Nothing official yet from the Steelers, but free agent safety Mike Mitchell, who spent a year with the Carolina Panthers, has been tweeting all night that he’s on board with the Steelers. He’ll be the team’s first free agent signing of 2014. Mitchell tweeted that he had landed in Pittsburgh safely and is looking forward to continuing his career with the Black & Gold. Then he added, “let’s get it started!”
There were some very scary moments in last night’s game between the Dallas Stars and the Columbus Blue Jackets. Rich Peverley of the Stars had what was described as a “cardiac event” and collapsed on the bench during the first period. Peverley was surrounded by medical personnel, and the game was eventually postponed. Peverley has a history of heart issues, and in fact, was treated this season for an irregular heartbeat. The NHL released a statement, saying that Peverley was doing well and in stable condition at the hospital. Peverley will undergo a series of tests related to his condition. Most amazing is what Stars Head Coach Lindy Ruff said that Peverley told him…that he wanted to go back in the game!
A new NFL year starts on Tuesday. So does 2014 free agency, and Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley will become the team’s latest cap casualty. The Steelers will designate Woodley as a post-June 1st cut. That will allow the Steelers to spread out his cap hit over the next two years. In 2011, Woodley signed a $61 million contract, the richest deal by a defensive player in Steelers history. He won’t see about half of that money. Injuries have kept him out of 14 games the past 3 seasons. That, and the emergence of Jason Worilds, made Woodley expendable. It’s necessary in the current landscape of the NFL, but consider this: in the last two free agency periods, the Steelers have lost two of their best pass rushers in recent memory.
I need to thank the NHL for directing the commissioner our way for an appearance on the “11 On The Ice” pregame show at Chiacgo’s Soldier Field. It was cold. It was windy. It was snowing. But Commissioner Gary Bettman stopped by to chat in the hour before faceoff of the Stadium Series game between the host Blackhawks and Penguins. I had no doubt he’d be there for the interview. Early in the morning of the game, we were busy on adjacent treadmills in the workout room at the media hotel. I told the Commish waited for him to finish his workout before ending my own, so that he could “set the standard.” I reminded him of that at the end of our interview. He said simply, “now you’re really putting pressure on me.”
It’ll be cold. It’ll be snowy, but Channel 11′s Chicago caravan is ready to roll! Clockwise: yours truly, Gordon Loesch, Scott Harbaugh & Courtney Brennan. Our live reports from the “Stadium Series” game between the Penguins & Blackhawks start Friday on WPXI.
A heartbreaking hockey loss in overtime for the USA women in the Gold Medal game against Canada. USA’s Alex Carpenter scored a power play goal in the opening moments of the 3rd period, and the U.S. had a commanding 2-0 lead. It stayed that way until the final four minutes. First, Canada cut the lead in half on a goal by Marie-Phillip Poulin (after they had pulled their goalie). Then in overtime, Poulin was the hero, scoring the gamewinner to clinch Canada’s fourth straight Gold Medal at the Olympics.
It’s Throwback Thursday, and this one goes way back. Way, way, way back! This picture shows the actual house/lot in German Square on Pittsburgh’s South Side Slopes where my great-great-grandfather, Andrew, lived in 1837! According to family lore, Andrew was quite accomplished as a bobsled/toboggan racer—how else do you think he made it down the hill? But he never competed in the Olympics. That’s because the ancient Olympics ended in the 4th century, and in 1837, the modern Olympics were still 59 years away!
Sometimes, the golden moments at the Olympics take the form of a heavy favorite getting tough when the pressure gets big. But sometimes, those moments involve a heavy underdog. That was the case with 24-year-old Kaitlyn Farrington, a snowboarder who grew up on a cattle farm in Idaho. Just being invited to the party was enough of a thrill. Winning the Gold Medal is absolutely remarkable. Farrington didn’t even qualify for the Olympics until three weeks ago. Frankly, she didn’t expect to win. With an incredible performance in the Women’s Halfpipe final, Farrington wins gold on her first Olympics. This had to only be possible in her wildest dreams. Well, the drem is alive. Farrington comes out of nowhere to gain Olympic stardom.
Sometimes, golden moments in the Olympics come disguised as bronze. Julia Mancuso is a 29-year-old skiing phenom from Squaw Valley. Shes been training with the U.S. Ski Team since she was 15. Mancuso’s reputation for clutch performances is now sealed. Mancuso won the bronze medal in the women’s Super-Combined. It’s her 4th medal in 10 olympic races and her 3rd straight olympics with at least one medal.
The Olympics gave us an opportunity to try something different on The Subway Final Word, the show that normally airs Sunday nights. With the Olympic coverage, we produced three Gold Medal Standard editions of the show, and we debated some great Pittsburgh sports topics. What represented a bigger moment, Bill Mazeroski’s 1960 World Series home run or The Immaculate Reception? What was the best team of the Steelers Super Bowl winners? What was the best Pittsburgh sports team not to win a championship? Who would you pick first in a pickup game (if you’re opponent got to pick the other), Sidney Crosby or Mario Lemieux? Best Pirates player, Bonds, Clemente or Wagner? To have so many choices and so many sports heroes is amazing. Not many cities could have this kind of sports debate, because not many cities are the City of Champions.