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About the Ducks - 11-18-13

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Ducks.

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

TV: Root Sports (Pittsburgh market), NBC Sports Network (Rest of the United States), TSN2 RDS.

Record: 15-5-2, 32 points. The Ducks are in first place in the Pacific Division.

Leading Scorer: Corey Perry, 23 points (12 goals, 11 assists).

Last Game: 3-2 road shootout loss to the Hurricanes Friday. Perry had a regulation goal and an assist for the Ducks.

Last Game against the Penguins: 2-1 road loss, Feb. 15, 2012. Jonas Hiller made 25 saves for the Ducks.

Ducks Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Teemu Selanne (right). He has scored in every game he's ever played in Pittsburgh.

Ex-Penguins on the Ducks: Brad Lauer, assistant coach; Ben Lovejoy, D.

Ex-Ducks on the Penguins: Craig Adams, RW (Adams signed with the Ducks in the 2005 offseason but was traded to the Hurricanes before the start of the 2005-06 season); Dan Bylsma, head coach; Chris Kunitz, LW.

Useless Ducks Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: Selanne has never won the Art Ross Trophy as the league's leading scorer but he has finished second in the scoring race. In each time, he lost out to a Penguins player. Mario Lemieux (1996-97) and Jaromir Jagr (1998-99).

Best Ducks Video We Could Find: Selanne making a decision on retirement this past offseason:

Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (11-6-0, 2.06 GAA, .918 SV%) for the Penguins. Viktor Fasth (2-1-1, 2.94 GAA, .885 SV%) for the Ducks.

Injuries: For the Penguins, right winger Chuck Kobasew ("lower body"), defenseman Rob Scuderi (broken ankle) and goaltender Tomas Vokoun (blood clots) are on injured reserve. For the Ducks, left winger Matt Beleskey ("upper body") is day to day. Center Saku Koivu ("upper-body"), right winger Jakob Silfverberg (broken right hand) and defenseman Sheldon Souray (right wrist) are on injured reserve.

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

14 Chris Kunitz - 87 Sidney Crosby - 19 Beau Bennett
9 Pascal Dupuis - 71 Evgeni Malkin - 18 James Neal
36 Jussi Jokinen - 16 Brandon Sutter - 49 Brian Gibbons
15 Tanner Glass - 46 Joe Vitale - 27 Craig Adams

-The Penguins rotated their defensemen this morning. Consider this a guess:

3 Olli Maata - 58 Kris Letang
44 Brooks Orpik - 7 Paul Martin
2 Matt Niskanen - 5 Deryk Engelland

The Ducks held an optional morning skate. Consider this a guess:

17 Dustin Penner - 15 Ryan Getzlaf - 10 Corey Perry
39 Matt Beleskey -13 Nick Bonino - 8 Teemu Selanne
7 Andrew Cogliano - 34 - Daniel Winnik - 77 Devante Smith-Pelly
65 Emerson Etem - 22 Mathieu Perreault - 21 Kyle Palmieri

47 Hampus Lindholm - 23 Francois Beauchemin
4 Cam Fowler - 6 Ben Lovejoy
55 Bryan Allen - 5 Luca Sbisa

Notes:

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

-The Penguins recalled Gibbons (5-foot-8, 170 pounds) from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this morning. Gibbons, 25, has appeared in 15 AHL games this season and leads Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists). Undrafted out of Boston College, Gibbons signed with the Penguins as a free agent in 2011.

-Jokinen has appeared in 699 career games.

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

(Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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WVU in NFL: Geno goes down in flames in showdown vs. Manuel

Written by Stephen J. Nesbitt on .

The days of Geno Smith doing juuuuust enough for the New York Jets to win are behind us.

Sunday's 34-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills was a season low in just about every category.

Smith was 8-of-23 passing for 103 yards, three interceptions and four sacks. He added fourth turnover when he fumbled in the second quarter. His 0.7 Total QBR, according to ESPN, was the lowest for an NFL quarterback this season.

"The way I can sum up this game is awful," Smith said. "I couldn't hit anything today. I just wasn't hitting the mark."

On the other side of the ball, rookie EJ Manuel showed why he was the No. 16 overall draft pick this spring, completing 20 of 28 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns.

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Empty Netter Assists - 11-18-13

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-The Penguins lost Dustin Jeffrey (right) on waivers to the Stars. In 10 games this season, Jeffrey, 25, recorded one assists. A sixth-round pick in 2007, Jeffrey appeared in 100 games with the Penguins and scored 38 points (15 goals, 13 assists). Jeffrey is currently signed to a one-year contract worth $625,000 and is scheduled to become a restricted free agent after the season.

-“Our scouts have been watching him, and they like him. He’s versatile, he can play center or wing. He has the skill to play up the lineup and the size to play down the lineup. He has a lot to offer, and we think he just needs a better opportunity.” - Stars general manager Jim Nill on Jeffrey.

-EN Says: When reviewing Jeffrey's career with the Penguins, there really is one moment which dictates it. In a 2-1 road win against the Flyers March 24, 2011, Jeffrey suffered a severe knee injury from which he never seemed to fully recover. In the 2010-11 season, Jeffrey saw an elevated role due in part to the injuries of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. As a result, he had 12 points in 25 games in that campaign and generated a respectable 0.48 points per game. After the injury, Jeffrey appeared in 60 games over the course of three season and could only produced 13 points. His points-per-game averaged plummeted to 0.17 over that span.

It's fair to say Jeffrey has not gotten many chances in recent seasons with the Penguins but it's also fair to say he didn't capitalize in the rare chances he was afforded. A change of scenery could benefit him. The Stars don't have nearly the same depth up front as the Penguins.

-A year ago, ex-Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy (right) nearly retired due to the lockout. Today, he's a key contributor to the Ducks, one of the best teams in the NHL.

-Ducks forward Teemu Selanne had made 11 trips to Pittsburgh and has scored every single time.

-"It's scares the crap out of me. They're about to break out. We just hope it's Wednesday against Washington and not [tonight] against us." - Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on the Penguins' recent scoring woes.

-Happy 59th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Tom Edur. Acquired midway through the 1977-78 season in a deal which sent Dennis Owchar to the Colorado Rockies, Edur's Penguins career amounted to a pretty productive 58 games and 43 points during that campaign. In the 1978 offseason, he retired at the age of 23 to devote himself to religion having become a Jehovah's Witness.

-Happy 32nd birthday to former Penguins forward Chris Minard. A free agent signing in the 2007 offseason, Minard spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 2007-08, Mindard saw action in 15 games and scored two points. He followed that up in 2008-09 by playing in 20 games and recording three points. In the 2009 offseason, Minard joined the Oilers as a free agent. He is currently a member of Kölner Haie in Germany's DEL.

-After the Jump: Ilya Bryzgalov returns to the NHL.

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Final thoughts: West Virginia 96, Duquesne 83

Written by Stephen J. Nesbitt on .

WEST VIRGINIA 96:83 DUQUESNE

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Duquesne couldn't keep pace with West Virginia on Sunday afternoon, losing 96-83 at the WVU Coliseum. You can find the full game story here.

The defeat drops the Dukes to 1-2 after consecutive losses to New Hampshire and the Mountaineers.

A few thoughts:

 Oh my, 3-pointers: Duquesne was beaten, again, by the 3-pointer. New Hampshire had 15, West Virginia had 10. The leading scorers for the Mountaineers were their perimeter guys, Eron Harris (33 points) and Juwan Staten (28) — both career-highs. WVU shot 10-of-18 from 3-point range.

“We’ve just got to start pressuring the perimeter more," senior forward Ovie Soko said. "We’re letting guys get too many good looks at the basket. At this level, if you let guys get it going, it’s going to be hard to slow them down.”

Staten was a big reason for the defensive struggles, too, since he added nine assists as he “broke the defense down and was kicking the ball out for wide-open looks for three," Soko said. Another issue is that the starting Duquesne guards Derrick Colter (5-11) and Tra'Vaughn White (5-10) are quite short, so the space opposing guards are given on the perimeter is magnified.

The solution? 

“Everybody talks about unselfishness," Duquesne coach Jim Ferry said. "You bring in all these new guys and talk about unselfish play. Everybody automatically thinks offense, but it’s not. It’s defense, it’s getting these guys to play together defensively, that’s where the unselfishness really has to come in."

That was ... different: A year ago, Duquesne won a "complete opposite" game, Ferry said, a 60-56 Dukes victory in Pittsburgh between "two teams that were really bad and couldn't score."

“It was a hard-played basketball game,” Ferry said. “I thought it was the complete opposite of last year when you had two teams that were really bad and couldn’t score.

"It's funny. I watched our game last year and it was brutal -- just brutal. We won because I guess somebody had to. They were bad; we were bad."

Both teams have offenses now ... and neither has a defense to speak of.

“We’re going to be fine offensively,” Ferry said. “It’s going to be about tightening up defensively.”

“Some of those guys, if they actually stopped a guy one they’d kind of like it," WVU coach Bob Huggins said. "They might want to do it again. For now, it’s a continual parade to the rim.”

Effort? Better: Duquesne didn't come to play on Wednesday against New Hampshire, but the effort was certainly there against the Mountaineers.

“That definitely stung,” sophomore guard Micah Mason said. “I thought we played harder than we did at home against New Hampshire. We’ve just got to keep fighting.”

Mason had 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including five 3-pointers and a four-point play just before halftime.

Soko led the team with 19 points and 12 rebounds but he still says he's not doing enough.

“I just didn’t do enough," Soko said. "You always feel like you could have reached more rebounds, made more plays. I just didn’t do enough to help my team.”

Ferry on fouls: There were 46 combined fouls in this game. WVU went to the line 34 times, Duquesne 24.

Ferry gave an (irritated?) (exasperated?) (uncertain?) laugh when I brought up the topic of fouls in the post-game. Here's what he had to say:

“There was a lot of craziness going on," Ferry said. "We were shooting free throws and there was music going on, buzzers going off. I didn’t know what was going on. And then we get a flagrant foul while we’re taking a shot. Hand checks all over the place. That’s what coach Huggins and I were talking about; he’s been doing this for a long time, and I think he has frustrations with this too.

“Those three officials worked really hard, they really did, the rule’s a rule. This obviously isn’t the intent — we all have to make adjustments to it — but I thought it really killed that flow. I always pride my programs on not fouling, and to give up 34 free throws is unacceptable.

“Those are the rules. We’ve just got to make sure it’s consistent every night, though, or else the kids aren’t going to know how to play, either. If you just put your head down and drive then I guess it’s a foul, that’s what it’s appearing to be, and that’s what everybody is kind of doing. On both sides, thought. We got 24 free throws. I don’t know. We’ve got to work and play without our hands, but we do, we do work at that. I don’t have the answer.”


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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Duquesne, again, drowns in a downpour of 3-pointers

Written by Stephen J. Nesbitt on .

WEST VIRGINIA 96:83 DUQUESNE

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Sophomore guard Eron Harris scored 33 points on 6-of-8 3-point shooting as the high-flying, hot-shooting West Virginia men’s basketball team blew past Duquesne late in a 96-83 final at the WVU Coliseum.

The Mountaineers (2-1) drilled 10 3-pointers, following a blueprint set by New Hampshire, who rained 15 from beyond the arc to topple the Dukes, 84-81, four days earlier.

Duquesne (1-2) kept the game close until the six-minute mark of the second half, when Harris and fellow West Virginia guard Terry Henderson combined for back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers to open up an 84-71 lead with 3:24 remaining.

The nine-point swing effectively put the Dukes away, though they’d perhaps already come unglued, stalling midway through the second half with a six-minute drought without a single field goal.

Senior forward Ovie Soko led the Dukes with a 19-point, 12-rebound effort, his second double-double of the year and a much-needed bounce-back performance after he had shot 4-for-17 in Duquesne’s loss to the Wildcats on Wednesday.

Sophomore guard Micah Mason scored 18 points on a near-perfect shooting performance — 6-of-8 from the floor with five 3-pointers.

NOTE: The Dukes will be back in action at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, when they host Albany at the Palumbo Center.


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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