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PITTSBURGH – Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final opened with 20 minutes of atrocious officiating, with bad calls and missed calls impacting both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators.
Someone who was not a fan of this officiating? Mike Milbury, the cantankerous NBC Sports commenter, who slammed the referees as “putrid” after the first period of Game 2 on Wednesday night.
Here’s Mad Mike living up to his name:
Here’s the rant for the video impaired:
“This is a nightmare for coaches and players. They set an unthinkable standard here. You just don’t know what to expect a penalty to become. There were several examples of that during the course of the first period. [Here’s a penalty] on Craig Smith. There’s not much of anything there. That shouldn’t be a penalty call.”
“Other end of the ice, that’s a check from behind into the boards [by Matt Irwin]. That’s a penalty. Absolutely. No question about it. But not in this game.”
“Here’s another one that is a penalty. Kunitz with a cross-check on Subban right there, but on the other one, stick-on-stick contact is allowed. Malkin goes to the box, with Kuntiz for a five-on-three. And how about this one, a punch to the head of [Jake] Guentzel? The officials were putrid in the first period. They gotta be a lot better than that.”
That was a fairly pro-Penguins look at the calls, but in fairness they were jobbed mightily on the Malkin penalty and the inexplicable non-call on the Irwin boarding.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman defending the standard of officiating in the playoffs on Monday. The idea that the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final could both feature a 5-on-3 power play in the first period – Pittsburgh in Game 1, Nashville in Game 2 – veers very close to “indefensible” territory.
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