Sharks notebook: Niemi making 32nd straight start


Sharks notebook: Niemi making 32nd straight start


It was a mandatory practice for the Sharks this morning, and it was a little longer than normal, most likely since the team has not played a game in four days.Here are the line combinations as they rushed in practice:
Setoguchi Thornton Marleau
Heatley Couture Clowe
Wellwood Pavelski Mitchell
Mayers Desjardins Eager
Boyle Murray
Vlasic Demers
Wallin White
Antti Niemi will make his 32nd consecutive start in net; the franchise record stands at 43 by Evgeni Nabokov.The Sharks will clinch a playoff berth tonight with a regulation win over Dallas.Scott Nichol practiced with the team, but will not be available in tonights contest. Todd McLellan says he is hopeful Nichol will return by the end of the season, but most of that depends on "mother nature." Kent Huskins skated separately from the team, after practice. McLellan said Nichol is closer to returning than Huskins is.
A lot of talk around the matchup with Dallas, especially considering the last two times these teams have met. The Stars visited San Jose March 5, in a game where Steve Ott played antagonist to many of the Shark players. That was a contest in which Jason Demers went to take a swing at Ott, but missed, and struck the linesman.The most recent meeting came in Dallas. In that game, Dany Heatley took a penalty, and served a two-game suspension for elbowing Ott. Heatley said it was in the chest, but the league felt it was in the head. Regardless, you can see the bad blood between these two teams. Some of the Shark players told me this morning that its a clean slate, but others said they wouldnt be surprised to see some carryover.Topics we will cover tonight on Sharks Pregame Live:- How do the Sharks best treat an antagonist like Steve Ott? And will the contest be chippy right from the start?- What players are saying about the potential to clinch a playoff berth tonight.

Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency


Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency

With free agency set to begin five days after the World Series ends, two hitters that played for the Giants during the 2017 season have put their names on the open market.

Veteran third baseman Conor Gillaspie and longtime minor league outfielder Carlos Moncrief have both elected for free agency, according to Baseball America.

The 30-year-old Gillaspie appeared in 44 games for the Giants this past season. He hit just .168/.218/.288 with four doubles, two home runs and eight RBI. He was designated for assignment on August 3 and outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento on August 5. With the River Cats, Gillaspie hit .375 with four doubles in 15 games in August.

Prior to the 2017 season, Gillaspie signed a one-year, $1.4 million deal with the Giants.

As for Moncrief, the soon-to-be 29-year-old finally got his first call-up the majors this past season after eight and a half seasons in the minors. He debuted for the Giants on July 29. In 28 games, he hit .211/.256/.237 with one double and five RBI. While he didn't do much with the bat, Moncrief showed off a cannon for an arm when he patrolled right field.

NBA fines Pelicans C DeMarcus Cousins for incident with fan


NBA fines Pelicans C DeMarcus Cousins for incident with fan

Former Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is in trouble with the league office again.

The NBA fined the Pelicans big man $25,000 for "directing inappropriate language towards a fan" during the final minutes of the team's season opener on Wednesday night against the Grizzlies.

The referee's heard the exchange between Cousins and the fan, and assessed a technical foul to Cousins. That technical foul was rescinded as part of the league's announcement Saturday.

After Wednesday's game, Cousins offered this explanation of the incident:

"That was pretty bogus, man. The ref, he sat there and heard (the fan) speaking to me in a very nasty way. I shouldn't have responded to it, but I'm a human being and I'm also a grown man. I'm not going to let another person just disrespect me. I felt (the ref) should have handled it, he decided not to, but he handled my end of it. I look forward to speaking to the league," Cousins told reporters, according to USA Today.

Cousins makes his first trip back to Sacramento since being traded by the Kings on Thursday, Oct. 26.