Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Chicago Blackhawks [Print without images]

Thursday, December 29, 2011
Blackhawks still perturbed by officiating

By Jesse Rogers



CHICAGO -- Things were a bit calmer in the Chicago Blackhawks’ dressing room Thursday, one day after the team -- led by coach Joel Quenneville -- felt it was robbed by the officials in its 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings.

Patrick Sharp
The Blackhawks felt that Wednesday's game was far too impacted by the refs.

"It's over. It's done with," Quenneville said Thursday after practice. "I said what I had to say. I think I was a little excited after the game but it's a new day and we're moving on."

Quenneville won’t be in trouble with the NHL for his comments after the game, according to a league source. It’s not because he may have been right in his criticism though. It’s simply because the comments didn’t rise to the threshold at which the league would fine or suspend him. Team employees are not allowed to overly criticize the referees but there is always a gray area.

“Both goals should have been whistled down,” he said right after the game about the Kings’ two scores. “Both goals should have been called something. Infractions on both their goals. Clearly the refereeing tonight was tough to watch.”

If he had used a harsher phrase than “tough to watch” Quenneville may have been lighter in the wallet for it.

As for the no-calls themselves, on Thursday Hawks’ players backed up Quenneville’s assertion that goaltender interference and slew foot could have been called on the two goals.

Corey Crawford recalls a goal-mouth scramble on the Kings’ first score in which Kyle Clifford got in his way.

“From what I remember he just came in, took a whack and then he used his leg to try and kick my arm a little bit so I couldn’t come back the other way,” Crawford said.

A split second later Trent Hunter grabbed the loose puck and scored. Crawford was asked if those calls -- with bodies all over the place -- can go either way depending on what a referee sees and from where.

“It shouldn’t go either way,” he responded. “Goalie interference is goalie interference but I guess it depends on their opinion from whatever angle they were at. It’s gone now. Can’t do anything about it now.”

And there is nothing Nick Leddy can do about his legs being taken out from underneath him on the Kings’ second goal. He was guarding Justin Williams in front of the Hawks net when Williams took his legs out.

“Yeah, I was mad but they already called it a goal,” Leddy said. “I couldn’t do much about it anyways.”

Leddy scrambled to his feet but it was too late. Jarret Stoll scored on the sequence which left Leddy wondering what just happened.

“I wasn’t thinking about that at the time,” he said. “It happened so fast. I haven’t seen the replay yet.”

The replay shows Williams taking out Leddy. The referees blew the call. There is no question about that. On the first goal, though, it is one that could have gone either way. Usually, officials side with the goaltender, giving him the benefit of the doubt. This time both calls went against the Hawks and it may have cost them at least a point in the standings, maybe two. Scoring first was critical in a low-scoring affair that was 0-0 midway through the game.

Quenneville rarely publicly gets upset with referees, but maybe it gets the Hawks a call or two next time where one could go either way. Hawks’ fans can only hope so because missed penalties—which result in goals against--are hard to swallow.