Ryane Clowe: The NHL’s new Sean Avery

Jerome Miron- USA TODAY Sports

As an Anaheim Ducks‘ fan, I am more than acquainted with the players in the Pacific Division and then there are some who stick out more so than others. One that comes to mind and who is recently on everyone’s radar is Ryane Clowe of the San Jose Sharks.

The 30-year old winger has made a name for himself and one he shouldn’t be too fond of. You see, over the past year Clowe has made headlines in a not-so-flattering fashion, as both incidents were blatantly ignorant moves on his part.

Incident #1: Apr 5, 2012 vs the Los Angeles Kings 

On this date, Clowe went un-penalized when he decided that he could just play the puck from the comfort of his spot on the bench. For some unknown reason, a professional hockey player felt compelled to jab the puck away from forward Jarret Stoll, who was leading the rush on a power play.

Sounds like something you’d hear in peewee hockey, right? Nope. A six year veteran pulled a move not even a teenager would do and he actually got away with it — no fine or suspension as a means of a repercussion.

If you YouTube this game, whether you’re a Sharks fan or not, it’s evident that what Clowe did is, and should be against the rules.

Somehow, just like Sean Avery had remarkably accomplished with his run in with Martin Brodeur, Clowe found a loophole with the NHL rules. As of now, the ridiculously foolish act committed by Clowe only results in a minor penalty.

To think that the rest of the players in the league aren’t taking advantage of this. Maybe it’s because they want to play the game right and they have more productive things to do than exploit loopholes in the rule book.

Incident #2: Feb 22, 2013 vs the Chicago Blackhawks 

Last Friday in Chicago — with 8.4 seconds left in the game and the Sharks pulling Antti Niemi for the extra attacker — Clowe went from the bench and straight for Andrew Shaw, who laid a hard hit on Joe Pavelski.

If you take a look at the video provided by the NHL on YouTube, they intricately explicate the reasoning of the two game suspension Brendan Shanahan levied on Clowe.

Shanahan ruled that Clowe completed a legal line change and that coach Todd McLellan “identified him as the first player to substitute for any teammate coming to the bench in the last minute of the game.” Clowe might’ve completed a legal line change, but intentionally broke Rule #70 which states,

No player may leave the players’ bench or penalty bench at any time during an altercation or for the purpose of starting an altercation.

I find it convenient that Clowe was at the front of the line to be the next substitute, and that the substitution took place right after his teammate was checked right in front of his face.

But if for some God forsaken reason I’m wrong and I do tend to be, that doesn’t make any excuse for Clowe’s action to make a beeline to Shaw, who already had a skate in the bench, with the intent to start a scrum as time is about to expire. He is darn lucky to only be suspended for two games.

Clowe definitely has more to boast about than Avery does stats-wise, but his inexcusable manners on the ice have made me deem him as the new Avery of the league.

Though he is the new kid of controversy — who has now found two loopholes in the system — he has some ground to make up as his successor was able to get the league to amend an unsportsmanlike conduct rule in response to his own antics.

Stay tuned on what Clowe has in store for us next.

For more information throughout the season follow me on twitter @m_drinnenberg and on Facebook here.

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