Ryane Clowe has picked a defense for his outrageous interference play during Thursday’s 6-5 shootout win over Los Angeles.
He’s pleading ignorance.
“I have no idea what you guys are talking about,” Clowe told reporters when asked to explain his motives for reaching over the bench to break up a Kings rush. “I’ll have to see the video or something. Someone show me the video.”
Ask and ye shall receive…
The question now, according to the Globe and Mail’s Eric Duhatschek: What should the NHL do about this?
The NHL assesses supplementary discipline for all manner of untoward conduct. Players get fined and suspended for cheap shots, for hits high (to the head) and low (to the knee). Players get suspended for racial slurs and other improper language. Coaches get fined for complaining about referees. The NHL disciplinary process seems like a 24/7 event, with the new discipline czar, Brendan Shanahan, constantly under siege.
But what happens when a player sitting on the bench – say Ryan Clowe of the San Jose Sharks – reaches his stick onto the ice and incredibly plays a puck from there, interfering with Jarrett Stoll of the Los Angeles Kings as Stoll was carrying the puck up the ice? And what if Clowe’s actions happened in a tie game, late in regulation, with the Kings on a power play and maybe in a position to win in regulation? And what if, in actual fact, San Jose goes on to win in the shootout, further muddling playoff positioning in the Western Conference?
The answer, of course, is that nobody knows. This is a fairly unprecedented situation that everybody’s still trying to digest.
Ray Ratto of CSN Bay Area wrote that Clowe “cheated big time Thursday night, and having gotten away with it, denied he did it — which is proof he absolutely did it and knew it.”
Dan Arritt of ESPN LA said based on the reaction of postgame interviews “it’s clear no one had ever witnessed such a play in their careers.”
It will be interesting to see how Shanahan and the league handle this one. Between Clowe, the Nate Prosser headbutt on Jamal Mayers and the Brooks Orpik hit on Derek Stepan (plus Tortorella’s inflammatory comments), it promises to be a busy Good Friday for the NHL’s discipline czar.