Fans in Boston and Chicago will have plenty of players on the opposing teams to voice their displeasure with, but it’s the guys in stripes that will hear most of the grief everywhere. Which guys get the call of working the Stanley Cup finals? Mark Spector of Sportsnet shares the list via Twitter.
Referees: Wes McCauley, Dan O’Halloran, Chris Rooney, Brad Watson (pictured)
Linesmen: Shane Heyer, Brian Murphy, Pierre Racicot, Jay Sharrers
One notable omission from the list of referees is former NHL Head of Officiating Stephen Walkom. Walkom came under fire during the Western Conference semifinals for calling matching penalties late in Game 7 between Chicago and Detroit while the Blackhawks scored what they thought was the go-ahead goal. Chicago, of course, scored in overtime to make the call a mere footnote, but the moment wasn’t forgotten.
The officials have come under a lot of scrutiny throughout the playoffs and that doesn’t figure to stop now that we’re in the finals. Both teams play tough and on the edge at times. Will they let them play or will we see the calls pick up now that everyone is watching?
Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.
Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.
And what a look it was.
In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.
It was, in a word, fun.
Lots of fun.
A quick sampling of reviews:
Of course, not everybody was a fan:
Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.
But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…