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Mistaken Identity?

So I’m no expert, but sending the wrong guy to the penalty box at the end of a game where the short handed team is up by one, and guy that should have been warming the bench comes up with a great block to prevent a change in score with seconds left in the game, well that’s a problem.

Now I hate to ever believe an announcer is right, especially Pierre McGuire, who I’m surely not alone when I say this, I can’t necessarily stand. But even Pierre was confused, and with good reason. The tripping call was on Dave Bolland with less than a minute remaining in regulation. Bolland is supposedly one of the Hawks best penalty killers.

Up only by one with a man in the box and Evgeni Nabokov likely riding the bench adding an extra attacker, one would think this smells like trouble for the Hawks. What would they do with one of their best killers in the box? Nothing. Because Bolland didn’t go to the box. Kris Versteeg did, and no one but Pierre, seemed to notice. It was even announced over the PA that it was Bolland, but Bolland wasn’t in the box.

Mistakes happen, and we all know the refs like to make a lot of mistakes, at least in our eyes. And it would be one thing for the wrong guy to be sent to the box in game 52 of the regular season, but this is the playoffs and it could have made a difference. Bolland was on the ice for that Hawks penalty kill, and that’s where all the what if’s come into play.

What if Bolland had been where he was supposed to be? Would the Sharks have been able to tie the game up? What if the Sharks had noticed the wrong guy was in the box, would they have gotten another chance? And while we are on that subject, why the hell didn’t anyone notice? How did a roster of 20 something, a head coach,two assistant coaches, two linesmen, and two referees not notice? Hell, how did Toronto not notice? Aren’t they supposed to be on top of these things?

And what does the league have to say for itself now? The officiating throughout the playoffs has been arguably the worst we have seen in ages. Refs are already getting a bad rap, not that they didn’t sort of already have one, and to blame a series on bad officiating is usually a little much, but something like this could be looked at as a series decider. Had the right guy been in the box, maybe the team on the power play would have scored, but we don’t know and we never will.

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