The Canadians drew just a single penalty in their 2-1 overtime victory against Finland on Sunday and they don’t seem happy about it.
“You saw two penalties tonight (including one against Canada). There’s a ton of obstruction. It’s not getting called. I guess that’s the nature of it,” Duchene remarked to the Toronto Star’s Dave Feschuk.
He wasn’t the only Canadian venting after the game.
“Obviously it seemed like the whistles were put away for the most part,” John Tavares told PHT’s Jason Brough.
This has become a recurring theme for Canada, as the team has only received five power-play opportunities in three games.
“It can be frustrating, especially when sometimes you got a step on a guy,” Tavares added. “Sometimes they’re letting a little more go, but that’s the way it is, just like in other sports. Sometimes there’s a little more leeway, and it seemed that way tonight.”
Canada’s power play is one of its strengths and the lack of penalties is particularly problematic when playing against teams that intend to put an emphasis on defensive play as Finland did in the hopes of counteracting Canada’s skilled forwards. Switzerland will almost surely do the same against the 2010 gold medalists in the quarterfinals if they beat Latvia.
Canada’s forwards have had difficulty gaining any traction in this tournament and only three of them have even found the back of the net. If not for the team’s defense, which has not only taken care of business in the Canadians’ own end, but has also been scoring the majority of the team’s goals, they would be in a very different position right now.
It’s worth adding that, while fingers were pointed at the referees, the Canadians aren’t fans of the international ice either.
“This is why the NHL should never go to a big ice, it’ll take the scoring out of the game,” Duchene said, according to the Canadian Press’ Stephen Whyno.