PITTSBURGH - Midweek news and commentary:
The NHL playoffs
I don't think Tampa Bay is a good match-up for the Penguins, and I'm going to pick the Lightning in the first round.
Tampa Bay's defense and goaltending are suspect, but the Penguins don't appear to have enough firepower to exploit those areas.
Scoring goals has been an issue ever since Sidney Crosby left the lineup in January. It's not just the goals that Crosby scores, it's the offense he creates for everyone when he's on the ice.
Just look at how Kris Letang's offensive numbers dropped after Crosby was knocked out. He had six goals and 30 assists (36 points) in the 41 games that Crosby played. Without Crosby, Letang had two goals and 12 assists (14 points) in 41 games.
In the first half of the season, Letang was talked about as a possible Norris Trophy winner. You don't hear that any more.
Pittsburgh's power play has been in a slump for so long there's no reason to suspect it's going to turn around.
There could be a surprise, of course. The Penguins could get unexpected scoring from someone.
That doesn't seem likely, given how long the offense has been dormant.
Add it all up, and the edge goes to Tampa Bay.
Faced with another lengthy suspension for using banned substances, Ramirez chose to retire from the Tampa Bay Rays.
Bad situation for them, obviously. Ten games into a new season, a guy they think will help their offense is suddenly done playing.
Then again, they should have known better than to count on him.
His "Just Manny being Manny" thing was cute when he was in Boston. But he was also a productive hitter and on the right side of the rules back then.
Now he's 38, hanging on and apparently unable to get things together enough to pass a basic drug test.
If the Rays didn't understand his situation going in, shame on them.
The San Diego Padres bowed to pressure and canceled a kids' dog tag giveaway.
The Padres were set to hand out a plastic version of military dog tags.
Apparently some people protested that the Padres were glamorizing war with the promotion, so the team canceled.
You can debate that issue endlessly.
Here's the real question, though: Is the prospect of getting a plastic set of dog tags an incentive to buy a ticket?
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org