Ray Ratto

Sharks' trade scenarios multiply


Sharks' trade scenarios multiply

With one accidentally-placed knee, Ales Hemsky just changed Doug Wilsons next five weeks.

When Hemsky collided knee-to-knee with San Jose defenseman Brent Burns Monday night in Edmonton, the Sharks general manager went from peddling goaltenders for the missing piece of the grand puzzle to peddling goaltenders and more for a replacement on defense and special teams.

In short, unless the news on Burns is good (and he returns to San Jose Wednesday to be examined by team doctors, orthopedists and capologists, just in case), Wilson gets to reorient himself to a radically different world than the one he faced a week ago.

Plus, we get another glimpse of his poker skills, and eventually whether his hole cards had faces on them or the numbers 7 and 2.

Here, first, are your various scenarii:

- Martin Havlat, Ryane Clowe and Burns are all cleared within the next week or two, in which case Wilson could do as little as nothing. Nothing is unlikely, since he claims to have more goaltenders than he could use if he was running a second franchise, and who couldnt use a little good-natured roster depth? Still, skipping the Feb. 27 deal date is a possibility.

- Havlat and Clowe are back, but Burns is out, forcing Wilson to use whatever chips he has on a puck-carrying top-pair defenseman who can help run a power play and kill penalties. There arent many of those creatures on the market, so some improvisationoverpaying would have to result.

- Havlat is back but struggles as he has before his injury, Burns returns but Clowe doesnt, in which case Wilsons new priority is a disturbing forward who will invade the opponents crease, be something of a cop on the beat and still get 10 goals in the last two months. Again, those may grow on trees, but trees native to North America or Europe.

One thing we probably wont learn is Burns prognosis before the All-Star break. Wilson will either get a glowing report which he will cheerfully share with the nation at large, or he will get some form of bad news, in which case he will say that Burns is day-to-day, the catch-all phrase that covers anything from a week to were screwed. Wilson is not averse to the odd whopper to keep information from the general managing public, which puts him in a tie with 29 other guys.

So if he isnt betrayed by Twitter, or an agent with a gift for blab, or a family member who wants to share, he can keep this sufficiently hush-hush for enough time to cover himself until the deadline. It must be said, though, that if he starts casting among other teams for a Burns type, they will cheerfully share that knowledge, because nothing drives a conversation quite like a time constraint.

But this will allow a glimpse of Doug Wilsons gift for tactical prevarication. Maybe hell slip us a safe word as a tell -- maybe something from the George Carlin Words You Cant Say On Television Collection. Because if the news on Burns andor Clowe and Havlat is bad, hell be using all seven of them, loudly and repeatedly.

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?”