Separation weekend for Pac-12

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Separation weekend for Pac-12

PROGRAMING NOTE: Watch Stanford take on Colorado Saturday on VERSUS. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m.
All-righty then. Were done with the events in Eugene on Thursday night and now we can focus on the rest of the Pac-12 on a weekend that could begin to sort the wheat from the chaff in this conference.

Stanford continues to cruise through its early season schedule and it would be a shock to see things change this weekend when Colorado comes calling. The Cards still have not been tested and continue to be a work in progress on the defensive side of the ball -- albeit one that still has a chance to be very good.

I dont think the answer to, Can the Cardinal stop a good teams offense? will be forthcoming against a Colorado team that has mustered just one victory this year. Colorado is simply outmanned in its first year of play in the conference.

PREVIEW: Colorado vs. No. 7 Stanford

Andrew Luck is everything expected of him, the Cardinal has three tight ends who will all play on Sundays, and the offensive line is coming together nicely. The question of how much the loss of Shane Skov will affect the defense is still probably weeks away from being known. But for this week, all is well in the land of wishful thinking.

Two games of interest in terms of whats real and whats not in the Pac-12 this year are ASU at Utah, and WSU at UCLA. Arizona State is good -- with a chance to be very good -- but every time you start to think the Sun Devils have it all together, they step on their own body parts. This is a real test for the Sun Devils theyve been much better at home than on the road and they have to travel to Utah. The Utes have a backup quarterback starting and that bodes well for the Devils defense. Like Cal, I think Utah is trying to figure itself out. I think ASU survives -- but dont say I didnt warn you.

PREVIEW: No. 22 ASU vs. Utah
I never thought Id be talking about Washington St. playing a game of any meaning five games into the season but if the Cougars beat UCLA Saturday, theyll be 4-1 -- and its not out of the question.

Dont get me wrong, I dont think WSU is headed for national prominence, but I do think this is a winnable game for them. And, I just cant help rooting for them -- its like cheering for Bambi against Godzilla. Only this Godzilla (UCLA) is bruised and battered and is no threat to Tokyo -- or maybe even to Pullman, Wash.

And finally, the futility bowl: Arizona and Oregon State. The Wildcats are living proof of what happens when good skill position players dont have the big uglies up front to keep them out of harms way. The Cats lost their offensive line and much of their defense and despite a very good quarterback and an all-star receiver they are mired in mediocrity. In fact, mediocrity would be a lofty goal at this juncture.

As to the Beavs -- I dont know what to say. This is a team that has always thrived because of the system, but this year there seems to be a system failure in Corvallis. This game falls into the dreaded must win category for OSU. For Arizona, after this game its either, How bout those Cats, or Whens hoops start?

Thats the good and the bad in the Pac this week. And you can rest assured therell be some of the ugly too.

Barry Tompkins is a regular contributor to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and Chronicle Live.

REPORT: Kings trade Cousins to New Orleans Pelicans

REPORT: Kings trade Cousins to New Orleans Pelicans

In a shocking move, the Kings have traded three-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans, according to multiple reports.

Cousins is having his best season in Sacramento, averaging 27.8 points, 10.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists under Dave Joerger.

The Kings went to great lengths a few weeks back to insure Cousins that rumors of a potential trade were false, even meeting with the 26-year-old big and his agents in Sacramento to crush published reports.

Vlade Divac even went as far as to tell ESPN’s Marc Stein, “We’re not trading DeMarcus.”

Cousins spoke glowingly of Sacramento in his media sessions at All-Star weekend in New Orleans, reiterating to reporters that he would love to finish his career in a Kings uniform.

More to come...

James Ham contributed to this report. 

Instant Replay: Bruins score in overtime, send Sharks to the break with a loss

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USATSI

Instant Replay: Bruins score in overtime, send Sharks to the break with a loss

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – The Boston Bruins skated past the San Jose Sharks on Sunday at SAP Center, 2-1 in overtime.

Brad Marchand’s breakaway goal after the Bruins won a defensive zone faceoff gave Boston the win, as Torey Krug found the forward charging towards the San Jose net. Marchand slipped the puck through Martin Jones’ five hole at 2:36.

San Jose has dropped its last four games decided in the three-on-three.

The Sharks lost for the sixth time in their last eight games (2-1-5), headed into the bye week. They will not play or practice from Monday through Friday, and resume their season on Saturday in Vancouver.

Boston extended its winning streak to four games since firing Claude Julien and naming Bruce Cassidy the interim head coach. The streak began with a 6-3 win over the Sharks at TD Garden on Feb. 9.

The Bruins were just the fourth team of 20 to win the first game after their bye week (4-12-4).

Boston scored the only goal in the first period, while the Sharks answered with a second period tally.

Ryan Spooner’s marker at 11:05 of the opening frame put Boston ahead. An Adam McQuaid point shot found Jimmy Hayes in the slot, and after Hayes fired wide of the net, Spooner tucked in the loose puck.

San Jose turned up the pressure late in the second, finally resulting in a goal by Patrick Marleau. During a four-on-four situation, Brent Burns’ wrist shot deflected right to Marleau’s tape, and he easily flipped in his 502nd career goal at 17:37.

Sharks coach Pete DeBoer shortened his bench for the third period, leaving Mikkel Boedker and Nikolay Goldobin planted on the pine. Melker Karlsson took Boedker’s place on the second line, while Chris Tierney skated on the third line with Tomas Hertl and Joel Ward.

The Sharks are 6-3-1 in the second half of back-to-backs.

Special teams

Each team had just one power play in the game, failing to convert.

The Sharks are 3-for-24 on the power play over their last eight games (12.5 percent), but a perfect 8-for-8 on the PK in their last five.

In goal

Jones was facing the Bruins just 10 days after he was pulled to start the second period in Boston when he allowed three goals on 12 shots. He allowed two goals on 27 shots.

Tuukka Rask made 29 saves for the win.

Lineup

The Sharks’ lineup was unchanged from Saturday’s win in Arizona, other than the goaltender. Goldobin played in his second game of the season.

Joe Thornton remains two assists away from 1000 in his career. His five-game point streak came to an end.

Burns had 20 shot attempts, including seven on net.

Up next

Saturday’s game in Vancouver begins a stretch where the Sharks will play their final 22 games over a 43-day span. On Feb. 2, they won the first of five meetings with the Canucks, 4-1 at Rogers Arena.

Vancouver, which hosted Philadelphia on Sunday, also has its bye week from Feb. 20-24.