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Strange officiating overshadows Sharks’ shootout win vs. Kings

Apr 6, 2012, 1:43 AM EDT

The San Jose Sharks edged the Los Angeles Kings 6-5 via the shootout in a game that began strangely and only grew more bizarre. Sure, it was at times an utterly fantastic contest, yet it will be marred in many eyes because of some odd calls – or lack of calls – by an officiating crew blasted by the likes of mega-agent Alan Walsh.

The night’s most controversial moment came when Ryane Clowe clearly touched the puck from the bench during a late Los Angeles Kings rush. Here are a couple shots I managed to capture from NHL Game Center Live:


Here is a shot from afar:


Jon Wold does a fantastic job of capturing it frame-by-frame here. added video of the incident, so enjoy it with the Kings’ announcers reactions as an added bonus:’s Kevin Kurz caught up with Clowe after the game, but he essentially took Dave Chapelle’s advice and plead the fifth. Drew Doughty wasn’t so shy with his assessment of the incident, as he told Rich Hammond:

“It’s like running on a football field and hitting someone during play,” Doughty said. “I don’t see why it’s any different than that.”

(Note: I’d say it’s more like running on a football field and knocking down an attempted pass – no one got hurt, after all.)

Even Kings team governor Tim Leiweke spoke out about it, as Hammond also captures.

“It’s a shame that a guy can cheat and get away with it in a game this important.”

Well, wow. It’s difficult to say what received more criticism: yet another fantastic bit of hate settled by a skills competition or that missed call (which would have been a two-minute minor penalty, for all the hoopla).

Actually, that’s not true; the missed call pretty much ruled the day. The Royal Half probably captured the mood the best with his reaction:

“Congrats to Ryan Clowe on winning the San Jose Sharks 6th Man Award!”

Hopefully NHL officials round into playoff form by April 11 or there will be many long – and angrier – nights on Twitter. Speaking of which, The Fourth Period’s Dennis Bernstein floated an interesting question: should Clowe actually be suspended for his action? Chew on that in the comments as we take a look at how that lost point could affect the West and Pacific:

The impact

Now that the West’s top eight has been settled, it’s all about playoff positioning. Here’s where everyone whose spot is still considerably subject to change stands now. (Note: I’ll save you deep analysis right now so your head doesn’t explode.)

“3” Los Angeles: 94 points, 34 regulation/OT wins, one game left
4. Nashville: 102 points, 42 reg/OT, one game
5. Detroit: 101 points, 39 reg/OT, one game
6. Chicago: 99 points, 38 reg/OT, one game
7. San Jose: 94 points, 33 reg/OT, one game
8. Phoenix: 93 points, 34 reg/OT, TWO games

As you can see, there’s a lot of potential for change. Any of the Kings, Sharks and Coyotes could swap spots. Phoenix can now “control its destiny” with those two remaining games while the Blackhawks could take the fifth spot with a regulation win against the Red Wings on Saturday.

There are a lot of moving parts, but at least you can snuggle with this bit of simplicity: those eight teams represent the playoff picture, as muddy as it is. Then again, that’s the only real bummer from a busy Thursday; postseason arrangements rather than berths are only on the line going forward.

  1. cup0pizza - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:47 AM

    Sharks are a cheating, scumbag organization. It will be nice when they fail as usual in the postseason.

    • therealehboy - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:21 AM

      Man, it must really bother you that the entire Kings front office was groomed in San Jose before being hired away by Los Angeles then.

    • powturns - Apr 6, 2012 at 4:25 AM

      Your the only scumbag here son. How bout you stand behind your kings and go rail some hits from behind

  2. sjsharksfan11 - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:52 AM

    How about the two cheap shots by Clifford and Frasor???

    • eggserino - Apr 6, 2012 at 8:30 AM

      The refs have sucked all year. I’m not sure how Clifford and Frasor’s hits have anything to do with Clowe playing the puck illegally from the bench.

  3. sjsharksfan11 - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:55 AM

    Angry Queen fan pizza is. Cry me a river.

  4. sergio408 - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    You mad Kings Fans!!!!!

  5. highlander24 - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:10 AM

    Cheaters prospered tonight. Ryan Clowe-ard should be banned. They interviewed him about it and he said “what? I don’t know what you’re talking about.” While smirking and then said no comment. Typical. Sharks and the refs ruined a great game as usual. Refs are just as boneheaded as him. How did they miss that?! They had a hidden agenda throughout the entire contest. Of course all of those boys up north love putting their sticks all over everything they see go by. Saturday night = revenge from a hardworking fair-playing team. Which leads to hopefully your 2011-2012 Pacific Division Champions and third seed in the Stanley Cup playoffs Los Angeles Kings. Time for them to get beat in their own house. Fish Fry! GO KINGS GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. joethorntonisclutch - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:18 AM

    To anybody who actually watched the game (sorry it was past your bedtimes you east coasters) you would realize that this game had some really boneheaded referees working it. There were 7 PPG, seven! That should tell the story of the game enough. I can think of at least two missed calls against the Sharks and at least a call for TV’s sake to let the Kings tie it up. Clowe was just pissed. Who cares. It would have just been another penalty in a night full of crappy calls.

  7. therealehboy - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:19 AM

    For pete’s sake, Kings, fans, CHILL THE HECK OUT.

    Alright you had one penalty go uncalled late in the game. Do you hear Sharks fans whining about your boarding call with the intent to injure that didn’t result in a game misconduct? Do I hear Sharks fans complaining about the elbowing call that may or may not have happened late as a makeup (wasn’t shown on TV, so we don’t know if it was legit or not).

    It’s hockey. There were like a million penalties that game, and the Kings scored *4* PP Goals, if I recall correctly.


    • joethorntonisclutch - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:22 AM

      Thank you thank you thank you. Story of the night.

    • eggserino - Apr 6, 2012 at 8:36 AM

      The rules are the rules. The referees sucked, no doubt. If players break the rules, a penalty should be called. Playing the puck from the bench is inexcusable. I’m not a Kings fan, I’m a hockey fan. No matter how many penalties were called tonight, there is absolutely no excuse not to address Clowe’s illegal play.

    • jamawl - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:30 AM

      it’s not a matter of the refs missing a penalty.. it’s a matter of a player putting his stick on the ice, while on the bench, to disrupt a play. that’s something a 5 year old would do.. not a professional that’s been in the league for 6 years. i have no idea what type of discipline, if any, comes out of this, but i wouldn’t be mad if they suspended him for a playoff game. there’s absolutely no reason for clowe to do that. imo, doing something like this that’s so avoidable (keep your stick in the bench area) is less excusable than a blatantly dirty hit with intent to injure.

      btw i have no affiliation with either team.

      • hystoracle - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:13 AM

        what about just suspend him for the second game of this home-home.. That would work too.. These teams are locked in a fight for home ice. That play is inexcusable. If nothing comes of this then we will see much more of it.

        Not only was it a penalty but it disrupted a good rush.. which could result in a potential goal.

        The fact Clowe didn’t own it after the game is just chickespit on his part.. You got away with it .. at least man up and wear the hat.. Oh Yeah if he were a man he wouldn’t have pulled such a childish stunt to begin with.

  8. highlander24 - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:22 AM

    Yes the refs sucked and they missed/ made bad calls. But this was a HUGE non-call that was blatantly missed and took away a potential scoring chance. Don’t try to warrant your teams low-balled tactics.

    • gsprulz - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:25 AM

      I think most of the calls went kings way. I’m not sure how more one sided it could’ve been. Kings should be lucky they got a point tonight.

    • joethorntonisclutch - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:25 AM

      Because I’m sure it was Jumbo or McLellan who told Clowe to do something like that.

      • gsprulz - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:29 AM

        one of the kings players ran into nemo hard in OT or late 3rd..nothing was called i mean they only got away with it because it was a home game for the kings. You have to call interference when you knock a goalie down

    • therealehboy - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:28 AM

      low brow tactics you mean?

      I don’t know what low-balled tactics are, but I think it means either (1) there as a negotiation of some sort going on or (2) something you should probably have checked out.

  9. highlander24 - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:43 AM

    Lol. All right, you got me on that one. Heat of the moment I guess. I was somewhere in between below the belt and low blow or something along those lines and that was the result. Oh well. You still got the point.

  10. DTF31 - Apr 6, 2012 at 3:18 AM

    Haha this reminds me of the WWE like how the ref always is facing the other direction when someone breaks the rules. 4 guys on the ice and not one noticed this? For real?

    • kitshky - Apr 6, 2012 at 3:07 PM

      Ha! I have this image of Clowe leaning out and smackin some guy with a metal chair … while the refs are ridiculously distracted by something silly

  11. sirsharkie - Apr 6, 2012 at 4:10 AM

    Per the NHL rule book, only two of the guys could make the call. And based on how the play was developing I doubt either got a good look at the play. Rob Gaudreau once explained what a hooking penalty is by saying it’s when you get caught. Two refs missed a call in a game with a lot of missed calls. Clowe didn’t cheat anymore than Fraser did when he blasted Mitchell from behind and didn’t get called. Until the NHL takes refs off the ice and puts then in a suite, these things are going to happen.

    • hedgebob - Apr 6, 2012 at 5:42 AM

      Did you bother to look in the NHL rule book?

      74.2 Bench Minor Penalty – A bench minor penalty for too many men on the ice shall be assessed for a violation of this rule. This penalty can be assessed by the Referees or the Linesmen. Should a goal be scored by the offending team prior to the Referee or Linesman blowing his whistle to assess the bench minor penalty, the goal shall be disallowed and the penalty assessed for too many men on the ice.

      However, I thought it was an entertaining game. Maybe too many penalties but fun to watch. I will say that Clowe’s action is absolutely more “cheating” than Fraser. Things that happen within the play are one thing, and those types of things happen all over the ice (and yes, many are worthy of calls, but it goes both ways). This, however, was blatant and totally cheap. Was it dangerous, no, of course not. Did it decide the game, probably not. Is it suspendable? While it IS disrespectful to the game, I don’t think it warrants a suspension, maybe a fine if they wanted to prove a point. But having said that, it was classless.

      • sirsharkie - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:49 AM

        Technically we’re both, potentially, right.

        56.2 A minor penalty shall be imposed on any identifiable player on the players’ bench or penalty bench who, by means of his stick or his body, interferes with the movements of the puck or any opponent on the ice during the progress of the play. In addition, should a player about to come onto the ice, play the puck while one or both skates are still on the players’ or penalty bench, a minor penalty for interference shall be assessed.

        56.3 A bench minor penalty shall be imposed when an unidentifiable player on the players’ bench or penalty bench or any Coach or non-playing Club personnel who, by means of his stick or his body, interferes with the movements of the puck or any opponent on the ice during the progress of the play.

        Linesemen cannot make the call on 56.2, but can on 56.3. It comes down to whether or not the player who commits the infraction is identifiable. The replays clearly showed that it was Clowe (making him identifiable) but in the natural course of action, who knows what the linesemen would have seen if one of them actually picked it up (making him, potentially, unidentifiable).

        Did the action itself change the outcome of the game? Probably not. Couture looked like he had a pretty good angle on Stoll and the Sharks had D support behind him.

        Did the missed penalty change the outcome of the game? Very likely. LA gets another 5-on-3 for a minute+ and even I would have bet that they scored in that situation; but there’s nothing to say the Sharks don’t score in the final minutes to bring the game to OT anyway.

    • icelovinbrotha215 - Apr 6, 2012 at 6:51 AM

      Yeah, linesmen are allowed to call delaying the game and bench minor penalties.

  12. predswilrule - Apr 6, 2012 at 8:23 AM

    maybe clowe was just trying to recover the “potential” extra point the kings got from “clock gate”. lol

    • comeonnowguys - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:20 AM

      But Kings fans were OUTRAGED when that happened, right? That’s how this objectivity thing works?

  13. elehcdn - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    So can you say that waving your hands on the ice (cost Avery a 2 game suspension) is worse than interfering by directly playing a puck when you are not even on the ice? according to the rule, if someone reaches over the boards ad trips someone, it’s just a minor tripping penalty? In a big scum, why not just reach out and grab an opponent to give your teammate a chance to get the puck? On a breakaway, everyone s focused on the puck … Why not throw your stick to disrupt the play? If the refs miss who throws the stick and everyone on the ice is holding one, can he even call a penalty? At the end of the game, why not throw your stick fom the bench? Worse that could happen is that you get a minor penalty, and maybe you avoid going down by another goal.

    • sirsharkie - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:53 AM

      Because throwing a stick while someone is on a breakaway would result in a penalty shot just as it would have a player on the ice interfered with the offensive player.

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