No one is ever going to be totally happy with the ways in which the NHL's referees or officials make their decisions. We can all agree on that.
If there's a game in which neither team is whistled for a penalty, both will likely complain that the refs missed calls on the other. If there's a game in which both teams receive 10 power plays, both will complain that the referees were overly harsh in doling out discipline. No one is ever especially happy with calls that go in between those two extremes, either, because unless you win, you aren't happy. And sometimes, even when you do win, you aren't happy.
It's tough to know what, exactly, brought all this to a head in these playoffs. Alex Ovechkin complaining about a league-wide conspiracy in Game 6 after the end of Game 7; Jonathan Toews stamping his feet when his team got clobbered on home ice by its archrival; Sidney Crosby saying the league needs to institute video review for puck-over-the-glass calls; Jonathan Quick abusing officials because the Kings gave the Sharks a two-man advantage in overtime.
Doesn't it strike anyone as being a bit much?
No one likes to lose in October, let alone in the second round of the playoffs, and you might even say that the refs have made a bit of a spectacle of themselves in the last few games. The best thing a ref can do, the old saying goes, is not be noticeable, and things have admittedly gotten a bit out of hand in some instances.
But nonetheless, can you imagine the eye-rolling or outright mockery in Chicago if Henrik Zetterberg had said the same things Toews did after they got creamed in Game 1? Or the uproar if Ryan Callahan of the lionized New York Rangers had complained about a conspiracy to push the series longer? Or the furor if Joe Thornton had done what Quick did after the Sharks gave up a similar late-game 5-on-3 advantage that allowed the Kings to tie Game 1?
What it boils down to is being a sore loser.
It's extremely rare for guys celebrating a 3-1 win to say, "Well, we thought the refs were being a little too generous with us but we'll take it," but boy do the tissues come out when things bounce the other way. Media members covering the final month of the postseason might want to bring their galoshes to the rink as a precautionary measure.
It's times like these you wish the league came down as hard on players complaining about the officials as they do for coaches; Toews and Ovechkin can make a stink but John Tortorella has to pay a $30,000 fine after what he said about the Winter Classic, or $20,000 for saying the Penguins are an "arrogant organization" after Brooks Orpik ran Derek Stepan without punishment.
Why are coaches held to a different standard? Aren't they essentially doing the same thing: Bringing what the league would argue is undue scrutiny to its officials who it would argue are just doing their jobs to what it would argue is the best of their abilities?
Again, it must be said that no ref goes into these games looking to screw the Blackhawks or Kings or anyone else, and the finger-pointing only serves as a means of distracting from the fact that these teams put themselves in the situations in question.
It would be nice if the league would crack down on these guys so this kind of pointless whining stops before it gets any worse. It's one thing to do it in a game, I understand, and that's why you can almost forgive Jonathan Quick for his misdeeds; but when it's spilling over into postgame scrums, there's no need for it.
A quick fine of a few thousand dollars here and there might get them to blame an inability to put more than a goal on the board in 60 or more minutes of hockey on something other than officiating.
It's embarrassing that these otherwise extremely respected players, Toews in particular being routinely painted as this stoic figure who approaches everything in this sport The Right Way, have to resort to this type of petulant whining because their teams didn't win.
Maybe it's to be expected, but if we're going to say these guys are held to a certain standard, then it's time for all involved to start acting like it.
What We Learned
Anaheim Ducks: Bruce Boudreau kind of put it out there that the Ducks would have been a little better off with a longer training camp but it's like, c'mon man you finished second in the West despite all the percentages saying you had no business being there. Get ready for a huge step back. "Better start next year?" You went 13-2-1 in your first 16 games. How much better can you do with that roster?
Boston Bruins: The Rangers might want to learn to defend this Bergeron/Marchand play because they're sure not doing themselves any favors by standing around with their hands in their pockets every time the Bruins run it.
Chicago Blackhawks: This was just about the only thing the Blackhawks did right on Saturday afternoon but wow this shot was something special.
Colorado Avalanche: The company that owns the Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, and Colorado Rapids also just bought the Outdoor Channel, which makes me wistful for the days that I could watch deer hunting before and after every NHL game.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Ryan Johansen was good for the Blue Jackets in the second half (5-5-10 in 28 during March and February after 0-2-2 in 12 in January and February), but then only had one point in five games in the AHL playoffs. Is this kid a bust or what? I've never heard of sample size, by the way.
Detroit Red Wings presented by Amway: Drew Miller might be the Red Wings' secret weapon. After missing a month, he came back, got a bunch of PK time, and helped hold Chicago 0 for 2 on the power play.
Florida Panthers: The Panthers getting a new scoreboard last week with taxpayer money means that since the arena opened, the team has received some $138.4 million. The amount Broward County has gotten back on that investment? Just $331,206.
Los Angeles Kings: Tyler Toffoli will never score an easier goal in the playoffs in his entire career.
New Jersey Devils: No one in the free agent forward crop took more shots than David Clarkson's 180. The next-closest guy was Pascal Dupuis at 140. Boy is he gonna look good on the Maple Leafs' top line next year.
New York Islanders: The Isles have two very good prospects — Anders Lee and Scott Mayfield — coming out of college this year, and those dudes basically are the best prospects beginning their pro careers in the organization.
New York Rangers: This Ryan Callahan goal sure was wonderful.
Ottawa Senators: Gotta agree with this: Erik Karlsson has looked awful through three games of this series. I know what he's coming back from but the longer this goes on the more you gotta wonder if he should've come back from it at all this season. Hint: He should not have.
Philadelphia Flyers: The best thing I read this week was Ed Snider taking a shot at Marc-Andre Fleury for "falling apart" in the playoffs. It made me so happy. (But then again he sure made it sound like Steve Mason is going to get a good shot to start in Philly next year, which also made me happy.)
Phoenix Coyotes: Today is Day No. 283 since Jude LaCava of Fox 10 in Arizona said Greg Jamison would have the deal for the Coyotes sewn up within the next five days. And how big is this Rob Klinkhammer contract extension? It got three whole sentences in an AP release.
Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins' power play went 0 for 6 last night after beginning the playoffs 10 for 31 so clearly it's time to panic in Pittsburgh. Everything has gone off the rails. Might as well just forfeit the rest of the series.
San Jose Sharks: I mean I'm not an NHL coach but I think on the penalty kill in overtime you gotta tell someone to cover Logan Couture or something like this will probably happen more often than not.
St. Louis Blues: The Blues consider Vladimir Tarasenko to be pretty important to the team going forward which, y'know, yeah.
Tampa Bay Lightning: "Will Martin St. Louis be a Hall of Famer?" That's an interesting question. You'd have to think so, right? Six point-a-game seasons, a few more that were close, led the league in scoring twice, won a Stanley Cup. Only 88 points away from 1,000 despite missing two seasons to lockouts and not becoming a regular NHLer until he was 24. I'd say yes, but then I'm not an idiot like the morons who vote on the Hall of Fame.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Famous Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield returned from his mission during Game 7 wearing a Maple Leafs shirt under his space suit, marking the second time in just a few hours that someone rocking that logo crashed back to earth.
Winnipeg Jets: Leave it to the Winnipeg media to try to tie Paul MacLean and Randy Carlyle being ex-Jets into a reason they'd be good assistants for Canada in Sochi. Speaking as an American, I put my full confidence behind Carlyle's candidacy. How 'bout Ondrej Pavelec for player-coach for the Czechs while we're at it?
Play of the Weekend
Real nice play from Valtteri Filppula. Real nice.
Gold Star Award
Torey Krug has two goals in his first two NHL playoff games, and also an assist. He also broke up a partial break before he scored yesterday's goal, on which he kicked the puck through his own legs to himself.
Minus of the Weekend
Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week
User "kushh" is living up to the name.
Roberto Luongo, Ryan Kesler, Keith Ballard
Josh Harding, Mikko Koivu, Kyle Brodziak, 1st in 2013*
*Canucks keep %10 of Luo and Ballard's contracts (533k and 420k every year)[/quote]
It's the $950,000 cap savings that will really entice Minnesota.
Now I know what it's like to be a crack head. I took one hit of real estate and it blew my head off.
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- Jonathan Toews
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