It's time for another buffet of links, going the usual 20 deep, in this week's Best of the Web. This edition is rather Penguin-centric, with news on last night's drama-fest at the CEC and the injury to Brooks Orpik, as well as trade rumors, a new job for a former Penguin executive, and high ratings for NBC's Pens-Hawks game on Sunday. We've also got Steeler free agent talk, an absurd article on Big Ben, a look at the upcoming Pitt-WVU hoops game, and Jason Kendall being Jason Kendall, among many other tidbits. Because everyone loves tidbits, right?
BROOKS ORPIK did not return for the second period against the Sharks after taking a shot off his hand on Wednesday night, and his status is unknown. The Pens also played without Paul Martin (upper body injury), who missed his second straight game. Whoever's working the Penguin voodoo dolls this season is doing a bang-up job. [ESPN]
ALEXEI KOVALEV and COREY STILLMAN are two names Rob Rossi is floating as possible deadline additions to the offensively-challenged Penguins. As Rossi points out, there probably won't be much competition to add a 38-year-old with 14 goals, which is how one could properly summarize Kovalev at this point in the game. [Chipped Ice]
KEN SAWYER served as CEO of the Penguins from 2006 until his retirement last fall, and now he's got a new gig: he was named Wednesday as a top adviser to new Sabres owner Terry Pegul. [BuffaloNews.com]
PENGUINS-BLACKHAWKS, the second game of "Hockey Day in America" on Sunday, was watched by 1.9 million viewers, making it the most-watched non-Winter Classic NHL regular-season game in five years. Just imagine the ratings if Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin would have been in the lineup. [Puck the Media]
BEAU BENNETT, the Penguins' most recent first-round draft pick, has notched 19 points in 27 games so far this season for the University of Denver. But could another team pry him away from Ray Shero at this year's trade deadline? [The Hockey Writers]
THE PENGUINS will host their third children's book collection on Saturday, March 12 for the benefit of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Fans are encouraged to bring new or gently used children's books to CONSOL Energy Center on Saturday afternoon, March 12 when the Penguins battle the Montreal Canadiens. The books will be distributed to Carnegie Library branches in the Pittsburgh area to foster summer reading programs. Monetary donations are also welcome and will be used by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to purchase new books. [PittsburghPenguins.com]
IKE TAYLOR is an unrestricted free agent, but with Lamarr Woodley locked in for 2011 via the franchise tag, he now becomes the Steelers' #1 offseason priority. But he was really #2 to begin with, and knowing how sensitive NFL players are, he's probably ticked on some level. You know what cures that, don't know? It rhymes with "cash". [Trib]
MIKE TOMLIN is refuting the reports that he interviewed former Titans defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil for the Steelers' vacant secondary coach job. "I know that was reported but I have not interviewed Chuck," Tomlin told the Trib this week. I must admit, I am disappointed. It's not often that a team of accused headhunters can add a retired headhunter as a coach. [PFT, Trib]
WILLIE COLON could be moving on from the Steel City this offseason, but could his ultimate destination be New England? I have a better idea: why don't the Pats use one of their 800 draft picks to draft a tackle? [CSNNE.com]
NNAMDI ASOMUGHA a Pittsburgh Steeler? Sure, why not? [Behind the Steel Curtain]
BLEACHER REPORT is always good for a ridiculous article here and there, and "Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger: Why He's The Opposite Of Clutch" would fit the bill on this occasion. A highlight:
"A great QB is able to put his team on his shoulders, make up for mistakes the team has made and lead the team to victory.
So far in his career, Ben has not done that."
BASEBALL AMERICA has published their list of the top 100 prospects in baseball, and the Bucos have all of three players on the list: pitcher Jameson Taillon (11th), catcher Tony Sanchez (46th), and pitcher Stetson Allie (79th). On the bright side, at least they don't have to worry about handing out a lot of big-money contracts down the road. [Baseball America]
JASON KENDALL butted into a radio interview recently being conducted with teammate Mike Moustakas, and to be kind, let's just say that he didn't come off as the nicest of guys. [Deadspin]
CHARLIE MORTON is inspiring many a comeback-in-progress article so far this year, and here is the latest one. Say what you want, the guy's got great stuff. [Trib]
CLINT HURDLE is one of 12 new MLB managers in 2011, joining such names as Don Mattingly and Kirk Gibson. So 12 of 30 teams changed managers in one offseason? Someone's bound to be disappointed by a lack of progress with their new skipper. And I'm guessing that someone will probably be the Pirates. [MLB.com]
THE PITTSBURGH PIRATES and Pirates Charities, the official philanthropic arm of the team, recently announced the launch of the Fields for Kids - Bradenton program. The grant program, just like its sister program in Pittsburgh, will provide matching grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 to nonprofit organizations, schools or local governing bodies to improve youth baseball and softball facilities throughout the Bradenton region. [PittsburghPirates.com]
JOHN RUSSELL is staying busy these days as third base coach of the Baltimore Orioles, meaning he will get to work with Matt Wieters on a regular basis after all. [Trib]
THE PITT PANTHERS host West Virginia on Thursday night at The Pete, and ESPN will be in the house for a national telecast. Pitt is 6-1 vs. West Virginia at The Pete and has won nine of the last 10 meetings vs. WVU in Pittsburgh. Here's to 10 out of 11. [PittsburghPanthers.com]
for more features.