49ers notes: Miami native Gore reveals his true colors

gore_frank_49ers.jpg

49ers notes: Miami native Gore reveals his true colors

SANTA CLARA – He may be a native of Miami, and even played his college ball for the Hurricanes, but San Francisco running back Frank Gore actually grew up rooting for the team with which he currently plays right now.

Why was he a 49ers fan as a kid?

“They was winning. They were a good team,” the 29-year-old Gore said on Tuesday, from the team’s practice facility.

He’ll get a chance to go up against the Dolphins on Sunday when the Niners try to rebound from Sunday’s disappointing 16-13 overtime defeat in St. Louis. Gore, too, will look to put that game in the rear view mirror on a personal level, after gaining just 58 yards on a season-high 23 carries for just 2.5 yards-per-carry.

“They had eight or nine men in the box. They played good defense. They’ve got a great D-line, their linebackers played good,” Gore said of the Rams. “They did a great job.”

The game will mark the first meeting between San Francisco and Miami since Dec. 14, 2008, and first at Candlestick Park since Nov. 28, 2004.

Gore would actually prefer the game was being played in South Florida, after he missed what would have been a homecoming four years ago with an ankle injury.

“I wish we could have played them down there, that would have been special, in front of all my fans in Miami and [where] a lot of my family is from,” he said. “All my Hurricane fans, they probably miss me.”

* * *

Gore was asked about rookie running back LaMichael James, who could see his first action in a 49ers uniform on Sunday after he was drafted in the second round by the team this past April.

Gore, who is happy to act as a mentor to the young and speedy James, has seen improvement in the 23-year-old since he first laid eyes on in the summer.

“He got better in small spaces,” Gore said. “You watch his film in college, it’s a lot of big spaces. In the NFL it’s different. Early on, he had a tough time with that, but now from when I first saw him, he got a lot better at that.”

Gore stressed to James that patience is a virtue when running the football in the NFL.

“When you’re getting the ball it ain’t about how fast you go, it’s penetration, how fast you can get through. When he used to get the ball he used to just use his speed. I told him you’ve got to let things develop, be patient. When you see it, that’s when you be fast through the hole,” Gore said.

The 49ers are searching for someone to fill the role left by the injured Kendall Hunter, who acted as a change of pace to Gore’s bruising style. In Sunday’s game in St. Louis, Brandon Jacobs, who employs a similar style to Gore, was the only other back to get the ball. Jacobs rushed four times for just six yards.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the team’s leading rusher with 84 yards on nine carries, including a 50-yarder in which Gore delivered a key block.

“Whatever it takes to have successful play to win and I’m a part of it, I’m with it,” Gore said of his block.

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The 49ers know as well as anyone that regular season records get thrown out the window once the playoffs begin. After finishing the regular season 13-3 a year ago, they fell to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game. The Giants, after a 9-7 regular season, went on to defeat the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Cornerback Carlos Rogers stressed that the team needs to finish the regular season strong. After Miami, the 49ers close out with games against New England, Seattle and Arizona.

“It’s really important to finish the quarter strong. We talk about four quarters. This is the last quarter,” Rogers said.

“The teams that do good in the playoffs, at the end of November and December they’re kind of clicking and kind of get going. That’s what’s we’ve got to do. We can’t come into the playoffs with losses like last weekend, not hitting on all cylinders. You see the example with New York, everybody counted them out, and they ended up hitting it at this point last year, and ended up winning the Super Bowl. We’ve got to follow that same path.”

Miami is just 5-7 this season, but has already secured wins against St. Louis and Seattle – one club which has beaten the Niners (St. Louis), and another that gave them a tough battle earlier this season in Seattle, which lost 13-6 to the 49ers on Oct. 18.

“I know they’re a pretty good team,” Rogers said of the Dolphins. “They’ve had their ups and downs but the team is growing: new coaches, new players, and a team that’s coming together. There’s no team that we’re going to take lightly, regardless of what their record is, and we’ll just try to get the W.”

 

Sharks conclude 2017 NHL Draft with five more forwards in the system

Sharks conclude 2017 NHL Draft with five more forwards in the system

CHICAGO – After nabbing a center in the first round on Friday, the Sharks added four more forwards and one defenseman to conclude the second day of the annual NHL Entry Draft on Saturday, held this year at United Center.

The Sharks weren’t explicitly trying to restock their forward cabinet, according to general manager Doug Wilson and scouting director Tim Burke, although the club did make two separate moves in surrendering some later round picks to move up in the fourth round (to take center Scott Reedy) and sixth round (to take left wing Sasha Chmelevski).

First, though, it was defenseman Mario Ferraro in the second round at 49th overall. The offensive defenseman was a player that the Sharks targeted, using the pick they acquired from New Jersey last Friday as part of the trade for Mirco Mueller.

“He’s got a lot of speed, offensive guy, exciting,” Burke said. “Puck-moving type of guy.”

Wilson said: “We’re very pleased with the d-man. He’s a very dynamic, athletic guy, great skater. He was a guy that we moved up a little bit aggressively to get because that round, you could see people going after who they wanted. He is a guy that we identified.”

After moving up from the fifth round to the fourth round last Friday, again because of the Mueller trade, the Sharks jumped up 21 more spots in the fourth round by obtaining the Rangers pick at 102nd overall for the 123rd and 174th selections.

Center Scott Reedy is a player that Burke has high hopes for, projecting the Minnesota native as a “second line right winger [with] high-end potential.” Burke pointed out that Reedy, who is friends with first round pick Josh Norris, occasionally played on the same line with Norris for each of the last two seasons with the U.S. Under-18 team.

“He’s a big, strong forward that can play both positions (center and right wing),” Burke said.

Right wing Jacob McGrew, an Orange, CA native, went to the Sharks in the fifth round despite missing all of his first season in junior with a lower body injury suffered in training camp with Spokane (WHL).

“We knew about him before he went up there,” Burke said. “He’s a California kid. … If he was healthy he probably would have gone earlier.”

The Sharks again moved up to snag Huntington Beach native and center Chmelevski at 185 overall, and made their sixth and final pick in the 212th position by taking left wing Ivan Chekhovich in the seventh round. Both players look to have some offensive skill, based on their numbers and Youtube highlights.

Burke was surprised that both players were around so late.

“I thought they had pretty good years and they kind of slipped in the draft,” he said. “We weighed that versus some other more project-type guys, and we thought they had more offense and finish to their game. They just kept sliding, so we took a chance on them.”

Wilson said: “We moved up for the guys we wanted, and then there were some skilled guys at the end that we were surprised were still there. … We’ll go back and take a look how it all went, but we feel, I think, really good about where we ended up with this.”

Sharks coach DeBoer had 'good relationship' with Kovalchuk

Sharks coach DeBoer had 'good relationship' with Kovalchuk

CHICAGO – Ilya Kovalchuk is still reportedly mulling over a return to the NHL, four years after he surprisingly walked away from a monstrous contract with the New Jersey Devils to play in the KHL.

The Sharks have been linked to Kovalchuk, in large part because of Pete DeBoer, who was Kovalchuk’s most recent head coach. In 2011-12, Kovalchuk was a dangerous scoring winger under DeBoer, helping the Devils reach the Stanley Cup Final.

It was apparently a good working relationship between the player and the coach for the two seasons they were together, DeBoer said on Friday at the NHL Entry Draft at United Center.

“I loved Kovy in New Jersey,” DeBoer said. “We went to a Stanley Cup Final together. He was a huge piece for us there. I really enjoyed coaching him. I haven’t seen him in four or five years now. I’m sure there’s still a lot of game left there.”

DeBoer said he’s had no contact with the 34-year-old Kovalchuk, who would have to be traded by New Jersey before signing a new contract with any other NHL club. Still, it seems like the Sharks’ coach might welcome a reunion with Kovalchuk, who posted 78 points in 60 games with SKA Saint Petersburg last season, and has 816 points (417g, 399a) in 816 career NHL games with Atlanta and New Jersey.

“I had a really good relationship with him. I had a lot of respect for him as a player and a person,” DeBoer said.

* * *

DeBoer seemed as uncertain as everyone else as to whether Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau will return to the Sharks or move on to other clubs as free agents.

But, naturally, it’s on his mind.

“You think about it all the time,” DeBoer said. “They’re obviously important pieces in the history of the franchise, and in our group. I also understand the business side of this, and there’s always tough decisions to make. The way I approach these type of things is I’m going to go to Canada and relax, and Doug [Wilson] is going to make those decisions. I’m sure we’ll have a good group come training camp.”

“We’ve got a really good core group of guys and some tough decisions that have to be made. The one thing Doug and his group has shown over the years is their ability to stay competitive, to find a way even after making tough decisions. I have all the faith in the world in that, and I’m excited about training camp.”

* * *

The Sharks lost David Schlemko in the expansion draft earlier in the week. Vegas then flipped him to the Canadiens for a fifth round pick in 2019.

“I think for David, it’s a great opportunity for him, especially going to Montreal,” DeBoer said. “For us, it’s an opportunity for a young guy to jump in. The one thing we have in the organization is some depth. There’s a lot of guys knocking on the door, and guys hungry to grab that job.”