Raiders

Sharks steal extra point from Avs in shootout

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Sharks steal extra point from Avs in shootout

March 1, 2011

BOX SCORE SHARKS VIDEONHLPAGE NHLSCOREBOARD

SAN JOSE (AP) Even when they come out flat, the San Jose Sharks are somehow finding ways to win these days. The Colorado Avalanche can't seem to end up on the winning side even on nights they play well.Antti Niemi was perfect in the shootout just hours after getting a contract extension, and Ryane Clowe scored the only goal of the tiebreaker to give the surging San Jose Sharks a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night."It wasn't pretty, it was a greasy win," Clowe said. ""It was nice to get the win, but it wasn't our best game by any means."
The Sharks were blanked for more than 57 minutes by a team that had won just once since Jan. 24 before Joe Thornton tied it with 2:58 remaining in regulation. Clowe then won it in the shootout, giving San Jose its seventh straight win and 16th in 19 games.Niemi made 18 saves to cap a day that began with him signing a 15.2 million, four-year extension.
RELATED: Sharks, Niemi agree to four-year extensionErik Johnson scored a power-play goal and Brian Elliott made 34 saves in his third game for Colorado since being acquired in a trade from Ottawa late last month for Craig Anderson. But the Avalanche were unable to close it out and lost for the 14th time in 15 games."The hockey gods just aren't with us right now," center Matt Duchene said. "It's frustrating. It's almost laughable at this point. We work that hard, we play that well, with a team with that much offense, with so many guys having great seasons, we hold them to no goals with 4 minutes left and they find some way to score. It's pretty frustrating."Clowe opened the shootout by firing a forehand past Elliott. This marked the second consecutive game in which Clowe scored the deciding goal in a shootout and the second straight time he did it with his forehand instead of his usual shootout move to the backhand."I was thinking of probably going backhand," Clowe said. "I looked up and saw he might have been leaning a little bit to the glove side so I decided to go low blocker. That's always a tough save for the goalie anyway."Niemi stopped Milan Hejduk after Clowe's goal and then Duchene hit the post and David Jones shot wide for the Avalanche, who had won their previous three shootouts this season.Colorado has scored two goals or fewer in 11 of its last 15 games and managed few good scoring chances against Niemi with just 19 shots."Of course it's frustrating," coach Joe Sacco said. "You're playing one of the better teams in the conference. You shut them down for the majority of the game. They still had some good chances, their goaltender made some good saves, but at the end of the day we didn't get the job done."The Avalanche broke up a scoreless game with a power-play goal early in the third. With Niclas Wallin in the penalty box for holding, Johnson stopped a clearing attempt by Jason Demers at the blue line. Johnson beat Niemi with a high wrist shot for his seventh goal just 78 seconds into the period.The Sharks were unable to tie it on a power play of their own minutes later - their fourth failed chance with the man advantage - and then Joe Pavelski was robbed by the crossbar on a hard shot from the slot midway through the third that got the fans excited but was immediately waved off by the referee.San Jose finally got the equalizer when Thornton made a nifty deflection at the side of the net of a point shot by Demers late in regulation."We challenged our big guys between periods that they have to step up a little bit and lead," coach Todd McLellan said. "Jumbo ended up getting the tying goal. It took that long. We told them the rule-maker allows us 60 minutes to find one at least. We used almost the full 60. It was nice to see them step up."
VIDEO: Todd McLellan postgame
The game got off to a sluggish start, with each team having only one shot on goal in the first 10-plus minutes of the opening period. Both teams killed off a penalty in the second half of the period, with Elliott making the toughest saves on a point shot by Pavelski followed by the rebound by Demers.There were only a few more chances in the second period but still no goals. Devin Setoguchi was robbed alone in close by Elliott early in the period. Niemi made a tough sliding stop against Kevin Porter, who was all alone at the side of the goal midway through the second.NOTES: Colorado had allowed a power-play goal in eight straight games before stopping San Jose on all four chances. The Sharks came into the game with the NHL's third-best power play. ... The Sharks were undermanned after placing F Scott Nichol and D Kent Huskins on IR before the game with upper-body injuries. Defenseman Dan Boyle and F Ben Eager also sat with upper-body injuries.

Irvin, Mack given a day off from Raiders practice

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Irvin, Mack given a day off from Raiders practice

ALAMEDA – Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin were out at Raiders practice Wednesday for the stretching period. Both edge rushers left one-at-a-time during the individual period, which open to the press, headed into the main building and did not return.

There was no reaction, certainly no surprise, from the coaching staff or players on the field. Irvin and new defensive coordinator John Pagano were seen joking around on the field before practice began in earnest. 

Both guys were given a day off, one scheduled earlier in the day. A Raiders official called it a day off/rest-type day that was not injury related. The Silver and Black typically practice in pads or shells on Wednesday, but were in jerseys and sweats in the interest of recovery.

Wednesday marked the first practice Irvin has missed since training camp. Mack hasn’t missed one in months.

Mack and Irvin’s downtime comes a day after beloved defensive coordinator Ken Norton’s firing.

Mack and Irvin especially were among those loyal to Norton. Mack and Norton developed a bond after the coach was named defensive coordinator in 2015. Norton and Irvin go way back to their days together in Seattle. Irvin credits Norton for helping him get on the right path and stay there.

Neither player was happy Norton got the axe. Irvin made his displeasure clear, tweeting “BULLS***” shortly after news of Norton’s demise broke. Mack told ESPN “I like to keep my thoughts private.”

It isn’t immediately clear if the non-injury related day off was related to Norton’s dismissal. Head coach Jack Del Rio won’t speak to the media again until Friday. New defensive coordinator John Pagano is scheduled to speak Thursday afternoon.

Del Rio addressed the media before Wednesday’s practice, and was asked how he’ll handle players unhappy with the in-season shake-up.

“I don’t try and 'handle' them,” Del Rio said. “I think the biggest thing is to understand the relationship, respect that, give him a little space and then at the end of the day, we’re going to get on with our work. But, I’m human. It wasn’t easy for me either.”

Del Rio: 'Nobody should feel comfortable,' following Norton firing

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USATSI

Del Rio: 'Nobody should feel comfortable,' following Norton firing

ALAMEDA – Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio put out a statement Tuesday explaining why he fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.

He went into greater detail Wednesday afternoon, his first time facing the media since a change was made

Specifics will be discussed further down this story. We don’t, however, want to bury the lede.

Del Rio’s main message wasn’t about Norton. It applied to all in Silver and Black. This season has not met lofty expectations. That is unacceptable.

“I know one thing,” Del Rio said. “Nobody should feel comfortable, because what I’ve been watching is not good enough.”

Del Rio didn’t absolve himself from blame. Norton got fired, but everyone has played a part in this disappointing 4-6 record.

“It’s always shared,” Del Rio said. “A change was made, obviously. We all share in it, all of us, starting with me. It’s coaches and players. It’s a team game, and we’re all in it together. And nobody is coming to help us.”

The Raiders must look inward to start a prolonged winning streak they’ve shown little evidence they can create.

The seat will be warm under players and coaches alike, even if only one change was made. Expect further shakeup on the coaching staff after the season, if vast improvements don’t come down the stretch, possibly with several position coaches being shown the door. More than a few higher profile players could be cut or allowed to leave, especially on defense.

While Del Rio has taken more heat the past month than at any other time in his Raiders tenure, expect him to be around a longer term. He was given a contract extension in February, and has significant capitol built after changing the culture in Oakland and re-teaching this team how to win. One bad year, even if this season continues heading downhill, shouldn’t erase that.

Del Rio was looking to shake things up, and Norton was the obvious move. Experienced play caller John Pagano was on staff – he was Chargers defensive coordinator from 2012-2016 – and firing the popular Pagano’s style could create some new waves and looks that any offensive Norton would make an impact in the locker room and prove this story’s opening quote, that no one should feel comfortable.

Del Rio hopes firing Norton will be a shock to the defense’s system.

“I really felt like I needed to shake things up,” Del Rio said. “We couldn’t continue doing what we’ve been doing to this point. So I made the call. The whole idea is to change what we’re doing and make sure…what I’m looking for at the end of the day is for us to play fast on defense. We weren’t playing fast enough. We weren’t playing confident enough.”