Smoking hot Sharks skate south to take on L.A.


Smoking hot Sharks skate south to take on L.A.

March 24, 2011

SHARKS (43-23-8) vs.
LOS ANGELES (41-26-6)

Coverage begins at 7 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The San Jose Sharks can still realistically finish as high as second in the Western Conference, but that's not completely in their control.

Their fate in the Pacific Division certainly is.

Riding a four-game winning streak and with a three-point cushion atop the Pacific, the Sharks play their final eight games against division rivals beginning with Thursday night's stop at Staples Center to face the Los Angeles Kings.

RELATED: NHL conference standings

San Jose (43-23-8) saw its six-point division lead on March 3 shrink to three after a 1-2-2 stretch, but it's starting to hit its stride once again.

Though the division lead remains at three over Phoenix, the Sharks are starting to make up ground on second-place Detroit. San Jose, which trailed the Red Wings by four points and had played one more game through March 14, is now just one point back and has played an equal number of games as Detroit.

But while the Sharks won't get another head-to-head crack at the Central Division leaders, they can pull away from rest of the Pacific - or leave themselves rather vulnerable - over the season's final weeks. Thursday's 6-3 win over Calgary was San Jose's last non-division contest.

REWIND: Marleau, Mitchell each tally twice in win over Flames

The Sharks have totaled 20 goals during their four-game winning streak with four apiece from Patrick Marleau and Torrey Mitchell. Joe Pavelski has totaled 11 points.

"It's great to have everybody contribute," Marleau said. "We'll need more of that coming down the stretch. It's the way we're built and it's the way things should happen. Everybody should have fun scoring goals."

Finishing up against the division should work in the Sharks' favor. They're 9-3-4 versus Pacific foes.

The Kings (41-26-6) haven't faced San Jose since Jan. 26 - when they improved to 2-2-0 in the season series with a shootout victory - but coach Terry Murray has seen enough to know San Jose is clicking when it counts.

RELATED: Spotlight on the L.A. Kings

"They seem to be coming to their time right now, where it is their opportunity to put it all together," Murray told the Kings' official website. "They've got a lot of experience, world-class players, a top line, a good back end, and they're just making the big push and they know how to do it right now."

San Jose isn't the only team coming in off a win against the Flames. Los Angeles defeated Calgary 2-1 in a shootout Monday after opening a five-game homestand with losses to St. Louis and Anaheim.

The Kings are in a three-way tie for fifth place with Chicago and Nashville - one point ahead of Anaheim, two in front of Dallas and three more than Calgary.

"Every point we get, whether it's one point or two points, it helps build a resume to make the playoffs," said goaltender Jonathan Quick, who improved to 8-0 in shootouts. "We're just trying to get two points every time we're out. We got two points and that's all that matters."

The win came at a cost, though. Second-leading scorer Justin Williams left with a dislocated shoulder, an injury that will keep him out at least three weeks.

Swedish forward Oscar Moller was called up Wednesday from Manchester of the AHL.

The loss of Williams, who has 22 goals and 35 assists, could hurt an offense that's already struggling. Los Angeles has totaled 20 goals in 10 games this month, and leading scorer Anze Kopitar has had a hand in more than half of those.

The Sharks have scored with the man advantage in eight straight games (9 for 27), though they've also given up eight power-play goals during that stretch.

Report: Giants discussed Panik, top prospects in potential Stanton trade


Report: Giants discussed Panik, top prospects in potential Stanton trade

On Monday morning, some important details emerged.

The Giants discussed Joe Panik and top prospects Tyler Beede and Chris Shaw with the Marlins in a potential trade for Giancarlo Stanton, according to sports radio host Craig Mish.

Last week, San Francisco reportedly made an actual offer for Stanton.

The Giants selected Beede, 24, in the first round (14th overall) of the 2014 draft.

The right-handed pitcher went 6-7 with a 4.79 ERA over 19 starts in Triple-A last season.

[RELATED: Healthy Tyler Beede shows why he's Giants' top pitching prospect]

The Orange and Black took Shaw, 24, in the first round (31st overall) of the 2015 draft.

In 37 games for Double-A Richmond in 2017, he hit .301 with six home runs and 29 RBI.

He was promoted to Triple-A and hit .289 with 18 home runs and 50 RBI in 88 games.

Shaw recently played in the Arizona Fall League, but only saw action in five games because of a sore shoulder.

In his own way, David Lee was a launching pad for the new age Warriors


In his own way, David Lee was a launching pad for the new age Warriors

So we say Goodbye, once and for all, to David Lee, who was nothing less than the visible lightning rod for all that was good and bad about the Warriors during their advancement from a hut on the outskirts of the NBA to the league’s penthouse suite.

Lee was, in his own way, every bit as much of a launching pad for the New Age Warriors as was Stephen Curry.

Lee, who disclosed his retirement Sunday in a very 2017 America way -- with an Instagram post -- came to the Warriors from the New York Knicks in a July 2010 sign-and-trade deal. He was the one-man brass band providing accompaniment to the announcement of the team being purchased by Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.

An expensive band, too, as the Warriors handed Lee a six-year contract worth $80 million.

Fairly popular in New York, having been the team’s only All-Star in the nine-season span from 2001-02 to 2010-11, Lee became a fast favorite among many Warriors fans because he produced impressive individual numbers for a struggling team with a richly earned inferiority complex.

In 2012-13, Lee’s third season as a Warrior, he became the team’s first All-Star since Latrell Sprewell 16 years earlier. Lee led the NBA in double-doubles, his favorite statistical category. That season, not coincidently, also marked the team’s return to the playoffs after a five-year absence.

Lee by then was partnering with Curry as the leaders of a team -- no, a franchise -- determined to became a player in the NBA. With Guber’s theatrical flair and Lacob’s naked ambition, the Warriors were not going to be stopped.

It became apparent the following season, even as the team was making its second consecutive playoff appearance, that Lee had a ceiling. He could score and rebound well enough to rack up double-doubles, but he was giving away points on the other end. Lee was an awful defender, constantly picked on by opponents.

The Warriors could win a lot of games with Lee as their starting power forward, but they weren’t going to win any championships.

That door didn’t crack open for the Warriors until late in the 2014 season, and it opened wide during the playoffs against the Clippers. Three games into the series, with LA’s Blake Griffin having his way with Lee, Warriors coach Mark Jackson realized he had an answer to his Griffin problem.

Jackson turned to Draymond Green, who played well over the final weeks of the season as Lee recovered from an injury. Green immediately got under Griffin’s skin and stayed there for the rest of the series. More than three years later, Green still terrifies Griffin, which is why the Warriors own the Clippers.

The Clippers won the series in seven games, but the Warriors were enlightened.

Jackson was fired after that series, and Steve Kerr was hired as the new coach. Kerr says he came in believing Lee would be his starting power forward. Lee had the misfortune of straining a hamstring in the final preseason game, pressing Green into the starting lineup. He has been there ever since.

As their 2014-15 season marched on, the Warriors coaching staff began carefully rationing Lee’s reserve minutes to obscure his defensive limitations. In two years, he had gone from a numbers beast and Curry’s chief sidekick to being marginalized on a team bound for a championship.

A member of the 2015 championship team, Lee also was the most glaring casualty of the Warriors amazing ride to the top of the NBA.

His arrival had given them a modicum of credibility, something utterly lacking at the time. That helped the franchise. His departure, traded to the Celtics in July 2015 -- five years to the day after he came to the Bay -- gave the Warriors some immediate cap relief. That also helped the franchise.

After two years bouncing around the league, from the Celtics to the Mavericks to the Spurs last season, Lee is hanging up his sneakers. He’s diving into life with his new fiancée, the tennis star Caroline Wozniacki. Life was good and it should stay good.

Lee has much about which to be proud. He did his job well enough for the Warriors, but not as well as they needed it to be done to reach the very top. No shame in that, none at all.