Saturday, December 09, 2006

7th Time Unlucky

Well, down 2-0 to Dominik Hasek and the Red Wings so I think anyone can predict the outcome once tonight's 60 minutes have ended. However, the Leafs have not been the worst team on the ice. That dubious honour goes to the atrocious referees, Dennis LaRue and Brad Meier.

So far, in one period they have called a hook on Matt Stajan for lifting the stick. On that powerplay Chad Kilger got tripped with no call on the play and after the goal he got two minutes for complaining. This, one night after Peter Schaeffer received no penalty for waving a towel on the end of his stick. How Stephen Wolkom can say that his referees are instructed to ignore any shows of disrespect from the bench is beyond me. So instead of nullifying a Red Wing powerplay they blow the call AND give them another powerplay right away. That is clearly a malicious call because the right call (the one that usually gets mad) is a ten minute misconduct. Don Cherry was upset during Coach's Corner.

Most will argue that these are just the rumblings of an irate Leafs fan but the truth is that the wildly inconsistent refereeing has been a problem in every game I have watched and for every team. All 30 teams are suffering from the ineptness of the NHL's officials. And that is before you bring up how on earth Colin Campbell can explain that AO did not get suspended because he is a star. The level of craptitude shown by the NHL has started to ruin the game for me and I understand how lifelong fans can just stop watching: it is becoming farcical.

Update: In a game that made the last four Bruins games look interesting by contrast the Leafs ended up losing 5-1 to the Detroit Red Wings powerplay. This game was a perfect illustration of what happens when traditional rivals play twice over three years. Neither team played particularly well, the Detroit crowd was so dead that you could hear the coaches yelling at some points, and Detroit's powerplay was 5 for 13. Ridiculous. On the bright side, Ottawa lost 3-1 to the Rangers so it's a sad day in the Battle of Ontario.

The senators look to use their game in hand to move above the Leafs on points and not goal differential. The teams behind both squads are winning their games in hand so the sens will be looking to stay above the pack. Go Blue Jackets!

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