprong is not expect to play after skipping a few practices in order to address a work visa issue.
-Right winger Tom Kuhnhackl cleared waivers and was assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He had been sidelined since suffering an undisclosed injury during the preseason.
-The referees are (No. 6 ) Francis Charron and (No. 36) Dean Morton. The linesmen are (No. 68) Scott Driscoll and (No. 57) Jay Sharrers.
(Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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-Center Kevin Porter (above) skipped practice due to an undisclosed injury.
-Defenseman Tim Erixon was assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
-EN Says: Erixon is, at best, the eighth-best defenseman on a team full of healthy defensemen. Being little more than a practice player will not aid him whatsoever. Being sent to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will give him some much-needed playing time.
-Left winger Tom Kuhnhackl (undisclosed) was activated from injured reserve and placed on waivers with the intention of assigning him to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
-“I took one right there, off the top of the kneecap. It split the whole top of my kneecap open. My kneecap was hanging out. It was so swollen that I couldn’t even move.” - Defenseman Ian Cole on the art of blocking shots.
-Could defenseman Olli Maatta see an increase in playing time?
-How do Stars forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin compare with Penguins forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin?
-What is the Penguins' procedure for initiating a video review?
-Head coach Mike Johnston speaks:
-The Penguins need an extension on the development rights for the Civic Arena property.
-Happy 41st birthday to former Penguins forward Miroslav Satan. A free agent signing in the 2008 offseason, Satan's Penguins' regular season career amounted to 65 games and 36 points in 2008-09. During the 2009 postseason, he appeared in 17 games, scored six points and helped the franchise claim its third Stanley Cup title. Satan, the only player in franchise history to wear No. 81, was not re-signed in the following offseason and joined the Bruins midway through 2009-10.
-Happy 48th birthday to former Penguins goaltender Ron Tugnutt. Acquired at the 2000 trade deadline along with Janne Laukanen in a deal which sent Tom Barrasso to the Senators, Tugnutt's regular season Penguins career amounted to seven games, a 4-2-0 record, a 2.41 goals against average and a .924 save percentage. Tugnutt made his mark in the 2000 postseason by appearing in 11 games, going 6-5 with a 1.77 goals against average (a franchise record), .945 save percentage and two shutouts. Many observers of the team rate Tugnutt's franchise-record 70-save performance in a five-overtime playoff game against the Flyers in Game 4 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series at Mellon Arena as the greatest single-game goaltending performance in franchise history. The Penguins lost the game, 2-1, in what still stands as the third-longest game in NHL history at 152:01. During the 2000 offseason, Tugnutt joined the expansion Blue Jackets as a free agent.
-After the Jump: John Tortorella takes over in Columbus.