Detroit Red Wings Use Refs To Down Injury-Riddled San Jose Sharks

Harrison OztemelContributor INovember 6, 2009

The Joe Louis Arena, one of the most prestigious stadiums in the league, has a grudge against the San Jose Sharks.

For the past few visits to the Joe, the Sharks and Red Wings have been victims to blatantly terrible calls, ultimately costing the affected team a win.

In February 2008, Devin Setoguchi scored when the puck caromed off of the protective netting right to him in the front of the net.  

Last season, the opposite happened, as a puck in the netting did not warrant a whistle, leaving Detroit to score on the ensuing possession.

Last night, however, it wasn't puck in the netting; it was a puck under the pads of Nabokov.  

After Marc-Edouard Vlasic caught an edge behind the net, Detroit gained possession and cycled the puck up to Niklas Lidstrom at the point.  Lidstrom fired a low shot into Nabokov's pads, where he held it under his left leg.  

For some reason, the ref standing behind the net, with his whistle in his mouth, failed to blow the play dead.  A good two-seconds passed before Henrik Zetterberg was allowed to come in and jab the puck from under Nabokov.

"The puck was laying there, I just hoped the referees didn't blow the whistle," said Zetterberg.  Falser words have never been spoken.  

No highlight reel is showing the replay of the goal, but the live feed during the game showed multiple angles where it was clear that Nabokov had the puck under his pads and invisible to the players on the ice. 

Why the whistle wasn't blown or the goal called off for intent to blow the play dead may not been known, but was it certain is that poor officiating cost the Sharks the game.  

Tired and injured, the Sharks looked to Nabokov for most of the third period, when the short bench and back-to-back games fatigue kicked in.

Without Rob Blake in the lineup, Derek Joslin and Joe Callahan were called in to replace the captain, but were used sparingly because of Detroit's potent offense.  

With Setoguchi, Joe Pavelski, and Torrey Mitchell still out, the defense needed to be strong and the offense opportune.  But, it doesn't help the cause when a one-goal lead is lost on a bad play.