Courtesy of PNC

Hot Button: Nailer in the NHL … Brady on Netflix … Zion goes down

If you're new, Hot Button is a round-the-clock feature that covers anything and everything across the scope of sports, albeit with a constant tilt toward what might most interest Pittsburgh sports fans.

All it needs is you.

Let's hear from you down in the comments, including your own contributions to this stream. We'll be right there with you.

PITT SURVIVES SYRACUSE

Saturday, 12:30 a.m.: Kenny Pickett threw for 232 yards and two touchdowns as Pitt outlasted a comeback from ACC foe Syracuse to win 27-20 Friday night. It was A.J. Davis who led the way in the backfield with 16 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown. The Panthers moved to 5-2 with the victory and currently sit second in the ACC Coastal Division standings. Pitt will host Miami for a noon kickoff next Saturday. - Prugar

NAILER IN THE NHL

Friday, 11:30 p.m.: Kyle Flemington, who played for the Nailers in the 2016-17 season, made his NHL officiating debut tonight in Chicago.

[caption id="attachment_903943" align="aligncenter" width="720"] NHLOfficials.com[/caption]

Flemington first attended the NHL Officiating Combine in 2017, upon his retirement from pro hockey. He spent the next two years officiating in the OHL and AHL, and was offered a contract in the NHL this past summer.

Flemington was pretty familiar with the officials during his time in Wheeling. -- Taylor

[caption id="attachment_903944" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Kyle Flemington (left). -- ZACK RAWSON / WHEELING NAILERS[/caption]

BRADY ON NETFLIX

Friday, 11 p.m.: Tom Brady made a cameo on episode 1 of Living With Yourself on Netflix, and it's, uh, something. -- Taylor

ZION GOES DOWN 

Friday, 11:50 a.m.: New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, is expected to miss significant time to start the season:

Not ideal — especially when he's been performing like this already. -- Hunter

MAHOMES INJURED

Thursday, 10 p.m.: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes left Thursday night's matchup with the Broncos with what was being said was a serious knee injury.

Mahomes, who was already nursing an ankle injury, suffered the injury while attempting a quarterback sneak in the second quarter of the game against the Broncos and the Chiefs' medical staff almost immediately said he would not return. -- Lolley

LIONS FANS STILL MAD

Thursday, 2:26 p.m.: The Lions fell to the Packers, 23-22, on Monday Night Football — and some questionable calls from the refs dominated the post-game chatter.

Rightly so.

Even now, days later, Lions fans aren't over it. Today, a fan posted this billboard from Detroit:

Hey, I admire the dedication and the follow-through here. -- Hunter 

RMU ADDS MCLAUGHLIN

Thursday, 1:48 p.m.: The Robert Morris men's hockey team has added alum and former Olympian and NWHL Isobel Cup champion Brianne McLaughlin as a goaltending coach. McLaughlin previously worked as an assistant coach for the women's team. -- Taylor

CONNOR MCDAVID FLIES

Thursday, 3 a.m.: Just watch the speed from Connor McDavid here. Unreal. -- Taylor

TORTORELLA SKIN CANCER PROCEDURE

Wednesday, 3:20 p.m.: Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella underwent a procedure Tuesday to remove basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer, from his forehead. He is scheduled to be behind the Columbus bench when his team faces Dallas this evening. Tortorella told reporters today that had had been putting off the procedure for a while and that his condition is not considered serious. -- Molinari

https://www.nhl.com/news/john-tortorella-fully-healthy-basal-cell-carcinoma-removed-on-forehead/c-310161620

DEVILS COACHING CHANGE

Wednesday, 12:49 p.m.: Most people wouldn't have been surprised if the winless Devils fired head coach John Hynes, but the change they made wasn't quite as drastic. -- Taylor

MADDON TO ANGELS 

Wednesday, 12:38 p.m.: Not that he was ever really in the running, but anybody holding out hope Joe Maddon would serve as the Pirates manager next year can officially let go. Maddon and the Angels agreed to a three-year contract worth $12 to $15 million, per ESPN:

Last season, the Angels went 72-90, so Maddon has some immediate work to do. -- Hunter 

NATIONALS WIN PENNANT

Tuesday, 11:30 p.m.: After a decade of being defined by their playoff shortcomings, the Nationals clinched their first trip to the World Series Tuesday, completing the sweep of the Cardinals, 7-4. All seven of those runs came in the first inning against Dakota Hudson, who was pulled after 0.1 IP, and Daniel Hudson got the final four outs for the save. The Nationals never trailed in the series. -- Alex

JALEN TO RAMS

Tuesday, 9:30 p.m.: The Rams found a hell of a way to replace Peters, to put it mildly, acquiring disgruntled Jalen Ramsey from the Jaguars for three draft picks, including two first-rounders. -- DK

PETERS TO RAVENS 

Tuesday, 4:28 p.m.: The AFC North-leading Ravens have bolstered their secondary with the addition of Pro Bowl corner Marcus Peters from the Rams. Per multiple sources, the Ravens traded for Peters in what is expected to be a player-for-player deal.

Through six games in 2019, Peters has two interceptions, four passes defended, a defensive touchdown and 14 tackles (nine solo). That said, Peters hasn't regained form from his stellar rookie and sophomore seasons with the Chiefs, when he posted eight interceptions, two touchdowns and 26 passes defended in 2015 before following that up with a six-pick, 20-passes-defended 2016 in 15 games. He was named to both Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams in those two seasons. Can the Ravens return him to his peak form? -- Hunter 

DANNY GRANT DIES

Tuesday, 4:05 p.m.: Danny Grant, the NHL Rookie of the Year in 1968-69, has died at age 73. In addition to winning the Calder Trophy -- which he did in Minnesota with the North Stars, one season after winning a Stanley Cup with the Canadiens -- he scored 50 goals for the Red Wings in 1974-75. -- Molinari

CLASSIC BOUDREAU

Tuesday, 3 p.m.: Bruce Boudreau is a treasure. -- Taylor

GRONK SHUTS DOWN RETURN ... MAYBE

Tuesday, 1:17 p.m.: Rob Gronkowski never officially filed his retirement papers, and he's teased a potential return since stepping away after the 2018 season. But now? Sounds like Gronkowski's found peace away from football.

"When I retired, I retired for a reason. It would be a no. There it is,” Gronkowski said in a recent interview with CBS Boston. “But I never say no, because I said no and everyone said ‘he’s kidding.’ It’s a no. In my mind, that’s how it is, a no.

“I say I keep it open, because when I do say no people say I’m kidding. But in my mind, it’s a no."

But then ...

"Like I said, I would have to be feeling it,” he continued. “It needs to be a couple of weeks where I need to go play football again. … I’m enjoying myself right now. I don’t have that itch, and if I had that itch I’d go back. It would have to be a continuous itch. I see Tom [Brady] throw a nice touchdown pass, I’m like “I wish that was me’. But that’s five seconds.

“It has to be a long, continuous itch."

Well, that clarifies nothing. Thanks, Gronk. -- Hunter 

RANGERS ALUMNI

Monday, 8 p.m.: The Rangers and Bruins will be playing an alumni game this month, and the Rangers announced their roster of legends. Let it be known that Tanner Glass is officially a legend.

Seriously though, some cool names on this list. -- Taylor

HJALMARSSON INJURED

Monday, 7 p.m.: Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson is expected to be sidelined for three months with a cracked fibula. -- Taylor

BROWNS LOSE 

Sunday, 5:26 p.m.: The Browns lost again, and Baker Mayfield threw three interceptions in their 32-28 defeat against the Seahawks. That gives him 11 on the year, which is the most in the NFL even with Jameis Winston throwing five today in the Buccaneers' defeat against the Panthers.

And, as relayed by our own Chris Carter, Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens remains in way over his head:

With this loss, the Browns fall to 2-4. -- Hunter 

BENGALS STILL WINLESS

Sunday, 5:15 p.m.: The Bengals continue to Bengal, falling to 0-6 on the year with their 23-17 loss to the Ravens. Despite a game-opening kickoff return from Brandon Wilson, the Bengals couldn't hold off Lamar Jackson and company. Jackson threw for 236 yards and ran for another 152, the first time an NFL quarterback has even gone above 200 passing yards and 150 rushing yards in a game.

The Ravens now hold a two-game lead atop the AFC North at 4-2. -- Hunter 

MCCAFFREY MAGIC

Sunday, 11:16 a.m.: London was excited to see Christian McCaffrey live and in-person, and the Panthers' dynamic running back wasted no time in delivering on the hype. After an early rushing touchdown against the Buccaneers, McCaffrey added another, and my goodness was it a beauty:

That's Devin White, the fifth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, getting wrecked by McCaffrey there at the end, by the way. -- Hunter 

PENN STATE EARNS RANKED ROAD WIN

Saturday, 11:30 p.m.: With two of the top-ranked defenses in the country, it's no surprise it was a defensive game between Penn State and Iowa, a 17-12 victory for the Nittany Lions. Noah Cain rushed for 102 yard and a touchdown while quarterback Sean Clifford was 12 for 24 with 117 yards and a touchdown. It was Penn State head coach James Franklin's first road win against a ranked team as a head coach. The Nittany Lions will host Michigan at 7:30 a.m. Saturday for their annual white out game which will bring ESPN's College Gameday to town. -- Prugar

WVU ROUTED BY IOWA STATE

Saturday, 10:30 p.m.: Iowa State freshman Breece Hall rushed for 132 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-14 defeat of West Virginia Saturday afternoon. The Mountaineers got out to a 7-0 by way of a Tykee Smith interception returned for a touchdown and briefly tied the game at 14 with a Jack Allison pass to T.J. Simmons to enter halftime. West Virginia heads to Oklahoma next week for a noon kickoff. -- Prugar

SOUTH CAROLINA UPSETS NO. 3 GEORGIA

Saturday, 6:45 p.m.: South Carolina cornerback Israel Mukuamu intercepted Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm three times as the Gamecocks beat the Bulldogs 20-17 in two overtimes. Mukuamu returned one of those interceptions for a touchdown, but it was the kicking of Parker White that helped seal the deal for South Carolina with a 24-yard chip shot to put the Gamecocks ahead in the second overtime. The South Carolina defense forced a fourth down on the ensuing drive and Georgia kicker Roberto Blankenship missed a 42-yard field goal to secure the upset for the Gamecocks. -- Prugar

RMU TAKES DOWN ST. FRANCIS

Saturday, 6:30 p.m.: It took two overtimes, but Robert Morris escaped Loretto, Pa. with a 20-17 victory over the rival Red Flash this afternoon courtesy of a Nick Bisceglia 37-yard field goal. The win gave the Colonials their second of the season which ties their entire total from last year with six games left this season. Robert Morris will head to Wagner before hosting three straight home games at Joe Walton Stadium. -- Prugar

TYLER SKAGGS

Saturday, 3:45 p.m.: An Angels employee "told federal investigators that he provided oxycodone to Tyler Skaggs and abused it with him for years, and that two team officials were told about Skaggs' drug use long before his death." The story is below. -- Taylor

FREESE RETIRES

Saturday, 2 p.m.: Former Pirate David Freese announced his retirement on social media. -- Taylor

 

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