Sac begins pitch to NBA execs to keep Kings


Sac begins pitch to NBA execs to keep Kings

April 21, 2011

SACRAMENTO (AP) Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and other political and business leaders emerged from meetings with NBA officials Thursday optimistic about their efforts to keep the Kings in town.A week after Johnson made a desperate pitch to the NBA Board of Governors in New York that persuaded the league to dispatch a fact-finding team to Sacramento, the mayor believes he made another splash when they arrived. He presented 9.2 million in commitments for new advertising, ticket purchases and other financial support from regional businesses and other backers to prevent the team from moving to Anaheim.Johnson said his pitch to Clay Bennett, the Oklahoma City Thunder owner and the NBA's relocation committee chairman, and league attorney Harvey Benjamin made a strong impression. He originally promised 7 million to league owners and NBA Commissioner David Stern.
NEWS: Sac makes new case for keeping Kings
"If you go back a week ago from today, we thought it was virtually over," said Johnson, a former NBA All-Star. "And not only did we prevent the team from leaving, we got a chance to show them who we are. And when we said 7 million, and the commissioner said, 'Well, prove it,' he sent a team out and we over delivered. I mean, this is Sacramento. This is what makes us great."The meetings began two days of talks with the two NBA representatives.Johnson, Bennett and Benjamin first met in California's Capitol in the office of Senate President Darrell Steinberg. That meeting included local political leaders.
RATTO: Could Barkley and Webber buy the Kings?
They later met at the U.S. Bank tower downtown with business leaders, including Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce President Matt Mahood. The relocation team headed by Bennett, who moved the Seattle SuperSonics to Oklahoma City three years ago, also was expected to tour proposed sites for a new arena.The pitch by business and political leaders centered on a regional effort - not just one by city of Sacramento, as in the past - to increase team sponsorship and finance a new arena."Sacramento put a stake in the ground today saying the Kings need to stay," Mahood said.
RELATED: Kings' relocation application deadline extended
Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof have until May 2 to request permission to relocate to Anaheim. After years of failed efforts to replace outdated Power Balance Pavilion, formerly called Arco Arena, Sacramento officials are using the extra time to show the NBA that they can finally agree on a plan to finance a new facility.A new arena feasibility plan - the major sticking point in past efforts - won't be completed until a few weeks after the relocation deadline. A majority approval by owners would be needed to approve the move, and political leaders in Sacramento believe there's still time to convince the NBA the Kings shouldn't leave."I don't think they have made up their minds," City Councilman Rob Fong said.

Cubs' Epstein: 'History doesn't really weigh on this club'


Cubs' Epstein: 'History doesn't really weigh on this club'

The Cubs are going to the World Series.

Yes, you read that right.

The Cubs are going to the World Series.

The Curse of the Billy Goat is broken. 

The 71-year drought is over. 

The truly once-in-a-lifetime moment has finally come to Chicago.

Holy cow.

The Cubs punched their ticket to the promised land with a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Best Pitcher on the Planet in front of 42,386 fans in the most euphoric moment in Wrigley Field's history.

Theo Epstein's vision is one step closer to coming to fruition.

"History doesn't really weigh on this club," Epstein said before Saturday's Game 6. "Just trying to win tonight's game. 

"These guys - a lot of them are in their early 20s and they're not burdened by that stuff. The organization isn't. It's just about trying to win and keeping it simple."


Rewind: Sharks slow, sloppy and undisciplined in loss to Wings

Rewind: Sharks slow, sloppy and undisciplined in loss to Wings

DETROIT – The Sharks had just one scheduled practice on their 10-day road trip, set to take place on Friday in Detroit prior to the fifth and final game against the Red Wings. It was canceled, though, as the coaching staff opted for rest rather than work.

The result was a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings in which the Sharks were sloppy in their own zone, were smoked in the faceoff circle, surrendered a plethora of odd-man rushes, and took eight minor penalties. They just couldn’t keep pace with a Detroit team that was playing its second game in as many nights. 

San Jose looked like a club that has held just a single solitary practice since the season began on Oct. 12.

“Some breakdowns, guys not being above [the puck], some giveaways in our own end, we’re kind of leaving [the defensive zone] early,” Logan Couture said. “We just don’t seem like we’re dedicated to defense like we were at the end [of] last year.”

[KURZ: Instant Replay: Sharks blanked by Wings, end road trip with thud]

“It wasn’t very good tonight,” added Martin Jones, who lost his third in a row in goal. “Too many penalties, too many turnovers. Just wasn’t very good tonight.”

The start was actually a decent one, as the Sharks were attempting to put Thursday’s third period collapse in Pittsburgh behind them, but Detroit eventually took over. Gustav Nyquist broke the scoreless tie four minutes into the second period, and added to the Red Wings’ lead with a second marker about 11 minutes later.

On the first, Paul Martin was caught flat-footed in the offensive zone, leading to a two-on-one rush by Detroit. Nyquist abruptly stopped on the faceoff dot in front of Justin Braun, and rifled a shot though. On the second, Matt Nieto had control of the puck and was headed up the ice before he stumbled and turned it over to Ryan Sproul, who found Nyquist in the slot. 

A bad line change resulted in Andreas Athanasiou powering a slap shot to Jones’ far side six minutes into the third period, giving Detroit a commanding three-goal lead. 

“We were late everywhere tonight,” Pete DeBoer said. “When you’re a step behind a good team they expose you, and I think that was the story. We’ll have to go back and figure out why, and get our game back in a better place.”

“We played into their hands. They’re a transition team, a speed team, and if you’re going to play east-west and turn the puck over they’re going to make you pay for it. We talked about it, but we still fell into that trap. Obviously the penalties didn’t help, and we’re playing catch up all night.”

Among those penalties was a double minor to Joe Pavelski for spearing Steve Ott, just a few seconds after Athanasiou’s goal. The captain seemed agitated for much of the night.

Pavelski said he didn’t think he got a whole lot of Ott with his stick, but “it’s a play you don’t want to make.”

DeBoer didn’t take issue with the play.

“Pav is a competitor. He was probably our best player tonight. He’s competing right until the final buzzer,” DeBoer said. “I don’t have a problem with that. It doesn’t bother me.”

The power play, though, is one area that the coach may need to focus on when the Sharks finally get a practice in on Monday at home. Despite being together for so many years, the top unit seems tentative with the puck and is misfiring on passes that are typically routine.

On one power play in the second period when the game was still scoreless, Pavelski was open in front of the net, but Patrick Marleau missed him on what would have been a tap-in goal. The Sharks finished 0-for-4 with a man advantage and have just one goal in a manned net this season during five-on-four play.

What has to change?

“Quite a few things,” Couture said. “We’re breaking in fine, [but] we’re too stationary, I think. I don’t know if we’re moving the puck well enough. Not attacking holes, not shooting the puck and getting it back.”

The Sharks will open up a three-game homestand on Tuesday with the Ducks. There is work to do before that.

“We’re 3-3. That’s the good news,” DeBoer said. “I think we’ve played some good hockey, but we have a lot of things we’ve got to clean up, too.”

Jones said: “Obviously it wasn’t the way we wanted to end the road trip. We’ll bounce back, and we’ve got a lot of games left.”