PITTSBURGH - Mid-week news and commentary:
It was a thoroughly miserable weekend for Pittsburgh sports.
You start with the Pitt loss in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday. Not only did the Panthers fall short of expectations, they lost in the most mind-boggling, excruciating manner.
Letting the shot clock run out? The foul on a rebound when there is no reason to pursue the ball?
What was it that Charlie Brown used to say? Aaaaarrrrrgggghhhh!
It was a horrendous end to an excellent season, and it furthers Pitt's reputation as a team that disappoints in the tournament.
There seems to be some debate over whether blame should be assigned to coach Jamie Dixon or the players.
How about this: Blame them both.
Nobody comes out of that debacle looking good.
Then on Sunday, the Pittsburgh Penguins gave up four third-period goals and lost to the New York Rangers.
The game tipped when Matt Cooke inexplicably threw a flying elbow at the Rangers' Ryan Donaghy, earning a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
This indefensible act came in the same week that the Penguins were at the NHL general managers' meetings, trying to legislate against shots to the head.
The NHL acted swiftly, suspending Cooke for the 10 remaining regular season games and the first round of the playoffs.
That makes it a minimum of 14 games, with the possibility of 17.
The issue here isn't whether the penalty was correct. It was.
Instead, the question is whether Cooke has a future with the Penguins.
He has two years remaining on his contract, and he's a useful role player. But if he does something illegal again, he might be facing a 20-game suspension.
Cooke says he's committed to changing his ways. That's commendable, but the Penguins would be smart to move him this offseason.
But what kind of trade value does he have with the significant baggage he's accumulated?
The NFL labor stalemate continues.
But Pittsburgh Steelers season ticket holders are expected to make their payments, as usual.
The Steelers say refunds will be issued if games aren't played. In the meantime, they get to collect interest on the money they bank.
The fans always lose.
Steelers safety Ryan Clark called the NFL's offer "the worst deal in sports."
It's not even the worst in the last 20 years.
Take a look at the last NHL settlement, where the players not only agreed to a salary cap, they also gave back 25 percent on existing contracts.
The NFL will get a deal done eventually.
But we'll have to endure a lot of posturing and misinformation before it happens.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org