Sharks' Niittymaki practices, Stalock out for season


Sharks' Niittymaki practices, Stalock out for season


By Kevin Kurz
CSNCalifornia.comBOSTON -- Sharks goalie Antero Niittymaki, who was unable to dress on Saturday due to a mild groin injury, was back on the ice on Sunday morning with the team during its practice at Boston Universitys Agganis Arena.Niittymaki took part in most of the regular drills and was seen stretching his groin area a little more than normal. His status for Tuesdays game in Washington is still TBD.We need to sit down with the trainer and Doug Wilson and talk about where hes at, said coach Todd McLellan. Obviously, hes close enough to be practicing, but I dont think hes comfortable enough to be in there playing. We have to make a decision on what we do there.Should Niittymaki be unable to dress on Tuesday, the club would likely recall goaltender Carter Hutton from Worcester again. Thats because top prospect Alex Stalock is out for the season with a sliced nerve on the back of his left knee.Stalock, who picked up his first career NHL victory last week against Phoenix in relief of Antti Niemi, was hurt on Friday night in the Worcester Sharks game against Manchester. With about three and a half minutes to go in the game, Monarchs forward Dwight King stepped on him in a freak occurrence, reported the Worcester Telegram.Stalock, a fourth round pick by the Sharks in 2005, stopped all nine shots he saw last Tuesday at HP Pavilion after entering the game midway through the second period in his first-ever NHL game. The Sharks scored five straight goals in a 5-3 win over Phoenix.RECAP: Sharks score five straight to shock Coyotes
Hutton, who served as San Jose's backup on Saturday, must have been inspired seeing Niemi blank Boston in the Sharks 2-0 win. The goaltender was reassigned to Worcester in time for their game against the Providence Bruins and led them to a 2-0 shutout of their own, making 20 saves.

Brian Hoyer not living his life worried about 49ers possibly drafting a QB

Brian Hoyer not living his life worried about 49ers possibly drafting a QB

Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley are the only two quarterbacks currently on the 49ers' roster.

Is Hoyer operating as if he will be the starter in 2017?

"Yeah for sure. I think that's what I was brought in to do at this point," Hoyer said on KNBR 680 on Wednesday morning. "And the thing that I've learned in this profession, and really in life, is not worry about things you can't control. I can't control who they draft with the second pick tomorrow and I'm not gonna live my life worrying about it."

The 49ers own the second overall pick in the draft and are reportedly strongly considering taking a QB with that selection.

Even if they do, it doesn't mean that player will start from Day 1.

Hoyer worked with 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan in Cleveland during the 2014 season -- he started a career-high 13 games with the Browns and threw for a career-best 3,326 yards.

"I'm gonna go out there and do what I think my job is at this point," Hoyer added. "And I'm gonna do that as long as I can until they tell me it's not my job anymore."


Marshawn Lynch excellent fit for Raiders scheme, ailing Oakland fan base

Marshawn Lynch excellent fit for Raiders scheme, ailing Oakland fan base

Marshawn Lynch is a Raider. He announced that fact on Twitter in his own unique way Wednesday, completing a month-long process from initial interest to final signature.

The Raiders gave him a new contract and traded Seattle for his rights, allowing the Oakland Tech High grad and Cal alum to come out of retirement and play for his hometown team.

That’s good news for Raiders fans on several fronts. He fills an immediate need at running back created when Latavius Murray left for Minnesota.

It temporarily tempers, though certainly doesn’t extinguish, rage about the Raiders relocating to Las Vegas.

[RATTO: Here's to hoping Marshawn Lynch upstages the NFL Draft]

Owner Mark Davis hopes to move his team when a new stadium is complete in 2020. 

Lynch won't be there. Lynch won’t represent Vegas. He’s an Oakland Raider, playing for the city he champions at every turn. Lynch regularly gives back to this community and might be its most popular native son right now.

Lynch missed playing football, but he wanted to represent his hometown. That was clear in his tweet. He explained it this way: “I’m really from Oakland doe like really really really from Oakland doe…town bizness breath on me.”

He’ll celebrate joining the Raiders on Thursday with a block party and autograph signing in Oakland.

Lynch will give East Bay fans something to cheer for that won’t be shipping off to Vegas in a few years.

Nothing can cure the pain of an NFL team leaving Oakland a second time. Wins are ibuprofen, giving short-term relief to an ailing fan local base. He can certainly help the Raiders provide that.

The Silver and Black needed a big, physical primary rusher to pair with elusive, yet smaller backs Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington.

Lynch is that guy. There’s no question he’s a football fit.

Lynch is a strong interior rusher from several different formations. He could run well behind fullback Jamize Olawale, as a lone shotgun runner or in jumbo packages with quarterback Derek Carr under center and behind a hulking Raiders offensive line.

While new offensive coordinator Todd Downing will add some wrinkles to an existing scheme, the Raiders employ a versatile system that could suit Lynch’s many strengths.

Lynch ranks among the toughest, most aggressive backs of his generation and one of the best resisting tackles.

He averaged 4.3 yards per carry and 2.8 yards after contact per rushing attempt in his career, according to analytics site Pro Football Focus.

Lynch led the NFL with 245 broken tackles between 2013 and 2016 – 56 more than the next guy -- and he didn’t even play last season, per PFF.

He led the league with an unreal 3.1 yards after per contact in 2014, his last year fully healthy. He played just eight times in 2015 due to an abdominal injury that required surgery.

Lynch is completely healthy after his year travelling the world, doing charity work and expanding his clothing line, but effectiveness is always questioned of running backs over 30. Lynch turned 31 last week. He heads into his 10th season without having been hit in a while, and many believe he can produce like few others his age have in the NFL.

He’ll take the lion’s share of carries in a three-man rotation with Richard and Washington. He reportedly gets an extra $2 million if he's just the second Raider since 2010 to reach 1,000 yards. There’s motivation to push for that and other incentives in the deal. If Lynch is in vintage Beast Mode and fans are happy, the Raiders will gladly pay the extra freight.