There's a reason for all the concern about the way games are officiated in the NHL, and it was reaffirmed on the play that turned the Stanley Cup final back in the Los Angeles Kings' favour.
Whether or not New Jersey Devils forward Steve Bernier deserved a major for his hit from behind on Kings defenceman Rob Scuderi in the first period of Monday’s Game 6 is not the point. Even the most ardent Devils fans would have a hard time arguing the call.
But, as the talking heads on Hockey Night in Canada pointed out, the incident would have never occurred had the refs called Kings veteran Jarret Stoll for similarly hitting Stephen Gionta from the rear just seconds earlier. By the rule in the book, there should have been a whistle right then and there.
Why is one play a five minute penalty and the other not even considered an infraction?
“A horrible night for the black and white -- and not the Kings,” CBC colour commentator Craig Simpson declared it, and he was right on.
Never before can yours truly remember a season full of so much controversy caused by the inconsistencies of referees.
Fittingly, the 2011-12 campaign ended with another.
STARTS AND STOPS
Your allegiance doesn’t matter -- you had to be have nice feelings watching the Kings first mob each other in a corner of the ice by goalie Jonathan Quick’s net, then one-by-one take a turn hoisting the Cup over their heads. If you’re a sports fan, you had to have at least smiled ... If Bernier was guilty of costing the Devils the game, perhaps David Clarkson was his accomplice. It was either Simpson or Glenn Healy (sorry, but it’s a fast game, right?) who pointed out that Clarkson, while sitting on the bench, poked Kings captain Dustin Brown with his stick a couple of times while the latter was on the ice and the game was in progress. It just wasn’t mentioned whether it was before, after or in between Brown’s goals 102 seconds apart that gave Los Angeles a significant head start. You know what they say about never waking up a sleeping giant? Same goes for a sleeping King, apparently ... As critical as we are of the refs, the toughest guy on the ice might very well have been linesman Pierre Racicot. He didn’t miss a shift despite taking a shot to the mouth that made it tough for him to blow a whistle and forced him to change out of his blood-soaked shirt.
STUFF I THINK I THUNK
Porn star Taylor Stevens looked just like any other fan as she sat in her seat behind the Devils bench watching the game through dark-rimmed glasses -- that is, until she jumped up to celebrate a Kings goal ... Would Scuderi have bled so much, virtually forcing refs to call a five-minute major on Bernier, if he had been wearing a visor? ... If and when Don Cherry ever retires, might P.J. Stock be considered as his replacement? I’m thinking so, although CBC would have to change the name of the Coach’s Corner segment ... Scuderi's going to have one serious headache Tuesday morning.
Cherry was showing clips and pointing out that Devils goalie Martin Brodeur reminded him of Bruins netminder Tim Thomas, who also laughed and joked with refs during his starring role in Boston’s run to the Cup last spring. “Looks like Timmy Thomas,” said Cherry. “He’s kinda chubby, too.” Maybe so, but neither moves around the crease like a fat guy ... Totally random thought: If the Edmonton Oilers are smart, they’ll trade the first overall pick. They don’t need another high-flying forward like Nail Yakupov. They need a defenceman like Ottawa 67’s smooth skater Cody Ceci.
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM ...
That’s 37 playoff handshake lineups for Marty Brodeur? Incredible. Hope there’s no work stoppage, or else that was probably the last we’ve seen of him ... During his second-intermission interview with Scott Oake, actor Matthew Perry looked like he had one too many coffees or something ... Still think things might have turned out a little differently had Devils forward Patrik Elias’ shot in the final minute of the first period gone in, instead of out, after hitting the post ... You know things aren’t going your way when you get hit in the face by a shot from a teammate as you skate by the opponent’s net, right Gionta?
“They just showed Tony Soprano here in the stands at Staples Center. He was on his phone. Bernier better use his remote car starter.” -- @CJ_Stevenson
Chris Stevenson is QMI Agency's national hockey columnist.
“20 years ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs. Please don’t let Kevin Bacon die.” -- @GuyEndoreKaiser
Not sure who Guy Endore-Kaiser is and I know the above had nothing to do with the game, but as a fan of breakfast, I thought it was funny.