Monday, March 30, 2009

Penguins 4, Rangers 3

Ugh. This game made me hate hockey. No, this game made me hate the NHL. I am tired of this crap. Even the people in Mellon Arena with me knew that these were egregious calls. I'm torn on blogging about this game, because I hate to come out of a game and write about nothing but the officiating, but I can't talk about this game and not talk about the officiating. Lately, I've been watching a lot of hockey and calling the officiating bad. I don't mean "biased against the Rangers" when I say that, I just mean "obviously arbitrary." Games are generally officiated by people who know the rules but do not understand them, so terrible calls happen all over, some against us, some for us. We've come out on top due to these kinds of calls, and we've come out the losers sometimes, too.

Saturday was different. Saturday, after 10 minutes of sloppy play from the Rangers, we fought as hard as we could, played the best game we could play. So did the Pens (though they remembered to start when the game did). Then the officials obviously, embarrassingly took the game away. On multiple occasions. This shit ruins the sport, and I had to sit there and watch it happen. This is not to take anything away from the Penguins - they played a fantastic game through 60 minutes, and they could absolutely have won this, in regulation. But they didn't have to - the stripes handed it to them. We'll never know who should have won this game - I'm not necessarily claiming it's the Rangers. But I wish we could say for sure. I'd much rather have come out of this game saying "damn it, we got beat by a slightly better team again, I fucking hate these guys" than this. This ruins the sport.

We were penalized over the final 25 minutes of the game 7 times to their 2, and so many Penguin penalties were ignored in plain sight of the referees that I could not fucking hell, I can't even go into this. I'm so fucking disgusted. We played a good game!! Ugh. Fuck it. Here's Larry Brooks's article. Here's Michael Obernauer's. My dad made a list in a diatribe he launched at a Penguin fan friend of his this morning - I'm just gonna reprint his list here. It's as good as any I would make, but I don't have to suffer through making it. Ladies and gentlemen, my dad:

- Rangers forced to play with 4 for the 1st quarter of the 3rd on a terrible call against Orr. PLEASE watch the replay. It was a CLEAN HIT, from the side. The Pen, turned, and (taking a cue from Crosbaby, I guess), ducked and put himself into position for his face to hit the riser. Not a penalty at all, unless they want to turn the NHL into the Ice-Capades (which, I’m sure would suit Crosbaby just fine). And then they call it a Major, and Game Misconduct?! For what?!
You know – and they know - how much that scenario tires out a team, giving much more than just the 5-minute advantage to the Pens. The fact that they called a bogus 2-minute minor against the Pens right after that tells you that they knew they blew it, and this was their (weak) attempt at the standard "make-up call."

- Girardi with the puck at his own goal line, killing a penalty. Pen forechecks, he mises the puck, his stickblade gets caught in Girardi’s skate, yanking him down. Ref, watching the play, is 8 feet away, calls nothing.

- Drury, at blue line without puck, gets run into by Pen & bumped away from the play. Continuation of same play, Antropov is skating in same area, bumps into same Pen, Pen falls down. Ref, watching entire thing from 6 feet away, calls Antropov for Interference.

- Fleury handles puck outside trapezoid while being forechecked by Dubinsky. This is an "automatic", just like shooting the puck over the glass in your own end. Ref is there, watching from about 10 feet away. No call. Not only did the replay clearly show this should have been a penalty, but my son [Ed. Note: That's me!] was sitting up behind the goal, and he (and the Pens fans surrounding him *) saw ample white ice between the trapezoid and the puck while it was on Fleury’s stick.

- Antropov skating with the puck from blue line to red line, Pen forechecks from behind, knocks Antoprov’s skates out from under him (without touching the puck), Antropov falls & loses the puck. No other players nearby, ref is watching from 15 feet away. No call.

- Fleury covers up, a few players scrumming around the net. Some pushing & shoving. 5 seconds after it stops, Malkin – who was not involved - skates in from the faceoff circle, comes up behind Callahan, & lays a 2-hand with-stick crosscheck across Callahan’s lower back, dropping him to the ice. Refs see this, glide in & hold them apart (while Callahan gets up), no call.

Goddamn it. I have no idea how to get ready for tonight's game, fearing this kind of treatment. As Brooks said, "The Rangers' 4-3 defeat to the Penguins here yesterday afternoon was painful, but the unequal treatment under the law...received from the refereeing tandem of Dave Jackson and Steve Kozari raises questions far more profound than whether the Blueshirts will qualify for the playoffs."

Let's Go Justice?

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