Ray Ratto

Game 5 notes: Bad wrist can't slow Datsyuk


Game 5 notes: Bad wrist can't slow Datsyuk


Ray Ratto

SAN JOSE -- The Sharks have rediscovered what they've known for years -- Pavel Datsyuk is the most underlooked great player in the game. His third period work despite having a bad wrist was exemplary, and picking Patrick Marleau twice to set up Tomas Holmstroms game-winner was the purest Datsyuk of all.I thought Pavel was unbelievable in the third. Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.Hes a world-class player. Its interesting as you watch the playoffs. Theres lots of nice players during the regular season and theyve got good skill and all that. But if you dont have a drive, and you dont compete at the highest level, you cant win at this time of year. Its all about competition level and digging in and winning those battles. And thats what Pavel has.Datsyuks wrist has become such a bother that he took no faceoffs Sunday night.REISS: Roenick's shot at Marleau over the line
I guess he just didnt feel like taking them. Babcock lied with an impish look on his face. Hes the best on our team, we just didnt want him to take them.
Yeah, thats it.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, Datsyuk said, trying to hide the injury. I'm OK. I'm fine. Anyway, I'm not a shooter. It doesn't help me anyway. My job is to chip in goal, hit somebody hard.

And on the play to set up the winner?

I gave it to Nick (Lidstrom). I know Nick shoots pretty well. Having Holmy in front of the net is good with this one. I'm happy for him doing his job well.Well bet he is. San Jose has blown two chances to take care of business, but statistics show that teams up 3-1 that lost Game 5 still have won 80 of 103 series, a casino-ready percentage of .777. Jeremy Roenick helped reveal his essential distaste for Marleaus game in the postgame show on Versus, describing Marleau as gutless twice in explaining the play in which Datsyuk stole the puck from him to set up Holmstroms winning goal. Later, when hammered by San Jose, he Tweeted (with corrections made for non-Twit speakers),Everyone can be mad at me for my comments. That's fine!! My opinions are mine and Ive always voiced them! Classless? Ive had worse said of me!! Marleau has his fans and that's great! I am not one of them and won't pretend to be! I love the Sharks with a passion and think the fans deserve a better effort than Marleau has given in this series!!!

Thats 10 exclamation points in three Tweets. Clearly, theres some history here. Game 5 is set for Tuesday on Versus. Be there, and bring your Dramamine to keep your tummy uproars to a minimum.Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

The four Super Bowl storylines everybody will be talking about


The four Super Bowl storylines everybody will be talking about

The Monday after the conference championships is devoted to replaying the games we already saw, but Tuesday is devoted to the assembling of the narratives that we will weary of no later than Friday.

And while football purists and gamblers, two demographics on the opposite ends of the Moebius strip of degeneracy, will cheerily break the game down to its molecular level, the rest of us will resort to a few tired carthorses to get us to the start of our individual Super Bowl parties.


This will be an argument with no resolution, as those who see history as preordination will see New England as invulnerable, pointing to their record, Philadelphia’s record, and the comfort of the mortal lock. But if it helps you maintain suspense, the Patriots have never won, or even played in, a Super Bowl with a margin as high as a touchdown – the margins have been 3, 3, 3, 4, 4 and 6 in overtime. In short, Bill Belichick’s brain, while always impressive, has never been an overwhelming presence against John Fox, Andy Reid, Tom Coughlin, Pete Carroll or Dan Quinn.

In other words, luck matters, and luck is good.


This is ridiculous because the Patriots are in painting-the-gold-bar-gold territory. People long ago made up their minds on Belichick, Tom Brady, Bob Kraft and the rest of the shifting cast of characters – they are either brilliant exemplars, or nefarious cheaters, or both. That’s the great thing about the Patriots – they can be heroes, villains and metaphors for 21st Century America, depending on what you decide. But their place as football figures has long ago been decided, this game will change none of that, and the only thing left is what to carve on the statues.


There are lots of Americas out there, as we are learning every day, and more people probably are rooting for the Eagles just to see something different. That’s not the way to bet, I grant you, but the best way to handle these next two weeks if you do not wear either New England or Philadelphia jerseys is to say nothing. These are two fan bases with reputations, if you know what we mean, and even if you come across gentle souls with a rooting interest, play the percentages. Even the nice ones can turn at any moment.

And finally, JIMMY GAROPPOLO. This discussion only matters of Bob Kraft cops to telling Belichick he ordered him to be moved. Which he won't, damn his eyes. And if Brady looks good next Sunday, they'll take credit for a brilliant move that saved the franchise because history always works best in the rear-view mirror.

NBA All-Star Game more and more reveals personalities rather than skills


NBA All-Star Game more and more reveals personalities rather than skills

The voting for the NBA All-Star starters was properly instructive to both Adam Silver and the public at large about exactly what the game is meant to be – which is why I totally get their decision not to televise the All-Star draft.

It’s really a personality test for everyone involved, for good and ill.

I think having a draft nobody can see is idiotic, stealing an idea the NHL used and then discarded years ago and then not employing the reason why they did it to begin with, but if the All-Star Game is really an expression of ego, then the next best thing to having no draft is having one nobody can see.

The All-Star Game really only functions as a coronation of the elite by the elite, a festival of mutual backslapping friend-rewarding that has nothing to do with the playing of the game, or the moving of the T-shirts or jerseys or expensive hotel rooms. This is about stratifying the player pool so that everyone knows who’s who and what’s what.

Everything else is irrelevant, and the draft reinforces that. Kevin Durant not wanting to be a captain is strategic thinking by a future industrialist. Stephen Curry not minding being a captain is the perfect who-cares statement for someone who doesn’t mind playing the game because objecting to it takes too much work. LeBron James being a captain is the perfect political muscle-flexing that fits his personality.

Damian Lillard already assuming that he won’t be named to the team is a statement about his being considered the perpetual one-level-down guard. Russell Westbrook being named and then controlling the ball as he would in a regular season game is a statement about how he views his place as a disruptor. And on and on and on – the All-Star Game more and more reveals personalities rather than skills.

Does televising the draft help us understand the actual meaning of the event? Maybe, but the NBA would prefer you consider it a festival of the game itself, which it plainly isn’t. Proof, you say? 192-182 in 2017. 196-173 in 2016. 163-158 in 2015. 163-155 in 2014. There hasn’t been a normal-looking score in 15 years, which means it’s not a game at all.

That isn’t the news, though. It’s that the NBA has made this is a three-day event – the day the captains and starters are named, the day the reserves are picked, and the day that teams are chosen. And every bit of it is about the reaction to that. There is no show thereafter, and the players know it. They care about the selections, because that’s how they’re keeping score.

So go team. Whatever the hell that means.