Wednesday, April 18, 2012

4/18 - Ratto Report

I’m Ray Ratto, and this is a minute about the new hockey violence.

There, you thought you could change the station when I said “hockey,” but I pulled you back in with “violence.” That’s what defines a pro.

As opposed to what the Stanley Cup Playoffs are presenting us with – namely a violence that makes a fist fight seem noble by comparison.

Raffi Torres of Phoenix left his feet and drilled Marian Hossa in the head last night And then he called it “a hockey hit.”

Well, no, it was a head shot, and there have been way more of those in the playoffs than actual throwing-hands-fights where both guys are actually looking at each and intending the same level of harm.

And no, we’re not defending fighting. But clocking a guy in the head unprovoked is worse, way worse, and it hasn’t stopped because the NHL hasn’t handed out the kind of hang-‘em-high punishments to the miscreants and their teams that get them to stop.

Like a full series, with the team playing with one fewer player for the duration of the suspension. Because fines are one thing, but peer pressure’s another, and the best deterrent to a guy who wants to deliver a head-shot is the fear that his teammates will deliver a bunch on him.

4/17 - Ratto Report

I’m Ray Ratto, and this is a minute about Negotiating With The Maloofs.

We’d love to bore you with all the details of the Sacramento arena negotiations, we really would, but your time is precious, and you never know when the boss is going to come and wonder why you’re slamming that desk drawer on your head.

But let’s boil it down for you anyway. The Maloof Brothers, who own the Kings, have now gone from wanting to negotiate without the mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson, to negotiating without the commissioner of the NBA, David Stern, about a building they no longer want.

Again, they don’t want to negotiate with the leader of the city, which would pay for it, or the league, which they invited into the process to begin with, to abandon the building they wanted in favor of refurbishing the building they didn’t.

Say that five times fast, and then pour a bottle of gin directly into your eye.

This would go so much easier if they’d just say what they mean, “We’re slowly going broke. We want to sell this team, and we’ll get more if we can move it to another city.”

But then they’d look bad, as opposed to the current plan in which they look . . . well, nuts.

4/16 - Ratto Report

I’m Ray Ratto, and this is a minute about love, hate and hockey.

We are not likely to learn tonight whether the St. Louis Blues are better than the San Jose Sharks, worse than the Sharks, or on a par with the Sharks. In a series tied at one-game apiece, Game Three doesn’t often reveal that much, except in hindsight.

We are, however, going to find out if they actually do dislike each other as much as they seemed to Saturday night.

You remember the 132-minute hate-fest they shared in St. Louis’ 3-0 Game 2 victory. It was a brutal series of beatdowns exceeded only by the Pittsburgh-Philadelphia game the next afternoon. Hey, it’s the playoffs. The kids start chafing after awhile.

But it take a lot of energy to do that twice in a row, the kind of energy that only a palpable dislike can create. In short, you really have to hate a guy to want to punch him out twice.

In other words, it’ll take some doing to repeat Saturday’s car crash. It could happen, don’t get us wrong, but don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t. Unless that’s what you’re in it for.

This is Ray Ratto for KNBR 680, The Sports Leader.