One can often jump the gun on such matters, what with the NBA being eight days into its new season and as such subject to the law of small numbers, but life is good.Life is good because the Los Angeles Lakers are 1-4. And because the Boston Celtics are 2-2. But it is also good because the New York Yankees are in A-Rodical disarray, and the Boston Red Sox were galactically dysfunctional, and the Dallas Cowboys stink to high heaven and the architect of that odor reasserted his unwillingness to fire himself. In fact, if it werent for Notre Dame, this could be a very happy holiday season indeed.Now this is the part where ignoramii shout out, Aha! Youre a hater! Hater, of course, being code for, My world is small, my interests tiny, my curiosity sub-atomic, so anyone who doesnt agree with me is a hater.But those people would be, and this comes as no surprise, wrong. I dont hate their teams. I hate the boredom of the same old stories told the same old way. I am not an agent for change (too much work is involved), but I like a new narrative now and then.And I also dont like those who support those teams who regain their smug, who still believe in the divine right of kings and their elevated place in those kingdoms. Who act like the universe is right when the old familiar names are ascendant.For those people, I can muster up the energy to be a hater.The argument is always posed as the tired old, The game is better when its marquee teams are winning. And its modern corollary, The TV ratings are always better when the marquee teams are winning, and we should all approve of that.Well, four things. One, no it isnt. And shut up. If your imaginations are that stunted, if your curiosity about new things is that limited, you should cease emitting noises from your blowhole for the good of the nation.Two, if you like your team, what do you care what the ratings are? You like your team, and you shouldnt need numbers to show your support is true. In fact, you come off better when you dont have numbers because you are displaying the courage of your convictions.Two, a good tale is a good tale, and Notre Dames work this year is laudatory on its own merits, and would be so if it were Vanderbilt, Western Michigan or San Jose State. You can root for the logo if you want. I prefer the deeds, and Notre Dames season would be praiseworthy if it were Brand X A&T. Conversely, the stalling of the Yankees, the falling of Lakers, the tire fire of the Red Sox and the continued mediocrity of the Cowboys is good in and of itself, because watching a team struggle is just as interesting as watching one flourish. Especially if that team is used to acting as though it should never struggle at all. And thats because of third thing, which is . . . . . . New Faces Are Good. The resurgent Bill Snyder at Kansas State, the resurrection of the Minnesota Timberwolves, the rampant Houston Texans, the budding potential dynasty-ette of the San Francisco Giants . . . these are all signs that sports is still a meritocracy rather than the relentless oppression of the status quo, and tyranny of the big name.Plus, some of the new teams are actually old powers gussied up for the new year. The Chicago Bears, for example. And Alabama is still Alabama, for you old school junkies who cant stand the idea of new anything. And if youre still a junkie for big names in big cities, even if those names are mostly name only, there are the New York Knicks. In other words, there is nothing wrong when some of the mighty have fallen, and there is good when once having fallen, they cant get back up for awhile.Plus plus, this could be nothing but a giant moot point in a month if the Lakers and Celtics figure out how to not be old any more. Or if the Knicks suddenly realize what old really feels like.Plus plus plus, the Yankees are always one act of money-burning (Josh Hamilton?) away from being back in business.The Cowboys? Well, it may be that they simply cant be helped. Not while the owner has the general managers back, and not while a vote of confidence can be delivered in front of the shaving mirror.And who doesnt think that vision isnt a hoot and a half?In short, change is good, the mighty should fall every once in a while, nobody should get to win all the time, the monarchy should be dead (no matter what monarchy youre talking about), sloth is its own punishment, let a thousand flowers bloom, and the beer remains cold no matter what. And if you cant vote for that last one, youre just hopeless.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com
NEWARK, N.J. — Martin Jones made 28 saves for his first shutout of the season and 16th overall in the San Jose Sharks' 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.
Melker Karlsson, Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi scored and Justin Braun had two assists to help the Sharks open a five-game East Coast trip.
Keith Kinkaid, the top goalie for New Jersey with Cory Schneider on injured reserve, stopped 30 shots as the Devils' three-game winning streak came to an end.
The Devils couldn't muster a strong push in the later stages against the rested Sharks. It was New Jersey's second game two nights following a 5-4 overtime victory in Ottawa. And it showed against the Sharks, who played a solid road game, pressed their advantage and solidly supported Jones.
Karlsson scored the lone goal of the opening period at 14:11 on a close-in shot following a slick behind-the-net setup pass from Tomas Hertl.
The shots were 13 for each team in the evenly played period. The Devils came close on several occasions as former Shark Mirco Mueller and Blake Coleman both hit the crossbar and Jones robbed Drew Stafford on a dead-on drive from the slot.
Pavelski and Donskoi got second-period goals as the Sharks steadily tightened their grip on the game.
Pavelski tipped in Braun's point shot at 5:49. Joe Thornton got the second assist, his 1,395th point, to pass Luc Robitaille for 21st on the career list.
Donskoi backhanded a rebound shot with 1:10 left in the period in which the Sharks outshot the Devils 11-6.
The remaining drama centered on Jones' shutout bid.
NOTES: The Devils placed Schneider on injured reserve Friday with a lower-body injury and recalled Scott Wedgewood from Binghamton of the American Hockey League to serve as Kinkaid's backup. ... Mueller, a healthy scratch in three of the previous four games, returned for the Devils to face the Sharks, the team that drafted him in the first round, for the first time. He was dealt to New Jersey over the summer.
Sharks: At the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
Devils: Host Ottawa on Friday night.
Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch watched most of Thursday night’s game versus Kansas City from the stands after getting ejected for making contact with an official.
He’ll also be a spectator next week.
The NFL suspended him one game for unsportsmanlike conduct stemming from an incident where left the sidelines to join an on-field scuffle and ended up pushing an official.
The league announced the suspension Friday afternoon. Lynch has already appealed the suspension, per multiple reports.
He was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct and automatically ejected by rule.
Punishment after the fact has gotten expensive.
By rule, Lynch will be fined $30,387 for making contact with an official. He could get hit with other penalties, including entering a fight unnecessarily.
Lynch is also suspended without pay, meaning he’ll forfeit a $79,411 game check and a $31,250 per-game roster bonus.
The Cal alum won’t play a Week 8 contest in Buffalo, against a Bills team that drafted him No. 12 overall in 2007.
Lynch was on the sidelines during a third down draw play where quarterback Derek Carr incurred what officials called a late hit from Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters.
The Raiders offensive line took offense, and came after Peters in a scrum. Lynch and Peters, both Oakland natives, are extremely close. Lynch ran on the field to get between his teammates and his friend, but ended up inadvertently pushing an official. The league has zero tolerance for that, and sent him off the field.
Lynch watched a dramatic 31-30 victory over Kansas City from the stands and screens near the field, and congratulated his teammates after a big win.
Lynch did not explain why he entered the fray, though he seemed to be trying to get Peters out of harm’s way.
“They can say what they want but one thing’s for certain: Family do come first,” Peters told Bay Area News Group’s Logan Murdock.
His Raiders teammates and coaches must carry on without the 31-year old power back. They’ll roll with Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington and fullback Jamize Olawale against the Bills, as they did against the Chiefs.
Lynch had two carries for nine yards before getting tossed. He has just 266 yards and two touchdowns on 72 carries through seven games.
If the suspension is upheld, Lynch will be eligible to return in Week 9 against Miami.