Wow. To read some of the whining and crying that came from the Florida Panther's dressing room after the game last night, you would have thought there was some grand conspiracy by the NHL and the NHL referees to screw their pitiful team out of every single game, anytime they play against the Hurricanes. Poor babies. Maybe they should just forfeit all future games against the Canes if they can't handle it? Wake up boys! You haven't made the playoffs yet this century for other reasons besides just the refs! This is the new NHL people. Didn't they get the memo? Holding, grabbing, clutching, tackling, and yes, even hooking is no longer tolerated by any team, not just your sorry excuse for a team in southern Florida, a team which probably couldn't skate with any other team in the league if their lives depended upon it.
Here's a classy Jacques Martin quote.
"I guess we have to teach our guys to dive," Panthers coach Jacques Martin said angrily. "I guess there's something I'm not teaching my players. Last time I checked we were minus-60 difference in penalties."
Not only is this a slam on our coach Laviolette, this is a slam on the entire NHL. Hey Martin, why not start out by teaching your poor excuse of a team how to play defense legally instead of with their sticks and hands?
Then, future all star himself, (in his mind) Mike Van "Whine" had this to say.
"It seems like every time you touch Brind'Amour, you get a penalty now," Van Ryn said. "I don't understand it. I just put my stick around him and lifted his stick. I thought you're allowed to do that as long as you're not putting it between his feet. ... It seems like a lot of times we're battling, they fall down and we get a penalty."
Hello?? Earth to Van Ryn.... What rock have you been hiding under for the past 15 years? Rod Brind'Amour has been around a long time and has earned everything that has come his way in his career. Ask anybody who has been around hockey between Raleigh and Philadephia. Try working harder instead of running your mouth, it might take you further! The most ridiculous thing about Van "Whine's" pout is that replays show him with both arms around Brindy when the call is made. Don't these players realize that they look like idiots disputing a legitimate call which is proven on video replay? Van "Whine" had the audacity to smash his stick over the crossbar after the call, which should have been another 2 minutes but somehow that was let go by the refs. These quotes and others are found in the Florida Sun-Sentinal. Van Ryn was somehow speechless and didn't have any answers when asked why his team was completely outplayed in the first period. Since there was only one penalty called in the entire period, he couldn't very well have blamed it on Carolina's diving, could he?
Okay, let's talk a bit about the game and "the call that wasn't a call which was reviewed but wasn't reviewed". I'm still confused about what the final explanation is regarding that call. David Lee provides a good description in his recent blog post in Red and Black Hockey. Coach Laviolette obviously wasn't satisfied with any explanation Koharski gave. He gave his opinion about it which was in the News and Observer this morning.
"No matter what explanation is given, I saw what happened," Laviolette said. "It's no goal, period. That's just the bottom line. No matter who says what.
"They called a high stick, somebody else whacked it in the net, he went to blow the whistle. Whether or not he blew the whistle before the puck went into the net does not matter, because the rule book says if your intent is to blow the whistle then the whistle is blown, whether you've blown it or not."
Now hold on, before you say "Hey Bubba, isn't your coach doing a bit of whining there himself?" Of course he is, but there is a difference. Lavi is complaining about a single call, a miscue by one ref. He's not questioning the overall honesty of the league and the integrity of another team. He's not blaming years of failure on the supposed "diving" philosophy of a team. Jacques Martin really needs to soak his head a bit and just get his team to skate harder.
The first period started out great. The Canes dominated but were only able to pot one goal which was because of a bad bounce off the boards that came right to Scott Walker who beat an unsuspecting Eddie Belfour. In the second period it was a different story. The game slowed down a bit as the Canes played into the Panther's hands. Starting the third, Hurricane killer Olli Jokinen scored a goal off of a rebound. Then came the questionable goal by Nathan Horton in the third which was eventually awarded after the "non review". That sparked the Canes back to life and Erik Cole saved the day by making a beautiful shot that tied the score at about the 6 minute mark. The game went to OT where Van Ryn took the holding penalty on Brind'Amour, who faked him out of his jockstrap. That's why Van Ryn reached out with his arms to hold him, because Brindy was about to be wide open right in front of the net. I guess Mike forgot about that part! During the ensuing powerplay, Justin Williams netted a perfect shot which knocked Belfour's water bottle off the top of the net. Don't you just love those shots?
I was expecting the Canes to be a bit more flat than they were. I was also expecting the Panthers to come out with guns blazing after last week's meltdown and also taking into consideration that last night's game was the 1,000th in franchise history. But no one really cared about that. John Grahame played in goal last night and I thought he looked good. Again, I love watching the long, down the ice passes he makes. Other than some minor gaffes, the defense looked good. Glen Wesley was back and played 13 plus minutes. Andrew Hutchinson was healthy scratched. Overall, it was a good game for the Canes and they deserved the 2 points. Time to leave the Panthers in their tears and look forward to taking on the Capitals at home tomorrow night. Go Canes!!