I agree with you. The refs just didn't see the call. You know when a ref sees a high stick it is a penalty EVERY TIME. I was listening to the Hawks radio feed while driving through Chicago and the Franzen high stick happened. Even the announcers thought it was Franzen's own stick that caused it. The refs conferred and no one saw it.
Now, if you are advocating that the refs should look at instant replay to determine if there was an infraction, that is a different story. Just make sure you add on about 10-20 minutes of extra time per game for all the instant replays. Then also be ready to see the Wings get nailed for some calls that they otherwise would have gotten away with. I am ok with instant replay being used more often, especially in the cases of high sticking and waived off goals from goalie interference.
Could the games be called more consistently? I do. At the same time though, I do have to agree that the refs are being asked to do an impossible job. Call every game 100% accurately. That just isn't going to happen unless the system changes.
Yeah, yeah, yeah...we get it. You've done some reffing and now you're a ref apologist. I've played some hockey. But I'm not going to excuse every s***ty play because hockey is hard.
No one expects the refs to be perfect. It is a tough job and mistakes will be made. But when a mistake is made people should ***** about it. NHL refs should be the best in the business. They should be striving for perfection. Should always be trying to improve.
If no one complains about the mistakes; if everything is always 'good enough' as you always seem to suggest, there's no incentive for improvement. If you just accept any mistake you remove any responsibility from the refs; then things are only going to get worse.
I don't even blame the refs themselves really. It's mostly the Bettman regime. There doesn't seem to be any expectation of improvement. They refuse to change stupid rules like 'intent to blow'. Goal reviews are wrong half the time. There seems to be a league mandate to make sure all the chinciest s*** gets called at least a few times each game; probably what is distracting the refs from noticing major stuff like blatant high-sticks and elbows. And I don't think anyone, anywhere, really even knows what interference is...or maybe the actual definition does change shift to shift.
...The current system is not a flawed system, ...
...We can both agree on the flawed system. ...
Heh. At least the inconsistency proves that you're a real ref.
I'm not exactly defending Leino here with the following comment. It's actually from a place that just dislikes Jason Williams. On the line of Leino-Filppula-Williams, which was what they started the year with, I'm almost positive Babs demanded that Leino play the role of Cleary/Homer on that line. I'm sure Leino thought, "How does this guy get to be one of the two skill guys on this line over me?"
Not saying Leino was justified for not playing hard enough, but if I were Leino I probably wouldn't like seeing a ****** like Williams have a job that I think I should have.
Yeah, except for the part where that didn't actually happen, you have a point.
Not even Homer gets pigeon-holed into the 'Homer role' all that often 5v5. We're not on the PP all game, and at even strength every player on the ice is expected to move around, pursue the puck, get open, shoot, make plays...that's exactly what has made us so good for so long is that we specifically don't try to limit our players. Leino was never asked to just park himself in front of the net. He had plenty of freedom offensively.
And while that line didn't produce many points, they did earn a lot of praise pre-season and the first handful of games for all the chances and pressure they created. It was only after like 8-10 games that Babs started pointing out that you can't score if no one shoots, or shoots only from the perimeter with no traffic or net crashing for rebounds.
Shortly after that Flip got hurt, then Willy. Leino had chances with better players and more minutes, PP time...but he kept getting worse and played himself off the team. Then he goes to Philly and eventually started doing all the things Babs said he needed to do, and surprise, he was successful.
I suppose you could say the defensive responsibility all our players are expected to show was limiting, but it's not like he was asked to be a checker. He's a scorer that was put in a scoring role. Maybe he didn't fit Babcock's style, or didn't mesh on or off the ice with his teammates, or just lost confidence and got frustrated. Maybe needed more ice time with better/different linemates more suited to compensate for his weaknesses. Maybe couldn't take the pressuure of being expected to score when injuries started piling up. Maybe he was just lazy and sucked.
But to suggest his talent wasn't recognized and he was mis-used is ridiculous. Flip and Willy maybe weren't the best linemates, but he was a rookie and it was a short period of games that looked promising at first. Without the injuries the lines would have been juggled eventually, and maybe we'd have found a combination with better results. With the injuries it was surely a tough situation for Leino, and I don't have any ill-will towards him. But you can't blame the team.
Agreed. The talent is definitely there. It's almost as if we expect to score 3+ goals night in and night out without any effort at all. Sometimes it is as simple as chipping the puck in deep, wearing down the opposition's defensemen on the forecheck, and crashing the net. Abdelkader needs to step up and play the way we brought him up to. Stir it up, and go to the areas not many others on the team are willing to go. Back to basics.
This argument would carry a lot more weight if we weren't the top scoring team in the league, still 3rd best record overall despite 3 1/2 months mostly lacking in effort. I mean it's hard to criticize guys for 'expecting 3+ goals a night without any effort' when that is what they are getting.
'Dump and don't chase' never works, but unfortunately 'turn on the skill for 10% of the game and coast the rest' works far too well for our own good. Maybe we'd be a better team if we lost more, ironically enough.
I don't think lack of creativity or lack of grit is the problem, though more of either would help. Mostly the guys aren't moving well off the puck. You can't be creative when everyone is standing around watching instead of trying to get open. You can't win battles if guys aren't moving in to good support positions. That stuff just isn't happening enough right now. Too much 'let Pav and Helmer (or whoever is hot at the time) do it' mentality. For good or bad, it's worked pretty well so far. It won't work in the playoffs of course, but we just have to hope they turn the switch by then.
For the Blackhawks, its overpayment. They already dismantled half their team because of the big contracts that have with Toews, Kane, Keith, Campbell and Hossa. Now add Seabrook to that list. The Hawks clearly don't realize that the reason they won the Cup last year was because they had depth.
Campbell is the bad contract there.
With the raise, Chicago is paying around $275k more for Toews, Kane, Hossa, Keith, and Seabrook than we are for Pav, Hank, Mule, Nick, and Rafi. Both have two long-term deals. With the exception of Hossa, those guys are young and still improving.
The cap is expected to go up, perhaps by a significant amount, and the $4M bonus overage they're paying this year goes away. Even if they can't get rid of Campbell, they are not really bad off. $10M + whatever cap raise to sign 10-12 players, mostly bottom line players who should cost under $1M. If they could somehow dump Campbell, they'd actually be in pretty good shape.
... Meszaros may not have been as physical as Stuart 3-4 years ago. Does that really make a difference to NOW? Stuart has been getting less physical over the past few years, and his defense has declined considerably since 2008.
Stuart had over 200 hits last year. His highest total since the lockout (possibly a career high, NHL.com doesn't have pre-lockout hits). He was pretty close to that pace again this year. He still is more physical than Mesz, or certainly on a similar level.
He has been rock solid for most of the past two seasons defensively. Easily 2nd best on the team. For many games both last year and this, he was arguably even better than Nick. Like most people, you probably just fixate on the mistakes. Watch any player close enough, looking for flaws, and you will find them.
You realize Meszaros is better defensively and more physical than Stuart, while being six years younger? Furthermore, Stuart is signed through next season, while Meszaros has two seasons more on top of that.
I didn't say it had to be a Tatar or Pulkkinen; but Philly won't just give up Mesz for Stuart.
Trading for a quality mid-20s shutdown defenseman isn't free.
I wouldn't say Mesz is either better defenseively or more physical. In a similar amout of games since the lockout, Stuart has around 200 more hits. Both are solid 2nd pair guys who can fill in on a top pair when required. Mesz is no more a shutdown defender than Stuart. He is younger, but I'm not building the defense around either so I don't care.
Regardless, even if I did think Mesz was better, he is certainly no where near enough of an improvement to include a 2nd rounder and a prospect. You even point out that our defense isn't physical enough and then propose trading our most physical defender for someone who hits less, and you throw in a pick that could easily garner a big, physical defender 6 years younger than Meszaros if we decided to go that way. Or, if we decided to trade the pick and maybe a low pick or prospect, we could get another defenseman of similar quality. (As proven by the trades involving the very players we're talking about.) Your proposal was a gross overpayment.
... but Stuart needs to shape up because he has not looked good. ...
I don't think you know what 'good' looks like. Stuart isn't an all-star, but neither is Meszaros. You trade Stu AND a 2nd AND a prospect with even a hint of NHL potential you better get an all-star in return or you're getting robbed.
By then Robo-clone Lidstrom will be complete, and he'll have laser-skates. Probably a hyper-quantum plasma stick too. Pre-programed with a cap-friendly atomic contract. Kenny is working on getting rules allowing laser-skate equipped Robo-clones with hyper-quantum plasma sticks into the next CBA. Shanny and Stevie are his allies so we're optimistic.
2014 will bring us 3-headed-Mechahudler and possibly Laserface-GhostOzzie to dominate the annual Moon Classic. Future Hockey is awesome.
Something to note in regards to the 'replace Miller with a fighter' sentiment that's so popular around here. When this team is healthy, Miller is in the pressbox. No one helps the team from that position, so to me it seems pretty pointless to worry so much about the bottom of the bench.
Guys like Miller and Mursak are great bench players. Cheap and capable of contributing in a lot of different situations or roles, even if not at a very high level; but at the same time, you're not really missing anything when they're not in the lineup.
Makes more sense to me to either aim higher and replace someone like Hudler or Flip with someone like Ott, Clutterbuck, Ruutu, Brown, Boyle or even Neil looked decent when Ottawa was good. Granted some may have bad contracts and or be too hard to get, but the principle remains. Or alternately, and probably better, replace someone like Bert, Modano, or even Hudler with someone like Konopka and use the money savings to upgrade someone else to compensate. Bottom pair defensemen also make a good spot to insert these types of guys.