There has been a great deal of conversation about the recent Senators/Boston game in which the Bruins were awarded 4 power plays in the game and the Senators received none. Since there has never been an NHL game played in the history of hockey where one team didn't commit at least one foul, there can be only 3 reasons for this.
The officials had or have a personal axe to grind with the Senators or its GM or its coach or one, some or all of its players. The officials are not competent enough to call a game correctly or fairly. The third possibility is that the Boston Bruins are the cleanest team in the history of hockey and actually did not commit a single foul in that game. That seems completely unlikely since they do average more penalty minutes per game than any other team in the NHL. It also seems completely unlikely since there are TV cameras at the game. Those cameras caught Lucic hitting Condra from behind, Marchand chopping the stick out of Kuba's hand, Kelly hitting Neil in the neutral zone 40 feet away from the puck and Alfredsson being tripped 15 feet away from an official. Any one of the four were easy calls for any official to make.
Debating the reasons is a waste of time. What should be automatic from the NHL standpoint is, an automatic review of the officials performance on any night when one or both teams do not receive a penalty. As we all know there is no chance any team has or will ever play a foul free NHL game, so when no penalties are called, the officials should have to answer why they either did not see the infractions or chose not to call the infractions.
Ottawa fans are all churned up right now about this, but they are not alone. The New York Islanders have far more reason to be angry. In back to back games with the Leafs, the Islanders didn't receive a power play in either game. That's right, the Leafs played over 120 consecutive minutes of NHL hockey (one game went to overtime) without giving up a single power play. How is that possible? Its possible because of one of the 3 reasons stated at the top of the blog.
Recently former NHL ref Kerry Fraser wrote in his column on the TSN website that after reviewing the game he thought Boston in fact should be more upset than Ottawa since he spotted many more Senator's fouls which went uncalled. I am sure that is absolutely true, but that is a debate about quantity. My debate is about absence. The complete absence of the officials ability to see or willingness to call penalties on one team over another. I will not challenge Kerry on matters of officiating since his resume is long and mine is non-existent in this area, but I contend we have different arguments.
Refs are human and not robots. The are subject to anger, empathy, bias, contempt and vengeance just like any other human. I believe if you look at the way the Ottawa games have been officiated since coach Paul McLean publicly called out Dan O'Rourke after he called Erik Karlsson a "diver", you will see a pattern. Insult and dis-respect one ref, you disrespect and insult all of them and the brotherhood will make you pay for that. The NHL and every single ref will tell you they carry complete neutrality into every game. That is not possible nor reasonable to expect from any human.
The NHL should be very concerned each and every time any team in any game does not receive a single minor penalty. That is a clear indication there is something seriously wrong with the officiating job done that night.
See you at the rink.
(Note-before I get all the nit-picking comments, yes I am aware the Bruins did receive 2 fighting majors in the game. Neither produced a power play for either team.)