Sharks notes: Murray, Kesler renew hostilities


Sharks notes: Murray, Kesler renew hostilities

Tim Panaccio

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- When youre 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, its not a coincidence that your own coach calls you his bull in the china shop.Douglas Murray has heard it before. The Bull had a number of run-ins with Ryan Kesler during Sundays 3-2 loss to the Canucks in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. Kesler gives up an inch in height, which is nothing in hockey. Yet the 38 pounds in weight disadvantage is. Which is why Kesler got decked a few times. Murrays high-stick call on Kesler in the opening period had him a tad upset on Monday. The two were going at it pretty good on the ice, the way Murray sees it. And when Murray decked him, they exchanged some words. It was the heat of the game, Murray said. He looked like he was hurt a lot more. It was something that happens during the game. I asked someone and I think my stick came up when I poke-checked him down low. I think my stick came up from him lifting it. I didnt feel like I high-sticked him. Some of the Sharks felt there was a bit of embellishment on Keslers part there, as well as with Max Lapierre in the third period when Dan Boyle was penalized for holding the Canucks centerman, who took a dive. In that instance, both players went off the ice. Their heads are going back like theyre being shot with a gun, Boyle said, inferring the Canucks dont take too kindly to the checks that have been thrown on them by San Jose. Hopefully, the refs see it, most of the time. They got one right in the end at least, though unfortunately I had to go with him. Vancouver has been accused of embellishing to get some calls throughout these playoffs. Truth is, thats not unusual when you have a skill group of players like the Canucks in games against more physical opponents, such as the Sharks. We were aware of what Nashville was accusing them of in the series before and I saw it first hand last night, Boyle said. Theyre getting away with it, and its working for them. So, if its working, why are you going to change it? We just hope the referees watch tape like we do, and they see some of the things other people have seen. Two days off: The reason for the extra day off between games is a Kid Rock concert here at Rogers Arena. Most coaches dont enjoy an extra day off when they lose. Bad losses tend to eat away at players. Sharks coach Todd McLellan thinks this is an exception. Most his players elected not to skate on Monday. Interestingly, team captain Joe Thornton skated. You always want to get back on the horse as quick as you can, but in this case, I think the extra day helps us, he said. We take advantage of it, today. Physically, tomorrow we will have a good skate. Production: The Sedin Twins (Daniel and Henrik) were honest after Game 1 in saying that they felt pressure to perform in the playoffs. Its even been a discussion with their teammates. You know, those guys always lead by example, Kesler said. They were playing well for us, they just weren't getting the bounces. It all evens out in the end. I couldn't be more happy for Hank to score that goal. He's been working hard, doing all the right things. For him to finally get one, it's good. For Hank's defense, he's been playing really well. I think some of that negative energy has been directly wrong at him obviously. They're here to produce. Sometimes the puck doesn't go in the net. I've gone through stretches, too. I've had that negative energy drawn at me, too. I was really happy to see him get that one. You know, he played extremely well for us tonight and he won us the game. Vancouver got a huge morale boost, players said, by the contribution of its fourth line as Lapierre scored a game-tying goal early in the second period. His wingers are Raffi Torres and Jannik Hansen. It's fun that we're contributing, Lapierre said. We tried to keep it simple: put the puck deep, cycle the puck. That was a big goal. He had an easy tap shot in the crease off a pass from behind the net by Hansen. We want to stick with the game plan, wait for our chances to have a goal, Lapierre said. It was a great play by my winger, so I just have to tip it in. Henrik Sedin thought Lapierres goal took some pressure off the rest of the Canucks. It gives us huge momentums in games where we can throw those guys on the ice, they're buzzing around, he said. For them to get a goal playing the way they did, it's great to watch. I mean, it's guys that work extremely hard, so fun to watch. Kesler felt Lapierres line also made a difference defensively in Game 1. When you can throw that line out there and they play in the offensive zone all night, that wears the D down, that makes them really, really hard to play against, Kesler said. Those guys were great all night. It's been one of the best games I've seen that line play. 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.