49ers Notes: Goodwin not worried about fumbles

kaepernick_colin_fumble.jpg

49ers Notes: Goodwin not worried about fumbles

SANTA CLARA – As Colin Kaepernick casually strolled through the 49ers’ locker room, he couldn’t help but notice a sizeable media contingent around center Jonathan Goodwin.

“Don’t hassle Goodie about it, it was my fault,” Kaepernick said.

A smiling Goodwin replied, “50/50, husband and wife. Of course, he’s the wife.”

Fortunately, they could now laugh about the trouble they were having with the football in Sunday’s win in New England. Kaepernick fumbled the ball four times while trying to handle the snap from Goodwin, including twice in the first quarter and another on the first play of the second quarter.

Goodwin didn’t seem too concerned that it will be a recurring problem, though, for a couple of reasons.

“The fact that the latter part of the game we tried something different and we didn’t have any problems, and we hadn’t had any problems in regular weather, I don’t think it’s something that’s going to concern us,” said the 11-year pro.

Inclement weather is always a possibility in the Pacific Northwest this time of year, so Goodwin expects he and his new quarterback may spend a little more time handing off the ball in practice this week. The early forecast for Sunday in Seattle, according to weather.com, is cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain.

“I haven't checked the forecast, but if rain is in the picture, it's definitely something that we need to work on,” Goodwin said.

* * *

Although Kaepernick was having trouble with the ball, the young QB showed poise beyond his years late in the game after New England's furious comeback, according to tight end Vernon Davis.

On the first play from scrimmage following the Patriots’ game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter, Kaepernick found Michael Crabtree for a 38-yard score, giving the 49ers a lead they would not relinquish.

“He had just this will-to-win attitude. His demeanor was just, like, on another level,” Davis said of Kaepernick. “His mind was clear. He was ready to win, he was talking, he was getting guys in the huddle, telling guys to run back and get lined up. He was just a complete champion in that game. That’s what we expect him to be.”

Still, Davis admitted that he has yet to find the personal chemistry with Kaepernick as he had with Alex Smith. After reeling in six catches for 83 yards in Kaepernick’s first start against the Bears on Nov. 19, Davis has just four catches for 29 yards in the last four games combined.

On Sunday in New England, Davis was targeted three times including a pair of deep balls, but finished with just one reception for 10 yards.

“One thing I learned in the beginning when I first got here, everyone was talking about being on the same page as the quarterback, as Alex Smith. You have to develop that chemistry, that bond so you can be on the same page. That’s something me and Kap don’t have right now. We don’t have it. You have to expect that, because he just stepped in.

“Me and Alex, we’ve been here. It took some time for me and Alex to get like that. In the beginning, Alex would overthrow me, he would underthrow me. We had to build that chemistry that he could trust that I’m going in that spot that I needed to be. That’s something that me and Kap don’t have right now, but we’re working on it. We started working on it the moment he stepped in. So, we have to build that.”

* * *

Demarcus Dobbs’ season may be over after he was placed on injured reserve last week, but the second-year pro won’t need surgery on his right knee, he said on Tuesday.

“That’s the blessing. No surgery, just rehab, take it easy try to let it go back and do a lot of treatment,” Dobbs said before revealing he had a partial tear of his PCL and MCL.

Primarily a special-teamer, Dobbs had to be carted off of the field in the 49ers’ win over Miami last weekend after covering a kickoff.

“It looked a lot worse and felt a lot worse,” he said. “I thought it was my whole knee, my ACL and everything. I thought the worst of it.”

It’s been a rough go lately for Dobbs. The 25-year-old, who had seven tackles in 12 games this season, was arrested on Nov. 30 for suspicion of drunk driving and possession of marijuana following a single car accident.

* * *

The 49ers (10-3-1) won’t have much time to bask in the glow of Sunday’s thrilling victory over a fellow Super Bowl contender in front of a national audience. Instead, they face what would probably be considered an even more important game against division rival Seattle (9-5) on Sunday.

A win over the Seahawks would clinch the NFC West title and put them one step closer to securing a first round playoff bye, something they would do with victories in their final two games. The Seahawks are a perfect 6-0 at home and have put up at least 50 points in each of the last two weeks in wins against Arizona and Buffalo, winning three in a row overall.

"We've got to move forward,” Frank Gore said. “We can't thrive on what happened last week. We got the win. Now we're looking at Seattle. We know Seattle's playing good ball. They're a good team. We'll be ready."

Running back Anthony Dixon said: “We’ve got to take them serious. We’re not going to underestimate them, and we’re definitely not sleeping on them. We see what they’re doing, but at the same time they see us, too. It’s going to be a clash of the titans. It’s going to be good. It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be physical. But that’s the way we like it. We’re ready.”

While the Seahawks may be perfect at home, San Francisco is 5-0 in primetime matchups, including the 41-34 win over the Pats.

NHL Gameday: Sharks go for fifth straight win in only visit to Colorado

NHL Gameday: Sharks go for fifth straight win in only visit to Colorado

Programming note – Sharks-Avalanche coverage starts today at 6:00 p.m. on NBCSN

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 29-16-2, 60 points, 2nd Pacific Division
Avalanche: 13-29-2, 28 points, 7th Central Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***Tonight’s game is the second of a home-and-home for the Sharks and Avalanche, after San Jose’s 3-2 win in overtime at SAP Center on Saturday, and the final game of the season series. David Schlemko got the deciding score 1:18 into the extra frame, as the Sharks improved to 6-1-1 in their last eight against Colorado.

The Sharks have won four straight, while Colorado, just 2-14-1 in its last 17, has lost five in a row. The Avs have not won in regulation since Dec. 11 at Toronto.

***Colorado will reportedly give rookie Spencer Martin his second straight start after he made 27 saves in his NHL debut against the Sharks on Saturday. 

Martin Jones is tied for third in the NHL with 24 wins, and is 5-1-0 in his last six starts.

***Four of the Sharks’ last six games have been decided by one goal, including three in a row. San Jose is 16-10-2 in one-goal games – the second most one-goal wins in the league, and the most one-goal losses in regulation.

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Kevin Labanc. The Sharks rookie has hit a bit of a wall since bursting onto the scene, going without a goal for the last 10 games. Coach Pete DeBoer said recently that he had a talk with the rookie about maintaining a high level of play, and Labanc has been more noticeable in his last two games, recording an assist in each. The 21-year-old has 14 points (7g, 7a) in 34 games this season.

Avalanche: Nathan MacKinnon. No forward was more effective for Colorado on Saturday against the Sharks than MacKinnon, their lone All-Star, who recorded a game-high seven shots and set up the tying goal in the third period. The first pick in the 2013 draft has 10 points (7g, 3a) in 10 career games when opposing San Jose, and is Colorado’s leading scorer with 32 points (11g, 21a).

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Joonas Donskoi – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Kevin Labanc – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Timo Meier – Tommy Wingels – Melker Karlsson

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Martin Jones 
Aaron Dell

Avalanche
Mikko Rantanen – Nathan Mackinnon – Mikhail Grigorenko
Gabriel Landeskog – Matt Duchene – Matt Nieto
Blake Comeau – Carl Soderberg – Jarome Iginla
Andreas Martinsen – John Mitchell – Joe Colborne

Francois Beauchemin – Cody Goloubef
Fedor Tyutin – Nikita Zadorov
Patrick Wiercioch – Eric Gelinas

Spencer Martin (starter)
Calvin Pickard

INJURIES

Sharks: Micheal Haley (lower body), Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist) and Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) are out.

Avalanche: Tyson Barrie (lower body) and Rene Bourque (lower body) are day-to-day. Semyon Varlamov (groin) and Erik Johnson (broken fibula) are out.

QUOTEABLE

“I felt we did a pretty good job in our end, [but] we probably played there a little too much. We didn’t execute as well as we wanted to coming out of our end or through the neutral zone. There’s going to be games like that and it’s good to find a way to win.” – David Schlemko, after Saturday’s win

Three takeaways: Sharks make life easy on Avs rookie goalie

Three takeaways: Sharks make life easy on Avs rookie goalie

SAN JOSE – It took overtime for the Sharks to surpass the worst team in the NHL, but the points are valuable any way they come in the second half. Here are our three takeaways from the 3-2 victory on Saturday night…

1 – Top guys struggle, but depth comes through

It wasn’t a very good night for the captain’s line, which was particularly sloppy on Colorado’s tying goal in the third period. Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic weren’t much better, as the former was caught out of position a couple times, and the latter was tagged with six giveaways.

But those guys have been playing the bulk of the minutes lately, so they’re allowed to have an off night. At least, that’s how Pete DeBoer saw it.

“We've ridden our big guys pretty hard,” DeBoer said. “They played some tough minutes with some of the opponents we played this week, in L.A. and on and on. Tonight's a night you're looking for your depth guys to step up and give you some energy, and I thought we got that."

The Sharks’ fourth line was probably its best from start to finish, including Melker Karlsson’s goal, from Ryan Carpenter.

“[Tomas] Hertl's missed 30 games, so we needed somebody to come in and help us out in that area, and he's done that,” DeBoer said of Carpenter.

2 – Making it too easy on Martin

Spencer Martin was making his NHL debut in difficult circumstances, playing in front of what has been an incredibly loose team in its own end against one of the best teams in the Western Conference. But, the Sharks made it easy on him most of the night.

Avs forward Nathan MacKinnon, who had a tremendous game, told the Denver Post that he thought Colorado was the better team.

“Tonight, we outplayed them,” he said. “We outplayed the team that went to the (Stanley Cup) Finals last year, and there were some bright spots for us. We have to climb out of this hole and have a good last 30, 40 games here and go into next season feeling pretty good about ourselves.”

They’ll get another chance against the Sharks on Monday at Pepsi Center as the teams conclude their two-game season series. San Jose will try and give the Colorado goalie, whoever it is, a more difficult time.

“When we’re on our game, we’re making it tough with grind time and traffic at the net, some chances,” Joe Pavelski said. “Tonight we didn’t have as many as we could have had. We’ll try to find a little bit more for next game.”

Schlemko said: “We just didn’t have as much grind time in the o-zone as we usually do. If you’re not playing in their end you’re usually playing in your end.”

3 – Ward gets another on the power play

Joel Ward’s resurgence continues, as the forward again found a way to contribute on the scoresheet. His first period power play goal was one of the easier scores he’ll have, on a nice setup by Joe Thornton.

“[Thornton] had it behind the net and came around the side, and sent it to me on the far side, so it went in,” Ward said.

The 36-year-old Ward has nine points (3g, 6a) in his last 13 games. To put that in perspective, the last time he was a healthy scratch on Dec. 20, he had just nine points in 31 games on the season.