Western Conference Semifinals, Game 3
Ducks 2-1 Red Wings
Matt is visceral. JB is out of her fucking mind. Static isn't too happy either. The Chief sounds like he's going to start watching gymnastics instead of hockey. If Hockey Town Todd still had a blog and was recapping this game he'd do a three word post called "Injuries and Officiating" and I'd be nodding somberly.
Duck fans are going to call us out for whining -- which, if things were reversed, we might do as well -- but there isn't a whole lot of "they're out to get us" talk today. Most discussions are centered around a complete lack of competence and consistency, the inability of the referees to control the game, and the mindboggling way that the NHL puts itself in these positions in the first place.
The Red Wings didn't lose this game because of officiating. For all we know, Zombie Lilja could've wandered out on the ice two minutes into OT, handed the puck to Selanne and re-enacted the 2007 Game 5 debacle. But that's the thing -- we'll never know what could've happened. The tone was set early for something absurd to happen when the inconsistency in penalty calls and non-calls was on full display. Datsyuk and Stuart got away with clear-as-day interference penalties. The Ducks net-front thuggery continued after the whistle all game long, when a simple penalty call could've ended it. Niedermayer fell over Osgood on the second Anaheim goal, a call that you have to wonder if it would've been made if it was Homer at the other end of the ice (and Getzlaf chopped Ozzie's arm off to boot). The power play that that goal was scored on never would've happened if a ref 100 feet away didn't call Pretend Interference on Brad Stuart moments earlier.
And the early whistle .... I can't even get into it in detail. I just can't. Everything that there is to say about it has already been said. I'm just going to try to accept that a horrible hockey travesty of a mistake happened and moved on. I had a feeling the Wings would drop the first one in Anaheim anyway, this shouldn't be the end of the world. If anything I predict that this is going to light a fire under the team and they're going to come out scorching Thursday night. It really shouldn't take an epic referee fail like this to motivate them, but I hope it does. It's imperative that they get the early jump.
Additional thoughts ....
- Random notes on Teemu Selanne: He's a guy I want to hate, but I can't because he's not a douche; I get scared whenever he thinks about touching the puck; I can't believe he's 39 years old; On a couple of occasions he was making Fil look very ineffective; Whatever he plays for the Ducks, he's a fucking douche bag.
- If Raf doesn't play by Game 5, we better hear about a torn leg muscle or something equally if not greater in severity once the playoffs are done.
- Chris Osgood was outstanding.
- Lebda and Chelios tag-teamed to give up the first Ducks goal (more credit goes to Lebda than Cheli), but Chelios redeemed himself somewhat in the 3rd period, surprisingly, by drawing two penalties.
- The Getzlaf line wasn't totally dominant for once. This series is still going to turn around in our favor -- I'm not trying to be arrogant, I'm just so sure of this team -- they're not losing this series. I'm confident about Game 4 and am looking forward to watching it.
- But it must be said that the Ducks are playing better than we thought they were going to. We thought this was a one line team with a hot goalie .... and now I'm thinking that they have one great line, a panic-inducing Selanne, a Marchant line that's playing Pav/Hoss better than we thought they would, their D is deterring traffic away from the slot (which we have to push through) -- and Hiller doesn't scare me as much. We're going to crack him on Thursday.