PITTSBURGH -Midweek news and commentary:
n The Pittsburgh Steelers can't complete a final drive and lose to the New York Jets.
Matt Spaeth, you're no Heath Miller.
There's a reason stars make more money than other players. They're better. There's no guarantee Miller would have made that last drive successful, but you'd like the Steelers' chances better if he had been available.
You can't say "no worry" because that Jan. 2 game at Cleveland could be tricky, but the Steelers appear to be in reasonably good shape for the postseason.
At least they control their own fate. Win both games, and they're the No. 2 seed with a first-round bye.
That extra week off would make a huge difference.
n Evgeni Malkin kicks into high gear and has a five-point game for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
It's about time. Malkin was 45th in scoring heading into Monday night's game against Phoenix, and that's not what anyone expects from a player being paid the same salary as Sidney Crosby.
Malkin has been dogged by knee trouble, and it's probably been giving him more problems than anyone is willing to admit.
He was skating freely against the Coyotes, the perfect complement to Crosby.
As good as the Penguins have been for the last month, Malkin can make them even better.
n The Penguins and Washington Capitals give HBO a behind-the-scenes look.
So far the only thing anyone is talking about from the all-access reality series is Washington coach Bruce Boudreau's creative cursing.
He drops 15 big bombs in less than a minute during an address to the team. The sight of the portly Boudreau raging isn't inspiring.
As a guy connected to the Penguins put it, "How can you watch this guy with eight chins yell like that and not say, 'This guy is a donkey?' That's supposed to be your fearless leader?"
n It's Christmas. All good wishes for a great holiday, and here's hoping there are some special times to go along with the presents and food.
Since last Christmas, we've lost good people like Nellie King and Penguins public address announcer John Barbero. Others, like former Pirates manager Chuck Tanner, are currently experiencing tough times with their health.
I don't want to get all preachy, but long after this year's gifts are gone or rendered obsolete by changing technology, your memories will be of the people with whom you share this special season.
With that in mind, have yourself a merry little Christmas.
Mehno can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org