The Washington Capitals didn’t play perfectly in Game One against the Pittsburgh Penguins. They were flat to start the first, choppy to start the second, and they gave the Pens a few dangerous chances through silly goof-ups. But Washington thoroughly dominated play, doubling the Pens in attempts 83 to 41, and got their matchups right.
To win Game One Pittsburgh needed more mistakes, they needed some awfully charitable officiating by Kevin Pollock and Dan O’Halloran — what our friend Ed Frankovic would call bad zebras.
If you’re not pissed off already, read on.
It began early. Less than four minutes in, this was interference.
That’s a soft call, guys. That’s a Charmin soft call. I’d swaddle Ian’s newborn baby in that call.
The call was not alone in its softness, in its wrongness. Matt Niskanen later got whistled for slashing on this: a sincere attempt at a rebound that was simultaneous with Marc-Andre Fleury’s cover.
That’s a miscarriage of justice right there. John Grisham wrote at least 73 books about this kind of judicial impropriety, and Tom Cruise starred in the movie version of all of them.
But that stuff happens. Referees are not perfect. They make mistakes. As long as the mistakes don’t pile up on one team and are even—
Oh. There’s more.
Aghast, Pollack and O’Halloran watched as the Caps rallied late in the third, putting on a wild whack-a-thon in front of Penguins’ crease. The refs dutifully didn’t blow the play dead while Bryan Rust, who is not a goalie, covered the puck in the slot for a long time.
But they diiiiiiid blow the play dead a few ticks later, while the puck was still definitely loose.
I remember, back at 7:30 PM when I turned this game on, I thought to myself, boy, Pete, I sure can’t wait to watch Kevin Pollock and Dan O’Halloran. I’ve been waiting all season to watch Kevs (that’s what I call him) and Danny Boy (that’s what I call him) decide who should win a pivotal hockey game played between two teams but I forget which two teams, doesn’t matter as long as its Kevs and Danny Boy.
The Penguins had two power plays, scoring on neither. The Capitals had no power plays for just the third time this season.
After the game, defenseman Matt Niskanen was asked what he made of the officiating. “No comment,” he said.
He’s more politic than me. That was some bullshit, y’all.
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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