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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

San Jose Sharks' Joe Thornton to play in Switzerland during NHL lockout - San Jose Mercury News

SAN JOSE -- Sharks captain Joe Thornton is returning to Switzerland, and teammate Logan Couture might be heading in the same direction as NHL players are starting to find places to play in Europe while the league sorts out its labor problems.

Thornton, who met his wife while playing in Switzerland for Davos during the 2004-05 NHL lockout, said Monday that it was the logical move to go back there with her and their daughter.

"I just want to go and play and get some games in and some practices in, just stay loose and feel good," said Thornton, who said he expected to be en route to Switzerland by the end of the week.

Couture confirmed that he is close to signing a deal with Geneva in the same league as Davos. Teammate Jason Demers will play in Finland, and Michal Handzus is expected to sign with a team in his native Slovakia.

In Davos, Thornton will be reunited with left wing Rick Nash, now of the New York Rangers. The two were linemates eight years ago and formed a strong friendship that kept San Jose in the hunt for Nash's services when he asked to be traded from Columbus earlier this year.

Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray, a native of Sweden, said he is still weighing his options. Unless rules are changed, he cannot play in the Swedish Elite League, but he said he has been in talks with his former team, Djugardens in Stockholm, which has fallen out of the top tier.

Murray was one of eight players on San Jose's NHL

roster who rented a rink at Sharks Ice on Monday morning. European goalies Antti Niemi and Thomas Greiss both said only that they were considering returning home to play.

The NHL officially locked its players out at 9 p.m. PDT Saturday, and no further bargaining sessions with the NHL Players Association are scheduled.

  • The Sharks announced Monday that 16 players who normally would have been in rookie training camp this week have been sent to Worcester of the AHL.

    Those heading to San Jose's top development team are forwards Curt Gogol, Freddie Hamilton, Bracken Kearns, James Livingston, Jon Matsumoto, Travis Oleksuk, Brodie Reid and Sebastian Stalberg; defensemen Sena Acolatse, Taylor Doherty, Danny Groulx, Matt Irwin and Matt Tennyson; and goaltenders Thomas Heemskerk, Harri Sateri and Alex Stalock.

  • Some NHL teams already are offering interest on refunds for tickets to games that might be canceled, but the Sharks are not among them. Most of the teams doing so, executive vice president of business operations Malcolm Bordelon said, have collected 100 percent of the cost of 2012-13 season tickets, while the vast majority of San Jose fans have paid 70 percent to this point.

    The Sharks explain their ticket policies in detail on the team's website, where there is also an open letter telling fans "we appreciate your patience and ask that you continue to bear with us."

    For more on the Sharks, see David Pollak's Working the Corners blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/sharks.

MLS Preview: San Jose Earthquakes - Portland Timbers - Yahoo! Sports

San Jose Earthquakes (4-4-2): Busch; Beitashour, Bernardez, Opara, Morrow; Ballouchy, Baca, Cronin, Dawkins; Gordon, Wondo.

INJURY REPORT

OUT: MF Cesar Diaz Pizarro (R groin strain); MF Marvin Chavez (L hamstring strain); MF Joey Gjertsen (R knee surgery); MF Sercan Guvenisik (L hamstring strain); DF Tim Ward (L nonspecific soft tissue injury)

Portland Timbers (4-4-1-1): Bendik; Kimura, Mosquera, Horst, Wallace; Zizzo, Jewsbury, Chara, Songo'o; Nagbe; Dike.

INJURY REPORT

OUT: DF Chris Taylor (R hip surgery)

PROBABLE: MF Freddie Braun (abdominal strain); DF Andrew Jean-Baptiste (L hamstring strain)

  • The Earthquakes lead MLS and are currently on a 12-game home unbeaten run.
  • However, San Jose has never beaten Portland. The Timbers have posted one win and two draws against the 'Quakes.
  • Portland is tied for last spot in the Western Conference with Chivas USA, which San Jose dispatched, 2-0, last weekend.
  • Chris Wondolowski scored a penalty in that match to take his season total to 19.
  • With Donovan Ricketts and Jake Gleeson injured, the Timbers called up league pool goalkeeper Scott Angevine for this match.

Clowe: "There's time" to make a deal - Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

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Chris Wondolowski provides San Jose Earthquakes more than goals - San Jose Mercury News

SANTA CLARA -- The record-breaking statistics have piled up this season for Earthquakes star Chris Wondolowski.

But the most telling number is seven as he and his high-flying team face the Portland Timbers on Wednesday night at Buck Shaw Stadium.

Wondolowski, 29, earned his seventh assist last weekend as the Quakes won their third consecutive Major League Soccer game to remain atop of the Supporters' Shield race. The tally matched Wondolowski's career assist total before this year.

Or put it this way: the striker had seven assists over seven seasons until breaking out in 2012.

Although he also has a league-leading 19 goals this year, the assists embody the "me-second" spirit of MLS's accidental star. Wondolowski's share-the-riches attitude has done as much as anything to propel the league's most potent offense.

"Everyone is serving balls for everyone," outside back Justin Morrow said. "We're never worried if we're going to score a goal."

San Jose (17-6-5) has scored 58 goals in 28 games. Wondolowski's penalty kick goal Saturday broke his club single-season record for scoring. The De La Salle graduate is five goals from matching Ronald Cerritos' team career record of 61 goals in 148 games.

Wondolowski, the two-time league leader in goals, also is trying to become the first MLS player to get 20 goals in a season since Landon Donovan did it in 2008. He also has been prolific in netting game winners with his MLS-record

tying ninth of the season Saturday. Wondolowski had nine game winners in 2010 to tie former Los Angeles Galaxy forward Carlos Ruiz's total from a decade ago.

But it is the mounting assists that have turned the Danville native into the front-runner for league MVP.

"I take huge pride in that," he said of the assists. "All the guys that are scoring those goals deserve them. I feel like they are getting rewarded now. I love it and I want some more of it."

No doubt Wondolowski has benefited from a talented supporting cast starting with Alan Gordon (12 goals), Steven Lenhart (eight) and Simon Dawkins (seven). Midfielder Marvin Chavez (nine assists) also has boosted the offense with dazzling moves that has opened the middle.

But Wondolowski, who played with the U.S. national team this summer, has grown more confident with the ball on his feet. It seems he has added a dimension to his game in the penalty area.

"Wondo's the best forward around the box," said new midfielder Medhi Ballouchy, who is expected to get his second start Wednesday because Shea Salinas and Chavez are out with injuries.

"His game is very simple. He doesn't try to do too much. He's not going to try to get his goals; he's not that type of person."

Despite the selfless approach Wondolowski leads the Golden Boot race by five goals with six games left in the regular season. Although well aware of his standing, the striker's only interest is victories.

Whenever the Quakes falter Wondolowski takes the blame. If the club wins he praises defenders or the teammates who passed him the ball for "easy" goals.

"He's the same guy but he's found success reading spots and hooking guys up," Lenhart said. "He puts himself in good spots whether he is setting guys up or scoring goals."

Chris Wondolowski provides San Jose Earthquakes more than stats - San Jose Mercury News

SANTA CLARA -- The record-breaking statistics have piled up this season for Earthquakes star Chris Wondolowski.

But the most telling number is seven as he and his high-flying team face the Portland Timbers on Wednesday night at Buck Shaw Stadium.

Wondolowski, 29, earned his seventh assist last weekend as the Quakes won their third consecutive Major League Soccer game to remain atop of the Supporters' Shield race. The tally matched Wondolowski's career assist total before this year.

Or put it this way: the striker had seven assists over seven seasons until breaking out in 2012.

Although he also has a league-leading 19 goals this year, the assists embody the "me-second" spirit of MLS's accidental star. Wondolowski's share-the-riches attitude has done as much as anything to propel the league's most potent offense.

"Everyone is serving balls for everyone," outside back Justin Morrow said. "We're never worried if we're going to score a goal."

San Jose (17-6-5) has scored 58 goals in 28 games. Wondolowski's penalty kick goal Saturday broke his club single-season record for scoring. The De La Salle graduate is five goals from matching Ronald Cerritos' team career record of 61 goals in 148 games.

Wondolowski, the two-time league leader in goals, also is trying to become the first MLS player to get 20 goals in a season since Landon Donovan did it in 2008. He also has been prolific in netting game winners with his MLS-record

tying ninth of the season Saturday. Wondolowski had nine game winners in 2010 to tie former Los Angeles Galaxy forward Carlos Ruiz's total from a decade ago.

But it is the mounting assists that have turned the Danville native into the front-runner for league MVP.

"I take huge pride in that," he said of the assists. "All the guys that are scoring those goals deserve them. I feel like they are getting rewarded now. I love it and I want some more of it."

No doubt Wondolowski has benefited from a talented supporting cast starting with Alan Gordon (12 goals), Steven Lenhart (eight) and Simon Dawkins (seven). Midfielder Marvin Chavez (nine assists) also has boosted the offense with dazzling moves that has opened the middle.

But Wondolowski, who played with the U.S. national team this summer, has grown more confident with the ball on his feet. It seems he has added a dimension to his game in the penalty area.

"Wondo's the best forward around the box," said new midfielder Medhi Ballouchy, who is expected to get his second start Wednesday because Shea Salinas and Chavez are out with injuries.

"His game is very simple. He doesn't try to do too much. He's not going to try to get his goals; he's not that type of person."

Despite the selfless approach Wondolowski leads the Golden Boot race by five goals with six games left in the regular season. Although well aware of his standing, the striker's only interest is victories.

Whenever the Quakes falter Wondolowski takes the blame. If the club wins he praises defenders or the teammates who passed him the ball for "easy" goals.

"He's the same guy but he's found success reading spots and hooking guys up," Lenhart said. "He puts himself in good spots whether he is setting guys up or scoring goals."

San Jose still has 'work to do' against Portland - 9NEWS.com

Written by
The Sports Network

The San Jose Earthquakes accomplished their first goal when they clinched a playoff spot, but still "have a lot of work to do," according to forward Chris Wondolowski. Santa Clara, CA (Sports Network) - The San Jose Earthquakes accomplished their first goal when they clinched a playoff spot, but still "have a lot of work to do," according to forward Chris Wondolowski.

"Our goal goes beyond just making the playoffs," Wondolowski said.

In addition to having a postseason spot secure, San Jose sits atop the Western Conference and leads the overall standings, which would secure the Supporters' Shield at the end of the regular season.

Wondolowski admitted finishing with the top record in MLS was also a goal, and three points at Buck Shaw Stadium against the Portland Timbers on Wednesday is necessary to continue that quest.

"We clinched, we said good job to each other, then it was back to business," Wondolowski said. "Our goal goes beyond just making the playoffs. That was our initial goal, in the beginning of the year we wanted to make playoffs but we also want to win the Supporters' Shield, but first and foremost we want to win the MLS cup.

"Those goals are still obtainable and they are still out there, we have a lot of work to do to get them."

San Jose (17-6-5) is unbeaten at Buck Shaw Stadium this year, earning 10 wins and two draws. Its only home loss was a match played at AT&T Stadium in Week 2 against the Houston Dynamo.

After a second straight win over Chivas USA on Saturday, 2-0, San Jose manager Frank Yallop was happy with the three points as "no matter where you go in our league, there is always a tough game."

San Jose will not overlook Portland in the midweek match, as its focus remains on the Supporters' Shield over the rest of the season. Only then will it turn its focus to the postseason.

"Our focus is that Supporters' Shield, we want that. We are taking it one game a time and nobody really said anything about clinching," San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch said. "It happened, and we want to keep our feet on the pedal and keep winning games until the end."

Portland (7-14-7) has played well over its last seven games, earning two wins and three draws, but remains level on points with Chivas at the bottom of the Western Conference.

The Timbers secured a point against Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday with a 1-1 draw, and remain in contention for the Cascadia Cup, which is contested by the Timbers, Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and a postseason berth.

Just nine points behind Vancouver for fifth place in the West, a late push for the playoffs could be possible - especially with a shock win over San Jose.

Rodney Wallace scored the tying goal against Seattle, and hoped the club could build on the momentum, starting with San Jose.

"I think the team played well (against Seattle), and we just got to build from this performance," Wallace said. "(It is) unfortunate that we didn't get the win, but we just got to keep fighting and keep grinding it out."

The Sports Network