When you’re a young coach in the NHL and running a team that’s relatively young on its own, life can be tough sometimes when looking to get the ear of an official. When one of those young players is a superstar, however, sometimes getting the attention of the referees can be made a little easier, just ask Sidney Crosby.
In Columbus, times are apparently a little bit tougher for coach Scott Arniel. Arniel blew his top at officials Bill McCreary and Denis LaRue after seeing his own superstar, Rick Nash, take an apparent high stick from Willie Mitchell in the waning minutes of what was a one-goal game. The Kings potted an empty net goal and went on to beat the Blue Jackets 6-4.
After the game, Arniel made it clear that he doesn’t think his superstar is getting the brand of superstar treatment he should be receiving. Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch shares the diatribe.
“I’m getting so frustrated,” Arniel said Saturday’s game. “I know I’m a young guy, and a young coach in this league. But to watch Rick Nash, what he has to take night in, night out … I watch other star players and the treatment they get, the calls that they get.
“Nash gets tackled going to the net. He gets a stick across the face. No call. I don’t get it. We try to be … I’ve worked with this team about not yelling at referees, not making them part of the focus. But maybe we have to do a little more crying and complaining. The stuff Rick takes for the superstar that he is … it really pisses me off.”
Rage on, coach.
No one likes criers or complainers but it shouldn’t have to come down to a superstar getting worked over for referees to see a high stick or any other obvious penalty late in the game. The Kings were on their heels late in last night’s game and if a call is made there, momentum fully swings in Columbus’ favor to tie the game up in the closing minutes.
Instead, no call is made and the Kings are able to finish it off with the empty net goal. It’s a dramatic turn of events all things considered and one that helps make the Blue Jackets road trip all the more dire. Columbus finished their four-game road swing 0-4-0 and gave up an average of five goals per game in those losses. We’re sure that Scott Arniel is frustrated with everything but politicking for an extra call or two is something every coach does. Doing so by asking for more superstar treatment is at least a new, fun angle in doing so.
If you didn’t know that the Stanley Cup Playoffs can be awfully cruel, then the last week or so of action should make it pretty clear.
The Nashville Predators lost top center Ryan Johansen to a scary ailment few would have seen coming. The Anaheim Ducks fell in both games to the Johansen-less Predators, even after dominating significant chunks of Game 6. At least one Ducks player wondered if the better team won.
Much like in life, “fair” and “deserve” only matter so much. Sports have a scoreboard to serve as the ultimate deciding factor.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have similar thoughts after falling 2-1 to the Ottawa Senators tonight, extending the Eastern Conference Final to a decisive Game 7. You can nitpick questionable penalties and missed chances, but really, how negative can you be after Craig Anderson puts forth a blazing 45-save performance (with no overtime)?
Mike Sullivan and others echoed such thoughts.
” … Obviously, we’re disappointed in the result, but I don’t think we can get discouraged by that,” Sullivan said. “I think we’ve got to take the positives from it, and we’ve got to build on it, and we’ve got to become a more determined team for Game 7.
That’s not the sort of take that’s going to make the Senators angry in Game 7. The tone of the Senators’ discussions was likely very different after they lost Game 5 by a 7-0 score, yet maybe there was similar self belief.
Who could blame fans for chanting “Andy” tonight?
The Ottawa Senators said they would choose to fight in Game 6, and Craig Anderson truly battled in this one, refusing to allow this unlikely run to an end on Tuesday. They wouldn’t roll over, even after a 7-0 humiliation in Game 5.
The underrated goalie continued his memorable (and emotional) 2016-17 season with a brilliant performance, making 45 saves to help Ottawa manage a gutsy 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
With that, hockey fans get a true treat: the Eastern Conference will go to a Game 7 on Thursday.
The Senators opted for a “bend but don’t break” strategy for much of the contest, possibly to Guy Boucher’s preference. Even so, the Penguins managed to grind their way to a 1-0 win thanks to another hard-work goal from Evgeni Malkin.
Mistakes would come back to haunt the Penguins, however, as Bobby Ryan broke Ottawa’s lengthy power-play drought to tie things up on a 5-on-3.
With their season in question thanks to a 1-1 tie in the third period, Mike Hoffman sent a booming shot by Matt Murray, and that ended up being all the Senators needed to tie the series 3-3.
Anderson was the standout, but Erik Karlsson was a hero in the way his detractors might not expect.
You can watch Game 7 on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday. The game is also available to stream via the NBC Sports App.
Could one of the most hapless possession teams of this more analytics-leaning era nab arguably the most promising analytics-leaning executive in the NHL?
It’s a reasonable question, as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the Colorado Avalanche asked for and received permission to speak to Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Kyle Dubas.
Current GM Joe Sakic recently got a vote of confidence and also cleaned out some of the coaching staff around Jared Bednar, so this is certainly a time of change for the Avalanche.
It will be interesting to see what kind of role Dubas would receive if he did join the fold in Colorado. Would he still be considered an assistant GM, only with more sway with what would likely be a smaller group of decision-makers? Could we see Sakic move up and give Dubas the full GM title (or eventually transition that role to the young upstart)? Might there be some other factor that would qualify as a more “outside the box” idea?
One thing seems clear: the Avalanche might want to be decisive, as demand could be significant for Dubas if he’s even somewhat on the market.
This could be interesting, especially if you’re a nerd for team-building storylines.
The Ottawa Senators have defied odds during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and they’ve done so with what’s often been an ice-cold power play.
They finally struck gold on the man advantage on Tuesday, and at a key moment. The Pittsburgh Penguins were dominating much of the game and pressing for an even bigger edge after Evgeni Malkin made it 1-0.
Maybe the Penguins got overzealous, or maybe officials … finally started making some calls. Either way, the Senators ended up with a 5-on-3 advantage for almost a minute-and-a-half. With that opportunity, Bobby Ryan scored a huge goal for Ottawa on a shot that was both oddly and perfectly placed.
Moments later, Kyle Turris narrowly missed a golden opportunity, so the contest remained tied 1-1.
Despite a late push by the Penguins to finish the second, Game 6 will enter the third period with a 1-1 score.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE COVERAGE FOR GAME 6
Update: Mike Hoffman‘s booming shot gave the Senators a 2-1 lead in the third. We’ll see if Pittsburgh can tie it up.