Sharks' buzzwords: Skate. Forecheck. Zone time


Sharks' buzzwords: Skate. Forecheck. Zone time

Tim Panaccio

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Skate. Forecheck. Zone time.

Those are the buzz words for the Sharks going into Wednesdays Game 2 of the Western Conference Final against the Canucks.

Do that and Todd McLellans group comes home with the series tied. Dont do it and it could be over in four games.

We didnt have a lot of time in their zone, Sharks winger Ryane Clowe said. Wed be in there and there were some 5050 pucks. Foremost, when you get the puck in there, youve got to come up with it and win battles.

That is just upon yourself to make it happen. Its not a system thing. And then, when you get the puck, you make stuff happen, get some movement and running around a bit and the Canucks get tired out. But youve got to start with the puck. Offensive zone time is important.

RATTO: Three keys to Sharks-Vancouver Game 2

Vancouver had far more offensive zone time in Game 1 -- pinning the Sharks into their own end and generating better scoring chances on goalie Antti Niemi than San Jose did on the Canucks Roberto Luongo.

It was a stark contrast to how the Sharks looked in the Detroit series. McLellan said he wants to see more from Logan Coutures line with Clowe and Dany Heatley.

Its very simple, Sharks captain Joe Thornton said at todays morning skate. Just bang bodies and be more physical.

And get on the forecheck.

Puck placement, McLellan said. Mentally we weren't very strong. We didn't give ourselves an opportunity to forecheck. They're a very mobile group on the back end. They have the ability to break out.

You certainly make it a lot easier on them when the retrievals are in spots where they can get to them efficiently, get their eyes up and get going. In turn, that makes it tough on us because we expend a lot of energy for nothing.

Devin Setoguchi said its not hard to do if youre skating and not lolly-gagging out there.

We need to move our feet, he said. Vancouver is such a quick team. They can skate. If we arent moving our feet and skating with them, its pretty evident out there that theyre taking over the game.

Moving our feet leads to other things, like being physical and getting in on the forecheck, having back pressure and creating chances.

Clowe blamed himself for not generating the energy the line needed. If hes not moving his skates, he said, then his line isnt going to feed off it and the result is a flat, sluggish performance in every phase.

We obviously have big forwards, Clowe said. It is definitely part of my game -- establish a physical presence, whether it's finishing a hit, protecting the puck or getting to the net. Whatever it may be.

Last game was one of those games where it was tough to get sustained time or get some momentum going. It wasnt like Detroit where we had them pinned in 5-to-7 minutes or 10 minutes at a time when you can you roll over.

We didnt have that kind of momentum. A lot of it has to do with wearing people down. Puck possession is part of my game. We got a lot of forwards 220-pounds plus to do that.

Vancouver defenseman Dan Hamhuis expects to see a different Sharks team on the ice tonight at Rogers Arena.

Well, they have a really good group of forwards, a lot of speed, he said. It was tough in Game 1. We expect it to be tougher again here in Game 2. It's just a matter of us getting back as quick as we can, communicating, trying to get the puck up to our forwards as quick as possible.

Henrik Sedin felt the Canucks were partly responsible for the Sharks looking sluggish.

If we have all our guys playing the way we want to, it's tough to stop us, he said. We usually create turnovers at lines, we go the other way. That makes you tired.

Win tonight, and the Sharks have new life.

You leave a game and youre happy if you got a split, Clowe said. That is what every road team tries to do.

More important for us is to have a game where we feel good about ourselves. Play the game, see what happens. Put it on the ice. We didnt feel that way last game.

Thornton vs. Kesler, Part II: If it wasnt already clear by now, Ryan Kesler reiterated at the morning skate that he is not going to fight Joe Thornton in this series.

I dont fight in the playoffs, Kesler said.

Will there be a second challenge, Joe?

No, no, maybe Devin wants to; maybe Kesler will fight somebody else, Thornton said.

Asked about Keslers pronouncement that he will not fight in the playoffs, Big Joe responded, Im shocked. Very shocked.

Couture was asked if he would fight Kesler.

Im not the toughest guy out there, Couture said. I didnt even know Jumbo asked him to go. I turned on TSN and its on 20 times in a row. Im gonna say, no just like Kesler.

Tambellini in: Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault is going to add more speed to the lineup for Game 2 by plugging Jeff Tambellini into Tanner Glasss spot.

That one move makes the fastest club in the NHL that much faster, and the Sharks know it.

That kid can skate, Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said. Hes fast. Its about us playing to our strengths and I dont think is going to change anything.

Demers still out: Defenseman Jason Demers, who has what McLellan calls bumps and bruises, is not expected to play. He missed Game 1.

Demers did not skate today but most of his teammates did, which is a good indication he wont play.
Tim Panaccio is the NHL Insider for E-mail him at

49ers' top pick Thomas 'can't wait' to play best friend McCaffrey in Week 1

49ers' top pick Thomas 'can't wait' to play best friend McCaffrey in Week 1

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers open the regular season on Sept. 10 against the Carolina Panthers at Levi’s Stadium.

Stanford products Solomon Thomas and Christian McCaffrey will make their NFL debuts in that game across from each other.

Thomas, a defensive lineman, was the No. 3 overall pick of the 49ers. The Carolina Panthers selected McCaffrey with the eighth overall pick.

“I can’t wait to play him,” Thomas said Thursday night on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “You know, that’s my boy. That’s my best friend. I love him to death. I can’t wait to play him.”

Raiders select CB Gareon Conley with No. 24 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft

Raiders select CB Gareon Conley with No. 24 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft

Position: Cornerback
College: Ohio State
Height: 6 feet
Weight: 195 pounds
Selection: First round, No. 24 overall

ALAMEDA – Ohio State cornerback was widely considered a top-15 talent entering this year’s NFL Draft. His stock took a free-fall this week, after being accused of rape.

Conley called the accusation “completely false,” in a statement issued Wednesday by his agent.

Conley has not been charged or arrested over the allegation, which stems from an interaction on April 9 at a Cleveland hotel.

The Raiders wouldn’t have made this first-round selection without doing extensive research on Conley’s legal status. They must feel confident Conley will be absolved of wrongdoing.

Conley is a quality football player and an excellent cover man. He has the size Raiders covet in cornerbacks, and allowed just 37 percent of his passes to be completed. Conley allowed just 14 catches for 159 yards last season, and an NFL passer rating of 14.0, according to analytics site Pro Football Focus. That was the best in college football last season.

Analysts say he’s good at making plays on the football, whether it’s batting down passes or intercepting passes. Conley excels in press-man coverage, but can work well in a zone as well. He diagnoses plays well, which allows him to make plays on the ball.

The Raiders need depth and competition at cornerback after Sean Smith and David Amerson weren’t as solid as expected in 2016.

Conley could be upgrade the secondary in 2017 and beyond if he lives up to his on-field potential.