After last night’s game against the Detroit Red Wings Michel Therrien let it fly about two complaints: the Red Wings are good at obstruction and Chris Osgood is a good actor.
Well, he’s right on the second count. The fact that Osgood cross checked Ryan Malone and then fell onto his back and the officials fell for it was worthy of an Oscar. His fall behind the net wasn’t quite as worthy, but still impressive. So yes, the Penguins got hosed on those two calls.
On the first count – he would be right, if this was the regular season. But this is the post-season, and the rules change in the post-season. What the Red Wings are extremely good at is using their sticks to hook – but not enough to draw a penalty. They’re also very good at holding and obstruction, good enough to not get penalties called. That’s the trick in the post-season, clutch and grab but don’t hold on long enough to justify a penalty. Really, it’s brilliant and a sign of experience.
A little history. When the league returned from the strike the Refs called everything – if you touched your stick to someone else it was a penalty. If you reached your hand out and laid a hand on someone it was holding. Personally, I liked it that way. I have little patience for a slow moving talent-lacking defenseman who can’t skate and win the race to the puck against a forward. But it got excessive and over time the officials eased up to a more reasonable level. In the playoffs the game becomes grittier and more of the clutching and grabbing comes into play. Previous to this series, the Penguins were just way too fast for every other team they played, so no one could actually get close enough to them to put a stick or hand on them. The Red Wings are fast enough to keep up though, and so they can play effective defense.
In game three watch the difference in defensive styles. The Penguins are trying to play skating defense instead of the “gritty” physical defense that the Red Wings play… right there you’ll see why this series is 2-0
So half my youth group (not joking) is in Indianpolis this weekend for the Indy 500 Parade. I managed to remember to set my computer to record it. Looking good all 224 of them! (You will need QuickTime to watch either the full size or small version. If you actually want to try and find people you’ll need the full size version)