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Kovacevic: Four-goal game? Eh, it can wait

| Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 11:38 p.m.

Brief and to the Point ...

For all the big stuff that people will bark at the NHL for botching, the little stuff adds up, too.

At 3:10 p.m. Sunday, when the horn sounded on the Penguins' 6-3 romp at Washington, the official score sheet credited Chris Kunitz with a hat trick, even though it had been obvious via replay that he'd deflected another puck into the net, as well.

At 12:01 p.m. Monday , via email, the Penguins relayed word from the league that Kunitz had been credited with that fourth goal.

Um, yay?

This is a league that needs every sub-particle of positive exposure it can get, and yet it allowed a four-goal game - a truly noteworthy achievement, the first for the Penguins since Jaromir Jagr 13 years ago - to fester for 20 hours and 51 minutes before getting it out. That meant the NBC national broadcast missed out on extra drama - only 44 players in NHL history have scored five in a game - as did all the nightly highlight shows, morning papers, rush-hour radio, everyone.

Remember this the next time anyone complains about the national media ignoring hockey Or focusing only on fights and cheap shots.

The NHL replied to my request for comment by explaining that, once the Verizon Center's stats crew failed to make the change for Kunitz - it should have happened there - the league generally feels that such matters are a same-day priority only for an extraordinary event such as a scoring title in the balance.

Which is to say, really, that the league's biggest event that day wasn't important enough to have a couple guys sit down and glance at a 10-second video clip.

Maybe they were busy cleaning out the garage.

• You'll never guess who else doesn't care much, only for all the right reasons.

"It probably takes something away from it, waiting till the next day," Kunitz conceded Thursday, "but ... whatever, that's just the way it goes. We're really happy we got the win."

• Just-for-fun: What does the number 668 mean to hockey?

Take a close look, don't overthink it, and the answer will come at the end.

• No matter how much cash Joe Flacco ends up culling from his Super Bowl MVP - his agent, Joe Linta, will seek around $20 million annually - he'll chew up a big chunk of the Ravens' future payrolls.

But don't kid yourself. The foundation of Ozzie Newsome's roster forever has been the draft, which netted 29 of his 53 players, and that won't change. His active first-rounders: Flacco, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata and Michael Oher. Second-rounders: Ray Rice, Torrey Smith and Paul Kruger. Third-rounders: Marshal Yanda and Bernard Pierce.

Not many misses in there.

Kind of how their hated rivals used to do it.

• Ahmad Bradshaw or Reggie Bush out of free agency, anyone?

If they can still turn a corner, I'm listening if I'm the Steelers.

• Tony Sanchez, the Pirates' slow-climbing, first-round catcher from 2009, touched base this week to share that he's packed on 10 pounds of muscle and dramatically cut body fat.

So, I countered, does this mean he'll get back to driving the ball as he did early in his minor league career and stick it to all of us skeptics?

"If killing myself in the offseason correlates to good numbers during the year," Sanchez shot back, "then you can count on that!"

He'll, of course, be among those reporting to Bradenton in three days, then return to Triple-A Indianapolis.

• Admit it, Pitt fans: You cringe a bit every time Steven Adams goes up for a monster dunk, like the one the other night against Seton Hall. You think his next reflex will be to rush out of the gym and sign NBA draft papers.

Well, forget it. Based on a long talk we had the other night, the kid's having a genuine blast on the court and campus, where he's known to have embraced the academic experience.

Going anywhere?

"No, man," Adams replied. "To be honest, I just want to win. Who cares about anything individually? What'll happen in the future will happen in the future. I'm just trying to help this team win a championship, make history ..."

He grinned.

"That'd be better."

• Adams might stay, but how much longer will Pitt stick by Agnus Berenato now that her women's team has lost 29 - yeah, 29 - Big East games in a row?

A couple were heartbreakers, to be fair, notably the 85-83 double-OT loss to Providence on Wednesday. But the fact remains Berenato hasn't won since 2008-09, the Panthers' final season with Shavonte Zellous - now with WNBA champion Indiana - and the university isn't paying Berenato to coach the second-best program in the city .

No. 1 is Suzie McConnell-Serio's Duquesne team, again challenging for the Atlantic 10 title at 18-4, 10-1.

• Just-for-fun answer: Jagr's dazzling OT goal Wednesday in Edmonton was the sweetly symmetric 668th of his career, tying Luc Robitaille for 10th all-time.

Next rung for No. 68 is a special one, just 22 goals away: Mario Lemieux ranks ninth with 690.

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