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Snowpocalypse? Detroit’s Jimmy Howard tired of getting snowed by Sharks skaters

May 3, 2011, 12:45 AM EDT

Detroit Red Wings v San Jose Sharks - Game Two Getty Images

There’s a certain level of gamesmanship that goes on from game to game each night in the NHL. With that in mind, there’s also a host of unwritten rules that players shouldn’t break or at least lines they’re not supposed to cross but will do it to gain an edge. In the case of the San Jose Sharks, Jimmy Howard is having a bit of an issue with how they’re crashing his crease.

No, they’re not running him or being physical with him but they’re trying something a bit more psychological. No they’re not taunting him or chirping him but they’re snowing him instead.

Through the first two games of the series Howard has eaten shaved ice on four different occasions and they’re not taking too kindly to it, Nicklas Lidstrom in particular.

“We mentioned it several times to them,” he said after Sunday’s loss. “I don’t know why they keep allowing them to do it. We keep telling the refs. It’s up to the refs. They could stop it right away by calling it and it’s pretty obvious that they’re trying to do it. It’s really easy for the refs to do something about that.”

Respected veteran captain being vocal about something that could be called a penalty? Sounds like a different kind of gamesmanship to me. If you’re wondering if snowing the goaltender is indeed a penalty, it is. Former referee Kerry Fraser clarified that for TSN that doing that to a goalie on purpose is definitely against the rules and he would approach the situation differently.

As a referee, I wanted players to STOP before running into the goalie. The method and purpose here, however, is blatantly obvious. Action must be taken by the referees. Here’s how I would have handled the situation.

The second time it happened I would have approached the San Jose bench and had a direct conversation with coach Todd McLellan. Todd is a very intelligent coach and an excellent guy to deal with. I would have said, “Todd, we have a pattern here that you and I need to address. The next Shark player that stops hard for the purpose of deliberately throwing snow in Jimmy Howard’s face will receive an unsportsmanlike minor penalty! Can I count on you to take care of this please before I have to?”

The question here is whether or not officials will take a stand on things. We’ve seen our fair share of odd calls made throughout the playoffs and seeing an unsportsmanlike conduct call made for spraying the goalie would rank up there, but the stink has been made now so it should be watched. We can bet anything that that the first time it happens, if it happens again, in Detroit the fans will be more than happy to point it out for the officials.

While the Red Wings have a gripe about things because mostly it’s just a jerky move in the first place, the Red Wings should be toughening up here and standing up for Howard a bit better. We know they’ve had penalty issues in the series but letting your goalie get psychological warfare thrown his way is no good either.

  1. allanm88 - May 3, 2011 at 1:17 AM

    Win or lose, It just shows you how classy the San Jose Sharks are.

    • dreadpiratesteve - May 3, 2011 at 12:01 PM

      The Sharks are an extremely classy organization and have earned that reputation around the league. The fact of the matter is that the Sharks are not afraid of the Red Wings. They are the better team pure and simple and they know it. The Red Wings have created a juggernaut mystique about themselves over the past decade and the Sharks have been able to crack it. That has the Wings flustered. If Jimmy Howard can’t deal with a few snow showers then he isn’t a mentally tough goalie and shouldn’t be trusted in big game scenarios. Grow up Howard, it’s a big boy game.

      • wingsnut71 - May 3, 2011 at 2:48 PM

        so what is the classy part of the organization? The part where Joe (how many cups has he won?) Thornton LAYS PHYSICALLY on top of Zetterburg after the faceoff for a full five seconds? Oh, no, it must be the part where they continually commit an infraction (the snow showers) and when confronted about it they continue to do it… Yeah, that must be it, their pure sportsmanlike conduct that makes them classy competitors. Good thing they won the cup last year after they beat the Redwings. Oh? They didn’t? They must be sore losers.

      • sanjosecupcrazy - May 3, 2011 at 2:51 PM

        Super classy, to a guy, and it goes all the way to the top of the organization with ownership, GM Doug Wilson and Coach McClellan.

        And hey, Detroit, we’re not the ones employing Neckbreaker Bertuzzi or a douchebag like Tomas Holmstrom. You Wings fans are truly coming off like a bunch of crybabies right now. Sharks are starting to get in your heads, aren’t they? ;-D

    • dreadpiratesteve - May 3, 2011 at 4:15 PM

      Fair point cupcrazy. At least no one on San Jose has ever broken another players neck on purpose. Better look in the mirror Detroit before you start hurling accusations at other teams. Bertuzzi Should be in prison for what he did. Pure and simple.

      • jdlaxman13 - May 4, 2011 at 10:45 AM

        You guys do realize that Dany Heatly, a first line Shark, is responsible for a man’s death, right?

        I’m not defending what Betuzzi did in any way, shape or form, but Steve Moore has been offered an NHL contract, which he denied (I ASSUME so he could win his case against Bertuzzi).

        That being said, I think both of these organizations are class-acts. McClellan owes much of his success to the Wings and Mike Babcock for showing him the ropes. Sure the snow showers are a little ridiculous, but they’re not being called and Jimmy Howard gets rattled so easily, why not do them?

        And to the guy that said that Thomas Holmstrom is a douche bag, c’mon. He definitely lacks skill and everytime he goes near the crease it is borderline goalie interference, but you calling him a douch bag is like Wings fans calling the Joes douche bags for snowing Howard. You sound like just as big of a cry baby.

  2. sfchamps2010 - May 3, 2011 at 1:31 AM

    Maybe the red wings should do something about it! Fight! Score a goal! Win maybe? Hockeytown USA? Crybabytown USA!

  3. sanjosecupcrazy - May 3, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    The Whine Country moves to Detroit. What a bunch of crybabies. San Jose is in your head, Hockeytown! We bounced you in 5 last year, took 3 out of 4 in the regular season this year and we’re going to sweep you by week’s end. Don’t know that I would be crying about stuff like this and looking for excuses, but who knows. ;-D

    • wingsnut71 - May 3, 2011 at 2:53 PM

      let’s see how the series turns when Ch-joe-ke Thornton doesn’t have the refs backing up his poor leadership. As a hockey fan who prefers the Redwings, I would take Nick Lidstrom’s quiet (cup-winning) leadership over a wanna-be cup winner-thug like Joe Thornton…

      • sanjosecupcrazy - May 3, 2011 at 3:00 PM

        Dude, you’re showing your lack of hockey knowledge by calling Thornton a thug. He’s criticized for being tooooo nice — thought you would know that, being that you’re out in “Hockeytown” and all.

        I tell you what — you take Nick Lidstrom, who just turned 40 and I’ll take Thornton and the boys. I’ll be watching us whoop up on Vancouver or Nashville next round to get us to the finals, and you can make early tee times with the rest of the Wings and tip your cap to San Jose for giving you the business for the second year in a row.

        “Let’s go LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIONS!” ;-)

    • polegojim - May 6, 2011 at 11:18 PM

      @sanjosecupcrazy – I missed this thread… but so far YOU’RE doing all the whinning and baiting.

      Wings fans are just answering your weak posts.

      Keep clicking the heels of those red slippers together Dorothy…

      • sanjosecupcrazy - May 7, 2011 at 1:40 PM

        LOL, congratulations Detroit! You won A GAME!!!!! (After coming thisclose to blowing a three-goal lead).

        You’re still our bitch, and, as I said before, you’ll be irrelevant come Sunday evening. ;-)

  4. dreadpiratesteve - May 3, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    Detroit fans are seriously reaching for something to trash the Sharks about. Thornton is probably one of the most professional and well mannered hockey players in the league. Wingsnut just made a fool out of himself with that comment. Back to the drawing board my friend, your trash talk is weak.

    • polegojim - May 6, 2011 at 11:19 PM

      I like Joe Thornton, he is a classy guy… he needs to win a Cup.

  5. jpelle82 - May 3, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    maybe the least fighting team in the league needs to throw some weight around and stop being such pussies. detroit acts like they are better than the rest of the league…elitists.

    • polegojim - May 6, 2011 at 11:20 PM

      20 straight YEARS in the playoffs.

      They have been better than the rest of the league and they are Elite.

      All of Hockeytown thanks you for the confirmation.

  6. al888 - May 3, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    oh sorry guys for wanting a penalty that everyone agrees IS A PENALTY

    • sanjosecupcrazy - May 3, 2011 at 6:22 PM

      Hey Al, did you hear the booing coming from San Jose Arena for those two games? For the number of penalties the refs called on Detroit, they let a hell of a lot more slide. They’re letting both teams play.

      It’s amazing — Montreal fans complained about Chara running Peckorini into the bench divider: I get that. Detroit fans are crying because someone is spraying their goalie with a little snow.

      If Howard wasn’t giving up rebound after rebound, there wouldn’t be any reason to crash the crease like that. Just sounds like big time sour grapes to me.

      It’s okay though — you guys will be irrelevent by Sunday.

      • al888 - May 3, 2011 at 7:30 PM

        look man im not here to bash the sharks or be biased for the wings im just calling like i see it. obviously i am a wings fan but the wings have been playing like shit and i do believe they deserved to lose that game. But knowing the wings theyll always make a comeback. (hopefully) also Howard has actually been playing like a nut lately

      • polegojim - May 6, 2011 at 11:22 PM

        @sanjosecupcrazy – you already gave up on the ‘sweep’ three days ago. I didn’t see that.

        That’s some serious lack of confidence.

  7. polegojim - May 9, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    Hey DETROIT FANS – could you please remind sanjosecupcrazy what day it is?

    Isn’t it Monday? Yes, I believe it IS Monday, and we’re playing the next game in DETROIT!

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