Does Shifting Focus Mean Lacking Confidence?
As we approach the conclusion of the off-day between Games Three and Four, the big story may be the Red Wings’ focus on officiating.
According to Darren Dreger of TSN, the Red Wings just won’t let go of the missed call for too many men on the ice from Game Three.
For those unfamiliar (is that possible?), the Penguins skated with six players on the ice for more than 20 seconds without receiving a bench minor.
Obviously, members of the Red Wings were infuriated over the non-call, and Dreger even mentioned that “there are suggestions Dennis LaRue, who was one of the two veteran referees on the ice, was allegedly yelling at the Penguins players to get off.”
I highly doubt that was the case, as this wasn’t the typical long change that gets called in front of the bench.
In fact, seeing as how those on the Red Wings’ bench didn’t even realize the situation until 15 seconds in, it’s entirely possible the officials missed it as well.
As Dreger said, “Detroit has had some issues with the officiating and this might just be a part of the sour grapes aspect.”
“I love it. I’m not sure how the East was really called all playoffs, but I think the way they’re calling things now should be a blueprint for how the regular season should go.”
Those are the words of veteran Red Wing Kirk Maltby after Game Two.
Apparently their tone has changed?
I look at it like this: the officiating has been horrible for both teams through three games. Had this incident led to a Penguin goal, issues would/should have arisen. But no goal was scored and no Red Wing goal was prevented, so already this non-call was less problematic than the two non-calls on Henrik Zetterberg for freezing the puck in the crease.
Neither team has any room to complain about officiating, as each game has brought a handful of non-calls on both sides. To put it simply, the officiating has been terrible. But at least it has been consistent.
But the bigger story behind this is that the Red Wings have begun the ever-popular assault on officiating.
So what, right?
The more the Red Wings focus on officiating, the less they focus on improving their game and beating the Penguins.
We saw it from the Penguins’ opponents last year in each of the first three rounds. Then we saw the Penguins utilize it against the Red Wings before losing in six. Now, this year, we’ve seen it quite a bit leading up to this round, and always from losing teams.
So, Detroit, keep worrying about officiating. You may have the series lead right now, but that could change, and your soapbox very well could play a large part in that.