Flyers at Rangers chat - 03-16-13

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

We will be holding a live chat for tonight's important Flyers-Rangers game.

The chat and the game begin at approximately 8 p.m. EDT. Feel free to participate in the box below:


(Photo: Seth Wenig/Associated Press)

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Il governatore Steelers

Written by Dan Gigler on .

Gov. Tom Corbett made a much publicized trip to the Vatican today, leading a delegation for a brief audience with Pope Francis, to persuade the head of the Holy See to visit Philadelphia in 2015, not to exorcise the place, but rather for the 8th World Meeting of Families

After his visit with Il Papa, Gov. Corbett, a Pittsburgh native and unabashed Steelers fan, followed the sage advice, "When in Rome, Do as the Yinzers Do" and made a brief stop at La Botticella, a.k.a. "the Steelers bar in Rome" (although now its fair to simply call it the Roman Pittsburgh bar, given its year-round devotion to all Pittsburgh sports).

Below he's pictured with tavern owner Giovanni Poggi (left). 

Gio Guv

Art Rooney Jr., Lawrence Timmons, Cardinal Wuerl, Dan Bylsma, Bishop Zubik and Steelers minority share owner Larry Paul have all previously visited La Botticella in recent years, as have seemingly every man, woman and child with a 412 connection when vacationing in the Eternal City. 

And based on Corbett's atrocious polling numbers, he should hope to meet a few of them, as he'll need every vote he can get. Even from Rome. 

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Empty Netter Assists - 03-26-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-Dave Molinari's recap from last night's game. "We have nights where we're going real good, everybody's executing, we have great life, everyone's competing like crazy. Then we've had a few nights where we're just not very good. What's causing it? I don't know, but we've got to try to find a way to be better." - Matt Niskanen.

-The Associated Press' recap. "It gives confidence that if you can win in Pittsburgh you can win anywhere." - Coyotes captain/forward Shane Doan.


-Mike Lange's goal calls.

-The Penguins looking up from their bench:

-Olli Maatta doing his thing:

-A good look at the lid of Phoenix's Thomas Greiss:

-Even with Greiss looking elsewhere, Sidney Crosby couldn't score:

-Tanner Glass and Phoenix's Kyle Chipchura got busy in the corner:

-Submitted without further commentary:

-Dan Bylsma speaks:

-Sidney Crosby speaks:

-Taylor Pyatt speaks:

-“Every time you lose a player like him, it’s a big blow for the team. At the same time, we have dealt with lots of injuries during the year.” - Jussi Jokinen on Evgeni Malkin's foot injury.

-"Hockey is a business and I had to move on." - Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek on his time with the Penguins.

-How does Jayson Megna's recall impact the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins?

-Penguins forward prospect Josh Archibald is set to make his professional debut tonight with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

-The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins recalled forward Carter Rowney from the Wheeling Nailers.


-Happy 50th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Ulf Samuelsson (right). Acquired from the Whalers along with Ron Francis and Grant Jennings at the 1991 trade deadline in a deal which sent John Cullen, Jeff Parker and Zarley Zalapski to Hartford, Samuelsson spent parts of five seasons in Pittsburgh. He finished 1990-91 by appearing in 14 games, scored five points and recorded 37 penalty minutes. In 20 postseason games that spring, he scored five points including the Cup-clinching goal in an 8-0 win at Minnesota in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final, May 25, 1991. His first full season with the Penguins was 1991-92. In 62 games, he scored 15 points and accumulated 206 penalty minutes. He saw action in 21 postseason games that spring and scored seven points while helping the franchise win its second Stanley Cup title. During 1992-93, Samuelsson appeared in 77 games, scored 29 points and recorded a career-high 249 penalty minutes. In 12 postseason games that spring, he scored six points. In 1993-94, Samuelsson saw action in 80 games, netted 29 points and recorded 199 penalty minutes. He played in six playoff games that season and recorded one assist. During the lockout-shortened 1994-95 campaign, Samuelsson appeared in 44 games and netted 16 points. In seven postseason games that spring, he recorded two assists. During the 1995 offseason, Samuelsson and Luc Robitaille were traded to the Rangers in exchange for Petr Nedved and Sergei Zubov. One of the most physical and popular players in franchise history, Samuelsson appeared in 277 regular season games with the Penguins and scored 94 points, 91st-most in franchise history and recorded 804 penalty minutes, eighth-most. In 66 postseason games, he scored 16 points. Currently an assistant coach with the Rangers, his son, Philip Samuelsson, is a defensive prospect with the Penguins.

-After the Jump: Upper St. Clair's Vince Trocheck scores a pretty shootout goal.

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Looking back at all of the undefeated teams in state history

Written by Mike White on .

The New Castle boys basketball team became the first WPIAL team in 31 years to win a state championship with an undefeated record. The Red Hurricanes also were the 13th team from the WPIAL overall to go undefeated.

But did you ever wonder how many teams around the state have gone undefeated? Well, we have the list, thanks to our records and also Dave Burman, who is sort of an unofficial Pennsylvania basketball historian and Chester High historian.

New Castle is actually the 32nd team to go undefeated. That may seem like a lot. But remember, the PIAA started staging championships in 1921 and they have had four classifications since 1984. Darby-Colwyn is the only team to go undefeated in back to back years. Here is the list of perfect teams, with a little note or two about some of the teams.

2014 New Castle (“AAAA”) 31-0

2012 Chester (“AAAA”) 32-0  - Had Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who now plays for the University of Arizona.

2006 Elk County Catholic  (“A”) 33-0

2003 Lancaster Catholic   (“AAA”) 35-0

2003 Trinity (District-3) (“AA”) 33-0

1993 Carbondale   (“AA”) 30-0

1990 Girard (“AA”)  32-0 - Had guard Marc Blucas, who went on to play at Wake Forest and then became an actor.

1988 Carlisle  (“AAAA”) 33-0  - Had the legendary Billy Owens (pictured in the state final). If you asked me who was the best high school player I ever saw in person in a "high school" game, not an all-star game, I'd say definitely LeBron James. Next would be BIlly Owens. He was incredible. He stood 6-6 or 6-7 and could play point guard or center. He started on four consecutive state championship teams at Carlisle (that also is an incredible feat) and he was an All-American at Syracuse. He had the unforgettable state championship game in 1988 when he scored 53 points. I still remember him rebounding the ball, making the outlet pass, and beating every Central Catholic player up the court to dunk. I remember him dribbling on his knees at one point. He made 19 of 22 shots from the field and 14 of 16 from the free-throw line and also grabbed 12 rebounds. Owens, Alonzo Mourning and Shawn Kemp were widely regarded as the top three players in the country that season.

1987 York Catholic (“AAA”) 34-0

1984 Williamsport (“AAAA”) 30-0

1983 Northwest Area  (“A”) 33-0

1983 Sto-Rox (“AA”) 31-0 - Coached by Dick Cetrone. Mark Beavers was the star player and he went on to play at Duquesne.

1978 Geibel Catholic  (“A”) 26-0 - Coached by Ken Misiak.

1977  Elk Lake   (“A) 36-0 - Elk Lake's Bob Stevenson, a prolific scorer, scored a state championship record 55 points in that game, making 24 of 34 shots and also pulling down 18 rebounds and handing out 10 assists. He averaged 38 points that season and scored 1,276 points.

1976 FIfth Avenue ("AAA") 15-0 - Due to a teachers strike, Fifth Avenue had some games canceled. That's why this team played only 15 games. It was a legendary City League team, coached by Elmer GUckert and led by Sam Clancy, who went on to star at Pitt. It also had BIll Clarke, David "Puffy" Kennedy and Warner Macklin. Macklin is pictured on the left with Clancy in the middle and Kennedy on the right.

1967 Ambridge ("AAA") 27-0  - Considered one of the best teams in WPIAL history. Check this out. Four Dick DeVenziostarters went to Division I college - and big-time colleges. Dick DeVenzio went to Duke (pictured), Dennic Wuycik to North Carolina and Frank Kaufman to Purdue. The team was coached by DeVenzio's father, Chuck.

1966  Mercer  (“AA”)  28-0 - Coached by legendary John Swogger.

1966 Williamsburg  (“A”)  25-0 

1965 Midland (“AAA”) 28-0 - Another one of the all-time great teams from the WPIAL. One of the few teams in Western Pennsylvania history to have two players go on to the pros. Norm Van Lier played in the NBA and Simmie Hill in the ABA. Team was coached by Hank Kuzma.

1964 Uniontown  (“AAA”) 28-0 - This team had a future NBA player and two future NFL players. The Raiders were featured in our Post-Gazette "legacy series" a few weeks ago. Team was coached by Abe Everhart.

1964 Montrose (“AA”) 26-0

1963 Plymouth-Whitemarsh (“AAA”) 24-0

1963 Darby Colwyn (“AA) 25-0

1962 Darby Colwyn (“AA) 25-0 

1959 Kutztown  (“AA) 29-0

1957 Sharon (“AAA”) 28-0 

1955 Wampum (“AA”) 31-0 - This team crushed most opponents and was coached by legendary Butler Hennon and its star player also was legendary. Don Hennon was Butler's son and was the WPIAL's all-time leading scorer until Valley's Tom Pipkins broke his record in 1993. Hennon averaged 33 points a game and he along with Chartiers Valley's T.J. McConnell are believed to be the only players in WPIAL history to score 1,000 points in a season.

1952 Avalon (“AA”) 29-0 - Two players both made all-state on this team. Ron Mayer and Dan Tobin. In old newspaper stories they are called "Rompin" Ron Mayer and "Dump-em-in" Dan Tobin.

1949 Aliquippa (“AAA”) 29-0 - Sam Milanovich was perfect in his first year as coach. Mickey Zernich, Jerry Montini, James Frank, Joe Richards and Clarence "Bud" Shaw were the starters on that team.

1929 Hazleton (“AAA”) 21-0

1928 Uniontown  (“AAA”) 31-0

1921 McKeesport (“AAA”) 24-0 


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Talkin' Bout Practice - March 25

Written by Sam Werner on .

IMG 1067After its first weekend off of the spring season, Pitt returned to the indoor practice field today for practice No. 5 of 2014. Pitt coach Paul Chryst labeled the session "up and down," but it was pretty easy to tell he wasn't too pleased with what he saw. About an hour into practice, Chryst had to turn the music off (which was fine with me, given that "Cotton-Eyed Joe" somehow made its way onto today's playlist) and send his team a message about focus. From what I could see, it looked like there were a lot of little details (false starts, dropped balls, missed exchanges) that Chryst wasn't happy about. That got a bit better as the practice continued, but Chryst still said he didn't felt the team had "the energy we needed." With that, on to some other notes and observations...

- Running back James Conner took defensive snaps in practice for the first time this spring. He worked in at defensive end for probably a half-dozen snaps, and worked in some rush and some coverage situations Chryst said the work was "just get him some snaps."

- Part of the reason for Conner's involvement there may have been the fact that Ejuan Price sat out of today's practice with injury. Even if Price is healthy, Pitt is pretty perilously thin at defensive end. Chryst said after practice that Price was day to day and that they're just erring on the side of caution.
Price is really a player Pitt can't afford to lose again for an extended period of time. In today's practice, for instance, the first-team defensive ends were sophomore Shakir Soto (who had a nice play stuffing an inside shovel pass during team drills) and redshirt senior David Durham, which is fine, but the second-teamers were redshirt freshman Luke Maclean and freshman Rori Blair. Blair has actually impressed me with his size this spring, but having a second-team unit with absolutely zero playing experience is bad news. Thus, I expect the Pitt staff will handle Price with bubble-wrap this spring.

Adam Bisnowaty is still out with a lingering back issue, so once again it was Jaryd Jones-Smith at first-team left tackle. As it has all camp, the first team offensive line was (from L to R) Jones-Smith, D. Johnson, Rowell, Rotheram, Clemmings. The second team offensive line today was Guy, Jones-Smith/D. Johnson, Officer, Baker, Reese. As you can see, Jones-Smith and Dorian Johnson both had to pull some double duty. That's mainly because of the injury to Gabe Roberts, who once again missed today's session. Once he gets back, Pitt will truly be able to roll 10 deep at offensive line, which I know Jim Hueber thinks is pretty essential for developing an offensive line.

- Linebacker Anthony Gonzalez sat out today's practice with another injury that Chryst termed as "day to day." Bam Bradley filled in for him at the Will linebacker spot, with redshirt freshman Reggie Green stepping into that spot on the second team. It's weird seeing Green out there at linebacker still wearing No. 87, but he certainly looks like he has the size to play linebacker.

Titus Howard lined up opposite Lafayette Pitts as the starting cornerback today (along with Terrish Webb and Ray Vinopal at safety). Trenton Coles had gotten some work in that spot last week, but a minor injury cost him some time and gave Howard his shot. I think both guys will end up playing this year, but there's still a long way to go before we get a starter.

- We got a look at Pitt's dime defense a bit today, and it looked like Jahmahl Pardner and Wisconsin transfer Reggie Mitchell are both in the mix to see time as extra defensive backs.

LaQuentin Smith sat out today's practice, which meant that Tyrique Jarrett and Justin Moody made up the interior of the second-team defensive line. Redshirt freshman Jeremiah Taleni also got some reps in there.

- It wasn't the best day for quarterback Chad Voytik today, as he missed some open throws and misread some other ones. He and Trey Anderson both mixed in with the first and second teams (in 11-on-11s, Anderson actually got most of the first-team work), but I don't think there's any doubt that Voytik is the guy.

- A few redshirt freshman receivers had nice grabs today. Zach Challingsworth caught a pass from Voytik on a deep out along the left sideline where he had to make a strong effort to get one foot down, and Jester Weah hauled in a 50-yard bomb that also showed off Voytik's arm strength.

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