It doesn’t sound promising for NHL players participating at the Olympics. Commissioner Gary Bettman, speaking to Reuters at a sports/business conference in NYC, said “There are no negotiations ongoing. We were open to having discussions on a variety of things that might mitigate the damage to our season but that had no resonance. As things stand now people should assume we are not going.”

The search is over at Pitt. Today, university Chancellor Pat Gallagher introduced Heather Lyke as the school’s new athletic director. Lyke spent 15 years at Ohio State. She was OSU’s Senior Associate Athletic Director before leaving for Eastern Michigan, where she was the VP and Director of Athletics. Lyke says she wants to give coaches the resources to be successful, create an environment of comprehensive excellence, and serve the student athletes, “we’re going to surround them with the absolute best coaches and teachers we can. We’ll be committed to them to having an opportunity to earn a meaningful degree, or degrees at Pitt, and we’ll want them to win championships and we’ll develop them into leaders who become proud alumni of the university.”

As the Penguins continue to rack up points, they’re also seeing the injuries pile up. The latest player to get hurt is defenseman Mark Streit, who suffered a lower-body injury near the end of the first period last night after blocking a shot. Streit made a trip to the hospital as a precaution. It’s the latest obstacle for the Pens, but Sidney Crosby knows this team has thrived with the “next-man-up” mentality, “it’s not easy, but we’ve done this all year, we’ve had to plug guys in. They’ve come in and done a great job, so hopefully he’s okay, but that’s gonna happen sometimes, and then you’re gonna deal with injuries and just approach it the same way we have all year long.”

Injuries are still a problem for the Penguins. The latest is Carl Hagelin, who’s out for about a month with a lower-body injury. The next-man up strategy is front and center.
Josh Archibald is up from Wilkes-Barre. In his last call-up, Archibald scored two goals against Arizona, “be looking obviously to chip in offensively, obviously that first game was something special, you know just do whatever I can to help the team win.”

The NHL trade deadline is next Wednesday, and there are with lots of questions about Marc-Andre Fleury’s future. In an interview for Channel 11’s pregame show for the Saturday night Stadium Series game, Pens General Manager Jim Rutherford made some very interesting observations about Fleury and the situation, “my preference is he stays here. I don’t know what the circumstances will be between now and the deadline, and as we speak, I frankly don’t know how he feels. I am going to meet with him in the next day or two, and get a sense of where he’s at, and try to weigh what he wants and what is best for the team. I haven’t shopped mark like I would a player I want to move on from. I’ve certainly listened to other teams that have poked around a little bit. No one has made an offer on Marc.”

The Penguins are on the road at Carolina tomorrow night, and this might be a good time to pace themselves. From a scheduling standpoint, this is a challenging time of the year for the Pens. They had a stretch of three games in four days, and for 4 days out of six. Plain and simple, they looked a bit flat on Sunday in a loss to the Red Wings, the second-worst team in the Eastern Conference. Head coach Mike Sullivan is pressing on, “we have to find ways to have success through the process so…I don’t look to those excuses. I don’t think any of us look to those excuses. We’re looking for solutions out there…we’ve gotta find ways to be successful through these types of challenges in our schedule.”

Two Pittsburgh sports superstars are now 90 years old—combined. Last Wednesday, Jaromir Jagr turned 45. One day later, Jerome Bettis did the same. Bettis has been retired for 11 years. Jagr is going strong, and just recorded his 1900th point!

Last season, starting pitching was struggle for the Pirates. This year, there’s some stability in the rotation. Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Ivan Nova and Chad Kuhl look to have spots locked down, and according to manager Clint Hurdle, the experience and adversity they had last season will serve them well this season, “these guys, it’s gonna be a first full season in the major leagues, possibly for Kuhl, possibly for Jameson. Cole’s healthy so all of them have different agendas walking into the season, however collectively together, I do think they draw a lot of energy off of one another.”

“We have been staying in close contact with Jung Ho, his representatives and his counsel throughout the process.  All have been extremely forthcoming and diligent in their efforts to resolve matters in Korea so that Jung Ho can return in time to participate in the Club’s preparation for the 2017 season.

Based on our current information, Jung Ho will not be in a position to report to camp by the 17th.  According to our communications with his representatives, it is probable that he will have a trial in Korea on the DUI-related charges on February 22.  It is not known how long the trial will last or when any sentencing phase that might be necessary would be scheduled.  

We will continue to do whatever we can to assist he and his representatives in their efforts to resolve all necessary matters so that Jung Ho will be able to travel to the United States to prepare for and to play in the 2017 season, but his reporting date remains undetermined.

We will provide additional information when we receive further clarity on Jung Ho’s ability to report to the Club.”

Frank Coonelly
Pirates President

It’s time! Pitchers and catchers report to Bradenton today for spring training. Of course the talk of training camp is the change in the outfield with Andrew McCutchen moving to right field. Team president Frank Coonelly talked about the change, and how McCutchen is handling it, “we talked to Andrew. We talked to all of the outfielders, and said we believe this is the best alignment for our organization, and Andrew bought in immediately, and he said he wants to do what’s best for the organization. A real selfless act by a superstar player. It’s refreshing, but it’s nothing new with Andrew McCutchen. He’s been a class act his entire career.”