Officiating takes center stage midway through NHL playoffs

Officiating has actually been on spotlight midway through the NHL playoffs.

Star forward Connor McDavid didn’t draw a single charge when Edmonton got swept in the preliminary. Tampa Bay controlled a second-round series versus Carolina thanks to a powerful power play. And a war of words in between coaches Barry Trotz and Bruce Cassidy has actually enlivened a currently hot Islanders-Bruins series.

Calls made, and not made, and the taking place outcomes are tipping the balance of the postseason. The spotlight is on referees and linesmen for the effect they’re having on the method to some group raising the Stanley Cup.

“I don’t work them,” Trotz said Tuesday. “I respect them because I worked the referee situation (in practices) in the bubble last year and I got ran over. I tried to call penalties, I tried to call offsides, I got hit with pucks, I got knocked over — I got all that stuff. I’ve been in the league a long time: It’s a hard job, and I have a lot of respect for those guys.”

So much respect that he and Cassidy have mentioned officials a handful of times. Trotz said it was up to linesmen to keep Bruins center Patrice Bergeron from “cheating” on faceoffs. Cassidy quipped after Boston’s Game 5 loss to New York: “They offer a story over there that it’s more like the New York City Saints, not the New York City Islanders.”

The remark cost him $25,000 in a fine from the league for openly slamming officiating.

“Most of what I thought I said was more in reference to the Islanders, a little gamesmanship with Barry, his comments towards Bergy,” Cassidy stated. “I’m always going to protect my captain and kind of push back a little bit. Listen, we’re in front of the cameras a lot in media and it’s an entertainment business, it’s been a good series so there’s a little bit of that back and forth.”

Islanders-Bruins isn’t the only series officiating has factored into. McDavid not making a charge call versus Winnipeg in the preliminary ended up being a hot button concern: The most likely MVP connected for the second-most charges drawn throughout the routine season.

McDavid stated entering into the playoffs, “The hooking and the holding and the holdups and all that stuff are things that I’ve dealt with my whole life. It’s nothing new.”

After his Oilers were swept by the Jets, coach Dave Tippett questioned aloud, “How can that be that he doesn’t draw a penalty every game that I watch?” Now he and McDavid remain seeing the remainder of the playoffs.

The Hurricanes are joining them based practically completely on a parade to the charge box that provided the Lightning power play target practice all series. Tampa Bay scored 7 times on 16 power plays.

“Their (power play) — there’s just too much there,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour stated prior to his group lost in 5 to Tampa Bay. “We said that coming in was going to be the difference: If we could stay out of the box, then we’d have a chance.”

There’s always a chance that a comment or two about officiating will have an impact.

Vegas coach Peter DeBoer tried to do his part to affect officiating in his team’s series against Colorado. DeBoer said after Game 2 he “can’t even blame the refs because they’re fighting the embellishment of grabbing your face or falling down or dropping your stick every period.”

Setting aside delay of game penalties, the Golden Knights were whistled for three penalties to the Avalanche’s six in Games 3 and 4 and tied the series.

Bergeron called Trotz’s comments about his faceoffs “veteran play” to get linesmen to consider it part of the gamesmanship of a series.

Cassidy explaining “the exact calls that are getting called on us do not get called on them” belonged to his response that drew the large fine, however he does not desire anything stated off the ice to impact charges the rest of this series.

“Will that have effect going forward? I’ve said any comments shouldn’t,” he stated. “The refs should call what they see.”

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Follow AP Hockey Author Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.