It’s pretty obvious. Goaltender Martin Biron has his stick deliberately trapped against the wall by a Penguin, ref not ten feet away and staring straight at it, and has to go back to the net empty-handed. A few seconds later, of course the puck is in the net. No interference call? That sucks, but the NHL is infamous for the worst officiating of all the major American professional sports.
Minutes later, Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is behind his net, and when a Flyer taps him while trying to avoid him, it’s a tripping penalty (worthy of an Oscar).
In the last two minutes of the first period the Penguins are finally called for their very first penalty. The color announcer has the shear chutzpa to make a sideways remark about the consistency of the officiating – but implies that the Penguins are getting the short end of the stick. Hello? Are you watching the same game I am? The play by play announcer was silent for a moment. I think his head asploded, and it took a few minutes to recover. In my mind, I can just see the blank, blinking face, trying desperately to process the stoopid.
I hate whiny fans. I’ve never been a fan of NHL officiating, and it’s never ever been worth a shit, but I’ve always felt it was fairly not worth a shit. If the officials are neutrally crappy, then they become like a chip in the ice, a pain in all asses equally, and I’ve always felt the NHL officials were just that – neutrally crappy.
I’ve changed my mind. Put me with the whiny fans. The NHL should change its name to “Pittsburgh Hockey Business Association”, or do the fake wrestling thing and run with “National Hockey Entertainment”. It’s been rumored that the NHL will make sure the young Pittsburgh phenom Sidney Crosby is in the cup round in order to sell more tickets, but I hadn’t given that rumor much credence until today.
The Flyers are down 3 games to 1, as they’ve been without both of their top defensemen since game one. Their number one defenseman, Kimmo Timonen, is back today. They’re down two three four five goals to none in this game, and if they don’t win, they’re done. It’ll be damned near impossible to win this, given that they have to play against the Penguins and the NHL, so here’s my thinking about the situation: they’re going to screw you, screw them back. Just start ending officiating careers. Check the zebras right into the emergency room and go drink some beer.
Further update: The Flyers put one in, and damn if the officials didn’t call it off. No goal, for no apparent reason. Fuck ‘em. Up.
Final Update: Well the final score was 6-0. They’re certainly being more generous and sportsmanlike about it over at The700Level than I can be right now. There’s plenty of reason for optimism for next season, but I’m not there yet. I’m still pouting and bitching like a scorned school-boy. Maybe I’ll feel better next week. Maybe I’ll feel better when the Detroit Red Wings kick the crap out of the Penguins. (The Wings are up 3 games to 2 in their series against the Dallas Stars.) Or maybe I just need to kick someone in the shin.
From whence came the art:
I fixed that ref’s uniform for the NHL. They needn’t thank me.