Brian Witt

Sharks post hilarious tweet during Lightning-Blue Jackets five-OT game

Sharks post hilarious tweet during Lightning-Blue Jackets five-OT game

The Sharks aren't involved in the Stanley Cup playoffs. But like many hockey fans, they were excited to take in the opening games of four first-round series on Tuesday, all back-to-back starting at noon PT.

So much so that they cleared their calendar.

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets played the second of those four games, in what many expected to be a heated matchup after the Blue Jackets memorably upset and swept the Lightning in the first round last year. What they didn't expect, however, was that game going to an incredible fifth overtime and lasting well into the night.

Lightning forward Brayden Point ultimately ended the marathon at the 10:27 mark of the fifth OT, making it the fourth-longest game in NHL playoff history. Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo stopped 85 of the first 87 shots he faced. He couldn't stop the 88th.

[RELATED: How Sharks benefit from Rangers winning NHL draft lottery]

Prior to the conclusion of the second game on Tuesday's slate, the league ultimately decided to move the fourth and final scheduled game between the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes to 8 a.m. PT on Wednesday morning.

So, thanks to the Lightning and Blue Jackets, the Sharks can watch a full game before Wednesday's boring weekly meeting.

Well, that is unless it goes to a fifth OT.

49ers' Jerick McKinnon 'has looked phenomenal', Kyle Juszczyk says

49ers' Jerick McKinnon 'has looked phenomenal', Kyle Juszczyk says

Jerick McKinnon has yet to appear in a regular-season game for the 49ers, but he figures to be a major part of San Francisco's offense this coming season now that he's healthy.

That was the expectation when he joined the 49ers as a free agent prior to the 2018 NFL season, but when he sustained a torn ACL in the week prior to the regular-season opener, Kyle Shanahan's best-laid plans went out the window. McKinnon also sat out the entirety of San Francisco's run to Super Bowl LIV last season while on injured reserve due to complications with the surgery to fix that injury.

McKinnon has since fully recovered and potentially could add another dynamic weapon to an offense that ranked second in the league in scoring last season. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is excited by his unique skillset, and offensive tackle Trent Williams "can’t fathom him not being a breakout player.”

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk on Tuesday echoed Williams' expectations for McKinnon (H/T 49ers Web Zone).

"I think we all share the same sentiments as Trent," Juszczyk told reporters on a video conference call. "Jet has looked phenomenal. You just would never guess, going out there, and watching the way he practices, how smooth he is, how he doesn't second guess himself, how quickly he answers questions in meetings, all that kind of stuff, you would never guess that this guy hasn't been on the field for two years.

"He just makes things look so natural, so smooth, that I think there can only be positive things for him this year. I think he's going to have a really good year."

[RELATED: Juszczyk explains why Jimmy G is ready to 'turn it loose']

Shanahan has been waiting a long time to unleash McKinnon within his offense.

Assuming the running back can stay healthy, we'll soon get to see why.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

NBA rumors: Steph Curry, league stars unlikely to play in Tokyo Games

NBA rumors: Steph Curry, league stars unlikely to play in Tokyo Games

Steph Curry has three NBA championship rings and two NBA MVP trophies to his name, putting him in very exclusive company. But there's one thing he has yet to win that so many basketball players dream of, and it's sounding like he might not get the opportunity to check that box anytime soon.

Curry, of course, has never participated in the Olympics. He is a two-time FIBA World Cup gold medalist, but he ultimately sat out the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro where Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Team USA won gold.

Curry, Thompson and Green were all included among the 44 finalists for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball team that was announced back in February, before the coronavirus pandemic brought the sports world to a screeching halt. There's no question that Curry in particular would be part of the 12-man group headed to the 2021 Tokyo Games if Team USA was sending its very best.

However, it's sounding like that won't be the case. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, there is increasing skepticism about the NBA's elite players participating in the Olympics, due to the fact that the league has other priorities in hopes of playing a full season next year with fans in attendance.

"For now," Wojnarowski wrote Saturday, "here's one idea on the league's whiteboard, sources said: If the NBA believes it can significantly push back the start of the season to buy time on getting fans back into arenas, they've brainstormed the idea of a month-long Olympic break reminiscent of how the NHL has handled the Winter Olympics.

"As the pandemic rages on, there's less optimism about the elite players participating in the Olympics -- including Americans and international stars. The NBA and NBPA will take positions that the Games are important, but the Olympics are barely a priority for the owners -- especially when they don't share in the television revenue that originates from the inclusion of the league's superstars. Organizations see the wear and tear on players in whom they've invested hundreds of millions of dollars. Amid a pandemic, the Olympics mean even less to owners, team executives and the NBPA."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Even if Team USA wanted Curry -- and Thompson and Green for that matter -- to play in Tokyo, there's no guarantee any of them would. That trio just got through playing the equivalent of seven NBA seasons while the rest of the league played six, and though the pandemic has created an opportunity for them to recuperate, it's possible they would prefer to save their bodies for NBA competition.

[RELATED: Report: Warriors could start next season as late as March]

Of course, being that Curry has yet to participate in an Olympics, perhaps that would be a motivating factor for him to do so. He expressed as much of a desire as recently as March. But as Wojnarowski explained, there are large forces working against that possibility, and Team USA might look much different than it would in a non-pandemic year.

"At a minimum," Wojnarowski continued, "Team USA probably will have to be prepared to bring a much younger, less accomplished roster to Tokyo -- a team profile that could ultimately mirror the rest of the world's entries, too."

Obviously, plenty can and will happen between now and the Tokyo Games. But barring significant progress made in stemming COVID-19, it's looking increasingly unlikely that Curry and other NBA stars will be a part of them.