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Panthers at Penguins - 01-20-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

PREGAME

-It's been a long time since the Panthers won in Pittsburgh. How long? Michel Therrien was still head coach. The Panthers beat the Penguins 6-1, Jan. 3, 2009. Here were the lineups for each team:

-Click here for a higher resolution.

-You might wonder how Sidney Crosby had 21 penalty minutes. This is why:

-He dropped the gloves with poor Brett McLean.

-Crosby figures to skate with Chuck Kobasew on his line tonight. This might be Kobasew's last, best chance to really claim some regular ice time with the team. After a hot start, he has offered this team little. Injuries have played a role in his ineffectiveness but when he has been healthy, he's been little more than a warm body on the ice. Assuming he gets plenty of shifts with Crosby tonight, he needs to capitalize.

-Paul Martin returns to the lineup tonight. We would expect the Penguins to limit his minute somewhat. He's not going to log upwards of 25 minutes unless something drastic happens.

-We would expect to see Kris Letang man the point on the first power play unit. Martin will likely man the second unit.

-How strange is it to see this team's blue line completely healthy? A month ago, Olli Maatta and Matt Niskanen were getting 25 minutes on the road in Detroit. Tonight, they're the third pairing.

-We talked with Panthers rookie forward Aleksander Barkov this morning. He's listed at 6-foot-3, 209 pounds but he seems bigger than that. He has a thick body. He's still young (18) so he is still growing. He might not have the same skillset, but he has similar body to Jaromir Jagr.

-The barn:

-The ice:

-Jaromir Jagr "Snoop Dogg" style:

-Bill Guerin:

-Fans entering the barn:

-This Tim Thomas Bruins jersey is the closest thing we could find to a Panthers jersey:

-Gilles Meloche Oakland Seals:

-The always rare Dustin Jeffrey/Brooks Orpik Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins combo:

-Milan Kraft:

-Jean Pronovost:

-Jersey of the Night: In honor of the upcoming Olympics, we have to go with Jiri Slegr Czech Republic:

-YEERRRRRREEEE SSCCHLLLLEGGGRRAAAAA!!!!!

-Warmups:

-The Penguins' starters are Sidney Crosby, Chuck Kobasew, Chris Kunitz, Kris Letang, Rob Scuderi and Marc-Andre Fleury.

-Their scratches are Robert Bortuzzo and Deryk Engelland.

-The Panthers' starters are Aleksander Barkov, Sean Bergenheim, Brad Boyes, Brian Campbell, Tom Gilbert and Scott Clemmensen.

-Their scratches are Krys Barch, Scott Gomez and Tomas Kopecky.

-No Jimerson. No photo.

FIRST PERIOD

18:47: After turnover by the Panthers in their own zone, Orpik chips a little backhander on net from the left circle. Clemmensen eats it up.

17:50: A point shot by Taylor Pyatt is kicked out by Clemmensen.

16:26: Off a cross-ice feed from Boyes, Bergernheim lifts a heavy wrister from the left circle. Fleury fights it off.

16:01: Bjugstad rips wrister through traffic from the left circle which Fleury turns away.

15:56: Taking a feed on the right wing, Neal rips a heavy wrister from the right circle. Clemmensen fights it off.

15:21: Neal snaps off a wrister from the slot which Ed Jovanovski deflects wide.

13:17: Marcel Goc cranks a one-timer from the high slot over the cage.

12:27: Kulikov snaps off a one-timer form the left circle which Fleury kicks out.

11:50: Malkin races through the neutral zone, gains the Florida blue line, gets a step on Kulikov in the left circle and sweeps a low wrister on net. CLemmensen smothers it.

11:06: Taking a pass from Barkov on the left wing, Bergenheim gets a step on Letang and snaps off a wrister from the left circle which hits off the near post, deflects off the side of Fleury and trickles around in the blue paint. Fleury reaches back an covers it with his blocker.

9:20: Gilbert flings a wrister from the right point wide on the near side.

8:27: With Crosby an dMalkin skating together, Maatta chucks a wrister from the right point which Clemmensen fights off.

7:23: The lines are mess. Jayson Megna is skating with Jussi Jokinen and Craig Adams.

6:06: Sutter flings a wrister from the high slot on net. Clemmensen grabs it despite traffic from Pyatt and Glass.

6:03: On the ensuing faceoff, Pyatt lines up with Kunitz and Crosby. Martin snaps off a wrister from the right point which Pyatt deflects wide.

4:52: Battling for ap uck int he right wing corner, Malkin is high sticked by Gilbert in the Florida right wing corner. That's two minutes. Crosby, Kunitz, Malkin, Neal and Letang take the ice.

4:14: Malkin rips a wrister from the right circle which misses the net wide and ends up hitting the left wing corner boards and clearing the offensvie zone. Drew Shore picks up the puck and races up the right wing on a two-on-one with Goc against Letang. Letang slides down the take way the pass. Shore takes the shot and rips a wrister by the glove hand of Fleury. What a wrister. He toasted Fleury on that. Clemmensen apparently made a save on that and was credited with the only assist. Panthers 1-0.

2:52: Two minutes later, the Gilbert minor is killed with the Panthers doing the only damage.

1:56: Boyes redirects a puck from the right  of the cage on net. It hits off the near post and Fleury loses track of it for a moment. Boyes feeds it to the crease where Barkov taps it on net. Fleury's right leg kicks it out. Tough save.

1:32: Kobasew rips a wrister from the left circle. Clemmensen eats it up.

0:01: Neal chips little backhander on net from the left circle. Clemmensen steers it away.

0:00: End of period. Panthers 1, Penguins 0.

FIRST INTERMISSION

-It wasn't completely one-sided by any means, but the Penguins were outplayed that period. The Panthers outskated them and got the bulk of quality scoring chances. They earned this lead.

-The "Killer B" line of Barkov, Bergenheim and Boyes gave the Penguins a lot of trouble that period.

-The Penguins' lone power play was pretty ugly looking.

-If not for two shots of the post, this could be a bigger deficit.

-It would be a stretch to say Martin did much to get noticed that period. He had 7:03 of ice time on seven shifts.

-Clemmensen was pretty sharp.

-Pyatt had a solid period. He was a presence in front of the cage.

-The Penguins lead in shots on net, 14-7.

-The Penguins have a 20-19 edge in shots on net.

-Maatta, Sutter, Neal and Megna each lead the game with two shots.

-Campbell leads the game with 8:44 of ice time.

-Niskanen leads the Penguins with 7:29 of ice time.

-The Panthers have a 10-6 lead in faceoffs (63 percent).

-Goc is 5 for 6 (83 percent).

-Crosby is 3 for 8 (38 percent).

-Sutter and Letang each lead the game with two blocked shots.

-Robert Bortuzzo graces the cover of IceTime:

SECOND PERIOD

18:35: Tomas Fleischmann lifts a wrister from the right circle which Fleury stops. Bjugstad has a chance on the rebound but Jokinen is able to hold it out.

18:08: Malkin takes a pass in the right circle and attacks the net. He tries to jam in a forehand shot but Clemmensen holds it out. Malkin then tries to shove Clemmensen into the net with his stick. No dice. Malkin slams his

17:09: Glass smacks Jovanovski into the Panthers' right wing corner. Jovanvski give him a little jab with the stick. Glass responds with a slash Play is halted as they drop the gloves near the Penguins' bench inside the Florida blue line. Things end quickly as as both player slide to the ice. Officials need a few moments to separate them. They're pretty mad eat each other. Officials only give them roughing minors.

15:46: Neal lifts a wrister from the left circle. Clemmensen traps it against his stomach and freezes play.

14:39: Bergenheim swipe a slapper from the left half wall which deflects off the skate of Maatta on net. Fleury kicks his left leg out to make a nice save.

14:28: Glass is sent back to the penalty box as he high sticked Gudbranson near the crease. Gudbranson sold the high stick really hard. Sutter, Adams, Rob Scuderi and Brooks Orpik take the ice

12:34: After Niskanen clears the puck down ice, Clemmensen fumbles it near the right wing corner and turns it over. It ends up on Kobasew's stick and he attacks the net on his backhand. A poke check by Clemmensen breaks up the chance.

12:28: The Glass minor expires.

12:06: Jesse Winchester lifts a wrister from the right circle. Fleury snags it.

11:13: After Letang makes an terrible turnover in his own zone, Crosby is called for hooking xx behind the Penguins' net. Adams, Orpik, Sutter and Martin take the ice.

10:36: Adams shuffles a backhander from the left circle on net. Clemmensen smothers it.

10:08: Fleischmann snaps off a wrister from the left half wall. Fleury kicks it out.

9:22: Campbell tries to skate the the puck out from behind his own net and he's tripped up by Kunitz near the right corner. It looked like Kunitz almost slashed him in the groin. Campbell is in a bit of discomfort. Kunitz heads to the penalty box. The Panthers will have a brief five-on-three power play.

9:13: Crosby returns to the ice.

7:35: Fleischmann snaps off a wrister from the left wing which Fleury stops with his shoulder.

7:28: Scottie Upshall snaps off a little wrister from the right circle. Fleury kicks it out.

7:22: Kunitz returns to the ice.

6:26: Drew Shore scores again? Huberdeau and Winchester pester Maatta behind the Penguins' net and force a turnover. Winchester deals a pass to Shore racing into the left circle. Shore one-touches a shot behind Fleury to make it a two-goal game. That was nothing but hard work on that goal. Winchester and Huberdeau get assists. Panthers 2-0.

4:19: The Penguins get a power play as Upshall hooked up Malkin in the Penguins' left wing corner while battling for a puck. A few words are exchanged but nothing comes of it. Letang, Malkin, Crosby Neal and Kunitz take the ice.

3:53: Neal rips a wrister from the left circle which Mike Weaver partially blocks.

3:12: Short-handed, Shawn Matthias lifts a wrister from the right circle. Fleury fights it off.

2:57: A one-timer by Niskanen from the center point is blocked in the slot.

2:19: The Upshall minor expires with little threat from the Penguins.

0:45: Neal snaps off a wrister from the left circle which Clemmensen covers up.

0:36: Attendance is announced as 18,660. It is the team's 310th consecutive sellout.

0:00: End of period. Panthers 2, Penguins 0.

SECOND INTERMISSION

-The Penguins spent so much time on the penalty kill that period, it was tough to really gauge how they played.

-The Penguins' penalty kill has been sharp but the Panthers have an awful power play.

-The Penguins' power play has been pretty ugly.

-Clemmensen continues to be rock solid in net.

-The Penguins have a 24-19 lead in shots on net.

-The Panthers have a 41-36 lead in attempted shots.

-Neal leads the game with five shots.

-Fleischmann leads the Panthers with four shots.

-Campbell leads the game with 17:53 of ice time.

-Crosby and Letang each lead the Penguins with 14:06 of ice time.

-The Panthers have a 22-17 lead in faceoffs (56 percent).

-Goc is 11 for 13 (85 percent).

-Sutter is 4 for 7 (57 percent).

-Sutter leads the game with three blocked shots.

-Weaver leads the Panthers with two blocked shots.

THIRD PERIOD

18:43: The Panthers go the net and cash in. Winchester snaps off a shot from the left point off the ends boards. It takes a hop and slides between Fleury and Martin. Dmitry Kulikov is down low. He settles the puck and tucks it with a backander by Fleury's left leg. Put that on Martin for failing to tie up Kulikov. Winchester and Goc get assists. Panthers 3-0.

16:44: Play is halted as Crosby and Weaver mix it up in front of Clemmensen. They ends up wrestling each other until officials step in. Crosby's stick sort of slashed Clemmensen. Weaver and Crosby each get slashing minors.

16:08: Letang hits Upshall into the Penguins' bench with a shoulder check.

14:54: Huge save! Niskanen slides a pass from above the left circle down low to Malkin near the right side of the cage. Malkin leans down and sweeps a one-timer on net. Clemmensen reads the play all the way, slides to his left and kicks it out.

14:49: Matt Niskanen to the rescue. Letang settles a puck at the right point and slides a cross-ice feed to Niskenen above the left circle Niskanen cranks a one-timer which Clemmensen stops initially. The puck squeaks through and rolls into the cage for the Penguins' first goal. Letang and Malkin get assists. The "Hey Song" is played. Panthers 3-1.

14:44: Crosby and Weaver each get assists.

12:50: A slapper by Rob Scuderi from the left point hits a body in front. Crosby whacks the rebound out of midair on net.

12:16: Adams deals a pass from the right wing corner to Letang in the right circle. As Letang swipes a one-timer, Weaver slides down and blocks it.

10:41: Crosby snaps off a pass from the left wing to Jokinen to the right of the the cage. The puck hops a bit on Jokinen who can't get a clean shot off.

10:32: Orpik drops Bergenheim (and himself) with a big hit in the left wing corner of the Penguins' zone.

10:25: As play moves back up ice, Bergenheim and Orpik each slash one another. They each get slashing minors. We'll have four on four play once again.

8:59: Bjugastad races up the left wing with the puck and gets a step on Mata. he attacks the net but can't beat Fleury who attempts a poke check and smothers the puck.

8:55: Kulikov whacks a one-timer from the left point wide of the cage.

8:43: Fleury is keeping his team in this. Barkov dances around Niskanen from the left wing corner and lifts a wrister. Fleury snags it.

8:29: Letang goes in deep with the puck, spins off a check from Weaver with a fancy move and lifts a backhander on net. Clemmensen fights it off.

7:13: Orpik golfs a slapper from the left point which Gudbranson slides down to block. The rebound clears the Panthers' zone.

6:31: Kuntiz drops Gilbet with a meaty body check at the Panthers' blue line.

6:10: Off a poor turnover by Crosby in the Penguins' zone, Bjugstad wheels in from the right cirle and tries to tuck in a forehand shot but can't beat the right post. Scuderi manages to keep the puck out with his stick. Wow. Letang buried Huberdeau into the net with a hit. Officials review video to confirm the non-goal.  A replay appears to show th epuck hopping into the net as Letang hit Huberdeau. Following a lengthy review, officials rule the puck crossed the goal line legally. Huberdeau gets credit for the goal. Bjugstad gets the only assist. Panthers 4-1.

5:58: The rout is on. Taking pass in the neutral zone, Mattias gets a step on Niskanen and attacks the net. He lifts a wrister which beats Fleur on the near side. This is ugly. Winchester and Gudbranson get assists. Panthers 5-1.

1:34: The comeback can start now. Upshall is called for delay of game after throwing the puck out of play. Neal, Malkin, Neal, Letang and Kunitz take the ice.

0:00: End of game. The few remaining fans offer the Penguins boos as the game ends. Panthers 5, Penguins 1.

POSTGAME

-There really isn't much to dissect here. The Penguins had five days off and they had a few players coming back to the lineup after some days off. Additionally, they were playing a hungry team. All of that conspired to create a one-sided defeat.

-Those aren't excuses. They're reasons. The Penguins were terrible tonight and those are some of the reasons why.

-Panthers coach Peter Horachek was asked after the game if his team was aware of the Penguins' layoff as well as the addition of rusty players from injuries and if that impacted how they prepared for the game:

Oh yeah. We know the players that have been out and are coming back in. Any player that’s been out for a while, it’s tough to get going. And sometimes it’s not good to have long stretches of practices. That was to our advantage as well. I think they would probably say they would rather have two or three practices at the most and that would be where they want to be. All of that can sometimes effect you. Guys kind of go flat with that. That was to our advantage, for sure."

-Games like this happen in a long, grind of a season. It's January and it's a game against a ho-hum opponent. The Penguins aren't going to enter this game like they would if it were a season-opener or a stretch-drive game against the Flyers or Capitals.

-It wasn't really a matter of effort for the Penguins. It was execution. They just weren't sharp. They were sloppy with the puck. They weren't in good position much of the night. They misfired on passes. That happens when you take a few days off and only practice for a few of them.

-The power play was particularly ugly for the Penguins. They rarely seemed to have much cohesion. They allowed a few short-handed chances including the one Drew Shored scored on.

-Sidney Crosby played one of his poorest games of the season. He was not sharp. The puck just didn't leave his stick with any touch. He seemed like he was fighting the puck much of the night.

-Paul Martin seemed a bit off in his first game back. He looked lost on the goal by Dmitry Kulikov around the net. After several weeks off due to a broken leg, his rustiness can be forgiven. Martin had 20:06 of ice time on 23 shifts and was credited with one blocked shot.

-The Penguins mixed and matched their lines and defensive pairings all night. They had little chemistry from that standpoint.

-We're not sure how much of a true chance Chuck Kobasew got on the first line but he did very little with his few shifts on that line.

-There were quite a few penalties in this game. That constant march to the penalty box seemed to really break up any moment either team could establish in this contest.

-The lone bright spot for the Penguins was the penalty kill which was 3 for 3. But the Panthers have a dreadful power play so take that success with a grain of salt.

-Scott Clemmensen was pretty sharp. He didn't give the Penguins much to shoot at. The one goal he allowed was fairly leaky but it was a pretty clean night for him beyond that.

-Clemmensen joked about his assist on Shore's short-handed goal:

 

That’s when you know when you know everything is going your way is when you get an assist. A guy with my puck-handling skills doesn’t get an assist very often. “

 

-The Panther's "B Line" gave the Penguins all kinds of fits. Aleksander Barkov, Sean Bergenheim and Brad Boyes really pushed the attack.

-Jonathan Huberdeau had a pretty funny line about his goal which was subject to a lengthy video review:

"I thought it was in because I saw it. I was in the net too with the puck."

-The Panthers won in Pittsburgh for the first time since Jan. 3, 2009. How long ago was that?

-Michel Therrien was the Penguins' head coach.
-Current Penguins assistant coach Jacques Martin was the Panthers' general manager.
-Olli Maatta was 14 years old.
-"Gran Torino" was still in theaters.
-Barack Obama was 17 days away from his first inauguration.

-That's a long time ago.

-Shore quipped on the Panthers' five year streak of futility in the 412:

"It’s probably a stat no one likes to talk about.

-The Penguins had a 36-28 lead in shots on net.

-Attempted shots were tied, 55-55.

-Evgeni Malkin and James Neal each led the game with six shots.

-Tomas Fleischmann and Nick Bjugstad each led the Panthers with four shots.

-Brian Campbell led the game with 25:28 of ice time.

-Kris Letang led the Penguins with 23:48.

-The Penguins had a 32-30 edge in faceoffs (52 percent).

-Sutter was 8 for 13 (62 percent).

-Marcel Goc was 14 for 21 (67 percent).

-Mike Weaver and Brandon Sutter each led the game with three blocked shots.

-The Penguins had a 13-game home winning streak snapped.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

-Highlights:

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About the Panthers - 01-20-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Panthers.

When and where: 7 p.m. EST. Consol Energy Center.

TV: Root Sports, Fox Sports Florida, RDS.

Record: 18-23-7, 43 points. The Panthers are in seventh place in the Atlantic Division.

Leading Scorer: Aleksander Barkov (right), 23 points (8 goals, 15 assists).

Last Game: 3-2 road loss to the Hurricanes, Saturday. Tim Thomas made 36 saves for the Panthers.

Last Game against the Penguins: 5-1 home loss, Nov. 30. Thomas made nine saves for the Panthers.

Panthers Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Tomas Fleischmann. He has 20 points in 22 career games against the Penguins.

Ex-Penguins on the Panthers: Dale Tallon, general manager.

Ex-Panthers on the Penguins: Tom Fitzgerald, assistant to the general manager; Tanner Glass, LW; Jacques Martin, assistant coach; Randy Sexton, co-director of amateur scouting; Tomas Vokoun, G.

Useless Panthers Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: Defenseman Ed Jovanovski is one of two active players still playing in the NHL who were members of the Panthers when they upset the Penguins in the 1996 Eastern Conference final. The other is Hurricanes right winger Radek Dvorak.

Best Panthers  Video We Could Find: Panthers fans are intense:

Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (27-10-1, 2.26 GAA, .917 SV%) for the Penguins. Scott Clemmensen (5-4-1, 2.91 GAA, .894 SV%) for the Panthers.

Injuries: For the Penguins, right wingers Beau Bennett (hand/wrist), Chris Conner (hand), Pascal Dupuis (knee), centers Andrew Ebbett (ankle), Brian Gibbons ("lower body"), Joe Vitale ("upper body") and goaltender Tomas Vokoun (blood clots) are on injured reserve. For the Panthers, goaltender Tim Thomas (illness) is probable. Right winger Tomas Kopecky (shoulder) is doubtful. Defenseman Mike Mottau (leg) is out. Defensemen Dylan Olsen ("lower body"), Alex Petrovic (undisclosed) and center Jesse Winchester ("upper body") are on injured reserve.

Potential lines and defensive pairings: The Penguins primary lines and defensive pairings at today's morning skate were:

 14 Chris Kunitz - 87 Sidney Crosby - 12 Chuck Kobasew
36 Jussi Jokinen - 71 Evgeni Malkin - 18 James Neal
17 Taylor Pyatt - 16 Brandon Sutter - 15 Tanner Glass
27 Craig Adams - 46 Joe Vitale - 59 Jayson Megna

  Rob Scuderi - 58 Kris Letang
44
Brooks Orpik - 7 Paul Martin
 3 Olli Maatta - 2 Matt Niskanen

-The Panthers lines and defensive pairings at today's morning skate were:

20 Sean Bergenheim - 16 Aleksander Barkov - 24 Brad Boyes
14 Tomas Fleischmann - 27 Nick Bjugstad - 19 Scottie Upshall
11 Jonathan Huberdeau - 57 Marcel Goc - 17 Jesse Winchester
12 Jimmy Hayes - 15 Drew Shore - 18 Shawn Matthias

51 Brian Campbell - 77 Tom Gilbert
7 Dmitry Kulikov - 43 Mike Weaver
55 Ed Jovanovski - 44 Erik Gudbranson

Notes:

-The last time the Penguins played the Panthers, this happened:

-The Penguins have won a franchise-record 13 consecutive home games.

-Assuming he plays, Adams will appear in his 255th career game and will surpass Malkin for the fourth-longest consecutive games streak in franchise history.

-The Panthers have not won in Pittsburgh since a 6-1 victory Jan. 3, 2009 at the Mellon Arena.

-Upshall has 99 career points. 

-Our live blog begins at approximately 6 p.m. Please tune in.

(Photo: Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

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Friends of Cathy Cairns seek assistance

Written by Kim Lyons on .

Cathy Cairns was a staff writer the Post-Gazette long before I got here, so I never worked with her. But reading up on her a little bit, I wish I had.

cathy cairnsCathy Cairns/photo courtesy David RohmIn a 1988 Q&A with the Beaver County Times, when she was executive director of the Aliquippa Alliance for Unity and Development Corp., Ms. Cairns said she had "never seen anything in Aliquippa I didn't like" and, that her dream was to see "the mills torn down and replaced by competitive employers."

In that interview, she talked about her arrest at a demonstration at the former LTV Steel Corp., and confessed the habit she couldn't break was "putting together unusual projects that shouldn't work, but do."

Ms. Cairns is currently battling cancer, and is in hospice care. The prognosis isn't good, her friends say, and they've started a crowdfunding campaign to help with her final bills, and to ensure she receives a proper burial: http://www.gofundme.com/64otao

Did you know Cathy Cairns? Her friends would like to hear from you.

 

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Jim Ferry rallies Dukes for tough matchup with league-leading Billikens

Written by Stephen J. Nesbitt on .

Duquesne coach Jim Ferry joined the Atlantic 10 teleconference Monday morning to recap the last week and preview this next one, with the Billikens and Bonnies coming to town.

I missed the first few words of the opening statement, forgive me. I'll add them in later today when it goes online.

Opening statement ...

"... Two really tough environment to play in, and it showed. We walked into St. Joe's and got completely annihilated. We couldn't make a basket, and before you could turn around we were down 25 points. We got down big and tried to scrap our way back, but Phil [Martelli] really has that team playing well especially considering the injuries they've had. They played great offensively, and we had no answers for it.

"We go over to VCU, which is obviously one of the toughest places in America to play, and I thought we really competed and played well in the first half. We limited our turnovers, played well in transition and went into halftime with a lead. And then it was a pretty close game until about the 5-minute mark. We got worn down a little bit, their pressure took a toll, and we turned the ball over and made some bad mistakes. We wound up, ended up getting down and not being able to recover.

"This is a tough league, an unforgiving league because now it gets real [sarcasm] easy for us because we get to play Saint Louis, a top-25 team. They're playing great basketball right now. This league is all about grinding. It's about getting better every day, and that's what we're focusing on. We're definitely improved; we've just got to focus on getting better and figure out a way to grind it — everybody's going to through it because the league is just so good. We're here, we're getting better, we're getting prepared for Saint Louis and getting right to the practice floor pretty quickly right now."

On key to keeping up with Saint Louis ...

"Trying to score a basket against these guys. It's extremely difficult. Obviously they're the best defensive team in the country, and they're one of the best defensive teams I've seen in a long, long time. Jimmy [Jim Crews] does such a great job getting these guys prepared, and they've really bought into his system defensively. They're really talented, they're big, they're physical, they ride you off your spots. You've got to really execute, you've got to really trust each other, and you've got to look to make the extra pass because you're not just going to get easy, quick, good shots against these guys. Execution is going to be big in this basketball game. We've still got to try to get this game played fast and up-tempo, the way we want to play it, but you've got to make sure you take good shots against these guys, because you don't get many of them, so when you do you've got to be prepared and knock them down."

On positives gleaned from nine-point and 15-point losses last week ...

"Well, that nine-point loss wasn't a nine-point loss; that was a 30-point loss. We totally got jumped and did not play well at all that game. The VCU game, I give our guys credit, they really came into that environment and played basketball. We took care of the ball like we normally do. We don't turn the ball over that much, which was a huge positive in the first half against VCU, but we went in and played really hard and really aggressively. We just have to continue to do that. It's disappointing when we lose three in a row, but you have to understand where we're at, especially coming into this league. We're trying to get to the top half of the league, and it's difficult to do with all these great teams. We still have to just focus on ourselves and keep getting better. We've got to tighten up defensively. I thought rebounding became an issue, as it always is in games, late in that VCU game. Like any game, we've got to rebound the basketball, we've got to take care of the basketball, and we've got to get back to getting fouled. I think we're settling for shots, we're not getting to the foul line at the rate we were, so if we can get back to playing the way we're supposed to, I think we'll continue to give ourselves a chance."

On pinpointing Ovie Soko's recent struggles ...

"Part of it is pressing, part of it is playing on the perimeter a little bit too much, and another part of it is teams are doing a very good job of locking in on him and defending him. So it's a three-headed monster. He and I watched tape again today just to let him see it himself. His ability to score inside and get to the foul line — he needs to get back to that instead of floating on the perimeter so much."

On Saint Louis and the difficulty of the 'everybody bought in' mindset ...

"I think it's difficult, but when you've got that group [at Saint Louis], these guys are a lot of upperclassmen. They've won a lot of games. They start five seniors — that's a rarity in college basketball. I heard a quote in one of the papers or during one of the TV games where Jim has mentioned how his team really takes care of itself. That's experience, and that's winning experience. A lot of that, I think, has to do with what they went through last year with coach [Rick] Majerus passing away. That group really came together, and they've just expanded it from there. I know Jim's philosophy is a little different, maybe, defensively, but they were great defensively last year and now you have this whole group back again doing it again. When you taste that winning, sometimes it's easy to buy in. These guys are really playing basketball the right way. I think Jim's doing a fantastic job. When you have a group like this that has been together for so long, that's something that we all dream about."

On how to prepare young players for Saint Louis defense ...

"When you talk to the kids all the time about paying attention to details and execution, it's for games like this. They don't give up much in transition. Everything is challenged — every pass, every cut, every screen action, every post-up. That's what you're trying to get. They're a mature team; they're big; they're physical. And the kids have to understand that going in, especially a young group like ours, an inexperienced. There's nothing going to be easy offensively in this basketball game. That's when you talk about paying attention to details and setting your man up. Everything has to be done the proper way. And then you have to take good shots. If you don't take good shots, you don't have a chance."


Stephen J. Nesbitt: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 412-290-2183 and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt. 

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Riding horses better than being a lawyer?

Written by Kim Lyons on .

... at least one Fox Chapel woman thinks so.

 

My colleague Kaitlynn Riely wrote a nice piece on Dana Friday, who decided to forgo her legal career in favor of running an equestrian business:

 

Ms. Friday, a 44-year-old mother of four who lives in Fox Chapel, has a law degree and has worked as a trial lawyer. But 3 1/2 years ago, she decided to pursue full-time an interest in horses that long ago bloomed into a passion. She, along with her husband, as well as another husband and wife pair, purchased a nearly 40-acre farm and stables in Indiana Township in late 2010.

 

She looks happy enough, huh?

 

20140115ppEquestrian1PRESS

 

PG Photo by Pam Panchak

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