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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Empty Netter Assists - 12-18-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-Marc-Andre Fleury, Olli Maatta and Robert Bortuzzo were tested for mumps.

-The NHL issued a memo to all 30 teams with a "more definitive protocol" for dealing with the mumps.

-With Fleury ailing, the Penguins recalled goaltender Jeff Zatkoff (above) from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL. Zatkoff, 27, has appeared in 15 games this season and has a 9-5-1-1, a 1.89 goals against average, .918 save percentage and one shutout.

-You weren't the only one who was shocked by the big contract former Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland got from the Flames last season. Deryk Engelland was too.

-Mike Johnston speaks:

-Jim Rutherford speaks:

-The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins recalled goaltender Eric Hartzell from the Wheeling Nailers.

-“Now, living in the moment is to find out what I want to do for the rest of my life, do stuff I enjoy. I have the luxury of being able to take time and playing this long and being financially secure and all that, to really take my time and do stuff I actually wanted to do, not to be forced into something I just have to do to pay the bills.” - Former Penguins goaltender Tomas Vokoun on his retirement.

-Former Penguins forward Konstantin Koltsov has joined Ak Bars Kazan of Russia's KHL.

-Happy 69th birthday to former Penguins captain and all-star forward Jean Pronovost. Acquired during the 1968 offseason in a deal along with John Arbour which sent cash to the Bruins, Pronovost spent 10 seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 1968-69, Pronovost appeared in 76 games and scored 41 points. He followed that up in 1969-70 by playing in 72 games and once against scored 41 points. Helping the team reach the postseason for the first time in franchise history, Pronovost scored seven points in 10 contests. In 1970-71, Pronovost appeared in 78 games scored a team-leading 21 goals and recorded 45 points. During 1971-72, Pronovost once again led the team with 30 goals while compiling 53 points. In four postseason games that spring, Pronovost scored two points in four games. The 1972-73 season saw Pronovost get teamed with Syl Apps, Jr. and Lowell MacDonald to form a line which would eventually become known as "The Century Line." Pronovost appeared in 66 games that season and scored 43 points. In 1973-74, Provonost took a big step as he saw action in 70 contests while scoring 40 goals and 72 points. The 1974-75 campaign saw Pronovost play in 78 games, lead the team with 43 goals, score 75 points and be selected to his first all-star game. In the 1975 postseason, he played in 10 games and netted seven points. Pronovost's greatest season was 1975-76 when he set career highs in games (80), goals (52), assists (52) and points (104) while being selected to a second consecutive all-star game. That season also saw him become the first 50-goal scorer in franchise history. During that season's playoffs, he saw action in three games and scored on goal. In 1976-77, Pronovost appeared in 79 games and led the team with 33 goals and 64 points and once again appeared in an all-star game. That spring's postseason saw him play in three games and score three points. His final season in Pittsburgh was 1977-78. Serving as the team's captain, he played in 79 games and once again led the team with 40 goals and 65 points and appeared in his fourth all-star game. In the 1978 offseason, he was traded to the Atlanta Flames in exchange for Gregg Sheppard. One of the most prolific players in franchise history, Pronovost ranks third in games played (753), goals (316), seventh in points (603), second in shorthanded goals (14), third in game-winning goals (42). He also led the team in single-season goal-scoring five times. Only Mario Lemieux (10) accomplished that feat more often. In 29 postseason games with the Penguins, Pronovost scored 18 points. In 1992, he was a member of the franchise's hall-of-fame charter class.


-Happy 43rd birthday to former Penguins forward Joe Dziedzic. A third-round pick in 1990, Dziedzic spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 1995-96, Dziedzic appeared in 69 games and scored 10 points. During that spring's playoffs, Dziedzic saw action in 16 games and scored recorded three points. In 1996-97, he appeared in 59 games and scored 18 points. During the 1997 playoffs, he recorded one assist in five games. After spending all of 1997-98 with the Penguins' IHL affiliate in Cleveland, Dziedzic joined the Coyotes in the 1998 offseason as a free agent. In 128 regular season games with the Penguins, Dziedzic scored 28 points. In 21 postseason games, he scored three points. He currently runs a hockey school in Minnesota.

-After the Jump: James Neal is fined for diving.

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Michael Keaton talks Birdman, Nicholson, CMU with Kimmel

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

Film-Michael-KeatonJack Nicholson said it all after watching “Birdman” with Michael Keaton and a couple of others.

“Masterful, Keats,” he told him and “Thanks for making this movie because now I don’t have to.”

Keaton, who does a pretty good imitation of Nicholson’s voice, told a few stories on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” about their days filming “Batman” (Jack typically was out till 3:30 a.m. so wouldn’t arrive till 9:30 or 10, and was able to snooze in the makeup chair as he was transformed into The Joker).

The Pittsburgh native also challenged Kimmel to a spelling bee and name-dropped CMU but joked that he never could have been admitted to the prestigious school even if he had given it millions of dollars. He will become a visiting scholar for the Entertainment Technology Center. “I am getting a pipe and a tweed jacket and developing a drinking problem,” he quipped. 

The actor’s appearance opened with the TV host’s observation that Keaton, a Pittsburgh native, had won nine honors for “Birdman” and is in contention for eight more. “May I have one of your trophies?” Kimmel joked.

When the late-night host mentioned Keaton’s (surely) surefire Oscar nomination, the actor stopped him with, “Please, please, please, please” but acknowledged it was “ridiculously flattering.”

But Keaton is the front-runner and should be invited to the party, at the very least. I wouldn’t be surprised if he walks away with the gold. He's earned it. 

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Taliban Behavior

Written by Rob Rogers on .

Recent stories of CIA torture make it hard to criticize other countries for their own human rights violations. We are still better than places like Pakistan and Afghanistan ... but sometimes it feels a little too similar. 

121814 Taliban Behavior

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