Columnist: Sharks risking ‘national embarrassment’ in outdoor game

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Saturday in Santa Clara, the San Jose Sharks will host the Los Angeles Kings in front of 70,000 fans at sold-out Levi’s Stadium.

According to Sharks GM Doug Wilson, the outdoor game will be “a celebration of not just California hockey, but in particular, Northern California hockey.”

Sounds grand.

Except that’s not quite how CSN Bay Area columnist Ray Ratto sees things shaping up.

Rather, Ratto believes Saturday could be “a boot right to the local team’s already vulnerable nethers,” as the “ridiculously inconsistent” Sharks risk “not only national embarrassment but loud local revulsion” inside the home of the 49ers.

Ratto can be a bit of a curmudgeon sometimes.

But his overall point is a fair one. The Sharks aren’t playing very good hockey right now, and they’re very much in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2003. The specter of losing Saturday to Los Angeles — of all teams — should be motivation for a San Jose side that, as Ratto so eloquently puts it, “vomited up the Kings series back in April.”

Related: McLellan says the Sharks are ‘better led’ without a captain, which somehow isn’t a knock on Thornton