Ray Ratto

Ratto: Lost players increase wild card factor


Ratto: Lost players increase wild card factor

Ray RattoCSNBayArea.com

In the immortal words of Dan Boyle, If this was five years ago, we wouldnt even be talking about this.He could even have said that five months ago. But in a relatively rare burst of postseason discipline, the National Hockey League suspended Los Angeles center Jarret Stoll for Saturdays second game of the Kings-Sharks series.The crime? Hitting Ian White from behind and planting his head against the glass, causing concussion-like symptoms that likely will keep him out of Game 2 as well.
NEWS: Kings' Stoll suspended for hit on Sharks' White
The time? Probably about a fourth of what Stoll would have gotten had this been Game 73, but since it is Game 83, many people expected the league to err on the side of but its the playoffs.Well, it is, and yet it isnt. The league made such a hoop-de-blah about head shots this winter and spring that the Stoll case became a litmus test for its sincerity on the issue. And the answer is, Yes they are, kinda sorta.The Kings, non unexpectedly, thought the penalty was too severe, and compared an unpenalized hit Jason Demers leveled on Ryan Smyth as their case.If Jarret Stoll gets one game, what Jason Demers did to Ryan Smyth was five times more severe, head coach Terry Murray said. His hit meets all the criteria for a severe suspension. If you travel distance, launch yourself two or three feet off the ice and deliver a blow to the head, that is five times worse. I was in Philadelphia when we played in Ottawa and Steve Downie did the same thing, and he got 25 games. That has to be viewed.For me personally, I was disappointed, assistant general manager Ron Hextall said. To me, he turned his skates at the line, he was trying to pin his man and Ian White hit his head on the dasher. As for Stoll himself:I was disappointed with the decision, Stoll said. I understand it and I respect it. I just told them what I did as honestly as I could.
REWIND: Sharks edge Kings on Pavelski's O.T. winnerLosing Stoll is a big deal because he was one of the Kings best players not only during the regular season but Thursday night as well, but losing White impacts the Sharks almost as much, as their defensive depth has been the major question about their ability to drive toward their first Stanley Cup final.Whites likely replacement is rookie Justin Braun, who played 28 games during the regular season, and Stolls is Oscar Moller, who played 13. The Kings tried to bring up center John Zeiler from their Manchester farm, but Zeiler couldnt clear re-entry waivers and arrive in San Jose in time.But as both teams get necessarily younger, they also got less experienced, making Saturdays game more of a wild card than it already was.The two teams played a remarkably even game Thursday, with each team having flurries of sure goals taken away by brilliant goaltending (Jonathan Quick had 42 saves, 10 of which were improbably good, and Antti Niemi 33, six of which were exceptional), and long droughts when they couldnt even muster a shot (the Kings when 13 minutes without one in the first and second periods, the Sharks 15 without one in the second and third).But with two such jagged holes in their lineups, the two teams will have to make more substantive adjustments for Game 2 than would have under normal circumstances. Braun will be paired with Niclas Wallin, as he was during the regular season, while Moller worked with the fourth line between Kevin Westgarth and Alexei Ponikarovsky.Either way, the series has promptly ramped itself into a full-on rivalry with one hit, one overtime game and a foundation of bad intent that will only grow as the series advances. At least thats the way it used to be when the league didnt mind head shots. Whether this impacts the two teams intentions viz. each other remains to be seen.What's your take?EmailRay and let him know. He may use it in his Mailbag. Follow Ray onTwitter @RattoCSN.

If eclipse ends life on Earth, it's bad news for fans of one Bay Area team


If eclipse ends life on Earth, it's bad news for fans of one Bay Area team

If the lunatic fringe of the lunatic fringe is right and the total eclipse of the sun is actually a harbinger of the end of life on earth . . .

- It’s good news for the Giants, who have been eliminated from the National League West race for less than 24 hours, or that they will not have to watch the Los Angeles Dodgers put their feet up on baseball for the first time in 28 years.

Besides, there won’t be any more years, so time becomes meaningless.

- It’s good news for the 49ers, who won’t have to endure a harsh week of practice from freshly irked head coach Kyle Shanahan, who finally saw exactly why the job came open for him in the first place.

- It’s good news for Raiders’ fans, who won’t see their team move to Las Vegas, and because they won't be soul-crushed if they can't beat the Patriots -- who will also die en masse despite Bill Belichick's entreaties to ignore the noise of seven billion terrorized shrieks.

- It’s bad news for A’s fans, who will never learn in what location their fabulous new franchise-saving stadium will not be built.

- It’s good news for the Warriors, who can say in their death throes that they were the last NBA champions ever, and that the Lakers will never get LeBron James.

- It’s good news for the Lakers because they cannot be found guilty of tampering with Paul George. It’s also good news for Jimmy Kimmel because he can’t lose a draft choice (some faceless F-list actor as a guest) as a result.

- It’s good news for the Kings, because they’ll never have to have the difficult meeting about Zach Randolph.

- It’s good news for the Chargers, because they won’t have to answer any more questions about why only 21,000 people were announced as the crowd for their second practice game, or to confront the very real possibility that they could become the NFL’s Washington Generals.

- It’s good news for the Jets, Mets, Nets and Knicks because the end of the planet is the only just solution for them all.

- It’s good news for Cal because it can stick its middle finger to the sky and say, “Here’s your $400 million debt. Try to collect it while we’re all dying.”

- It’s good news for Kevin Durant because he doesn’t have to slalom through the Internet trolls any more.

- It’s bad news for Roger Goodell, because he sure left a boatload of money on the table as he was hurtled into space like the rest of us.

- It’s bad news for Nick Saban because he will have never seen it coming. On the other hand, it’s good news for the people who cover Alabama football because they’ve endured their last journalism lecture from Prof. Nick on why they do their jobs so poorly.

- It’s bad luck for Jim Harbaugh because he will feel like a complete nitwit as he learns just what “an enthusiasm unknown to mankind” really means – the end of mankind.

- It’s bad news for all the sixth graders in America who are being offered scholarships that they will never be used by college coaches they will never meet. Of course, that would have been true even  if the world doesn’t end.

- It’s bad news for the hackers who have been spoiling Game Of Thrones because this is Game Of Thrones, only the dragon is the sun incinerating us all.

- It’s bad news for Kyrie Irving, because he will have died a Cleveland Cavalier.

- It’s good news for America, for the obvious reason that the planet will expire before our current political class can murder it.

- And finally, it’s good news for dignity, because the Mayweather-McGregor “thing” will never happen, and that alone means that even as we are torn asunder, we will know that the deity loves us all because both McGrogor and Mayweather are being torn asunder too.

Of course, if you’re reading this Tuesday, you’ll know the world didn’t end, and we’re just as screwed as we ever were. Oh well. Try to find your happy place, and drink like there’s no Wednesday.

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.