There's a curious Canadian tradition of gently poking fun at the good people of Newfoundland, the far-flung province at the easternmost point of North America. Jokes are told about guileless, dimwitted "Newfies."

"They're all about Newfies being slow or stupid," said Sharks forward Ryane Clowe, a native Newfoundlander who, for the record, is neither.

Such as: How many Newfies does it take to play the San Jose-Detroit playoff series?

Just two. Clowe and Red Wings forward Danny Cleary.

OK, so there's no punch line there. Unless you count both players' efforts not to become one by being eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs. In addition to being two of the rare Newfoundlanders to reach the NHL, Clowe and Cleary are among the best ever to emerge from a remote island known as "The Rock."

So far, Clowe is getting the better of The Battle of Newfoundland as the Sharks hold a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series. Clowe also is emerging as one of the NHL postseason's impact players as he leads the Sharks in scoring with four goals and five assists.

Not only are the two friends, but they also will become extended family this summer when Clowe marries longtime girlfriend Jennifer Murray, who just happens to be Cleary's third cousin.

"No, I'm not a matchmaker," Cleary said. "But she and I basically grew up together. It's funny how they crossed paths a few years ago. He's a good player and a good guy."