Holmstrom Agonistes: Eyeless in Dallas

Ryan LengCorrespondent IMay 15, 2008

Perhaps enough has already been written on the matter, but after spending two tedious hours of reading through the NHL rule book and watching Tomas Holmstrom's ass on video replay, the verdict is in:

Tomas Holmstrom is guilty of bupkis.

Come back in one year!

Of course, if you're a Red Wings fan, this comes as no surprise. Holmstrom has a long history of getting called for bupkis. For instance, in game four of the Colorado-Detroit series, he was bowled over by a Colorado defenseman. As Holmstrom sprawled out on the ice, his stick tripped another Colorado player. Holmstrom was called for tripping, while his mugging was ignored, and the Avalanche scored on the ensuing power play.

In the same game, Jose Theodore made a save on a Detroit shot, and Holmstrom poked at the rebound. Three Colorado players surrounded him immediately, and a fourth put him in a sleeper hold and dragged him roughly to the ice.

While the mugging was not ignored, Holmstrom still received a matching slashing penalty for a slash that he did not commit.

Against Dallas, Holmstrom was called for diving when Mike Modano cross-checked him. Versus commentator Eddie Olczyk weighed in on the matter, saying that he thought a dive ought to nullify the previous penalty. Fair enough. Yet Versus never showed the replay. I replayed the tape myself and it was clear that Modano got his two minutes worth, and that Holmstrom was, again, guilty of bupkis.

Sure, he frustrates his opponents. Sure, he has little finesse. And everybody knows that he's not that great looking. But come on.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and submit that Tomas Holmstrom is so frustrating by virtue of the fact that his play is effective. And more importantly, that effective play is typically legal.

Which makes sense: If Holmstrom actually cheats, then goalies have a legitimate excuse for letting in a goal. Since that excuse usually doesn't exist for Holmstrom's opponents, it exacerbates their frustration.

Beside's being eyeless in Dallas, I can arrive at no other conclusion but that referees have blacklisted Tomas Holmstrom. For bupkis. The officials ought to receive the same treatment.

Unfortunately for Marty Turco, whether Holmstrom interfered with him or not, Pavel Datsyuk's bullet-drive would still have beaten him. Sorry Marty. It's not like it hasn't before.

Granted, disallowing that goal did not lose the game for the Red Wings. Turco and co. played their best game of the series. What galls me is the fact that a beautiful goal was disallowed, which can only be bad for the game.

Perhaps the league should change the crease rule, if it actually exists as it was called (which it doesn't), to a reviewable play. It boggles my mind that the league actually thinks a referee's eyes and judgement alone are good enough to make the right call. It's the playoffs, foax. These bad calls are serious.

But, in the immortal words of Tupac Shakur, "life goes on." Game four this Friday. In Detroit. Go Wings.