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Dejan Kovacevic chat transcript

| Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dejan Kovacevic: Welcome to one and all. Away we go ...

josh: whats the chances the pens get jagr?

Dejan Kovacevic: My feeling is that, if the Penguins want him, they'll get him. Our Rob Rossi reported this morning that it might be that Dan Bylsma wants Jaromir Jagr more than Ray Shero does, which would be problematic. But Mario Lemieux runs the place, and it sounds like he's on board.

I'll be up in Minnesota this weekend for the NHL draft, by the way, and it would be very surprising if all this didn't take on a much firmer form there.

Money for Nutting: If Jagr comes back and the Pens win the cup in 2012, is he statue-worthy• Whereas if he goes to Detriot, does #68 even get retired?

Dejan Kovacevic: I've written before that Jagr would be second in line for such an honor at the Penguins' arena, and a successful comeback sure wouldn't hurt that.

Michael: If a deal is consummated by the Jagr and the Pens, do you think 2.5 million will get it done• With salary cap limitations and other holes that need to be filled I'd say that much more than 2.5 million for Jagr would compromise their ability to retain other players. Not at I think TK should be a priority over Jags, but.....

Dejan Kovacevic: Yes, I do think that would get it done.

Marty: With Hanrahan doing so well right now, it looks like the return can be great for him. Do you think that we could get a top prospect, maybe a SS or RF for him?

Dejan Kovacevic: Yes, you could. But where does that stop• Hanrahan has two more years of arbitration eligibility, which means he's three years away from free agency. If I'm the Pirates, I listen to all offers, but I'm leaning toward keeping guys together at this point.

CHH: I may have missed the explantation given for this, but why wasn't John Russell the third base coach during the O's-Bucs series?

Dejan Kovacevic: Apparently, Buck Showalter wanted Russell near his side on the bench because of his knowledge of the Pirates' players.

Jeff: How many Pirates will be in Phoenix on July 12th?

Dejan Kovacevic: I predict one: Hanrahan. But Andrew McCutchen is coming on now, too.

Tumbo: Will the Pirates look to be buyers at the trade deadline if they continue to keep pace with the Cards, Reds and Brewers• If so, would they be looking for help at Catcher and Shortstop?

John: Why would the Bucs send down Harrison and not Ciriaco (who never plays)• And any word on what moves will be made when Presley and Lincoln come up next week (as Rob tweeted earlier)• Thanks!

Dejan Kovacevic: Lots of entries on that today. Biertempfel's breaking-news file explains far more than 140 characters allow:

Ed from Delaware: Did Sidney Crosby really have concussions in Juniors• His agent denied the timing mentioned by Mario Tremblay, but no denial of the head injuries was issued.

Dejan Kovacevic: Pat Brisson, Crosby's agent, was angry enough with everything Tremblay said that night that I'd take it as a blanket denial.

Derek66: TK would be my only concern and sign Jagr. The rest well, I think can be replaced by other 4'th line checkers.

Dejan Kovacevic: Tyler Kennedy is one of the Penguins' concerns in this equation, too. Kennedy apparently is asking for more than the team sees as his value. If they want to keep him, signing Jagr might be problematic.

Then again, it might not. I'm no capologist, but $7 million in wiggle room seems to me to be a healthy amount of wiggle room. Keep Mike Rupp and Pascal Dupuis, too.

JHadar: In your column the other day you suggested the Bucs get trading for some offense. With Maholm's option for next year, one might assume he's on the block... any idea who or what he might bring, and what other ways they might some offense?

Dejan Kovacevic: Trading Maholm could add offense right away, but all concerned strongly indicate there aren't really talks afoot at that level.

Another problem: The cavalry that was supposed to come behind Maholm from the minors hasn't exactly materialized. Brad Lincoln has done OK, but Rudy Owens has disappointed, and Bryan Morris was just sent to the bullpen. Ross Ohlendorf might return, sure, but he also might not. Consecutive identical injuries to the same shoulder ... that's a scary thing.

SterlingCooperDraperPryce: Gorkys Hernandez for Ryan Ludwick, who hangs up first Pittsburgh or San Diego?

Dejan Kovacevic: Me. I've never been a fan of that sort of thing. When there are real trades or even real trade proposals to discuss, I'll be really eager to talk about it.

SterlingCooperDraperPryce: Better band Dave Matthews Band or anybody else?

Dejan Kovacevic: OK, you got me there! Anybody else, by a landslide.

Kenn: I have the feeling that Ray Shero will remake the offense like he revamped the defense last year and very few current free agents will be signed. Thoughts?

Dejan Kovacevic: If very few free agents are signed, how will the offense be revamped?

And really, why would it need to be revamped?

All that was missing last season was two of the greatest offensive talents in franchise history. If those two come back and someone the caliber of Jagr is added, I'd stop my revamping right there.

Kyle: Dejan, you are very much missed over at PG+. In fact, your blog was my sole reasoning for subscribing to the site. I must say however that after years of reading all of your work, I am happy for you to have this new and exciting opportunity.

SterlingCooperDraperPryce: Best part of you coming to the Trib...IT'S FREE!

Dejan Kovacevic: Sorry for the delay. Briefly lost Web connection.

I'm just glad you're here.

PirateApologist: How many Pitt players will be called in the NBA draft?

Dejan Kovacevic: I like Brad Wanamaker's chances, but Gilbert Brown had very impressive workouts, which doesn't surprise me considering his athleticism. I'll just take Wanamaker the basketball player.

SuperMario66: Has Big Ben pretty much re-vamped his image after lasts years issues. Coverage from his youth camp would seem to indicate yes.

Dejan Kovacevic: Yes, it does seem that way. And it doesn't hurt that he's getting some help. I've noticed there's a BigBen7 Twitter account now that tweets all his good deeds and favorable articles. Nothing wrong with that.

We all make mistakes. It's always good to see those who legitimately learn from them.

Michael: Out of curiosity which sport do you prefer as a fan, Baseball or Hockey?

Dejan Kovacevic: When I watch baseball, it's the Pirates or nothing. Been like that my whole life. When I watch hockey, it can be anything at all. Could be because I spent so, so much time playing it.

Bryan: If Shero was willing to sign a 39 Bill Guerin for 2 mil, wouldn't you think signing a 39 Jagr for about the same wouldn't be that big of a deal?

Dejan Kovacevic: You would think.

Mike from Greensburg: Dejan, what do the Stillers really stand to gain from a Plax signing• It would seem to hurt the development of Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders.

Dejan Kovacevic: Agreed emphatically. We know that the Steelers liked what they saw of both of those kids, and we know it because they were throwing their way in the biggest games of all.

Stunting that makes even less sense than wasting money that could go to a cover corner.

Penn State Apologist: Do you think Joe Paterno will be coaching in the Pitt/PSU game in 2016?

Dejan Kovacevic: They tell you never to bet against streaks, right?

Cory: how do you think pittsburgh would react to jagr if he chooses detroit instead of pittsburhg

Dejan Kovacevic: Pretty much the same as he's been treated here for a decade.

If that happens, by the way, ask the person next to you at Consol if they have any idea why they're booing Jagr. And if they mention "dying alive," ask if they can provide any context for it 11 years later.

Heal Nutington: Biggest surprise player on the Bucs this year is ______. Fill in the blank.

Dejan Kovacevic: Charlie Morton stands out, but I'll go a bit off the path and point out that I'm not sure many of us envisioned Joel Hanrahan being this consistent as a closer right away.

Phil: What's the latest on Steve Pearce• I haven't heard much on his injury recently.

Dejan Kovacevic: Pearce told me his calf was getting better and that he might be able to run a little bit on it within a week. Doesn't sound like it will happen anytime soon. Similar to something that kept Jack Wilson out for an extended stretch a couple years ago.

Sammich: Which MLB player would you like to see playing for the Pirates, purely from a journalism point of view?

Dejan Kovacevic: Albert Pujols, from every imaginable point of view.

(Notice I resist the easy attempt at another Jose Bautista reference.)

PittsburghFan: Karstens leading the team in ERA?

Dejan Kovacevic: Never mind the team. The guy ranks seventh in the majors!

He's looking like the real deal, and I can't begin to fathom the Pirates still see him as anything but a starter, no matter who gets healthy or comes up.

SterlingCooperDraperPryce: I would stand and applaud Jaromir's return.

Dejan Kovacevic: You would not be alone. There are many diehard, longtime hockey fans who remember his time here fondly, and there also are those who recognize that there might not be a Pittsburgh Penguins today if not for what he did in 1999. Check my blog for an awesome video on that:

jbrindger: An NBA team in Pittsburgh• Chances?

Dejan Kovacevic: Zero. Always. Market's not big enough for four teams. Interest in basketball isn't high enough to warrant it.

Brownie: So far I am very high on Clint Hurdle. With all the time you have spent in the club house over the years covering the Bucs, whats your take and provide some comparisons if you can about the differences in the former managers compared to Hurdle?

Dejan Kovacevic: That's a detailed question for a live chat. Let me just say that I've never seen a manager as much in control of his clubhouse. I compared him earlier this year to Lloyd McClendon in that regard, but Hurdle has surpassed it.

Couple more today ...

SterlingCooperDraperPryce: If Mario wants Jagr, do the Red Wings or Habs stand a chance of landing him?

Dejan Kovacevic: You would think not. But maybe Mario needs to get his GM on board.

Sammich: Hurdle does not seem to get flummoxed as much as other managers....

Dejan Kovacevic: Ha! Only McClendon was ever "flummoxed!" The man used the word all the time.

Dave: New NHL schedule just released. Pens play in Winnipeg on Oct 17th. Got your tickets yet?

Dejan Kovacevic: Tickets• No, but I'll be lobbying passionately for a plane ticket and press pass!

Zach: DK, what do you make of J-Mac• Keep him starting• Bullpen• Minors?

Dejan Kovacevic: McDonald is fine for now. He gets away from his fastball at times because of that big curve, and that never works out well for anyone. No reason to give up on him starting right now.

Peter: Who do you envision as Sid and Geno's linemates for next season?

Dejan Kovacevic: Kunitz-Crosby-Neal

And just for kicks ...


Flick from Pittsburgh: Do you believe Shero is reluctant to sign Jagr because he got burned a little by Kovalev and Guerin (in his second year)?

Dejan Kovacevic: Well, in fairness to Shero, Lemieux also gave a vote of confidence for Alexei Kovalevl. Now, Lemieux was doing that primarily on Kovalev's character, so it was still up to Shero and his hockey men to identify shortcomings in his game.

But being burned by Guerin• Seriously• Guerin has a ring to show he burned no one.

OK, one more, for real ...

steve: WHat do you think the backlash for Shero would be if he didnt sign Jagr?

Dejan Kovacevic: Depends on what other moves he makes that compare to adding Jagr for $2 million. I'm guessing those won't be favorable comparisons.

Thanks to one and all. Time for coffee. I have a Steelers column running tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to your feedback on the blog, as always.

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