In the first two games of the Detroit Red Wings' playoff series with the San Jose Sharks, Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard has shown a dislike of getting sprayed in the face with snow when opposing skaters make a hard stop in the crease. There have been several occasions when Howard covers up the puck, the whistle blows, and a Sharks forward comes in hard to give Howard a snow shower.
Clearly, it's an attempt to get under Howard's skin and get him off his game. In Game 1, the snow shower tactic looked like it might work, as San Jose's Joe Pavelski goaded Howard into a roughing penalty.
The Wings think the referees should call unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for such tactics and intended to bring the matter up with the series' officiating supervisor.
That led Sharks coach Todd McLellan to claim that he's going to tell his players to knock off the snow showers.
"I have no time for gimmicks and circus acts," McLellan said. "I will address it with my players. My feedback from them is that there's no intent. We are going to the blue paint. No one is going to take that away from us. We're going to stop in the blue paint and we're going to stand there.
One might wonder if McLellan is talking about this issue even being raised when he refers to "gimmicks and circus acts." (Personally, I'm surprised the Wings are making a deal of it, as it seems to be a typical hockey move.) But if the Wings are at all able to get in the Sharks' heads with this or give the referees something to think about, it's a worthy exercise and just the sort of gamesmanship that goes on during a playoff series.
Meanwhile, San Jose's Joe Thornton pleads ignorance on the matter.
"What’s snow showers?" Thornton asked a San Jose reporter when queried about the topic. "It’s part of the game. Did you make that one up? I’ve never heard that one. You should patent it."