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Pens 1, Senators 4: Geno Malkin scored just 1:34 into the game, but that was all the offense the Pens would get in a 4-1 loss to Ottawa on Thursday night at the Igloo.

Malkin appears to have worked his way out of his recent slump, as he has now scored in six straight games, with six goals and five assists over that span. But it wasn't enough for a Pens team that clearly did not bring their A-game.

Pittsburgh ran into a red-hot Senators team on Thursday night that has now won eight in a row and trails them by just three points for the fourth spot in the East. Brian Elliott was the story for Ottawa, playing an excellent game in goal and stopping 30 of 31 shots to win his sixth consecutive start. He outlasted Marc-Andre Fleury, who saved 24 of 27 while continuing to battle a pesky finger injury.

The Pens are off until Sunday's clash with the Detroit Red Wings, and one goal is not going to cut it then, either. [ESPN]

Pitt gets a "W": Brad Wanamaker had 16 points, Ashton Gibbs scored 14, and Gary McGhee chipped in 10 to lead a balanced Pitt attack in a 63-53 win against St. John's on Thursday. The win ended a brief two-game losing skid for the 16-4 Panthers, who are now 6-2 in the Big East.

Pitt was down 28-24 at the half and held a narrow 54-52 lead with just 1:56 to play in the game, but went on a 9-1 run to close out the Red Storm. The Panthers were once again frigid from three-point land, shooting an abysmal 16.7% on 12 attempts, and they were outrebounded 37-27; but St. John's shot even worse, hitting on just 33% from the floor, while turning the ball over 15 times.

Some bad news to report, though: Jermaine Dixon went down with an ankle injury with 16:44 remaining in the game and did not return. Dixon has been getting worked hard by the injury bug, having missed the first eight games of the season due to a right foot he broke not once, but twice during the summer.

The Panthers go for two in a row on Sunday afternoon at 13-7 South Florida, which is led by guard Dominique Jones and a 21.0 PPG average. [ESPN]

Cignetti stays put: Pitt OC Frank Cignetti Jr. put a quick end to that Chicago Bears talk, and released the following statement last night:

"My return to Pitt last year was the realization of a longtime personal and professional goal," Cignetti said. "It was made even more gratifying by the outstanding season we enjoyed. I couldn't be more fortunate to work for Dave Wannstedt and coach these great kids.

"Despite recent reports connecting my name with other jobs, I am wholeheartedly committed to being at Pitt and continuing to establish our program among the nation's very best."

Translation: I enjoy working at Pitt and wanted no parts of Jay Cutler and Lovie Smith. [Trib]

Ohlendorf featured in SI: Ross "Mr. Wonderful" Ohlendorf scored a lengthy feature in this week's Who Dat-covered issue of Sports Illustrated because of his unique combination of Princeton, fastballs, and ranching.

One of these days, the Pirates are going to get a feature story strictly because a guy is an unreal player, and not an Indian reality show winner or Department of Agriculture intern. [SI]

AFC North All-Decade Team announced: As you can imagine, this was very Steeler-centric, with 12 members of the organization getting first-team accolades from ESPN. So don't hold your breath on my usual outrage at a national column slighting the local team. [ESPN AFC North Blog]

Hero honored by Pens: 23-year-old Army Sgt. Justin Lubash, a former Golden Gloves boxer and Serra HS hockey player, was honored at Thursday's Penguins game, and if you read the accompanying story, you'll understand why. It's a must-click. [PG]

Peezy probably done in Miami: It looks like LB Joey Porter and Bill Parcells' Miami Dolphins will finally be parting ways this offseason, as his cons have clearly outweighed his pros at this point in his career. What, you mean his constant yapping and refusal to come out of games? I have a hard time believing that any organization wouldn't want to endure another season of that. [PFT]

Pirates' farm system not quite there yet: It was 26th two years ago, 18th last year, and 16th this year. I'm talking about the Pirates' ranking in Baseball America's minor league systems, which is improved but still middle of the pack. Call it a Littlefield Hangover. [PBC Blog]

Edgar vs. Penn: Former Clarion wrestler Frank Edgar is fighting BJ Penn for the UFC Lightweight Title on April 10th at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi, of all places.

Edgar is 11-1 with two knockouts and three submissions, with his last win coming on December 5 against Matt Veach at The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale. []

Miley finds a superstar in Plum: 16-year-old Amy Colalella of Plum just won Miley Cyrus' "Are You a Superstar" contest, beating out 8,000 others, by submitting a video clip singing Demi Lovato's "Two Worlds Collide." The prize? Try a record deal. So this probably isn't the last we'll be hearing about Colalella in these parts.

The McMutries visit Ellen: Local (and now national) heroes Jamie and Ali McMutrie were on an episode of Ellen Degeneres' talk show this week and received a boatload of toys and goodies to bring back for the orphans. I'm not an Ellen fan, but that was a class move. [Kiss 96.1 Morning Freak Show]

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Anonymous said...

I was waiting for my oil change to be done yesterday and picked up the SI in the "waiting room." Flipping through the extensive NBA coverage, of which I am not a fan, I just about peed myself when I saw a full page of a dude in a Pirates cap with a steer standing next to him. People might not have even known he played for the Pirates if not for the hat, the first few paragraphs were all about the rest of his life. [that's all I got to read before the fine folks at Jiffy Lube were done with my car - did you know they vac your floors for you?!]

Anonymous said...

Remember when this blog had original content? Now it just seems like link dumps every day. I can read this stuff at the PG.

Louis Lipps no longer accepts my phone calls... said...

I'm holding out hopes for the Pens until after the Olympic break.

If Dixon is down for any length of time, don't be surprised if Pitt has it's hands full at USF this Sunday. USF, much like Seton Hall, may not be very good in the grand scheme of things, but they're establishing themselves as a team that's not an easy out on their home court.

I think we'll be hearing the phrase "Pitt head football coach Frank Cignetti" within the next 5-7 years.