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Empty Netter Assists - 01-08-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-The Post-Gazette's recap from last night's game. “As long as we start burying our chances when we put up 39 shots, we’ll be all right.” - Beau Bennett.

-The Boston Globe's recap. “You’re in an opposing building, and it seemed like they were showing the angles that really looked like a high stick, and then once in a while you’d see the real angle and it didn’t look so bad.” - Claude Julien on Patrice Bergeron's overtime goal.

-The Associated Press' recap. "I think we deserved the two points, but we missed a couple of chances. We had a little bit of bad luck, but we played hard. We shot the puck. We controlled. Just not enough to win." - Evgeni Malkin.

-Highlights:

-David Perron was determined to get to this puck:

-Marc-Andre Fleury sneaked a look around the right post:

-The Bruins stacked things up here against the Penguins' top line:

-Sidney Crosby was heads up:

-Crosby and Boston's Patrice Bergeron had a friendly chat:

-Bergeron was focused on this faceoff:

-Mike Johnston speaks:

-Crosby speaks:

-Bennett speaks:

-Rob Scuderi speaks:

-The Penguins assigned Bobby Farnham to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

-Ditto Scott Harrington.

-The Penguins don't mind a normal, "non-Olympic" schedule.

-The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins assigned forwards Patrick McGrath, Zack Torquato and defenseman Clark Seymour to the Wheeling Nailers.

-Eric Hartzell made 40 saves for the Nailers in a 5-2 loss to the Reading Royals.

-After the Jump: Mike Yeo goes nuts.

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Bruins at Penguins - 01-07-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

-An exotic blend of bad breaks, scuffed up goal posts, a lack of finishing power and one questionable on-ice ruling conspired to give the Penguins a 3-2 overtime home loss to the Bruins.

-First the bad breaks. The Penguins hit quite a few posts tonight. The biggest of which came on the first shift of overtime where Beau Bennett swung at a airborne puck in the slot and put it off the right post. Sidney Crosby had another fairly significant shot off the far post in the third period with the game tied 2-2 which was crucial.

-The questionable rulings by the officials seemed to work both ways. Craig Adams would have had a rare goal in the first period were it not for Zach Sill being called for interference against Tuukka Rask. On the play, Adam McQuaid shoved Sill into Rask. Rask sold the contact hard and officials ruled interference. It wouldn't be surprising if the NHL, now with an an emphasis on fining players who dive, takes a look at Rask's actions on that play.

Take a look at it yourself:

-A goal there gives this game a potentially different course.

-Rask was asked after the game about the play:

What happened on the play with Zach Sill?:

“I can't remember. I think there was some kind of … the puck was going side to side and then I was sliding. I was kind of mid-slide and off my balance. Then someone bumped into me. I don't know. I can't recall. It's one of those things. The ref kind of has to call that.”

Were the Bruins owed a call like that after having several goals called off this season?

“A lot of times, it's fair game. Obviously, there's some question marks sometimes. But if you're in the crease and you're bumped, the odds are that it's going to get waved off. We haven't had those against us, a lot, against me a lot of time. If the guys in the crease and he doesn't bump into me, that's okay but if he runs into you, then it's a different story.”

-The Penguins got away with their fair share of stuff too. Robert Bortuzzo slashed Loui Eriksson on the hand pretty good:

-Eriksson left the game in the third period due to an undisclosed injury according to head coach Claude Julien.

-We didn't really have a problem with Patrice Bergeron's overtime goal or how the NHL reviewed it. The replay didn't seem all that conclusive one way or another.

-The league's official explanation on how that was reviewed:

At 2:43 of overtime in the Boston Bruins/Pittsburgh Penguins game, video review was inconclusive in determining whether the puck hit glove or stick before entering the Pittsburgh net. Both the glove and stick were at or below the height of the crossbar. The referee's call on the ice was a good goal. Because video review was inconclusive, the referee's call on the ice stands. Good goal Boston.

According to Rule 38.4 (vi) "The determining factor is where the puck makes contact with the stick in relation to the crossbar. If the puck makes contact with the portion of the stick that is at or below the level of the crossbar and enters the goal, this goal shall be allowed."

-More on the bad hops. Each of Boston's regulation goals came off some pinball bounces of the puck. A shot by Reilly Smith hit off Paul Martin's skate and deflected right to Zdeno Chara of all people. Chara rocketed a one-timer from the left point by the glove hand of Marc-Andre Fleury.

-Boston's second regulation goal came on a play where Milan Lucic challenged Robert Bortuzzo one-on-one up the left and was able to directs a shot/pass at the crease as Bortuzzo wiped him out. Fleury poked the puck away but it ended up right on the stick of Bergeron who sniped a wrister behind Fleury. Crosby seemed to be responsible for covering Bergeron on the play and was not in a position to defend the play.

-One of the few bright spots of the night for the Penguins was the second line of Evgeni Malkin, Beau Bennett and Nick Spaling. It would bea  stretch to say Spaling had much of a role but Malkin and Bennett accounted for all the Penguins' offense.

O-n the Penguins' first goal, Simon Despres blasted a shot from the right point which ended behind the net. Malkin recovered it and as Chara sort of left him to address Bennett who was positioned to the right of the crease, Malkin was able to slide a pass to Bennett who banged it in. Chara was kind of caught in no-mans land on the play.

-Malkin tied the game 2-2 with a blistering slapper straight from the 1980s. He just ran up the left wing and ka-bonged a shot by Rask on the far side.

-The first line of Sidney Crosby, David Perron and Steve Downie was bottled up for the most part.

-The Penguins' power play went 0 for 4 but it looked better. It fired a lot of shot attempts. At this rate, baby steps are significant progress.

-Perron worked in the left circle primarily and fired a few shots. He looked like a fairly natural fit.

-Paul Martin will never wow you in any way shape or form, but he looked average, even by his tepid standards, tonight. His skating was fine but he looked like he was fighting the puck at times. He had 20:17 of ice time on 25 shifts, one penalty and one blocked shot.

-Zach Sill played with some extra energy tonight and was more than willing to hit anything in a white jersey. He had 7:08 of ice time on 10 shifts and was 3 for 3 in faceoffs.

-The Chris Kunitz-Brandon Sutter experiment didn't bear positive results tonight.

-Despite a fairly back and forth overtime period, this was a pretty ugly game to watch. Narcolepsy was the true winner of this game.

-All in all, the Penguins didn't play badly. The just didn't bury the ample chances they had.

-The Penguins had a 39-24 lead in shots on net.

-The Penguins led in attempted shots, 70-49.

-Malkin led the game with six shots.

-Bergeron led the Bruins with five shots.

-Kris Letang led the game with 27:28 of ice time.

-Chara led the Bruins with 24:30 of ice time.

-The Bruins controlled faceoffs, 36-28 (56 percent).

-Bergeron was 20 for 30 (67 percent).

-Crosby was 13 for 23 (57 percent).

-Chara led the game with five blocked shots.

-Rob Scuderi, Christian Ehrhoff, Simon Despres and Letang each led the Penguins with two blocked shots.

-Some sights.

-Fans entering the barn:

-Fans sitting behind the end the Penguins defended in the first and third period were given these paper goaltender masks:

-You see fewer and fewer Jordan Staal jerseys these days:

-Syl Apps, Jr.:

-Pierre Larouche:

-Darius Kasparaitis:

-Eric Godard:

-There are plenty of Bruins fans here. Bobby Orr with the Massachusetts bicentennial patch:

-Shawn Thornton:

-Patrice Bergeron:

-Torrey Krug:

-This guy is here too:

-Former Penguins/Bruins forward Jaromir Jagr:

-The hero of that one Stanley Cup Final, Brad Tolliver:

-Another notable No. 35, Tom Barrasso:

-Jersey of the Night: Former Penguins/Bruins defenseman Jiri Slegr Team Czech Republic:

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

-Highlights:

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Oh, brother - McConnell leads WPIAL in scoring

Written by Mike White on .

Five years ago, Chartiers Valley's T.J. McConnell led WPIAL boys basketball in scoring with an average of more than 30 points.

Now, his younger brother stands atop the list of WPIAL leading scorers.

Matty McConnell (pictured), a senior guard, is averaging 29.6 points a game. His brother, now the starting point guard at the University of Arizona, scored a little more as a senior, averaging 34 points a game.

But if Matty McConnell (pictured), a Robert Morris recruit, goes on to lead the WPIAL in scoring this year, it would make for a brother act not seen in the WPIAL in decades, if ever.

Looking back at statistics for the past 30 years, brothers have never led the WPIAL in scoring. It's questionable if it ever happened in the WPIAL. The closest in the past 30 years were brothers Chris Pipkin and Gabe Jackson of New Brighton. In 1989, Pipkin led the WPIAL at 30.3 points a game. Two years later, younger brother Gabe Jackson played at New Brighton and was second in the WPIAL in scoring at 29.3 points.

Over the past 30 years, there was one sister act to lead the WPIAL in hoops. In 1995, Albert Gallatin's Shauntai Hall led the WPIAL in scoring at 30.4 points. In 2001, younger sister Loui Hall led the WPIAL in 26.9 points.

After Matty McConnell, Cornell's Dane Jackson is second in the WPIAL in scoring at 28.4 Curtis Perz of Norwin is third at 26.3.

On the girls side, Greensburg Salem's Claire Oberdorf leads with a 28.4 average. Chassidy Omogrosso of Blackhawk is second at 27.7 and McGuffey's Sammie Weiss third at 26.7.

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Holgorsen adds Tall to defensive staff

Written by Stephen J. Nesbitt on .

Bruce Tall will return to the West Virginia coach this year as defensive line coach, head coach Dana Holgorsen announced Wednesday. Tall spent the 2003-07 seasons as safeties coach for the Mountaineers before jumping to Michigan (2008-10) and Charlotte (2011-14).

This past season, with Tall as defensive coordinator, the 49ers defense forced 22 turnovers and broke the school’s single-season record for sacks (19) and tackles for loss (77).

“When you leave a place like West Virginia, you understand, and even more importantly, appreciate how great of a place it is, how great the people are and how outstanding its fan base is,” Tall said in a statement. “It is one of the most exciting atmospheres in college football, and I am excited for the opportunity to return to WVU.

According to the release, Holgorsen will announce a re-organization of his staff at a later time. Last year, senior associate head coach Tom Bradley worked with the defensive line.

“[Tall] brings more than 30 years of defensive experience to the staff, including many years of overseeing the defensive line, which will greatly benefit our program,” Holgorsen said. “Having spent several years at WVU already, he understands what it takes to be successful here, on and off the field, and I am looking forward to him and his wife, Karmen, and their children re-joining the Mountaineer family.”

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About the Bruins - 01-07-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Bruins.

When and where: 8 p.m., EST, Consol Energy Center.

TV: NBC Sports, TVA.

Record: 19-15-6, 44 points. The Bruins are in fifth place in the Atlantic Division.

Leading Scorer: Center Patrice Bergeron, 28 points (8 goals, 20 assists).

Last Game: 2-1 road shootout loss Sunday. Goaltender Tuukka Rask made 35 saves for the Bruins.

Last Game against the Penguins: 3-2 home over time loss, Nov. 24. Rask made 30 saves for the Bruins.

Bruins Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Right winger Loui Eriksson (right). He has 11 points in 10 career games against the Penguins.

Ex-Penguins on the Bruins: None.

Ex-Bruins on the Penguins: Assistant general manager Tom Fitzgerald, assistant general manager Bill Guerin, player development coach Mark Recchi, assistant coach Rick Tocchet.

Useless Bruins Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: Penguins defenseman Christian Ehrhoff has the most career games among active German players with 726. Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg is second with 655.

The last time the Penguins played the Bruins, this happened:


Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (20-7-3, 2.18,GAA, .926 SV%) for the Penguins. Tuukka Rask (15-10-6, 2.54 GAA, .911 SV%) for the Bruins.

Injuries: For the Penguins, center Marcel Goc (illness) is out. Right wingers Pascal Dupuis (blood clot), Patric Hornqvist ("lower body") defensemen Olli Maatta ("upper body"), Paul Martin (undisclosed), centers Zach Sill ("upper body"), Scott Wilson (leg) and left winger Blake Comeau (wrist) are on injured reserve. Sill is expected to play. Martin is questionable. For the Bruins, center Marc Savard (head) is on injured reserve.

Potential lines and defensive pairings: The Penguins did not have line rushes at today's morning skate. Consider this a guess:

39 David Perron  - 87 Sidney Crosby - 23 Steve Downie
13 Nick Spaling - 71 Evgeni Malkin - 19 Beau Bennett
14 Chris Kunitz - 16 Brandon Sutter - 36 Bryan Rust
38 Zach Sill - 25 Andrew Ebbett - 27 Craig Adams

7 Paul Martin - 58 Kris Letang
41 Robert Bortuzzo - 10 Christian Ehrhoff
47 Simon Despres - 4 Rob Scuderi

-The Bruins did not have a morning skate. These are their projected lines and defensive pairings according to the team's Web site:

17 Milan Lucic – 46 David Krejci – 53 Seth Griffith
63 Brad Marchand – 37 Patrice Bergeron – 18 Reilly Smith
23 Chris Kelly – 34 Carl Soderberg – 21 Loui Eriksson
20 Daniel Paille – 11 Gregory Campbell – 61 Craig Cunningham

33 Zdeno Chara – 27 Dougie Hamilton
44 Dennis Seidenberg – 54 Adam McQuaid
47 Torey Krug – 86 Kevan Miller

Notes:

-Will Martin play tonight?

-Update: Martin and Sill were activated from injured reserve. Defenseman Scott Harrington was assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

-Left winger Chris Kunitz has 496 career points.

-Left winger Simon Gagne is on a personal leave of absence.

-The referees are Dave Jackson (No. 8) and Mike Leggo (No. 3). The linesmen are John Grandt (No. 98) and Michel Cormier (No. 76).

-We will not have a live blog post but will have a postgame blog post.

(Photo: Harry How/Getty Images)

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