June 10, 2011 16 Comments
The NHL has taken a trip back in time these playoffs. Well, at least the referees have and the Canucks are paying the price.
The vast amount of inconsistency among the reffing has been a major storyline throughout the playoffs. Following a penalty filled game 1, the referees seem to think it’s 1995 all over again. That’s the only plausible explanation for their ignoring the excessive amount of physical play that has taken over the series.
Yeah, it’s the playoffs. The reins are supposed to be loosened a bit but in the last 3 games the reins have fallen right off.
Since the lockout, those fierce battles in front of the net have been a thing of the past. Players are supposed to be allowed to stand in front of the net and do their work instead of having to assault their opponent for every half-inch of ice. Don’t tell the refs though because Zdeno Chara is brutalizing Ryan Kesler in his new found home every chance he gets.
The unnecessary and absurd amount of cross-checking hasn’t escaped the attention of many, except of course the referees who have suddenly decided to check out of 2011.
The time travelling is no doubt hurting the Canucks and giving the Bruins a significant edge. The physicality being displayed, that is not supposed to be in the game anymore, is allowing the Bruins to travel even farther back in time to bring back the Big Bad Bruins of old.
Man, do they ever need it.
The Boston Bruins need this excessive physicality in order to slow down a Canucks team that is much faster and skilled. It is part of what has allowed them to get back in this series. The Canucks are not built as a team that can handle the physicality of a 1990’s playoff series, when violence that would be worthy of a prison sentence away from the rink was the norm. Don’t even get me started on the extra-curricular activity going on after the whistle.
Saying that you have to let the players play or that it’s the playoffs are easy cop outs for fans and analysts. You don’t rustle any feathers and that way you can maintain the status quo.
It’s not fair to the Vancouver Canucks. It’s like changing the rules in the middle of the game.
The Boston Bruins obviously don’t mind because it plays right into their hands. Not that it had any effect on the game, but the fact that Tim Thomas was allowed to body check Henrik Sedin shows how much things have gotten out of control. That was just game 3.
It’s difficult for a finesse inclined team to work under these conditions. Conditions that they could not and should not have expected.
This isn’t the only problem affecting the Vancouver Canucks because you can point to a zillion other things. However, the extreme physical play, that doesn’t look like it is going to be put to halt anytime soon, is something far out of their control. This is something severely hindering their play that they have no power over.
No Canuck coach or player is going to come out publicly and complain about this. I mean, it is the playoffs. You can bet though that they’re trying to address this behind closed doors. Too bad they don’t have the personnel to address something that should be a non-issue.
The game of hockey has changed from the animal-esque Neanderthal play we witnessed prior than the lockout. The game may have evolved but it’s clear that the refereeing hasn’t.
It’s killing the Canucks.
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