The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

March 26, 2013

Murray knows way from San Jose to Pittsburgh

SAN JOSE, Calif. — With his team mired in a lengthy scoring slump that has put its playoff chances in peril, San Jose general manager Doug Wilson made a move to look to the future.

The Sharks sent bruising defenseman Douglas Murray to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday for a pair of second-round picks.

While the Penguins are bolstering their roster for a possible Stanley Cup run following the additions of Murray and forward Brenden Morrow from Dallas, the Sharks wanted to add picks in a strong draft year without going into full rebuilding mode.

“This doesn’t take away from our goal of trying to compete and make the playoffs this year,” Wilson said. “We have to play better on a 60-minute basis for longer periods of time to accomplish that. Rebuild often brings connotations of we’re not going to try to compete to win. We have high expectations for our group and we’re not going to diminish those even if we go into the reset or refresh mode.”

The Sharks entered play Monday in a three-way tie for ninth place in the Western Conference, one point behind Dallas for the final playoff spot. San Jose is one of two teams in the league along with Detroit to make the postseason every year since the 2004-05 lockout but that streak is in jeopardy this year.

After playing at Pacific Division-leading Anaheim on Monday night, the Sharks will have a seven-game homestand that will go a long way toward determining their fate this year. San Jose has lost 17 of 23 games since getting off to a franchise record 7-0 start to the lockout-shortened season.

“This conversation might be different if we were playing on all cylinders and continued on the way that we played the first seven to 10 games of the year,” Wilson said. “We certainly haven’t shown that ability for quite a while now. It doesn’t mean we can’t come out of it and put a little bit of a press on. But it needs to start tonight.”

Wilson said Pittsburgh aggressively pursued Murray and paid full value for the potential unrestricted free agent just over a week before the trade deadline.

The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Murray has three assists in 29 games for the Sharks this season and has gone 138 regular season games without a goal. He has played the second most short-handed time on a penalty kill unit that has been one of the team’s few bright spots.

Wilson said Murray deserved to be dealt to a contender. Pittsburgh has won 12 straight games heading into tonight’s showdown with surprising Montreal but is playing without defenseman Kris Letang, who remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

Scoring goals has been the main problem for the Sharks, who are tied for last in the league with just eight wins in regulation or overtime.

San Jose is last in the league in scoring with 2.20 goals per game and is second-to-last in the league with just 42 even-strength goals.

The deal will allow San Jose to dress more offensive-minded Jason Demers and Justin Braun every night, giving the team an additional puck-moving defenseman to help the offense.

“The offense is there. Take a look at our team,” Wilson said. “There’s certainly players who are not having even average for their career type of years. If they were performing at that level, I think we’d be at a different place than we are today. Hopefully, that will change quickly.”

Ryane Clowe, who averaged more than 20 goals a season the last four years, has yet to score this season. Joe Pavelski, who had 31 goals last season, has one goal in his past 18 games. Marty Havlat is on a 15-game goal drought.

Wilson said the blame for the struggles falls on the players not coach Todd McLellan and his staff. He said the Sharks have too often been a “57-minute-a-game team in a 60-minute league.”

“Why that execution or why the mistakes that will prevent you from winning games is very frustrating,” he said. “Do I think that is coaching preparation? No. I think it comes down to players sticking with it or not altering our approach to a game just because we’re down a goal or whatever. We’re not the only team going through that.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Pirates 0417 Pirates power past Brewers

    Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.
    Harrison’s two-run drive down the left field line off Rob Wooten (0-1) was the second of his career as a pinch hitter.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0417 Jackets preparing for Game 2

    The Columbus Blue Jackets don’t feel they’re doomed after blowing a two-goal lead in a Game 1 loss of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
    “It’s not about missed chances, or feeling sorry about it,” goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said at Thursday’s optional workout, 13 hours after falling 4-3 in Pittsburgh.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Sports Briefs

    April 17, 2014

  • racin 0416 Jennerstown Speedway gearing for May open

    Jennerstown Speedway released a very ambitious schedule on its website and continues to prepare for its 2014 reopening.
    The track is set to hold a practice day for drivers as well as an open house and media day on April 26.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Hawks already building toward next season

    Jason Spence used up his cell phone’s battery on a trip from Johnstown to his parents’ home in Nova Scotia, Canada.
    Once the Johnstown Tomahawks coach got to his destination, Spence had to get creative to secure cell service across the border.

    April 16, 2014

  • Pirates 0416 Dominant Cueto drops Pirates in matinee

    That playoff loss in Pittsburgh last year? Johnny Cueto never thought about it much. So getting a chance to shut out the Pirates in a rematch wasn’t any more special.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0416 Penguins rally to wear out Jackets

    Brandon Sutter scored on a wrist shot from the left circle 8:18 into the third period, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins rally for a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Wednesday night.
    Beau Bennett and Matt Niskanen scored power-play goals 45 seconds apart in the second period, erasing Pittsburgh’s two-goal deficit.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shelley and McElligot Series serves as reunion for former Chiefs personnel

    Not so long ago, Bob McElligott, like most Western Pennsylvania hockey fans, would savor a long Pittsburgh Penguins playoff run.
    The Somerset native followed the Pens’ Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1991 and 1992.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malkin nearing return

    The Columbus Blue Jackets are the closest NHL team to the Pittsburgh Penguins, at least geographically. The two franchises are separated by 185 miles of highway.

    April 15, 2014

  • Reds swing way past Pirates

    Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, ending Gerrit Cole's winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.
    First, the NL Central rivals completed a game that was suspended in the sixth inning because of rain the previous night.

    April 15, 2014

AP Sports Video
Poll

Should the NFL get rid of the extra-point attempt after a touchdown?

Yes
No
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow