Thursday, February 19, 2009

News and Links

I've been in a posting mood the past couple days, so figured I'd put out a batch of links that I've been compiling to finish up a busy day.

First a few minor news tidbits going around the Burgh recently that haven't been brought up on TRS yet:-The Steelers slapped the Ol' Franchise Tag on Max Starks. This was a bit of a surprise to see, personally. After spending the 08 season under the transition tag, I find it a little hard to believe that they will allow Starks to spend the 2009 season also under a tag. I do think its a very smart move to tag him, as no other team will bother negotiating with him now and the Steelers will now have time to bang out a long-term deal with Mad Max. I think that is the end-result here. Starks earned it. He was very, very good this past season at left tackle. I'm not certain I trust him with a 6 or 7 year deal, but 3 or 4 years and the gaping holes at the other O-Line spots, I could live with that.

-For the first time in over 20 years, Pitt hoops has a McDonald's All-American coming to campus in the form of the superb recruit Dante Taylor. This is the link to the official Mickey D's All-American site, so you have to click to the Players page and listen to Dick Vitale more than once. I am truly sorry for that, but I wanted to give you the official page for your own privilege.

-Just watched the Pens pick up a W over the Canadiens. Very impressed by the work of the Gonch tonight. I can't say this emphatically enough: That was a HUGE win. The Pens are at 62 points and still in 10th and 4 points off of the final playoff spot, but two of the teams within striking distance are in an absolute free-fall. The Habs are just 5 points away and the Rangers are 6 points away. Both teams are playing worse puck than the Pens right now. We need to keep this momentum up and get a few wins in a row, though or its not going to matter how the other teams do. It was definitely good to see the Gonch already looking damned good out there. It went a lot deeper than just his game-winning goal. He's already playing better than any other D-man on the roster.

-During the post-game I just heard them report Darren Dreger had Ryan Whitney among his ten most likely trade candidates. I find it a bit hard to believe there is that much interest in him right now. There's no way you can rely on him much now given his inconsistencies and he is making quite a bit of money. Maybe a team looking ahead to the future makes the deal hoping for a return to form for Whitters next year, as the guy is undeniably talented and has looked a bit better to me the past few games.

-I also wanted to comment on the people piling on Whitney these days. Is he playing great hockey right now? Abso-freaking-lutely not. But it ain't anywhere near his fault this team is struggling. Nor is it all Satan's fault either, and I will never understand the Crosby criticisms. One guy who I think is playing dreadfully awful hockey right now, and that no one is mentioning for some bizarre reason, is Max Talbot. I don't know what the hell happened to him, but he's been bad all season, and I can't figure out why no one mentions this. He's supposed to be a scrappy, two-way forward who can add some offensive ability and kill penalties right? Well are you aware in 52 games this season he has just 14 points (7 Goals 7 Assists) and is a -13? I will admit his offensive game has turned around a bit lately, but that doesn't excuse that he was a non-entity on offense for the first 40 or so games of the season.
-Bob Smizik has an excellent post about his All-Time Pitt Teams. He lists 4 total squads, giving us his 20 best Pitt players. Obviously I have nowhere near the knowledge of Pitt basketball history that Smizik does, but I'd be upset if I didn't put in my two cents. So here are my All-Pitt first team and All-Pitt second team based only on the Pitt teams that I have watched (roughly 1996-Present)First Team
G Brandin Knight
G Vonteego Cummings
F Ricardo Greer
F Sam Young
F DeJuan Blair
Second Team
G Carl Krauser
G Levance Fields
F Jaron Brown
F Chevon Troutman
C Aaron Gray

-If you haven't checked it out, swing by Sean's Ramblings for his Pittsburgh Sports Blog Tournament and cast your vote. Yours truly is not a part of it as I've only been around a few months and still need to prove myself. Kind of like the NCAA Football teams that aren't allowed to make a bowl their first couple seasons in I-A or Football Bowl Series or whatever the hell it's called. It's a very cool idea by Sean and I look forward to seeing it play out. I'd say the Pensblog is probably the UNC-like heavyweight favorite and is probably my pick if I were to fill out a bracket. They are just too good. The Valparaiso of this tournament (the Sleeper) in my mind is either "Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke" (don't underestimate the inferiority complex of Pirate fans in this town and WHYGAVS is a great blog), or "Empty Netters". I hope voters go more with which blogs they truly like as opposed to which is the more well-known or higher-seeded. There were actually a few blogs on there I'd never heard of and was very, very pleasantly surprised when I went to check them out.

-Thanks to Raise the Jolly Roger for this one which combines two of my favorite things. Jamie Dixon visits the Pittsburgh Pirates in Spring Training while on a recruiting trip.

-This one is thanks to PSaMP. ESPN recently unveiled its Mt. Rushmore of Pennsylvania sports. I personally find this whole thing stupid and arbitrary. I'm not even sure how they could narrow it down to 4 and be convinced they have the right 4. But like PSaMP said, maybe its just to justify Rick Reilly's monster contract. It'd make more sense to have Mt. Rushmore by city. although that'd be tough. What do we think the Pittsburgh Mt. Rushmore might look like? PSaMP makes a decent point about differentiating between people from the area and people who played in the area. Of people who played in the area, I'd say the Mt. Rushmore is maybe: Mario Lemieux (Duh), Roberto Clemente, Joe Greene and Tony Dorsett. But I'd understand and could even make arguments for Willie Stargell, Terry Bradshaw, Hines Ward, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, Mel Blount and Honus Wagner. I think that's about it though. I chose Dorsett because he had the double dip of being from the Burgh and playing in the Burgh. He seems like he meant an awful lot to people when he played at Pitt being the hometown boy. Any other thoughts out there?


Jonathan Bryant said...

I don't know, I'm not sure I'd include Dorsett in the "Played Here" Mt. Rushmore. I could see in the "Grew up here" maybe. Instead of Dorsett I'd suggest Bradshaw. I could Pops, too.

Joe said...

Yea I don't know about Dorsett either. I like Pitt and all, but 4 years at Pitt pales in comparison to the other possibilities.
What about Honus Wagner? He's widely considered one of the greatest baseball talents of all time.