Ray Ratto

Ratto: Power play not the issue for Sharks


Ratto: Power play not the issue for Sharks


SAN JOSE -- The Sharks met this a.m. to talk about their so-so power play, which has been even more so than usual in the postseason and especially since Detroit tinkered with its penalty kill and especially how they stand at the blue line when the Sharks try to enter the zone.

They made some adjustments on their forecheck and on their stand at the blue line, head coach Todd McLellan said. We obviously have to adjust and make sure that if they do throw that at us, were a little more prepared. But the way (Game 4) was going and the power plays coming so late, I dont think we engaged ourselves enough early to be sharp in those situations.

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Therein lies the real problem for the Sharks, even more than being 2 for 22 on the power play home in this postseason. Its the starts they get.

They dropped another three goals in the first period Friday night, and are now being outscored 13-4 in the 10 games they have played so far. But while they outchanced the Kings in the first round and outshot them overall, 84-42, they have been considerably less involved against Detroit, barely behind on goals (5-4) and shots (50-48) but much further behind in possession time and general efficacy.

We normally do in our own building, McLellan said when asked about first period play. We capture that energy thats given to us by our fans and we can take it and run with it. But theyve got some veteran D-men, theyve got some poise on their blue line. They have the ability to settle things down and bring the puck out. But well do everything in our power to have a good start and then maintain it from there. We cant play a 10-minute game, we have to play the full 60 and see what happens after that.

Statistically, thought, the first period has been their worst throughout the season, both during the dark months (pre-January 14) and the light ones (post-January 14), so this is not a new development at all. It seems the Sharks need more time get their motors revved than theyre getting, so a noon start would presumably have been much worse for them than the 5 p.m. theyre getting.

In other words, viz. San Jose, thank goodness for NBCs afternoon programming.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

You don’t think you needed this game to go this way, but you did, and you do.

The Golden State Warriors spat out a 17-point lead and lost, 92-88, in Boston Thursday night, in a game that was taut if not particularly elegant, and in a game that elevated the Celtics to a place that makes them the new heir apparent to the heir apparent.

The Celtics have been a difficult out for the Warriors during the Brad Stevens Era, losing six of nine but only being blown out twice, and Thursday was not one of those nights. The box score will tell you the shooting and rebounding problems, but the Warriors had that lead and didn’t hold it. Or, to be accurate, the Celtics had that deficit and refused to let it destroy them.

Which is exactly the kind of team you, the fully licensed Warrior fan, want to watch play your team in the NBA Finals. You want to see them genuinely challenged, forced to win outside their comfort zone, induced to show their greatness in the highest of high leverage situations.

At least we think that’s what you want. Maybe you prefer blowouts so you can drink and go to the bathroom without care or fear. After all, the Warriors have taught the area the true meaning of front-running by being in front so often.

But the Celtics play a level of defense typically reserved for the San Antonio Spurs, and yes, the Warriors. They have a spiky exoskeleton that the acquisition of Kyrie Irving has actually enhanced, and Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum give them a gifted precocity that fits well with veterans like Al Horford and Marcus Morris, and Boston’s overall youth (they are fifth youngest, while Golden State is third-oldest) ought to make them a more difficult conundrum than Cleveland or any other team in either conference.

They are not yet the superior team; that remains to be proven, and betting against the Warriors requires a level of irrational bravery left only for the truly self-destructive.

But they are, as we sit this evening, the team the Warriors will have to work hardest to finish, because on a night when they had the chance to do so, they didn’t. In other words, the fight for a third ring still goes through Oakland, but it looks more and more like a one-stop through Boston.

And as much as you may hate thinking about it, you’ll almost certainly remember, and savor, a Celtics-Warriors final more than another round of Cavs-on-the-half-shell.

Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor


Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor

Programming note: Warriors-Celtics coverage starts today at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming live right here 

Draymond Green spoke to a group of students at Harvard Thursday on the subject of leadership, and if you find that incongruous, shame on you.
I mean, who else would you want as a college professor?
Green has led, and been led. He has learned, and he has taught. He has certainly lectured, as any teammate, official and media member will testify. He’d be a hell of a teacher, and the subject almost doesn’t matter.
For one, homework would be different, as in I’d bet there would be no written work. I don’t see Prof. Day-Day poring over essays about the Industrial Revolution, M-theory or pre-Raphaelite art. Not even the history of Basketball-Reference.com.

For two, having tenured faculty audit his classes may find his choice of rhetoric a little strident, as in “What the ---- were you thinking, dude?” is not typically approved instructional methodology.
And three, nobody would get a grade. Green would mark every exam with a “35,” as in his draft position, and besides, the exams would be students arguing with each other over whether that was a foul or a no-call, and who pulled the better face when the call was made. He’d give either an approving nod or give the loser a second technical foul and kick him or her out of class.
But it would be a hell of a class. Not at Harvard, of course, because Green probably would want to teach a school that could better use his brand of wisdom, and Harvard kids already have a healthy lead off third base. He’d want his students to make Harvard students cry, you can just tell.
But wouldn’t he look perfectly Draymond in a cap and gown on graduation day, pulling a bottle out of his sleeve to make the valedictory speeches less painful. “Damn, dude,” you could hear him yell. “Peaking?”