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How Much?


Jason Chen

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I'm convinced that the Calgary Flames took a page from

so I really wonder how much the Calgary Flames gave veteran referees Bill McCreary and Stephen Walkom before the game.

The problem tonight with the NHL's inconsistent reffing wasn't the fact that there were a lot of phantom or soft calls, but rather that they didn't call anything. It's one thing to let the game play on without any sort of stoppages, especially a match-up as crucial as this one, but it's totally another to let the lack of calls dictate what kind of behaviour the players can engage in. Case in point, Dion Phaneuf.

Just by my count, Phaneuf should've been called for penalties on at least four separate occasions, some of them committed right in front of McCreary, but no whistles. FOUR. Letting one go is something, but once Phaneuf realized that his after-the-whistle shot on Daniel Sedin wasn't going to called for a roughing or unsportsmanlike, he took advantage of it and did the same to Ryan Kesler. Had McCreary or Walkom remembered they had whistles on their hands, Phaneuf would've put his team in a giant hole against Vancouver's vaunted powerplay. His antics were dumb and pointless and one day it's going to come back and really hurt his team... and to think that a lot of people picked him for Canada. He's just not a very smart nor disciplined player. Speaking of penalties, where was the call for the slash on Christian Ehrhoff that snapped his stick in half in overtime? I seem to remember that a slashed stick that broke always resulted into a penalty.

<img src="http://d.yimg.com/a/p/ap/20100110/capt.dc63729580e341d28ff45831ce0a9801.flames_canucks_hockey__vcrd108.jpg" class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Kudos to Kesler for fighting back against Phaneuf because no one else seemed to want to do it. Someone needed to respond with either a big hit or fight to show that Phaneuf's antics won't be tolerated. Instead, we got two Rick Rypien-Brandon Prust scraps that, while entertaining, sent the right message to the wrong player. It should've been Phaneuf there, but I guess with the new "fighting code" in the NHL a fight would've only been warranted had there been a big, clean hit. I'm tired of players thinking it's their job to respond with a fight only after a good hit (see

and
). I also have to disagree with Hordichuk's comments on HNIC as well, just because while I do agree that it's his job to spark the team, I think it's almost been ingrained in players' heads that after they make a clean hit someone will always come after them. Even if Hordichuk didn't want to fight, he would've had to because it was clear Krys Barch was looking to do something about it. If the NHL wants to do something about cracking down on these "unnecessary responses" throw in a 2-minute instigator for the guy who responds to a good, solid hit. The league should promote good, legal, physical play and letting the players police themselves in this way doesn't help. The league has refs to prevent escalation but tonight they could've failed miserably in that department. Phaneuf could've been hurt bad had the Canucks really lost their composure (like Tanner Glass in a brief hiccup in an up-and down third frame).

The Sedins were up to their old tricks again with a beautiful feed from Alex Burrows to Henrik to Daniel, and once again the twins weren't afraid to mix it up in the scrums. The new-found swagger, I think, has given them confidence and propelled Henrik to the top of the Art Ross race. The Canucks played a confident game all night despite being heavily outshot (quality over quantity, I say) and it has translated over to the penalty box, where in a hilarious sequence the gatekeeper told Rene Bourque (I believe it was him, serving Mark Giordano's penalty, although I could be wrong) to scoot down the bench so he had some place to sit. Bourque proceeded him to give him a little stare while the gatekeeper continued to ignore him.

Jarome Iginla was 1-1 against Henrik tonight in the circle and 1-2 overall, but it might as well be 0-2 because neither Shane Heyer nor Brian Murphy could agree on the proper way to drop the puck, something which has drawn the ire of many players and the league had set a standard for the proper technique before the season. Here's an idea: never mind if the player is ready or not - just drop the puck and if one player doesn't have his stick down, well, too bad. I understand that the linesmen are trying to make the face-off fair at a crucial moment in a crucial game, but c'mon, these are pros and if they don't pay attention then make them pay for it.

Mikael Samuelsson had a chance to end the game in overtime but missed the net, something that Detroit fans knew all too well about. Other than that miss he had a great game and really showed some great stickhandling and passing. Willie Mitchell also had a big lane to fire his slapper through, but it wasn't a particularly good shot (it kinda fluttered) and it was one of the few instances in which his extra long stick has a drawback. You can bet that the Canucks missed having Sami Salo at the point. In the shootout Kesler's post was the ultimate decider of the game because both goalies were beat three times each. What a call by Brent Sutter though, to use Jamie Lundmark as his last shooter. He played a heck of a game and Roberto Luongo's unfamiliarity with him must've made an impact.

It was a hard-fought and great game overall but it's tough to lose in a shootout like that. Until we meet again, Flamers (March 14).

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Normally it's just sour grapes when the referees are blamed after a loss but I certainly have to agree with you here. It wasn't just the fact that the flames ran around slashing sticks and taking cheaps un-called but what irked me the most was the boarding call on Glass after he himself was the victim of a boarding non-call moments earlier. Refs lost all credibility with me after that call. Quite frankly if I was a referee I would have startwed penalizing that goof Phaneuf for taking advantage of my good intentions of putting the whistle away to allow the players to play and determine the game themselves with out all the BS obstruction, make up, and phantom calls. Walkom and McCreary got played by the Flames. Embarassing really.

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How about the brutal CBC broadcasting crew??Niether one could call a curling bonspiel!!They're boring...don't make any sense...Weekes calling a hilight of Sedin pass a "no look" passs..when Sedin's looking right at his teammate is just one example.Why don't we het Hughson??even Bob Cole would be better than those two!!BRUTAL!!Typical CBC

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You're right, Nighthawk07, if the refs wanted to call penalties it should've gone both ways.

Mugger34, I don't think Weekes is that bad, and Mark Lee is alright, but guys like Jim Hughson and Chris Cuthbert are in a class of their own. The east coast bias is obviously in play here, which is rather unfortunate, really - the Western Conference is clearly the better one.

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Mark Lee is far from alright. Its KW's first year in the booth so I can cut him some slack. Lee is just as brutal as Bill McCreary and Stephen Walkoms' officiating last night

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I agree that the Tanner Glass penalty was probably the worst call all night. I also can't believe Iginla and Phaneuf. Phaneuf should've had those four penalties for sure but I bet if someone was in the Flames dressing room after the game, they'd have seen the dirt on his knees from blowing the ref before the game. About Iginla, what's with all the chirping? He reminded me of Matt Cooke. If you're gonna run your mouth like that at least have the balls to do something about it. Rypien had just beat the s*** out of your "tough guy" and then you start beaking him like that? Come on!! I understand he was trying to keep his team pumped up, but mouthing off the whole Canucks team and even giving the goalie a shot and not having the balls to do anything about it, is absolutely the kind of dick move a player like Matt Cooke or Steve Ott would pull. The Flames and their fans should be embarassed to have their captain act like this.

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zduck14--I realize it's probably futile to try to reason with someone so bitter and twisted, but here goes...

1. Glass hit Dawes directly from behind right into the boards with the ref standing right there. That's a penalty and he's lucky he didn't get a major. Bourque hit Glass shoulder to shoulder. That's not a penalty.

2. Let's talk about the Phaneuf "penalties." The ref let the shot on Sedin go, but at the same time he didn't call Sedin for holding Phaneuf after he was initially knocked down. Dion was pushed into Luongo in overtime by a Nuck defenceman, tried to avoid Luongo as well as he could (do you seriously think if he hit Luongo hard that Roberto would ever get up?), and if a goal had been scored on the play, it's likely it would have been called back (the refs probably wanted to get out of the rink alive). Phaneuf played an agitating game and it got your (and the Nucks) goat. Why is that different from Kesler or Burrows, who back up their stuff FAR less than Phaneuf does?

3. Rypien "beat the ***t" out of nobody Saturday night. Prust soundly defeated him in the first fight (did you notice the blood pouring down Rypien's face?) and the second fight was either a slight edge to Prust or a draw. And Prust isn't the Flames "tough guy." That would be Brian McGrattan, who Hordichuk ran away from, continuing the trend started in the 5-1 game. Darcy remembers the thrashing he took earlier in the season and clearly doesn't want a repeat.

It's great that you're a loyal fan, but ignoring reality the way you did in your post just makes you look bad.

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Weekes is not not great, more concerned with talking a lot than being accurate. But you have to give him time, to bad there is no minor leagues for color commentating.

Hughson is worse in my opinion, he also seems to be more concerned with talking as much as possible. He's very repetitive, how many times in a game does he need to remind people that the team can't change on an icing or that the Sedins don't kill penalties. He does too much color commentating for a play-by-play guy and a lot of it just stating the obvious or trying to describe what the player was thinking or intending to do. He can't know that and often draws wrong conclusions. Also, waaay to focused on his signature phrase, "great save xxxx" which ends up being extremely contrived.

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EVERYBODY CANT GET WORKED UP OVER THE CALGARY GAME, ITS JUST ANOTHER GAME, YAH SURE ITS AGAINST THE MUCH HATED FLAMES BUT WE GOTTA TOUGHEN UP AND REALIZE THAT WERE GOIN 2 HA PLAYOFFS AND THATS ALL THAT MATTERS

IT COMES DOWN 2 THOSE 16 GAMES IN LATE MAY, THATS WHEN EVERYBODY COULD START PANIKING OR SHOWING THE SUPPORT OF A REAL CANUCK FAN

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alldownhillaftertallon, I'll have to disagree on your second point, especially about Burrows and Kesler. Sure, they chirp a lot, but Burrows responds by scoring and Kesler gets a roughing against Phaneuf. It was pretty clear to me that neither player wanted to drop the gloves. It's not like Kesler's afraid of the guy - he didn't hesitate to drop them against the much stronger Iginla or Shea Weber. In a game like that you don't wanna sit yourself out for five minutes. Let Glass, Hordichuk, and Rypien do that for ya.

And I don't think Phaneuf played an agitating game. He played a dumb game.

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alldownhillafterTallon

it's sad I'm clearly replying to a flames homer but here goes...

1. Agreed Glass deserved a penalty, but CBC showed the two hits back to back : they were absolutely identical. Both should have been penalties, that's why Glass was ticked and made the hit in the first place, because it wasn't called when he was hit from behind head first into the glass. It's why the refs should call the first one... so someone doesn't get seriously hurt.

2. If you think Phaneuf tried to avoid Luongo the only explanantion is you were listening to the game on the radio, and didn't watch. Seriously dude, it was obvious. He played the little push for the chance to "fall" (dive might be a better word) into Lu, with no attempt to avoid it. How about the one we couldn't see on TV where the announcer said "Phaneuf just tripped burrows with his stick right in front of McCreary, but McCreary just ignored it." And holding on Sedin on the play against the boards? That's just plain homerism. Phaneuf is going to cost the flames at a crucial moment and you will be cursing him.

3. Granted the fights were close, but the announcers weren't Canuck fans and they all gave the rounds to Rypien, so saying Prust "soundly defeated" him just shows you are just going to say what you want regardless of the facts. I saw a lot more blood on Prust's face than Rypien's.

I feel sad for replying to flames homer now, but in fairness at least your post wasn't just pure troll, it was just badly biased.

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Pretty bold accusation with nothing to back it up with - but hey it's CDC the place where you can accuse NHL employees, players and coaches of pretty much anything and get away with it.

Par for the course.

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Have to agree that Cgy/Van game was not the best example of professional officiating and without a doubt, McCleary did not earn his salary that nite. I digress. If at all possible, I'd love to see the game again and capture Iginla each time he was yakkin' it up on the ice. Did anyone else notice that as soon as the players started milling about, Iginla picked up his two new friends?? Everytime this happened, not one, but both linesmen were inbetween Iginla and anyone else. My, my, even Gretsky didn't get that protection. Back then his teammates stepped in. Ergo, Phaneuf on Sedin, someone on the ice should have come to the rescue and put DP on a stretcher. If you don't protect your stars, they're free game.

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alldownhillafterTallon

it's sad I'm clearly replying to a flames homer but here goes...

1. Agreed Glass deserved a penalty, but CBC showed the two hits back to back : they were absolutely identical. Both should have been penalties, that's why Glass was ticked and made the hit in the first place, because it wasn't called when he was hit from behind head first into the glass. It's why the refs should call the first one... so someone doesn't get seriously hurt.

2. If you think Phaneuf tried to avoid Luongo the only explanantion is you were listening to the game on the radio, and didn't watch. Seriously dude, it was obvious. He played the little push for the chance to "fall" (dive might be a better word) into Lu, with no attempt to avoid it. How about the one we couldn't see on TV where the announcer said "Phaneuf just tripped burrows with his stick right in front of McCreary, but McCreary just ignored it." And holding on Sedin on the play against the boards? That's just plain homerism. Phaneuf is going to cost the flames at a crucial moment and you will be cursing him.

3. Granted the fights were close, but the announcers weren't Canuck fans and they all gave the rounds to Rypien, so saying Prust "soundly defeated" him just shows you are just going to say what you want regardless of the facts. I saw a lot more blood on Prust's face than Rypien's.

I feel sad for replying to flames homer now, but in fairness at least your post wasn't just pure troll, it was just badly biased.

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree about a lot of this stuff. You see the Glass and Bourque hits as identical, I don't. My choice of words on Phaneuf and Luongo may not have been the best--given the shove by the defenceman Phaneuf couldn't avoid running into Luongo, but I do believe that he attempted to lessen the impact.

What I will add here is that using the word from on high of the CBC announcers for that game as support for anything is pointless--such a display of bias has rarely been seen on HNIC (at least since Hughson got sent away to do games out east).

P.S. That blood on Prust's face was Rypien's.

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Have to agree that Cgy/Van game was not the best example of professional officiating and without a doubt, McCleary did not earn his salary that nite. I digress. If at all possible, I'd love to see the game again and capture Iginla each time he was yakkin' it up on the ice. Did anyone else notice that as soon as the players started milling about, Iginla picked up his two new friends?? Everytime this happened, not one, but both linesmen were inbetween Iginla and anyone else. My, my, even Gretsky didn't get that protection. Back then his teammates stepped in. Ergo, Phaneuf on Sedin, someone on the ice should have come to the rescue and put DP on a stretcher. If you don't protect your stars, they're free game.

And it really could've turned out that way. Perhaps the MOST understated part of that game was that it could've escalated into something much, much worse. By sitting Phaneuf in the box the refs are actually accomplishing two things: 1) calling a penalty that should be called regardless of the context of the current game, and 2) letting both teams know that unsportsmanlike and cheapshot behaviour won't be tolerated. Phaneuf in the box means a just Vancouver PP opportunity and keeping the game under control.

People talk about hockey players "policing" themselves, well, sometimes that's not the best policy.

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