Devils-Kings: A Frustrating Loss in New Jersey for the Devils

JerseySenior Analyst IFebruary 7, 2009

All losses are frustrating. No one likes to lose. Unless you're the Pittsburgh Penguins, and want to cheat the Devils out of Marion Lemieux, but they're the exception to the rule.

But when you lose the way the Devils did tonight, it's especially frustrating. Did the Kings deserve to win? Probably. They did play very well. The thing is, the Devils did match them for most of the game, and got seriously screwed out of many opportunities, while the Kings were handed break after break after break.

The officiating in this game was, in a word, terrible.

The Devils' firs goal was waved off, as the officials ruled that Dainius Zubrus had kicked it in. I'm not an expert, but the call seemed very iffy. Zubrus was part of a huge pileup, and while his foot did come down hard on the puck, he clearly wasn't looking anywhere near that direction.

The puck then caromed off the post, and only went in after bouncing off the goalie's pants. The kick was unintentional, and it didn't directly result in the goal. Two other caroms occurred before it crossed the line.

The Kings' second goal should never have happened. The breakway that resulted in the score was started by an illegal play. Play should have been stopped, and the Devils should have been given a power play.

This wasn't the only missed call of the game, but it had the biggest impact.

Later in the game, Patrik Elias was called for a high stick that simply did not exist. Bryce Salvador had been penalized for a legal hit earlier in the game, but at least the play happened.

The refs had just decided to be extra harsh on the Devils, while not so harsh on L.A. But when Elias was called for a high-stick, he never contact the defender with his stick. The play never happened, and he was called for it anyway.

I hate missed calls, but I understand that the refs are human, and can miss a play from time to time. But how do you make up a penalty? How can you see something that never happened? It boggles the mind.

This is not a series of excuses. The Devils probably would have lost anyway, and it's pointless to debate it. But it's just so damn frustrating to watch a game like this and see such horrid officiating.

And if both teams had been getting away with crap, fine. But the calls were entirely one-sided, and made for an awful game. The fans knew how bad it was, and began chanting "a$$hole" at the referees late in the third.

At one point, the announcers mentioned an article commenting on how the Devils seem to get no breaks whatsoever. They draw the fewest penalties of any team in the NHL.

I know that it seems that they get screwed at least once in every single game, and this article is a testament to that. But this game was particularly awful. The officiating was disturbingly bad.