Surrendering some cash

CHRIS STEVENSON

, Last Updated: 2:38 PM ET

Everybody is a little lighter in the wallet at this time of year, right?

Peter Schaefer's billfold is $2,500 lighter today and it's got nothing to do with Christmas presents.

The Senators winger was fined by the NHL yesterday for his towel-waving, mock-surrender in protest of the work of referees Kevin Pollock and Justin St-Pierre Wednesday night in Washington.

Schaefer found out about the fine in a conversation with NHL executive vice-president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell after practice yesterday.

"I had a post-it note on my locker from (Senators GM) John Muckler to call (Campbell)," said Schaefer of how he found out he was in trouble.

Schaefer said he didn't think his protest, which saw him put a white towel on the end of his stick and hold it aloft, reminiscent of late coach Roger Neilson's towel-waving in the 1982 playoffs, was that big a deal.

"I didn't think about it at all until I got off the ice and I had about five text messages from some buddies," said Schaefer. "I didn't realize TSN was covering the game."

Schaefer's towel-waving culminated a frustrating night for the Senators with the officials. His display followed back-to-back penalties to Ottawa forwards Denis Hamel and Dean McAmmond. Hamel's was for hooking after he lifted the stick of a Caps player and McAmmond's was for unsportsmanlike conduct after he told Pollock the call on Hamel by St-Pierre was the "worst call I've seen in 15 years," according to Murray.

The Caps scored on the ensuing 5-on-3 to make it 5-2 at 10:54 of the third period.

Murray's mood had lightened considerably yesterday and he feigned innocence when asked about Schaefer's protest.

"Why? Did he do something?" said Murray, slyly. "He was just trying to make peace with the officials after Dean was yelling at them. Isn't that what you do when you surrender? Try to make peace?"

McAmmond said lifting a player's stick and taking the puck away is "a staple in hockey. (Hamel) didn't hook his arm or his leg. What do you see out of that from 10 feet away? How do you see anything else?

"I think (Pollock) thought I said something else. I was not swearing. I didn't call him a name. I never swear at a referee," he said, pausing, before adding with a smile, "... okay, I don't know if that's true."

Murray was more concerned with the work on the lines.

He said Caps forward Alexander Ovechkin admitted to a Senators player after the game he was offside on Washington's second goal.

"The third goal was an icing call, there was a tie up of two players and (Senators defenceman Anton) Volchenkov kicked the puck.

"When you give up two goals like that to start off with and they're obvious calls ... When I said to the linesman, 'you missed the offside,' he argued with me at first it wasn't offside, then he said, 'what do you want me to do about it?' I said, 'well, we get fired and players get traded, you don't laugh about it. Don't let that happen.' Offsides aren't that difficult to call. Then he was the guy who missed the icing call as well. That was frustrating and we let it go beyond where we should have let it go.

"I know the referees got frustrated with us and then Dean McAmmond said to Kevin, 'that's the worst call I've seen in 15 years,' and he gave him a bench penalty. C'mon. Referees aren't supposed to do that. We can complain, but we've moved past it."

Players are still allowed to lift an opponent's stick with their own as long as the stick doesn't slide up into the offensive player's hands or hold his stick up for more than a couple of beats. If the defending player does that, it becomes a foul because the player is impeding the opponent's ability to play the puck.

The directive at the board of governors meeting last week was for the referees to continue calling it the way they have been calling it.

"If a (defending) player's stick is parallel to the ice, the referee knows there's a reason why and it's not good," said one league official.

The truth of the matter is with everything getting called the way it is, there are going to be nights when the calls are frustrating for a team.

Part of playing in the NHL these days is dealing with it and not throwing in the towel ... or waving it.


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