Marleau's O.T. goal lifts Sharks with four ticks left

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Marleau's O.T. goal lifts Sharks with four ticks left

Feb. 23, 2011

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PITTSBURGH (AP) Foiled by Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury once already in overtime, San Jose's Patrick Marleau went back to the front of the net to see if he could get another opportunity.He did, and took advantage, converting Logan Couture's rebound from close at 4:56 of overtime to seal a 3-2 victory over the Penguins on Wednesday.It was Marleau's second goal of the game, and came exactly a minute after he broke in on a clear-cut breakaway only to have his backhand gloved by Fleury."That wasn't my best move, that's for sure, but it was a good save," Marleau said.
VIDEO: Patrick Marleau postgame
Marleau's resilience resembled that of his team's, which didn't let down after allowing Pittsburgh's Tyler Kennedy to force overtime by scoring with 50 seconds left in regulation."It's just a sign of our perseverance," Marleau said. "You don't want to see that happen, but when it does happen, you want to see guys forget about it right away."The decisive goal came during a scramble in front, and after Fleury stopped Couture from in close. The puck dribbled to the left of the net, where Marleau flipped it in for the surging Sharks who improved to 14-2-1 in their past 17 games.It was Marleau's sixth game-winner of the season, and second in overtime in a span of five games, after he settled a 2-1 win at Nashville.The Sharks extended their winning streak to five games while also vaulting a point ahead of Phoenix into first place of the tightly packed Pacific Division.Couture, with his franchise rookie record-tying 25th goal of the season, also scored while Antti Niemi stopped 24 shots.Kennedy scored twice for the Penguins, who are winless in their past three (0-1-2) and dropped to 2-5-2 in their past nine since Evgeni Malkin sustained a season-ending knee injury to join captain Sidney Crosby on the injury list. Crosby is out indefinitely after missing his 21st straight game with a concussion.Penguins coach Dan Bylsma wasn't pleased with the outcome, even though the Penguins earned a point to move four points ahead of the fifth-place Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference.
RELATED: NHL standings
"It doesn't feel much of a consolation prize to add a point there," Bylsma said. "We think we need to play better than that to get the result we want going forward."The Penguins might be down yet another key player after defenseman Brooks Orpik did not return for the start of the second period after taking Marleau's shot off his hand late in the opening period. Orpik skated off shaking his hand and was escorted up the tunnel.Bylsma said he would wait until Thursday to update Orpik's status.The new-look Penguins continue to have difficulty scoring, despite shaking up their lineup by adding forward James Neal and defenseman Matt Niskanen in a trade that sent defenseman Alex Goligoski to Dallas on Monday.Both Neal and Niskanen made their debuts, but the Penguins extended their string to 15 games since they scored four or more goals in regulation.Pittsburgh has been shut out three times during that span, including a 1-0 loss to Washington on Monday."I don't really care how many goals we score, we've just got to win," Neal said. "We played well last game, we played pretty well tonight. We need to keep playing well every night and give ourselves a chance."Neal finished with two shots on goal, his best chance coming four minutes into the third period, when he blasted a shot on the fly from just inside the blue line, only to have Niemi get his right shoulder up for the stop. He made an even better save with 7:01 left, getting his glove up to snatch a snap shot from Kris Letang, who was driving in alone up the right wing.Niemi sees Sharks developing chemistry during their second-half run."I think it comes from just being confident that we are able to do it and we trust each other," Niemi said. "We've been playing really well lately, and we've got to keep it up."The Sharks, coming off a 4-3 win at Detroit on Tuesday, won by rallying from a 1-0 deficit, after Kennedy opened the scoring during a scramble in front at 5:48 of the first.Couture tied it 3:01 into the second period. He's tied with the Islanders' Michael Grabner for the rookie lead in goals and also tied the franchise rookie record set by Pat Falloon in 1991. Marleau then scored 5:28 into the third period to put the Sharks ahead 2-1.Fleury kept the Penguins in the game. He finished with 35 saves, including a pair of blocker shots on bang-bang chances from Joe Pavelski and Kyle Wellwood with 4 minutes left.Notes: In closing a brief two-game homestand, the Penguins hit the road for a five-game swing that opens at Carolina on Friday. The home games are the only two for Pittsburgh during a 25-day span. ... The Sharks conclude a three-game road trip at Calgary on Friday before returning home for a six-game homestand, which opens Tuesday against Colorado. ... For the second consecutive home game, the start of the second period was delayed because the house lights wouldn't come on in the first-year Consol Energy Center. The delay on Wednesday lasted more than 15 minutes, or 10 minutes longer than on Monday.

Source: Kaepernick visits 49ers headquarters

Source: Kaepernick visits 49ers headquarters

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who faces an uncertain future with the 49ers, visited team headquarters in Santa Clara on Wednesday morning, according to a league source.

Kaepernick was likely there to meet with 49ers general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan for the first time since they were hired to replace Trent Baalke and Chip Kelly.

On Feb. 9, Lynch said Kaepernick “reached out” to him shortly after he was hired as general manager. Lynch said he and Kaepernick planned on meeting in the near future.

Earlier this week, Lynch said he would have open and honest communication with Kaepernick about the club’s plan at the quarterback position.

“The one thing we will do very well with Kap is we’ll communicate,” Lynch said Tuesday on 95.7 The Game. “And I think that’s very important for both sides. Like everything else, that process is well in the works. We’ll continue to do that and we’ll be very up-front with him, in terms of what we’re thinking and we’ll want to know what he’s thinking, as well.”

Kaepernick and the 49ers agreed to a restructured contract in October. The sides tore up the final four years of Kaepernick’s contract and replaced it with a deal that enables Kaepernick to opt out to become an unrestricted free agent in March. Kaepernick's non-guaranteed scheduled pay is $14.9 million for the 2017 season.

Kaepernick does not currently have agent representation, according to the NFL Players Association.

He started 11 games last season after replacing Blaine Gabbert in the starting lineup and bounced back with a solid statistical season. Kaepernick threw 16 touchdown passes and just four interceptions for a passer rating of 90.7. He also rushed for 468 yards and a career-best 6.8-yards per carry.

MLB players’ union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

MLB players’ union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

NEW YORK -- There won't be any wild pitches on intentional walks this season.

The players' association has agreed to Major League Baseball's proposal to have intentional walks without pitches this year.

"It doesn't seem like that big of a deal. I know they're trying to cut out some of the fat. I'm OK with that," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.

While the union has resisted many of MLB's proposed innovations, such as raising the bottom of the strike zone, installing pitch clocks and limiting trips to the mound, players are willing to accept the intentional walk change.

"As part of a broader discussion with other moving pieces, the answer is yes," union head Tony Clark wrote Wednesday in an email to The Associated Press. "There are details, as part of that discussion, that are still being worked through, however."

The union's decision was first reported by ESPN .

"I'm OK with it. You signal. I don't think that's a big deal," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "For the most part, it's not changing the strategy, it's just kind of speeding things up. I'm good with it."

There were 932 intentional walks last year, including 600 in the National League, where batters are walked to bring the pitcher's slot to the plate.

"You don't want to get your pitcher out of a rhythm, and when you do the intentional walk, I think you can take a pitcher out of his rhythm," Girardi said. "I've often wondered why you don't bring in your shortstop and the pitcher stand at short. Let the shortstop walk him. They're used to playing catch more like that than a pitcher is."

Agreement with the union is required for playing rules changes unless MLB gives one year advance notice, in which case it can unilaterally make alterations. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope Tuesday that ongoing talks would lead to an agreement on other changes but also said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Some changes with video review can be made unilaterally, such as shortening the time to make a challenge.

"I know they were thinking about putting in a 30-second (limit) for managers to make a decision," Francona said. "I actually wish they would. I think it would hustle it up and if we can't tell in 30 seconds, maybe we shouldn't be doing it anyway."