Sharks notes: Feeling the playoff butterflies

Sharks notes: Feeling the playoff butterflies

April 14, 2011BRAZIL ARCHIVE
Its definitely playoff season here in San Jose. The media, the players, the arena is buzzing and none of the fans are even here yet.Main storyline is that the Shark players are feeling a bit of the butterflies going into the playoffs, which as they will remind you, is only human and normal. Dan Boyle has been in the NHL 13 years, and said he couldnt get as much sleep as he wanted last night. Meanwhile rookie Logan Couture said getting his afternoon nap today would be a challenge.Head coach Todd McLellan says he wants his players to feel a certain amount of nerves, and that it would actually be a valuable thing for his team. He called his team ready, and that after 4 good days of practice, he senses an excitement; noting that its time to play.This is Joe Thorntons first go-around in the playoffs as the Sharks captain. Great quote by him on taking ownership of the team: I know this is my team, and Ive got to play well for this team to go on, but its a group effort, we all realize that. And weve done a good job all year.Antti Niemi is in net. Ryane Clowe is indeed back. Heres how the forward lines shape out:Setoguchi Thornton MarleauHeatley Couture CloweMitchell Pavelski WellwoodMayers Nichol EagerLastly, the Sharks will wear their black sweaters for the first time in the postseason, tonight. This was a choice of the players. Some told me, the black ones feel lighter while Scott Nichol gave the honest answer: They make me look bigger."Senior Insider Ray Ratto did a little snooping and pulled together the lines on the Kings side of things:Dustin Penner -- Michal Handzus -- Dustin Brown
Ryan Smyth -- Jarret Stoll -- Justin Williams
Kyle Clifford -- Brad Richardson -- Wayne Simmonds
Alexei Ponikarovsky -- Trevor Lewis -- Kevin Westgarth
Willie Mitchell -- Drew Doughty

Jack Johnson -- Rob Scuderi

Matt Greene -- Alec Martinez

Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Bernier

Two Rockets suspended for Clippers fracas, will miss Warriors game


Two Rockets suspended for Clippers fracas, will miss Warriors game

Houston’s Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green have both been suspended for two games for entering the Los Angeles Clippers’ locker room after a game earlier this week to confront another player.

The NBA announced the suspensions Wednesday.

Ariza and Green went into the Clippers’ locker room after a game Monday night in Los Angeles, one that was marred late by on-court chippiness. Ariza had been ejected from that game in the final moments, as was the Clippers’ Blake Griffin.

Speaking before the suspensions were announced Wednesday, Ariza said there were a “lot of different stories about what happened, none of them which were true.”

Ariza has started in all 40 of his appearances with the Rockets this season. Green has been with the Rockets for 10 games, all off the bench.

Green and Ariza will miss Thursday's game against the Timberwolves and Saturday's game against the Warriors.

Raiders DC Paul Guenther talks Khalil Mack, Gareon Conley and more


Raiders DC Paul Guenther talks Khalil Mack, Gareon Conley and more

Paul Guenther hasn’t been Raiders defensive coordinator long. He has been in Alameda about a week now, interviewing potential position coaches and pouring over last year’s game tape.

He has some initial impressions on the group that struggled at the start and improved throughout the year. Generally speaking, however, Guenther sees talent on the roster.

“I believe there’s a lot of good players here, a lot of good, young players,” Guenther said Wednesday in a conference call. “You’ve got to get them out and develop them and get them to understand your system. But I think there are a lot of good pieces here for a foundation, for sure.”

Guenther’s system, where it came from and why he brought it to Oakland is a story for another day. Thursday morning, to be precise, so stay tuned for that.

Guenther’s early evaluation of key Raiders, however, supports his statement about a strong foundation. He is most excited, as you’d expect, about working with edge rusher Khalil Mack and several others in silver and black.

Here’s what Guenther said about…

-- DE KHALIL MACK: “Having a talent like that and ability of a guy like that, certainly you want to make it the centerpiece of the defense. We have to continue to develop our younger players to bring those guys up to speed and add people as we go through the draft and free agency. He’s a guy that you can really build a foundation through and around. He’s an exciting guy to be able to coach for sure.”

-- CB GAREON CONLEY: “He was my favorite corner coming out. His ability, he’s smooth in the pedal, he’s a good press corner, which we love to have. I’m excited to work with him.”

-- S OBI MELIFONWU: “Obi is a big guy that when you turn on the tape, you’re like, ‘Man, who is this son of a gun?’ He’s playing half the field, he’s down in the box playing the run.”

-- LB NAVORRO BOWMAN: (an impending free agent): “NaVorro is a prototype middle linebacker, really. The thing that impressed me most with NaVorro is that they got him here midseason and by the end of the year, it appeared to me that he was kind of the leader of the unit, making a lot of calls. You can see that on tape. It looks like he is a smart guy that understands the game. I love smart guys that love playing football. Hopefully we can get him back in the fold and keep him a Raider.”