“Subtle Interference” Claims on the Detroit Red Wings are Comical


Apr 25, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk (13) is congratulated by left wing Tomas Tatar (21) and center Darren Helm (43) after he scored goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period in game five of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. Detroit Red Wings defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As a fan of the Detroit Red Wings, seeing opponents complain of this make-believe “subtle interference” garbage fills me with joy. Nothing like a team admitting that they’re being out-worked, out-hustled, and, above all else, out-coached, all within the boundaries of NHL rules.   “There are 30 teams in the league and nobody does (interference) more than the Detroit Red Wings, hands down,” said Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper.  

Ah, yes. A spineless accusation to hint that Detroit is somehow “cheating” to success. It is quite ironic that the act that Detroit is accused of is called “subtle” interference; they’re not getting away with interference. This idea of subtlety that is perpetuated by the accusers in the league only acts to deny their claims, because it isn’t enough to be called under the grounds of true interference.

This clip is being paraded as defining evidence of the Red Wings’ heinous crime. This “blatant” interference is the source of Steven Stamkos’ scoring woes (disregarding the fact that Tampa’s power play has been so horrendous as to only score twice on 24 attempts).

When looking at this clip, by the accusation alone, the accuser is implying that Stamkos somehow has a right to that skating lane through the neutral zone, when Nyquist clearly was the first player to occupy the space. Nyquist is simply protecting his own ice, skating away from Stamkos to return to the defensive zone. Really, Stamkos is more liable for an interference call, as he initiates all contact with Nyquist in grabbing him, trying to move past him.

Detroit Red Wings
Detroit Red Wings /

Detroit Red Wings

Disagree? Let’s take a look at a few lines of Rule 56.1 of the OFFICIAL NHL Rulebook for 2014-15:

-“A player is allowed the ice he is standing on and is not required to move in order to let an opponent proceed. A player may “block” the path of an opponent provided that he is in the front of his opponent and moving in the same direction. “

Here, Nyquist took full advantage of “Body Position”, which is defined as when the player is “skating in front of or besides his opponent, traveling in the same direction.”

Ah, the Detroit Red Wings are such cheaters. Look at them, taking full advantage of a right that is clearly and blatantly offered to them in the rulebook. How dare they play within the boundaries of the rules in an effort to win? Shame on them.

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Yes, Jon Cooper, focus on a false accusation of Detroit somehow “cheating” instead of taking the proper measures to mend your own team’s faults. You’re being out-goaltended by a 23-year-old rookie, who has been the only man able to shut you out this season.

Your roster is being out-utilized, as your opponent hasn’t had a top-10 pick during the entire existence of your franchise, while your best player went first overall. You’re being out-defended, as your opponent’s defense is, on paper, one of the worst of all the playoff teams, while your back-end, suited with Hedman, Stralman, Carle, and Garrison, can’t stop a 36-year-old Russian skating on one leg from splitting you like a hot knife through butter.

Face it, Cooper: your team is simply getting beat. And you’re being out-coached. If you want to win this series, focus on the real issues, rather than whining about fantasy interference in order to take some of the pressure off of yourself.

Next: Is Jimmy Howard the Detroit Red Wings goaltender next season?