Sharks' buzzwords: Skate. Forecheck. Zone time


Sharks' buzzwords: Skate. Forecheck. Zone time

Tim Panaccio

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Skate. Forecheck. Zone time.

Those are the buzz words for the Sharks going into Wednesdays Game 2 of the Western Conference Final against the Canucks.

Do that and Todd McLellans group comes home with the series tied. Dont do it and it could be over in four games.

We didnt have a lot of time in their zone, Sharks winger Ryane Clowe said. Wed be in there and there were some 5050 pucks. Foremost, when you get the puck in there, youve got to come up with it and win battles.

That is just upon yourself to make it happen. Its not a system thing. And then, when you get the puck, you make stuff happen, get some movement and running around a bit and the Canucks get tired out. But youve got to start with the puck. Offensive zone time is important.

RATTO: Three keys to Sharks-Vancouver Game 2

Vancouver had far more offensive zone time in Game 1 -- pinning the Sharks into their own end and generating better scoring chances on goalie Antti Niemi than San Jose did on the Canucks Roberto Luongo.

It was a stark contrast to how the Sharks looked in the Detroit series. McLellan said he wants to see more from Logan Coutures line with Clowe and Dany Heatley.

Its very simple, Sharks captain Joe Thornton said at todays morning skate. Just bang bodies and be more physical.

And get on the forecheck.

Puck placement, McLellan said. Mentally we weren't very strong. We didn't give ourselves an opportunity to forecheck. They're a very mobile group on the back end. They have the ability to break out.

You certainly make it a lot easier on them when the retrievals are in spots where they can get to them efficiently, get their eyes up and get going. In turn, that makes it tough on us because we expend a lot of energy for nothing.

Devin Setoguchi said its not hard to do if youre skating and not lolly-gagging out there.

We need to move our feet, he said. Vancouver is such a quick team. They can skate. If we arent moving our feet and skating with them, its pretty evident out there that theyre taking over the game.

Moving our feet leads to other things, like being physical and getting in on the forecheck, having back pressure and creating chances.

Clowe blamed himself for not generating the energy the line needed. If hes not moving his skates, he said, then his line isnt going to feed off it and the result is a flat, sluggish performance in every phase.

We obviously have big forwards, Clowe said. It is definitely part of my game -- establish a physical presence, whether it's finishing a hit, protecting the puck or getting to the net. Whatever it may be.

Last game was one of those games where it was tough to get sustained time or get some momentum going. It wasnt like Detroit where we had them pinned in 5-to-7 minutes or 10 minutes at a time when you can you roll over.

We didnt have that kind of momentum. A lot of it has to do with wearing people down. Puck possession is part of my game. We got a lot of forwards 220-pounds plus to do that.

Vancouver defenseman Dan Hamhuis expects to see a different Sharks team on the ice tonight at Rogers Arena.

Well, they have a really good group of forwards, a lot of speed, he said. It was tough in Game 1. We expect it to be tougher again here in Game 2. It's just a matter of us getting back as quick as we can, communicating, trying to get the puck up to our forwards as quick as possible.

Henrik Sedin felt the Canucks were partly responsible for the Sharks looking sluggish.

If we have all our guys playing the way we want to, it's tough to stop us, he said. We usually create turnovers at lines, we go the other way. That makes you tired.

Win tonight, and the Sharks have new life.

You leave a game and youre happy if you got a split, Clowe said. That is what every road team tries to do.

More important for us is to have a game where we feel good about ourselves. Play the game, see what happens. Put it on the ice. We didnt feel that way last game.

Thornton vs. Kesler, Part II: If it wasnt already clear by now, Ryan Kesler reiterated at the morning skate that he is not going to fight Joe Thornton in this series.

I dont fight in the playoffs, Kesler said.

Will there be a second challenge, Joe?

No, no, maybe Devin wants to; maybe Kesler will fight somebody else, Thornton said.

Asked about Keslers pronouncement that he will not fight in the playoffs, Big Joe responded, Im shocked. Very shocked.

Couture was asked if he would fight Kesler.

Im not the toughest guy out there, Couture said. I didnt even know Jumbo asked him to go. I turned on TSN and its on 20 times in a row. Im gonna say, no just like Kesler.

Tambellini in: Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault is going to add more speed to the lineup for Game 2 by plugging Jeff Tambellini into Tanner Glasss spot.

That one move makes the fastest club in the NHL that much faster, and the Sharks know it.

That kid can skate, Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said. Hes fast. Its about us playing to our strengths and I dont think is going to change anything.

Demers still out: Defenseman Jason Demers, who has what McLellan calls bumps and bruises, is not expected to play. He missed Game 1.

Demers did not skate today but most of his teammates did, which is a good indication he wont play.
Tim Panaccio is the NHL Insider for E-mail him at

Ex-Warrior rips Thunder for not defending Westbrook after Pachulia incident

Ex-Warrior rips Thunder for not defending Westbrook after Pachulia incident

Late in the first half of Wednesday night's game against the Thunder, Warriors center Zaza Pachulia made hard contact with Russell Westbrook, sending the Oklahoma City star sprawling to the ground.

The referees reviewed the play and gave Pachulia a flagrant foul.

Replays show Pachulia appearing to stand over Westbrook and none of his Thunder teammates coming to his defense.

Raja Bell, a 12-year NBA veteran who was briefly a Warrior during the 2009-10 season, was not happy with the reaction of the Thunder players.

"You are supposed to come flying across the court. You don't have to punch him, because that's a lot of money. But he should catch a forearm across his shoulder, a shove in the back, you ain't gonna knock down Russell Westbrook, the everything to the team I'm playing on, who feeds me, who makes me better, you ain't gonna do that and just stand over him and ice grill him. Not a chance," Bell said on Thursday during the NBA Crossover show on CBS Sports.

The incident started a war of words between Westbrook a Pachulia following the game.

"I don't know. He hit me kind of hard. But it's alright. I'm going to get his ass back. Straight up," Westbrook said when asked about what happened on the play.

He was then asked if he noticed Pachulia standing over him.

"I didn't see that until just now, but I don't play that game. I'm going to get his ass back. Whenever that is, I don't know, but I don't play that game," Westbrook said.

Pachulia responded to Westbrook's comments moments later.

"I can't worry about that kind of comment. I'm part of an amazing team and we have a great goal of winning a championship. I'm all in with my energy, 100 percent. So we're thinking about this team, staying healthy, moving forward, getting better, getting to the playoffs and playing for the championship. That's what I'm thinking about. I'm not thinking about those kind of comments.

"That team is not there, so they may be thinking about other stuff like getting me back. Okay, you can get me back. But again, it's my 14th year, we all know what my game is, to play hard, not dirty. If it was a hard foul, it was a hard foul. It wasn't dirty at all. I'm not worried about this," Pachulia told the media.

Reports: Ex-A's catcher Suzuki agrees to deal with NL East team

Reports: Ex-A's catcher Suzuki agrees to deal with NL East team

Kurt Suzuki is headed back to the National League.

After three seasons in the American League with the Twins, the former A's backstop has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Braves.

News of the agreement was first reported by SB Nation.

Suzuki will reportedly make $1.5 million, according to Fox Sports. He has a chance to make an addition $2.5 million in incentives.

The 33-year-old Suzuki was drafted by the A's in the second round of 2004 MLB Draft. He made his debut with Oakland in 2007 and was the starting catcher until a 2012 trade to Washington. A year later, the Nationals traded Suzuki back to the A's for the final five weeks of the season.

Prior to the 2014 season, Suzuki signed with Twins. In three seasons with Minnesota, Suzuki hit .263/.316/.364 with 75 doubles, 16 home runs and 160 RBI.

Suzuki will likely serve as a back-up to catcher Tyler Flowers.