The officiating crew for tonight’s Canucks-Blackhawks game is in, and it’s an eyebrow raiser.
The linesmen will be Shane Heyer and Thor Nelson, while the referees are Eric Furlatt and…
O’Halloran — No. 13 in your lucky number programs — is a pretty curious assignment, given his lengthy history with the Canucks.
First and foremost, O’Halloran was one of the two officials working the last time Vancouver and Chicago met, when Duncan Keith was whistled for a two-minute elbowing minor on Daniel Sedin:
That incident set off a hailstorm of controversy.
Sedin missed the remaining nine games of the regular season and first three games of the playoffs with a concussion, while Keith was tagged with a five-game suspension from NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan.
Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault was incensed the call on the ice didn’t reflect the severity of the hit or subsequent punishment from the league.
“We got a big two-minute power play off that hit from the same referee — remember last year when Daniel got punched six times in the face in the Boston series?” Vigneault said. “I seem to remember it was the same guy.”
That guy was none other than O’Halloran, one of two referees working Game 6 of the 2011 Stanley Cup final, during which Boston’s Brad Marchand repeatedly punched Sedin in the face.
Sedin received a 10-minute misconduct, as did Marchand — though Marchand got an extra two for roughing.
(And to be fair, it was Kelly Sutherland who was directly involved with trying to stop the altercation.)
Earlier in that same postseason, O’Halloran was working Game 2 of the Western Conference final between Vancouver and San Jose, in which Ben Eager hammered Sedin with this hit:
Eager was given a two-minute boarding minor on the play, a decision the Canucks were displeased with.
The two-minute penalty also came under scrutiny when, shortly after the playoffs ended, the NHL sent out a player safety video (FF to 8:01) in which the Eager-Sedin hit was used to illustrate illegal action under the new boarding rules.