49ers Notes: Goodwin not worried about fumbles

kaepernick_colin_fumble.jpg

49ers Notes: Goodwin not worried about fumbles

SANTA CLARA – As Colin Kaepernick casually strolled through the 49ers’ locker room, he couldn’t help but notice a sizeable media contingent around center Jonathan Goodwin.

“Don’t hassle Goodie about it, it was my fault,” Kaepernick said.

A smiling Goodwin replied, “50/50, husband and wife. Of course, he’s the wife.”

Fortunately, they could now laugh about the trouble they were having with the football in Sunday’s win in New England. Kaepernick fumbled the ball four times while trying to handle the snap from Goodwin, including twice in the first quarter and another on the first play of the second quarter.

Goodwin didn’t seem too concerned that it will be a recurring problem, though, for a couple of reasons.

“The fact that the latter part of the game we tried something different and we didn’t have any problems, and we hadn’t had any problems in regular weather, I don’t think it’s something that’s going to concern us,” said the 11-year pro.

Inclement weather is always a possibility in the Pacific Northwest this time of year, so Goodwin expects he and his new quarterback may spend a little more time handing off the ball in practice this week. The early forecast for Sunday in Seattle, according to weather.com, is cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain.

“I haven't checked the forecast, but if rain is in the picture, it's definitely something that we need to work on,” Goodwin said.

* * *

Although Kaepernick was having trouble with the ball, the young QB showed poise beyond his years late in the game after New England's furious comeback, according to tight end Vernon Davis.

On the first play from scrimmage following the Patriots’ game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter, Kaepernick found Michael Crabtree for a 38-yard score, giving the 49ers a lead they would not relinquish.

“He had just this will-to-win attitude. His demeanor was just, like, on another level,” Davis said of Kaepernick. “His mind was clear. He was ready to win, he was talking, he was getting guys in the huddle, telling guys to run back and get lined up. He was just a complete champion in that game. That’s what we expect him to be.”

Still, Davis admitted that he has yet to find the personal chemistry with Kaepernick as he had with Alex Smith. After reeling in six catches for 83 yards in Kaepernick’s first start against the Bears on Nov. 19, Davis has just four catches for 29 yards in the last four games combined.

On Sunday in New England, Davis was targeted three times including a pair of deep balls, but finished with just one reception for 10 yards.

“One thing I learned in the beginning when I first got here, everyone was talking about being on the same page as the quarterback, as Alex Smith. You have to develop that chemistry, that bond so you can be on the same page. That’s something me and Kap don’t have right now. We don’t have it. You have to expect that, because he just stepped in.

“Me and Alex, we’ve been here. It took some time for me and Alex to get like that. In the beginning, Alex would overthrow me, he would underthrow me. We had to build that chemistry that he could trust that I’m going in that spot that I needed to be. That’s something that me and Kap don’t have right now, but we’re working on it. We started working on it the moment he stepped in. So, we have to build that.”

* * *

Demarcus Dobbs’ season may be over after he was placed on injured reserve last week, but the second-year pro won’t need surgery on his right knee, he said on Tuesday.

“That’s the blessing. No surgery, just rehab, take it easy try to let it go back and do a lot of treatment,” Dobbs said before revealing he had a partial tear of his PCL and MCL.

Primarily a special-teamer, Dobbs had to be carted off of the field in the 49ers’ win over Miami last weekend after covering a kickoff.

“It looked a lot worse and felt a lot worse,” he said. “I thought it was my whole knee, my ACL and everything. I thought the worst of it.”

It’s been a rough go lately for Dobbs. The 25-year-old, who had seven tackles in 12 games this season, was arrested on Nov. 30 for suspicion of drunk driving and possession of marijuana following a single car accident.

* * *

The 49ers (10-3-1) won’t have much time to bask in the glow of Sunday’s thrilling victory over a fellow Super Bowl contender in front of a national audience. Instead, they face what would probably be considered an even more important game against division rival Seattle (9-5) on Sunday.

A win over the Seahawks would clinch the NFC West title and put them one step closer to securing a first round playoff bye, something they would do with victories in their final two games. The Seahawks are a perfect 6-0 at home and have put up at least 50 points in each of the last two weeks in wins against Arizona and Buffalo, winning three in a row overall.

"We've got to move forward,” Frank Gore said. “We can't thrive on what happened last week. We got the win. Now we're looking at Seattle. We know Seattle's playing good ball. They're a good team. We'll be ready."

Running back Anthony Dixon said: “We’ve got to take them serious. We’re not going to underestimate them, and we’re definitely not sleeping on them. We see what they’re doing, but at the same time they see us, too. It’s going to be a clash of the titans. It’s going to be good. It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be physical. But that’s the way we like it. We’re ready.”

While the Seahawks may be perfect at home, San Francisco is 5-0 in primetime matchups, including the 41-34 win over the Pats.

NHL Gameday: Sharks face Preds, look to rebound from 'crap' performance

NHL Gameday: Sharks face Preds, look to rebound from 'crap' performance

Programming note – Sharks-Predators coverage starts today at 4:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 42-25-7, 91 points, 1st Pacific Division
Predators: 37-25-11, 85 points, 4th Central Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***The freefalling Sharks will again try to put an end to their losing streak in their only visit to Nashville tonight. Friday night’s unsightly 6-1 loss in Dallas, their fifth straight in regulation, was surely their worst game of the season. Their typically strong defensive game handed the Stars all kinds of opportunities that they cashed in on.

“Uncharacteristic missed coverage," Pete DeBoer said of the Stars' third goal in which Jamie Benn was left uncovered, "but [I] think that you could say that about six of the goals – breakaways, two-on-ones. Just, crap. Not very good.”

Despite having a nine-point lead on the division on the morning of March 15, the Sharks are now tied in points with Anaheim (San Jose owns the tiebreaker, so is still officially in first place). The Ducks are idle Saturday, but Edmonton, two points back, is hosting putrid Colorado.

Nashville is 5-1-0 in its last six games, and 6-1-0 in its last seven at home.

***The Sharks would officially clinch a spot in the playoffs with a regulation/OT win, combined with a Kings regulation loss to the Rangers on Saturday night.

***The Sharks have managed just five goals over their five regulation losses. Two of those scores have come on the power play, including one on a five-on-three; Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s goal against St. Louis deflected in off of a Blues player, and one of Patrick Marleau’s two markers in Minnesota on Tuesday came in large part to a miscommunication between Devan Dubnyk and Ryan Suter.

They are simply not generating anything lately.

“Some teams are doing a good job of taking some of our plays away, but it’s on us as players,” Joe Pavelski said. “You’ve got to win some battles, you've got to create some energy, some speed throughout the team. It’s hasn’t been one guy. It’s been all of us. We’re in this together. We’ll change it as a group."

***The Sharks will make some lineup changes for the game. DeBoer said there were "some game time decisions," including Vlasic, who played just one shift in the third period on Friday. Timo Meier and Melker Karlsson could draw in up front.

The Sharks are 2-3-1 in the six games Vlasic has missed this season, including Tuesday in Minnesota when he was out with the flu. Just one of the two wins came in regulation (Jan. 7 against Detroit).

If he’s out, Dylan DeMelo will presumably play on the third pair.

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Tomas Hertl. It didn’t take long for Hertl to be bumped up to the Joe Thornton line after Friday’s game started to go sour. In the first period, Hertl looked like one of the few Sharks players actually performing decently, and he finished with a team-high four shots on goal. He remains without a point in his last 11 games, though.

Predators: James Neal. The Predators forward has goals in each of his two games against the Sharks this season, and is third on the Predators with 21 overall. After scoring in three straight games from March 11-16, Neal hasn’t found the scoresheet in his last three.

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Jannik Hansen – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Marcus Sorensen – Tomas Hertl – Joel Ward
Timo Meier – Chris Tierney – Joonas Donskoi

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – Justin Braun
David Schlemko – Dylan DeMelo

Martin Jones (likely starter)
Aaron Dell

Predators
Filip Forsberg – Ryan Johansen – Viktor Arvidsson
Kevin Fiala – Calle Jarnkrok – James Neal
Colin Wilson – Colton Sissons – Craig Smith
Cody McLeod – Vern Fiddler – Austin Watson

Romas Josi – Ryan Ellis
Mattias Ekholm – P.K. Subban
Matt Irwin – Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne
Jusse Saros

INJURIES

Sharks: Marc-Edouard Vlasic (possible lower body) and Melker Karlsson (lower body) are questionable.

Predators: Mike Fisher (lower body) is questionable.

QUOTEABLE

"The nice thing about this is we get to go back at it again tomorrow. There’s going to be no excuse for not playing hard tomorrow.” – Brenden Dillon, after Friday night’s loss in Dallas

 

Sharks blowout loss to Stars includes 'a month's worth of mistakes'

Sharks blowout loss to Stars includes 'a month's worth of mistakes'

DALLAS – In just two-and-a-half weeks, the Sharks will have the opportunity to defend their Western Conference title when the Stanley Cup Playoffs get underway.

(Take a deep breath. They won’t fall out of playoff position.)

Still, it’s a terrible time for them to be playing their worst hockey of the season, and going through the foulest stretch of coach Pete DeBoer’s two-year tenure.

The Sharks were flat-out embarrassed by the Stars on Friday night in their fifth straight regulation defeat, 6-1 in Dallas, showing no signs of life for the duration. Not even a verbal tongue-lashing from their normally reserved head coach in full view of the cameras in the second period got their motors going.

How do you explain this one, Joe Pavelski?

“I don’t know, good question,” said the captain. “There’s a commitment that needs to be there to win in this league right now consistently. Right now, we’re searching for that.”

DeBoer, too, was puzzled.

“You have a handful of those a year where nothing goes right and nobody’s got any kind of legs or energy,” he said. “It was one of those nights. I don’t have an explanation for it. I felt we prepared the right way the last couple days. I thought we felt pretty good about ourselves. Then, the puck dropped and everything went bad.”

It was evident early that the Sharks were off, as they couldn’t figure out a way to get the puck through the neutral zone for the first several shifts and didn’t register a shot on goal until 7:17 into the first period. The first of three Adam Cracknell goals – yes, Adam Cracknell – had them trailing 1-0 after the opening frame.

Traditionally, the Sharks would have found a way to jolt themselves to life at the intermission, as it was so plainly obvious that they didn’t seem focused or driven over the first 20 minutes.

This was a game, too, in which they were healthier, getting Jannik Hansen back in the lineup, and more rested than the Stars, who were playing their second game in as many nights while San Jose was coming off a rare two-day break. Furthermore, the Sharks have seen a nine-point lead in the Pacific Division evaporate to just two points headed into Friday’s action. Motivation should have been easy against a team that shut them out on Monday, to boot.

But the mental mistakes to start the second were even worse. Brett Ritchie was left alone by Brenden Dillon for a goal just 1:58 into the middle frame, and at 5:19, Brent Burns was caught staring at the puck off of a faceoff as Jamie Benn got free in front of the net to push the Dallas lead to 3-0. DeBoer's timeout and screaming session after that third goal did nothing, as Dallas got two more goals off of the rush and another on a breakaway by Cracknell after a gift turnover by goalie Aaron Dell before the night was through.

“That’s a month worth of mistakes in one night, so hopefully we get it out of the system,” DeBoer said.

The defensive miscues should be easily correctable, according to Dillon.

“If you look at a good chunk of those goals, we kind of know whether it was d-zone coverage, or off the rush, or just communicating with one another,” he said. “Stuff that’s not like us. I think if we watched the other 70 games this year, those kind of things don’t happen.”

Of course, the defensive errors become all the more glaring when a team isn’t scoring, either. The Sharks managed just one Joe Thornton power play goal, and have just five total goals in their last five games.

That part of their game wasn’t any better against Dallas than their defense, as Kari Lehtonen had a relatively tranquil evening.

“We have a lot of guys that are going through some tough times right now and struggling to get on the scoresheet,” Logan Couture said. “We're going to need all of those guys to bring more. That's from our top guys, including myself and on down. We need to do more offensively. Score goals, and do more defensively, as well.”

They have just eight more games to figure it all out.

“It’s not ideal, by any means,” Dillon said. “I think it’s maybe a bit of a wakeup call for us. … You can’t take a night off and you have to be emotionally invested. You’ve got to take every shift as hard as you possibly can.”

* * *

DeBoer had no update on Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who didn't play in the third period. The defenseman was seen leaving the dressing room under his own power, but looked to be walking a bit gingerly.