Sharks look to avenge hit on White with 2-0 lead

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Sharks look to avenge hit on White with 2-0 lead

April 15, 2011
LOS ANGELES vs. SHARKSSHARKS VIDEOCoverage starts at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California
SAN JOSE (AP) The Los Angeles Kings know they will be without forward Jarret Stoll for one game for his blindside hit that knocked San Jose defender Ian White out of Game 1 of their first-round series.The Sharks don't know yet how long they will be without White, who missed practice Friday as he tries to recover from a head injury and is expected to miss at least one game.The NHL suspended Stoll for Game 2 on Saturday night for hitting White in the league's latest crackdown on hits on defenseless players."Obviously I'm disappointed with the decision," Stoll said after practice Friday. "I don't want to miss any games, whether it's the regular season or especially the playoffs. I'm really disappointed with the decision, but I respect it."The hit in question came at the end of the first period with White trying to play the puck while facing the end boards behind his own net. Stoll hit him from behind, appearing to drive his head into the glass with his forearm.There was no penalty called on the play, but that did not help Stoll escape punishment."It was a dirty hit," said Sharks enforcer Ben Eager, who fought with Kyle Clifford on the ensuing faceoff. "I don't see how you could watch the replay and see it and not see it as a dirty hit. He had his back to him the whole time. Hopefully Whitey is all right."White crumpled and looked groggy as he was helped off the ice with a cut on his face. He was examined by team doctors and has a head injury, coach Todd McLellan said.McLellan would not say if White received a concussion, but said he will not play until doctors clear him."I hope he's OK," Stoll said. "You never want to see a guy get knocked out or have a concussion or miss any time. I missed a lot of time with a concussion years back and I know what it feels like. I definitely don't want to put anyone in that situation. He's a good player."The suspension angered Kings management, with assistant general manager Ron Hextall saying hockey is a physical game and sometimes injuries happen and coach Terry Murray upset that Sharks defenseman Jason Demers wasn't punished at all for a hit later in the game on Ryan Smyth."That other hit is five times more severe, more intentional, traveling distance, launching yourself two to three feet off the ice and a blow to the head," he said. "That is a major longtime suspension."The league did not see it that way and now the Kings must try to even up the series after a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 1 without their second-line center, who also plays important roles on the power play and penalty kill. Los Angeles is already without its top center, Anze Kopitar, who is sidelined by an ankle injury.Now they must find a way to replace Stoll, who was their best faceoff man in Game 1 and teamed with Smyth and Justin Williams on Los Angeles' most productive line in the opener.Stoll was one of six 20-goal scorers for the Kings this season, posting 20 goals and 23 assists. The Kings, who scored the fewest goals of any playoff team in the regular season, are now missing two of their top offensive threats."He's going to be missed," Murray said. "You're not going to replace that right-handed shot, right-handed faceoff guy. Other guys will have to try to be better and dig in and try to get the job done. There's no one we have who can step in and replace everything that Jarret Stoll brings to our game."Trevor Lewis will move up to center that line with John Zeiler being called up from the minors to take a spot as fourth-line center.McLellan has not decided whether rookie Justin Braun or veteran Kent Huskins will go in place of White on Saturday for Game 2. Huskins, who won the Stanley Cup in Anaheim in 2007, missed the final 22 games of the season with an upper-body injury and has just recently returned to practice.Braun, a 24-year-old rookie, played 28 games this season with the Sharks, posting two goals and nine assists. He has a big shot from the point and got time on the power play."You don't want to see a guy go down, but you always have to be ready and be focused," he said. "I paid attention to the game last night as much as I could. I tried to take it all in."White played 401 regular season games before finally making it to the postseason for the first time and got a point on his first shift. White started the game with Niclas Wallin and helped set up Dany Heatley's rebound goal just 28 seconds into the contest - the fastest playoff goal in Sharks history."He's been so pumped to play in the playoffs," Wallin said. "Three games before the end of the season the guy is jumping around and so pumped up. He's a competitive guy. He's going to come back."White played eight more shifts in the first period and got involved on the offensive end before his injury in the final minute of the first period.

Fultz a perfect fit, but do Kings have assets required to trade up?

Fultz a perfect fit, but do Kings have assets required to trade up?

It’s lonely at the top, which is where Markelle Fultz sits on almost every 2017 NBA Draft board. The Brooklyn Nets should be set for the next decade with a big time scoring point guard. Instead, it’s the Boston Celtics who have no choice but to take Fultz with the No. 1 overall selection after a savvy trade that sent veterans Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets for a stack of picks and players back in 2013.

Fultz can do it all. He’s deadly from the outside, he can take you off the bounce and he has elite passing skills to boot. In a draft packed with star potential, specifically at the point guard position, the freshman from Washington stands out well above the rest.  

It would take a major shake up at the top for Fultz not to have his name called first on draft night, but there are plenty of very talented players sitting on the board behind him. Here is a deeper look at the potential top overall selection.

The Positives:
Fultz has tremendous size, length and athleticism for an NBA point guard. He measured in at 6-foot-5, 195-pounds with a 6-foot-10 wingspan and has a frame built to take on muscle. At just 19-years-old, he is already well defined physically and has plenty of room to grow and get stronger.

A crafty, high-end scorer, Fultz changes speed and direction well and has an advanced Euro-step for a young player. He averaged 23.2 points in 35.7 minutes a night for the Huskies while shooting 47.6 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from three. He can score from all three levels, finish well above the rim and play through contact.

In his lone season in college, Fultz showed that he is not only a legitimate scoring threat, but he is a willing passer and an unselfish teammate. While Lonzo Ball is considered the true pass first point guard of the draft, Fultz had a higher assist rate (35.5 to 31.5) and lower turnover rate (13.4 to 18.2) than the star guard from UCLA.

Fultz rebounds well for his position, averaging 5.7 rebounds per game at Washington. He also has potential as a defender, posting 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks, although he is a work in progress on that end of the floor.

Known as a high-character kid and tireless worker off the court, Fultz has the entire package. He can also play the lead or shooting guard spot, which will come in handy if the Celtics decide to pair him with All-Star Isaiah Thomas in the backcourt.

The Negatives:
9-16 is a concern. Great college players should be able to will their team to victory, even if the talent around them is suspect. Washington was certainly worse off without Fultz down the stretch, losing their last six while he sat with a knee injury.

Shot selection and sloppy ball handling was also an issue this season. In Fultz’ defense, he played with a group that lacked overall talent and those issues might eventually disappear when he’s added to a roster that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.  

Fultz is a quality chase down defender, but he fell asleep on plenty of plays or didn’t show a consistent fight on the defensive end. Lack of focus allowed for plenty of back cuts. He also showed an inconsistent effort fighting through screens.

He’s a work in progress on the defensive end, like most young players coming into the league. Most of these issues can easily be coached out of him at the next level.

Projection:
Fultz has an advanced feel and tons of room to expand his game. On the court, he resembles another former Husky in Brandon Roy. Fultz is much further along than Roy was at the same age, but possesses both the ability to score from anywhere on the court, as well as rebound and set up his teammates.  

It’s hard to imagine the Celtics passing on Fultz with the top overall selection, but if they do, teams will scramble trying to move up to select him. He would fit perfectly in the Kings starting backcourt alongside sophomore Buddy Hield, but Sacramento lacks the assets to move from five to one, Fultz’ likely landing spot.

 

Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale

Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- The blisters on Johnny Cueto's middle and index fingers that limited his effectiveness in his last few starts haven't yet completely healed.

But the two-time All-Star is learning to pitch with them.

Cueto threw six strong innings and Brandon Crawford drove in three runs as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Atlanta Braves 7-1 on Sunday.

Cueto (5-4) bounced back from his roughest stretch as a Giant. He was 0-3 with a 4.33 ERA in his previous four starts.

"They're not bothering me like they were before," Cueto said through a translator. "I'm just getting used to it but I have to continue pitching until they get better."

The Giants won their third straight home series and posted their 11th victory in 18 games overall.

Crawford's two-run single highlighted a four-run second against R.A. Dickey (3-4) that made it 6-0.

Matt Kemp had three hits for Atlanta. But the Braves couldn't get much going against Cueto, who allowed one run on six hits and a walk. Cueto struck out eight, including five in a row at one point.

"He did what he needed to do to get us out," Kemp said. "We had chances to score runs and we didn't. I think in this series we really didn't do a good score of scoring runs."

Dickey allowed a season-high seven runs (six earned) on six hits and five walks in six innings.

"This can be a challenging place to throw because of the wind because it swirls so much," Dickey said.

Eduardo Nunez and Gorkys Hernandez each had two hits for the Giants. Joe Panik tripled to start the second-inning burst.

Cueto had two productive at-bats, bunting a runner to second in the second inning and driving in a run with a sacrifice fly in the third.

"It's always nice to have a lead and I thought Johnny was the sharpest he'd been this year," Giants catcher Buster Posey said. "Hopefully it's something he can build on. The changeup was working really well and his command of the fastball was really good."

Posey was 0 for 2 with two walks. He hasn't struck out in 55 consecutive plate appearances.

FUN FACTOR:
The Giants scored the game's first run when Nunez came around from third when a knuckleball glanced off catcher Kurt Suzuki glove in the bottom of the first. The play was ruled a passed ball. Asked if he had any empathy for the plight of his counterpart, Posey said "Yes, no question. It's not fun to hit, it doesn't look fun to catch, either."

FANCY FIELDING:
Hernandez made a diving catch in the gap in left-center robbing Emilio Bonifacio of an extra-base hit with one out in the seventh inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Braves: 2B Brandon Phillips left in the fifth for pinch-hitter Jace Peterson. Phillips fouled a ball off his foot in his last at-bat in the third.

Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner will start his throwing program on Friday, manager Bruce Bochy said. Bumgarner will start out playing catch and make five rehab starts. The 2014 World Series MVP suffered a separated left shoulder in a dirt biking accident. "The progress is happening," Bochy said. "I think he sees light at the end of the tunnel." ... Slumping rookie INF Christian Arroyo was out of the lineup on Sunday and his playing status appears uncertain. Arroyo, who turns 22 on Tuesday, is 0 for 19 in his last five games. "I'll talk to him, about what his situation is," Bochy said. "I'm definitely planning on giving him a couple of days" off.

UP NEXT:
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran will make his first career start against the Angels in Anaheim on Monday. He is 3-9 with a 5.63 ERA in 15 career interleague starts.

Giants: LHP Matt Moore will face the Nationals for the second time in his career. He was with Tampa Bay when he gave up two runs in five innings against Washington in 2012.