Game vs. Caps
Let me take off my reporter's cap for one second and talk as a fan of the game, because I believe what we saw in Thursday night's game is one of the issues the NHL must confront to make the game better.
I thought that game was one of the worst officiated I have ever seen. For the referees to impose themselves into a game so late in the third period showed, at best, poor judgment. At worst it showed lack of understanding of the pace and essence of the game. It is one thing to call penalties that are legitimate but to put the Lightning down five-to-three in the game's last minute (it turned into a six-on-three when the goalie was pulled) but the calls that were made were not within the spirit of the game.
Cory Sarich's delay of game penalty and, especially, Eric Perrin's hooking call, were almost non-existent. Call Sarich if you must, but to put Tampa Bay two men down with a ticky-tack call against Perrin was bad, I thought.
The referees then made themselves look worse by calling an obvious makeup penalty in the overtime against Washington's Brian Sutherby, who we're still not sure even touched a Lightning player. It was clear he did NOTHING to warrant a penalty.
Let's let the guys battle a little bit, especially late in a close game. That is the essence of the game. That is what people want to see. No wonder some players are shying away from physical contact. No wonder Lightning coach John Tortorella has called the game one for "gentlemen.'' Let the players decide games. Let the players play. It is unforgivable when referees decide games. Had the Capitals won in overtime of the shootout, that is what would have been the case.
Give the referees in this one a big fat F.