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Petshark: Talking Stick

Ratto vs. Remenda, Sharks in 9th… Don’t Explain

After last night’s game, Drew Remenda and Ray Ratto had a disagreement on television.  It distracted somewhat from the awful fact that the Sharks lost again when they should not have:

Chris Sampang ‏ @chrissampang: “There’s something sad when the entire #SJSharks fanbase is reduced to “Ratto was right” or “Drew was right,” instead of celebrating a clinch”

Of course neither Ratto nor Remenda is right, not really.  I sympathize with both views, and I think both could result from a genuine interest in seeing the Sharks do well.  You can watch the video of the smackdown here. I’ve transcribed the basics at the end of this post.

None of us out here can know whether the Sharks can’t do it or won’t do it.  Neither can I know how much Ratto or Remenda care about how the Sharks do, or how representative they are of their respective constituencies.  There are a whole lot of words flying around that don’t tell us a great deal.

We certainly can’t predict what the Sharks will do in the end.  I didn’t have much to say about last night’s game, couldn’t muster the energy to pick a side in the R-R fight.  I still don’t, but for reasons unrelated to hockey, I was listening to Billie Holiday’s Don’t Explain.

I guess it was vaguely related because I got a link to an article about it from someone I met in Sharks Twitter circles.  Beyond that, it doesn’t have anything to do with hockey.

That isn’t true either.  The song is about love and disappointment and that stage you get to where you just don’t want to hear the whys wherefores or excuses anymore, true or false.  “Do, don’t do, I don’t care.  I’ll still be here when you get back.” That’s the way some Sharks fans feel right now:

Chaz Miller ‏ @xarexerax: “It’s too bad about that there game. Guessin no playoffs this year. S’alright, I still love my #sjsharks”

For the record, the article specifically described this state of helpless attachment as a bad thing.  You should not do that.  Save yourself if at all possible.  We listen to sad songs but they are still sad songs.

Pain doesn’t make you better. It may test your endurance, it may sharpen your survival reflexes but it takes a toll it never refunds.  That pain is good for you is a myth perpetuated through the ages by tyrants and tax collectors.

Ryane Clowe says they have to play or go home:

“We’ve just got to bear down. Individually, you have to realize what’s on the line. Do you want to play or do you want to go home? You have to find it within yourself. Whatever your role is on this team, you’ve got to do it now.” -Mercury News

The Sharks are out of time, they all have to know now if they will do this.  Not if they want to,  not if they are able, not if they will get the bounces but if they will complete the very difficult task they have in front of them.  Whatever Wilson did last summer or last month, the players on the roster have to decide for themselves what they will do.  Believing makes it possible.

What then?

As usual, there are calls for Wilson’s job, and McLellan’s, and trades of top players and always a new goalie.  Also as usual, my reaction is “no, not yet.”  I may not be a go-getter but neither am I a towel-thrower-inner.  I think seasons go by too quickly, not only for fans to watch as much hockey as they want to watch.  The year is too short for that.

Season go by too quickly to expect significant season-by-season changes to work.  Sure, sometimes they do work but mostly not.  It takes a lot of time for a bunch of highly competitive people to get to the point where they can read each other’s thoughts and act in sync.  Add to that the destructive quality of pressure to perform before you have that understanding and you get bad habits and backsliding.  Case in point:

“As we talk about it more and put more pressure on them, sometimes guys handle that differently. One might come out of it better than the other. We’ve got to find the right buttons to push with them. I don’t question their want to do it, but they just have to get it done. And with that being said, they need support from other people.” -Working the Corners

Veterans learn how to learn more quickly each year.  Great students have a knack for it, they learn it quickly.  You can learn rules and systems in a predictable time frame.  Learning people is less easy.  Add more new people to the mix and even the familiar faces can get muddled.

Roster or management continuity doesn’t guarantee anything, but neither do gambles and constant fiddling.  Sure, most teams, most GMs do it, always on the hunt for the right ingredient to make their alchemy work.  I don’t believe it exists.  There is no perfect roster, no perfect system.  There’s just trust and faith and commitment and belief.  You don’t buy that.  You grow it, and it is slow-growing.

Besides, it’s crazy to can someone for one failure after several successes.  “No Cup,” fans complain, “equals no success.”  I understand that the Stanley Cup is the ultimate success but after that what?  Doesn’t it start all over again?  So I have to disagree that no Cup equals no success.  To me, being mostly better than most others is a success.

But I don’t own or run a hockey team.  I can’t guess how anyone else is thinking.  I just watch the story unfold, and listen to sad songs when appropriate.

Ratto-Remenda abridged:

Ratto: “We could break this down a million times, we’ve done this now 78 times.  At some point.. just win the game.  Okay, don’t make this complicated, if you’re a cup contender, win the game... Since the first of the year they’ve won eight of twenty-six road games.  That’s not a playoff team… It’s infuriating to watch a team that aught to be third, aught to be comfortably third, playing like they really deserve to be ninth, and that’s what I saw tonight.  I saw a team that did just enough to stay close enough, but not finish.  I didn’t see a lot of great opportunities tonight.  I just didn’t see a Sharks team that looked like this game mattered to them as much as it should.”

Remenda: “I saw a Sharks team who was trying to win.  It’s easy to say ‘just go win the game.’  Well what the heck do you think they were doing out there, Ray?  That’s exactly what they were trying to do.  They were out there with a game plan, they came out and established their game, they went out and worked hard.  I agree they weren’t great but they were good.  They did a lot of things to try and win that hockey game.  To just say ‘well go out and win the game and you’re bad and you don’t deserve to be playoff team…’ bologne!  You deserve to be a playoff team at the end of 82 games if you’ve got enough points to be there.  It’s easy to sit back and analyze… the game is easy from where we sit.  But I think you’re disrespecting the Sharks when you say ‘listen, just go out and win the game.’  that’s exactly what they tried to do.”

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: drew+remenda, ray+ratto, ryane+clowe, sad+songs, the+end+is+nigh



I watched this exchange live and still can’t get enough. It’s priceless watching the fat man vs. the bald man trying to describe/explain/defend this version of the annual collapse of “Team Teal.”

I agree with you about the pointlessness of searching for the “right ingredient.” I think that Doug Wilson tweaked too much this season by getting rid of Heatley, Setoguchi, and McGinn, but SJ’s loss is the rest of the Western Conference’s gain.

To paraphrase the Sharks’ commercials, “Doug Wilson is a lousy GM, but he’s a nice man.” Maybe Slappy can be the GM next season after the Sharks miss the playoffs.

No offense to you, but I love witnessing the consternation of Sharks’ fans (even my friends and relatives) as their cheap-shot punk-ass team chokes again.

Posted by Seaner from San Jose on 04/02/12 at 04:08 AM ET

petshark's avatar

Things could be worse, I suppose.  I’m not ready to experiment with being a fan of a cellar-dwelling team so I’ll take this unpredictable bunch over that. 

But “cheap-shot” is unwarranted.  That really doesn’t seem to fit the Sharks.

Posted by petshark from Nor Cal, and on Twitter @petshark47 on 04/02/12 at 06:07 PM ET

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About Petshark: Talking Stick

Native of Northern California.  Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.

I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle.  I watch, I react, I write it down.

My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked.  I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind.  When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom.  It hasn't, I don't think it will.  At all.

Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.

I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.

I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at talkingstick@petshark.net

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