By Rob Kotaska
Right after the call was made on Steve Bernier Monday night the conspiracy theorists were out in force all over the interwebs: the NHL wants the Kings to win. Did you see the hit they let go right before that? It was typed without a hint of irony, as if the NHL officiating has always been reproach and this was the one example where a call was missed. The Devils fans were acting as if no one had ever had their team screwed over before. I submit that having a goal count that was against the rules for that season is a far more cruel way to lose the Cup. #noIwillnevergetoverNOGOAL
Even Keith Jones of NBC Sports Network offered an out for the Devils: that had the call been made of Jared Stoll’s more than questionable hit then Bernier never would have boarded Scuderi from behind. This is taking into account a few things:
- That Bernier would have seen that the ref had his hand up.
- And that Bernier was of sound mind ( which his actions would counter)
Neither of those were a slam dunk. It was a bush league hit, textbook in terms of what the league needs to get out of the game. Some people are going Zapruder film on the footage, “did Scuderi turn away from the hit?”
What further bothered me about the incident was the reaction of Eddie Olczyk. He called out a penalty in Game 4 when Danny Clarkson hit Dustin Brown in a similar way to Stoll’s hit on Gionta. In the first instance Olczyk decried the call, saying that you don’t make that call at that time of the game ( it was midway through the 3rd period). That whole idea is BS. A penalty is a penalty, no matter the time on the clock. What makes it worse is that Eddie was acting like the missed call on Stoll was borderline criminal. It was a bad hit, one that I would to see called. Then again I would love for interference to be highlighted again, as it was in the 2005-2006 season.
The bottom line is that the Kings were the better team even before the hit that changed the game. You could feel that the Kings were there to take care of business, and nothing was going to stop them Monday night. The game may have been tighter had Bernier only had a brain, but I have no doubt the end result of Kings in 6 was inevitable.