Sharks stifled in shootout loss to Rangers

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Sharks stifled in shootout loss to Rangers

March 12, 2011

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) The New York Rangers are finally starting to take advantage of opportunities to move up in the Eastern Conference.Brandon Dubinsky scored the winning goal in the sixth round of a shootout, lifting the Rangers to a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night after others teams jostling for playoff positioning lost."I figured there'd be a chance for me and my name would come out of the hat at sometime," Dubinsky said. "It wasn't a pretty game and they had some chances. We have to be sure to win our games that are left and let the rest league figure it out."Wojtek Wolski scored the only other goal in the shootout for the Rangers, who rode 31 saves by Henrik Lundqvist through overtime for a thrilling road win. They are alone in seventh in the Eastern Conference, moving two points ahead of Buffalo and four over ninth-place Carolina after both lost Saturday.
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Wolski extended the shootout to extra rounds when he kept the Rangers alive by scoring in the third, flicking a wrist shot past Antti Niemi's stick and setting the stage for Lundqvist to close it out."I really played my game," Lundqvist said. "We were pretty calm in the third. Their top two lines are really strong, but we had two days to really think about what went wrong the other night in Anaheim. We haven't had a lot of games where were that flat, but tonight we came out really hard and strong. This game was so important for us. We needed the points."The Sharks suddenly can't seem to score in a shootout.Ryane Clowe and Ben Eager each had a goal, and Dan Boyle was the lone San Jose player to beat Lundqvist in the tiebreaker. The Sharks finished a six-game homestand with two consecutive shootout losses after falling to NHL-leading Vancouver on Thursday."We're at the point of the season now where a point isn't good enough," Boyle said. "We had our chances, for sure. You never know if that point could cost us in the end. Hopefully it doesn't."New York closed this one in dramatic fashion, too.Lundqvist had a series of saves in the final minute of the third period and overtime, and he didn't disappoint in the shootout. He allowed only Boyle's backhanded wrister to get by him. He lost his goalie stick and flung his arms in the air in frustration afterward.He was flawless from there, giving Dubinsky the chance to zip a wrister past Niemi's stick as he tried to cover the net, touching off a celebrating at center ice. The Rangers played physical throughout, much like a team trying to make a playoff push, and far different from a lackluster 5-2 loss at Anaheim on Wednesday.New York needed every bit of effort to pull out this win.Clowe gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead in the first period on a slap shot from the right side, a drive that deflected off Rangers defenseman Marc Staal and got past Lundqvist's glove for a power-play goal. Clowe tied his career high with his 22nd goal, matching his total of the 2008-09 season.Seconds later, Logan Couture was called for goaltender interference on Lundqvist, setting off a 10-man scrum with a series of pushes and punches that went unpenalized. San Jose killed off the power play, but Erik Christensen took a pass from Vinny Prospal behind the net a few minutes later and beat Niemi stick side to tie it.The end-to-end action never relented.After Clowe shattered his stick in a scramble for the puck, Michael Sauer sent a slap shot past Clowe's defenseless body and into the back of the net to put New York ahead 2-1. The Rangers almost took a two-goal advantage when Derek Stepan slipped the puck through Niemi's legs, but Justin Braun swooped in to swipe the puck away just before it crossed the goal line.That save swung the momentum back to the Sharks, who pushed up ice and peppered shots at Lundqvist. They sneaked one through to make it 2-2 moments later, when Eager redirected Torrey Mitchell's shot for a goal.Niemi got a boost from his defense that held the Rangers to only five shots in the third period and overtime. He finished with 20 saves before the shootout, and still wasn't the better goalie on this night."It's a little bit of frustration after we played so well in the third period," Sharks coach Scott McLellan said. "The will and the desire is there. We just couldn't put it past Lundqvist late."Notes: Noted agitator Sean Avery was scratched from New York's lineup for the first time this season. ... In an odd bit of scheduling, the Rangers played only two games on their West Coast trip. They will return home to face the New York Islanders on Tuesday. ... A moment of silence was held before the game for victims of the tsunami and earthquakes in Japan.

Former 49ers head coach Tomsula named Washington's defensive line coach

Former 49ers head coach Tomsula named Washington's defensive line coach

ASHBURN, Va. — Washington turned to internal candidates to fill two critical vacancies, promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator and Greg Manusky to defensive coordinator.

Cavanaugh was the team's quarterbacks coach and Manusky its outside linebackers coach last season. Washington announced the promotions Monday along with the hires of Kevin O'Connell as quarterbacks coach and Jim Tomsula as defensive line coach.

It has been an offseason of upheaval for the coaching staff after Washington fired defensive coordinator Joe Barry and a few assistants and offensive coordinator Sean McVay left to become head coach of the Los Angeles Rams.

In its efforts to replace Barry after ranking 28th defensively in consecutive seasons, Washington interviewed former Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, former Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine and former Buffalo Bills assistant Rob Ryan before opting for Manusky. The 50-year-old Manusky has been defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers and 49ers and worked with Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan in San Francisco.

Known for his fiery personality and booming voice on the practice fields, Manusky had only been on coach Jay Gruden's staff for one season as outside linebackers coach. Middle linebacker Will Compton tweeted: "Congrats to Coach Manusky!" when players were informed of his promotion.

Cavanaugh was Washington's quarterbacks coach for the past two years as Kirk Cousins twice set the franchise record for passing yards in a season. Cousins' status for 2017 remains in doubt after playing last season on the franchise tag, but with McVay gone he'll have a familiar face as his offensive coordinator.

After 13 NFL seasons as a backup quarterback, the 60-year-old Cavanaugh was offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears from 1997-98 and Baltimore Ravens from 1999-2004. O'Connell, Washington's new quarterbacks coach, was an assistant in San Francisco under Chip Kelly last season.

Tomsula, who replaces Robb Akey as defensive line coach, also most recently worked with the 49ers as their head coach in 2015.

Spring training to be slightly shortened starting in 2018

Spring training to be slightly shortened starting in 2018

NEW YORK -- For everyone who thinks spring training is too long, help is on the way - a little, anyway.

Spring training will be shortened by two days starting in 2018, when new restrictions in Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement take effect on game times for regular-season getaway days.

The voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players will be 43 days before the major league opener instead of 45, according to a copy of the agreement obtained by The Associated Press. For other players, the date will be 38 days ahead instead of 40.

The change was tied to spreading each team's 162 regular-season games over 187 days, up from 183.

Players' association Assistant General Counsel Matt Nussbaum said the union's goal was to create more days off during the season "in a way that doesn't just chew up offseason days."

"We have heard for years and I'm sure we will continue to hear that spring training is too long, that guys are really ready to go well before opening day, but I think what the commissioner's office would tell you is that there are big challenges for the clubs in substantially shortening spring training because they have various commitments to put on a certain number of games," he said Monday.

Late arrival times ahead of regular-season series openers also were addressed.

Starting in 2018, the latest possible start time on getaway days when either team is traveling to a game in another city the next day or a home off day will be calculated by subtracting the time of the flight over 2½ hours from 7 p.m.

There are cutouts for Sunday night games broadcast by ESPN and games after June 1 at Texas' current home ballpark - where the Rangers avoid afternoons for much of the season because of the heat.

Another new rule for 2018 says no game in the original schedule may be set for before 5 p.m. when a team played the previous night in another city starting 7 p.m. or later. There are exceptions involving flights of 90 minutes or less for home openers and holiday weekends. Current cutouts are carried over for up to six exceptions each season at Chicago's Wrigley Field and rescheduled games involving flights of 90 minutes or less.

"We fully recognize that our players play a very demanding schedule, and we're always looking for ways to ease the burden on players while at the same time scheduling games at a convenient time for our fans to watch them," MLB Chief Legal Officer Dan Halem said.

Sunday night games on holiday weekends followed by afternoon games still seem likely to occur.

"We have contracts with various national broadcast partners that limit our ability to schedule day games in certain instances," Halem said.

Nussbaum said if the players had their way, there would be "a flat rule that says all getaway games are day games" but understand why that would cause difficulty for teams.

"There's still going to be some challenges in the schedule," he said, "but we think what we've done with these two prongs is pare back the most egregious of the travel."

As part of the agreement, one game in the major leagues may be scheduled each year on the Thursday after the All-Star Game starting in 2018.