Are They Going To Blow It?

After watching the Pittsburgh Penguins fall into a two games to none Stanley Cup Finals hole this past weekend, one logical question that has begun to stir around is “can the Pens find a way to get back into it”?

Well, obviously the answer is, yes…yes they can. They are too good to be counted out.

However, to me the more pressing question is whether or not I think the Red Wings can blow a two-OH lead. And I can answer that question is one word…


Know what else I don’t see being blown in this series? Penalties…that’s what.

In game one there were a total of three minor penalties called. In game two…prior to the little scrum that occurred with just seconds left in the game…there were a grand total of two infractions that were whistled.

Were there more penalties that could have been called? Oh yeah…you betcha! One such play that could have been deemed worthy of time in the box was just prior to Detroit’s second goal Sunday night in which Marian Hossa’s stick got up around former teammate Pascal Dupuis’ hands. That play has been called a penalty a thousand times during the past few years and all throughout the playoffs…but not in this series.

There have been several others, but that one just sticks out to me.

For whatever reason, the officials have decided to keep the whistles in their pockets and let ‘em play. For the most part, I see that as a good thing…as long as what is allowed to go uncalled in the first two periods are not all of a sudden called in the third. Consistency ya know.

However, in the name of overall consistency, if the league has determined that letting them play is good for the flow of the paly and for the viewing of the game…then why not allowing for the same type of environment all the time?

If your not gonna blow it in the Finals…then why blow in the regular season or the first three rounds of the playoffs?

And before we leave the subject of “blowing it”…

One last question for you. Is the league “blowing it” by allowing Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin to play in Tuesday’s game three even though the rules are clear regarding an automatic one-game suspension for incurring an instigator penalty in the last five minutes of a game?

Colin Campbell, the NHL’s executive VP and director of hockey operations, is allowed to review such calls and determine whether or not to uphold the rules…or let them slide. He has done so and chosen the latter.

“Suspensions,” Campbell said in a prepared statement, “are applied under this rule when a team attempts to send a message in the last five minutes by having a player instigate a fight.”

So, he seems to be siding with the “spirit” of the law as opposed to the “letter” of the law.

Again…if the rule applies prior to the Finals, should it not also apply during the Finals?

45 comments Add your comment


June 1st, 2009
1:58 pm

What was the famous line from Animal Farm:


That is what we are seeing today with Malkin getting the free pass. If this was Matt Cook guess who would have had a night off. But could you imagine the Penguins being without Malkin for game 3? The fans would not have let Campbell have a minutes worth of peace at the game. And we can not have that, can we?


June 1st, 2009
2:22 pm

Matt Cooke did not get suspension for knee to knee on Pogosian during the regular season either.

R. Stroz

June 1st, 2009
2:42 pm

Speaking of giving some players passes and others suspensions, Avery calls the Dion’s girlfriend sloppy seconds and gets FIVE GAMES; whereas, Cindy Crotchby feels up Boris, punches Boris in the back of the head, and was the third man in and gets TWO MINUTES.



June 1st, 2009
3:15 pm

How much better will the RedWings play when their injured players get better? Wings in 5

Darren Elliot

June 1st, 2009
3:30 pm

I didn’t see the game, did Sidney punch anybodys crotch?

EAV Blue

June 1st, 2009
3:36 pm

So Campbell says “Suspensions are applied under this rule when a team attempts to send a message in the last five minutes by having a player instigate a fight. A suspension could also be applied when a player seeks retribution for a prior incident. Neither was the case here and therefore the one game suspension is rescinded.”
They need to get the message to their hockey announcers who clearly see the Penguins “setting a tone for game three”.
I love hockey, but the differences in calls in the post-season/regular season and then regular player/superstars drives me crazy. Its worse than basketball.


June 1st, 2009
3:40 pm

Actually there’s great slo-mo video at A2Y from the CBC broadcast that Dupuis basically broke his own twig…on Hossa’s skate no less…while Hossa was actually playing the puck.

As annoying as it has been to see some of the stuff the refs have let go, I’m happier they aren’t calling every little ticky tack thing either. Ultimately this stuff is washing out. Cooke didn’t get called for flying elbows, Malkin didn’t get suspended, and no penalty shots were awarded because Z decided to play in net behind Ozzie. And the Pens aren’t trailing 2-zip because of any of that either.

They better learn from last year though that all the whining they are doing doesn’t get them any closer to a Cup. Actually who am I kidding – they can have as many meltdowns as they’d like. :)

Spud Webb

June 1st, 2009
3:42 pm

Yes, we all know there is no way, barring him shooting someone that Malkin would be suspended. That said, I don’t see anyway the Wings lose this series.
Good point Stroz, granted Avery is a &*%*, that comment was pretty funny in my mind, no offense to Sara or anyother female blogger. 5 games for that???? I forgot who suckered Ward, but the standard has been set for this playoff season. No suspension there, nobody will be in this series!!!!


June 1st, 2009
3:49 pm

lets say for fun, the Thrashers were playing the pukes from pittsburgh, Thrashers would average 10 penalties per game and it would be over in 4….Bettman would be dancing the jig. probably would be over in 4 if the pukes averaged 10 penalties per game too


June 1st, 2009
3:59 pm

Spud – Scott Walker suckered Ward and while no one has publicly said this, I highly suspect his lack of suspension was in part due to his “emotional state” (for you or any who didn’t pick up on the story, his wife was diagnosed with cancer during that series). But let’s face it – everyone in hockey from the broadcasters to the sofa pundits and from Edmonton to Florida knows the NHL officiating system, rule book, and enforcement are severely broken. Many of the rules are pointless, no two officials call anything the same way, and discipline is meted out based on rankings in the latest Homecoming Ballot race. It is what it is and unless someone ever tosses Bettman out on his arse, it isn’t likely to change.


June 1st, 2009
4:13 pm

Pretty sure that was a stick lift, not a hook on his hands. Hard to tell at the angle we are given. Networks apparently have access to all angles, so it would be nice to see a reverse angle.

The onus is on the accusers to provide evidence that it is, indeed, a hook. :P

B. Thenet

June 1st, 2009
4:14 pm

I am sticking with my Wings in 5 prediciton as well.

I don’t think Fleury is going to start playing any better once the series moves to Pittsburgh.

The Real Fan

June 1st, 2009
4:29 pm

Why we can’t win:
ATL 1244/ 15.3/G 76% 69/ 19.3/G 2306/ 28.1/G 2683/ 32.7/G
DET 810/10.0/G 78.3% 90/ 25.5/G 2965/ 36.2/G 2274/ 27.7/G

It’s about playing defense, playing smart, taking avantage of opportunities, creating shots and again DEFENSE.


June 1st, 2009
4:44 pm

Reason number 8934501523 why hockey is better than basketball…Besides the fact that they respect the traditions and the former greats of the sport (didya the Wings were in awe of Gordie and Ted in game one and each lined up to shake their hands), hockey players spend 7 weeks per playoff round trying to knock each other through the boards, de-capitate each other and make the opponent pay the price to earn every square inch of ice – when it is done, IT IS DONE. Hard feelings are put aside for next time you face each other and YOU SHAKE THE VICTORS HAND. Cry baby LeBron. I am biased, I hate basketball (starts off with the 57 steps they are allowed to take for a dunk so that ESPN can have their precious highlight, but I digress…) – you have the rest of your life to disect where you went wrong and why the other team won, but be a man first and foremost and get in line with your teammates.


June 1st, 2009
4:45 pm

…typo – that’s 2 weeks (7 games) but you get the point


June 1st, 2009
4:47 pm

Jacques Lemaire preaches defense, first. I hear he’s available, too. If the AS, LLC calls him, it’s probably to get a weather report in Minneapolis.

Tony C.

June 1st, 2009
4:51 pm

Mr.T. C’mon you know that there are two rulebooks on Campbell’s desk:

1) 2009 Official NHL Rulebook


2) 2009 Official Pittsburgh Penguin NHL Rulebook 2nd Ed. (With expanded Canadian Team vs. Sun-Belt Team section)


June 1st, 2009
4:55 pm

Jacques Martin is now the bench boss of the Canadiens, how long until the rumors fly that Jay Bouwmeester joins him in Montreal? Really a bad break for Florida as they attempted to resign him after not moving him at the deadline.


June 1st, 2009
5:00 pm

Glovesave – maybe it’s the opposite. Granted I’m no expert on FLA’s total situation but….if J-Bo thinks the problems there stemmed from a lack of commitment from the owners, he might jump north of the border. However if he thinks the team suffered because of Martin’s coaching/GMing – he isn’t gonna touch Montreal with a ten foot pole.

BTW, word I’ve read is most of the Habs fans preferred Hartley to Martin but are happy enough since they got their francophone.


June 1st, 2009
5:20 pm

Wow. So, I take it by Bob Gainey hiring Jaques Martin that Gainey will, in fact, remain the GM in Montreal? Well, if they were going to fire him, shouldn’t the incoming GM make the Coaching selection? I’m just asking a question. I really thought Gainey’s goose was cooked when the Habs slid from 1st to 8th, and got swept out of the playoffs by their arch nemesis, the Boston Bruins.

So, let me toss this out there. “Did Montreal do the right thing by allowing Gainey to remain on as GM, to hire the next Head Coach?” Or, “Did Montreal fail to properly administer accountability by retaining Gainey as GM, instead of firing him, and hiring someone ELSE to make the Coaching selection?”


June 1st, 2009
5:33 pm

Dunno Sara…Martin made some really great moves down there in Miami. Put together a young and very competitive team, and made a great hire in deBoer. Remember, he did have the Keenen mess to clean up too. Guess the only one who knows what will happen is Jay himself. He said all of the right things in Florida, and in my estimation, if he stays, the Panthers make the playoffs in 2010.


June 1st, 2009
6:10 pm

Gotta love this. Last year during the finals ALL the calls were going the Pens’ way (I will never forgive that weak 5-on-3 call even though Z killed it off brilliantly)and they STILL complained. Now they aren’t making any calls and Pittsburgh complains! (Though I gotta say this is actually very funny respect Bylsma (sp?) more than I did Therrien (more sp?)but the media fodder seriously has to stop. If the Wings win then they win because they were the better team. If Pittsburgh wins (please dear God no) then it proves this year that they were the better team. End of story. No excuses. No complaints. Champions win. Period.


June 1st, 2009
6:32 pm

Amazing that teams who are better than Atlanta, either don’t make the playoff’s or went out early, MAKE CHANGES !

They do this because of one thing WINNING, they want to produce a WINNER
and will NOT accept anything less than WINNING results !

Atlanta Thrashers, SAME LOSER GM since start of franchise, nothing but LOSING, both games and STAR PLAYERS ! Same OWNERS who are afraid to do anything to improve the team. Get Lamaire in here !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All this shows me, these owners DO NOT GIVE A DAMN about this Thrashers.
The GM is a CAREER LOSER, he knows NOTHING about NHL hockey.
The GM here should have been FIRED after year three, NO other team in the NHL would put up with his record of failure, NOT ONE !

But with drunk owners like levenson and LIAR snydell what can we the fans expect, Nothing positive will take place during the summer to improve this team to the level needed make the playoffs, let alone advance !

Just NUTS !

Tony C.

June 1st, 2009
7:06 pm

I also recall Martin doing a pretty decent job behind the bench with a young up & coming Senators squad a while back.

Until they ran into Quinn’s Leafs. Then things went bad-and hossa earned the sobriquet “Mary-Anne”.

Seriously, though I loved those OTT-v-TOR series-I still can see Gary Roberts getting his cheek split open against a seam in the glass while protecting the puck in the Senators while on the PK-I mean the camera was right there on the other side of the glass… Of course the Maple Leaf faithful were just roaring in approval of the job he was doing-when I think about Gary Roberts, I think about that play and a nifty little wrister he scooted past Roy no-look from the top of the circle.

The Joker

June 1st, 2009
7:06 pm

Do you know what the new name for a porta-potty is?



June 1st, 2009
8:37 pm

I went to the Thrashers site and read the waddell artical closely.

Now I am convinced more than ever waddell has NO idea what he is saying OR doing OR going to do. He has NO clue NONE !

He lies about where the team is and lies about what he will do.

What bothers me the most he would consider 35+ players, That just showed me how really CRAZY in the head he is ! We will never improve under this IDIOT !

World be Free

June 1st, 2009
8:54 pm

Jacques Martin is a total stiff. That’s an upgrade?
Habs must be gunning for that 8th and final playoff spot.

Bowmeester hates Martin and Florida is better off without the bumb. FLA can bring in Les Jackson from Dallas, who is much better of a GM that Martin could ever hope to be.

Ogie Ogelthorpe

June 1st, 2009
9:02 pm

I think the NHL uses a roulette wheel to determine it fines and suspensions.

Mike Babcock questions the validity of the match penalty in Game 4 in Chicago and receives no fine. Quennville questions a call in the next game and gets a $10,000 fine.

Scott Walker-as previously noted by Sara. Where is the suspension?

FYI-I liked the Leafs / Sens series as well. They were almost as good as the Habs/Nordiques series in the 80’s, back when Chris Chelios was actually “young”.

ranallo10 (in AT)

June 2nd, 2009
6:07 am

Is there ever a series in the NHL in which both teams (or their fans) are 100% content with the way the game was officiated? Seriously, even I complain about referees (Im’ glad McGeough retired), but they don’t typically determine the outcome of a game nor did they in either of the previous games. I don’t see the point of harping on the referees at this point.

Sara — Thanks for the link to Hossa’s “hook”…slow motion replay showing Dupuis’ stick hit the opponents skate and broke, and after the game he’s still complaining about penalties thinking Hossa deserved one on the play. Pitiful.

Rawhide — There’s a simple philosophy behind the loosening of the rule book during the playoffs (regarding calling or not calling penalties). During the 82 game regular season the referees are setting and maintaining a precedent, attempting to show players the limits of the rules and what is/is not legal. Once the postseason has begun the players have been through an entire season of penalties, and by this point generally know where the rulebook is being enforced. The referees then loosen their reins on the calls because it allows for more free flowing competition, a more exciting game, but also less penalty riddled games in which more time is spend on special teams than at even strength. Players generally appreciate LESS penalties because they’re allowed to play without stoppages for every gray area incident.

Consistency is the goal, and in my opinion the referees this series have been consistent with their lack of calling penalties. I have no complaints because for every penalty Pittsburgh fans complain about there is at least one that Detroit fans could be complaining about as well…the only difference is Detroit has won two games, and have little reason to complain.

In my opinion Malkin didn’t deserve a game misconduct because it was a situational fight, where his emotions simply got the better of him. I think Campbell got the call correct this time (but the Ward incident was penalty deserving, in my opinion).

Spud Webb

June 2nd, 2009
8:08 am

Sara, I didn’t realize that walker was having some personal issues. That said, still probably should’ve gotten a game for that. Sad about his wife.
LAC, this is no different than any other offseason, right? We sit on our hands and get laughed at by everyone. You heard it here first, Reasoner won’t be back on this team next year (thanks don) and Kovy will NOT be signed and will WALK w/NO compensation. SAD, I hate to say/write it, but I truly believe those two things will (or won’t depends how you look at it) happen. FIRE WADDELL.


June 2nd, 2009
8:37 am

Rawhide, you said in a previous column that we should not worry about Reasoner signing until June. It is now June. Is it time to start worrying?

ranallo10 (in AT)

June 2nd, 2009
8:51 am

Libby’s posting! Woohoo!!


June 2nd, 2009
8:58 am

Libby – I was thinking about that the other day. Not worried right now…According to comments made to Chris Vivlamore by DW, it’s something that will happen.

However, If it’s late June and he’s still not signed…then I start getting antsy.

R. Stroz

June 2nd, 2009
9:06 am

Now Rawhide, you know better than to believe Waddell.


June 2nd, 2009
10:24 am

Ranallo – I would venture to say the refs swallow their whistle in the playoff due to increased scrutiny by the media, players, coaches and fans. The last thing a ref wants is a game or series won on a power play off of an “iffy” call. So instead of risking it, they just don’t call it. You hear a lot more jawing by the zebras telling the players to knock it off or play on, and if they don’t listen, the call is made. Players know the rules, true…but in the mad dash to win the cup, rules be damned. If you can get away with it, you will keep on until penalized. The better play and smoother flow is a by-product, not the goal of the fewer calls.


June 2nd, 2009
11:19 am

Hi ranallo 10. Miss you very much. Rawhide, I agree with R Stroz. Can we really trust Waddell? However, I will be patient for another couple of weeks.


June 2nd, 2009
11:35 am

The NHL has a history of “changing” the rules in the Finals. The most famous has to be game 6 of the ‘99 finals where Brett Hull scored the game winner for the Stars against Buffalo when his skate was clearly in the crease. That call was made throughout the season, but not in the game and thus the Dallas Stars won their first Stanley Cup. Oh yea, that offseason the NHL got rid of the rule.


June 2nd, 2009
12:12 pm

I have to agree, I consider Waddell to be avery dishonest man, who
lies to cover his never ending mistakes. He should resign for the sake of the franchise, we do not need this dishonest human running this team any longer.

Sage of Bluesland

June 2nd, 2009
1:05 pm

Why on Earth would Don Waddell re-sign?! He has the ultimate job on this planet: complete lack of accountability from either his supervisors (ownership) or his clientele (sheep). He’ll continue to bluster and blunder his way in Thrashersland, saying whatever he needs to in order to deflect and obfuscate–and laugh all the way to the bank.

Re-sign out of some sort of ‘honor’ or ‘respect’?! Now THAT’S funny!

He’s blustering fraud of a GM and a buffoon–but he’s not THAT big of a buffoon.

Face it, until the FANS stop subsidizing the incompetence and make a real effort to get the ownership to take notice, nothing significant will change in Thrashersland. That’s precisely when the “fans” have become part of the problem, as opposed to the solution.

But, hey, if you like minor-league hockey at major-league prices, then…in the classy and respectful words of one of the owners, “Deal with it!”.

That should help you in your decision to continue to give your money to this organization…but it won’t, I know…Emotion still rules in Thrashersland…


June 2nd, 2009
2:41 pm

Saaaage, where can I find some grass to chew???? Then I will protest step by step with yewwwwww.


June 2nd, 2009
3:35 pm

So Sage…If they fire Waddell, are you going to get in line to get season tickets?

Tony C.

June 2nd, 2009
3:50 pm


to resign would be to leave the post.
to re-sign would be to extend his contract.

Not to be a grammar-fiend, but that post gets WAAAAY less confusing when you spell the word properly dude.

Tony C.

June 2nd, 2009
3:54 pm


June 2nd, 2009
3:56 pm


June 2nd, 2009
4:04 pm

If I were Sage, I’d still be hesitant to support the Thrashers, in the way that he’s outlined in his previous posts. He wants accountability. Firing Waddell is an important FIRST STEP towards truly implementing change. But, for example, hiring, “Floyd, the Barber/Account,” still isn’t addressing the problem at the GM position. Firing Waddell and hiring Doug Risebrough or Jacques Lemaire would, indeed, show me, and Sage, and all Thrasher fans, that they CARE about the franchise. A payroll of $45 million still isn’t addressing the meaningful changes* that are needed. Yes, I put an * there, quite deliberately. I’ll allow it, (a low payroll,) conditioned upon the ownership fessing up about its intentions to continue building for two (2) more seasons. That would reflect HONESTY on their part. And as long as they bring the fans onboard with that, I don’t particularly have a problem with it, so long as Waddell isn’t the architect of the building project. Generally-speaking, nobody likes building projects.

They don’t. The fans don’t. The GM’s don’t. The Coaches don’t. And the players don’t. So why do it? Answer: Because it’s the most intelligent way to ‘properly build’ a core nucleus of young, fast, highly skilled talent that can serve the organization for YEARS and YEARS to come, so long as they get re-signed in their RFA contracts.

In the above post, I think Sage meant to say “resign” rather than “re-sign.” If Don Waddell gets “re-signed,” that is, EXTENDED on yet another contract, I just don’t know what I can possibly say about that. I must submit that … if the ownership “likes” Don Waddell, and is “pleased” with him, then why wouldn’t they extend his contract? When (and not if,) they do renew Waddell, it ought to be the final confirmation that the ownership bares the largest percentage of the distribution of blame regarding the Atlanta Thrashers Hockey Club.

Only the ownership can bring about ‘meaningful change.’ Sage will disagree with me. Sage will say the fans have the power, with the money in their wallets. Well, for argument’s sake, let’s say only 6,000 fans showed up to home games. Still with me? The ownership decides to fire Waddell to appease the fans, but then … they hire my Aunt Bertha to run the club. My Aunt Bertha is a wonderful person, but she’s only been to one (1) hockey game in her life. And he’s only made one hypothetical draft pick in Thrashers history: 2001, Ilya Kovalchuk. In that regard, I suppose, she’s doing quite well. But she’s just not equipped with the knowledge, background, and judgement to run a hockey team. And there it is. The Spirit may well, indeed, find someone decent to run the team, after they fire Waddell. That’s the power they hold. And not sayyy, the power the fans hold. No fan ever hired a GM. If they (ownership) don’t find someone decent, they are STILLLLLLLL the source of the problem. There’d just be a new GM to amuse and bewilder us all.