I’m generally opposed — or at least, mildly opposed — to media cheerleading regarding evil opponents and corrupt referees during contentious playoff series. Unless LeBron James is involved.
But hey, sometimes you have to do what the situation demands. Witness the Philadelphia Daily News calling Sidney Crosby a coward, for example.
Plus, concerning the local playoff series, Boston started it, in the form of this blog post from CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty.
The Washington coach started distorting the rodent prism through which he views hockey by saying the Backstrom's cross-check to Rich Peverley’s face “wasn’t that bad” following Game 3. The Washington center was the third Caps skater to shove a stick into the face of a Bruins’ opponent during their three-game series.
That’s not a coincidence. It’s a pattern, and a troubling one.
Nobody needs Craig Janney or Pierre Turgeon to step forward as character witnesses in the case of Hunter vs. the Boston Bruins. It’s pretty clear the Caps coach is trying to steer attention away from a Washington hockey club that’s acting like a group of out-muscled skaters. It appears the Capitals feel their only way to defend themselves is by cross-checking anything Black and Gold that wanders across their path.
Yow! I mean, maybe I’ve been wearing one too many Obama masks while watching these games, but that doesn’t necessarily square with the series I’ve been watching. Course, I’ve taken a few bathroom breaks during the action. I suppose the Caps might have gooned it up while I was in the potty.
Anyhow, what the hell, let’s just slip right down that path to ridiculous partisan sniping, and point out that the Bruins might or might not have been offsides on the play that led to their game-winning goal Monday night. This moment was highlighted by Alan May in CSN Washington’s “refs suck” montage (CSN fight!, CSN fight!), and also by WashingtonCapitals.com senior writer Mike Vogel on Twitter, and also in an insanely nuanced and detailed and very non-whiny discussion in the Japers Rink comment section.
Plus there’s this comment, written by J.P. himself:
“For all the supposed whining, I really have seen next-to-nothing about the missed offside that preceded the GWG,” he wrote on Tuesday. “I assume most of us just chalked it up to a missed call which wasn’t even close to the proximate cause of the goal and moved on. I can imagine a truly whiny lot would’ve shed tears over that.”
Instead, this lot had an intense discussion on the meaning of “leading edge” vis-a-vis the blue line. And I’m not sure anyone decided for sure what the answer was. Here’s what the NHL rule book says:
A player is off-side when both skates are completely over the leading edge of the blue line involved in the play.
A player is on-side when either of his skates are in contact with, or on his own side of the line, at the instant the puck completely crosses the leading edge of the blueline regardless of the position of his stick.
So if the “leading edge” is the edge closest to center ice, the play is probably good. If the “leading edge” is the part closest to the goal, then both skates are completely over it when the puck completely crosses that edge, and it should have been whistled.
Either way, add it to the list of potential slights, if you’d like to be a truly whiny lot.