CSN Washington’s Alan May: Holmstrom “One of NHL’s dirtiest players”

Tomas Holmstrom Red Wings
Tomas Holmstrom (Icon SMI)

Midway through the first period of Monday night’s Detroit Red Wings-Washington Capitals game the Red Wings put the puck in the net for what looked to be their first goal of the game, but joy and elation were short-lived phenomena for the Wings; Emotions cut off abruptly by the emphatic gesturing of the referee. No goal.

For Red Wings fans it’s an easy guess as to the reason the goal (which would have made the score 2-1 Washington) was waved off: Tomas Holmstrom. It’s a scenario that’s played itself out countless times over the veteran’s career.

Sometimes it appears as though the mere presence of a man like Holmstrom, one with the reputation of being a net-front god, is enough of a reason for the NHL’s brilliant men in stripes to disallow a Red Wing goal, and even award “Homer” with a penalty for his apparent misdeeds. Other times Holmstrom legitimately does something to affect the play in an illegal manner.

Unfortunately, tonight was one of those “other times.” Upon watching the replay, one could clearly see that Holmstrom pushed Capitals’ defenseman Mike Green into goaltender Braden Holtby, preventing him from making a save. While Red Wings fans in the arena rained down the boos prematurely (as crowds often do), you’d be hard-pressed to find a Wing-nut at home that would disagree with the call on the ice. The problem, however, wasn’t the call itself at all. Instead, it was comments from “Caps insider”  Alan May that lead to a bit of controversy, perhaps by design.

Immediately following the play, May took to Twitter, and like so many before him, spouted off an ignorant and sensational statement that one would hope wasn’t fully thought through.

Wow!! IMO Wings Holmstrom is one of NHL’s dirtiest players, does this every game. I’m shocked #Caps got PP, even though well deserved

— Alan May (@MayHockeyCSN) March 20, 2012

But upon being questioned by well-known Puck Daddy writer and TSN contributor Dmitry Chesnokov, May didn’t backpedal as one would expect if his statement had been rushed and emotion filled. He meant what he said.

That fact in and of itself should tear away a significant amount of credibility from Mr. May. Whether he’s stuck behind glass panes of Jack Edwards-esque homerism, or just hasn’t watched a hockey game prior to Monday night, I’m not sure, but neither looks particularly becoming for the CSN Washington analyst.

Net battles happen night in and night out. There’s pushing, shoving, cross-checking, and a whole lot of NSFW word dropping going on at any given time. The net-front battle is one of the most heated events in any hockey game. It’s an important area of the ice to control for either team, and that’s why they fight so passionately for its control. To say that a player is dirty for participating in these nightly battles is absolutely absurd.

Every team in this modern era of the NHL (whatever that means) has at least one player who imitates the style of Holmstrom. If he didn’t pioneer the style, he perfected it, and you can bet that countless other players in the league have tried to emulate it. That includes the Washington Capitals.

The pushing, shoving, and general roughhousing that occurs in front of the net every night isn’t dirty. Not even close. If it’s illegal and the referees see it and feel it needs to be called, they will, and do.

Unless doing things worthy of only mere interference calls has suddenly become grounds for scorning someone, and unless committing any infraction in the game of hockey is now considered “dirty”, Holmstrom isn’t a dirty player, and nowhere near the dirtiest in the league.

Perhaps May simply needs a reminder of a what a dirty play really looks like.

9 thoughts on “CSN Washington’s Alan May: Holmstrom “One of NHL’s dirtiest players””

  1. Hah!  Causing confusion in front of the net is dirty?  Don’t make me laugh, and stop embarrassing yourself by flaunting your ignorance.  A dirty player is one that goes out onto the ice with the intention of injuring his opponent.  Maybe he combines some actual skill with his shift, but he’s all about taking someone out.  DIRTY is an intentional knee-on-knee hit, a hard elbow to the head when an opponent is in a vulnerable position (i.e. head down, or head near the glass), a slash with the stick blade to the unprotected back leg just above the achilles or at the wrist where no protection may exist.  Don’t hate Holmstrom because he has perfected the art of screening the goaltender.  He IS penalized when he oversteps the circle, and even when he doesn’t because the fans or players whine enough about him creating an unfair advantage for his teammates!  I salute the Holmstrom’s of the league.  The have the guts to post up when NO ONE else does (and the bone contusions, deep cuts and bad knees to prove it).  My son played this way because no one else on his team wanted the job, and he was consistently instrumental on the top line of his team.  He also had to stop playing at age 19 because of the numerous injuries he incurred with this style of play.  But his teammates and coach loved him.  Believe me, Homer is NOT a dirty player — he is a player everyone WANTS on their team and one they do not relish playing against.

  2. Still haven’t learned the difference in “lead” (rhymes with bed and is a heavy metal) and “led” (also rhymes with bed, but is the past tense form of the verb “lead” (which rhymes with steed)? Back to third grade with you, and no social promotions this time.

    And fire your “editors” and “proofreaders”; they’re third-grade failures, too.

    • In this age of high-tech devices editing and proofreading is a lost art.  Do they even teach children how to do this in school anymore?  

  3. Hasn’t watched a game before Monday?  The man played almost 400 games in the NHL.  Maybe the writer could try and do his homework before posting such drivel.  Has he never written a column before??

  4. Awww poor baby all butthurt. May’s absolutely right and knows more about hockey than you’re clueless ass. And to call him a homer is ignorant. Nobody rips the Caps more than him. May is an old school tough guy who constantly pleads for the Caps to be MORE dirty. If anything he was paying Holmstrom a compliment. Very few Caps ever crash the net

    • Obnoxious starter sentence containing “butthurt?”  Check.

      No clue as to the difference of your/you’re (when calling someone else clueless)?  Check.

      Being a complete and oblivious homer to defend another homer?  Check.

      Love you, Eric.  Especially love how you turn “dirtiest player” into a compliment somehow.  Holmstrom’s played a thousand games.  He’s invented a tactic.  He never shows up on “dirty lists.”  Read up on the league before you comment next time.

      • No need to criticize someone for their choice of words or their improper usage (nobody’s perfect, and plenty of people type too fast without proofreading).  This article is a bit confusing if someone doesn’t read it from start to finish!  If anyone should be criticized it is Mr. May who confuses us with his usage of the word dirty.  Someone who averaged 3.4 penalty minutes per game in the NHL (and averaged 1 pt. about every 5 games, minus playoffs), who also spent about equal time in the minors (398 games), surely has some hockey experience.  Yet Mr. May calls creating confusion in front of the net dirty?  I’m baffled.  (ERIC: You didn’t read the article completely to its end.  Its author, Andrew Johnson, is the person complimenting Tomas Holmstrom.  May’s tweet is not a compliment, even though we all know he wants his Caps to play more like Holmstrom.)

  5. Hahahaha.  Alan May made comments that are unbecoming a hockey analyst?  That’s the most insanely stupid thing I’ve ever heard.

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