First Call: Jason Kelce addresses the Batman mask during the Steelers blowout; NHL honors for Marc-André Fleury

Tuesday’s “First Call” gets clarification on a sideline moment in the Steelers-Eagles game.

Pitt receives a watered-down version of Syracuse on Saturday.

A former Penguin wins NHL honors. And the Penguins face two of the best in the Atlantic Division this week.


The black knight recognizes

Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce was spotted wearing a Batman mask on the sidelines during his team’s 35-13 loss to the Steelers on Sunday.

Some saw this as a disrespect to the Steelers as there were still eight minutes left in the game.

There have been a running Batman theme throughout the year for the Eagles 7-0. And Kelce insisted he was just playing along, calling himself the “fat batman.” He also insisted he meant no disrespect to the Steelers.

To those who are upset about this, I have just one question. Why so serious?


More from Tim Benz:

Tim Benz: Even the most optimistic version of the Steelers after a goodbye rings hollow
Penguins show Pittsburgh offensive woes not limited to Steelers
Airing grievances: Steelers standards plummet so far that an explosion in Philadelphia seems expected


Orange going sour

Midway through Game 7 of their season, the surprising Syracuse Orange were 6-0, seeded 14th and leading the fifth-placed Clemson Tigers 21-10 on the road.

But they lost that lead and ended up being smoked at home by Notre Dame 41-24 last week.

Now, after dropping to 6-2 and 22nd in the nation, Syracuse visits Pitt at Acrisure Stadium on Saturday. And they come with bad injury news.

In that loss to Notre Dame, the Orange lost outstanding defensive back Garrett Williams. He has since been diagnosed with a ruptured ACL and will be out for the rest of the season. He led the Atlantic Coast Conference in pass breakups in each of the previous two seasons and was projected as a 2023 NFL Draft pick. Via the Orange DailySyracuse has now lost six players to season-ending injuries, including defensive starters Stefon Thompson (LB) and Terry Lockett (DL).

Quarterback Garrett Shrader also suffered an undisclosed injury in that Notre Dame game and was unable to finish. If he can’t face the Panthers, Carlos Del Rio-Wilson will play.

Shrader went 11 of 22 for 190 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the loss to the Irish.


Boom in Buffalo

After the Penguins took on the Boston Bruins 8-1 on Tuesday, they are scheduled to travel to Buffalo to face the Sabers on Wednesday night.

The often desperate Sabers are now 6-3 after an 8-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Monday night. Tage Thompson was particularly good with six points.

Now the Sabers have 12 points, second behind the Bruins (16) at the top of the Atlantic Division. Buffalo also has 37 goals, more than anyone in the Eastern Conference outside of Boston (39).

Did we mention the Pens have lost four in a row?

Nope? Good. Let’s avoid doing that.


One star for the Flower

Former Penguins goaltender Marc-André Fleury has been named one of the The NHL’s Three Stars The week.

The Minnesota Wild goaltender was 3-0-0 with a 1.95 GAA and .927 SV % in three road starts last week. Fleury made 23 saves and stopped both shootout attempts in a 4-3 win at Chicago on Sunday. The win was his 62nd career shootout win, passing Henrik Lundqvist for the most in NHL history.

The Flower also made 26 saves in a 3-1 victory at Montreal last Tuesday. It was Fleury’s 944th game, passing Curtis Joseph for sixth place in NHL history in games played by a goaltender.

Tim Benz is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless otherwise specified.

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