Ratto: Sharks apply knee to Detroit's throat

May 6, 2011, 4:57 pm
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May 6, 2011

Ray Ratto

DETROIT -- This happens every year when one team has a knee on the others throat, and there is time to kill and a beast to feed before game time.In short, the Sharks have nothing more to offer except that they seem united in their opposition to playing a fifth game in this Western Conference semifinal series with Detroit, and the medioids have nothing to ask.
Detroit head coach Mike Babcock reiterated that his lineup would stay the same, which means that Mike Modano is certain to end his career as a healthy scratch, either tonight or in a subsequent game. Ive had Steve Yzerman at the end, Brendan Shanahan at the end, Kris Draper, Chris Chelios at the end, he said. Theyre great people, theyre first-ballot Hall of Famers, and its been a privilege to be around them.

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In other words, Babcock has experience making tough choices on great players whose tanks have hit E, and Johan Franzen will still play with Tomas Holmstrom and Pavel Datsyuk tonight at 4 p.m PDT. Thus, no Modano.There was some talk about the high number of faceoff ejections in this series, to which Todd McLellan said, Were like Nos. 2 and 3 in faceoffs in the regular season, we both like to think were puck possession teams, and were both very competitive in the circle, so sometimes youll see guys jumping quicker, and youll see some battles before the puck hits the ice. The linesmen have done a good job keeping that sorted out. San Jose is still first in the postseason, at 54.5 percent, and Detroit is seventh at 50.2. In the series, the Sharks are winning 52.4 percent of the draws, and the two best faceoff men have been, as expected, Datsyuk and Joe Thornton.The only actual development for San Jose is that Logan Coutures parents got their expired passport issues resolved so that they can attend tonights game. My dad was pretty fired up, Couture said after the morning skate. My parents, my brother and some of their friends will be here tonight.If there is a fifth game, every indication is that it will remain on Versus at 5 p.m., rather than be moved to noon for NBC. The issue has come up because Boston could finish off Philadelphia tonight, leaving a potential fifth game in San Jose as the only game on the schedule.Historical Note: If the Sharks win tonight and complete the sweep, Detroit will be the first team to win a series 4-0 and lose the subsequent series 4-0 since the 1993 Buffalo Sabres swept Boston and were swept by Montreal. Six of the eight games the Sabres played were decided in overtime.