Game 7(s) chat - 04-30-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

The first round will come to an end to night with a trio of Game 7s. The schedule with all times listed as EDT:

Flyers at Rangers, 7 p.m.
Wild at Avalanche, 9:30 p.m.
Kings at Sharks, 10 p.m.

We will be hosting a live chat for all three which begins at 7 p.m. with the Flyers-Rangers game. The chat will conclude with the Kings-Sharks contest. Participate in the chat box below:


(Photos: Paul Bereswill/Getty Images, Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images and Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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'You just hope this game is going to end' - 04-30-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Game 2 of the Penguins' first round playoff series with the Blue Jackets was the ninth multiple overtime game in the franchise's history. When the game goes past the first overtime, the Penguins don't have a ton of success historically as they've only won three of those games and have lost six.

Multiple-overtime games can be heart-stoppers for fans. For players, they have an immense toll from a physical and mental sense.

Recently, several members of the Penguins were asked to recount what they've gone through in the longest multiple-overtime games of their careers:

What do you go through mentally and physically?

Craig Adams (right), RW - "Physically, you start to get tired obviously. Everybody plays way more minutes than they’re used to playing. Your body get stressed that way. Mentally, the longer it goes, it becomes more like a regular game. Usually, the first couple of minutes are the most nerve-racking. Everyone is sort of feeling each other a little bit. I think as it goes on, you settle into a rhythm and play. Any mistake can be a bad mistake. It’s definitely a whole different animal."

Brooks Orpik (above), D - "I think it gets to the point where you’re willing yourself. I think you see a lot of mistakes from fatigue. It’s guys making mistakes they don’t normally make. Once that gets going, the hockey gets less skilled and a lot more simple. Usually, the goal that wins it isn’t a pretty goal. … I think they’re all nerve-racking. Once you get to ovetime, you know it’s one mistake and the game is over. It’s one shot or one play. I think you have both sides of that emotion."

Taylor Pyatt, LW - “Oh man, it’s a grind. It takes a lot out of you physically and mentally. It makes a huge difference with what side you’re on. If you’re on the winning side, it’s not so bad. If it’s a loss, it definitely feels like it takes longer to recover. “

Paul Martin, D - "With all the emotion and the desperation going into the win, you’re trying to not make a mistake. You can see both teams struggle to get the win. It’s definitely something that takes a toll in the series."

Brandon Sutter, C - "It’s just a grind. You get through three periods and you get to overtime. Every chance is an opportunity to end the game. You go through another two periods of it and it seems like it’s never going to end. It’s probably more of a mental battle than physical. I think everyone is tired. The guys who are able to fight through that, battle through that and stay sharp usually end up as a winner."

Tomas Vokoun (right), G - "I think you’re just focusing on stopping the next puck. Games like that usually end on a deflection or something like that. Teams are focused more on defense obviously because they know if they get scored on it’s over. Other than that, not many changes. For me, it doesn’t matter if it’s the first minute or the 90th."

Jussi Jokinen, LW - "When you get to the second or third overtime, you just hope this game is going to end. At the same time, you don’t want to be the guy who screws it over. It depends, if you play big minutes, that’s a lot harder. If you’re a fourth liner player, you’re not gong to play that much so maybe you’re a lot fresher. It’s demanding."

Are you eating food or doing anything differently during an overtime intermission as compared to a regulation intermission?

Adams - "Definitely. Guys are trying to get calories in them and stay hydrated. Change wet equipment and things like that. It’s a little bit more maintenance and survival mode than a regular intermission which is a little bit more strategic."

Orpik - "I remember [former Penguins forward] Petr Sykora saying he was going to score then he wound up scoring [in Game 5 of the 2008 Stanley Cup final against the Red Wings]. I remember eating pizza between the second and third [periods]. I forget who specifically, but a few guys had to get [intravenous fluids] either during the overtime or after."

Pyatt - "There’s a lot of shakes and orange slices. A lot of stuff guys are trying to eat between periods. Usually it’s pretty quiet. Guys are trying to get some rest and get back out there."

Martin - "You’ll see guys staying hydrated and eating more than they would in a normal game. They’ll wear more warm gear. For the most part, you’re just trying to conserve your energy and making sure you’re not wasting any of it."

Sutter - "Usually when you get to the second overtime, guys are usually start to eat pizza or food. It’s not ideal but you’ve got to get something in you. Pizza is usually he first choice."

Vokoun - "More liquid I think. Shakes or maybe a power gel or something like that. Some guys can do it. They can eat. For me, I don’t like it so I’ll try to take something in a gel form or liquid."

Jokinen (right) - "After the third period and it’s tied, I think it’s smart to eat a little bit of something. Not just drink. It’s good for you to eat something too because if that game is going to last 10 minutes or two hours, that’s one of the key things."

(Photos: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, Drew Hallowell/Getty Images and Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

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Robert Morris offers McConnell ..... Alabama offers Jenkins

Written by Mike White on .

It looks like T.J. McConell won't be the only member of his family to play Division I basketball.

Matty McConnellMatty McConnell, a 6-foot-1 junior guard at Chartiers Valley High School, picked up a scholarship offer from Robert Morris Tuesday night. It is the first Division I offer for Matty McConnell. But it likely it won't be the last for McConnell, whose older brother T.J. plays at the University of Arizona.

A few other mid-major schools are starting to show interest in Matty. Fairleigh Dickinson called Monday and Massachusetts-Lowell also is interested.

McConnell played well in the Pittsburgh Jamfest AAU tournament this weekend. Some college coaches saw him there and liked him. McConnell was playing with other WPIAL players on Team Bounce, coached by Jeannette coach Adrian Batts. Hempfield junior Kason Harrell also played for the team and some mid-majors are interested in him. Jeannette point guard Julian Batts, son of the coach, also plays for the team.

Team Bounce will play in some other AAU tournaments this spring and summer. It will be interesting to see what other offers might come McConnell's way.

Alabama offers Jenkins

Baldwin offensive tackle Sterling Jenkins has picked up a scholarship offer from Alabama. Jenkins, ranked by Sterling as the No. 34 player in the country for the class of 2015, has scholarship offers from teams across the country.

But despite the many offers and despite the Alabama offer, Jenkins said today he still is keeping his final list of schools at two - Penn State and Ohio State. Many expect him to eventually pick Penn State.

Hooker a "valuable" basketball player

Malik Hooker is going to Ohio State to play football. But over the past few weekends, he again gave evidence of his basketball abilities.

Hooker played in two basketball all-star games with the best players in Western Pennsylvania. He got the MVP in both. He scored 23 points and was the MVP for his team in the Roundball Classic April 12.

Then this past Saturday, he scored 24 points and was MVP for his team in the Hoops For A Cure event. 

If he chose to concentrate on basketball and really worked on his game, there is little doubt he could have been a Division I basketball player. He wouldn't have gone to a level like Ohio State and the Big Ten, but possibly a mid-major school.

But he certainly didn't make the wrong choice. I've said before that if he gets the football part down, he'll be playing football on Sundays. He's that good of an athlete. His chances of making the NBA? Ahhh, slim to none.

The "Positive" ones

Twenty-six athletes and two coaches from the WPIAL will be honored Saturday and given Positive Athlete Awards at the Heinz History Center in the Strip District. This is the third year of the Positive Athlete program, led by former Steeler Hines Ward. Roberto Clemente Jr. also is part of the program, which promotes positive attitudes in sports. Principals, athletic directors, coaches and parents nominated athletes from 125 WPIAL schools. The list of honorees is below.

Highlands High School will also be honored as the Highmark Most Positive High School for how the school came together following the tragic death of football player Ryan Richards.

Also, Murrysville mayor Robert Brooks will present FR Proud T-shirts to all of the athletes as a gesture of thanks to the entire region for the support of Franklin Regional High School.

As for the honored athletes, in addition to excellence on the field, each nominated Positive Athlete was required to show characteristics such as an optimistic attitude, teammate encouragement and ability to admit imperfections.

The 26 honored athletes are: Plum's Matt Gunsallus (baseball); Mount Pleasant's Marcus Malara (basketball); Vincentian's Ally Bartoszewicz (basketball); South Allegheny's Stephanie Mandella (cheerleading); South Fayette's Ryan Lerda (cross country); Neshannock's Elizabeth Manickas (cross country); Norwin's Anna Romeo (field hockey); Moon's Cole Blake (football); Upper St. Clair's Thomas Steve (golf); Laurel Highlands' Kelsay Soom (golf).

Moon's Megan Tamilia (gymnastics); Central Catholic's Kellen Carleton (hockey); Mt. Lebanon's Caleb Reynolds (lacrosse), Blackhawk's Lia Vinciguerra (lacrosse); Canon-McMillan's Alex Hannigan (soccer); Greensburg Central Catholic's Deanna Dicesere (soccer); Freeport's Alexis Roenigk (softball).

North Allegheny's Zach Buerger (swimming); Plum's Erin Shepard (swimming); Springdale's Matt Milkus (tennis); Fox Chapel's Kaitlyn Schaffer (tennis), Baldwin's Luke Smorey (track and field); Mars' Lydia Dennis (track and field); Norwin's Daniel Conwell (volleyball); South Side Beaver's Cheyenne Seik (volleyball); Southmoreland's Jacob Beistel (wrestling).

COACHES - Seneca Valley's Katie Smolter (girls tennis); West Allegheny's Bob Palko (football).

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Empty Netter Assists - 04-30-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

-Note: We plan on hosting a live chat for all three Game 7s in the NHL this evening. Please tune in.

Playoff Stuff
Penguins - Blue Jackets

-“We’ll definitely learn from this series. That’s what you have to do if you want to win.” - James Neal (right).

-Only three defensemen in franchise history have scored more points in a postseason series than Paul Martin did against the Blue Jackets.

-“We’re really proud of the steps we’ve taken, but we know we have a long ways to go. We see it in a team like Pittsburgh, where they just keep coming, keep coming. And that’s a team that’s won. We can learn from them.” - Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno.

-The Blue Jackets revealed the specific nature of injuries for some of their players. Forward R.J. Umberger (broken right index finger, a separated right shoulder, a herniated disc and a bruised left hand) as well as defensemen James Wisniewski (torn cartilage on his ribs), defenseman Ryan Murray (broken right foot) and defenseman Fedor Tyutin (head) were all dealing with some various ailments.

-Blue Jackets management wants to sign head coach Todd Richards and assistant coaches Craig Hartsburg, Dan Hinote and Ian Clark to contract extensions.

-The Blue Jackets assigned goaltender Jeremy Smith to Springfield of the AHL.

-After the Jump: The Flyers push the Rangers to a Game 7.

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Point men - 04-29-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

With Sidney Crosby being limited offensively and Evgeni Malkin being held in check until Game 6, the Penguins need to get offense through secondary outlets such as their blue line.

Paul Martin (above) and Matt Niskanen each produced eight points. They are two of of 10 Penguins defensemen to get eight or more points in a postseason series:

Player Year Opponent Games
Larry Murphy 1995 Capitals 7 2-8-10
Kris Letang 2013 Senators 5 1-9-10
Larry Murphy 1991 North Stars 6 1-9-10
Randy Carlyle 1982 Blues 5 4-5-9
Paul Coffey 1989 Rangers 4 2-6-8
Larry Murphy 1991 Bruins 6 2-6-8
Matt Niskanen
2014 Blue Jackets 6 2-6-8
Larry Murphy 1993 Islanders 7 1-7-8
Paul Martin 2014 Blue Jackets 6 0-8-8
Zarley Zalapski 1989 Flyers 7 0-8-8

Note: An early version of this post omitted Niskanen's totals. Kudos to EN Reader Brian Altman for alerting us to the omission.

(Photo: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

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