Last night’s Game 5 contest between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Washington Capitals was an intense one, especially in the first period when the Bolts did not waste time scoring and ended up beating the Caps 3-2 to take the lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.
While the series was indeed intense, you better believe it also came with a load of controversy. During the second game of the third round series, Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman was involved in a questionable penalty that the referees probably now regret calling on the ice.
With the game tied 1-1 early in the first period, Hedman found himself battling Caps forward T.J. Oshie as the two were tracking the puck flying the air. Oshie’s stick did get up a little high to try and knock the puck down, but it wasn’t his stick that wound up striking Hedman in the face, as the puck hit him in the face…
Check out the play in the video here below:
However, the officials only saw Hedman’s reaction and Oshie’s high stick and decided to call a penalty on the Capitals forward.
On Sunday afternoon, controversial host and former National Hockey League head coach Don Cherry demanded that the referee have a change in equipment in order to prevent wrong calls like this to take place.
“They should have a little bug put in their ear, so they know the same thing - why shouldn’t the referees know the same thing as people in the stands knew?” Grapes commented during the first intermission of the Winnipeg Jets and Vegas Golden Knights game on Coach’s Corner.
“They were the only ones who did know that Hedman was hit in the face by the puck! Put a little bug in their ear, and it will work every time!”
His co-host Ron MacLean agreed with Cherry's solution, saying he liked the idea.
However, Lightning fans and pundits were quick to get the rulebook out and mentioned that even if Oshie's stick did not hit Hedman's face, it remained a high-stick penalty. According to the rule, Oshie's stick made contact with Hedman's glove, which was above his shoulders, and that contact constitutes high-sticking, as reported by the Lightning Journal.
"Any contact made by a stick on an opponent above the shoulders is prohibited and a minor penalty shall be imposed," reads NHL Rule 60.2, concerning high-sticking.
Where do you stand on this?