Watching game #2 of the Stanley Cup Final last night I was struck again about the age old debate about calling penalties or “letting em play”. Don Cherry on HNiC complimented the officiating crew of Bill McCreary and Marc Joannette over and again about not calling the chintzy little penalties and letting them get some flow into the game. On most nights I agree with that but I can’t help but think about the Penguins.
I doubt Pittsburgh see’s it that way today. The go ahead goal in that game should never have been scored since Marian Hossa clearly was guilty of an obvious hooking call and Thomas Holmstrom was in the crease before the puck arrived. Pick either transgression and the bottom line is that goal should never have happened. A goal in the Final is worth about 25 goals in the regular season as far as importance is concerned. I doubt the Pens like this “let em play” philosophy.
I am sure they didn’t like it much in game #1 either when Henrik Zetterberg should have clearly been called for closing his hand on the puck in the crease. That should have been a Pittsburgh penalty shot. Either of those 2 goals could have changed the outcome of those games.
At the end of game #2 the little fracas between Evgeni Malkin and Zetterberg netted Malkin an late game instigator penalty which usually means an automatic 1 game suspension. That was quickly waived off by the league before any newspapers went to print last night. The NHL couldn’t get their decision out fast enough. Colin Campbell’s official response included the many criteria for the suspension and the repeated clarification that the automatic suspension can always be reviewed and rescinded and this one was. The rule is meant to stop teams from sending messages late in the game. The rule clearly is meant for role players and not star players. The other point missed is the match penalties to Zetterberg and Malkin. Neither had their tie downs done up which is an automatic match penalty.
So let’s review. Leaving the Zetterberg hand on the puck penalty from game #1 out of it, let’s just look at game #2. The officiating crew missed an obvious hook which led to a go ahead goal. The officiating crew missed the fact that Thomas Holmstrom was in the crease before the puck on that same goal. An Automatic suspension was lifted before the ink on the game sheet was even dry and 2 automatic match penalties went un-called. Is that really a good night of officiating?
If you are Detroit you have to be loving this “let em play”. If you are Pittsburgh you can’t hate it enough.
See you at the rink.