Giants Insider gallery: Bullpen wins it for Vogelsong

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Giants Insider gallery: Bullpen wins it for Vogelsong

July 23, 2011SABERCATSPAGE

TAMPA, FL The SaberCats (7-11) suffered another late loss at the hands of the Tampa Bay Storm (7-11), 57-44, after WR Hank Edwards caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from QB Matt Grothe with eight seconds remaining in front of 10,738 at the St. Pete Times Forum.OwnerHead Coach Darren Arbet was disappointed with the difficult loss that ended the SaberCats season. Its always tough anytime you lose. A loss is a loss whether you lose in the last second or they're beating you the whole game. Were going to have to put our heads together and correct things.The SaberCats opened the game with the ball, but turned it over on a muffed snap that Storm DB Michael Hawthorne returned 34 yards for a touchdown, giving Tampa Bay an early 6-0 advantage. San Jose responded quickly as QB Mark Grieb put together a four-play 41 yard drive that saw San Jose score on a 10-yard pass to WR James Roe. Three plays later, Storm QB Matt Grothe connected with WR Amarri Jackson for the 35-yard touchdown, who finished the game with 112 receiving yards on eight receptions and four touchdowns. Chad Cook would tack on his 30th rushing touchdown of the year, as San Jose took a 14-13 lead into the second quarter.It was a big second quarter for WR James Roe, who on his third catch of the game became the 11th player in AFL history to surpass 10,000 career receiving yards. Grieb would later find WR Ben Nelson for an eight-yard touchdown, making it 21-16 in San Joses favor. WR Amarri Jackson posted the Storms next two scores, but WR James Roe would notch his second touchdown reception in between Jacksons touchdowns. On the touchdown pass, Grieb became the AFL single-season record holder for passing yards. The record was originally set by former Milwaukee Iron QB Chris Greisen who threw for 5,146 yards in 2010. He finished the contest with 315 passing yards, pushing his season total to 5,312. Tampa Bay took a 29-28 lead into the second half.The Storm came out hot in the second half as WR Amarri Jackson caught his fourth touchdown of the game on a 39-yard pass from QB Matt Grothe. The connection of Grieb to Roe proved successful again, cutting the Storm lead to 36-35. The San Jose defense forced Tampa Bay to turn the ball over on downs and on 4th-and-15 of the ensuing drive, Grieb found WR Marco Thomas for a 25-yard touchdown. Storm QB Matt Grothe proved tough, rushing the ball in from three yards out, putting Tampa Bay up 43-41. K Juan Gamboa missed on a 26-yard attempt before the Storm drove deep into San Jose territory where DB Eddie Moten came up with a big play, intercepting the ball with 3:26 remaining. With just :36 left in the contest, Gamboa connected on a 27-yard field goal, but Tampa Bay moved quickly with no timeouts remaining where WR Hank Edwards found paydirt to seal the victory. WR James Roe finished the game with eight receptions for 98 yards and four touchdowns, with his career totals now standing at 818 receptions for 10,057 yards and 248 touchdowns. Grieb now sits at 42,128 yards and 810 touchdown passes. WR Ben Nelson surpasses 1,000 yards for the season, doing so in only 11 games. It marked the fifth consecutive season he has reached 1,000, finishing 2011 with 1,019.
National Guard MVP of the Game: San Jose WR James RoeRussell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: Tampa Bay WR Amarri JacksonRiddell Defensive Player of the Game: Tampa Bay DB Michael HawthorneJLS Ironman: San Jose WR Marco ThomasNiFTy Playmaker of the Game: San Jose Mark GriebCutter Catch of the Game: San Jose WR James Roes catch, putting him over 10,000 career receiving yardsSpalding Highlight of the Game: Tampa Bay DB Michael Hawthornes 36-yard fumble return for a touchdownABOUT THE SAN JOSE SABERCATSThe ArenaBowl XVI, XVIII and XXI champion San Jose SaberCats (7-11) opened the 2011 season against the defending ArenaBowl champion Spokane Shock on March 11 with a victory as they returned to the Arena Football League for their 15th season in 2011. The SaberCats began play in 1995, playing their home games at HP Pavilion. Fans and sponsors can go to www.thesanjosesabercats.com or call 408-673-3400 to sign up to receive the latest news and updates about the SaberCats, as well as to purchase 2012 season tickets tickets. Make sure to follow the SaberCats on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news on the team.

Despite loss, Sharks 'in a good spot' headed into bye week

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USATSI

Despite loss, Sharks 'in a good spot' headed into bye week

SAN JOSE – Despite what was technically their sixth loss in the last eight games, the Sharks seemed to put more stock in the point they gained in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Bruins on Sunday night at SAP Center, rather than the one they left on the table.

They have that luxury. 

The Sharks will enter their bye week five points ahead of Edmonton and Anaheim for first place in the Pacific Division, and figure they’re due for some time off after a short summer followed by a World Cup for some, and a brutal condensed NHL schedule for all.

“[We’ve] showed up and played hard,” Joe Pavelski said. “We’ve been in a lot of games. Games we’ve lost, we’ve battled. There hasn’t been any cheat in [our] game. Defensively, we’ve been strong. There’s a lot of good areas in our game that we like right now.”

Playing in the second of a back-to-back against a Bruins team had was coming off of its own bye week, the Sharks fell behind 1-0 on a first period goal by Ryan Spooner, but notched a Patrick Marleau equalizer in a second period in which they outshot the Bruins 16-9. An evenly played third period gave way to overtime, where Brad Marchand scored on a breakaway to give the Bruins their fourth straight win since changing head coaches.

The Sharks spoke before the weekend about finishing the final two games strong before the respite. They ended up gaining three of four points, including Saturday’s 4-1 win in Arizona, and were pleased with their effort against the Bruins as they capped off 10 games in 20 days since the All-Star break.

“It was an important push into this break,” Pete DeBoer said. “To go in up [five points] on the next closest team is a real testament to our group.”

Paul Martin said: “I thought we played pretty well, considering the back-to-back with some travel, and a team that was waiting for us.”

Perhaps the most encouraging performance came from Martin Jones, who was one of a number of Sharks players that was looking particularly fatigued lately. The goaltender entered the game with a 1-0-2 record, 4.46 goals-against average and .837 save percentage in his last four starts, including getting pulled after the first period in Boston just 10 days ago.

Jones was impressive, though, making a vital pad stop on the dangerous David Pastrnak in front of the net midway through the third period to keep it a 1-1 score.

“It was a good game. Two teams playing hard,” Jones said. “We can take a lot of positives from that one. It was a good hard game, just didn’t go our way tonight.”

Overtimes have been an issue lately, though. The Sharks have lost their last four games decided during the three-on-three, all coming within the last two weeks. As satisfied as they are with their cushion in the division, it could have been cushier.

Against the Bruins, Tuukka Rask denied Brent Burns on a two-on-one in overtime, and Marchand scored off of the ensuing faceoff, blowing the zone past Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic and corralling a long toss from Torey Krug before sliding it home.

“We get to overtime, shootouts – we expect to get that extra point,” Pavelski said. “We haven’t found it lately. We’ll just keep looking for it.”

DeBoer said: “The points are critical, they’re valuable. I don’t read a lot into [overtime decisions], we’ve won our share over the time I’ve been here. We had a chance to win tonight, too. … I concentrate on the effort, and I thought we got better as the game went on.”

Being focused and energized, as they have been most of the season to this point, shouldn’t be a problem when the season resumes next Saturday in Vancouver. The Sharks are in prime position to win their first division title since 2010-11, and a return trip to the Stanley Cup Final is a distinct possibility.

Losing six of eight won’t be nearly as acceptable coming out of the break as it apparently is going into it, but that’s not something to worry about now, even after another defeat. 

“There are some games you wish you could get back and get those points, but we’re still in a good spot,” Marleau said.

Trading Cousins is the ultimate Kingstastic move

Trading Cousins is the ultimate Kingstastic move

There was a lot of complaining about the lack of defense in this year’s All-Star Game, as though last year’s All-Star Game didn’t happen.

But the Most Valuable Player, which was putatively Anthony Davis for scoring a record 52 points in front of his home crowd, was actually the man with the fewest minutes of all.

Yes, the man, the god, The DeMarcus Cousins. The Very Definition Of A Sacramento King, By Becoming An Ex-Sacramento King.

Cousins, now the second-best player on the New Orleans Pelicans, played only two minutes Sunday, the lowest total by any All-Star since Connie Hawkins in 1971, ostensibly because he told head coach Steve Kerr he was a little ouchy, but more likely because the Kings were frantically trying to trade him and didn’t want him hurting himself in a game with even no contact whatsoever.

Not during the All-Star Break, mind you. DURING THE ALL-STAR GAME ITSELF! Adam Silver must have been vomiting hedgehogs into a bucket at the very thought.

As it turns out, the Kings, who have sworn up and down that they would never consider trading Cousins, did that very thing, closing a deal to send Cousins and forward Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans for a first and second-round pick in the upcoming draft, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway (who is likely to be waived in true Kings fashion) and 2016 first-rounder Buddy Hield.

You remember Buddy Hield. He’s the guy who clocked Cousins in the joy division going around a Cousins pick during the last Pelicans-Kings game, and got tossed for doing so.

In other words, the Kings prefer the guy who punched their best player in the goolies to their best player. This is so Kingsy.

But on the back end, Cousins’ agent, Jarinn Akana, said Cousins is disinclined to sign a long-term contract with his next team, making him a rental who could some day return to Sacramento in a Groundhog's Day remake that would cause the Oroville Dam to get up and walk off the job.

This too is so Kingsy.

This is the greatness of the Kings. They blew up the All-Star weekend during the game itself. They blew it up trying to get rid of their best player when they are within fighting distance of their first playoff spot in 11 years. They blew it up after saying they weren’t considering trading the dynamite at all.

Kingsy, Kingsy, Kingsy. It’s Kingstastic!

And the best part of it all is that the trade leaves everyone deflated and confused and ultimately angry, while the Kings undervalued their only marketable player to invest in a future they have mocked for decades.

You know what we;’re talking about. Gimme a K! Gimme an I! Gimme an N-G-S, throw an extraneous Y on the end of it what does it spell?

Yeah. Right.

It’s remarkable thing, being a King. While we have all amused ourselves with the machinations of the thick-as-two-short-planks New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony, the Kings have been Kinging this way for most of the last 35 years.

And now, they have decided to feed their obsession with the Golden State Warriors by running even further away from them, by tossing their only bargaining chip for a future player or players that they typically ruin, and Buddy Hield, who just found out that even at these prices life can still be cruel.

Give them their due, though. The Kings could win the NBA title and hock the trophy. They could be invited to the White House when the President is off playing golf. They could increase their Forbes valuation to $5 billion and declare bankruptcy.

Because they are the Kings, and that sentence has rarely meant more than it does now.

Not because they traded Cousins. Trades happen all the time. Wilt Chamberlain got traded twice.

But the Kings handled this with all the skill of a pickpocket with feet where his hands should be. They lied unconvincingly. They talked hard business and ended up with a nebulous deal that guarantees nothing except more speculation come summer. And they have nothing else to trade between now and . . . well, whenever they stopped being so damned Kingsy.

For New Orleans, it is a roll of the dice, an attempt to make the playoffs with a two-headed monster in Cousins and Davis. It may be too much to giver, but without knowing how the Kings will screw up those picks, it remains speculative at best.

Indeed, this is subtraction by subtraction, the standard Kings deal. And whatever the Kings have gained in this trade (hey, you never know), we remain safe in saying that they did it in such a Kingsy way that they may never top this.

Until the next time they do anything at all. Never doubt the power of Kingsiness.