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First Call: Hats off to Phil Kessel, JuJu’s baby, RMU hockey starts up |
Breakfast With Benz

First Call: Hats off to Phil Kessel, JuJu’s baby, RMU hockey starts up

Tim Benz
| Friday, October 12, 2018 7:54 a.m
Keith Srakocic/AP
Phil Kessel scored a hat trick against the Vegas Golden Knights Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Pittsburgh. The Penguins won 4-2.

In Friday’s First Call, watch Phil Kessel’s hat trick. A New York Ranger scores a “how’d he do that” kinda goal. Robert Morris hockey is starting up. And what did JuJu Smith-Schuster do with his “football baby?”

Phil ‘The Thrill’

Want to look back at Phil Kessel’s hat trick? Here you go.

He was the biggest star on the night as the Penguins beat the Golden Knights 4-2 Thursday. When we have bantered about Kessel “bouncing back” from the 2018 playoffs to start this season, this is what we were talking about.

If healthy and engaged, Kessel always has been and still is a great player. But his goalless stretch in the conference semifinals hindered the team’s ability to keep up with Washington.

No one is saying that was the only reason the Penguins lost that series. But it was a reason.

Watching Kessel finish chances and rip pucks into the net is highly encouraging. Vegas’ defense has been horrible so far. But when Kessel’s touch is right, it doesn’t matter who is on the other side of the ice.

It was just good see the Pens score on a few breakaways in the same way the Capitals were scoring against them in the postseason a year ago.

Whatever happened to JuJu’s baby?

Remember when JuJu Smith-Schuster delivered the football baby in the end zone Sunday against the Falcons?

Whatever happened to it? Did he keep it? Did he give it up for adoption? Did he turn it loose on the North Side to fend for itself?

These answers and more can be found here.

Beauty, eh?

The Rangers didn’t have a ton of highlights last year. They sure got one early this year.

Check out this between the legs goal from Brett Howden.

Howden is a former first-round pick. With hands and instinct like that, you can see why. That goal tied the game 1-1. The Rangers went on to win 3-2 in overtime. It was their first win of the year.

Warriors vs. the world

The Penguins couldn’t come through with a three-peat last year. The Warriors are looking for one this year in the NBA.

It was announced Thursday that Golden State coach Coach Steve Kerr is going to be an assistant under Gregg Popovich on Team USA. One has to wonder if his entire starting five will be on the roster .

It appears Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant all may make the club.

This summer’s Basketball World Cup in China and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are looming for Team USA.

RMU hockey debut

The Robert Morris University men’s hockey team starts its 2018-19 season this weekend. The Colonials host their half of a home-and-home against No. 20 Bowling Green, starting with a Friday night showdown at the RMU Island Sports Center on ESPN 970. They visit the Falcons in the return game Sunday evening.

The Colonials made their third-consecutive trip to the Atlantic Hockey title game last spring and have made the AHA semis for five straight seasons, one shy of the conference record.

This will be a young version of the Colonials. Head coach Derek Schooley welcomes 11 freshmen to the program. That’s the second-most in program history. He’ll lean on Shaler’s Luke Lynch and junior wing Alex Tonge for scoring punch. Goalie Francis Marotte is on the Richter watch list.

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

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review sports columnist. You can contact Tim via Twitter .

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