Big Lead Sports Bar


Take 5: Michael Haywood, 24/7 Pens-Caps, Steelers/Jets, Pirates Hot Stove, King Crosby

To close out the work week, it's time to opine on Michael Haywood, the HBO Pens/Caps reality show, Jets/Steelers, the Pirates' hot stove moves, and the one and only King Crosby:

1. I listened to ample talk radio the last few days, hearing Yinzer upon Yinzer opine on new Pitt hire Michael Haywood. Unfortunately, it's a pointless exercise that makes about as much sense as giving out draft grades the day after the NFL draft. 

No one can say right now with any certainty what kind of coach Haywood will turn out to be, nor will they be able to for some time. There are numerous examples on both sides of the argument. I just hope for Pitt's sake that he's more Jamie Dixon/Mike Tomlin than Steve Kragthorpe/Ron Zook. 

Haywood is not taking over a program in disarray; he's got quality players, quality recruits, and quality facilities. The expectations are not to rebuild, they're to take Pitt to a level that Dave Wannstedt could not reach. It could be a task that Haywood is up to, or he could be a completely bad fit. But right now, no one knows how this marriage will play out.

2. I watched “24/7 Penguins-Capitals Road to the Winter Classic” on Wednesday night, and thought it was pretty entertaining and well done. Bruce Boudreau did not come off well, Max Talbot was Max Talbot, and the Pens seemed like a team that legitimately has good chemistry. 

I would've enjoyed more face time for the always-entertaining Geno Malkin, but there's room to grow. As far as the numerous f-bombs, I have to think that they have absolutely no impact on the Capitals, who hear them every other minute out of Boudreau's mouth. But hey, that's not our problem.

3. Sunday's Steelers-Jets game should be the cliched "street fight" that most expect, but I like the home team in this one. Both teams are streaking: the Steelers have won four straight, allowing just three touchdowns along the way. Conversely, the Jets have gone in the wrong direction since their meltdown against New England on MNF and have resorted to tripping opponents on the sidelines in their quest for any edge possible. They've been outscored 55-9 over the past two games and haven't scored an offensive touchdown since the third quarter of their win over Cincinnati on November 25. Rex Ryan better start digging deep in his bag of tricks, and fast.

Mark Sanchez has not fared well in cold weather and odds are that it's going to be pretty frigid at Heinz Field on Sunday. He'd better fix whatever ails him (and his struggling running game), or else it's going to be a very long day getting chased around by James Harrison and Friends. Steelers 19, Jets 10.

4. I guess I should say something about the Pirates' hot stove moves, but they basically look just like their hot stove moves in any other year. There are no major difference-makers in the lot, they took no chances on anyone risky but with upside, and they added no one who will sell a single ticket. Looks like we can write in Losing Season 19.0 in indelible ink.

5. I don't know how Sidney Crosby goes without a shot in the last two games, but that's a trend that has to end immediately. I'm all for sharing the love on offense and working Evgeni Malkin back into things, but no shots out of #87 in back to back contests is not a recipe for Penguin success in any way, shape, or form.

Mondesi's House: The Director's Cut (more links, commentary, etc):


jerrykid said...

Crosbys lack of shooting is fine with me since he has figured on all three goals the past two games, the primary assist on two of them. I mean, he has 3 points the last two games and were complaining, he should have six right? The past two games---

Weve had no secondary scoring whatsoever.

Weve taken untimely momentum killing penalties, particularly in the third period in close games, and both teams made us pay.

We got screwed on a terrible no goal call that changed the complex of the Rangers game...its hockey, it happens.

Crosby could have a hat trick and ten shots, if you give up 4 in the 3rd you usually dont win.

No need to panic at all...just saying, those were the big problems, not Sid's lack of shooting.

Koz said...

Jerry, some of your points are correct about Sid can't be all the offense, but when the leading goal scorer in the NHL doesn't register a shot in a game -- that's bad and a definite recipe for a loss. When it happens in back to back games... yikes.


Bababooey said...

Sid has lowered his game to benefit Malkin's, which isn't too much of a bad thing since Malkin is a head case and soft at times. The goals by Malkin are what he needs to get that boost of confidence. Hopefully its come at the right time.

But Koz is right. Shoot Sid, Shoot!

BurressWithButterflywings said...

Sid and Geno don't belong on the same line. When they are on together, Sid spends more time feeding Geno and less time creating for himself. Plus, Geno isn't going to play a Kunitz or Dooper style. Also, 24/7 is actually amazing although I was initially apprehensive about watching.

It really shows a huge difference between the 2 organizations and not just because of the respective streaks each team was on at the time of last week's episode. The Pens FO is all business and focused on development and the getting the right guys together to win every night. The Craps are obsessed with us and they just think because they have a bunch of talented Eurotrash that wins will just come to them.

On the subject of Pitt and Haywood, the FAN afternoon drive guys were absolutely brutal towards him because he didn't stand on the podium and beat his chest about winning National Titles like Luck did in Morgantown. I think it is a foregone conclusion every coach hired intends to win, I don't think he needs to tell the local media every little detail in his introdcutory speech. But clearly I do not know NEARLY as much as the guys on the FAN. And judging by the way they were talking, Tomlin, Bylsma, Haywood, Dixon, Chuck Noll, Vince Lombardi, JoePA, and Jim Leyland probably don't know nearly as much about coaching and winning as they do.

Obviously, as a Pitt fan, I am going to cautiously optimistic about this situation much like any situation w/ Pitt athletics. I think Haywood is a guy that was on the rise and Pitt felt that they'd better get him now before he had another big year and another school swooped in a took him. Maybe I am wrong, but he hasn't coach a game yet and some people are ready to send him packing.

Bababooey said...

Boudreau looked like a giant cherry in his red t-shirt and shorts.

JW said...

The Haywood hire:
1. Lacks any excitement whatsoever. His "resume" in terms of where he's been is impressive, but his accomplishments are uncertain. Just what was he responsible for at Notre Dame, why was he relieved of his play-calling, etc. He doesn't seem to bring any tangible assets in terms of offensive/defensive scheme, etc.
2. Could still work, for all we know. Pitt fans should have been resigned all along to understanding that there would not be a "splashy" hire, and from the pool of mid-major head coaching candidates, it's really a crap shoot. But based on a few of Pitt's biggest failings last season-- discipline and accountability, and even effort at times-- his approach may be what they need.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

Aw man, Boudreau is seriously even fatter than I thought. And the close up of him with Wing Sauce on his face was priceless. I also loved when Cookie and the Goaltenders moved the rooks' furniture out into the hallway and Lovejoy saying "We're gonna find out who did it and probably do nothing at all".

I liked the team plane portion as wel. I got a kick out of all the trash talking between 87, Flower, and Superstar. The card game w/Geno, Gods, Cooky, and Orpik looked pretty intense as well.

Cool Hand Nuke said...

I was simply impressed that they flew to Buffalo. High rollin!

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

24/7 is pure heaven (wow that rhymed).

Two best moments were Boudreau giving a closeup interview 100% unaware that he had sauce on his face, and Pascal Dupuis with the completely random and uncalled for "F--- you Geno."

The Haywood hire lacks any and all excitement. Who cares? So do most of the Steelers offseason moves. The only excitement I want is the excitement that comes with winning. Hopefully he gets it done.

The PG said no Troy on Sunday. We could be looking at a 3-0 game.

BURGH08 said...

* Although I think the afternoon drive on The Fan sucks hard, at least they were not buying into the 'flagship of the Panthers' role and giving their opinion.

* The fact that people are using the same terms as a Pirate free agent pickup with the Pitt hire('maybe it will work', 'have to wait and see') tells me all I need to know about it. When Pederson was boasting about beating Temple and winning the MAC, I immediately went to my man cave for a beer.

* I think if Polamalu doesn't play, the Jets will win by two scores. Dustin Keller will have a huge game and Ryan Clark will overcompensate for him being out, letting an Edwards/Holmes play or two behind him.

* The first scene of Brucey B in the 24/7 show with his hands down his pants was hysterical. Also like MAF calling Talbot a 'dooosh' in the plane.

jerrykid said...

I certainly agree that Sid needs to shoot the puck, but look, that shit call doesnt happen against NY, not only does Sid have a shot, he also has a goal, and maybe we win the game, and nobodys talkin. Im just saying there are other parallels, as well as some untimely mishaps that caused this mini losing streak other than just sid's goose eggs in the shot column.

Absolutely agree he shoots less and shouldn't play with Geno on a regular basis. Jordan Staal come back...

Anonymous said...

re: haywood hire. imo pitt's in real short term trouble. don't dislike the guy they got, but firing wanny hurts on the recruiting front. four or five of their good '11 commits have already jumped ship and this doesn't help with the top guys who are still considering. pitt administration to blame, they dragged their feet with two superior candidates (golden and holgerson) and ended up with a risky hire.