Ray Ratto

Ratto: Expecting a hyperactive NHL Draft


Ratto: Expecting a hyperactive NHL Draft

June 23, 2011


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After a few false rumors to get the blood going, the Sharks news of the day ended up being a new three-year deal for Devin Setoguchi estimated at 9 million.

NEWS: Sharks sign Setoguchi to three-year deal
On a day when the Philadelphia Flyers committed 48 million to Ilya Bryzgalov and traded Jeff Carter to Columbus and Mike Richards to Los Angeles, the Setoguchi news was fairly well obscured, but it was of a piece for general manager Doug Wilson.He retained his top-heavy forward list, hadnt changed his defense issues except for losing Niclas Wallin, and with Fridays draft beginning at 8:30 a.m. had spoken to all the other general managers in the last 48 hours. In short, the Setoguchi news may not have a very long shelf life at all.
REWIND: GM Wilson describes offseason landscape
In fact, with the Flyers already in action, this could be one of the most hyperactive draft days in NHL history. Wilson said he thought the chatter surrounding the draft was as much or more than theres ever been that I can remember.That may mean that Setoguchi, or perhaps Joe Pavelski might still be packaged for a No. 1 or No. 2 defenseman, but the new deal makes that even less likely than it already was.In short, here, barring upset, is your likely top 18 when camp begins:Patrick Marleau Joe Thornton Devin Setoguchi
Ryane Clowe Logan Couture Dany Heatley
Torrey Mitchell Joe Pavelski (Kyle Wellwood)
Ben Eager Andrew Desjardins Jamie McGinn
Dan Boyle Douglas Murray
Marc-Edouard Vlasic Jason Demers
Justin Braun (Ian White)Wellwood and White are in parentheses because they are still iffy returners, but after going 1-8 in the past two Western Conference finals, San Jose might be in the market for a more fundamental change before training camp begins.
RELATED: NHL Draft capsules -- Top 10 impact players
Or they could be pretty much what they were a year ago, only driven not to waste the first three months of their season as they did in 2009-10. Friday will be interesting in this regard. Not necessarily definitive, mind you, but interesting to see just where Wilsons head and heart are pointing for the new year.

Phrase that Matt Joyce left out of his apology is key to talking the talk

Phrase that Matt Joyce left out of his apology is key to talking the talk

Matt Joyce said the word, he did the apology, he’ll do the time, and then we’ll see if he’ll get the forgiveness he asks.
Joyce’s two-game suspension by Major League Baseball for using a gay slur at a fan during Friday’s Athletics-Angels game in Anaheim is well within industry norms (though it might have been more tactically impressive if the club itself had issued the suspension), and his apology did not deflect blame or contain the always-insincere caveat “if I offended anyone.” He did offend people and he knew it, so he didn’t couch it in the phraseology of “I don’t think what I said was improper, but I’ll do the perp walk just to get this over with.”
He even offered to do work with PFLAG, the support group that supports the LGBTQ community, thereby putting his time (which is more meaningful than money) where his mouth was.
In other words, he seems to have taken his transgression properly to heart, which is all you can really hope for, and now we’ll see if he is granted the absolution he seeks.
You see, we’re a funny old country in that we talk forgiveness all the time but grant it only sparingly, and only after a full mental vetting of important things like “Do we like this guy?” and “Is he playing for my favorite team?” and “Do I feel like letting him up at all?”
In other words, forgiveness is very conditional indeed.
Joyce said what he said, but his apology seemed to be given freely and unreservedly rather than crafted to meet a minimal standard of corporate knee-taking/arse-covering. If he follows through on his offer to do face-to-face work with PFLAG or an associated group and absorbs the lesson of not using other people as a weapon for his own frustration, then he ought to be acknowledged for doing so. That’s what forgiveness is.
But if the principle you adhere to is “once guilty, forever doomed,” then you’ve succeeded at giving in to the mode of the day, which is jumping to a conclusion and never jumping back because it’s just easier and more convenient to do so.
It’s up to him. But it’s also up to you.

Promotion and relegation would be a great idea in all sports


Promotion and relegation would be a great idea in all sports

There is no inherent reason why you should care about Miami FC or Kingston Stockade FC, two lower level professional soccer leagues in the lower right quadrant of the nation.

But when they joined together to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the international governing body for any sport not run by Americans for Americans, to demand that all American teams submit to the concept of promotion and relegation, from MLS to, presumably, your kid’s under-8 team, they became interesting.

And the best part about soccer, except for Neymar being worth twice as much as all other humans in the history of the sport, is promotion and relegation.

In fact, it would be a great idea in all sports – although the idea of the Giants and A’s in the Pacific Coast League might scare the bejeezus out of Larry Baer and John Fisher.

Now we are not optimistic that the CAS will see this Kingston and Miami’s way. Americans like their sports top-heavy, where only a few megaclubs get most of the money and attention while the rest sort of muddle along, safe but unremarkable. And to be frank, promotion and relegation is most a fun media construct for making fun of bad teams – say, like the A’s and Giants.

But we can agree, I think, that having Jed York pay Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch to keep his football team out of the Canadian Football League, or better still, the Mountain West Conference, would add to healthy dose of spice to what promises otherwise to be a pretty humdrum year.

And promotion/relegation would certainly reduce all that troublesome tanking in the NBA people endlessly whinge about.

So here’s to Kingston Stockade and Miami FC. Your cause is just. Persevere. After all, in this rancid period for American sporting culture, someone's got to stand for the quixotic yet indisputably correct thing.

And when it fails, and it probably will, just know you sleep with the angels -- if that’s what passes for fun at your house.