Sharks' Couture among Calder Trophy finalists

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Sharks' Couture among Calder Trophy finalists

April 19, 2011
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NEW YORK-- San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture, New York Islanders right wing Michael Grabner and Carolina Hurricanes centerJeff Skinner are the three finalists for the 2010-11 Calder Trophy, awarded to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition, the National Hockey League announced today.Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Calder Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists.NEWS: NHL headlines
The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 22, during the 2011 NHL Awards from the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel Las Vegas. The 2011 NHL Awards will be broadcast by VERSUS in the United States and CBC in Canada.Following are the finalists for the Calder Trophy, in alphabetical order:Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks
Couture was a key contributor in all areas on a Sharks team that captured its fourth consecutive Pacific Division title. The 22-year-old center ranked second on San Jose in goals (32), game-winning goals (eight) and plus-minus (18); placed third in shots (253) and face-offs (888); fourth in power-play goals (10) and sixth in points (56). He led all rookies in game-winning goals, power-play goals, shots and face-offs, finished second in goals and points and was fifth in plus-minus. The Sharks' first-round pick in the 2007 Entry Draft tallied seven of his game-winning goals on the road, the most ever by an NHL rookie.
Michael Grabner, New York Islanders
Grabner didn't start the season with the Islanders, but ended it as the club's goals leader with 34, a total that also led NHL rookies. Claimed on waivers from Florida on Oct. 5, Grabner surged near the top of the rookie scoring race with a run of 16 goals in 15 games from Jan. 15 to Feb. 15, a period also highlighted by a first-place finish in the Fastest Skater event at the 2011 NHL SuperSkills. His six-game goal streak from Feb. 1-15 matched the longest by any player this season. The 23-year-old Villach, Austria native led all rookies in shorthanded goals (six), ranked second in shots (228) and seventh in plus-minus (13).Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes
The Hurricanes reaped immediate dividends from their top pick in the 2010 Entry Draft as the 18-year-old Skinner, selected seventh overall last June, led all rookies in scoring as the League's youngest player. His performance over the first half of the season earned him a berth in the 2011 NHL All-Star Game, played in front of a hometown crowd in Raleigh. He went on to lead all rookies in points (63), rank second in assists (32) and third in goals (31). Skinner netted his 30th goal of the season Apr. 6 against Detroit, becoming the seventh-youngest player in NHL history to reach the milestone (18 years, 325 days).
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History
From 1936-37 until his death in 1943, NHL President Frank Calder purchased a trophy each year to be given permanently to the NHLs outstanding rookie. After Calders death, the League presented the Calder Trophy in his memory. San Jose SharksNHL media services

Giants lineup: Panik leading off in series opener vs Cubs

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AP

Giants lineup: Panik leading off in series opener vs Cubs

Bruce Bochy and Joe Maddon issued their lineups for today's series opener in Chicago:

Giants (19-26)
1. Joe Panik (L) 2B
2. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Eduardo Nunez (R) LF
7. Justin Ruggiano (R) RF
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
9. Ty Blach (R) P (1-2, 4.15 ERA)

Cubs (22-20) 
1. Ben Zobrist (S) LF
2. Albert Almora Jr. (R) CF
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Willson Contreras (R) C
6. Addison Russell (R) SS
7. Jason Heyward (L) RF
8. Javier Baez (R) 2B
9. John Lackey (R) P (4-3, 4.37 ERA)

Entering the NBA Finals 12-0 'would be irrelevant' to the Warriors

Entering the NBA Finals 12-0 'would be irrelevant' to the Warriors

SAN ANTONIO -- The Specter of 73 haunts the Warrior still and you can feel it in their dismissive, yes-but responses to being on the brink of yet another entry into the NBA record book.

Though they do not believe their pursuit and achievement last season of an NBA-record 73 wins sabotaged their chances for a championship, it is evident the Warriors came away with diminished appreciation of gaudy numbers.

They can add to their list of shiny accomplishments Monday night. A victory over the Spurs in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals would make the Warriors the first team ever to open the playoffs with three four-game sweeps and a 12-0 record.

“My wife asked me this morning: What if you guys win and you’re 12-0?” general manager Bob Myers told NBCBayAreaSports.com Monday afternoon. “Well, for me, the record thing kind of got screwed up last year.”

Yes, the record thing. The Warriors chased 73 and got 73 and yet they’ll be known just as much, if not more, as the first team to blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.

“It’s all about 16,” Stephen Curry told NBCSportsBayArea.com.

Getting to 16 wins in the postseason means getting to the top. Winning it all. The very thing the Warriors did not accomplish a year ago.

They are one win away from being three-quarters of the way there.

“Going 12-0 sounds great,” Curry said. “But it probably would have happened if the Lakers would have played a seven-game series to start the run through the playoffs.”

The Lakers twice swept their first three postseason series -- in 1989 and 2001 -- but in both instances the first round was best-of-five. Both streaks ended at 11 in a row.

The Warriors seem to view numbers as decoration, ancillary components to the primary. They may have felt that way all along, but going through what they did last season, losing The Finals to the Cavaliers, provided an acute sense of context.

“It’s unfortunate that we put so much into the last game of the season, or winning the whole thing because there are a lot of things that we, as an organization, should be proud of no matter what happens,” Myers said. “But it’s hard, knowing where were last year, to see that regular-season record and then not win the championship. It’s a mixed feeling.

“So when you talk about records and numbers and things like that, and you know what it’s like to win a championship and you know what it’s like to lose, it’s hard to put them in proper perspective.”

The Warriors have made it clear they are less than impressed with their average victory margin of 16.5 points through the first 11 games in these playoffs. The record is 14.5, set by the Bucks in 1971.

They’re not buying into the hype generated by leading all playoff teams in points per game (117.4) and field-goal percentage (49.7) and field-goal percentage defense (41.6).

Numbers. Just numbers. Like, for example, 73.

“To know that we have a great regular-season record and a tiny little banner in our practice facility, “ Myers said, “it doesn’t feel like it should.

“I wouldn’t go as far as to say it doesn’t mean anything. But it’s hard to really understand what it means right now. And knowing that we’ve been in the midst of all these numbers and records and road-win records and things like that, you get lost in it in good and bad ways. It’s fantastic, but also what does it mean? Because what we’re really trying to do is win a championship.”

Which, of course, comes back to numbers.

“You can learn lessons in winning and you can learn lessons in losing,” Curry said. “It’s just a matter of how you respond from game to game. But 12-0 would be irrelevant come next series.”