Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dem's Da Breaks

Game 7 - Capitals 2, Flyers/NHL Officiating 3 OT - PHI wins 4-3
Scoresheet - Wash Post - Wash Times - Philly.com

It wasn't suppose to end like this. The Referees weren't supposed to be a factor in a pivotal game seven. A obvious goaltender interference missed. And, in the end the better team lost. The Flyers were on the ropes, both in the third and in overtime. The officiating just needed to keep it fair. To bad it wasn't.

Patrick Thoresen shoved Shaone Morrisonn into Cris Huet and Sami Kapanen threw the puck into an empty net, giving the Flyers the 2-1 lead. But no goaltender interference was called. The NHL explained: "Thoresen legally body checked Morrisonn and no Philadelphia player made contact with Huet."

Um, Ok. Isn't that the definition of interference when a player checks another into the goaltender? In a series that had 5 goaltender interference calls, why all of a sudden stop calling them? What is going on here? Then are you saying that Viktor Kozlov's is now not considered goaltender interference? Enter expletives here, because the Koharski and Devorski totally fouled up this call.

Now the trip by Tom Poti was a penalty, but called by the wrong official. The trailing official, in this case Devorski, called the penalty. He was the trailing referee and was behind the play. It was Koharski's call as lead official who had just happen to be looking right at the play and didn't call the penalty.

Funny how none of the Flyers were called for much of the same infractions that had the Caps sitting in the box. But hey, that is why I don't wear the stripes. After the game and the handshake Scott Hartnell skated over and waved cheerfully at the officials or at the fans. I wasn't sure if he was thanking the referees or antagonizing the crowd, either way it was a pretty classless thing to do.

All of that aside, the Caps just couldn't score in the third and the beginning of overtime. It was one of the most entertaining periods as the Caps pressed. Clearly the Capitals were in command, they were moving the puck, the Flyers looked tired and were standing around. But all of that hard work did not yield a goal.

Nick Backstrom scored his 4th playoff goal and Alex Ovechkin was able to tie the game on a wicked slapshot that Marty Biron never saw. Eric Fehr played one of the best hockey games I have seen him play in the NHL. He had a few opportunities to score. Boyd Gordon had a great series, so did John Erskine, Donald Brashear, Dave Steckel and of course Alex Semin.

Credit Marty Biron, he had to be good for the Flyers to even have a chance. And he kept them in it until the end. For a good part of the game the Philly squad were on their heels. Better to be lucky than good, I guess. They had turned over so many pucks in the third period off of an aggressive Capital forecheck, they could have opened a bakery (and sell turnovers). They should consider themselves very, very, very lucky they wrangled that rebound in overtime.

It's not the way this season should have ended for the Washington Capitals. But we, Caps fans, have nothing to be sad about. Alex Ovechkin lead the league in goals and points and will be the NHL's MVP. The Caps came from last place to finish first in the Southeast. When the series was down to 3-1, the Caps came roaring back. It should have been a story book ending, and in many ways it was. It could be argued that they had no business being in the playoffs or in game seven of the series. But they were there, and boy, they were spectacular.

Don't worry Caps fans, the sun will come up tomorrow. This summer will be quick. And I can't wait to see the encore of a season next year. Now they do have the experience. Now they will have some hunger to do more. Just like Ovie said, "It's not over."


Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting all of my feelings into words when I could not.

asnowballschance said...

I'm a bit upset but not devastated. I had a feeling that this particular series would go the distance and not finish in our favor. I don't want to dwell on "what ifs" or "should haves" but on what this Caps team accomplished. Left for dead in November to make the playoffs as a Division Champion is quite a feat. Ovie & Olie set records & milestones. We have a young core to build around and next year looks very bright as long as management tweaks a few positions on the roster as well as signing our late season acquisitions, we shall be fine. GO CAPS GO!

Anonymous said...

I feel quite naked without my Caps-supporting playoff beard this morning...but alas, I will survive (my boss is happy).

And while it's being said by all, it really does feel like the beginning of something huge...perenial contender. The NHL needs a new dynasty. I know just the team...


Anonymous said...

The NHL Rule 78 states:
"If an attacking player initiates contact with a goalkeeper, incidental or otherwise, while the goalkeeper is in his goal crease, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed."

Initiate according to Merriam Webster:
to cause or facilitate the beginning of.

Me thinks Morrison didn't INITIATE the contact. Toheresen did.

Anonymous said...

"Isn't that the definition of interference when a player checks another into the goaltender?"

No, it isn't. I've seen plenty of NHL games where goalies have made stops and then been run into and shoved into the net AND THE GOAL COUNTS. It happens, it sucks. I've even seen it happen to the Flyers.

If you want to blame anyone about the loss, talk to Tom Poti.

Garrett said...

Having a chance (finally) to watch the tivo recording, I have an inkling of why the League may have ruled like it did. Although, I still think they are wrong.

Morrisonn played the puck. Actually he slapped it out of the slot, he did not have control of the puck. Apparently that makes him "fair game" for Thoresen to hit, much as if he was in the corner and slapped the puck there against the boards. The fact that the goaltender was behind him makes no matter.

Koharski decided the play warranted the hit and that Huet was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now, we have seen less called for interference, and it is under the discretion of the official. Part of my argument is just that, penalties have been called for much less, so why not give the benefit of the doubt to the goaltender, like they had in the previous 6 games.

That is the inconsistency of the NHL Officiating.

But like Bruce Boudreau said, they didn't lose the game in the second period. "We lost the game in overtime on a rebound."

Anonymous said...

re: Me thinks Morrison didn't INITIATE the contact. Toheresen did.

You may want to read the rule fully because it defines the meaning of "contact" quite clearly.

"(NOTE 1) For purposes of this rule, "contact", whether incidental or otherwise, shall mean any contact that is made between or among a goalkeeper and attacking player(s), whether by means of a stick or any part of the body."

The rule isn't applicable because Morrison contacted Huet, not Thoresen.