Friday, April 20, 2007

The Goats Wear Stripes

Game 4 between the Red Wings and the Calgary Flames was ugly, at least from a Detroit fan's perspective. Or anyone who roots for good officiating.

Yes, the Wings did not play well on special teams, going 0-6 on the power play and giving up 2 goals on the penalty kill. The circumstances surrounding Calgary's 2 power play goals, however, were somewhat infuriating. Both came on 5-on-3 power plays, and both calls that gave the Flames the 2-man advantage were, in Mickey Redmond's all-too-kind words, "marginal at best." Yes, Dominik Hasek embellished some contact with Jarome Iginla, but certainly not enough to warrant an unsportmanlike conduct call. Not in a playoff game. Not when Calgary already was on the power play. As for the "hooking" call on Niklas Lidstrom in the second, I don't even know where to begin. There was no hook. He put his stick on Jarome Iginla. This is playoff hockey. That's a call you have to let go.

To be fair, there were marginal calls going against both sides in this game. However, they put the Wings in much worse situations. Two bad calls gave Calgary 5-on-3 power plays for over a minute. That's tough to stop, no matter how good your team is on the penalty kill (and so far, Detroit hasn't been very good). I probably shouldn't be writing my game summary within an hour of it ending, considering I'm still pretty furious, but I believe it's fair to say the officials beat us tonight as much as the Flames did.

On the bright side, Mike Babcock's line shakeup produced very positive results. The second line of Todd Bertuzzi, Robert Lang and Johan Franzen produced both Red Wing goals. Bertuzzi had a goal and an assist, Franzen a goal, and Lang assisted Bertuzzi's goal with a nifty pass from behind the Calgary net. Unfortunately, the first line of Datsyuk, Zetterburg and Holmstrom didn't play nearly as well as they have earlier in the series, and the Detroit power play was listless. Hopefully, the second line will continue their strong play while the rest of the Wings revert to their performance of the first two games.

No comments: