That’s the only conclusion I can come to. Sydney Crosby is the twinkle in the NHL commissioner’s eye, and they want to give him a Stanley Cup. They aren’t succeeding, but they are trying. How else can the lopsided officiating be explained?
Games 1 and 2 were back-to-back games, one day after the conclusion of the conference finals. Not having a day of rest between games in the playoffs is unheard of. Doubly so in the all-important finals. This is definitely advantage-Penguins, who are the younger and uninjured team, with 2 days off before the finals as opposed to the older Wings who wind up playing 3 games in 4 days and have several injured players.
In game one, a blatant trip resulting in a Penguin breakaway gets no call. Minutes later Detroit gets a slashing penalty for breaking somebody’s stick… no contact to the player’s body at all.
In game 2 it gets worse: a Pittsburgh player spears Detroit goaltender Chris Osgood in the chest, knocking him to the ice, and Evgeni Malkin instigates a fight with Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg (and gets his ass whupped). Spearing is a 5 minute major and an automatic game misconduct. It also usually results in a suspension. The player was called for slashing instead… a 2 minute minor (with 19 seconds left to go in the game, it’s rather meaningless). Instigating a fight in the final minutes of the game is also an automatic suspension, but the NHL quickly rescinded the suspension so that Malkin, Pittsburgh’s top scorer
(and the only Penguin to score against the Wings so far), won’t miss a game.
Oh, and Malkin’s jersey wasn’t tied down, which is an automatic game misconduct, but the referees didn’t assess that penalty. Not that it mattered with 19 seconds left on the clock, but I think my point is clear: rules are being bent if not outright broken in favor of Pittsburgh.
And they still can’t win.
I can’t wait until Datsyuk gets healthy again. And I can’t wait to see who throws what kind of cheapshot at the end of game 3 since it’s clear there aren’t any real repercussions for doing that sort of thing. The NHL is becomming a joke.
edit: I thought Malkin was the only Penguin to score on us, but it was pointed out to me that the Game 1 goal was Fedetenko, with an assist by Malkin. I was confused.