VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- It’s not often this year that officiating has been put under the microscope as it will be in the wake of the Chicago Blackhawks' 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Friday.
If judgment calls could be protested or video reviews used more liberally, the first period alone would have been different.
“I don’t think I touched him,” Brouwer said after the game. “I think he said that I interfered with his space. Bolly said it looked like I gave him some space.”
Replays showed very minimal, if any, contact. If the goal stood, it’s hard to see the Canucks losing their minds over a non-call. As is, it didn’t result in a penalty, just a no-goal. It’s one of the league’s stranger rules.
The second bad call in the first period was definitively wrong, but only after seeing replays. Christian Ehrhoff scored on a rebound that came all the way out to the blue line -- and outside the zone. It was a split-second call and the linesman said the puck stayed in, so no offsides.
“On the bench it looked like it could have been [out] and the replay verified it,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
There were other suspect calls, like a Viktor Stalberg holding penalty behind the Hawks net which was passed up by the referee standing feet away but called by the one near center ice. Brent Seabrook was nailed for holding as well, but seemingly only after the crowd made themselves heard to the ref.
To the Hawks’ credit they wouldn’t take the bait, pointing out they had a 5-on-3 power play in the second period and a man-advantage try late in the third.
“It goes both ways,” Jonathan Toews said. “We had a 5-on-3 and our share of power plays. We didn’t capitalize on them.”
The Hawks were atrocious in the faceoff circle. Bolland lost draw after draw, especially during penalty kills. He was just 5-for-22 on the night and the Hawks won just 38 percent for the game.
Brian Campbell had a “walk-in” chance late in the game, but Roberto Luongo flashed his glove on a beautiful save.
“It’s tough to score when he can see the puck,” Campbell said. “Try to get more guys to the net. Goaltenders that can see it from the point are probably going to make the saves.”
Luongo made several big saves with his glove. Another good one came against Tomas Kopecky.
Toews continues his hot play post All-Star break. He had a goal and an assist in the second period, giving him five points in his last two middle periods combined.