NHL Playoff Notebook; Officiating Needs Work

One of the more frustrating things to watch this postseason has been the performance of the on ice officials in playoff games. This is not to suggest any one of the remaining teams has been favored by the on ice referees, because they have not, but merely to point out that there has been a lack of consistency across the board when it comes to the group that is responsible for overseeing each contest.

From blatant missed high sticks, to questionable boarding penalties, to phantom hooking penalties, we have seen it all this offseason. We have seen questionable quick whistles as well that have led to scoring possibilities, and in some cases goals, coming right off the board.

We have also seen the standards of officiating change drastically as games go deep into the third period or overtime, or deep into a series. I will not argue against the concept of letting teams play, but you can “let them play” just as much in the first period of game one as you can in overtime of game seven, and that is one of the most frustrating things of this topic.

Everyone will admit that there really is no harder sport to officiate than hockey with the speed of the game and the need for instant decision making, it is just frustrating to see great hockey get adversely affected by calls and non-calls at this point in the year when games are this important.

East final set

The Boston Bruins will take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference finals for a trip to the Stanley Cup finals. It is an interesting matchup style wise, as Boston should bring the physical edge while the Penguins can out score anyone when they are on their game.

The Penguins recovered nicely in the second round after a tough first round series against the New York Islanders, beating the Ottawa Senators in five games. Pittsburgh really seemed to find a bit of a groove offensively and took it to a Senators team that was playing well coming into the second round.

The Bruins were able to take care of a New York Rangers team that struggled offensively and with the power play, two things that you have to have this time of year to continue to move on.

This series may just come down to which team can dictate their style of play the best. If Boston can turn it into a physical, hard hitting affair, that could cause problems for the Penguins. If the Penguins can turn things into a shootout, they could make quick work of the Bruins. It will be fascinating to see how this series unfolds.

Kings rolling

Is there any defending champions having a quieter run through the postseason than the Los Angeles Kings? The Kings have a chance to punch their ticket to the Western Conference final Sunday, led by Jonathon Quick, who once again is having a superb postseason.

This Kings team also appears to have “it.” The flair for the dramatic, as demonstrated by the two goals they scored in 22 seconds with less than two minutes to go in game two to shock the San Jose Sharks. Those are the types of moments that define teams this time of year, and there is something to be said about getting that experience in previous playoff runs.

The Kings were built for postseason runs like this one, and have gotten hot at the right time. Sound familiar?