Sharks trade Setoguchi, 28th pick to Wild


Sharks trade Setoguchi, 28th pick to Wild

Ryan O'Halloran

ST. PAUL, Minn. Sharks general manager Doug Wilson let the hockey world know Friday that making the Western Conference finals two consecutive years is not enough.

Scheduled to select 28th overall in the first round of the NHL Draft at Xcel Energy Center, Wilson pulled off the blockbuster deal of the night, acquiring defenseman Brent Burns from the Minnesota Wild in a three-player, two-draft pick trade.

Coming to San Jose is Burns and a 2012 second-round pick and going to Minnesota is forward Devin Setoguchi (who signed a three-year, 9 million pact on Thursday), 2010 first-round pick Charlie Coyle and their first round pick in this draft.

Its a very important window for us with the ages of our guys, Wilson said. Weve had back-to-back years in the final four and were not satisfied. We feel this makes us a better team today.

NEWS: Sharks sign Setoguchi to three-year deal

The Sharks entered the off-season knowing they needed an infusion of youth and talent along the blue line and they feel Burns fills the need hes young (25), big (6-foot-5, 219 pounds) and has offensive skill (46 points last year).

Burns will make 4 million in the final year of his contract.

When you dont win, you make changes; the Bruins won and will make changes thats the way the business is set up, coach Todd McLellan said. The past few years, we felt we were maybe not as strong on the blue line as we needed to be when all was said and done.

Said Wilson: I might be biased but defenseman is the most important position on the team.

When commissioner Gary Bettman announced the trade, Wild fans reacted with equal parts gasps, cheers and boos. Burns played all 453 games of his NHL career in Minnesota.

RATTO: Sharks get their top-class defenseman

Wilson said the trade didnt come out of nowhere, but the consummation of the deal came together very quickly today. He was engaged in talks with Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher throughout the day.

There arent many players that have his size and skating ability and skill set and when they do, and a team lets you know theyre available, you have to act quickly, Wilson said.

Burns transition to the Sharks should be made more seamless since hes been coached by McLellan and assistant coach Matt Shaw.

Weve had the opportunity to be around him as he developed and there are a number of really good qualities, McLellan said. One, he played for Jacques Lemaire and he does understand the defensive game. Theres a strong game there. Two, hes a very passionate player. He has an energy about him. And the third thing, for his size, is he moves around the ice well.

I dont think hes come near his potential. I say that at both ends of the rink. I think he can be better defensively and offensively. Its exciting to have him. I hope hes going to be excited about a fresh start.

The Wild hope Setoguchi sparks an offense that had the fewest shots on goal in the NHL last year. He has three straight 20-goal seasons and was traded a day after signing his deal. Wilson said he wasnt re-signed with the intention of immediately flipping him to Minnesota.

The signing of Devin was not based on this deal, it was based on how we feel about him as a player, Wilson said. Hes a very tough player to give up but you do have to give to get this type of player.

Said McLellan: Devin is a tremendous player and the Wild will be happy with him. He has a speed element and a shot and scoring potential and hes probably in the same range of Burns in his development there is uncapped potential that may come out in the future.

The draft wraps up Saturday and San Jose has five picks.

There are some players our guys have evaluated, Wilson said. We may pick up a couple more picks between now and then. We have to make sure we keep on replenishing our pipeline.

As expected, Edmonton chose center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins first overall, making him the first native of British Columbia to go No. 1. He joins youngsters Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle as the core of the Oilers rebuilding effort.

Its a huge relief and it feels awesome to be picked by them, Nugent-Hopkins said. I can definitely learn a lot from the all the young guys. They have such a talented group of young guys, too. Its going to be great to join that group.

Colorado, hours after trading veteran defenseman John-Michael Liles to Toronto, bypassed Swedish blue-liner Adam Larsson for another Swede Gabriel Landeskog, who could be in the Avalanche lineup as soon as this year.

Rounding out the top five were Jonathan Huberdeau to Florida, Adam Larsson to New Jersey and Ryan Strome to the Islanders.

The first reach was by the new Winnipeg Jets, who formally announced their newold nickname before making the pick. The choice was center Mark Scheifele, who was ranked No. 16 among North American skaters by Central Scouting.

Following a run of six defensemen in seven picks, the Rangers at No. 15 chose the first American winger J.T. Miller. He was also a reach (ranked No. 23).

Instant Replay: Cousins, Kings cruise in opener vs Suns


Instant Replay: Cousins, Kings cruise in opener vs Suns


The Sacramento Kings rolled into Phoenix’s Talking Stick Resort Arena and blew away the Suns on Wednesday night by a final of 113-94. The young upstart Suns tried to make a game out of it in the early fourth quarter, but Sacramento turned to their veterans who delivered down the stretch.

DeMarcus Cousins got into foul trouble early, but still found a way to drop in 24 points and grab six rebounds in 24 minutes manning the middle. Once he was in the flow of the defense, Cousins came to the aid of his teammates, stepping in and cutting off the baseline on multiple possessions.

Like Cousins, Rudy Gay didn’t look great early, but he still managed to score 22 points in the win. There was a sequence in the third quarter when Gay came alive on the defensive end, blocking back-to-back shots on the same defensive possession..

Starting for Darren Collison, Ty Lawson ran the offense better than expected, posting nine points, six rebounds and seven assists in 35 minutes of action.

Garrett Temple filled in as the reserve point guard spot and added 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting.

Matt Barnes provided a spark off the bench, tossing in 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds.

Eleven of 12 players that stepped on the floor for Sacramento scored and nine players players dropped in six points or more in the win.  

Eric Bledsoe had a nice night for the Suns, scoring 16 points on 5-for-11 shooting with five assists. T.J. Warren chipped in 14 points and five rebounds while playing solid defense on Gay early. Devin Booker added 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting, but he missed all three of his long range shots.  

STANDOUT PERFORMER -- Cousins couldn’t set the tempo early, but when he got it rolling in the third quarter, it was lights out for the Suns. There are plenty of nights that Cousins will be asked to do more, but with a big lead, the Kings didn’t need a typical showing from their All-Star center.

TURNING POINT -- Sacramento finished the first half on a 16-1 run and took a 57-38 lead into the intermission. The Suns kept it within 20 for most of the night and even made a run at the end of third, but the game was decided in the few minutes leading to the intermission.

INJURY UPDATE -- Sacramento enters the season with a full roster of healthy bodies. Matt Barnes struggled with a rib injury during camp, but played a big 27 minutes for the Kings  in the opener.

WHAT'S NEXT -- The Kings return home from Phoenix following the game where the the San Antonio Spurs are waiting for them. Thursday night’s home opener marks the first official game in the new Golden 1 Center as the Kings look to improve to 2-0 on the season.

In first game without Durant, Westbrook's monster night lifts OKC to win

In first game without Durant, Westbrook's monster night lifts OKC to win


PHILADELPHIA -- Russell Westbrook had 32 points, 12 rebounds and took over late to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 103-97 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.

Westbrook scored the decisive points on opening night for the Thunder in their first game since franchise star Kevin Durantleft in free agency and signed with the Golden State Warriors.

Joel Embiid scored 20 points in 22 minutes in his first game for the Sixers since they made him the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft. Embiid had sat out the last two seasons with foot injuries. He received a roaring ovation when he was introduced and fans went wild on every shot.

The 76ers had a tripleheader of image faux pas on opening night: The scheduled anthem singer says she was booted because she wanted to wear a "We Matter" jersey; a fan was kicked out for extending two middle fingers at Westbrook; and halftime singer Desiigner was booed off the court for a shirtless performance where he dropped his pants to his ankles.

Westbrook and Embiid swapped jumpers that tied the game 97-all. Westbrook sank two free throws with 35 seconds left for a 99-97 lead in front of a raucous crowd. Enes Kanter silenced them for good and sent them toward the exits with a putback layup after the Sixers missed a shot on the other end.

Yes, it was another loss for the Sixers, but one that came with a 7-foot-2 asterisk.

Embiid's performance largely stole the show from the opening-night shenanigans that otherwise tarnished the night.

Sixers fans who had been waiting to cheer for Embiid for more than two years went wild every time he touched the ball. A group of fans held a sign that read, "In Embiid We Trust."

The Sixers just might prove they made the right decision to trust in Embiid.

The crowd of nearly 20,000 fans erupted when the "7-foot-2 center from Kansas, Joooooel, Embiiiiid" was introduced during game introductions. They stood and gasped when Embiid attempted his first shot of the game - a missed 3-pointer.

He grabbed a defensive rebound, pushed the ball up the floor and it helped lead to an alley-oop to fellow newcomer Gerald Henderson. He had a nifty spin in the post and a bucket for a quick 10-2 lead.

The Sixers, yes, the 10-72 Sixers, at last had a dose of good news.

Coach Brett Brown said he would limit Embiid to four, 5-minute spurts and the center spent at least one game break in the locker room on an exercise bike to stay loose.

Embiid starred on a nationally televised performance and gave a teasing glimpse that he just may be the franchise cornerstone player that can help shift the franchise toward respectability.

Westbrook, now The Man in OKC, refused to cede the spotlight entirely to Embiid. He scored 12 points in the first quarter and 22 through three to keep the Thunder within striking distance entering the fourth.

He closed the game with the jumper and free throws and showed life without Durant might not be so bad for the Thunder.


Thunder: Coach Billy Donovan said the Thunder will win without Durant, just "do it in a different way." "It will be a constant process throughout the season to get everyone to understand." ... Donovan said Westbrook can't try and play as a one-man show or else "it's just going to wear him out."

76ers: Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard rang the ceremonial opening bell. ... UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez was at the game. ... Fans chanted "Trust The Process" when Embiid was at the free-throw line. The catchphrase became a rallying cry under former team president Sam Hinkie.


Philadelphia 76ers national anthem singer Sevyn Streeter says she was told by the team she could not perform because of her "We Matter" jersey. Streeter wrote on Twitter, "Was suppose to sing the anthem at (at)sixers & (at)okcthunder game but mins b4 (at)sixers said I couldn't because I was wearing a "We Matter" jersey.


The Sixers ejected a portly fan in an Allen Iverson jersey who directed both middle fingers toward Westbrook from his courtside seat. The fan raised his arms in triumph and high-fived fans as he was escorted out of the arena.


Rapper Desiigner was booed off the court for a halftime performance where he ripped off his shirt and left with his jeans down to his ankles and his boxers exposed.


No. 1 overall draft pick Ben Simmons says there is no timetable for his return to the Sixers from a broken bone in his right foot. He said he has not discussed the possibility of sitting out the season.

"I'll come back when I'm ready," Simmons said.


Thunder: Host Phoenix on Friday in their home opener.

76ers: Host Atlanta on Saturday. They open with three straight and five of their first six at home.