NHL Playoffs: Mike Babcock Sounds off on Officials in Game 1

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NHL playoff hockey means turning up the intensity of the game. The challenge of course, is keeping one's extra energy channeled within the rules of the game.

The two most disciplined teams in the NHL in the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings would seemingly have no problem staying disciplined during the course of a playoff game.

The referees officiating the Wings and Predators quarterfinal game apparently thought otherwise.

Nashville (8.4 penalty minutes per game in the regular season) and Detroit (8.5 penalty minutes per game in the regular season) were whistled for a combined 17 minor penalties in game one of their quarterfinal series.

That's 34 penalty minutes, which is more than double their combined average for the regular season.

What gives?

In the playoffs, the referees, to some extent, usually put away their whistles and let some arbitrary calls go.

If you're sitting at home wondering "what's different?" about tonight's game, you're not alone.

Detroit Red Wings' coach, Mike Babcock sounded off on the officiating the calls that had been made in the game.

"The referees are trying to get to the Stanley Cup Finals as well," Babcock noted during a quick om the bench interview during the course of the game.

He's not wrong, but Babcock is just trying to keep himself and his comments from becoming like those of fellow coaches John Tortorella of the New York Rangers and Tom Renney of the Edmonton Oilers.

Tortorella has been fined multiple times this season for comments to the media about officiating in games, and Renney was fined for comments made at the end of the season.

But Babcock's worries should be quashed a little when he saw his penalty kill step up to the plate and kill off all six of Detroit's minors, while watching his power play score twice on eight opportunities.

Detroit still dropped the game by a 3-2 decision, but the point stands, put away the whistles on arbitrary calls. Babcock knows that his team is better five-on-five than Nashville, and that's where Detroit should be wanting to play most of the game.

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