About Last Night…

Game 5 of the Ducks/Oilers series was not light in the storyline department (it had a “high storyline factor,” as Louie DeBrusk would say). Depending on your perspective, the Oilers either choked, got screwed, or the Ducks pulled off an amazing comeback. In this case, all views are accurate.

The Period By Period Swings Continue.

The Oilers easily could have been 3-0 or 4-0 down after the first, if not for the heroics of Cam Talbot and Ryan Getzlaf missing a few golden opportunities, including a ludicrous penalty shot.

As has been the series trend, things violently swung in the second. Edmonton found their footing, took their chances, and even had an officiating decision go in their favour as the zebras missed a high stick on Corey Perry which indirectly led to an Oilers goal.

Win or lose, if the (mostly) young Oilers take anything from this series, they’ll learn the risks of sitting back and absorbing attack after attack. They paid for it dearly, as a few shots from the point found their way past Talbot to make it 3-2.

And then…

The latest review.

I’ll admit I am firmly in the Kelly Hrudey/Ron Maclean/Nick Kypreos camp, in the sense that I didn’t notice Ryan Kesler was holding Talbot down on the crease – but like most Oilers fans I had long ago turned away in disgust/anguish after the Ducks tied it up.

There are a few things I don’t understand about the decision.

  • All year long, reviews have taken 7, 8, 9 minutes. And that was for *relatively* meaningless regular season games. Now that a team’s season is on the line, the league pushes it through?
  • Like Todd McLellan said, what is goaltender interference? Does anyone know? One of the more staggering moments from the last few days was when Elliot Friedman reported that four out of five members of the NHL’s war room thought Corey Perry’s interference from Game 4 was called correctly. I had chalked that goal up to referee error, but the NHL confirming their decision makes it all that much more infuriating. Other leagues – most notably the NBA – are fairly forthcoming with official errors. While it won’t turn back time, a simple acknowledgement from the league that the Oilers were wronged would be nice.
  • There’s a (growing) corner of the internet that believes the league doesn’t want the Oilers to win. To that I ask… why? What league in their right mind wouldn’t want one of their few superstars on a national stage…? Ah, forget I asked.
  • I chalk this all up to gross incompetence and nothing more. It’s symbolic of a directionless league that can’t solve simple issues like goaltender equipment, let alone goaltender interference. As many pro leagues around the world grow exponentially, the NHL stagnates.

False Equivalency

(Sidenote: This is more or less my brother’s point, but I agree so I’m going to steal it).

For those of you who wisely avoid politics, false equivalency is a term used by the political left. The thinking relates to media bias, or more specifically the desire to not be biased.

In the media’s effort to be balanced between two sides of a debate, they’ll weight both sides equally, even if they aren’t equal. The political left cited this with their coverage of Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. I’m oversimplifying this, but both were flawed candidates, however Hilary’s relatively minor screw ups (let’s say… emails on a server) were weighed disproportionately against Trump’s… everything (let’s say.. transparent business conflicts, race-baiting, general incompetence, disturbing ignorance, mocking the disabled, and sexual assaults, to name a few).

I think the NHL has a false equivalency problem.

The Ducks – to their credit – know this. They’re a veteran team, and they’re pushing the officials to the limit. Anaheim could be called for a penalty virtually every shift, but they know any NHL referee isn’t going to give them 12, 13 penalties a game, even if they deserve it.

On the other hand, the Oilers are young and naive. They play far more by the book, but commit a few penalties as well. In an effort to balance things out, a high number of those penalties are called.

This type of thinking is why virtually every NHL game has relatively balanced penalty counts. *If* one team commits eight times as many infractions, do they really receive eight times as many penalties? The Ducks know they don’t, and they take advantage. Someday, when the Oilers are a bunch of grizzled veterans, they’ll do the same.



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