Sharks top Coyotes behind Couture's two goals


Sharks top Coyotes behind Couture's two goals

March 26, 2011

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Logan Couture made another big push in his bid for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie - at the Phoenix Coyotes' expense.Couture scored twice, reaching 30 goals to pad his San Jose rookie record, and added an assist in the Sharks' 4-1 victory over the Coyotes on Saturday night."We noticed (Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov) was not seeing the puck all that well, so just fired on net," Couture said. "(Bryzgalov) is one of the best in the league, but with the kind of night he was having, we wanted to put as many pucks on net as possible."Antti Niemi made 25 saves for his 31st victory of the season to help the Sharks open a four-point lead over the Coyotes for the top spot in the Pacific Division. Since Jan. 15, Niemi is 22-4-4.San Jose coach Todd McLellan recognized Couture's contribution, and his increasing value to the team."Logan has been a catalyst, and at times, carried this team," McLellan said. "He has given contributions from everywhere, from scoring, to winning faceoffs and penalty killing. For Logan to reach 30 goals is a great reward for a heck of a good season to this point."Joe Pavelski and Ryane Clowe also scored for San Jose, 6-1-3 in its last 10 games.Mikkel Boedker scored for the Coyotes. The loss was only Phoenix's second in its last 11 games.As strong as Bryzgalov has been recently in goal, he failed to handle several shots. Three of the four goals came off rebounds.Couture later picked his up his second of the game on a shot from the blue line that eluded Bryzgalov at 12:13 of the final period.For the third game in a row, Phoenix started slowly, managing only two shots on Niemi in the first 13 minutes, and just five in the opening period."I'm disappointed because we didn't leave everything on the ice," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "I didn't see enough desperation in this game."The Coyotes paid for their slow start, and the sloppy play from Bryzgalov.Early in the opening period, Bryzgalov failed to cover Clowe's shot in front and Couture converted the loose puck just over 5 minutes into the game.The Coyotes quickly responded. Derek Morris' one-timer was deflected in front to Boedker, who slid the puck to the right of Niemi for his fourth of the season at 6:23 of the opening period.The Sharks regained the lead on another rebound left by Bryzgalov.Following a 2-on-1 with Joe Thornton and Pavelski, Bryzgalov couldn't handle Thornton's wrist shot and Pavelski backhanded in the rebound at 3:35 of the second period.Then, Clowe drove in his 24th of the season from a rebound in front when Bryzgalov failed to handle Devin Setoguchi's drive with just over 5 minutes remaining in the middle period."We weren't good enough in any area," said Coyotes captain Shane Doan. "They kind of controlled play and we have to be better than what we showed, and we know that."NOTES: The Coyotes scratched forwards Vernon Fiddler, Martin Hanzal and Lauri Korpikoski and recalled forward Ryan Hollweg from San Antonio. ... Morris' first-period assist was his 300th in the NHL.

Norton: Raiders 'have the right people,' scheme; execution lacking

Norton: Raiders 'have the right people,' scheme; execution lacking

ALAMEDA – Ken Norton Jr.’s defense hasn’t been good all season. It’s only been a hindrance twice in six weeks, allowing the Raiders to brush it under the rug while compiling a 4-2 record.

The Raiders were exposed in Sunday’s 26-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, leaving many to wonder whether this defense has fatal flaws.

The team’s defensive coordinator believes these problems can be fixed without a radical reconstruction.

Norton trusts his scheme. He believes in his personnel. He has faith there are better times ahead.

“It depends on what you believe in,” Norton said before Thursday’s practice. “If you believe in the players, you believe in the coaches and believe in yourself…

“Obviously you’d like the stats to be better. But we are 4-2, in a good place record-wise. The stats need to be better. We need to continue to understand who we are, what we are and get better at what we’re doing.”

“We have the right people. It’s just a matter of getting it done on game day.”

Coaches have cited eye violations (a.k.a misreads) as communication issues reasons why the Raiders give up chunk yards. Their 6.9 yards per play allowed is the league’s worst.

Edge rusher and team captain Khalil Mack said opponents are challenged the Raiders defensive discipline. Misdirection, bootlegs, wacky formations and the like have given the Raiders fits, and will continue to do so until they repair what’s broken.

“It’s all about discipline,” Norton said. “It’s all about angles. It’s all about leverage and tackling and the fundamentals of the game and getting down to the nitty gritty of playing smart and sharp. It’s the ultimate team game. …Everybody’s connected to a successful play. That play has to be successful consistently over a period of 70 plays. Everybody’s watching every single play, so you need consistency and have guys playing together. It will pick up.”

Communication is the latest buzz word attached to defensive miscues. Norton said it’s been corrected, just not consistently enough.

“It’s been fixed, but it will come up some times, at the worst times,” Norton said. “We are continually practicing. There are 16 games, and you need to be obsessed with improvement, and we are. Guys care a lot. They show up early and stay late. The communication, the playmaking, the coaching, all of it will continue to improve.

“Everybody wants to talk about communication but it’s guys consistently playing well over a duration of a game. You have to be sharp.”

The Raiders have used different coverage schemes at times this season and made two lineup changes – it’s also possible Perry Riley starts at middle linebacker this week – to no avail.

“You see things going wrong with missed tackles or balls going over our head, the little things and details need to get taken care of,” Norton said. “There aren’t a lot of differences between us and the good defenses, but they make a lot of plays they’re supposed to make.

“We have the right people. It’s just a matter of getting it done on game day.”

Report: Hawks release former Warriors point guard

Report: Hawks release former Warriors point guard

Jarrett Jack is reportedly looking for a new team.

The Hawks waived the veteran point guard on Thursday, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Jack signed with Atlanta in July after he was released by the Nets in late June.

The soon-to-be 33-year old appeared in 79 games for the Warriors during the 2012-13 season, averaging 12.9 points and 5.6 assists over 29.7 minutes per contest.

He was even better in the 2013 playoffs, racking up 17.2 points and 4.7 assists in 12 games.

Jack made 32 appearances last year before he tore the ACL in his right knee in early January.

He was the 22nd overall pick in the 2005 draft.