NOT PICTURED: Officials Stephane Auger and Dan O’Halloran acknowledge the crowd after being named the first stars of the night. (Photo credit: Andy Devlin)
It was a ridiculous night in sports: Winnipeg beat the Flyers 9-8, P.K. Subban dropped the gloves (and almost kayoes himself), and David Freese of the St. Louis Cardinals hit a walk-off homer to force a Game 7 in the World Series.
So when the Capitals were whistled for NINE penalties in two periods of play (four in the first, five in the second), it kinda went with the theme of the evening. One of those penalties, a Troy Brouwer hook, led to Edmonton’s game-winning goal. Goodbye, 82-0 season. Haha.
“You have to adjust when you’re out there,” a remarkably calm Bruce Boudreau explained after the game. “You have to know who the ref is. If they’re calling it loose… okay. But if they’re calling every little thing, it’s up to the players to be able to adjust to it. In the rulebook, they’re penalties. Some people call it. Some people don’t. You get to know pretty early if they’re calling it and who’s going to call what.”
Sure, I guess. Well, with the power of photo and video, let’s take a closer look at some of Auger and O’Halloran’s — um, brilliant — work from last night.
Karl Alzner’s Groin Gets Two Minutes For Holding The Stick
Karl Alzner probably squeezes his legs together a little at the end there. But is this really something that gets called while the the Capitals are already killing a penalty? Alzner took issue with the holding-the-stick call after the game and even admitted to The Washington Times that some of the penalties really got under the team’s skin. “I think we got a little bit too worked up there, yelling and screaming about the calls when there’s nothing you can do about them once they’re [made].”
Mojo Catches Puck, Underhand-Tosses it 60 Feet Down the Ice
Okay, so this was totally a penalty. Marcus Johansson closes his hand on the puck and then chucks it down the ice Jennie Finch-style. “I think some calls, like my call, was a stupid call,” he told Stephen Whyno. “At least some of us think some calls shouldn’t have been called, either. But it’s his decision, and we just didn’t have the bounces or the refs with us today.”
Maybe Marcus doesn’t completely understand the rule. One of his teammates admitted something similar a few weeks ago. At least his toss wasn’t as egregious as Alex Semin’s was four years ago. Back in a game against the Leafs, Sasha Minor actually tried to throw the puck into the net for a goal. Don’t believe me? There’s video. Look! He even went behind-the-back! Only Sasha…
No Call: Tomas Vokoun Gets Trampled During Oilers’ PP
Photo credit: Andy Devlin
After the Capitals managed to kill off one of Edmonton’s power plays in the second period, both Eric Belanger and Ryan Smyth fell on top of Tomas Vokoun in the crease. The puck was getting cleared out of the Capitals’ zone and had no impact on the game, but if the officials were calling everything, why was this ignored?
No Call: Alex Semin’s Stick Slashed In Half
[UPDATE: Readers dispute that the uncalled slash was against Backstrom. Can anyone confirm with --like-- evidence?]
RMNB commenter Joey G. has the floor: “The [refereeing] was absurd. Call it both ways. The slash on Semin’s stick shoulda put us up 5-3, with a pulled goalie 6-3. A definite goal. I give no credit to Edmonton for ‘Holding On.’ Caps took those kids on a roller coaster and well they didn’t throw up… this time.” Food for thought.
There were a few other penalties that bugged me– like the Matt Hendricks dive and the Semin hook. I didn’t fact-check this, but I’m sure Hendy has never taken a diving penalty in his life, and he certainly didn’t embellish falling to the ice last night. On Semin’s hook, he simply tapped a guy on the glove with the blade of his stick. While he should know better to have his stick there, it still was a nit-picky call.
Anything else I missed? And what is going on with NHL officiating right now?
Special thanks to Peter Robbio, who hooked us up with the video. Check out his hockey blog, Chirps From The Ledge. We’re regular readers, and you should be too.