Sharks

Zito outstanding as Giants take series from Dodgers

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Zito outstanding as Giants take series from Dodgers

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO In perhaps the most important game for both clubs so far in 2012, a pair of Cy Young Award winners were set to duel in the rubber match of the Giants-Dodgers series, as the longtime rivals battle for the NL West Division crown.One of them, Barry Zito, resembled the hurler that took home pitchings most prestigious honor in 2002. The other, 2011 winner Clayton Kershaw, never made it out of the training room.Zito was brilliant in 6.1 shutout innings while Kershaw was a late scratch with a sore hip as the Giants took the game and the series with a 4-0 win over Los Angeles on Sunday evening in front of a sellout crowd and national television audience. They lead the Dodgers by five and a half games with just 22 left to play after winning two of three this weekend.Hunter Pences two-out, two-run double in the first inning set the tone, while Angel Pagan and Buster Posey provided key hits in the middle innings, including Poseys 20th home run of the season. But it was Zitos performance that trumped all else.I thought he did a nice job of throwing the ball to both sides of the plate. His curveball was great, he was able to throw it backdoor to righties, and back foot, said Posey, who caught Zito for the second time in his last four starts. Overall, it seemed like he pitched with a lot of confidence. He did a great job.Sergio Romo, who closed out the game, said: He aint backing down from those guys, and he aint backing down from anybody, so he came out today ready to rock. Thats just the attitude we all have. We understand and honestly believe were pretty dang good. Were just going to go out and play and do that, and Barry is a great example of that attitude.Zito surrendered a double to Mark Ellis to start the game, but after getting out of that inning unscathed, settled in nicely. He scattered four hits and walked three while striking out four, and was never really in trouble until he allowed two baserunners with one out in the top of the seventh.When Bruce Bochy called upon Santiago Casilla, the AT&T Park crowd showed its appreciation for Zitos performance with a standing ovation.That was nice. The crowd was electric tonight, and very involved, said Zito, who secured his 11th win against eight losses. Every pitch in the game, we just have the best atmosphere in baseball here.Zito was also grateful for Casilla, who struck out pinch hitter Bobby Abreu and later got Shane Victorino to fly out to left with the bases loaded to end the seventh.The bullpen has just been outstanding, he said. Casilla came in and really slammed the door there with one out and two runners on against the heart of the lineup. For Bochy to manage the bullpen the way he has, he doesnt get enough credit. Its not easy in the first place.While no one would admit that Kershaws absence was a relief, the Giants were surely fortunate to face righty Joe Blanton rather than the Dodgers ace. Kershaw was 5-0 against the Giants last season, and while hes just 1-3 against them this year, still sports a miniscule 1.74 ERA in 31 innings pitched against San Francisco in 2012.Hes one of the best pitchers in the game. We havent done a lot with him, Bochy said. We have found ways to get wins against him, but thats because the guy pitching for us has done a great job in the game hes pitched. We still had our work cut out, Blantons a good pitcher. Hes been around and knows what hes doing, and sure, when you dodge Kershaw you dont mind, but at the same time they have a lot of depth out there. We went into this game knowing we still had work to do.Pence is plenty familiar with Blanton, as the two started the season on the Philadelphia Phillies roster before they were dealt to the West Coast. His clutch first inning hit, after Posey had struck out, was clearly the biggest offensive moment in the game.When youre facing Joe, I knew he was going to probably come in with some fastballs, and he has a good cutter and good slider, Pence said. Thats what I was getting ready for.Bochy said: Especially once they got Buster there, its about picking each other up, and Pence came through with that double. To get an early lead, thats what youre always hoping for. Those two-out hits are what win ball games for you. He came through there, and I think it helps guys relax.While a five-and-a-half game lead with less than a month to go in the season could be viewed as insurmountable, the Giants arent acting like theyve accomplished anything just yet.This was a big series, Posey said. I thought we came out and played well. Today was a huge game. Again, you cant say enough about the performance Zito had. We do have a decent amount of baseball left to play, so we have to keep going and keep pushing.Zito said: We certainly cant rest on our laurels. We have to fight every day, and thats something weve been doing in spite of people weve been losing with injuries and other things. We cant take anything for granted.

Sorensen returns to Sharks after having 'positive impact' last season

Sorensen returns to Sharks after having 'positive impact' last season

Editor's Note: The above video is from March 2, 2017

One of the Sharks’ young forwards expected to challenge for a full time roster spot this season has been re-signed.

Marcus Sorensen, who started the year in the AHL before working his way up to the Sharks, signed a two-year contract extension the team announced on Tuesday. A source told NBC Sports California that the deal is worth $700,000 at the NHL level for each of the next two seasons.

In 19 regular season games with the Sharks, Sorensen, 25, posted one goal and three assists. He appeared in all six playoff games against Edmonton, posting one goal and one assist.

In 43 games with the AHL Barracuda, Sorensen had 17 goals and 17 assists for 34 points.

"The time he spent with the Sharks this season, and the positive impact he had, proved that he can be an effective player at the highest level,” assistant general manager Joe Will said in a statement.

Sorensen originally signed with the Sharks as a free agent on May 13, 2016. He was originally drafted by Ottawa in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, but spent six seasons playing in Sweden before joining San Jose.

Sorensen was a restriced free agent. The Sharks have just one RFA left to sign in forward Barclay Goodrow.

https://twitter.com/sorensenmarcus/status/887412566447628288

Mailbag: Will Sharks miss Marleau's leadership? Thornton to be bumped?

Mailbag: Will Sharks miss Marleau's leadership? Thornton to be bumped?

Now that the dust has settled on the draft and free agency, here’s a meaty offseason Sharks mailbag before my vacation…

Who will replace Patty's leadership? (philip malan‏ @pmalan1979)

Patrick Marleau was a good example for other players in that he always came to camp in great shape and took care of himself between games, allowing him to be very productive into his later years. 

But let’s not overblow it. From what I understand, Marleau preferred to avoid confrontation, and was never the guy in the dressing room challenging other players to step up. That was left more to guys like Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, with Logan Couture growing into that role in recent years, too. When it comes to veteran leadership there are other guys still in the dressing room of more value than Marleau. His leaving town shouldn’t change the dynamic.

Will Thornton be bumped from the top line center role? Who do you think will replace Marleau on the PP? (Elle‏ @LikeShiningOil)

The whole “top line” designation is something that us writers and broadcasters like to use, and I’m going to keep using it for Thornton so long as he and Pavelski are on the same line. That said, there will be plenty of games where the Couture line gets more even-strength ice time than the Thornton line. I guess my point here is don’t read too much into the labels. I don’t expect Thornton’s ice time to go down from what it was last season. He’s averaged 18 minutes and change in each of the past five seasons, and probably will again.

As for replacing Marleau on the power play, I would tab Tomas Hertl as the frontrunner, but I’m sure the Sharks will try a number of different looks there in training camp. After finishing 25th in the NHL last season they pretty much have to, right?

How will the lines roll this season, if you were to prognosticate now? (Erik Kuhre @Puckguy14)

It seems like we say this every year, but it depends on where the Sharks see Hertl slotting in. Last season Hertl started out on the wing of the top line after offseason knee surgery before moving to center fairly quickly. I know he battled through yet another knee injury during the season, but Hertl’s 22 points in 49 games was a disappointing total.

If the season were starting today, I’d put Hertl on the wing of the Thornton line again with, of course, Pavelski on the other side. Here’s what I’ve got in that scenario:

Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Timo Meier – Logan Couture – Joonas Donskoi
Jannik Hansen – Chris Tierney – Mikkel Boedker
Melker Karlsson – Ryan Carpenter – Joel Ward

Extras: Marcus Sorensen, Kevin Labanc, Barclay Goodrow

(One guy who is really going to have to fight to keep his spot is Ward. I could see him getting pushed out, but for now I’m leaving him in).

Will there be a tough guy in the lineup to protect the kids? (Jim Kelley)

The Sharks signed free agent Brandon Bollig a couple weeks ago to replace Micheal Haley, but I don’t seem him as a regular in the NHL lineup. Bollig could be a guy they recall if they think it’s necessary to dress a pugilist, like when Pete DeBoer brought up Haley late in the 2015-16 season for the sole reason of fighting Darnell Nurse, who had jumped Sharks defenseman Roman Polak just two weeks earlier for no real reason.

Do you think Chris Tierney is capable of more point production at this point in his career? (Ian Stephenson)

Count me among those that thought Tierney was ready to have a better season last year after his strong performance in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Still, he’s just 23 years old, and his line in the series against Edmonton with Meier and Sorensen was a very effective one for long stretches of play. This is a huge year for Tierney, who had to settle for the Sharks’ one-year, $735,000 qualifying offer. Perform, and he’ll get paid. Struggle, and he could be on the move.

Do you think the Sharks will trade either Grosenick or Dell? Doesn't seem Grosenick has much more to prove in AHL. (Chris Greni)

No, they’ll hold on to all three for the time being. Getting Troy Grosenick re-signed to a one-year deal was a nice move on the Sharks’ part, considering Aaron Dell still has just 20 games of NHL experience. Perhaps if they both continue to play well the Sharks could dangle one as trade bait later in the year, but it wouldn’t make sense at this point. 

Any thoughts on DW using the offer sheet to bring in scoring help? There’s several serviceable RFAs out there still waiting for contracts. (Tony Martinico)

Keep in mind that some of those high end RFAs, like Colton Parayko, Nino Niederreiter and Tomas Tatar are currently headed for arbitration, which takes the offer sheet off the table.

Purely speculation here, but I have to wonder if the Sharks have at least kicked around trying to ink Leon Draisaitl to an offer sheet. You have to think Berlin native Hasso Plattner would love to add the “German Gretzky” to the roster. I know we're settling into the part of the NHL offseason where typically nothing happens, but it was July 19 when the Flyers signed Shea Weber to a monster offer sheet five years ago.

And, of course, Doug Wilson has used the power of the offer sheet in the past, signing Niklas Hjalmarsson in 2010 and then using the threat of an offer sheet with Boston to acquire Martin Jones.

Which Cuda player, aside from Meier, Labanc and Sorensen, would you expect to be a dark horse and could make the big team out of camp? (olin @sleepymofo)

Keep in mind that the sixth and defensemen spots are open, too. I would presume that Dylan DeMelo is the frontrunner to replace David Schlemko, but Tim Heed and Joakim Ryan are coming off of strong seasons in the AHL. Perhaps one of them overtakes DeMelo in training camp.

As for other forwards than those you mentioned, Goodrow could end challenging for a spot on the fourth line. I get plenty of questions about Danny O’Regan, too, and perhaps he makes a push. The issue with O’Regan is that although he’s a skilled player in the minors, he’s probably not quite skilled enough to make up for his small frame at the NHL level. I view him more as a fill-in guy.

Any word on [Barclay] Goodrow and [Marcus] Sorenson? I'm assuming they didn't sign their QO's? (DaveBPilot‏ @DaveBPilot)

Yes, that’s safe to assume, since the deadline was Saturday. They remain RFAs, and negotiations will surely continue.

Still, it’s worth mentioning what happened last year with Matt Nieto. The forward didn’t sign his qualifying offer, as he was pushing for a multi-year deal, and ended up signing for one year for less than he would have made had he accepted the original offer. He was waived and claimed by Colorado.