The Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks are battling for their Western Conference playoff lives, but it's nice to see there's still palpable respect between these division rivals and their fan bases.
For example, on Tuesday night at Staples Center, Havlat scored a power-play goal 22 seconds after Mike Richards tallied a shorthanded goal, and then took time out of his celebration to let Kings fans know they're No. 1 in his book.
Er, uh … or maybe he flipped them off. One of the two. (NSFW, potentially).
The NHL has been fairly consistent when it comes to this taunt. Give the finger to another player, and it's no big deal. Flip off an arena full of, say, Montreal fans during the Stanley Cup Playoffs while wearing a Boston Bruins jersey … well, that's a $2,500 fine, Mr. Ference, even if passions are running high and (as he claimed) there's a "glove malfunction."
Not sure if this Havlat thing will warrant the same response. When asked after the game, he denied he saluted the crowd.
Meanwhile, if you needed further proof that Marty Havlat was one of the only Sharks players in the last two Battle of California games that was emotionally engaged and gave a damn, well there you go …