About the Blackhawks - 03-30-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Blackhawks.

When and where: 7:30 p.m., EDT. Consol Energy Center.

TV: NBC Sports Network, RDS2.

Record: 42-18-15, 99 points. The Blackhawks are in third place in the Central Division.

Leading Scorer: Patrick Sharp (right), 72 points (31 goals, 41 assists).

Last Game: 5-3 road loss to the Senators, Friday. Antti Raanta made 24 saves for the Blackhawks.

Last Game against the Penguins: 5-1 home win (at Soldier Field), March 1. Jonathan Toews had two goals and an assist for the Blackhawks.

Blackhawks Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Marian Hossa. He has 44 points in 40 career games against his former team.

Ex-Penguins on the Blackhawks: Denis Bonvie, professional scout, Scotty Bowman, senior advisor, Marian Hossa, RW; Norm Maciver, assistant general manager; Michal Rozsival, D.

Ex-Blackhawks on the Penguins: Craig Adams, RW; Tom Fitzgerald, assistant to the general manager.

Useless Blackhawks Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: Crawford is one of three goaltenders selected in the 2003 draft who have been part of a Stanley Cup winning roster. The others are Marc-Andre Fleury (2009) and Detroit's Jimmy Howard (2008).

(Note: Howard was on the Red Wings' roster in 2008 as a "Black Ace" who was there for practice purposes.)

Best Blackhawks Video We Could Find: Blackhawks center Denis Savard weaving through the Oilers' defense for a dazzling goal in 1987-88:

Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (35-17-4, 2.35 GAA, .917 SV%) for the Penguins. Corey Crawford (29-14-10, 2.22 GAA, .918 SV%) for the Blackhawks.

Injuries: For the Penguins, center Marcel Goc ("lower body"), Evgeni Malkin (foot) and Joe Vitale ("upper body") are out. Right wingers Chris Conner (foot), Pascal Dupuis (knee), defensemen Kris Letang (stroke), Paul Martin (hand) and goaltender Tomas Vokoun (blood clots) are on injured reserve. For the Blackhawks, left winger Bryan Bickell ("upper body") and defenseman Michal Rozsival ("lower body") are doubtful. Goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin ("lower body"/shoulder) and right winger Patrick Kane ("lower 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 - 22 Lee Stempniak
19 Beau Bennett - 36 Jussi Jokinen - - 18 James Neal
17 Taylor Pyatt - 16 Brandon Sutter - 49 Brian Gibbons
15 Tanner Glass - 27 Craig Adams - 59 Jayson Megna

3 Olli Maatta - 2 Matt Niskanen
44 Brook Orpik - 41 Robert Bortuzzo
5 Deryk Engelland - 4 Rob Scuderi

The Blackhawks did not hold a full morning skate. Consider this a guess based off their primary lines and defensive pairings against the Senators Friday were:

23 Kris Versteeg - 19 Jonathan Toews - 81 Marian Hossa
10 Patrick Sharp - 26 Michal Handzus - 65 Andrew Shaw
20 Brandon Saad - 86 Teuvo Teravainen- 25 Matt Carey
52 Brandon Bollig - 16 Marcus Kruger - 28 Ben Smith

2 Duncan Keith - 7 Brent Seabrook
4 Niklas Hjalmarsson - 27 Johnny Oduya
8 Nick Leddy - 17 Sheldon Brookbank


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

-Adams has 99 career assist.

-Saad, a native of Gibsonia, will be playing his first regular season game in Pittsburgh.

-Our live blog begins at approximately 6:30 p.m. Please tune in.

(Photo: Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

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'Noah' easily floats to No. 1

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .


“Noah” more than stayed afloat, coming in at No. 1 for the weekend with an estimated $44 million. Above, Russell Crowe in the title role. 
Early numbers from Rentrak also show “Divergent” holding strong, adding another $26,500,000 to its estimated gross for $95,260,008 so far. 
The box-office trackers points out that religious themed movies are three for three, with “Son of God,” “Noah” and “God’s Not Dead” all performing well. Still to come is “Heaven Is for Real” and, later in the year, “Exodus: Gods and Kings" (title has been tweaked, apparently) with Christian Bale. 
Here are the weekend estimates: 
1. “Noah” — $44,000,000.
2. “Divergent” — $26,500,000, for $95,260,008 since its release. 
3. “Muppets Most Wanted” — $11,373,000, for $33,210,000 so far. 
4. “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” — $9,500,000, bringing its total to $94,908,813.
5. “God’s Not Dead” — $9,075,421, bumping its running total to $22,028,439. 
6. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” — $8,825,000, for $24,456,815. 
7. “Sabotage” (starring Mt. Lebo native Joe Manganiello) — $5,330,000.
8. “Need for Speed” — $4,335,000, for $37,753,000. 
9. “300: Rise of an Empire” — $4,300,000, bumping its gross to $101,145,414. 
 10. “Non-Stop” — $4,086,975, for $85,167,150 to date. 
This weekend, the big title will be “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” Also expected to open in Pittsburgh are “Le Week-End” with Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan and Jeff Goldblum, and “Frankie & Alice” starring Halle Berry and Stellan Skarsgard. 


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Lake Street Dive wins crowd with showy chops

Written by Scott Mervis on .

LakeIf you work in an office, with mature adults, you may have heard them freaking out about Lake Street Dive because they saw them on "Letterman" or "The Colbert Report or the star-studded Showtime "Inside Llewyn Davis" concert.

The novelty here is that Lake Street Dive puts a jazz singer trained at the New England Conservatory of Music in a bouncy pop/R&B format. The band formed there so they all have jazz chops to spare.

On the band's first trip through it played Club Cafe. On Saturday, Lake Street Dive sold out Mr. Smalls, a venue not perfectly suited to the style. LSD -- as they hashtag it -- ideally should be experienced in a fancier room, something like the old Balcony in Shadyside, with tables and cocktails.

Nonetheless, people seemed to be in good spirits Saturday, especially with frontwoman Rachael Price declaring it one of the biggest shows they've played.

With or without Lake Street Dive, Price is going to be a lot more famous than she is now, likely for long time, because there are a lot of women who can belt out this kind of stuff, but she has the raw ability and the training plus the look and now the backing of T-Bone Burnett. She sang the National Anthem next to Kevin Spacey in "House of Cards." Watch for a World Series or Super Bowl in her future.

Based on the record and the Smalls show, though, I'm still not totally sold on the band. Yes, Price can bring it live and her partners are versatile, able rock moderately or flip to straight-up acoustic jazz combo, with Mike Olson moving impressively from electric guitar to trumpet.

The downside for me is that Price, who draws comparisons to everyone from Amy Winehouse to Etta James, doesn't let many notes go without reminding you that she majored in jazz. It's awfully showy for these songs that often border on clunky, cliched and even a little annoying. And yet catchy! It's understandable then that a sold-out crowd would go wild for "You Go Down Smooth" (with her staccato handclaps) or the signature-changing "Seventeen" or Bonnie Raitt-ish "Bad Self Portraits" (title track of the new album).

Late in the set, Lake Street usually does The Jackson Five "I Want You Back" cover that helped break the band on YouTube. Saturday night, it shelved that for a smoky "Let Me Roll It" from the McCartney catalog.

If all goes well, expect Lake Street Dive in a bigger venue next time, likely the Byham, where the band's talents can be enjoyed in a more relaxed setting.

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Empty Netter Assists - 03-30-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-The last time the Penguins played the Blackhawks, it was tad snowy and one-sided.

-The Penguins have the Metropolitan Division all but wrapped up ... right?

-As always, Marc-Andre Fleury will be key to any postseason success for the Penguins.

-The Penguins have swept four series of three or more games this season.

-Peter Mannino made 25 saves for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 2-1 win against the Norfolk Admirals.


-Mannino has improved to 7-2-1 with a 1.05 GAA and .950 save percentage in March.

-Happy 54th birthday to former Penguins defenseman and assistant coach Randy Hillier (right). Acquired prior to the 1984-85 season in a trade which sent a draft pick to the Bruins, Hillier spent parts of seven seasons with the Penguins as a player. In 1984-85, Hillier appeared in 45 games and scored 21 points. During 1985-86, he was limited to 28 games and three assists. He followed that up in 1986-87 by seeing action in 55 games and  recorded 12 points. In 1987-88, Hillier once against played in 55 games and netted 13 points. Hillier appeared in a career-high 68 games in 1988-89 and scored a career-high 24 points. He saw action in nine postseason games that spring and recorded one assist. In 1989-90, he saw action in 61 games and netted 15 points. During 1990-91, Hillier appeared in 31 games and scored four points. He appeared in eight playoff games that spring and failed to record a point while helping the franchise earn its first Stanley Cup championship. During the 1991 offseason, he joined the Islanders as a free agent. In 343 regular season games with the Penguins, he recorded 92 points, 94th-most in franchise history. In 17 postseason games, he recorded one assist. Hiller returned to the Penguins and served as an assistant coach in the 1997-98 season and once again from 2001 through 2006.

-Happy 38th birthday to former Penguins goaltender Ty Conklin. A free agent signing in the 2007 offseason, Conklin's Penguins career amounted to 33 games in 2007-08. He went 18-8-5 with a 2.51 goals against average, .923 save percentage and two shutouts. He also served as the team's starting goaltender in the first Winter Classic in 2008. During the 2008 offseason, Conklin, one of 11 NHL players born in Alaska, joined the Red Wings as a free agent. He is currently a goalie development coach with the Blues.

-After the Jump: Jarome Iginla hits 30 goals yet again.

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Wahlberg gets slimed at Kids' Choice Awards

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .


markAPTOPIX 27th Annual Kids Choice Awards - Show.JPEG-0920c - Copy
Story and photo, Associated Press:
By Chris Talbott 
AP Music Writer
Robert Downey Jr. turned inspirational speaker at the Kids’ Choice Awards, Pharrell set another fashion trend, David Blaine lost his head during a slime-induced illusion, One Direction and Jennifer Lawrence cleaned up, and the green goo bath finally caught up with Mark Wahlberg — thanks to some unlikely slimers.
Nickelodeon’s 27th annual awards show was among its more entertaining, opening with a sprawling and colorful Todrick Hall-choreographed performance and closing with Wahlberg’s eventual sliming on Saturday night in Los Angeles. 
Along the way One Direction won two awards, producer Dan Schneider won the show’s first lifetime achievement award and Downey got real after winning best male buttkicker.
“This is the highest honor yet bestowed on me — I’m grateful, humble, the whole deal,” the “Iron Man” star said. “You know I wasn’t always a buttkicker. In fact, life has kicked my proverbial butt countless times in many ways for many years, until I decided one day to start kicking back. Now look at me!”
He slipped in a plug for new movie “Avengers 2” before advising, “Remember when life is kicking your butt, never forget to kick it back right in the face.”
More than a dozen former and current teen stars joined on stage to salute Schneider, the creator of several of the network’s most popular shows, including “iCarly,” “Kenan & Kel” and “Sam & Cat,” a current Nickelodeon hit that won favorite TV show and favorite TV actress for star Ariana Grande.
“You’ve made more milk come out of kids’ noses than anyone else,” “Kenan & Kel” and “Saturday Night Live” star Kenan Thompson said in a video message.
One Direction won favorite music group and favorite song for “Story of My Life,” Lawrence won favorite movie actress and favorite female buttkicker, Selena Gomez was named favorite female singer, Adam Sandler was named favorite male actor at the fan-voted awards and Kevin Hart took favorite funny star.
The awards show isn’t much more than an excuse to slime some of today’s top stars, and first-time host Wahlberg executed several slimings as he successfully escaped the green goo for the show’s first 80 minutes. His first victims were actress Kaley Cuoco and Pharrell, who chose fortuitously to wear a pair of bright yellow SpongeBob SquarePants pajamas instead of his now-trademark poofy fedora.
It was Hart who eventually tricked Wahlberg into the goo, with an assist from the actor’s three young children.
“I can’t believe my own kids turned on me,” Wahlberg shouted.


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