One of the reoccurring themes in the NHL this week is that teams are voicing their displeasure with the state of officiating in the postseason. New York Islanders fans know this already too well. Mathew Barzal is routinely targetted but rarely draws a call.
This week we saw a number of head coaches come out and question the officiating. Craig Berube (St Louis Blues), John Cooper (Tampa Bay Lightning), and Rod Brind’Amour (Carolina Hurricanes) all called out the stripes in post-game press conferences.
But there’s one more team to add to the mix, and you’re not going to believe who it is. The Pittsburgh Penguins.
New York Islanders rival has a problem with officiating
According to The Atheltic’s Josh Yohe (subscription required), the Pittsburgh Penguins went directly to the NHL to complain about not getting a few calls n Game 3. We don’t know if the Islanders have done the same, but Yohe indicates that this isn’t necessarily a rare occurrence at this time of the year.
And look, the Islanders have more power-play opportunities than the Penguins in the series. The NHL indicates that the Isles have 12 PP opportunities to the Penuis eight. It was even at seven before Game 4 today.
From an Islanders perspective, it’s wild the Pittsburgh Penguins feel they aren’t getting their fair share of calls from the officials. In the opening minutes of Game 3, the officials missed two hooking calls, a trip, and two too many men on the ice calls against the Penguins.
This is the same team that routinely receives the benefit of the doubt against the Isles. Just yesterday in Game 4, Scott Mayfield was called for holding as he stood up on Crosby at the blueline. Both players fell to the ice clutching one another’s jersey. Only Mayfield got the call for…reasons.
The officiating hasn’t been great from an Islanders point-of-view at least. And clearly, we aren’t the only ones to think so. But you know something is wrong when the Pittsburgh Penguins start complaining that they aren’t being protected enough by the refs.
Regular Season vs. Playoffs
But look, that’s what happens when playoff games are called differently than the regular season. Which is insane. The rulebook doesn’t change between the regular season and the playoffs. It’s just that the officials call the game differently, they chose to allow certain things to slide.
That’s why the refs are there, to call the rule book when an infraction is made. For either team. Playoffs or not.
This issue seems totally self-inflicted. If the officials called the game just like they did the regular season I’m sure we hear less of this displeasure.