I’m not one to share my opinion, but since you asked…

  • Ray Shero is not sitting around twittling his thumbs as players drop like flies due to injury.  Shero is making  moves to strengthen his hockey team for the upcoming playoff run and that should make hockey fans happy.  Dealing defenseman Alex Goligoski to Dallas for forward James Neal and defenseman Matt Niskanen was his 1st move and a solid exchange.  With little depth besides the blue line, Shero used Gogo as the odd man out to acquire a young winger that will help put pucks in the back of the net.  Too bad he doesn’t have Sid the Kid to feed him at the moment, but being paired with Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy should do the trick for now.  If and when Crosby returns, the 1st two lines will pack plenty of scoring punch and give the Pens some much-needed depth.
  • Right off the heels of Monday’s deal, Shero then made a play for former Pen and current Ottawa Senator Alexei Kovalev.  The deal only costs the club a draft pick (reported to be a 7th round selection) and will give the 38-year-old a chance to play for a contending club again.  With just 14 goals this season, Kovalev adds veteran leadership to a team that is filled with roster call ups who will benefit from his experience. 
  • Pitt and WVU renew their basketball rivalry tonight at the Pete.  I don’t expect many points to be scored in this one, despite the Mounties having leading scorer Casey Mitchell back.  Of course the Panthers have Ashton Gibbs back in the lineup as well.  Pitt beat WVU 17 days ago without Gibbs.  They should do the same again tonight with him on the floor. 
  • After meeting for a week straight, the NFL and it’s players union have not made much progress towards a new deal and a lockout is all but a formality at this point.  I don’t expect it to stop the 2011 season from happening, nor do I think it will turn people off, unless there is no football next season.  That’s about the only scenario I can see to stop the love people have for the NFL.  Well that and taking away the betting lines. 
  • Ray Shero is not ‘mailing’ this season in, despite the loss of Evgeni Malkin and the unknown return of Sidney Crosby.  Once again, hockey fans in this town can be thankful to have an ownership group that is committed to winning 24-7.  I’m curious if anybody over on Mazeroski Way is watching and taking notes?  BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!
  • Speaking of the Pirates, players have reported to Bradenton for what I’m sure will be a thrilling 2011 season filled with offensive firepower, brilliant base running and a starting rotation that will be feared by many in the National League.  Of course, it could be the paint fumes from my home remodeling project that’s making me talk this way. 
  • As great a season the Pitt basketball team is having, don’t you have that sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach that the team will fall short of making the Final Four?  I’ve heard people complaining about the lack of respect Pitt basketball has received.  My question is, what have they done in the past to deserve any respect now?
  • After starting A-10 play 8-0, the Duquesne Dukes have fallen back to earth, losing four of their past five.  Now the talk of an NCAA tourney bid can come to an end.  Ron Everhart is a good guy, but his team is destined for the NIT, not the big dance. 
  • Was it just me, or did I miss the start of the NASCAR season? 
  • I’m not surprised that Cam Newton labeled himself an ‘icon’ the other day.  When you are told how great you are and have tremendous success at an early age, it’s easy to see how it can fill your head up with the wrong message and how you look at yourself.  Newton might benefit from speaking to a certain NFL QB who traveled that path, only to see it all come crashing down around him because his ego got the best of him. 
  • I have not spoken to him yet, but I like Clint Hurdle and applaud him for taking his young players to task.  There must be accountability and here’s to Hurdle holding that flame to their feet during spring training and the regular season. 
  • Joe Paterno is still Penn State’s football coach isn’t he?  As embarrassing as it is to see an 84-year-old man still grasping to a job he should have relinquished years ago, it’s going to take another sub par season to give the Administration in Happy Valley some wiggle room to not renew him after his contract is up.  That is going to be a circus I’d pay top dollar to have a front row seat to. 
  • The top four seeds for the NCAA tournament will be Duke, Ohio State, Texas and Pitt, provided the last two win their respected conference tournaments.  Pitt could be a #1 seed if they get to the semis and lose, mostly based on RPI and how they finish out in regular season Big East play. 
  • We still have about six weeks left before the Stanley Cup playoffs, but I feel the subject of Marc-Andry Fleury and his role in a deep playoff run will receive plenty of attention.  Since his early sub-par start, Fleury has played exceptionally well.  That type of play must continue if the Pens have any chance of hoisting the cup.  Add Sid’s unknown return to the lineup and the Flowers play is magnified X 10. 
  • Wake me when the Arena Football League season ends.  I’m bored with the Power already and they have not played one snap yet.  I’d rather watch the Passion play than indoor football and I think women playing pro football is laughable. 

John Phillips is the author of this article and a secret member of the Galactic Empire.  When he’s not chasing down Jedi across the Galaxy, he can be heard hosting weekend talk shows and anchoring sports updates on 93.7 The Fan.  You can also check out his blog at www.foodandgamestv.ning.com

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