Empty Netter Assists - 01-22-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-The Post-Gazette's recap from last night's game. “We showed a lot of heart coming back. It was good to get a point.” - Beau Bennett.

-The Chicago Sun Times' recap. The Blackhawks have not won a regulation game in Pittsburgh since 1997.

-The Associated Press' recap. Evgeni Malkin missed the game due to an undisclosed injury.


-Mike Lange's goal calls.

-A great look at Chicago captain Jonathan Toews beating Marc-Andre Fleury in the shootout:

-Paul Martin dumped Chicago's David Rundblad on a hip check:

-Zach Sill was pumped after scoring his first career goal:

-Sidney Crosby battled Chicago's Niklas Hjalmarsson for this puck:

-Mike Johnston offered some instruction from the bench:

-Chicago coach Joel Quenneville is awfully proud of his mustache:

-We think.

-Steve Downie was on the hunt:

-Johnston speaks:

-Malkin will miss the all-star game due to his injury.

-Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo will have a disciplinary hearing Monday in regards to his boarding hit against Kris Letang Tuesday.

-The Penguins assigned Andrew Ebbett, Scott Harrington and Derrick Pouliot to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

-EN Says: With the NHL Penguins off for a few days, they can send these three down for the time being and get some money off their salary cap. And with Harrington and Pouliot, they can get some ice time.

-"You can't just go on analytics, but I will say, I really like them. I really like them because it's just another checkpoint for me. I got scouting reports over here and they're talking about this guy, this way. I got a management group over here, they're talking about something else, and I got analytics over here showing me something else, and if there's a totally different viewpoint, then I gotta get everybody together and figure out what's going on." - Jim Rutherford on advanced statistics.

-Yeah, I don’t know how much truth you can put to that. Considering what he’s done? In this league, in this day and age, it’s nothing short of incredible. The hype that he had coming in, and how he’s been able to sustain the performance that he has every single year, the amount of points he puts up — there’s really no one like him. I don’t even know how there’s a comparison there.” - Toews on comparisons between himself and Sidney Crosby.

-How much salary cap spaces does Rutherford have to work with?

-Two goals by Conor Sheary led the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a 5-1 win against the St. John’s IceCaps. Captain Tom Kostopoulos added a goal and an assist for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton while teammate Tom Kuhnhackl recorded two assists. Goaltender Matt Murray made 25 saves in the victory.


-The AHL Penguins snapped a six-game losing streak.

-The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins assigned defenseman Alex Boak to the Wheeling Nailers.


-Happy 40th birthday to former Penguins forward Shean Donovan. Claimed off waivers from the Thrashers late in the 2001-02 season, Donovan spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. He finished 2001-02 by appearing in 13 games and scoring three points. After 52 games and nine points in 2002-03, Donovan was traded to the Flames in exchange for Micki Dupont and Mathias Johansson. In 65 games with the Penguins, Donovan scored 12 points.

-After the Jump: Another All-Star goaltender is injured.

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Cool houseplants are indestructible and clean the air

Written by Doug Oster on .

Blog African VioletAfrican violets are beautiful and easy to grow. Photo by Doug Oster

The bright yellow blooms of begonias light up the living room on a gray winter day. It's just one the plants I grow on the windowsill to keep me sane until the spring bulbs emerge.

In this segment from Pittsburgh Today Live, I show Jon Burnett some really cool houseplants from Chapon's Greenhouse in Baldwin.

I was at Chapon’s Greenhouse in Baldwin with manager Matt Hirsh looking over some of the beautiful plants.
They keep me sane in the winter. One of my favorites is Mother of Thousands. Small plantlets form on the leaves which drop to the base of the plant and sprout. All houseplants are bulletproof and will happily grow all winter on the windowsill. There are some things you can do now to keep them looking their best.
Look carefully at the leaves, if there are yellow or brown foliage, remove them. Any part of a plant that’s looking worse for wear should be cut off and put in the compost (you do compost don’t you?). Look at the plants closely. If there are discolored leaves, maybe a purple tint, that’s a clue they are not getting what they need, so hit them with some organic fertilizer. There are a couple ways to do that. One is to use a liquid fertilizer like fish emulsion or something seaweed based.

If the tips of the leaves are turning brown there might be a salt build up from chemical fertilizers. Be sure your pot has good drainage to flush those salts out.

The leaves of houseplants are more important than the flowers — they need to be kept clean so they can stay healthy. My house is old and often dusty, so I let the houseplants dry out and then place them all in the bathtub and run the shower over them once or twice a year. This is also a great way to flush out the soil. With plants that have big sturdy leaves, I wipe them down as they go back near the window.
When nurseries started offering houseplants, the reason they chose certain varieties was due to their indestructible nature. They knew people would forget to water them.

The only thing that can kill houseplants is too much water and fertilizer. Keep most of them on the dry side, but not completely without water.

I’ve got a few cool flowering plants which will enjoy the winter on the windowsill and then can go out in the garden at the end of May. Begonias, bellflower and coleus are things many gardeners have outside in the shade, that’s why these three work so well inside.

African violets will provide flowers for months at a time. One trick for them is to water them from below. Put a dish underneath as the leaves don’t like getting wet.

It’s great to have something to take care of inside during the winter, and neglect is actually a good thing. As the days get longer, the birds begin to sing, the air smell different and it won’t be long until the crocus poke through the soil. When that happens there’s nothing left to stop us.
I’ve written about clean air plants in the Post-Gazette before. Kelly Ogrodnik, former Phipps’ sustainable design and programs manager did lots of research about what’s in our air and how plants can filter the bad stuff.
Here’s a list of plants grown indoors that will help take toxins out of our indoor air-

English Ivy (Hedera helix)
Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Golden pothos (Scindapsus aures or Epipremnum aureum)
Peace lily (Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’)
Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema modestum)
Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii)
Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata‘Laurentii’)
Heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium, syn. Philodendron cordatum)
Selloum philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum, syn. Philodendron selloum)
Elephant ear philodendron (Philodendron domesticum)
Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata)
Cornstalk dracaena (Dracaena fragans ‘Massangeana’)
Janet Craig dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Janet Craig’)
Warneck dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’)
Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)
Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
Pot Mum (Chrysantheium morifolium)
Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)



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'Eat That, Read This' snarks the best of Pittsburgh's news

Written by Kim Lyons on .


Right around lunch time every weekday, about 600 Pittsburghers pause for a few minutes to check out "Eat That, Read This" (ETRT).

It's a newsletter by a 28-year-old guy from Lawrenceville who assigns merciless nicknames to elected officials, and combines mockery (or kudos) for the news media with a selection of missed love connections from Craigslist. 

"I just started it casually and sent it to a bunch of folks I knew would be into it," said ETRT author and creator Adam Shuck. "Everyone I sent it to thought it was cool and fun, and I thought, 'This is something I could have fun doing.'"

That was in June. Since then, "Eat That, Read This," made up mostly of links to things Shuck finds amusing or interesting, has grown steadily. And without giving away too much information about his subscribers, Shuck describes them as a group most local advertisers would drool over:"They're a cool cross-section of young Pittsburgh that's paying attention." 

The amount of information crammed into each installment is impressive. For instance, Tuesday's missive this week had links to more than three dozen stories. Shuck said he uses Inoreader, a pretty basic RSS reader, to get the items he highlights in the newsletter, and is pretty much mining content day and night, pocketing things for later when the day's newsletter has already gone out. 

So why is "Eat That, Read This," so popular?  "I think the fact that it's written by a person writing honestly, it feels like you're getting an email from a friend, or someone that you know," Shuck said. "It's fun to write, so it's fun to read." IMG 7839Adam Shuck

He said he doesn't tailor the content based on performance metrics, and acknowledges that the nature of a newsletter is a one-way street, which he actually prefers.

"It is sort of like a broadcast, which I kind of like. I think that Internet comment culture is in a bad place right now," Shuck said. "And I'm not drafting this because I think it's what I think the audience wants. I'm kind of pulling together a project I would like for Pittsburgh to have."

Shuck just bought a house in Lawrenceville with his partner, who happens to work in Bill Peduto's administration. The mayor, by the way, would be Shuck's dream subscriber (he gets an email every time someone new signs up, so he knows who is and isn't reading). Shuck's not a Pittsburgh native. He grew up in Maryland and moved here from New York five years ago.

He believes that what makes "Eat That, Read This" unique — his voice — is also what makes it popular.

"I think Pittsburghers like to read about Pittsburgh and things in Pittsburgh," Shuck said. "But there's a silent majority of young Pittsburghers who I think are kind of tired of the vapid cheerleading and want to hear critical analysis, differing voices — instead of the rah-rah listicle pap." 

Shuck has a full-time day job at the University of Pittsburgh, and while he said he would like to grow the newsletter into something bigger, there isn't a way to monetize it at the moment. "I haven't even strategized a business plan," he admitted. He has Facebook and Twitter accounts but says he doesn't have the capacity to promote it as much as he might like.

"It's not like I have a team of people helping me crank out tweets," he said. 

He said his favorite kind of news item is the one of the regular suburbanite or exurb who somehow makes it into the paper. "I love "The Onion, and I love those hyperlocal interest stories, like, the lady who loves her Crock Pot," he said. "I like the juxtaposition of putting a serious issue like the plan for the arena in the Hill with those kind of mundane personal stories, to just take a snapshot of Pittsburgh."

But it seems there's a need in the Pittsburgh media landscape for a voice like Shuck's. "I'm not trying to be objective," he said. "My goal is to be honest. If people don't like it, they can always unsubscribe."

Click here to subscribe to "Eat That, Read This."



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Southpaw will open July 31

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .



“Southpaw” now looks as if it will open in theaters July 31, 2015.

Directed by Antoine Fuqua, it stars Jake Gyllenhaal looking entirely different than in “Nightcrawler” as Billy Hope, a successful boxer who suffers a series of calamities.

The cast also includes Rachel McAdams as his wife; Oona Laurence from Broadway’s “Matilda” as the couple’s daughter, who is about 10 years old; Forest Whitaker as a trainer Billy finds at a low point in his life; 50 Cent as a manager and promoter; and Naomie Harris as a social worker.

The drama, written by Kurt Sutter (“Sons of Anarchy”), is about a champion boxer who loses everything after a death and goes into a downward spiral. 

When the movie was wrapping up filming in Pittsburgh in August, Fuqua said, “Ultimately, the story’s about a father and daughter coming to terms with mourning and coming to terms with, ‘Who’s the parent?’ Learning how to be a parent, learning how to be a father, in particular.”



Photos by Scott Garfield.



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Blackhawks at Penguins - 01-21-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

-Some thoughts from the Blackhawks' 3-2 win against the Penguins at Consol Energy Center.

-First things first, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang did not play. Each were injured last night in Philadelphia. Malkin participated in warmups but was scratched while Letang did not even warm up. Head coach Mike Johnston did not have much of an update on either player following the game.

-A night after a semi-accurate portrayal of a WWE pay-per-view event took place in Philadelphia, the Penguins and Blackhawks put on a beautiful display of hockey tonight. The level of skill on the ice, even with Letang and Malkin absent, was quite evident. Each team generated several quality scoring chances. Each team went after each other with skill and not fists. There was hard checking but nothing stupid after the whistle. The score was identical to last night's dog collar match in Philadelphia but it was a balletic performance in comparison.

-The Blackhawks jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period. After the Blackhawks' first line of Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad dominated the Penguins' first line of Sidney Crosby, David Perron and Chris Kunitz in the Penguins' zone, David Rundblad whacked a slapper from the right point through a forest of bodies and behind Marc-Andre Fleury.

-The first period was delayed twice with less than three minutes remaining as the game clock on the video board malfunctioned twice.

-Chicago took a 2-0 leads when Marian Hossa ripped a sizzling wrister by a crouching Robert Bortuzzo for a power-play goal from the right circle just 2:41 into the contest. Fire Ray Shero.

-Less than three minutes later, the Penguins got their first goal from an unlikely source. The fourth line. After Andrew Ebbett won a puck battle in Chicago's right wing corner, he dealt a deflected pass to Zach Sill in the right circle. Sill dragged the puck to the slot and ripped a nice wrister by the glove hand of all-star goaltender Corey Crawford for his first career goal. Sill almost looked unsure of how to celebrate.

-At 12:22 of the second, the Penguins' third line cashed in. Off a shot from the left half wall by Scott Harrington, Steve Downie was able to bang in a rebound goal by a scrambling Crawford to tie the game.

-The third and overtime periods were scoreless but they were breathtaking at times.

-Perron, Crosby, Hossa, Toews and Patrick Kane each had spectacular chances to tie the game but couldn't bury one for various reasons.

-Fleury simply robbed Toews on one chance in the third period on a re-direction attempt in tight.

-Perron had a chance off a strange carom off the end boards and actually had undress Crawford with a nice move but a small hook by a Chicago defender forced the shot wide.

-The game came down to a shootout and the Penguins, minus two of their regulars in Letang and Malkin, lost to Toews and Kane. That's not great crime.

-It was a great effort by the Penguins against a pretty powerful opponent. Regardless, they have now lost four consecutive games.

-With Malkin out, the Penguins' lines looked like this most of the game:

Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - David Perron
Nick Spaling - Brandon Sutter - Beau Bennett
Mark Arcobello - Marcel Goc  - Steve Downie
Zach Sill - Andrew Ebbett - Craig Adams

-Minus Letang, the Penguins' defensive pairs looked like:

Paul Martin - Robert Bortuzzo
Christian Ehrhoff - Scott Harrington
Rob Scuderi - Derrick Pouliot

-Kunitz-Crosby-Perron had plenty of chances. It just couldn't finish.

-Spaling-Sutter-Bennett was a non-factor much of the night.

-Arcobello-Goc-Downie found a way to battle and earn the game-tying goal.

-Sill-Ebbett-Adams had a pretty good game by its meager standards.

-The Penguins put Martin-Bortuzzo out against the Saad-Toews-Hossa line quite a bit tonight.

-Pouliot showed quite a bit of composure for being thrown into the fire against a dangerous team like the Blackhawks.

-Fleury and Crawford were each fantastic. Neither of them gave up any softies.

-The Penguins power play was... present. That's about the nicest thing we can say for it. The varsity unit was primarily composed of Crosby, Sutter, Kunitz, Perron and Martin. Crosby manned the right circle, Perron the left circle, Sutter the slot, Kunitz net front and Martin at center point.

-Crosby forced a cross-ice pass early in the first period which led to a quality scoring chances for the Blackhawks.

-The Penguins' power-play finished 0 for 2.

-After the game, Johnston expressed his disdain for the shootout in general. He said,

"I don't like the shootout and I don't know how many people do but it's a tough way to finish a game. It really is when you feel like you've played a good game and you have to finish in a shootout like that."

-With the Penguins going on the all-star break, the Penguins will get a few days off. They could use them with this losing streak and a few injuries.

-Johnston said he was unaware of Malkin's availability for Sunday's All-Star game but John Shannon of Sportsnet is reporting Malkin will not play.

-Martin launched Rundblad into orbit with a beauty of a hip check in the third period.

-The Penguins lead in shots on net, 35-26.

-The Penguins led in attempted shots, 63-55.

-Every Penguins skater recorded a shot tonight.

-Saad led the game with seven shots.

-Crosby and Perron each led the Penguins with four shots.

-Brent Seabrook led the game with 24:50 of ice time.

-Ehrhoff led the Penguins with 23:39 of ice time.

-The Blackhawks led in faceoffs, 27-20 (57 percent).

-Toews was 15 for 22 (68 percent).

-Crosby was 9 for 17 (53 percent).

-Seabrook led the game with four blocked shots.

-Spaling, Sutter and Bortuzzo each led the Penguins with two blocked shots.

-Sill became the 482nd player to score a regular season goal for the Penguins.

-Arcobello recorded his first point with the Penguins.

-After the game, the Penguins assigned Ebbett, Harrington and Pouliot to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL.

-Some sights. The ice:

-Steve Downie:

-Brooks Orpik Team USA:

-Colby Armstrong:

-A complicated relationship:

-There were plenty of Blackhawks fans here. Saad and Kane:

-Duncan Keith:

-Andrew Shaw:

-Here's an all-timer. Denis Savard:

-This was sharp. Wampum native Steven Johns Notre Dame:

(Johns is a Blackhawks prospect.)

-This is sharp too. Beau Bennett Denver:

-A reader showed us a picture on his phone of he and his better half in their No. 36 Jussi Jokinen and Matthew Barnaby jerseys:

-Ken Wregget:

-Shawn McEachern:

-Johan Hedberg:

-This is rare. Philippe Boucher:

-Jersey of the Night: Hossa:

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

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