Anyone who watched yesterday evening’s Game 2 action between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning, even the biggest Lightning fan in the world, could see the NHL’s officiating bias on full display.
The Lightning managed to best the Bruins 4-2, evening the series at one game apiece, but man oh man did they get some help in doing so.
In the words of NBC analyst and former NHL superstar Jeremy Roenick, the referees missed calls were “unacceptable”, and “too inconsistent”, Roenick then carved the officials saying, that they have “got to be better, and if they don’t there’s going to be a lot of complaining and not just on the ice.”
Amen, JR. Amen.
For what it’s worth, the Bruins voiced their displeasure at the officiating but made a point of treading lightly as the NHL has been known to fine its players and coaches for being overly critical of league officials.
Let’s be clear… bad calls happen. It’s part of the game and you can’t use the referees as an excuse for losing. Still when perhaps the most dangerous man on the ice, Bruins forward Brad Marchand, is BLATANTLY slashed in the hands while on a breakaway… you expect a call.
In the words of Roenick:
"Then in the third period [the Bruins] have a chance with the most dangerous player on the ice to score a goal and tie it, and the slash is right on the hands to the most dangerous player on the ice on Marchand. That’s not a slash? That’s the definition of the new slashing rule.”
I mean… COME ON:
“He slashed him right on the hands," said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy after the game. "I just think it’s unacceptable to miss that call. It’s right on the hands, so that should be automatic. It’s one thing if it’s a judgment call on the stick, but that one was on the hands . . . When it clearly hits him on the hands and then he clearly loses possession of the puck, then that should be an infraction.”
“That’s a play that they called earlier in the game, and what they’ve called all year . . . a slash up on the hands,” said Marchand. “That’s an automatic penalty shot, let alone a penalty."
Once again… amen. Here’s hoping the NHL officials get their act together for Games 3 and 4 back in Boston.