Inconsistency in officiating during the Stanley Cup playoffs seems to have turned one writer off to the point where the individual prefers the regular season over the post-season.
Paul Kasprzak of The Guardian Express used the term “annoying” a few times in a piece about the playoffs, primarily to describe the feeling over the suddenly different standard in officiating from the regular season.
Here are two snippets of what Kasprzak wrote. Click here for the full version.
Living in Buffalo, N.Y., I am a hockey fan like many others in my city. Even though I am a hockey, the National Hockey League Playoffs are annoying.
The regular season in the NHL is great to watch. The reason is players can skate, players fight and penalties are called. When the playoffs commence it’s a totally different story as the referee’s whistle goes into their pockets.
And to finish:
So, until Gary Bettman is no longer commissioner or the NHL, the NHL playoffs are always going to be annoying.
The league and other hockey fans could counter with the recent ratings, which hold the NHL, not far removed from another lockout, in very high esteem.
According to the Associated Press, Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins “attracted the most TV viewers for an opening game of the Stanley Cup finals in 16 years.”
But officiating – and the different standards in the playoffs – has been a source of frustration for hockey fans, players and those in the media.
Bettman has stood by his officials.
“The officials in this league are the best in the world, I believe – not just in hockey, but in any sport,” Bettman said during a press conference last week.
“I believe they have the most difficult job, and it always seems to undergo even more intense scrutiny this time of year.
The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.
In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).
Here’s his first goal of the night:
While this is his overtime game-winner:
It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.
The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.
October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.
November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.
Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.
More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.
Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.
Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:
… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.
(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)
Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.
You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.
Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.
Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.
You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.
It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.
Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.
Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.
Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:
Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.
If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.
Check out this incredible shot of that moment:
Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.