Rinne rocks Sharks

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

By Pearl Allison Lo

The Nashville Predators’ goalie was a rockstar, stopping 42 shots, including three straight, in a 5-1 win over San Jose Tuesday.

Nashville pushed their win streak to a season-high six games and have scored at least three goals in each.

The Sharks have given up at least four goals in five of its last six games, all of those losses.

Craig Smith scored twice, which included the game-winner. Teammate Mike Ribeiro pressured San Jose’s Matt Nieto into shooting the puck off the boards, and then got to the puck before Marc-Edouard Vlasic could. Smith then put in Mattias Ekholm’s rebound, which went off Alex Stalock’s glove at 16:02 of the first.

Ribeiro also had another assist and teammate Shea Weber had a goal and an assist.

The Sharks got on the board first. Matt Irwin started the play behind the net and then raced to the other end. Meanwhile, Melker Karlsson made a cross ice pass to Joe Pavelski, who fed Irwin as Irwin put the puck under Rinne’s stick arm at 5:26.

It stayed 1-0 until Weber received the puck off a faceoff win by Mike Fisher and shot it into the net through traffic to tie the game at 13:42.

Thing started to get out of hand when Nashville scored two goals less than a minute apart in the second.

Smith struck again first, 53 seconds into the period on a power play leftover from the first. Smith tipped Colin Wilson’s shot and then got the rebound. Seth Jones also aided.

Paul Gaustad scored at 1:43, helped by Gabriel Borque and Weber.

Not too long after, was Rinne’s highlight reel during San Jose’s second power play. He went to the ground for three saves with his left pad then reached over to his right to rob Joe Pavelski.

James Neal made it 5-1 at 10:31 with Ribeiro.

The Sharks had their third scoreless power play opportunity in the third. They also had another push with about five minutes left in the third, but could not break through.

Game notes: San Jose’s Alex Stalock had his first start since February 4. Fellow goalie Antti Niemi is reported as being on the trading block. The Sharks’ Justin Braun returned from an 11-game hand injury hiatus in exchange for Matt Tennyson. Braun got knocked to the ice during the second but was able to return in the third. San Jose faces the Dallas Stars Thursday at 5:30pm.

That’s Amaury’s News, Commentary & Podcast: Ice rink gets ready at Levis Stadium; plus Stanford Women shooting for three straight

by Joe Lami

SANTA CLARA–The preparations are officially underway for this Saturday’s NHL Stadium Series and ice conditions should be okay the South Bay is expected to get a little more of a heat wave this weekend similar to this past weekend. It looks all good and the ice will soon be installed at Levi’s Stadium and they announced a sell out at 70,000 are expected to be in attendance.

The second hand ticket market is going nuts for this game now that it is officially sold out and the Sharks added more additionally tickets and Levis Stadium is going to try to see how the expansion of this stadium works out as they will get a preview of the capacity size of the stadium when the Super Bowl is played there next February.

The NHL Stadium Series should be a good one, it’s going to be an important one the two teams are pretty much next to each other in the standings between the San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings. However the Sharks lost on Tuesday night to the Nashville Predators 5-1. The Sharks are starting to lose ground in the playoff hunt.

If you look towards the standings as of Tuesday evening the Sharks still stand fourth in the Pacific with 66 points and have only played 59 games. L.A. is just a few points back but the Kings have three games in hand and for L.A. those three games are going to be huge. The Kings won on Monday night against the Tampa Bay Lighting at Staples Center 3-2.

This was after Tampa had absolutely killed the Sharks in San Jose on Sunday night 4-1, the Kings have only one game before the Stadium Series against Colorado on Wednesday evening. The Avalanche are a struggling team with 59 points with 57 games played, they sit sixth in the wild card standings with seven points back from San Jose in the Pacific.

Colorado is not out of it yet it’s not looking good for them as L.A. has won the last two and they will capitalize and put a lot of pressure on San Jose. San Jose is in the midst of a two game road trip with Dallas on tap on Thursday night before they come to face L.A. at Levis Stadium on Saturday night. That Stadium Series game is going to have a lot of hype behind it because of the playoff hunt and it’s not looking good for San Jose if L.A. wins they will officially have more points than San Jose.

Joe Lami is filling for Amaury Pi Gonzalez this week. Joe also talks about the Stanford Cardinal Women’s basketball team join him on the podcast below

George Karl meets the press

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by Charlie O. Mallonee

George Karl met the press as the Head Coach of the Sacramento Kings for the first time on Tuesday. There were the usual “we are glad he is here” statements from Pete D’Alessandro. Karl gave the usual how great it is to be in a great market like Sacramento lines. Then, George Karl got down to business.

Karl’s main emphasis was on the number 30. The Kings have 30 games left to play this season and Karl wants those 30 games to count. He not only knew the number of games left to play – he knew that he had 22 practices remaining for the season. It became very clear that Karl knows situation in Sacramento and is ready to get to work to change it.

Karl also made it known that he understands what his new team has been through this season. He said he knew this team had been through “basketball hell” since the Malone firing in December. Karl demonstrated that he knows his team needs direction and stability.

Karl also made clear his feelings about DeMarcus Cousins. He made several references to Cousins being the best player on the team. He said that Cousins is not just a great big man. Karl said Cousins is a great basketball player. He went on to say that Cousins may be the best passer on the team. That could be a preview of the offense running through Cousins as a point of emphasis.

When asked about possible trades with the trade deadline on Thursday, Karl said, “You are always looking to get better.” The crafty veteran coach would not say anymore than that on the subject.

Karl indicated he planned to keep the current coaching staff together for the rest of the season. He mentioned he had some ideas on how to mold the staff for next year.

Karl was clear that he was ready to get back into the gym. He sounded excited to working as a coach again.

Karl gave another clue as to what fans should be looking for from his team. He said the one thing he learned at ESPN was that we over analyze the game of basketball. Karl said it is a simple game – find the open man and take the shot. It sounds like the “K.I.S.S.” principle will be in play as the Kings get back to work.

Karl’s first game with his new team will be on Friday in Sacramento versus the Boston Celtics. In the meantime, George Karl and his team have some work to do.

Sportstalk podcast at Rosa Mexicano Restaurant downtown San Francisco Mon Feb 16, 2015

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Cast: Michael Duca (host), Tony the Tiger, Shawn Whelchel, David Zizmor, Morris Phillips and Lee Leonard Producer

Podcast from Rosa Mexicano at 30 Mission Street downtown San Francisco Sportstalk talked about former 49ers Jim Harbaugh’s real reason for leaving the 49ers, how the Giants shape up for spring training, and the second half for Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors and with Rosa Mexicano General Manager Nick about the great dining at Rosa. Check them out here! http://www.rosamexicano.com/sanfrancisco

NCAA basketball commentary: Is ESPN putting Dickie V out to pasture?, sports network says Vitale won’t call UNC vs. Duke game

by Tony the Tiger Hayes

It won’t be awesome baby, it won’t be showtime, ESPN’s Prime Time Player (PTP) Dick Vitale won’t be calling the UNC vs. Duke game in Durham and it snaps a streak that started since 1979. Not calling the traditional match up between the two schools had been as traditional as counting on Thanksgiving and Christmas each year and the diaper dandy of the event Vitale won’t be there to call the game amongst the disappointment of thousands of fans in Durham and the millions watching around the nation.

Vitale who was a staple on ESPN for calling UNC-Duke games for 36 years had his plug pulled for what ESPN now considers their top tier announcing crew and play by play man Dan Shulman and color announcer Jay Bilas, Bilas formerly played with Duke. Vitale had worked with Shulman and Bilas on previous broadcasts and the students and fans were looking forward to seeing Dickie V make the rounds at UNC.

Vitale has been less visible since Bilas has been doing the color and calling games more games without Vitale. Bilas took over a larger role without Vitale in the three man booth this 2014-15 season. Bilas has been working the NCAA prime time broadcasts in Vitale’s place. Vitale has been on less high profile telecasts and working mid afternoons Saturday games. Some of those games have had high ratings while others haven’t.

Vitale has a contract he signed in October that runs with ESPN through 2017 so those fans who wanted to listen to him on the telecasts can find him on the network but not on the high profile shows now being broadcasted only by Bilas and Shulman. The UNC-Duke rivalry broadcasts were a brand that started with Vitale behind the mic in 1979 and no one thought that would change anytime soon at least this season but it comes to an end.

Vitale tweeted to his core of fans “Yes 35 straight years/it was fun/I will miss it but ESPN has been great to me/No Hall of Fame without ESPN”
that was a classy statement with the end of this traditional match up for Dickie V. The game is slated for this Wed Feb 18th at Durham NC.

Tony the Tiger Hayes is a talk show host on Sportstalk on http://www.sportrsradioservice.com

San Jose Sharks commentary & podcast: Miscues and bad bounces continue for Sharks; looking for corrections on Tue in Nashville

by Mary Lisa Walsh

Join Mary Lisa in her commentary this week as she discusses the Sharks tough loss to the Tampa Bay Lighting 5-2 on Sunday. Sharks head coach Todd McClellan talks about a play where they won the draw from a bounce off someone’s skate but the Lighting end up scoring seven seconds later. More frustrations in the game with 7:12 left in the second period the Sharks were trapped in their own zone with a line of Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture, Matt Nieto, Scott Hannon and Brenden Dillon they couldn’t clear the puck where the Lighting Andrew Killorn hit one from the slot and hit a corner of the net where it beat Sharks goaltender Annti Niemi.

Mary talks about this and more on the Sharks commentary and podcast below.

No. 11 Utah roars back and beats Cal, Bears’ win streak ends at 5

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By Morris Phillips

Utah’s superb defense figured to test Cal and their unlikely five-game win streak, but at least for a while the Bears had the Utes on their heels thanks to Tyrone Wallace.

Wallace scored 17 of his game-best 26 points in the first half, but an 11-minute stretch spanning the halves in which Cal made just one basket tipped the scales for Utah in their 76-61 win on Sunday in Salt Lake City.

“We just didn’t make plays down the stretch of the first half and they did,” Jabari Bird said.  “That gave them the boost they needed and they used that to their advantage in the second half.”

Had Cal maintained their early lead, and upset No. 11 Utah, it would have marked the biggest win of their season, and given them a tremendous boost to their post-season aspirations.  But the Utes haven’t allowed more than 72 points to any opponent all season, and their early struggles on defense didn’t seem likely to last.

“We just didn’t have much energy and they were playing a heck of a lot harder offensively than we were defensively,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak.

But Utah’s energy issues didn’t last, after Cal shot 54 percent and led by six after the first 15 minutes.  From that point, the Bears scored just 25 points the rest of the way, and never led after halftime.  As usual, the stingy Utes started the run with a steal, and a big boost from their sellout crowd.

Utah won at the historic Huntsman Center for the 17th consecutive time.  Utah has been dominant in conference play, winning all six previous Pac-12 home games by an average of 23 points.  A 16-point win over Cal Sunday ranks at the closest of the bunch.

All-conference guard Delon Wright started the rush with a steal and breakaway basket and Cal almost immediately was stuck in the mud.

Consequently, the Bears spent much of the second half trailing by double digits and failed to make Utah uncomfortable at any point.

The Bears fell to 6-7 in Pac-12 play with the loss, but they get another big game on Saturday at 7-6 Stanford, who have seen their NCAA hopes take a hit with losses in three of their last four games.

Cal’s 3-point shooting during their win streak was dramatically better than it was over the balance of their schedule, and it was the first to go in the loss to Utah.  The Bears missed 10 of their 14 attempts and that surely made any hopes of another buzzer beater shot on Sunday. Also, they lacked the scoring balance that normally would be essential to beating a highly-ranked opponent.

The Bears got 21 of their 26 made baskets from Wallace and Bird.  The other seven Bears missed 23 of their combined 28 shots.

Besides Wallace’s 26 points and Bird’s 21, the Bears got seven from backup point guard Brandon Chauca.  The Utes were lead 7’0” center Jakob Poeltl with 18 points.

Cardinal Pac-12 road woes continue with loss to Colorado

By Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Sunday, February 16, 2015

Colorado held off a late Stanford run Sunday afternoon, as the Buffaloes outlasted the Cardinal 64-58 in Pac-12 men’s basketball at Coors Events Center in Boulder, Colorado.

The Cardinal pulled to within 61-58 when Chasson Randle sank a pair of free throws with 20 seconds remaining in the second half. Randle intercepted Xavier Johnson’s inbound pass and headed for the hoop, but Johnson drew an offensive foul.

From there, free throws sealed the Buffs’ win, which snapped a three-game losing streak for CU. It was also the fourth time this season Stanford was held under 60 points.

Askia Booker led Colorado (12-12 overall, 5-7 Pac-12) with 17 points, three rebounds and four assists. Booker scored 14 of his points in the first half and didn’t score again until hitting a 3-pointer with 2:30 to play, putting the Buffs up 58-51.

Johnson also pulled down 13 boards to go with his 10 points, and Josh Scott added 10 rebounds as the Buffaloes outrebounded Stanford by 46-38 and held the Cardinal to 33 percent shooting. Colorado led 29-23 at halftime.

Stefan Nastic netted 24 points and seven rebounds for the Cardinal (16-9, 7-5), Anthony Brown grabbed 13 rebounds and Randle finished with 14 points, six below his average.

The Cardinal were without the services of swingman Roscoe Allen for the second straight game, Allen, who is averaging 8.8 points and 5.0 rebounds, has a back ailment.

This Saturday, the Cardinal return home to host cross-bay rival California.

Samuelson Sisters Shoot Stanford to Victory

By: Joe Lami

The Stanford Cardinal defeated the UCLA Bruins 68-50 on Sunday, with much thanks to the Samuelson sisters, who combined for 38 of the Cardinals’ 68 points.

Older sister, Bonnie, led the way with 24 points, all of which came from beyond the arc, as she hit a career high eight three-pointers in the victory. Karlie was second in Cardinal scoring, adding 14 points, with 12 of them coming from three-point land.

Stanford finished the night shooting 43% from the field, though Lili Thompson was the only Stanford player not named Samuelson to score more than ten points, as she finished with 12.

UCLA was led by Jordin Canada scoring ten points. The Bruins were also held scoreless from three-point range.

Stanford improves their record to 19-7 going into the big week with games again Cal on Wednesday and Sunday.

AT&T PEBBLE BEACH PRO-AM: Steady Snedeker runs away with crown

By Jeremy Harness

PEBBLE BEACH – Brandt Snedeker is a very simple guy and has a simple golf game to go along with it. Take the $25 putter he has been using for the past few years, for instance.

Turns out that on a challenging, majestic course like Pebble Beach, simple worked out just fine for him.

Using a nice touch around the greens as well as his familiar short, popping putting stroke that allowed him to roll in more than his share of birdie putts throughout the weekend, Snedeker blew past the field en route to his second AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am title in three years by a three-stroke margin.

Snedeker, who had only three top-10 finishes all of last season, shot a bogey-free 67 and only had to write down one bogey on his card the entire tournament. In the process, Snedeker punched his own ticket to this year’s Masters with the victory.

“This win means a lot more than the last one did (in 2013) because of everything I’d gone through in the last year and a half,” said Snedeker, who started working with new instructor Butch Harmon shortly after last year’s U.S Open.

His closest competitors were not as consistent, particularly down the stretch. Jim Furyk began Sunday with a one-stroke advantage over Snedeker, Nick Watney and Matt Jones following a blistering 63 in the third round. Unlike Saturday’s round that saw him roll in putt after putt, however, he could not get on track in the final round.

Even though he put himself in good positions with his ball striking, his putts simply did not find the hole like Snedeker’s, and as a result, he ended up gradually falling out of contention as the round went along.

“I couldn’t have hit two better shots at (all of the first three holes), but I couldn’t make any of the putts,” said Furyk, who added that frustration built as the round went along, as he continued to hit good shots but could not capitalize with the putter. “It started snowballing on me.”

In the early going, Furyk was patient, but while that was going on, Watney had a white-hot start to his final round. He birdied the first four holes, and at that point, he was ahead by a pair of shots while consistently finding the fairway.

However, he soon cooled off a bit as his driving accuracy faded. He dropped a shot on each of the next two holes, including the par-5 sixth hole that saw him get too aggressive with his second shot and wound up in the hazard, resulting in a one-stroke penalty.

“Probably (the) worst swing of the week,” Watney said. “(I) just wasn’t as committed as I needed to be.”

From there, it was a Jekyll-and-Hyde round for Watney, as he traded two birdies for a pair of bogeys for the next seven holes. Then he got to the par-5 14th, where he hit his tee shot into the fairway bunker and was forced to lay up.

He then hit his approach shot left of the green and ended up chipping onto the green twice, after his first chip didn’t make it up the slope and rolled back into the rough, resulting in another bogey to drop him four shots back.

Watney was able to retrieve his game a bit after that, making birdie on the last two holes, but by that time, it was too late, as Snedeker did not give Watney – or anyone else – a chance to catch up.

“He didn’t really show a weakness,” Watney said of Snedeker. “There’s not much to not like about today. He played really well. He made the putts that you would expect him to make, and he got the ‘W.’”