The Stanley Cup playoffs bring out the best of the hockey world with passionate play, incredible comebacks and thrilling overtimes. But it also brings out the absolute worst in hockey, too.
What’s with all the whining? I understand players, coaches and GMs are attempting to take the media pressure of their players and direct attention to another area, but it’s getting tiring. And it’s also not just in the media, but on the ice after a blatantly obvious infraction - heck, sometimes guys are too busy holding their arms up in the air in protest to touch the puck for a whistle.
Mike Richards saying the Sabres got away with murder after he ran a player from behind (deserving of a penalty, but not a suspension) is annoying. Mike Gillis blaming the officiating for blowing a 3-0 series lead is silly. The Ducks calling the Predators divers is childish.
If the Sharks lost Game 6 Monday night after Jamie McGinn was given a five-minute major for charging it would surely have been the officials’ fault. But because the Sharks won we’ll hear nothing about it.
But we should hear something about it because the Sharks displayed why series are decided by teams and not referees. Despite being put in a hole late in the game, the Sharks fought through the penalty kill and managed to win it themselves in overtime.
It’s good to see a team put up a fight like that to win a series – especially one that has failed in the playoffs so many times before. Winning like that is always better than winning off a power play goal.
Remember, it isn’t the referee’s fault your team lost. Everyone has calls go against them at some point, but what separates the contenders from the pretenders is their ability to overcome.
GREAT CHARGING CALL
Cheers to referee Dan O’Halloran for making that great call against McGinn. Amidst all the debate about head shots it’s forgotten that almost all these head injuries result from plays that are already against the rules.
McGinn undoubtedly charged his opponent and was assessed five minutes for it. That type of charge isn’t called regularly enough at the NHL level, but it’s one of the most dangerous plays out there. Let’s just hope we start to see it called more consistently or complaints will come down.
I’m against a silly head-shot rule, but I’m all for calling the rules in the rulebook as they currently stand and there was absolutely no avoiding this one. There’s playing aggressive and hard and then there’s playing foolish. What was McGinn doing?
The right call (and a gusty call) was made, but no suspension is necessary. Why does every big hit lead to calls for a suspension nowadays? Suspensions are for the most egregious of acts, not every time the boards shake.
STARTING SCHNEIDER WAS THE RIGHT CALL
When I suggested Saturday the Vancouver Canucks start Cory Schneider for Game 6 I thought it was a no-brainer, but a roster move that was so risky and based in fantasy that coach Alain Vigneault wouldn’t actually do it.
Looks like great minds think alike.
But the aftermath has been crazy. Goalie controversy? Shaken confidence from Roberto Luongo? Hardly. The only goalie controversy here is in the minds of those who want to create one.
Prior to the game in Chicago, Vigneault told Luongo he would either be starting Game 7 or Game 1 of Round 2, so this was just a one-game thing. Yes, it probably hurt his pride a little, but it will make him as hungry as ever to beat the Hawks. Did it put more pressure on Luongo now? Absolutely not: Luongo couldn’t have been under more pressure than he was before Game 6.
Justin Bourne wrote a blog for us yesterday on why starting Schneider was a bad move. Some of the commenters suggested I should be eating crow for my call on the weekend, but I don’t understand why. What exactly about that decision failed? Schneider had a couple puck-handling miscues, but he played very well (better than Luongo had been playing) until a freak injury ended his night and threw a bit of a wrench into the plan.
Nothing that happened in Game 6 made me second-guess my stance. It was the right move for that one game.
Rory Boylen is TheHockeyNews.com's web editor. His blog appears regularly only on THN.com.
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