Sharks' Game 3 focus: composure, commitment


Sharks' Game 3 focus: composure, commitment

May 20, 2011

Tim Panaccio

SAN JOSE -- Sometimes a one-word answer pretty much says it all.

You can dissect the Sharks' two losses in Vancouver every which way but loose, and still end up with the one word that signifies what has to change Friday night at HP Pavilion.

Win, Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. Were going into this game as if its Game 7. Its a must win.

After taking 13 penalties in the 7-3 Game 2 debacle, perhaps spending more time on the ice 5-on-5 and less in the box would be a good start.

Be crisper, stay out of the penalty box and be hard on pucks, Thornton said. Their power play is as deadly as ours, just stay out of the box as much as we can.

That would imply the Sharks need to just play the game without gamesmanship. Coach Todd McLellan summed that up in one word, as well: composure.

Many of the San Jose penalties in Game 2 were the result of losing composure and enacting revenge. Self-discipline will be pivotal in the games here.

Have a little more composure, but still have that intensity and fire, Patrick Marleau said.

Most of the Sharks cited this game as the most important one so far.

Not that McLellan would argue that point.

When youre in the playoffs, if you have the approach that Game 1 is like Game 7 and Game 2 is Game 7, thats a real good indicator of intensity and focus, he said.

Our job is just to win Game 3. However we approach it from the mental perspective, its to win Game 3.

We know were gonna play Game 4. Wed like to play with a record of 2-1 versus 0-3. We cant look ahead. We need a better game than Games 1-2.

McLellan admitted hes contemplating both lineup and line changes.

Since calling out his players to raise their games, and in some case, get their heads into the series, McLellan was asked how he presents that differently to players if hes already said it to them in the past.

Some of the individuals have shown marked improvement over time, McLellan said. Sometimes just showing them where they were and how far theyve come strikes a chord with them. Remind them of some of their achievements.

Hes not talking goals or assists here, hes talking commitment to teammates when you get to this stage of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Its not always about rubbing their noses in it, McLellan said.

The most likely candidates hes talking about are Dany Heatley, Ryane Clowe, Dan Boyle and Devin Setoguchi, among others, but basically, that core group.

Every one of those players except Clowe is a minus player in the playoffs, with Setoguchi at minus-6.

Everybody responds differently, McLellan said. Some guys need to see it and quite frankly, need to be pushed. Other guys need to be sat down and their progress needs to be reviewed ... how they got there ... all pointing toward a collective effort and then the results.

Heatley was asked about McLellan calling players out anonymously.
NEWS: Surgery for Vancouver's Samuelsson

Yeah, I think for our line Clowe and Logan Couture, we havent played as well as wed like to, Heatley said. Or even as well as we have in the playoffs so far.

Were a line that needs to spend a lot of time in their end and grind their defense down. Weve got to do a better job of that tonight.

Most of the Sharks stressed, more than anything, a need for more even-strength play, not to mention puck possession in the Canucks defensive end.

Through two games, too much of the play has been in the Sharks' end where San Joses forwards are expending too much energy trying to get up ice. Hence, the forecheck has been a non-factor for the Sharks.

Just compete for the loose puck, surround the puck and get our big bodies out there and get shots on the net, Marleau said.

Thats where puck placement has been an issue. Some of the Sharks' dump passes are not in areas where their forecheckers can get them, with Vancouver turning the puck right back up ice.

Boyle again mentioned how poorly the Sharks are doing in the neutral zone. There have been sequences of turnovers -- one breakout after another -- by the Sharks against the Canucks pressure.

I still say the neutral zone has to be better, Boyle said. Coming up the ice with speed. We can certainly take an alert from these guys where their defensemen jump in late.

Weve got to find those opportunities, too. Right now, theyre not there. Or, at least, Im not seeing it. We just got to find a way of being a little bit better coming up the ice.

No Demers: Defenseman Jason Demers remains out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury. Given his offensive capabilities on the blue line, his absence has hurt the Sharks.

He thinks the game creatively, McLellan said.

Again, given the Sharks' breakout issues, with many turnovers happening in neutral ice, this is where a creative, offensive-defenseman like Demers comes into play.

Kent Huskins is playing in Demers' spot but hes a stay-at-home blue liner.

When you put Kent in, it changes things, McLellan said. It changes the dynamics. You have to ask others to do more in certain situations.

Canucks changes: Coach Alain Vigneault reportedly is considering two moves tonight -- re-inserting Tanner Glass for Jeff Tambelllini, who replaced him in Game 2; and removing center Cody Hodgson for Alexandre Bolduc.

Sometimes you've got to make some adjustments, Vigneault said. Sometimes players are off their game a little bit or not on top, and you need to make quick adjustments. If we do make some changes tonight, you'll find out at the game.

Been a while: Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo has not won at HP Pavilion since 2006-07.

You're telling me he's due? Vigneault said, as the room broke up with laughter. No, this is a great building. It's loud.

I only remember our last game in here was on a back-to-back, and Schneids Cory Schneider was playing a back-to-back. I don't remember the other occasion. If that's the case, he's due.
Tim Panaccio is the NHL Insider for E-mail him at

Five mistakes that will haunt Giants after 77th loss of 2017

Five mistakes that will haunt Giants after 77th loss of 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — If the Giants were in a different situation, Tuesday night’s loss was the kind that really would sting for a few days. As is, it was simply loss No. 77 in a stunningly bad season. 

The Giants went down 4-3 in somewhat familiar fashion, with their offense failing to break through and their bullpen coming up short. But this loss, No. 77, was also about small mistakes, both mental and physical. Let’s count down some of the ways the Giants went down:

--- Gorkys Hernandez, a late addition to the lineup because Hunter Pence has a tight hamstring, dropped a fly ball in deep right in the fourth inning. That cost Jeff Samardzija a run and a few more pitches. Bruce Bochy said Pence likely will be off Wednesday and then return Friday in Arizona. 

--- Bochy pulled Samardzija after just 89 pitches, and it was certainly peculiar in the moment. The thing is, the intention fit in with the reality of this season. Samardzija has carried a heavy load and Bochy was trying to protect his arm a bit. 

“The inning before, he logged some pitches,” Bochy said. “I’ve worked him pretty hard and I’m really looking after him as much as anything. We’re trying to give some guys a break and it didn’t work out. We had some guys lined up in the seventh, eighth, ninth — it just didn’t work out in the seventh.”

--- You can’t really argue with protecting a big-money pitcher in a down year. But Bochy probably wishes he had chosen someone other than Albert Suarez, who was fresher than others but has now given up runs in six of seven appearances. Suarez turned a one-run lead into a one-run deficit. It was more glaring when Kyle Crick entered and pitched 1 1/3 sharp innings. 

--- The Giants still had a chance — it helped that the Brewers took a dominant Josh Hader out of the game just because he’s a lefty and Nick Hundley bats right-handed — and they put two on in the eighth. Denard Span hit a soft single to right and Phil Nevin waved Hundley, who has catcher’s legs. He was out by a mile. Bochy said he was fine with forcing the issue there, although that’s a call Nevin probably wants back. 

Another twist on the play: Bochy could have put speedy Orlando Calixte in for Hundley and then moved Pablo Sandoval over to first in the next inning, with Calixte at third. He didn’t second-guess that decision.

“He was out pretty easily,” Bochy said. “I don’t know if a little more speed would have helped out.”

--- In the bottom of the ninth, Kelby Tomlinson singled. He was promptly caught stealing second with the heart of the order coming up. Again, a decision that went the visiting team’s way. 

Those moments could be defended or second-guessed. On another night, maybe they all work out and the Giants win 3-2, or 6-4. On this night, it was simply a familiar script, and loss No. 77.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 4-3 loss to Brewers


Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 4-3 loss to Brewers


SAN FRANCISCO — Just when it seemed the Giants were starting to find some continuity in their bullpen, they have taken a couple of steps back. 

Two days after Hunter Strickland imploded late, Albert Suarez gave up the lead. The Giants lost 4-3 to the Brewers in a game that dragged. The Brewers did open the window a bit in the bottom of the eighth and Denard Span bounced a single to right with two outs and two on. Phil Nevin waved Nick Hundley all the way around third and Hundley was thrown out by 10 feet to end the inning. 

Anyway, here are five other things to know … 

—- Just one of Jeff Samardzija’s six innings went 1-2-3, and Bruce Bochy turned to the bullpen after just 89 pitches. Samardzija was charged with two runs, one of them earned. It was a little odd that he came out so early. 

—- Suarez entered in the seventh with a one-run lead and gave up two runs before being lifted. He has allowed a run in six of his last seven appearances. 

—- Brandon Crawford momentarily gave the Giants the lead with a two-run homer, his 11th. He is definitely starting to hit his stride. Crawford has four extra base hits and six RBI on the homestand. 

—- Why is it so hard for the Giants to sign power bats? Well, just ask Eric Thames. He hit a 433-foot blast to lead off the third but ended up with just a triple when it bounced off the top of the bricks in right-center. Per Statcast data, Thames is the first player in the last three years to hit a ball more than 430 feet and not get a homer. He was stranded at third. 

—- Over in Sacramento, a couple of rehab appearances went as planned. Johnny Cueto threw three scoreless innings for the River Cats; he will make at least one more minor league start. Joe Panik was 0-for-2 in five innings; he will join the San Jose Giants on Wednesday for another rehab game.