No bull -- hockey returns to San Francisco

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No bull -- hockey returns to San Francisco

No bull. Professional hockey is back in the city.The San Francisco Bulls unveiled their new jerseys for their new season, while putting the Cow Palace back on ice for the first time in 15 years. The seasoned stadium last saw ice hockey with the '95-'96 San Francisco Spiders.
The tie is natural. Say a San Jose Shark gets injured. Instead of going all the way to Worchester, Massachusetts to rehab, he goes North on the 101 to run or rather skate with the Bulls.The merchandise is there, even the ice on the ground. The team even has a bull in a china closet, or a penalty box in this case. Now all that's left is to draft a team which will happen in the very near future.

NHL Gameday: Sharks in Vancouver in first game after bye week

NHL Gameday: Sharks in Vancouver in first game after bye week

Programming note – Sharks-Canucks coverage starts today at 6:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 35-18-7, 77 points, 1st Pacific Division
Canucks: 26-28-6, 58 points, 6th Pacific Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***The Sharks and Canucks will both be coming out of their bye weeks. Most teams have struggled in that first game after the break, but San Jose and Vancouver will be on an even playing field.

“I think what you’re seeing is teams coming out of the break playing against teams that are at game speed or have been busy all week, but that’s not the case here,” Pete DeBoer said. “Both of us are in the same situation, so I don’t think there’s an advantage of disadvantage either way.”

What are the keys to playing a game for the first time since Feb. 19, without any practice time other than a morning skate on Saturday?

“Less is more, I think,” Joe Pavelski said. “Make sure our effort is there, and our compete [level]. You might not feel great all the time, but the game will come back pretty quick, I think. Mentally, make the right play.”

San Jose has a three-point lead on Anaheim and Edmonton in the Pacific Division, with two games in hand on both. It has 22 games left on the schedule, to be played over the next 43 days.

***There was one notable line change, as Tomas Hertl was bumped to the left wing while Chris Tierney will skate as the third line center. Joel Ward is on the right.

DeBoer put that group together late in the Boston game, a 2-1 overtime loss last Sunday. Tierney and Hertl have rarely been on the same line.

Regarding Hertl, Tierney said: “He can kind of play anywhere and play with any type of player, really. He compliments the top line really well, and he can come down and be dominant on our line. It’s pretty easy to play with a guy like that who brings speed, skill and size.”

***Barclay Goodrow, recalled on Friday, will play his second game of the season as the Sharks are carrying just 12 healthy forwards. Joonas Donskoi would have been “close” to being able to play, per DeBoer, but came down with the flu shortly before the Sharks’ flight to Vancouver on Friday. Donskoi has been out since Jan. 24 with what looks like a shoulder injury.

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Chris Tierney. The center led the Sharks in their last visit to Vancouver, scoring two goals in a 4-1 win. He’s scoreless in his last eight games, so perhaps a visit to Rogers Arena – and a new linemate in Tomas Hertl – can get him going again. He has four goals and five points in nine career games against Vancouver.

Canucks: Henrik Sedin. With the Canucks shorthanded due to a mumps outbreak, Vancouver will need its big guys to come through. Sedin seems to be in decline, though, with 36 points (12g, 24a) in 60 games and a team-worst minus-19 rating.

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Kevin Labanc – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Tomas Hertl – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Barclay Goodrow – Micheal Haley – Melker Karlsson

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

Martin Jones (starter)
Aaron Dell

Canucks
Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Alex Burrows
Loui Eriksson – Bo Horvat – Jannik Hansen
Joseph Labate – Brandon Sutter – Jayson Megna
Reid Boucher – Brendan Gaunce – Alexandre Grenier

Alex Edler – Philip Larsen
Luca Sbisa – Ben Hutton
Ben Hutton – Evan McEnany

Ryan Miller (starter)
Jacob Markstrom

INJURIES

Sharks: Joonas Donskoi (upper body/flu) and Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist) are out.

Canucks: Nikita Tryamkin (illness), Troy Stecher (illness), Michael Chaput (illness), Chris Tanev (illness), Markus Granlund (illness), Sven Baertschi (concussion), Jack Skille (undisclosed), Derek Dorsett (back surgery), Erik Gudbranson (wrist) and Anton Rodin (knee) are out.

QUOTEABLE

“Tonight, just want to get pucks in deep, simplify, get everyone back into the groove again. Definitely looking forward to these last 22 games.” – Joel Ward

 

NBA Gameday: Even without Durant, Warriors heavy favorites vs Nets

NBA Gameday: Even without Durant, Warriors heavy favorites vs Nets

OAKLAND -- The Warriors close out a two-game homestand as heavy favorites Saturday night, when they play host to the reeling Brooklyn Nets at Oracle Arena.

The Warriors (48-9) for the first time this season will be without Kevin Durant, who is coping with a hand injury and will sit in what is the equivalent of a rest night against a team that has lost its last 15 games.

Because Warriors coach Steve Kerr is loathe to disrupt his usual bench rotations and the Nets are likely to start three guards, it’s conceivable that rookie wing Pat McCaw could get the start at small forward in place of Durant.

Though Brooklyn (9-48) is coming off a 129-109 loss Friday night in Denver, that game featured the return of point guard Jeremy Lin after a 26-game absence with a strained hamstring.

BETTING LINE:
Warriors by 20.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Zaza Pachulia vs. Brook Lopez. Though he has gotten lost in the sheer sub-mediocrity of the Nets, Lopez remains one of the league’s most talented offensive centers. His 20.7 points per game ranks second among players listed at center. On a per-minute basis, Lopez is No. 1. Though Pachulia will lead the charge, expect JaVale McGee and David West to also spend time defending Lopez.

INJURY REPORT:
Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L hand contusion) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Nets: F Quincy Acy (L ankle sprain) is listed as out.

LAST 10:
Warriors: 8-2. Nets: 0-10.

SERIES HISTORY:
The Warriors prevailed in the first meeting this season, 117-101, on Dec. 22 at Brooklyn and have won the last three meetings. They have won 13 of the last 18 meetings and 10 of the last 11 played in Oakland.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
CURRY FROM DEEP: Stephen Curry is nine triples away from passing Lakers legend Kobe Bryant (1,827) and moving into 11th place on the all-time list of 3-pointers made. The last time the Nets came to Oakland (Nov. 14, 2015), Curry made five 3-pointers to surpass his father, Dell, on the all-time list. Curry also enjoys facing Lin.

THE ROTATIONS: Durant’s absence is bound to affects the minutes of everyone from Andre Iguodala to Kevon Looney to James Michael McAdoo to McCaw. Though no one can effectively replicate Durant’s game, it will be interesting to see how Kerr distributes playing time.

TRIPLE OVERDRIVE: The Warriors take a lot of 3-pointers, ranking fifth in the NBA. The Nets take even more triples, ranking fourth. Moreover, the teams rank 1-2 in pace, with Brooklyn at the top and the Warrior right behind. The upshot: a pace race between teams that love to launch.