NHL Week in Review (May 5-11)

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The Playoffs are in full swing with most of the first round finished and a few series coming down to the end. The first round has been an interesting one with plenty to watch and plenty of controversy to keep debates going. One of the biggest issues of the first round has been the involvement of the referees in the games. Referees have a very thankless job as when they do a good job on the ice nobody would ever really know as their best games are when they make no noise. The games where referees are very involved make controversy and ensure that they will be talked about for days. The playoffs have seen the referees enter into the conversation throughout the first round for something that has been an unwritten rule in the NHL for years. When the 2004-05 lockout finished the referees were given a new directive as they would be told to call everything that they saw. Instead of letting players hook and get in each other’s way the referees were told to let things open up and call a much tighter game. Even with this the playoffs seemed to be a return to the old ways of playing as the whistles would go away when the second season started. The same has been done this year in the playoffs as the referees have not been calling anything throughout the first round of the playoffs. Trips have been ignored and hooking has gone unpunished. Meanwhile the faceoff dot has been a place of hostility and certain calls have cost teams big games. This year the playoffs have seen one of the most annoying parts of the new NHL take hold of many series. The linesmen have control over the faceoff dot and when they feel someone is getting an unfair advantage they can throw the player out of the faceoff and start again. The rule is there to help keep the faceoffs clean but the problem is that every centreman in the NHL cheats at the faceoff dot. This can create very long faceoffs as multiple players can be thrown out multiple times especially when the linesmen continue to wait to drop the puck. It has become one of the most frustrating parts of the game for fans and it has had a major impact in many of the first round series. One of these was the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins series where the Leafs’ top faceoff man, Tyler Bozak, was thrown out of the faceoff circle multiple times leaving inexperienced players in the dot helping to lead to a loss for the Leafs. The problem also occurred during the Montreal and Ottawa series and many more leading many to wonder why the linesman have so much control over the flow and outcome of a game. The control over the outcome of a game does not end there though as the blown calls have grown over the first round. It is the lack of calls that have had the biggest impact as the referees have completely ignored penalties that could change a game. There have been plays were a tripping call would have ended the risk but with it not being called the team goes on to score a key goal. Games were someone has taken a dangerous hit and nothing has been done to stop or punish them until after the fact. The referees have had too big of an impact in the playoffs this year and it needs to change before the Stanley Cup Finals. The biggest problem is that they have called these penalties all year and like a switch being flipped the whistles are put away and force players to adjust to a completely new game. It is something that needs to be fixed as teams and players are losing games and series because they cannot adjust quick enough to a new set of rules which should not be the case. The referees will continue to have an impact this year as only one round of the playoffs are done and there are plenty more games and plenty more chances to come for the referees to make a major impact that they should not be able to make.

 

Overtime:
(Thoughts on the past week in the NHL)

Clear Message Sent
The Vancouver Canucks would go into the fourth game of their series down 3 games to none and would make a questionable decision starting Cory Crawford after a rough game 3 clearly telling everyone that Roberto Luongo does not have a place on the team anymore

Canadians Falling
No Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup since 1993 when the Montreal Canadiens took home the Cup and this year it seems no different as the Canucks and Canadiens were eliminated and the Maple Leafs in a tough spot possibly leaving only the Senators to carry the torch

The Hart Question
The Hart Trophy will come down to a player who played limited time and still dominated, a player who came alive only at the end of the season, and a player who was his team’s only bright spot as Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, and John Tavares were named as finalists for the league MVP

The OTs continue
With the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins entering overtime in Game 4 they became the last series to have an overtime game keeping the trend of teams giving their everything and playing very tight games

 

NHL Playoffs:

Eastern Conference:
Pittsburgh Penguins 4 – 2 New York Islanders
Game 1: Pit 5 – 0 NYI
Game 2: NYI 4 – 3 Pit
Game 3: Pit 5 – 4 NYI (OT)
Game 4: NYI 6 – 4 Pit
Game 5: Pit 4 – 0 NYI
Game 6: Pit 4 – 3 NYI (OT)

Montreal Canadiens 1 – 4 Ottawa Senators
Game 1: Ott 4 – 2 Mtl
Game 2: Mtl 3 – 1 Ott
Game 3: Ott 6 – 1 Mtl
Game 4: Ott 3 – 2 Mtl
Game 5: Ott 6 – 1 Mtl

Washington Capitals 3 – 2 New York Rangers
Game 1: Was 3 – 1 NYR
Game 2: Was 1 – 0 NYR (OT)
Game 3: NYR 4 – 3 Was
Game 4: NYR 4 – 3 Was
Game 5: Was 2 – 1 NYR (OT)
Game 6: Was @ NYR (Sunday May 12th; 4:30 pm ET)
Game 7: NYR @ Was (Monday May 13th; 8:00 pm ET)

Boston Bruins 3 – 2 Toronto Maple Leafs
Game 1: Bos 4 – 1 Tor
Game 2: Tor 4 – 2 Bos
Game 3: Bos 5 – 2 Tor
Game 4: Bos 4 – 3 Tor (OT)
Game 5: Tor 2 – 1 Bos
Game 6: Bos @ Tor (Sunday May 12th; 7:30 pm ET)
Game 7: Tor @ Bos (Monday May 13th; 7:00 pm ET)

 

Western Conference:
Chicago Blackhawks 4 – 1 Minnesota Wild
Game 1: Chi 2 – 1 Min (OT)
Game 2: Chi 5 – 2 Min
Game 3: Min 3 – 2 Chi
Game 4: Chi 3 – 0 Min
Game 5: Chi 3 – 1 Min

Anaheim Ducks 3 – 3 Detroit Red Wings
Game 1: Ana 3 – 1 Det
Game 2: Det 5 – 4 Ana (OT)
Game 3: Ana 4 – 0 Det
Game 4: Det 3 – 2 Ana (OT)
Game 5: Ana 3 – 2 Det (OT)
Game 6: Det 4 – 3 Ana (OT)
Game 7: Det @ Ana (Sunday May 12th; 10:00 pm ET)

Vancouver Canucks 0 – 4 San Jose Sharks
Game 1: SJS 3 – 1 Van
Game 2: SJS 3 – 2 Van (OT)
Game 3: SJS 5 – 2 Van
Game 4: SJS 4 – 3 Van (OT)

St. Louis Blues 2 – 4 Los Angeles Kings
Game 1: STL 2 – 1 LAK (OT)
Game 2: STL 2 – 1 LAK
Game 3: LAK 1 – 0 STL
Game 4: LAK 4 – 3 STL
Game 5: LAK 3 – 2 STL (OT)
Game 6: LAK 2 – 1 STL

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