Ray Ratto

Ratto: Who to miss in the NHL playoffs' first round

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Ratto: Who to miss in the NHL playoffs' first round

April 5, 2010RATTO ARCHIVESHARKS PAGE SHARKS VIDEO
Ray RattoCSNBayArea.com

If you ask Todd McLellan, hell give you one of those God almighty, are you stupid or what? looks. He wont mind. Hes got plenty of them to go around.That said, you know he either has already received or will be given the question, SO, who would you like to meet in the first round? And you know hell duck it. Of course he will. Hes supposed to. It says so in the manual.But we know more than him; just ask us. The Sharks want one thing and one thing only for Nashville to keep winning. That way, their first round choices are either Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles or Anaheim, and we have two good reasons why.The first is provided in this chart: San Jose to Los AngelesLos Angeles to San Francisco: 340 miles. San Jose to AnaheimAnaheim to San Francisco: 366 miles. San Jose to Glendale, Az.Glendale, Az. to San Francisco: 709 miles. San Jose to ChicagoChicago to San Jose: 2164 miles. San Jose to NashvilleNashville to San Jose: 2267 miles.Only an idiot would want a 4 -hour flight instead of a one-hour flight. Easier on the legs, the back, the appetite, everything. Also, the Kings and Ducks would be easier for the Sharks to get up a healthy hate-on, because their fans will be able to. Phoenix is more amorphous, and Nashville even more so, because the Sharks have historically had their way with both the Doggies and Kitties.Plus, the Blackhawks are the Blackhawks, or at least they were before they were scattered to the nine vectors. Patrick Sharp went down with a knee (could be back Friday against Detroit), there is no secondary scoring to speak of, and the core players are being overplayed (justifiably) by a desperate coach Joel Quenneville. They may not even survive the weekend.But history is for saps. The core question that needs to be asked is the matchup one, and most specifically, which goaltender is most likely to stand on his head against the Sharks?The answer here, and it isnt all that close, is Pekka Rinne of Nashville.San Jose is bigger than Nashville, though not quite as quick. San Jose has more offensive firepower, though not quite as many elite defensemen. San Jose has been mean-spirited and cruel since January 15 26-4-1-4, with a goal differential of plus-42, both league-bests, while Nashville has been playoff-quality but not Cup-quality 19-12-3-2 and a differential of plus-9.Those advantages may prove to be more than the Predators can handle, as they were the two times they have met in the postseason.Then again, Rinne can be the great equalizer, because he has been all year.He is second in the league in goals against average and save percentage. He is the classic big goalie whom most teams crave and most opposition shooters hate, fundamentally sound post to post, at ice level and at the crossbar, and not prone to needless wandering.He is, in short, nasty on filthy with a side of soul-eroding.Compare him to the other possibilities:ANAHEIM: Jonas Hiller has played three times since the All-Star Break, and his replacement, the redoubtable for Senator and Flyer Ray Emery, has been good but not game-stealing in the nine games he has played, not including the one hell start against San Jose Wednesday night. Hiller is the one you all overreacted to as the next great goalie in 2009. Emery is the one who has played for a Stanley Cup. Neither is to be feared, nor even adjusted to.CHICAGO: Corey Crawford has played 23 consecutive games, and he wasnt supposed to be the answer to Antti Niemi anyway. He is an average to slightly-above-average goalie, but not a show-stopper to overcome his teams other shortcomings.PHOENIX: Ilya Bryzgalov has decent but not overwhelming statistics he is sixth in minutes and fourth in shots faced, but ninth in save percentage among goalies who have played at least half their games, and is not appreciably better than anyone else in top eight in the Western Conference. There is no real backup to speak of (Jason LaBarbera has played three times since the break). Plus, hes been uninspiring against San Jose (0-3, .892 save percentage) this year, after being one of the best goalies theyve faced in the previous three.LOS ANGELES: Jonathan Quick is supposed to be The Next Big Thing, and maybe he will be. He was better against the Sharks early, shutting them out right after Christmas and then losing 1-0 on New Years Day, but he was much less dominant in a 3-2 win March 24, and was routed Monday night. He also plays behind another offensively challenged team, and that was even before Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams went down. He may be good again, but he's pushing far more uphill than Rinne.So there you have it. San Jose should not lose to any of the bottom five, let alone Calgary or Dallas, but if they had to choose a team to avoid, it is Nashville. And if McLellan has a problem with that, he can come see me at his leisure.What'syour take? Email Rayand let him know. He may use it in his Mailbag. Follow Ray on Twitter @RattoCSN.

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

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USATI

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.