Some curious comments from Los Angeles head coach Darryl Sutter, per LA Kings Insider:
Sutter: We talk about our team as not taking offensive zone penalties, because the way the officiating is now, we have some undisciplined officiating. So, quite honest, you can’t let that be a distraction to our team. We’ve seen it the last two games where, quite honest, we’ve had goals that were supposed to be goals that weren’t.
LKI: On the officials not awarding Mike Richards a goal in last night’s empty net situation…
Sutter: They will say it all evens out. I’ve heard it. Once the league has their meetings in Florida in March, even though the rules don’t change, for a while the rules do change. And that’s unfortunate, and we see it. And I’ve seen it for a long time, and I know the answer always is ‘Oh, it’ll all even out.’ Well, that’s not true.
I mean, it’s tough for the referees, too, because they’re in a high-pressure environment right now too, because they want to play after April 12th, too. That’s a fact…I mean, there are 16 teams that get to play, and there are a certain amount of the officials that get to play.
The Richards goal referenced was from last night’s game versus Washington, when John Carlson hooked Richards as he carried the puck towards an empty Capitals net with 59 seconds remaining. Instead of awarding Richards the goal (falling under the criteria of Rule 26), referees gave Carlson a penalty — and, shortly thereafter, Evgeny Kuznetsov scored a shorthanded goal to even the game up and send it to overtime.
As for the recently wrapped GM meetings in Boca Raton, the NHL said there were “no major announcements or major changes,” set to take place. That said, the fact such a large-scale meeting always takes place prior to the start of the NHL playoffs has led some, like Sutter, to suggest more is being discussed than things like 3-on-3 overtime and coach’s challenges.