Jackets Coach Facing League Fine After Loss

Discussion in 'HFNHL Talk' started by Ohio Jones, May 30, 2006.

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  1. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

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    The so-called "Erie series" got a little ugly this night as the Stanley Cup Finals moved to Buffalo for game 3.

    The Sabres came out gunning at home, clearly intent on setting the tone and pace for the game. Just a few minutes into the opening frame, one of the Columbus Blue Jackets' leading scorers, Jeremy Roenick, was run into the boards on a questionable hit by Brooks Orpik. Roenick was forced to leave the game with a neck strain, but it is hoped that he will be available for game 4.

    Neither referee saw the hit, and no call was made. The Jackets players - and a large contingent of visiting fans - were incensed at both the hit and the missed call.

    Apparently the referees didn't appreciate the chirping. They called four penalties in the game - all against the Blue Jackets, and all on what Jackets Head Coach Mike Babcock called "normal contact and scrums."

    Less than a minute after the Roenick hit, the obviously frustrated Jackets broke down in the neutral zone, allowing an odd-man rush that Dick Tarnstrom capitalized on to put the Sabres up 1-0. Tarnstrom continued his first-star performance by potting another in the second period, giving legs to the suggestion that the Sabres' potent blueline may be the difference in the series. It was not until the final minute of the second that Mike Leclerc, skating in place of the injured Roenick on the top line, finished off a great passing play down low to get the Jackets within one heading into the third.

    Early in the third, Mark Bell - who has come alive of late with a 4-game point streak - tied the game on a breakaway after former Jacket prospect Marc-Andre Bergeron turned the puck over at the Sabres' blueline. The remainder of the peiod would decide nothing, and for the second time in the series a game headed to overtime.

    Just 1:29 into the extra frame, however, Bell was singled out by referee Homer McBison in a scrum around Jocelyn Thibault's crease (Orpik, the player who had taken out Roenick, was also involved but was not penalized). On the ensuing powerplay Buffalo's Captain, Scott Hartnell, continued his red-hot scoring streak by converting a Tuomo Ruutu pass and beating Martin Brodeur high stick-side to give the Sabres their first lead of the series.

    Addressing the press after the game, Babcock called it "the most one-sided display of refereeing I've ever seen. It was embarassing, embarassing for the league. The playoffs are supposed to be a showcase of all that's best about the game of hockey, that was a mockery.

    "It's not like we're a team of thugs, or that we don't know how to handle ourselves in these situations. This is a veteran team, a disciplined team. With all the hitting (Buffalo was) doing out there, if that was the standard for a call, we should have had a dozen power plays. to call four against us and none against them? That's just bull****."

    The agitated Babcock was promptly escorted from the press conference by his General Manager, no doubt to expect a call from the league office. An only slightly more controlled Brendan Shanahan took over, indicating that the Jackets were not going to let the incident take their focus away from their job. "We're here to win the Cup - plain and simple. Even with the calls going the way they did, we were in this game all the way. They (the Sabres) played hard, but I can't say I'd want to win like that. I'd rather the players decided the game.

    "We just have to be better next time - so good that no dumb call can deny us the win we deserve."

    A subdued Bell was glad to hear that Roenick would be all right, but he too seemed confused by the way the game was called. "I have to be honest, I don't understand it. I'm wearing the goat horns, I guess, taking a penalty like that in OT, but I honestly don't know how what I was doing could be called a penalty - it's not like I was doing anything different than their players. I just don't get it."

    The Jackets will have to get it, it seems, and soon: another loss will hand the Sabres a stranglehold on the Championship series.

    Milo Minderbinder
    Columbus Discoverer
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2006

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