Sharks need to stay physical in Game 4


Sharks need to stay physical in Game 4


Todd McLellan recants his version of a tale about the 1983 New York Islanders, whose reign over the National Hockey League ended with their fourth and final Stanley Cup that spring against the Oilers.
I remember hearing a story about the Oilers walking by the Islanders' locker room, McLellan began. Those guys were bleeding, they were taped up, there were ice bags everywhere, when they should have been celebrating a Stanley Cup championship. If I remember the story correctly, that was the moment the Oilers needed to become their dynasty, was to see that. If you're not hurt right now, if you're not banged, bruised, you're not sore, you're not tired, I guess the question would be: Why?To that end, the Vancouver Canucks are now officially the team this is more banged, bruised, sore, tired and especially,hurt, as this Western Conference Finals series enters Game 4 on Sunday afternoon at the Shark Tank.Two crushing hits in Game 3 from Sharks left wing Jamie McGinn have taken out the Canucks' No. 3 defenseman -- Christian Ehrhoff-- as well as, their No. 6 blue liner -- Aaron Rome.
RATTO: McLellan keeping doom in the air
On Saturday afternoon, McGinn was cleared of any wrong-doing by the NHL on the Rome hit, despite drawing a five-minute major for boarding, plus a game misconduct, his second of the playoffs (charging penalty: Game 6 vs. Los Angeles Brad Richardson).
Given Ben Eager also survived a game misconduct for running Daniel Sedin in Game 2 of this fray, you might conclude the Sharks have dodged two bullets in this series.I'm not going to comment on how the league interprets certain hits, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said.Going to leave that up to them. That's all I want to say there.Keith Ballard will get one call for Vancouver. Between rookie Chris Tanev and veteran Andrew Alberts, Alberts is expected to play, as well.Losing two D-men in a playoff game is catastrophic, especially one such as Ehrhoff, who took a shoulder hit from McGinn late in the second period and never returned.The Ehrhoff hit seemed inconsequential at the time. Hes one of their top defensemen, McGinn said. Any chance you get to get a lick in, you have to take it. He pulled up and I just kind ofcame across the ice and finished my check. It was just shoulder to shoulder.Two confirmed kills for the Sharks winger.Im not trying to hurt anyone, but I think it helps our team a lot, McGinn said. That is what were trying to do. Get in on their defense and wear and tear them down. Thats why its a seven-game series. Every game, every hit, every shift is important.Of course, the hit on Rome was the one the NHL reviewed.I think I have looked at the hit 100 times, McGinn said, prior to hearing the news he was cleared. Icant stress enough, I dont want to hurt anyone. I want a quick recovery for Rome. Its too bad that he got hurt on the play.I was coasting. I tried to slow up and hit him on the left shoulder.You can see the '2' and the '9' on the back of his sweater. So its just one of those freak accidents where he hit his head on the glass. I didn't want that to happen.Make no mistake, this changes things for the Sharks -- not just the Canucks. For one, it gives the Sharks an advantage on the forecheck.Just ask Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray, who understands, from a positional standpoint, what its like to lose two defensemen in a playoff series.With them being a little shorthanded, try to wear them down, Murray said of San Joses strategy as the Sharks are forcing the Canucks to dig deeper into their bench for replacements.Murrays partner, Dan Boyle, says the other advantage here is Vancouver now brings two players cold into pressure-packed Game 4.Thats tough for guys to come in and havingnot played for a long time, Boyle said.Its hard. Be physical, dont let the two new -- if there are two --dont let them get comfortable. Being physical is a big part of a hockey game.San Jose was far more physical, far more effective on its forecheck in Game 3 and now needs to ratchet play up for Game 4 and take advantage of the Canucks situation.You got to try to get on those new guys early and test them, forward Ryane Clowe said. We showed our forecheck Friday andwere a little more physical and a little more aggressive. We made them play in their end more. We got to do that. Both of these defensemen going in are experienced guys. I dont think their panic level will be high.Perhaps not, yet both new players figure to be cautious, even conservative in their defensive play. That also should work in the Sharks favor.
VIDEO: Joe Thornton postgame
We still want to get on it forecheck and bump them, Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. Nothing changes for us.Tim Panaccio covers thePhiladelphia Flyers for and let him know what you think! Follow Tim @tpanotch.

Mailbag: How would Raiders' move affect A's ballpark search?


Mailbag: How would Raiders' move affect A's ballpark search?

GLENDALE, Ariz. — With one week to go until the A’s break camp and head north, there are still some roster issues to be cleared up.

The big-picture question regarding this team, obviously, is where it might be building a future ballpark.

With all this in mind, we try to provide some clarity on questions submitted via Twitter:

From @Cjkittrell: If the Raiders move to Vegas, does the Coliseum site jump to the top of the list of possible ballpark sites by default?

That’s not necessarily the case. You have to remember what the A’s crave more than anything in a ballpark location: A thriving surrounding area — with restaurants, bars, shops, etc. — that will make the ballpark an attraction beyond the baseball game itself. Team president Dave Kaval has talked of wanting a “ballpark village” around a new venue. A downside of the Coliseum is that there is nothing around the area right now that would attract fans besides the baseball. Other sites, including Howard Terminal, appear to have more potential as far as surrounding attractions.

This doesn’t count out the Coliseum as an option. As Kaval has said, it’s the only site of four being considered that the A’s know is truly viable. There’s comfort in that. And the BART station, freeway access and available parking are big plusses. But something else I’ll mention in regard to the Raiders: Even if they announce a move to Las Vegas, they have lease agreements that would keep them playing football at the Coliseum at least through the 2018 season while their Vegas stadium is under construction. With the Raiders likely to be on the property for that period, it could complicate the A’s own hypothetical construction plans for the Coliseum site.

From @44BWells: With the emergence of Franklin Barrreto and the contract of Jed Lowrie, what's Joey Wendle's present and future?

They appear murky, don’t they? First and foremost, Wendle has to recover from a sore right shoulder that’s kept him out of exhibitions for a while. But the acquisition of utility man Adam Rosales meant Wendle probably wasn’t going to make the club out of spring training anyway. He’s got a fan in manager Bob Melvin, who was impressed with Wendle defensively last September. It was Wendle’s glove that was the question mark when he arrived from the Cleveland Indians. Barreto has the star-caliber upside and the hype. Once the A’s deem him ready, Lowrie becomes a trade possibility. But Wendle’s advantage is that, to a degree, he’s already proven himself in the majors. He’s a known quantity at this level. If a second baseman is needed early in the season, Wendle could get a call-up before Barreto if Barreto gets off to a slow start.

As for Wendle’s future beyond 2017, it would serve him well to be able to handle as many positions as possible. He realizes this. That’s why he volunteered to play winter ball in Mexico this past offseason, where he played lots of shortstop. His role moving forward could be as more of a utility guy, because I see Barreto growing roots at second base.

@ONChristy: Do the A's have the pieces, both in the majors and minors, to make a run in 2018-2020?

Well, it’s definitely tough to look down the road and forecast a three-year block. Here’s a short answer for you: They better! All of the trades of the past couple seasons have been made with an eye toward stockpiling young talent — especially on the pitching side. Contending this year will be a tall order. But by the end of this season, I’d expect Barreto and third baseman Matt Chapman to have gotten their feet wet in the big leagues. There’s a strong chance you’ll also see young pitchers such as Frankie Montas and Daniel Gossett up. There’s a large core of young players who are on the cusp of being major league ready.

Add to that some core veterans such as Khris Davis, Kendall Graveman Marcus Semien and (if he’s not traded) Sonny Gray— who will all be under team control through 2019 at least — and the A’s have a solid foundation for contending in that timeframe you mention. But let’s face it, there’s a lot that can and usually does happen over any three-year span that completely changes what we think we know going in.

Week after signing with Vikings, ex-Raiders RB Murray undergoes surgery

Week after signing with Vikings, ex-Raiders RB Murray undergoes surgery

A week after signing a deal with the Vikings, former Raiders running back Latavius Murray has undergone ankle surgery.

The Vikings made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.

Minnesota issued the following statement regarding the surgery:

"Vikings RB Latavius Murray had successful ankle surgery today. The surgery was performed by Dr. Bob Anderson in Charlotte, North Carolina. We were aware of the required surgery prior to signing Latavius on March 16. Latavius is expected to fully recover and be available for training camp."

Murray's deal with the Vikings is reported worth $15 million over three years, but can reportedly be voied after the first year.

Drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Murray became the Raiders' primary running back midway through the 2015 season. In his three years in Oakland, Murray carried the ball 543 times for 2,278 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2015.