When both the Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets moved on to the third round of the postseason to face off in the Western Conference finals, fans in the National Hockey League were excited by the prospect of a fast, intense and hard-hitting series. They were right: both teams have been fighting hard to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, however, the focus has gone from the players to the officials after a pivotal Game 4 in Sin City.
Sin City indeed it seems, now that people all across the Globe are calling out the referees in the most controversial series of the postseason. The first goal of the fourth contest of the series came from the Golden Knights during a power-play that took place after Jets defenseman Tyler Myers were questionably sent off for inference after he was supposedly caught for cross-checking rival player Ryan Carpenter. The giant defender was furious after the game, especially seeing that a similar call should have been made on Brayden McNabb in the third period, when he clearly cross-checked star forward Mark Scheifele, who was seen with dripping blood on his nose after the play. The issue is that because the referees did not call the McNabb penalty, Scheifele felt the need to respond and was sent to the penalty box for slashing McNabb in frustration.
It seems almost obvious that the officials are somewhat bias for the Golden Knights.
“It was a bullshit, weak call. They were whistle happy at the start, then they put them away in the third. It didn’t change the outcome of the game, but it’s hard to play when you don’t know [the line," said Myers to TSN after the contest.
“For the last 5 periods, we’ve been the better team.”
Former NHLer Dave Poulin, now an analyst on TSN, tried to explain the controversial calls after the contest, though he is questioning the reasoning behind the referees' decision as he watched the cross-check on Scheifele.
"Now that is a cross-check, he gets his stick in his face. Scheifele turns around furious because he is looking right at the referee, who doesn't have his hand up in the air for a penalty call. He ends up with a big cut on his nose from the check, it just have been arguably four minutes for drawing blood from McNabb, and had the referee's arm been up, then Scheifele doesn't turn around and slash him," explained Poulin while looking at the replay.
"It's hard at the start of the game, the penalty Myers is referring to, it's really hard to know how it is going to be called, refs change from game to game. But within a game, there is a different ref at each end of the ice, and I think it was a factor..."
Many fans are asking for the League to come up with an explanation. However, let's be honest, it's a bit too late for that...