Hockey From The Blind Side, Maple Leafs Defeat Islanders …. Or Was It The Officiating ….. Again?
By John Panarese
Good teams overcome adversity. I will not debate or argue that point with anyone. If you are a winner, you fight through and prevail in most instances.
Nevertheless, sometimes, a bad call in a game can simply destroy momentum or ruin the chances of a victory. We, as hockey fans, have witnessed it occur many times over the years. Officials are human, and mistakes are made. I will not ever trash the efforts of the NHL officials, as they do the best they can, and it’s not an easy job in the least.
Sometimes, though, calls just don’t make sense. It’s one thing to miss a penalty or to penalize the wrong player for an infraction. It’s another thing entirely to make a call that simply does not compute. How does one receive a diving unsportsman like conduct penalty when they are crosschecked in the face and falling backwards to the ice? This is exactly what John Tavares received when Joffrey Lupul
crosschecked him to the face and JT fell to the ice with about 3 minutes left in the game with the New York Islanders losing 4-3 at that point.It didn’t help that the Isles spotted the Leafs a 3-0 lead by the time some 11 minutes had progressed into the game. Yes, the boys came out quite flat, and Toronto cashed in quickly and effectively.
However, Kyle Okposo made it 3-1 before the end of the first period and then Frans Nielsen cut the lead to 3-2 in the second period. The Islanders were playing catchup again, but, at least, it looked like they had plenty of time to get back into the game.
Unfortunately, however, Joey Crabb scored the game winner shorthanded to give the Leafs the 4-2 lead in the third period. John Tavares got the Islanders back within 1, but it wasn’t enough. An empty net goal by Joffrey Lupul sealed the game for the Maple Leafs for the 5-3 victory.
I have just a few “blind observations” from the game;
• I hate when an official’s call impacts the result of a game. Would the Islanders have scored on what should have been a power play and the potential of pulling Nabbie for a 6 on 4 advantage? Of course, that’s not certain, but it was surely possible.
• Secondary scoring is a good thing. However, 3 wasn’t enough to win the game this time.
• The Islanders have to stop spotting teams leads. Being behind early or losing leads later in a game makes life much tougher than it needs to be.
• The power play, despite giving up the shorty, is getting the job done. Nice work by Doug Weight.
• Speaking of Weighter, I don’t blame him for his reaction to the diving call on JT. I would have really gone off on the officials, but that’s why I am not an NHL coach or assistant coach, among many reasons.
• OK, so now we need more consistent 5 on 5 play and goals. If it’s not one thing, it’s another …
The Islanders have a couple of days off over the Christmas break before returning to action against the Rangers again ant MSG. Let’s hope the boys don’t have any holiday hangover problems Monday ….
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