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VIDEO: Joe Rudolph talks Syracuse prep

Written by Sam Werner on .

Pitt offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph met with the media today to talk about Pitt's 34-27 loss to North Carolina Saturday, as well as Pitt's upcoming game against Syracuse.

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Glass on Nystrom fight: 'It’s such a weird feeling' - 11-19-13

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Late in the second period of the Penguins' 4-1 home win against the Predators Friday, Penguins' left winger Tanner Glass slammed Predators left winger Eric Nystrom into the end boards. The two then proceeded to fight.

During the skirmish, Nystrom suffered a cut over his left eye and appeared to suffer a head injury as he fell to the ice and needed assistance heading towards the Predators' dressing room. He did not return to the game Officially, the Predators have said Nystrom suffered an "upper-body" injury. He has resumed skating today but missed Saturday's game against the Blackhawks and has been ruled out for tonight's game against the Red Wings.

What exactly led to the fight? What happened during the fight and what was the aftermath?

Earlier today, Glass recalled the bout.

Did it have anything to do with the hit Nystrom put on Kris Letang two seasons ago in Dallas?

"No. Nothing. I had no idea. It was annoying they put it on the screen to make it seem like some kind of retribution. He didn’t like [my] hit in a 4-1 game. He asked me to go. So we went."

What did he say after you hit him?

"‘Let’s go.’"

How well do you recall the 'play-by-play' of the fight?

"I can tell you exactly what happened. I lunged him with the first left, missed him. Kind of put myself in a bad spot. He grabbed on. I hit him with a right right away. Put a cut above his left eye. Then we both threw one. I went to the lefts. Threw one. I think he knew I was going to switch to the lefts. He threw a couple which I kind of ducked. He kind of hit me in the top of the head and shoulder. Then I went back to rights. Hit him with the first right, a really good one. Hit him again and knocked his helmet forward off his head. Then the last one, was right behind the ear or pretty close to the year."

At what point did you realize he was in distress?

"As soon as I hit him with the last one, I could feel his body go limp. I tried to hang on to him and keep him from going down too hard."

Is there an emotional "switch" when an opponent you're fighting could be seriously injured?

"I’ve been telling the guys around here, it’s such a weird feeling. You’re in combat like that and you’re trying to get him obviously. But once you see he’s maybe in a bad way, it definitely changes. Then you try do everything you can to help him."

Proponents of fighting oftentimes state it can spark a team. What effect can it have on a team where a player does suffer an injury like Nystrom's?

"Anytime a guy gets hurt in a game, I find that it takes the wind out of the arena and out of the game for a little while. I remember when [former Panthers teammate Richard Zednik] got a skate in the neck a few years ago in Buffalo, it was just like … tough in the arena. There was no energy left at all. It can go either way. If he gets me and puts a licking on me, it might boost his team."

Did you check on him after the game?

"I went down there [to the visiting locker room] and didn’t see him but I texted him right afterwards. He was doing well. He passed his [concussion] test right away. He was joking around with me on text [messages] half an hour after the game."

Fighting is seen as an entertaining part of the game by many. When a player does suffer a serious injury in a fight, does it cease to be entertaining at that moment?

"No way. It’s an outcome. If he gets hurt, he gets hurt. It’s a dangerous game. It’s still entertainment. If you ask the fans, they enjoy it. I know the players enjoy it."

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Holgorsen presser: Recruiting, redshirts and facility upgrades

Written by Stephen J. Nesbitt on .

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen met with media Tuesday afternoon, three days after West Virginia's bowl hopes died in a 31-19 loss to Kansas in Lawrence, Kan.

Here are a few notes and tidbits:

• Off-week approach: Player development is important. Not going to spend much time on Iowa State until next week. "This week is more about just coaching our guys." Will be getting redshirt and scout-team guys a lot of reps this week. "Unfortunate" to lose the five or six practices in December that they would have had with a bowl game, but that can be made up this week. Big focus on recruiting this week, too.

• Giving starters a break this week? "Some of those starters need to keep playing ball," they're still green. But there are some starters who have played a lot of snaps so they do need a break, names Shaq Rowell, Nick Kwiatkoski, Will Clarke and Karl Joseph.

• Darwin Cook "is broke down," has groin injury. Plays hard each play, number of snaps has caught up to him. 

• Will Clarke "has played his way into being a potential very high draft pick." Didn't grade out as well against Kansas but that has a lot to do with how worn down he's gotten due to the number of snaps he's taken.

• The problem on Saturday? "The Texas game beat us twice. I talked about it happening, and it did." It was the "first time all year that we didn't play with the effort and energy needed to win the game." If you lose without effort, that's the frustrating part. Says to point the finger at him.

• Recruiting needs: For the first time, "if we meet our quota, which is 25, we're over our scholarship limit." Depth is an option now. "More than likely we'll lose a couple for a variety of reasons," but feels confident they'll have a full roster for the first time at WVU. Retention "is an issue everywhere in college football" — that goes for both players and coaches. 

• On facilitates: weight room is done, but "we've got to be able to meet appropriately, which we can't, and have to be able to practice appropriately, which we can't." Wants to get turf on practice field. "You shouldn't have to practice on your game field. Nobody else does it." Indoor facility: "You gotta blow it up. It's dysfunctional."

• Hasn't had a state-of-the-program with Oliver Luck, but "he understands where we're at and where the program's at and what it's going to take to get better." 


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 announces Fund for Basketball Excellence

Written by Stephen J. Nesbitt on .

The Duquesne athletic department announced Tuesday the establishment of the Fund for Basketball Excellent, a campaign to which 10 donors have already committed a total of $1 million over the next five years.

"There is a difference between success and excellence," athletic director Greg Amodio said. "Succeeding is to attain a desired result once; excellence requires sustaining and building on success. These funds will help our basketball programs to achieve real excellence."

Here is the rest of the media release:

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The University administration has made significant recent investments in its men's and women's basketball programs and facilities. Annual operating budgets have more than doubled, and capital improvements have included renovations to administrative offices, recruiting spaces, strength and conditioning rooms and the basketball practice facility. The Palumbo Center main arena has received new chair-back seating, a center-hung video scoreboard, and a new floor and goals.

Additional major enhancements have been donor-funded, including new men's and women's locker rooms and lounges in the Janice and James Schaming Athletic Center, the Keller Family Athletic Training Room and the James Christopher Rocco Basketball Theater.

"All of these investments put us in a position to succeed, but we need to keep building toward excellence," said head men's basketball coach Jim Ferry. "These 10 generous donors will allow us to do exactly that. Our players recognize and appreciate their contributions to the program."

The Fund for Basketball Excellence will provide immediate annual operating support for the men's and women's programs, including such items as travel, academic and administrative assistance, promotions and marketing (including enhanced television exposure) and additional facilities and equipment. Development efforts began in spring 2013 with a goal of securing 10 benefactors by Dec. 31.

"The overwhelming response allowed us to reach our goal sooner than expected, and speaks volumes about the growing support and excitement for Duquesne basketball," Amodio said. "At the same time, we remain committed to continued growth, and look forward to engaging more individuals who share our vision of taking the fund--and our programs--to the next level."

The first 10 donors to the Fund include three anonymous benefactors and:

Arnold E. Burchianti, II
Thomas B. Grealish
Paul M. Matvey, Jr.
John R. Rupprecht, Jr.
Janice L. Schaming
Daniel V. and Kenneth A. Unico
Michael R. Vozza, Jr.

Grealish, a 1983 Duquesne graduate and president of Henderson Brothers, Inc., is a member of the University's Board of Directors. "Through my service on the Board's Athletics Committee, I understand the value of sports in general--and basketball in particular--to building school spirit and Duquesne's reputation," he said. "I also recognize the impact the Fund for Excellence will have.

"Our administration, staff, coaches and student-athletes are working harder than ever to compete at the highest level. As a longtime supporter, it was important for me to step it up as well."

Rupprecht, a vice president with McKesson Corp., was introduced to Duquesne through his three children: a son who has graduated and two daughters currently studying there. "I've developed great relationships with the staff, coaches and administrators in Duquesne's Athletic Department," he said.

"My family and I are firm believers in the product, and most of all, the people," Rupprecht continued. "We are proud to give to the Fund for Basketball Excellence because we know it will make a significant difference in the growth of Duquesne basketball, now and for years to come."

For more information about contributing to Duquesne University's Fund for Basketball Excellence, contact Bryan Colonna, director of Athletic Development, at 412.396.5927 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


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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Empty Netter Assists - 11-19-13

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-Dave Molinari's recap from last night's game. "To find a way to win and get some goals and not panic, not make mistakes, that's a good win for us." - Brandon Sutter.

-The Orange County Register's recap. The Ducks finished a road trip by going 0-3-1.

-The Associated Press' recap. "We wanted to be in that tight game and stayed the course and came through with a couple of big goals.'' - Dan Bylsma.

-Highlights:

-Mike Lange's goal calls.

-A good look at Marc-Andre Fleury's third period save against Anaheim's Andrew Cogliano:

-Funny Face of the Night: What was Coliano doing here against Sidney Crosby?

-Anaheim's Devante Smith-Pelly > Brooks Orpik:

-Evgeni Malkin looking up ice:

-Anaheim's Viktor Fasth alone in the dark:

-Bylsma speaks:

-Marc-Andre Fleury speaks:

-Brian Gibbons speaks:

-The Brian Gibbons era begins.

-"It's really nice. Anytime you get to tell a player to go up it's exciting, but particularly when it's their first time. We've spent a lot of time together, and I think it was a really nice moment for him and for me as a coach." - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins coach John Hynes on Zach Will being recalled by the NHL Penguins last week.

-The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins recalled forwards Denver Manderson, Cody Sylvester, goaltender Eric Hartzell and defenseman Dustin Stevenson from Wheeling and assigned goaltender Peter Mannino to Wheeling.

-Former Penguins goaltender Brad Thiessen had his contract cancelled with HIFK of Finland's Liiga.

-Happy 37th birthday to former Penguins forward Petr Sykora (right). A free agent signing in the 2007 offseason, Sykora spent two seasons with the Penguins. In 2007-08, while playing primarily on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Ryan Malone, Sykora appeared in 81 games and scored 63 points. During the 2008 postseason which saw the franchise return to the Stanley Cup final for the first time in 16 years, he played in 20 games and scored nine points, including a dramatic goal in the third overtime of a 4-3 win in Game 5 of the Cup final (below). Sykora would see action in 63 games for the Penguins in 2008-09, scored 46 points and led the team with 10 game-winning goals. Injuries limited him to seven games and one assist during the 2009 playoffs, but he did get his name on the Cup for the second time in his career as the club captured its third championship. During the 2009 offseason, Sykora joined the Wild as a free agent. In 157 regular season games with the Penguins, Sykora scored 109 points, 78th-most in franchise history. In 27 postseason games, he scored 10 points.

-After the Jump: Cam Ward returns to the lineup while Tim Thomas wants to return to the Olympics.

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