Competition Committee: Embellishment is ‘out of control’

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The NHL’s Competition Committee met for five hours on Monday, yet they didn’t come to a consensus on many major issues. There was one key exception, though: the league clearly wants to cut down on embellishment.

“We feel (embellishment) is out of control,” Campbell said, according to the Canadian Press’ Stephen Whyno.

There certainly were some high-profile moments of perceived “diving” in Game 2 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, particularly in an unusually penalty-heavy overtime. Many were unhappy about a penalty Rick Nash drew on Justin Williams and an interference call Jeff Carter received on Henrik Lundqvist.

Beyond that recent example, few playoff series go by without a fan base accusing the opposing teams of rampant embellishment.

The Competition Committee’s big twist is that punishments might not just extend to players, but the coaches/teams involved, as well.

Of course, some would argue that players might feel the need to “act” a bit to draw obstruction penalties that normally go unnoticed. There weren’t any reports about increasing awareness of “clutch and grab” infractions during those meetings, however.

Naturally, any changes stemming from this meeting would need to pass through some hoops before they become new or altered rules.

Stay tuned for more on that lengthy meeting, from marginal tweaks on existing rules to everyone’s favorite subject of goalie interference.

Vigneault spoke to NHL about Game 2’s non-interference call

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Following Saturday’s Game 2 OT loss, Alain Vigneault was asked if Dwight King interfered with Henrik Lundqivst on the 4-3 goal, to which Vigneault replied “ask the NHL.”

Apparently, the coach took his own advice.

Vigneault confirmed on Monday that he spoke with the league about the incident, but wasn’t revealing any details. From today’s transcript:

Q. Did you have any more communication with the League about the Dwight King goal?

COACH VIGNEAULT: Yeah, I did. It will just be between me and the League.

Here’s the play in question:

Vigneault was upset, but much less verbose than his goalie.

“I’m extremely disappointed on that call or non-call,” an irate Lundqvist said following the game. “They got to be consistent with that rule. We, in the second period get called for a penalty and the puck is not even there. They score a goal and I can’t even move.

“It’s extremely frustrating for them to get life like that. After that, it’s a different game. I don’t expect a penalty on the play but they need to blow the whistle. A goalie can’t move when you have a guy like that on top of you. It’s such an important play of that game.”

As Lundqvist mentioned, the goal came after the Rangers were whistled for a second-period goalie interference call when Benoit Pouliot tangled with Jonathan Quick. In light of that, it’s worth mentioning that Lundqvist did draw a goalie interference penalty during the first overtime session after he got clipped by L.A. forward Jeff Carter:

That call wasn’t enough to appease King Henrik, however, as he continued to take issue not just with the non-call, but the explanation for the decision as well.

“[The ref] said the puck had already passed me. I don’t buy it,” Lundqvist said. “That’s a wrist shot, that I’m just going to reach out for and I can’t move.

“It’s a different game after that. It’s such an important play in the game.”

Get your game notes: Kings at Rangers

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the New York Rangers hosting the Los Angeles Kings at 8 p.m. ET in the third game of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Since the Stanley Cup Final went to seven games in 1939, the team that has taken a 2-0 series lead has gone on to win 43 of 48 series (90%), most recently Los Angeles in 2012. The team that swept Games 1 and 2 on home ice has won 32 of 35 series (91%). However, two of the three teams that lost the first two games on the road and rebounded to win the series came in the last five years: the 2009 Penguins and 2011 Bruins. (The third team to come back was the 1971 Canadiens.)

• The Rangers will host a Stanley Cup Final game for the first time since clinching their fourth-ever title on June 14, 1994. This postseason, they have scored 23 goals in 10 home games. Only Detroit (1.00 goals/gm) has scored fewer goals per game at home these playoffs than the Rangers (2.30). Only one forward line (Carl Hagelin – Brad Richards – Martin St. Louis) has provided a consistent scoring punch at home.

source:

• The Kings have not held an in-game lead since Game 6 of the Western Conference Final (229:15 of official ice time), yet have won three straight games. (The Kings lost the last two games in which they led, in Games 5 and 6 of the Western Conference Final vs. CHI). According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Kings’ 5-4 double-overtime win over the Rangers in Game 2 marked…
—– the first time in Stanley Cup Final history that a team held a 2-0 series lead after not holding an in-game lead in either of the first two games,
—– the first time in Stanley Cup playoff history that a team won three consecutive games in which they trailed by two or more goals,
—– the third time in Stanley Cup Final history a team won consecutive games in which they trailed by at least two goals (Red Wings vs. NYR – Gms. 6 and 7, 1950; Flyers vs. EDM – Gms. 5 and 6, 1987),
—– the fifth time the Kings fell behind 2-0 in their last nine games (in those games, they are 4-1),
—– the Kings’ fourth multi-goal comeback win this postseason, the most by any team in one playoff year since 1987 (Flyers – 5), and
—– the Kings’ seventh comeback win of any margin this postseason, the most in the playoffs.

• Kings winger Justin Williams (8-15—23) continued his offensive tear with three assists in Game 2 to move into a tie for second in playoff scoring with teammate Jeff Carter (9-14—23), right behind Anze Kopitar, 25 points (5-20—25). This postseason, the Kings are 12-2 when Williams registers a point (2-7 when he does not have a point), and 7-0 when he registers two or more points.

• Kings winger Marian Gaborik scored his playoff-leading 13th goal to tie the game at four in the third period. Gaborik, who needs two goals to match Wayne Gretzky’s franchise record for goals in a playoff year (15 in 1993), established a club record with 11 even-strength goals in a playoff year. It is the most by any player since Colorado’s Joe Sakic scored 12 goals at even strength in 1996.

• Kings defenseman Drew Doughty led all players in Game 2 with a career-high 41:41 time on ice. Only one skater, Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, has registered more time on ice in a game this postseason (44:08 in Game 1 of first-round series vs. Chicago) Doughty, the playoffs leader in points among defensemen (5-12—17) had no points or shots on goal, but registered two hits and two blocked shots.

• Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Final went to overtime for the third straight year, and fifth time in NHL history (1946, 1951, 2012-14). Only once, in 1951, have at least the first three games of the Cup Final gone to OT. That season, all five games between Toronto and Montreal went past regulation; the Maple Leafs won that series, four-games-to-one.

Lundqvist ‘extremely disappointed’ with non-interference call

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LOS ANGELES — In news that comes as no surprise, Henrik Lundqvist still doesn’t agree with the decision that led to Dwight King’s 4-3 goal in tonight’s overtime loss to Los Angeles.

“I’m extremely disappointed on that call or non-call,” an irate Lundqvist said following the game. “They got to be consistent with that rule. We, in the second period get called for a penalty and the puck is not even there. They score a goal and I can’t even move.

“It’s extremely frustrating for them to get life like that. After that, it’s a different game. I don’t expect a penalty on the play but they need to blow the whistle. A goalie can’t move when you have a guy like that on top of you. It’s such an important play of that game.”

Here’s the play in question:

As Lundqvist mentioned, the goal came after the Rangers were whistled for a second-period goalie interference call when Benoit Pouliot tangled with Jonathan Quick. In light of that, it’s worth mentioning that Lundqvist did draw a goalie interference penalty during the first overtime session after he got clipped by L.A. forward Jeff Carter:

As for the King goal, Lundqvist wasn’t buying the explanation given as to why the marker stood.

“[The ref] said the puck had already passed me. I don’t buy it,” Lundqvist said. “That’s a wrist shot, that I’m just going to reach out for and I can’t move. It’s a different game after that. It’s such an important play in the game.”

Alain Vigneault was even more terse in talking about the goal. When asked if he thought King was guilty of interference, the Rangers coach replied bluntly:

“Ask the NHL.”

 

Video: McDonagh has an eventful first period

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The level of play was close in the first period of Game 2, yet Henrik Lundqvist and Ryan McDonagh ultimately made the biggest difference in giving the New York Rangers a 2-0 lead.

While Lundqvist thwarted the Los Angeles Kings on some big chances (at least when the Kings weren’t missing the net), McDonagh’s been all over the place.

Most noticeably, he gave the Rangers yet another 1-0 lead:

The 24-year-old was pretty nasty at times, leaving Jeff Carter banged up with a clean enough hit but drawing a two-minute minor for retaliating against Dustin Brown:

McDonagh bounced back after that, assisting on Mats Zuccarello’s 2-0 tally (the first goal by a Norwegian-born player in a Stanley Cup Final contest):

This is the 15th time the Rangers have scored first in 22 playoff games. So far they’re 10-4 in those contests. McDonagh played a big role in making that happen.