Last week’s “check upstairs” gesture from Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid may have been the most emotion the youngster has shown all season long.
For those who missed it, McDavid ignited a mini-firestorm when he called out referees following the shootout winner against the Calgary Flames.
McDavid received a 10 minute misconduct for “abuse of an official” for his gesture and was clearly apologetic Earlier in the OT frame McDavid and broke in free on Flames goalie David Rittich, he was stopped but winger Ryan Strome managed to bury the rebound. The Rogers Place crowd jumped to their feet and McDavid’s Oilers teammates flooded onto the ice in celebration.
But HOLD ON just a moment… somehow, SOMEHOW, the on ice officials determined this play to be goalie interference. The refs argued that McDavid interfered with Rittich on the play and called the goal back. That set the stage for McDavid in the shootout and his goal celebration.
For what it’s worth, McDavid has apologized for his “controversial actions”, admitted that he regrets having called out the officials.
“Probably shouldn’t have done it obviously, but that’s the way it goes. I was frustrated,” McDavid explained. “I thought it wasn’t the right call. They’re just doing their job trying to do what’s best for the game and you don’t always have to agree with that.
This past weekend at the 2018 NHL All-Star Game, some of McDavid’s opponents admitted that they were surprised with McDavid’s actions. “He doesn’t do things like that,” one anonymous player said to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is no stranger to criticism himself. Sid the Kid earned a reputation early in his career as someone who would NEVER give the refs a break, so he understands exactly where McDavid’s frustration is coming from.
“As a player, you have a pretty good idea,” said Crosby relating to McDavid. “If you affect the goalie’s ability to make a save, it’s not going to be a goal. I think it’s been pretty consistent. It’s tough in the moment to understand that.”