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Your Boston-Toronto Game 7 officials are…


The referees for tonight’s Eastern Conference quarterfinal Game 7 between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs will be Brad Watson (#23) and Dan O’Halloran (#13).

Working the lines will be “Sugar” Shane Heyer (#55) and “Bad” Brad Kovachik (#71).

Watson most recently worked Game 6 of the Rangers-Capitals series — you know, the one where Washington didn’t get a single power play (New York had five), leading to this — but has yet to work a Bruins-Leafs game this postseason.

O’Halloran, meanwhile, called Game 5 of the Boston-Toronto series — along with Paul Devorski — a relatively tame affair with just 10 penalty minutes all told.


— O’Halloran and Watson are two of the NHL’s most experienced officials. O’Halloran has been calling games since 1992 (1993 for Watson) and the pair have combined to call over 250 postseason contests.

— O’Halloran and Watson were also two of the four referees selected to work the 2012 Stanley Cup finals.

— Heyer was at the center of “faceoff-gate,” accused by Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle of allowing the Bruins to cheat at faceoffs in Game 3. (Also, for repeatedly tossing Tyler Bozak out of draws.)

From the Toronto Sun:

Carlyle pulled aside linesman Shane Heyer before the third period started in Game 3 on Monday night for an explanation.

“There were some things that were going on out there that we don’t agree with,” Carlyle said before Julien talked to reporters. “Faceoffs are always a big part of any hockey game, and specifically when you are at home, you think that you would be afforded some of the staples of the opposition having to be down first.

“(Heyer) stated it supposed to be visitor down, home down, puck down and that clearly was not happening as per video. We will visit with them and talk about it. It is nothing dramatic, it is a small part of the game, but it can be a large part.”

— Here’s a piece from the Niagara Falls Review on Kovachik (a Fort Erie native) talking about his prep for Game 7.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with upper-body injury

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester
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It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.