Sometimes it feels like NHL officials wave off the adage “Two wrongs make a right.”
You could argue that two calls from the third period of Game 4 of Blues – Predators (which Nashville ultimately won 2-1, taking a 3-1 series lead) were especially … debatable.
The first came during a skirmish. Rather than two roughing penalties canceling each other out, officials handed minor penalties to two Blues (Ryan Reaves, Joel Edmundson) and one Predators player (Cody McLeod). See video of that exchange above the headline.
A minute after that curious call, things “evened up.” Edmundson delivered a questionable hit up high on P.K. Subban, who reacted in pain. Apparently that “reaction” was, oddly, enough justification for an embellishment penalty.
Some wonder if the NHL’s sending a strange message in – directly or not – equating a hit up high to allegedly bringing attention to such a blow. Perhaps not the best look a night after the controversial hit on Sidney Crosby, which will not inspire supplemental discipline.
It’s likely that Blues fans are more upset with officiating being that a) Nashville scored on the power play b) the next exchange resulted in corresponding minors rather than a man advantage and c) St. Louis lost.
There are also some who maybe believe that Subban was guilty of embellishment.
Still, the consensus is that one or more of those calls were highly questionable. It’s also probable that hockey fans aren’t universally happy with officiating on any night.
Even so, moments like these shine a bright light on areas where the league can improve. Sometimes the message is fuzzy and sometimes there’s a lack of any message at all.
Here’s hoping that an even bigger game doesn’t hinge on what often comes down to a judgment call.