In a postgame interview, New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella declined on a number of occasions to comment about the ridiculously absurd calls that the referees made on the brawl that ensued during the first two-and-a-half minutes of play.
While Tortorella surely doesn't want to be fined again for his remarks, I will speak on his behalf, because the refs should be taken out and shot for their terrible calls last night.
The Ottawa Senators were obviously eager to get back at Brian Boyle from his unpenalized jabs at their superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson in Game 1 of the series Thursday night.
Within minutes of Game 2, Ottawa defenseman Matt Carkner attacked Boyle, who incidentally kept his gloves on and didn't get a shot in, while Carkner connected four punches right in front of the referee before teammates on both sides came into the rescue and the brawl was broken up.
Brandon Dubinsky was one the Rangers players who came to try and break things up and was somehow issued a "third-man-in-game misconduct."
According to the official NHL website, a "third-man-in-game misconduct" is:
46.16 Third Man In - A game misconduct penalty, at the discretion of the Referee, shall be imposed on any player who is the first to intervene (third man in) in an altercation already in progress except when a match penalty is being imposed in the original altercation. This penalty is in addition to any other penalties incurred in the same incident.
This rule also applies to subsequent players who elect to intervene in the same or other altercations during the same stoppage of play.
The main problem with the ref issuing this penalty to Dubinsky is that he didn't intervene in a fight already in progress. A fight has to take place between two willing parties and Boyle had not willingly engaged in a fight with Carkner, but rather was jumped and defenseless to move underneath him.
While Carkner was also thrown out for a game misconduct as well as a five-minute fighting major, he deserved it because he actually initiated the "fight."
This poor call by the referees set the wrong mood for the night and when the Rangers failed to capitalize on their five-minute power play, it left them slightly deflated.
The terrible calls continued throughout the night, but the Dubinsky call really started it all off.
This is the one highly disappointing part about the playoffs. The refs have the capacity to alter a game by any good and/or bad decisions they make.
Clearly, this was a bad call, but nothing will obviously come of it.
As the playoffs progress, more senior referees will be put into the games and hopefully this sort of defamation of hockey will not be tolerated.
One can only hope.