The Ryane Clowe Incident
I don’t care if you’ve already seen what happened, please watch this video from ESPN LA:
It’s hard to separate a fan’s emotions when this kind of thing happens to your team. What would I think if someone from the Kings’ bench made this play, AND got away with it? I might laugh. But I don’t think I would question the outrage.
This is one of those things in hockey that you hear about in beer leagues or movies (in 18 years of playing hockey I’ve seen something similar once) but never on the professional level. The only thing remotely similar I can think of from the last 20 years or so in the league is this:
But there are three distinct differences that make the incident from Thursday night more atrocious:
- Hartnell’s glove didn’t even disrupt the play
- Hartnell was at least a qualified player on the ice
- The proper penalty was made and enforced
These events and reactions are what caused the just shame that can be seen on Hartnell’s face. That sort of thing should be embarrassing. It could have cost them the game.
You can’t say any of those things about the Ryane Clowe incident. His stick did disrupt the play. He was not one of the qualified players on the ice. There was no penalty enforced.
Thus- there was no justice for Ryan Clowe. No shame. Just a smirk. Do you think Scott Hartnell was smirking after that game? No. Maybe he is thinking he could try it again and get away with it. Probably not. But he did get away with it.
This is about as disrespectful to the game of any action a player could make. It would be like starting a fight in a postgame handshake. And he will not be penalized for it.
That is the most appalling aspect of this incident. That the referees did not catch it. This blown call is on the level of Jim Joyce ruining Armando Galarraga’s perfect game in the context of boneheadedness. Not penalizing Clowe didn’t destroy a rare event in history, but the Tigers still won the game. It didn’t potentially cost the Tigers home advantage in the playoffs. And Jason Donald didn’t betray the sanctity of the sport.
Did this cause the Kings to lose? No. Did it prevent the Kings from winning? Probably not. After all, it was Jarret Stoll with the puck, the next move was likely a dump in.
But the Kings were 3 of 6 on the night with one extra attackers and 1 for their 1 5 on 3. This would have given them another two man advantage. Of course, it’s not a guarantee that they would score, but at the very least, the penalty assessed would give Ryane Clowe his deserved anxiety and severe shame. And all would likley be forgiven.
But somehow, the proper delay-of-game penalty wasn’t assessed. Hell, Jim Fox saw it from the rafters. And while it’s not appropriate to penalize Ryan Clowe after the fact for this infraction, someone should answer for it.
I’m not one that usually calls for supplemental discipline on referees. I have refereed before. It is incredibly difficult. And the game I was officiating was not played at a professional level of speed and skill. It was children or overweight adults. I cringe and get angry when fans complain about how bad the officiating in the league is- I actually think that the majority of the time the officials are incredibly good at making the right call without the luxury of replay or a higher angle of the action.
That said, the referees in charge of last night’s game should be suspended, and should not be given the performance based bonus of being assigned to Stanley Cup playoff games. It’s not like it would be a big loss- the officiating all night was awful against both teams (I know I just said I never say that). It is difficult to manage those types of wrestlemania games when it is the referee’s job to control the tempers of both teams. It never goes well for them. But I would not be writing for their discipline in response to letting a game get too physical or calling too many penalties.
Ryane Clowe should be ashamed.
Stephen Walkom and Brian Pochmara should be embarrassed for themselves and investigated by the head of officials.
But none of that will happen, and all we can do is settle it on the ice on Saturday. Hopefully fairly. In case you haven’t heard, the results are somewhat important.
(Editors Note: I forgot that this bozo spells his name Ryane. Honestly?)