Jason Kurylo: Against The Tide
A lot of folks in Vancouver are blowing the conspiracy horn this morning, after the NHL made a very questionable call in denying Daniel Sedin a third-period goal last night. The truth is, the Canucks haven’t done themselves any favours, and frankly didn’t deserve to win game three. The Kings were the better team for 50 minutes last night. The Canucks, on the other hand, put in five minutes in the first period, and a modest fight in parts of the third. In this series, in fact, the Nucks haven’t put together a complete game once in three tries. Their PK and PP have been disastrous – LA is seven for twelve on the man advantage, for goodness’ sake. Without special teams going at even half speed, we lose this series faster than Andrew Alberts can book the tee times from the penalty box.
Still, if Boston fans can still complain about Don Cherry putting six Bruins on the ice so Lafleur can blast a power play shot past Gerry Cheevers…
Just this year: Malkin concusses Mitchell. Head shot into the boards. No penalty, no suspension. Mitchell will be lucky if he’s ready for next season.
Burrows has a major public relations scandal erupt when he says a referee planned to call a penalty, tells him so, and then proceeds to make an awful third period call on him. The Canucks lose to Calgary, with whom they are fighting for the division lead at the time.
Kesler hits Derek Morris AFTER MORRIS SAW HIM COMING AND PUT HIMSELF IN A VULNERABLE POSITION. (Morris admits so after the game.) Five minute major and a game misconduct.
Henrik – league’s leading scorer, mind you – gets skewered by Kopitar’s stick in game one. The blade is stuck in his helmet as evidence. No call.
Bernier has his stick blatantly held for a good three or four seconds during an offensive chance in game three. No call. (Not that it would have mattered – the PP wouldn’t have scored anyway.)
An injured Canuck labours to the bench, and a legal line change results in 7 players for a millisecond WITHIN FIVE FEET OF THE BENCH. No oncoming player touches the puck or impedes the play – which is the rule. Canucks called for too many men. LA wins game two on their outrageously good power play.
Daniel’s skate blade redirects the puck into the goal in game three, and is called a good goal by the on-ice refs. LA doesn’t even complain about the play. OFF-ICE OFFICIALS IN TORONTO, without precedent, alter the interpretation of the rulebook to CONCLUSIVELY decide the puck was put in illegally, and OVERRULE the referees. Mike Murphy – an ex-King player and ex-Canuck assistant coach – explains his call on Hockey Night in Canada, and only Kelly Hrudey finds any logic in the explanation. Even Ron McLean, whom many Canucks fans think is anti-Vancouver, thinks the league botches this call. Abominable.
All of these things in a short period of time will of course bring back all other memories of officials and/or league execs screwing the franchise. There are those (myself included) who still wince when they think of the Flames’ Joel Otto kicking in a series-winning goal, in the crease, in 1989. The Flames went on to win the Cup that year.
Vancouver has never got the calls. Not once do I remember the Canucks being handed a major game or a series by a call that could have gone either way. Whether it’s minor things – the other guys get away with too many men several times, but we get called for it in OT – or huge screwups like Daniel’s no goal last night, Vancouver always seems to end up on the wrong side of the call.
When will Otto, Mitchell, Kesler, Daniel and Burrows pool their karma to get the Canucks a few game-winning breaks? Let’s hope games three and four. But as Dan Boyle and the rest of the San Jose Sharks can tell you, sometimes karma doesn’t play fair. The Sharks have been frontrunners for nearly a decade, and they’ve not made even the Conference Finals, let alone skated for the Cup. The Canucks can’t wait for karma to come home. They just have to play through it.
It’s time for the Orca to swim against the tide. Hit. Shoot. Save. Score. Stay out of the box. And don’t rely on the refs to play fair. It’s not a conspiracy, per se, but the only consistency we’ve seen over the years is consistently poor calls against us.