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Solid first forty minutes from the Predators last night, they skated hard, executed well, and showed a bit of a killer instinct, until the third period. Perhaps it was the difference between a team in the last period of a back to back, versus a team that is coming off four days rest as Nashville did seem to lose their legs in the third.
But a win is a win, and the Predators now have a small break before taking on the Flames on Friday night. The team will fly to Calgary this morning.
Reaction and fallout from the Alex Burrows affair continues.
- The NHL announced his $2500 fine during last night’s game, per the rules, it was the maximum penalty for calling out the refs in the media.
- The NHL also announced they were looking into the accusations made against referee Stephane Auger and that further updates would not be coming... OK...
It’s been interesting to read the reactions from different sources, Burrows’ teammates are keeping a unified front however, Some players are saying (off the record of course) that Auger is not exactly a favorite among NHL officials… and then there are comments from players that cast doubt on Burrows’ story. One of the most interesting quotes I’ve seen in today’s Toronto Globe and Mail is from Maple Leaf defenseman Garnet Exelby saying
“From the referee’s side, I’m sure they don’t forget those kinds of things. If they’re verbally abused every time by the same player, I think they’re going to definitely remember that, whether they consciously or subconsciously make up for it down the road, that’s a different story.”
A more revealing quote is in a column from Sun media columnist Chris Stevenson…
Not to say referees don’t have long memories. It just doesn’t get talked about as blatantly as Burrows did in his riveting post-game accusations.
“Do referees make calls on guys based on previous experiences? Of course they do,” one NHL referee told Sun Media yesterday. “If there’s a guy who you think dives frequently and has shown you up in the past, you might tell him, ‘stick to playing hockey and let me worry about making the calls you deserve. Let’s just both worry about doing our own jobs.’ Does he get the borderline call? Of course not.
“But if you’re going to take it out on a player, you’ve got to make sure there’s a call there. You can’t make a call up. We’re just too scrutinized.”
Stevenson follows it up with something that has been underreported…
The controversial call came in the third period with the Canucks on the power play. Burrows and Nashville’s Joel Ward bumped off a faceoff and Ward went down. It looks like incidental contact, but you could see where a referee could interpret it as a penalty. Ward went down and was prevented from getting out to the point. It’s not a completely phantom call as some have categorized it.
After watching the play, I would consider the call ticky-tack. Now, everyone I have spoken to, no matter what their affiliation has called this one of the worst officiated games they have seen in quite awhile. We’ll be talking about it tonight on HockeyBuzz Radio with NHL writer Jim Kelley.
The other controversy swirling in the NHL is the video review flap that happened in the Flyers/Penguins game last Thursday night. It does appear that FSN Pittsburgh withheld a replay from the war room in Toronto that would’ve overturned a no-goal call on the ice.
An FSN Pittsburgh employee has been put on indefinite suspension due to their actions.
It brings up a larger question, why doesn't the war room in Toronto have access to every camera angle and shot available. They shouldn't have left that in the hands of the TV producers.
- The Martin Erat “EE-rat or air-RAT” controversy is done. Marty told the broadcast team to just keep it at “EE-rat” … similar to Tomas Vokoun asking to pronounce his first name as Thomas vs. to-MAS.
- Sportsclubstats.com reports the Predators playoff chances are now up to 87% as last night’s all fell the Preds way.
- The Detroit Red Wings ascent was stalled last night by a very determined Islander team in a 6-0 shutout. Ouch.
- The Predators are 10-2-1 in their last 13 on the road.
- Predators prospect Blake Geoffrion is a candidate for the Hobey Baker award, phase one of fan voting is underwaypart of the process. You can vote for Blake here.
Tonight - HockeyBuzz Radio welcomes famed sports writer Jim Kelley, we’ll discuss the Burrows controversy and the flap over replay caused by the Pittsburgh/Philly game last week. We’ll preview the upcoming game against the Maple Leafs with writer/blogger/radio host Howard Berger from the Fan 590 in Toronto and we’ll also talk trades that may happen before the Olympic break with Eklund… that and more on next Wednesday’s HockeyBuzz Radio.
You are invited to follow me on Twitter. Search for PredPAPaul… Not only will I be updating when I get news or updates… I’ll also be updating during Pred home games in season with information and explanations from the PA box.