To say it’s been a tricky playoffs for the officials would be putting it politely.
In just about every series there’s been some kind of gripe about a blown or missed call and worries over referees putting their whistles away so the players can “settle things themselves” have caused more than a few grumbles. With a seemingly different set of standards in the postseason, complaints have been plentiful and in some cases for good reason.
The question for the Stanley Cup finals now is whether or not the officials will continue to steal headlines? Both teams and the league would prefer they not do that.
Take a look through these playoffs and you’ll see a laundry list of players who had gripes about officiating and we’re not just talking about regular schmoe defensemen here. Sidney Crosby spoke his mind. Jonathan Toews was more than open about his thoughts on calls. Alex Ovechkin went as far as suggesting there was a conspiracy, something the Caps GM basically agreed with.
With this many high-profile players and executives speaking their mind, either they’re all big crybabies or there’s a definite problem. The Toronto Star’s Damien Cox opined today saying the finals would make for a good time for the league and its officials to reestablish what the correct way to call a game would be. With everyone turning their attention to the finals, it might be a good way to restore order.
Officiating is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” kind of profession. Make too many calls and people complain they’re ruining the game. Too few and they’re letting it get away from them.
The only thing we know for sure is that whatever level officiating is at now isn’t meeting many fans’ approval and any blown calls in the finals are going to be put under the microscope. The less we notice the officials, the better and the league would sure love it. Here’s to hoping a game isn’t won or lost because of a bad or missed call.
For more 2013 Cup finals questions, click here.
Well, that was quite a third period.
For the Boston Bruins, it was disastrous. For the Tampa Bay Lightning, it propelled them to a critical victory in the playoff race.
Nikita Kucherov completed the hat trick with a pair of goals in the final period and Jonathan Drouin scored what would eventually be the winner, as Tampa Bay snapped its own three-game losing streak in a 6-3 victory, putting the Bolts within three points of the final wild card spot — held by the Bruins — in the Eastern Conference.
The Drouin goal — his 18th of the season but first since Feb. 19, a span of 13 games — is probably one Tuukka Rask would like back.
Drouin teed up the slap shot from the faceoff circle, beating Rask under the left arm.
And just like that, the Bruins have lost four consecutive games. On Saturday, they face the New York Islanders, another team looking to catch Boston in the wild card race.
Read more: Remember this stretch if Bruins settle for a wild card spot (or worse?)
The Islanders are only two points back of Boston.
Despite the win, there was bad news for the Lightning during this game, as defenseman Jason Garrison left with an injury.
The play occurred behind the Lightning goal, Garrison appearing to get his left leg rolled up from behind by a Bruin. Garrison had to be helped off the ice by Anton Stralman and Brayden Point and headed back to the Bolts’ locker room.
The team announced during the second intermission that Garrison sustained a lower-body injury. He did not return to the game.
As promised, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin rocked a pair of custom skates in honor of Russian Heritage Night on Thursday.
On his right skate, he paid tribute to the United States with a custom design, and paid tribute to his home nation on his left skate while taking the pre-game warm-up prior to facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.
He’ll be auctioning off the skates, as well.
From CSN Mid-Atlantic:
The skates were painted by noted custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, whom Ovechkin personally selected. The skates feature the U.S. and Russia flags as well as the Capitol Building and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral.
Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.
He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.
The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.
There was no call on the play.
Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.
Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.
Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.
That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus: