Ryane Clowe cheated big time Thursday night, and having gotten away with it, denied he did it -- which is proof that he absolutely did it and knew it.He sat on the bench but kept his stick in play in the overtime period to interfere with Jarret Stoll of the Kings in the Sharks 6-5 win over Los Angeles. By reaching his stick onto the ice to break up Stolls rush, he committed a clearly illegal act, a profoundly risky one, and as none of the four officials saw it, a hilariously successful one.But as it turns out, what it really means is that the Sharks recognize at long last that desperation means pulling the occasional fast one. In this case, a brazenly fast one, and if it werent for Bobby Petrinos really fast one back in Arkansas, Clowe might have pulled the fastest one of them all.Since we can assume that all Sharks fans will consider Clowes work of lumberdemain a creative and brilliant act of skullduggery, it must therefore mean that they are willing to back their boys no matter how much they torture the rules, which means they can no longer command the moral high ground, fandom-wise.It means they have to alter their viewpoint of good guys and bad guys against the typical moral standards of the day. The fans have always preferred to think of the Sharks as earnest victims of cruel fate and crueler opponents, but now that we know how much love Clowe will get Saturday in San Jose, we know that they are abandoning the halo for the hard hat.Clowe has been one of the leading hard hats on this team through most of his career, but this has been a difficult season for him. As a result, the Sharks have struggled to overcome his absences from influence.Thursday was one of his best games of 2012 to be sure, but it will be most remembered because of his willingness to blow his nose on the rulebook for the good of the team. Whether that makes him a bad guy depends on whose ox is on goring duty, but it does make the Sharks slightly less lovable to casual fans.Which is probably the look they were after at this point.
Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com