Raiders

Sharks sign Bay Area native Acolatse

Sharks sign Bay Area native Acolatse

March 4, 2011SHARKS PAGESHARKS VIDEO

SAN JOSE - San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the team has signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Sena Acolatse to an entry-level contract. In keeping with club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Acolatse, 20, has spent the majority of this season with Prince George of the Western Hockey League (WHL) following an early season trade from Saskatoon. Between both clubs, he has posted 56 points (14 goals, 42 assists) in 59 games, along with 121 penalty minutes.

This is a great moment for me to sign with the Sharks and join a tremendous organization that is building a winning tradition, said Acolatse, who has collected 12 points in the last 10 games. Coming to Prince George has been an excellent move for me and I want to thank the Cougars for giving me the opportunity to continue growing my game here.

He currently ranks fourth among all WHL defensemen in scoring and is tied for 28th among all WHL skaters in assists and tied for 30th in penalty minutes. Among Prince George players, he is first in assists, third in points and third in penalty minutes.

Acolatse becomes the first Bay Area-born prospect to be signed by the San Jose Sharks.

We have been watching Sena for quite a while and his play has really grown this season under the guidance of Head Coach Dean Clark and his staff, said Wilson. Its always exciting to add a prospect of this caliber to our organization but it is even more gratifying to know that Senas interest in learning to play hockey can be traced to the inception of the Sharks franchise, who were born the same year he was.

Born in Hayward, CA in 1990, Acolatse grew up watching the San Jose Sharks, attending games with his father. He soon began skating and playing hockey at the facility now known as Sharks Ice at Fremont. Due to a family relocation, Acolatse moved to Edmonton, AB in 1998, where he continued his hockey career.

We continue to see the growth of hockey in the Bay Area and the impact that the Sharks Ice facilities are having on our local youth hockey players, said Sharks Ice General Manager Jon Gustafson. Each year, more and more players are graduating from our Junior Sharks program and advancing their hockey careers at the D-I University or Canadian and United States Junior levels and several have earned NHL contracts. Its very exciting for these kids and their families. We wish Sena the best of luck as he takes the next step in his hockey career.

The 5-foot-11, 210-pound defenseman has notched 147 points (44 goals, 103 assists) and 492 penalty minutes in 314 WHL games with Seattle, Saskatoon and Prince George.

Acolatse will continue to play at Prince George this season.

Courtesy San Jose Sharks media services.

Raiders counting heavily on lightning rod CB against Patriots

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AP

Raiders counting heavily on lightning rod CB against Patriots

MEXICO CITY – The Raiders cornerback David Amerson didn’t practice all week, but ran just well enough to be considered “doubtful” for Sunday’s game against New England.

Translation: Outlook for Sunday is not good, but Jack Del Rio’s fingers remained crossed real, real tight. The Raiders hope there’s a way he can be active against Tom Brady’s buzz saw attack, because their cover men are beat up.

Amerson has missed two straight with a foot injury, and has dealt with injury all year. Gareon Conley’s season officially ended Monday, when he was placed on season-ending injured reserve. Antonio Hamilton and Demetrius McCray were already there.

Reggie McKenzie hasn’t reached out for reinforcements. That leaves TJ Carrie, Dexter McDonald and Sean Smith to play cornerback. Carrie’s been the rock, a sure tackler who hasn’t made spectacular plays but doesn’t give them up. McDonald has been forced into action, with holes let in his game.

Smith should be the No. 1 guy in this group, the steadying presence on the outside. That hasn’t been the case this year, where he lost a starting job in training camp and sub-package snaps during the season, only to have injuries to Conley and Amerson bring him in the fray.

He’s also been dealing with felony assault and battery charges in Los Angeles stemming from a July 4 incident in Pasadena.

Smith has been a lightning rod for fan criticism, a byproduct of his $9.5 million salary this year and explosive plays allowed early in the year.

If there’s an anvil weighing on his mind, teammates insist you’d never know.

“We’re human at the end of the day,” Amerson said. “You feel it, but you have to find a way to remain even keel and professional and do your job well.”

Smith will be counted on heavily Sunday against New England, especially if Amerson can’t play as expected. He has proven vulnerable to speed without help and proper disruption at the line of scrimmage, though that hasn’t been an issue lately because the Utah alum has recovered well after a rough start.

He got pulled after struggling against Vernon Davis in Washington. He didn’t play against the Chargers after giving up two huge plays to Baltimore the week before.

Amerson originally sprained his foot in Week 7 against Kansas City – he hasn’t played since – and Smith was called upon to respond. He wasn’t targeted in that game, and has been strong in coverage ever since.

Smith has allowed three catches for 12 yards in four targets over the last two games. The ninth-year veteran insists he wasn’t doing anything markedly different, and had zero interest in patting himself on the back for recent jobs well done.

“I’m not,” Smith said. “I’m out there doing my job, man, the best way I can.”

Smith says the off-field distractions during a roller-coaster season, one of his career’s most trying yet, haven’t impacted him much

“Nope. Not at all,” Smith said. “As long as I wake up a Raider, I’m all right. I’ll deal with whatever happens. I’ll always be there for my guys, and I’ll do whatever it takes to help our team win.”

Raiders defensive backs laud Smith’s locker room presence, saying he’s an excellent teammate. Cornerbacks in general must have a short memory when things go bad, to refocus and prevent that from happening again. Smith apparently has that in spades.

“I know how things go, especially when you have a target on your back,” Amerson said. “Sometimes you get hit with the perfect pass and you give up some plays. You can’t do anything about that but take advantage of the next opportunity. Sean’s a good player, and he definitely has that mindset.”

Smith will lend experience to this big game, something the Raiders need after suffering so many injuries.

"It sucks that so many of us have gone down,” Smith said. "You want to have all your guys out there, but that’s the NFL. Injuries happen. As long as everybody comes to work and acts like a pro, we’ll be all right. We all have a job to do. We all would like to start, but you have to be ready when your number’s called.”

Kevin Durant takes shot at Zaza Pachulia while center's kid play one-on-one

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USATSI

Kevin Durant takes shot at Zaza Pachulia while center's kid play one-on-one

Kevin Durant doesn't take it easy on anyone. Not even the children of teammate Zaza Pachulia.

After practice on Saturday in Philadelphia, Pachulia's two sons, Davit and Saba, were playing one-on-one at the facility the Warriors were using. Kevin Durant filmed one sequence and posted it to his Instagram Story.

One of Pachulia's sons grabbed the ball and drives around the other without dribbling. As he makes the shot, Durant offers his commentary and took a shot at the Warriors starting center.

"That's a travel. Such a travel. Same thing your pops do," Durant said, taking a shot at Pachulia.

Durant also had another message for Pachulia written on the video.

"Yo, @zazapachulia at some you have to teach the boys how to play off the bounce," Durant wrote.