First call: Big Ben’s big bash, NHL officials under fire again, Shaq’s awful attire | TribLIVE.com
Breakfast With Benz

First call: Big Ben’s big bash, NHL officials under fire again, Shaq’s awful attire

Tim Benz
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AP
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster warm up before a preseason game last year.

In “First Call” Thursday, Ben Roethlisberger does some image repair. Kasper Björkqvist already has PPG Paints Arena experience. Shaq’s wardrobe needs help. So do NHL officials.


Bad leader Ben?

Remember when Antonio Brown trashed Ben Roethlisberger as a leader, in part, because “he has an owner’s mentality” and never invited him to his house?

Well, it appears Big Ben is trying to change that bad rep.

Based on JuJu Smith-Schuster’s Instagram posts, the Steelers quarterback brought a bunch of his skill-position guys down to his offseason place in Georgia for R-&-R before organized team activities start next week.

I assume A.B. didn’t get an invite.


Been here, done that

When Penguins draft choice Kasper Björkqvist eventually scores at PPG Paints Arena, it won’t be his first goal in the building.

The Providence winger signed a two-year, entry-level contract Wednesday. But he’s played in Pittsburgh before.

Bjorokqvist netted this goal against Robert Morris during the Three Rivers Classic back in 2017.

Björkqvist, a second-round pick in the 2016 draft, had 17 goals and 30 points in 42 games as a junior this season for Providence, helping the team advance to the NCAA Frozen Four.


The trend continues

What in the name of Patrick Lalime is going on around here?

When it comes to Penguins-turned-St. Louis Blues, there’s something in the water in Missouri. Because the former flightless birds have taken wing in the Western Conference finals series against San Jose.

In Game 2, both Robert Bortuzzo and Oskar Sundqvist scored for St. Louis. The Blues won 4-2.

Last night’s Game 3 saw David Perron continue the trend. In fact, Perron had two goals.

But San Jose won the game 5-4 in overtime courtesy of four officials missing this blatant hand pass from Timo Meier to Gustav Nyquist.

Still want replay diminished? That one couldn’t even be reviewed under the rules as they are currently written.

The Sharks now lead the series 2-1. The teams play Game 4 Friday night in St. Louis.


Shaq attack

Do a Twitter search of “Shaquille O’Neal, grandmother’s couch” and see what comes up.

Let me ruin the surprise for you. It’s the jacket he wore Wednesday night on TNT.

That was the frequent social media description of the big man’s bold fashion statement during the broadcast of the Eastern Conference Finals between Milwaukee and Toronto.

O’Neal says he chose the outfit as an homage to fellow host Ernie Johnson.

Yeesh! What would he have worn if he didn’t like Ernie?

Hmmm. I wonder if I could pull off that look on the “Nightly Sports Call.”

Refusing to be distracted by Shaq’s wardrobe, the Bucks beat the Raptors, 108-100, in Game 1.


Not to hold a grudge, but …

Here was a fun baseball TV moment.

Former Braves star Chipper Jones was sitting in on an ESPN broadcast with Jon Sciambi and David Ross. The conversation turned to a moment from Jones’ playing days when Sciambi was calling a game between Atlanta and the Cardinals.

I’ll let Jones and Sciambi take it from there.

Well, they say a good hitter never forgets, right?

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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