Sharks clinch Pacific with 6-1 killing of Kings


Sharks clinch Pacific with 6-1 killing of Kings

April 4, 2011

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) There was little celebrating for the San Jose Sharks after another convincing clincher as they know they still have so much more to accomplish to make this season truly a success.Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist to give him 999 career points and help the Sharks clinch their fourth straight Pacific Division title with a 6-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night."We have a pretty darned good division, so it's a feather in your cap," Thornton said. "But we still have some work to do. We're still fighting to get that second seed. But it's a good step for us."Kyle Wellwood added a goal and two assists, and defensemen Dan Boyle and Marc-Edouard Vlasic also scored for the Sharks, who won for the eighth time in nine games. Joe Pavelski and Devin Setoguchi also scored as San Jose moved one point past Detroit for second place in the Western Conference with 103 points with three games remaining.Michal Handzus scored the lone goal for the Kings, who lost for the second time in seven games and missed a chance to clinch a playoff berth. Los Angeles remained tied for fourth in the West with Phoenix with three games remaining and can clinch the playoffs with either a win or a Dallas loss."They came ready to play and we didn't," defenseman Matt Greene said. "It's a good lesson late in the year that you are never as good as you think you are. Especially if you going to give a good team the opportunity to beat you like we did tonight. We weren't up to par or anywhere close to where we need to be to get into the postseason."Jonathan Quick was knocked out early in the second period after allowing four goals on 16 shots and Jonathan Bernier didn't fare much better as the Kings allowed six goals for the second time in three games in San Jose this season.Four nights after clinching the playoffs with a 6-0 victory over Dallas, the Sharks put together another lopsided win to wrap up the division."It seemed like we had a little more jump tonight than they did and were able to capitalize," Wellwood said.This title was particularly notable considering San Jose was in last place in the Pacific following a six-game losing streak in January. But the Sharks have won 26 of 34 games since then and are headed into the playoffs playing their best hockey as they hope this is the year they can final make it to the Stanley Cup.There was little doubt in this game, with the Sharks striking first just 1:47 into the contest after Alec Martinez was unable to clear the puck out of the defensive zone after a faceoff. Torrey Mitchell stopped the puck along the boards and fired a shot that Quick blocked. Pavelski took the rebound in the slot and converted his 19th goal just 1:47 into the game.The Sharks added another just a few minutes later when Vlasic beat Quick with a wrist shot following a cross-ice pass from Wellwood for his fourth goal of the season.The Kings briefly appeared to get back into the game when Handzus knocked a rebound past Antti Niemi less than 2 minutes into the second period. But San Jose responded just 22 seconds later when Wellwood tipped a point shot by Vlasic in for his fifth goal."That's happened a lot to us this year. Giving up a goal after we score one, those are momentum goals," Kings forward Dustin Brown said. "We never recovered from that goal."The rout was soon on with Thornton springing Boyle loose with a cross-ice pass that made it 4-1 and ended Quick's night just 5:33 into the second period.Thornton's rebound goal midway through the period gave him his 999th career point as he looks to close in on the milestone before the end of the regular season.The biggest excitement in the third period came when Douglas Murray and Boyle squared off with Los Angeles' Kyle Clifford and Brad Richardson in a pair of fights with 2:50 remaining. Boyle jumped into the fray to help out his defensive partner and completed his "Gordie Howe" hat trick of a goal, assist and fight."I turned around and saw two guys hitting at Dougie," Boyle said. "I know he could probably take two guys any day of the week, but I just wanted to go in there and help him out like he's been doing for me all year."NOTES: The Sharks have outscored their opponents 43-18 over the last nine games. ... Thornton has 11 straight seasons with at least 20 goals, one behind Jarome Iginla for the longest active streak. ... Sharks F Ryane Clowe left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. ... Monday was the 35th anniversary of the final game ever for the Bay Area's first NHL team, the California Golden Seals, who beat the Kings 5-2 in Oakland.

Bill Murray to conduct seventh-inning stretch in Game 3 of World Series


Bill Murray to conduct seventh-inning stretch in Game 3 of World Series

For the first time since 1945, Wrigley Field will play host to a World Series game.

As the Cubs welcome the Cleveland Indians into town this weekend for Games' 3, 4 and 5 of the Fall Classic, several celebrities and Cubs legends will be in attendance.

The Cubs announced on Friday that actor and comedian Bill Murray, who has been a staple at Cubs games this postseason, will conduct the 7th inning stretch during Game 3.

This won't be Murray's first rodeo singing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" at Wrigley Field.


Del Rio encourages Raiders fans to take over in Tampa

Del Rio encourages Raiders fans to take over in Tampa

TAMPA, Fla – Raiders fans are a migratory bunch. While the Bay Area remains its largest stronghold, the franchise has supporters across the country and will attract large crowds in opposing cities.

That’s logical in destination cities like New Orleans and Nashville, but they’ve had solid turnouts in less attractive destinations like Baltimore and Jacksonville.

Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter hopes that doesn’t happen Sunday when the Raiders invade Tampa Bay. Both teams sport similar mascots, and he doesn’t want Raider Nation feeling comfortable on the Raymond James Stadium pirate ship.

“Let’s keep those Raiders jerseys out of the lower bowl,” Koetter said after beating San Francisco in Santa Clara last week. “Let’s get some Bucs jerseys in there. Let’s rock that place next week.”

Koetter knows Raiders fans travel well, and imploring season ticket holders to hold onto their seats is a reaction to recent games where visiting fans have turned out in droves.

“Every place you play on the road is different, as far as how hard it is to play there and how hard it is to hear there,” Koetter said. “We’re not fooling anybody that some teams travel a lot better than others. Players notice, coaches notice. That’s the truth. And I’m 1,000-percent aware that the more you win, the better it gets. But with that said, do we have a home-field advantage? That’s our job to create it.”

The Buccaneers haven’t rewarded paying customers recently. They’re 3-15 at home since the start of 2014 and have lost both home games this season. Visiting fans can often get tickets easier without a good product on the field, especially in a market without strong roots.

“When you can’t hear, it’s rough,” Koetter said. “When you have to do everything silent cadence, everything hand signals, you can’t hear yourself think. Compared to if you’ve got to go to silent cadence in your own stadium.”

Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio wouldn’t mind that one bit. Raiders fans have been heard in all four road games thus far. It’s uncertain how big the visiting crowd will be, but Raiders fans have enjoying cheering on a winner in 2016.

“They’re a big presence,” Del Rio said after Friday’s practice. “We really appreciate their support. They do a tremendous job. Our fans travel. Wherever we’ve been thus far, they’ve been there in large numbers and I think it’ll be the same (on Sunday). Come on out, Raider Nation. We’re excited about it.”