Myron Cope: The voice of Giant Eagle? Plus – granola bar wrapper tales

**

Rarely do I ever make it through the Giant Eagle self check-out line in Bethel Park unscathed. Thursday night was no different. Zipping my Giant Eagle savings card through the scanner, the computer tells me it’s not recognizable. After several additional swipes, my card is finally accepted.

Speaking with the floating register clerk, I mention to her that I wish I could choose the computer voice that tells me my Diet Dr. Pepper is “one dollar and thirty-three cents.” Every time a product is scanned an automated voice announces the product’s price.

The first person that comes to mind is Myron Cope. I’d much prefer listening to the dulcet tones of Mr. Cope than a random, generic voice. Hum-Hah!

I made this suggestion to the clerk.

After using my best “this is Myron Cope on sports” impression on the Giant Eagle employee, who pacified me by laughing just a teeny, tiny bit, I completed my transaction without further ado. “Okel Dokel!”

Then, out of nowhere, I heard a “yoi!” and turned my cranium in the direction of the self check-out register behind me. What in the name of the Terrible Towel was going on?

Mr. Cope passed away in 2008 – God rest his soul – so I knew it couldn’t be him.

I looked back and the clerk was helping a woman who said “yoi!” Immediately, I said ‘I told you so’ to the clerk. I wasn’t the only one who yearned for Cope’s Cabana.

She laughed.

I heard the clerk say to the woman in her 30s or 40s that Myron Cope used to say “yoi!”

In reply, the woman said that was “my Czechoslovakian grandfather.”

A small world, no doubt, and one that the greatest broadcaster in Pittsburgh sports history surely would have approved!

Giant Eagle, hear my plea. Use Mr. Cope’s voice as your register voice and I will pay whatever you want.

That would make things Cope-a-stetic.

**

Prior to jaunt to Giant Eagle, I made an infrequent trip to LA Fitness. I remember when it opened up in the 1980s as “Scandinavian Health Spa.”

Most recently, it was Bally’s Fitness before LA Fitness bailed them out.

Not surprisingly, the machines are mostly outdated. The treadmills, in particular, function poorly. They don’t keep heart rates, the treads slip, and some machines rattle the faster you go.

Nevertheless, I’ve been going there for so long that my car instinctively steers its way to the parking lot.

Thursday was the first time I’d gone to LA Fitness in about a month. I had a certain locker over the winter months, No. 159, that I liked using.

Typically, nobody uses this locker. Why? I’m guessing because a crunchy granola bar wrapper littered the locker floor.

The granola wrapper had been there since October or November and its presence seemingly assures me of No. 159’s availability.

But would it still be there? Lots of businesses do spring cleaning. Heck, I even do my marginal part in my house.

I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high.

When I walked through LA Fitness’s front doors, I saw that employee desks had been repositioned next to the entrance.

My heart sank. I figured that the company finally re-dedicated the gym after purchasing it a couple years ago.

I walked down the six steps toward the locker room. There were two employees by the pool off to the right. That was strange, usually there’s only one. Had the company upped its attention to detail?

Were they no longer just caretakers of a business many members bought lifetime memberships to decades ago?

So I passed another employee walking around the tight bend into the locker room. He had a bucket and was “redding up.”

Was the granola wrapper still there?

That’s all I could think of.

I made my way down the second row. Locker No. 159 is on the bottom. It was half open, but the open side was facing away from me.

I opened it further.

There were no gym member clothes in it, but more importantly, upon closer inspection the crunchy granola bar wrapper was still there!

Ah, success!

I am a creature of routine.

**

Treasure Life!
JT
@JohnToperzer
@PiratesTalk

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The Impact Of Hybrid Icing: Faceoffs And Crosby And Wins, Oh My

Much has been made of the institution of hybrid icing into NHL hockey.

It’s thought that the flow of the game is suffering, with faceoffs on the rise. Pittsburgh is a team which benefits heavily from flow. Even on a 5-on-3 power play Friday night, the Pens’ best chance might have come when Sidney Crosby hit an on-rushing Brandon Sutter right in front of the crease.

If, in face, faceoffs become an even more important aspect of hockey, how does that impact Pittsburgh, and in particular, Sidney Crosby?

Through a small four-game sample size, the Penguins have the second-highest faceoff win rate (59.3 percent) behind Minnesota (60.6). Of course, playing three times at Consol Energy Center hasn’t hurt those numbers. Friday night in Florida, Pittsburgh won 37 of 58 draws, good for a 64 percent win rate.

If anything, the Pens have benefited from hybrid icing — at least in the circle. That said, the domination is likely unsustainable.

The Boston Bruins led the NHL in 2012-13 with a 56.4 faceoff win rate, and that was significantly better than second place San Jose (53.4). The Penguins won 51.5 percent of draws, good for seventh in the league.

Breaking down the numbers from a team basis to a player-by-play basis, it’s apparent the Pens rely on Crosby in a big way.

The captain has won 58.6 percent of draws, compiling a 61-43 mark thus far. Moreover, Crosby’s taken 104 of the team’s total of 258 faceoffs (40.3 percent).

In 2013-14, the center is averaging 26 draws per game. Here are his numbers from the last four campaigns.

2013-14: 26.00 faceoffs/game, 58.6 percent win rate, 4 games played

2012-13: 23.16 faceoffs/game, 54.3 percent win rate, 36 games played

2011-12: 20.59 faceoffs/game, 50.1 percent win rate, 22 games played

2010-11: 23.93 faceoffs/game, 55.7 percent win rate, 41 games played

Several questions arise, centered mostly around Crosby.

First, will the increased number of faceoffs impact the rest of his game in any way? So far he’s taking about three additional draws every game. He took 41 faceoffs against Buffalo on Tuesday. Forty-one!

Second, what happens if and when Crosby suffers some sort of injury, be it major or minor? If that happens, the team will have more to worry about than just faceoffs. Still, when one player accounts for more than 40 percent of all faceoffs, then there’d be a gaping hole left in his absence.

Finally, how does hybrid icing play into the faceoff factor? As it stands, there will be more drops in the dot and less action. Folks might be hard-pressed to find anyone outside of the 2003 Stanley Cup-winning New Jersey Devils in favor of slowing the game down.

Sidney Crosby has come a long ways since averaging 45.5 percent in the circle as a rookie and 48 percent his first two seasons. Good thing, because it looks like the drops in the dot are becoming more important than ever.

Treasure Life!
JT @JohnToperzer

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