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Best of the Web: The Top 20 Links of the Week

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It’s a busy week in Pittsburgh sports, with the Pens, Panthers, and Pirates in full swing, and the Steelers making some moves while football’s still in business. That means I’ve got ample material to choose from for this week’s edition of Best of the Web, which also covers the Hines Ward Dancing With the Stars story, a familiar face interviewing with the Steelers, the arrival of the Pittsburgh Power season, Pittsburgh’s world-class rudeness, and much, much more.

MAPLE LEAFS 3, PENGUINS 2 was the final in OT last night in Toronto, the Pens’ fifth overtime game in their last seven. Mikhail Grabovski scored the game-winner 42 seconds into the extra period, beating Marc-Andre Fleury in the process. Matt Niskanen scored his first goal as a Penguin and Chris Conner added his seventh of the season, but that wasn’t enough to prevent Pittsburgh’s fifth loss in their past six games. The team is off until a Friday contest at New Jersey, winners of 10 of their last 11. I’d say “going in different directions” would sum up this one. [ESPN]

PITT knocked off South Florida, 66-50, after trailing 27-24 at halftime and surging to a 14-2 run in the second half. Nasir Robinson led the Panthers with 18 points and 11 rebounds, Ashton Gibbs added 16 points, and Gilbert Brown had 10, while Brad Wanamaker became the second player in school history to score 1,000 points, grab 500 rebounds and dish out 400 assists. Pitt (26-4, 14-3) can lock up their first Big East regular season title in seven years with a win over Villanova on Saturday, then we can all look forward to the eventual heartbreak in March. [PG]

SIDNEY CROSBY is still not symptom free after a concussion suffered on January 5, and there remains no timetable for his return, according to Dan Bylsma. Unfortunately, it’s looking like we may have to declare an Operation Shutdown soon. [ESPN]

PIERRE LeBRUN and SCOTT BURNSIDE both gave the Pens “thumbs up” for their deadline deals, but if the aforementioned #87 isn’t back in the fold, the trades might not make much difference. [ESPN]

PITCHER SCOTT OLSEN had quite the reputation before signing with the Pirates this off-season, and with some recent comments made to Colin Dunlap, he sounds very much like he could be Derek Bell 2.0. [PG]

IKE TAYLOR is a free agent, and his value just got a boost with Oakland’s recent signing of CB Stanford Routt $31.5 million over three years. Routt had all of two interceptions last season, but then again, no one ever accused Al Davis of proper football budgeting. [ESPN AFC North Blog]

BRUCE ARIANS signed a one-year deal with the Steelers, keeping him in the fold for 2011 (if there is a season). The offensive coordinator joined the team in 2007 and has overseen an offense that’s gone to the Super Bowl twice in that span. Of course, half the Steeler fans still think he’s terrible, so this probably won’t be universally praised as a great move to keep stability in the organization.  [Trib]

JAMES HARRISON recently had a second surgery on his back, which he announced via Facebook. He’s now looking at six weeks of recovery time, as opposed to the original five. Thankfully, it doesn’t look like he’ll be missing any football anyway. [National Football Post]

CAMERON HEYWARD, Ohio State defensive end and son of late Pitt legend Ironhead Heyward, could very well be the first-round pick of the Steelers, according to the Trib’s Scott Brown. This year’s class of defensive ends has been touted as the best ever by the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, and could feature nine players taken in the first round. [Trib]

FLOZELL “THE HOTEL” ADAMS is a candidate to get released, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Adams was a nice surprise in 2010, but his age and$5 million price tag may keep him off the roster in 2011. You know what that would mean: no more Michigan State throwback jerseys worn to future Super Bowls. [Steelers Lounge]

CARNELL LAKE interviewed for the Steelers’ vacant secondary coach’s position, the one significant opening on Mike Tomlin’s staff. The four-time Pro Bowler could possibly replace Ray Horton, who left to take a gig as the Defensive Coordinator for Steeler-poaching coach Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona. In the Cardinals’ defense, if you can lock up your third choice for a Defensive Coordinator, you do it.[Trib]

HINES WARD will be participating on Dancing With the Stars, as everyone knows. But could it possibly be a bad idea for the veteran wideout? James Walker answers that very question. [ESPN AFC North Blog]

ANTWAAN RANDLE-EL just completed a Q&A with the Steelers’ website, and I can now say that I know he drives an Escalade, likes to eat crackers and dip, and is a “Tickle Monster”. [Steelers.com]

THE 2011 PITT FOOTBALL schedule was recently broken down by Brian Bennett, who notes that the Panthers will only get on a plane thrice this season. You’ve gotta save some money in the budget after splurging on a coach, you know.  [ESPN Big East Blog]

PITT and DUKE could face off in a Madison Square Garden rematch in the future, according to Ray Fittipaldo of the PG. The college hoops powers met there in 2007 and the game was decided on a Levance Fields three-pointer late in overtime, which provided a classic clip for the Pittsburgh sports archives. [Pitt Script]

THE PITTSBURGH POWER kick off their 2011 campaign on March 11 at home against the Philadelphia Soul, and recently announced their broadcast plans for the upcoming season. Bob Pompeani and an analyst to be named later will handle the TV broadcasts on the CW, while Troy Clardy and Darnell Dinkins will cover the radio end for 93.7 The Fan. [PG]

ROSS OHLENDORF struck out four in his 1 2/3 innings and yielded one unearned run, but the Minnesota Twins downed the Pirates, 4-2, in Grapefruit League action on Wednesday. Jose Tabata had three singles for Pittsburgh, which now sports a 3-3 record after six games. See how exciting .500 can be? [MLB.com]

ANDREW McCUTCHEN is “sick of losing,” and he’s only been in Pittsburgh for two seasons. If he thinks that’s bad, he should have a conversation with Jack Wilson sometime. [TimesOnline.com]

THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH was recently named as the third-rudest in the world, according to an incredibly complex set of numbers compiled by Foursquare. At least we have something to aspire to for 2012. [Foursquare.com]

Don Spagnolo is the founder of the Pittsburgh sports and entertainment blog Mondesi’s House.


Send your links via email at Don.Spagnolo@cbsradio.com or on Twitter @mondesishouse
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