First Call: Fighter KO’s ref, Pitt a huge underdog, Fletcher to run Flyers? |
Breakfast With Benz

First Call: Fighter KO’s ref, Pitt a huge underdog, Fletcher to run Flyers?

Tim Benz
Bob Leverone/AP
Dabo Swinney (center) and his Clemson Tigers are headed to the ACC championship against Pitt in Charlotte, N.C.

In “First Call” Friday, the Panthers are a huge long shot against Clemson. A former Pittsburgh Penguins front-office member may be in charge of the Flyers. And Erik Karlsson’s epic “press conference.”

What the wise guys say

When the odds opened for the ACC title game, you may have thought, “Wow, that’s a lot of points.”

Clemson was initially a 24-point favorite over Pitt. According to the gambling public, that wasn’t enough. The line is now up to 27.5 according to Odds Shark.

Keep in mind, though, the Panthers upset the Tigers despite being 21-point underdogs at Clemson in 2016.

My bad!

Check out this footage of a Muay Thai fighter blasting his opponent — and the official.

Gou Dakui delivered the double-knock-out blow .

I don’t know about you, but the one thing that raced through my mind was, “Why did this have to happen to any official … aside from the jerks who missed the icing and tripping calls at the end of the Penguins-Avalanche game on Wednesday?”

That was quick

San Jose defenseman Erik Karlsson wanted no part of questions from the Toronto media about his much ballyhooed, impending return to Ottawa.

How about that! A no-question, media-scrum walk out. He was the human version of the Grandpa Simpson meme on Twitter.

The Sharks play the Senators in Ottawa on Saturday. Karlsson won two Norris trophies during eight seasons there.

‘Sup, Chuck?

I always liked Chuck Fletcher when he was here in Pittsburgh.

That doesn’t mean I have to like this.

Wait. Does that comment make me seem like Baker Mayfield?

Fletcher — a former assistant general manager with the Penguins — is apparently poised to take the vacant Flyers GM job.

If the rumors are true, he’d be replacing the deposed boss of the Orange and Black, Ron Hextall. Fletcher was most recently a GM with the Minnesota Wild.

Good for Chuck. And by “good for Chuck,” what I really mean is, “Chuck is dead to us.”

Unless, of course, Fletcher’s first move as general manager is to fire “Gritty,” the mascot. Then I’ll know his heart is still in the right place.

Stupid orange blob.


When Robert Morris plays hockey against Sacred Heart this weekend, it’ll do so without some key players.

Suspensions from extracurricular, excessive physicality last weekend in a series against Mercyhurst will carry over to this weekend’s games for the Colonials. The details of the discipline are explained here .

The bottom line is that Colonials points leader Alex Tonge will be out Friday against the Pioneers. Fellow forward Nick Prkusic will miss both games. And defenseman Geoff Lawson is being benched as well, after getting a misconduct penalty last weekend.

Mercyhurst players Taylor Best, Joseph Duszak, and Michael Bevilacqua also received suspensions.

RMU won both games against Mercyhurst, so the Colonials will be carrying a two-game winning streak into the weekend series at Sacred Heart, which hasn’t won since Nov. 9 against Army. The Colonials are 5-6-1, while SHU is 2-7-2.

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

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