Leafs 1 v. Penguins 4: New 'Standard' of Refereeing Piles On
A lot has been written about the new standard of refereeing and it has covered the spectrum from Brendan Shahanan suggesting that it will take years to improve it to Stephen Walkom, Colin Campbell, and Gary Bettman lying through their teeth about how great it is to me saying that it can be ticky-tacky at best, though necessary, to atrocious at worst. Guess which one it was during this game?
As always, bad calls seem to deflate the Leafs rather than steeling it to the task at hand. Case in point: After McCabe took a stupid penalty (no, not a autotext insertion) at the end of the second, Mike Hasenfrantz or Dave Jackson gave Mats Sundin a penalty for hooking 16 seconds into the third period to hand the Penguins a two-man advantage. Nevermind the fact that the replays CLEARLY showed that Mats had put his shoulder in front of the Penguins player to get position in their race for the puck. It kind of looked from some angle (I mean it had to LOOK like a penalty from SOME angle for the ref to give the penalty right? no? didn't think so) that a stick was in the vicinity (read:the same zone as the other player) of the Pens player so the ref called it. Of course the Pens scored to break the tie.
Later, they managed to give Pavel Kubina a penalty for throwing the stick at the Penguins puck carrier. Nevermind that throwing a stick in the attacking zone is supposed to be a penalty shot but the replay again CLEARLY showed that there was no such foul. Kubina lost his stick making one of his diving pokechecks when his stick was kicked out of his hands by the Penguins player! Of course, a goal followed suit and any hopes of a comeback were gone as the fight slipped right out of the Leafs.
This game was just another demonstration of why it is so difficult to cheer for the Leafs. They were facing a team on a five game losing streak, had the game tied, and then they capitulated after they had an apparent go-ahead goal by Aleksander Suglobov disallowed because Marc-Andre Fleury knocked the net off its moorings. This was a perfect game to help the Leafs build some momentum into their game with Ottawa. Instead, they play a poor game before traveling to face their regular season nemesis (how about that playoff record?) at home. But it sure was nice of the Leafs to act as slumpbusters (no, not THOSE slumpbusters) for the Penguins in their last year in Pittsburgh.