This was not exactly Ryane Clowe, Mr. Stealth.
The Kings saw the Sharks forward reach over the bench with his stick to illegally play the puck, disrupting a rush led by Kings center Jarret Stoll with about 2:40 remaining in regulation.
They saw it. As did the stunned and angered Kings fans at Staples Center. TV picked up on it immediately
One problem: The on-ice officials were in the distinct minority and didn't see it.
"I don't know how you miss it," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "But they did."
The Sharks would go on to win, 6-5, in a shootout, Thursday night. Both the Kings and San Jose happened to secure playoff berths — Los Angeles when Dallas lost to Nashville and the Sharks because the Blue Jackets beat Colorado — but the post-game buzz was all about Clowe.
The Stick That Came In From the Cold.
Well, in this case … the bench.
"What do you think my thoughts are?" said Kings Coach Darryl Sutter. "You can't call too many men on the ice. What do you call? Too many sticks?"
Clowe slipped into denial mode when twice asked about the play.
"I have no idea what you guys are talking about ... I'll have to see the video or something," he said. "You'll have to show me on video."
Said Kings defenseman Drew Doughty: "I was right there, so I saw him reach over the bench with the stick because I was looking at Stollie carrying the puck. I saw him reach over the bench and touch it. Obviously he did it. It was no secret. You just throw on the video and you're going to find out."
Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi was asked if he had ever seen anything like the Clowe incident.
"In a beer league," Lombardi replied, via email.
A league official told Times columnist Helene Elliott that the play was a "missed call."
[UPDATED AT 2:36 p.m.: The NHL, asked Friday morning for comment regarding the incident, said there was already a rule in place.
"If officials see it - they call it," said a league official, citing Rule 56 - Interference.
Specifically, the applicable rule is 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."]
Doughty thought Clowe's move merited more than a two-minute penalty.
"I don't see why he shouldn't be suspended," he said. "I don't know if that is a suspension or not. But I don't know why it shouldn't be."
Sutter addressed the issue of supplemental discipline,
"For that? I don't even know what that call is ... is it unsportsmanlike or too many men? " he asked. "It's got to be something. Or delay of game. I'm not really sure what that is to tell you the truth. It's a penalty, but I'm not sure what it is."