Sharks draft Matthew Nieto with 47th pick


Sharks draft Matthew Nieto with 47th pick



ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Among the series of questions on Matthew Nietos online biography was his favorite NHL team: The Los Angeles Kings.

Makes sense. Before heading east to pursue his hockey career, Nieto grew up in southern California.

But that all changed late Saturday morning at Xcel Energy Center when the Sharks selected Nieto with 47th overall in the NHL Draft.

Those days are over, said Nieto, already outfitted in a Sharks cap and sweater. Im a Sharks fan now.

And the Sharks were fans of Nieto to the point that general manager Doug Wilson traded a 2012 third-round pick to Montreal in order to move up 12 spots in the second round.

Nietos selection started a busy day for the Sharks, who made headlines Friday by trading for Minnesota defenseman Brent Burns.
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Including the deal to snag Nieto, Wilson made one other trade of picks with Winnipeg and ended the draft with six new players a left wing (Nieto), two defensemen and three centers.

Everybody says they did well at the end of the day, but 3-4 years from now, well know for sure, Wilson said. The guys we identified, we certainly went after and got so were pleased.

Wilsons day started by meeting with Burns and his wife less than 24 hours after shipping Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle and a first-round pick to the Wild.

He seems very excited, as are we, Wilson said of his conversation with Burns.

Once back at the draft table, Wilson and his staff selected Nieto, defenseman Justin Sefton (No. 89), centers Sean Kuraly (No. 133) and Daniil Sobchenko (No. 166), defenseman Dylan Demelo (No. 179) and center Colin Blackwell (No. 194).

Nieto played his minor hockey in California until age 14 when he transferred to the Salisbury School in Connecticut and then to the USA Development Team in Michigan before playing last year at Boston University. He posted eight goals and 13 assists in 36 games for the Terriers.

We liked his hockey sense and compete factor, Wilson said. We think he fits into the type of player we want.
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Nieto intends to play at least one more year of college hockey.

If theyre in a good program, we have no problem with them staying, Wilson said.

Nieto credits the decision to leave home at an early age as a big part of his development.

Getting exposure out east, I thought it was important for me to do that, he said. But its nice being back in California to try and pursue a career.

Sefton is a solid 6-foot-2, 209 pounder who had 11 points and 166 penalty minutes last year for the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League.

Hes a big, physical kid, Wilson said.

The run on centers three in the last four picks began with Kuraly, a native of Dublin, Ohio who played for the United States Hockey Leagues Indiana Ice. He was eighth on the team with 29 points.

Kuraly said he will play for Indiana this year and then attend Miami (Ohio) University.

Im looking to fine tuning my offensive skill before getting to college, he said. Im working on the offensive side, the awareness, a little bit but I think I add character in the dressing room and can be a leader.

Kuraly was surprised San Jose called his name.

There were teams that I talked to more and a couple teams that I thought had more interest but passed, he said. San Jose talked to me a little bit, but not as much.

The next center was the Sharks lone non-North American pick the Urkanian-born Sobchenko, who could develop into a bruising pivot (6-2, 192). A bonus for Sobchenko is he played 16 games in the Kontinental Hockey League against older players.

After Demelo, who played for Mississauga St. Michaels of the OHL, the Sharks took one last center to wrap up the draft Massachusetts prep schooler Blackwell. He had 66 points and is headed to Harvard this fall.

Of taking three centers, Wilson said: Best player available. Thats what we do. We never waver from that approach.

Overall in the draft, defenseman led the way (72), followed by center (58) and left wing (31). Nieto, Kuraly and Blackwell were three of the 64 United States-born players drafted.

Hoesen leads the ways as Earthquakes take down Real Salt Lake


Hoesen leads the ways as Earthquakes take down Real Salt Lake


SAN JOSE — Danny Hoesen scored his second goal of the season and assisted on Marco Urena's second goal, lifting the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.

Hoesen opened the scoring in the 13th minute, off a long cross from Nick Lima. After touching the ball down, Hoesen gathered it off a defender's foot, stepped inside and unleashed a left footer into the top corner from just off the penalty spot.

Hoesen's long through ball down the right side sent Urena free and from a tight angle he rolled the ball past Nick Rimando in the 68th minute.

San Jose (6-6-5), which has battled injuries and call-ups to score just 16 goals in 16 games, won for just the second time in its last seven games.

Lima picked up two yellow cards in the second half and the Quakes played a man down from the 71st minute.

David Bingham made only one save in each half but was denied his seventh shutout when Jose Hernandez scored his second goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time for Salt Lake (5-11-2).

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

SAN FRANCISCO -- Practically speaking, the 50th loss is no different than the one before or the one after, but this sport is built on milestones, and this one came quickly.

The Giants lost their 50th game on August 12 last year. This season, it was clinched when Ryder Jones grounded out in his fourth career at-bat, handing the Mets a 5-2 win on June 24. 

Bruce Bochy called losing 50 of your first 77 games "hard to believe" and "embarrassing." Johnny Cueto, who went seven strong, said the reality was "hard and sad." Brandon Belt, who got Cueto off the hook for a loss, agreed with his manager.

"That's a pretty good word to use -- it is embarrassing to come out and lose every day, especially with the group of guys we have," Belt said. "When you're losing as much as this, it is embarrassing. We're trying to do whatever we can to turn this thing around."

Lately, that has meant changes to the roster. It is officially audition season, and in that respect, it was not a particularly inspiring day for the bullpen. The Giants felt they would have a better mix this year, but it hasn't played out. Instead, they're once again trying to find pieces for the next successful Giants bullpen.

With Hunter Strickland suspended and Derek Law in the minors, two young relievers, a middle-innings stalwart, and a newcomer pitched the final two frames. They gave up four runs.

Sam Dyson was the first on the mound in the eighth. Belt had homered a few minutes earlier, tying a good starter's duel. Dyson gave up a leadoff triple to Curtis Granderson and walked Asdrubal Cabrera before throwing two good sliders past Yoenis Cespedes for the strikeout. With two lefties coming up and the go-ahead run still on third, Bochy turned to Steven Okert. He immediately gave up a seeing-eye RBI single to Jay Bruce. Wilmer Flores doubled off George Kontos later in the frame to make it 3-1. 

In the ninth, Kyle Crick showed some of the wildness that kept him in the minors for seven years. He, too, gave up a leadoff triple, a sin you always pay for. A walk helped put another run into scoring position and a wild pitch extended the Mets’ lead to four. 

Before the game, Bochy talked of getting an extended look at Jones. He was 0-for-4 in his first big league game but he’ll be back out there tomorrow. It’s time to fight for a job, and the same holds true of some relievers who didn’t fare well Saturday. It is a group with a closer locked into a longterm deal and little else decided. 

Are Strickland or Law eighth-inning guys? Will Dyson be a worthwhile reclamation project? Will Kontos be back, and will he carve out a different role? Are Okert and Josh Osich capable of giving Bochy lefties he trusts? Is Crick’s improvement in Triple-A a sign of things to come? There are many questions to be answered over the next three months. 

“This is a good time for them, this is what players get up here for, to show what they can do,” Bochy said. “Because of our situation, we’re going to take a look at these guys and we know there are going to be growing pains.”