Kaepernick playing beyond his years for Niners


Kaepernick playing beyond his years for Niners

FOXBORO -- Let us get this out of the way.

This is coming directly from the mouth of San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh on Wednesday: "Colin's starting, yes."

He's talking about Colin Kaepernick, who will make his fifth start at quarterback since replacing Alex Smith, who seemingly lost his job after suffering a concussion last month.

Kaepernick is 3-1 since becoming the starter. And Harbaugh explained, on Wednesday, why he's sticking with the kid.

"I think it was a unique situation here," said Harbaugh in a conference call on Wednesday. "Two guys that we believe in, believe can win games for us. And picking one, it's who do you think can give you the best chance for this next game.

"He's playing, really, with a lot of poise and beyond his years. He's produced. he's made big plays with his arm and his feet and with his mind. He's 3-1 as a starter, doing a fine job. He's acquitting himself very well."

Linebacker Aldon Smith seems to agree with Harbaugh's decision to stick with Kaepernick.

"I think we're in a good spot," said Smith. "We have two good guys on our team, and Colin's playing good ball right now. It's exciting to see where he takes us."

Not just because of his legs, but also because of his arm.

"Not only can he run -- because I think people have seen that -- but his arm strength is out of this world," said Smith. "We were actually playing catch last week, and I was telling him, 'I don't think I'm about to play with you because you throw a little too hard for me. I can hear the ball coming before it gets to me so I'll step out of this one.' "

Cassidy: 'Trying to set a standard' of being one of the NHL's better teams

Cassidy: 'Trying to set a standard' of being one of the NHL's better teams

BOSTON – The Bruins have won seven of eight games under interim coach Bruce Cassidy and are fortifying their position as the third playoff team in the Atlantic Division with each passing victory.

The 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes at TD Garden on Tuesday night probably shouldn’t be all impressive based on the Yotes standing as the second-worst team in the NHL, but it was a classic trap game coming off a long West Coast road trip. Instead of falling for the trap the Bruins exploded for three goals in the second period, energized by a shorthanded Riley Nash strike, and continue to extend the winning stretch they need in order to punch their playoff ticket.

The postseason clincher is still a long way away from reality, but Cassidy said the B’s are starting to achieve the elevated level of play they’re aiming for while finally getting the full potential out of their team.

“I just want the guys to make sure that they play confident, solid hockey and believe in themselves. And play to a [higher] standard,” said Cassidy. “We’re trying to set a standard where we’re one of the better teams in the National Hockey League. They’ve been there before, the leadership group here. That’s where we’re striving to get through in the end.”

They haven’t exactly shied away from the competition either, twice beating the first-place San Jose Sharks and shutting out the first place Montreal Canadiens in the final straw that saw Michel Therrien axed in favor of Claude Julien.

The B’s have now opened up a three-point cushion over the Maple Leafs for their playoff spot and they’ve averaged 4.13 goals per game (33 goals in eight games) while allowing just 2.13 goals per game (17 goals in eight games) in the eight games going from Julien to Cassidy. 

The challenge now is to maintain that level of play over the final 19 games of the regular season to drive home their playoff bid and finish strong at a point where in each of the past two seasons they’ve utterly imploded.


Wednesday, March 1: Bruins okay with not dealing

Wednesday, March 1: Bruins okay with not dealing

Here are all the links from around the hockey world as NHL trade deadline day is upon us with no promise of fireworks in Boston.

*As referenced above, there’s a good chance the Bruins won’t be doing much today and they’re perfectly okay with that.

*Craig Custance grades every move made ahead of the trade deadline with plenty of action out of the way early.

*The Vancouver Canucks will not be trading Ryan Miller, which is smart given the normal market for No. 1 goaltenders.

*The New York Rangers lost out on the Kevin Shattenkirk rental sweepstakes at the deadline, so they’ve opted for Brendan Smith instead.

*The Florida Panthers may make a move at the deadline (which they did in acquiring Thomas Vanek) but they will not make or break their team with deadline deals.

*Doug Armstrong says that Shattenkirk was frustrated by his role with the St. Louis Blues, and that played into his trade to the Capitals.

*For something completely different: It’s a national holiday in Canada as Jay and Dan will be returning to their natural habitat.