May 31, 2011
URBANARCHIVEGIANTS PAGE GIANTSVIDEOMychael UrbanCSNBayArea.com
If you believe in karma, you might as well believe in there being a Karma Bank of Big-League Ball.And if you believe in such a bank, by now you might believe that the Giants' remarkable run to the 2010 world title left them severely overdrawn. Tuesday's loss merely underscored the notion. RELATED: Giants Insider notes: Ugly eighth leads to loss
Going through an entire 162-game season, plus playoffs, without suffering a significant injury to a major contributor almost never happens, but it happened for the Giants last season despite adding players at an aggressive pace.
Now they're losing players at an equally aggressive pace -- so much so that head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner is getting more TV time on a daily basis than Oprah in her heyday. If the guy has some sort of mileage program with the makers of his shoe of choice, he and 25 of his closest friends will be heading for the Bahamas come October.
Think about the impact players they've lost for significant stretches already, a third into the title defense.The season started with their All-Star closer (Brian Wilson) and one of their biggest playoff heroes (Cody Ross) on the disabled list.Once the season started, they lost one of their top guts-and-grit guys (Andres Torres) for a long stretch; another one of them (Mark DeRosa) went down for what might be the year; a previously indestructible starting pitcher (Barry Zito) suffered a freak foot injury; and the feel-good story of the spring and an early frontrunner for Comeback Player of the Year (Pablo Sandoval) needed surgery.And then, of course, came the crusher. Buster Posey, out until 2012.Heck in the past two days alone, we've seen Aaron Rowand slide into the path of a thrown ball, Torres nearly twist his ankle in the outfield, the new feel-good story (Ryan Vogelsong) take a line drive off his leg, and coveted rookie first baseman take a pitch off his left wrist -- x-rays came back negative and Belt is officially day-to-day.
General manager Brian Sabean tried to get overdraft protection by building a deep and versatile team, but that depth is kiddie-pool shallow at this point, and that renders versatility far less potent.And speaking of Sabean, remember how golden all of his moves ended up last season? This year's big addition so far has been Miguel Tejada.That's a lot of bad juju. In fact, it seems like an awfully stiff penalty for winning a title, if that's what this is.Maybe it's time for an audit of the Karma Bank of Big-League Ball. The Giants might just have some payback coming their way.If not, it's time to start walking some old ladies across the street.
NASHVILLE – Apparently, one wake up call wasn’t good enough for the plummeting San Jose Sharks.
Just one day after suffering what was arguably their worst game under coach Pete DeBoer, Nashville put up a touchdown on the Sharks in a 7-2 win, giving San Jose its sixth straight defeat – all in regulation.
After getting outscored 13-3 the last two nights, including Friday’s 6-1 loss in Dallas, where do they go from here?
“In two years, last year and this year so far, we haven’t had one night like this almost. Now we have back-to-back nights,” Joe Pavelski said. “I think it’s just a reality check. A gut-check time.
“It’s on us as players. Bottom line is we haven’t put the effort in that we need to have right now, and it snowballed on us a little bit at times. I think we’ve got to take a deep breath and really take a look in the mirror, refocus a little bit and understand there’s hockey out there, but it’s not going to fix itself.”
What has to be fixed immediately is the defensive structure that has been so vital to the Sharks’ success in the Pete DeBoer era. Even when the club was going through stretches of struggling to score, as it was earlier in the season, it was still collecting points in the standings with its ability to limit the opposition’s scoring chances.
While the game against the Predators was actually a little better in that regard, believe it or not, it was still nowhere near the level it needs to be for the postseason. Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s absence was partly to blame for that, but the Brent Burns-Paul Martin pair has been a disaster lately. Both have a minus-nine rating during the six-game losing streak, and that number is indicative of how they’ve looked, too.
“We’re giving up some goals. It’s a combination of things,” DeBoer said. “Obviously it’s not good enough to win games, so we’ve got to figure it out. I don’t have an answer standing here for you, but I know our group. Every team I’ve ever coached has a tough part of the season. This is obviously ours. We’ll regroup, and figure it out.”
Burns, who admitted to a “bad read” on Nashville’s second goal when Roman Josi sped around him, said: “It’s a tough league when you’re not executing little things.”
The Sharks actually looked strong early, poised to put the Dallas disaster behind them. The first few shifts, they had the puck in the Nashville end.
But Tomas Hertl was outmuscled behind the net by Colin Wilson on Colton Sissons’ goal at 4:14, Burns got beat on the second, and the Sharks never recovered. Patrick Marleau’s second period power play goal offered life, but that was extinguished 24 seconds later when James Neal answered with a power play goal of his own. The Sharks never got closer than two goals after that.
“When things are going bad, those are the things that are happening,” Burns said of Neal’s response to Marleau’s marker. “So, you’ve just got work through it."
Will they be able to work through it with just seven games left in the regular season, though? That this cold spell is happening in late March doesn’t speak well to the Sharks’ chances in the postseason, which begins in just two-and-a-half weeks.
Burns said: “Right now we should be just tightening up everything. … We've got figure it out pretty soon.”
NASHVILLE – Sharks forward Micheal Haley could be in line for supplemental discipline from the league, after earning a match penalty in the third period of Saturday’s 7-2 loss in Nashville.
After absorbing a borderline hit from behind by Calle Jarnkrok, Haley tracked down the Predators forward and promptly delivered a left jab to Jarnkrok’s face at 12:56 of the final frame, with the Sharks trailing 5-2 at the time.
Naturally, there were differing opinions from the two head coaches on the play.
Pete DeBoer said: “When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth.”
Predators coach Peter Laviolette told reporters: "It's an ugly play. This isn't the wild, wild west. I mean, Calle hit him. We took a penalty. If we start doing that, we're in trouble, so hopefully it gets looked at."
Any player who earns a match penalty "shall be automatically suspended from further competition until the commissioner has ruled on the issue,” according to league rules.
In 54 games this season, Haley has two goals and nine assists for 11 points. His 110 penalty minutes is fifth in the league.
Jarnkrok did not return after the punch, but told reporters after the game he felt “OK.”
"I feel pretty good," Jarnkrok said. "Obviously, I saw him coming. There were a couple other guys coming, too. I didn't really know what to do. He got in a good punch on me.”