- Two offside criticisms were a hot topic before the Flyers and Caps played Game 2
- During Washington’s 4-1 win Saturday night, a few calls caused confusion on the ice
- Officials are in the spotlight more in the playoffs
WASHINGTON — Before the puck even dropped in Game 2, officiating was a hot topic of conversation at the Verizon Center.
Less than 24 hours earlier, two goals were reviewed for offside calls. The first, a goal by Vladimir Tarasenko in Saint-Louis, was canceled.
The second looked similar, but New York forward Derick Brassard kept his total.
In keeping with the commotion, Saturday night’s Capitals victory was also marked by controversial whistles that gave way to a break.
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The first came on a penalty that finally gave Washington the power play that John Carlson took advantage of to take a 1-0 lead.
While the puck was in the Flyers’ defensive zone, an official’s arm was raised. Philadelphia gained possession, skated up the ice and seemed destined for a power play when the Caps touched the puck.
Simple delayed penalty appeal. Or maybe not.
Brandon Manning skated to the box to wait.
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“There’s just a little bit of confusion in the game,” coach Dave Hakstol said, seemingly unfazed. “It’s a fast-paced game, there’s a lot going on. It happens.”
At the start of the second period, another strange whistle raised eyebrows.
TJ Oshie’s hook midway through the stanza prompted a delayed call for the Flyers. They kept the puck in the offensive zone. With possession, the whistle blows.
Philadelphia went on the power play. Once again, there seemed to be confusion on the ice. With control, the game should not have been interrupted without Washington making any changes.
Forward Ryan White seemed baffled by the judgments, especially the first one.
“I’m not sure what was going on there,” he said. “I don’t even know what to say about it.
“We are facing the champions of the Presidents’ Trophy. They’re going to get a lot of calls. We have to see it through, keep our noses to the grindstone and keep pushing through it.
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While White and the Flyers could use that as motivation, the confusing nature of the decisions seemed a bit disconcerting.
Much like the players and coaches, the spotlight is more on the officials in the playoffs.
Hakstol and Washington coach Barry Trotz watched Brassard’s goal replay minutes before their press briefing Saturday.
Each spoke from the brave new world of the challenges coaches face in the NHL playoffs.
“I would say I’m probably 99 percent sure they’re doing things right,” Trotz said of the calls being reviewed. “I might not always agree because of the angles and all that.
“I feel a lot more comfortable with them being successful. I would rather they succeed 99% of the time instead of 75% of the time. I think it’s the right thing. But the number of times you use it is sort of telling and the difference between a lens can be even greater because without technology, before you sometimes had a little bit more.
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Hasktol remained vague in his opinion.
“I think this kind of debate is for the summer,” said the rookie NHL head coach. “You have to do as good a job as a team and as a group to execute within the rules. We see how important this is and what impact it had on the game.
“I have my opinions, but this is not the time or place to discuss them.”
It’s likely that the close reviews in Pittsburgh and St. Louis will result in plenty of discussion at the annual rules meeting.
Meanwhile, White has his opinions regarding the Flyers, the officials and an 0-2 series deficit.
“I think I saw (St. Louis Blues coach) Ken Hitchcock make the same comment (Friday) night about the Blackhawks,” the plucky forward said in reference to Hitchcock’s remarks about the difficulty of get calls against the defending champions. “They’re going to get a lot of calls. Everyone wants them to keep winning.
“We just have to keep playing.”
Mark Trible; (856) 486-2424; firstname.lastname@example.org