Vancouver Canucks v San Jose Sharks - Game Four

The Vancouver Canucks have been eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That’s the simple fact.

The fun commentary on their elimination, however, is that the Vancouver Canucks got straight up swept by the sixth-seeded San Jose Sharks, never figured out their goalie situation, and now find themselves with a look of wonderment best summed up be a player from another team, Barret Jackman.

What? That happened?

That did happen.

What makes their early exit even more frustrating for them is that last night the OT winner was scored on a powerplay goal…when the call never should have been made.

You know what they say – the whistles go away in playoffs. The whistles go away in overtime. In overtime in playoffs, you have to basically commit a felony at center ice to get sent to the box, because the ref doesn’t want to have a hand in deciding the game.

…The ref had a hand in deciding the game.

Daniel Sedin went shoulder-to-shoulder with Tommy Wingels in a puck battle, and because he out-muscled his opponent, he was sent to the penalty box for mild contact boarding.

Off a zone-entry on the powerplay, Joe Thornton took a relatively harmless unscreened wrister that Cory Schneider couldn’t handle.

And Patrick Marleau scored another freebie with the puck just chillin’ near the goal line.

(Schneider also couldn’t handle game-tying goal when it was not too much to expect for him to do so, by the way.)

The call had a hand in deciding the game, but when you’re down 3-0 and in overtime, blaming a call for your exit from playoffs would be like me slipping on a banana peel in a race against Usain Bolt and blaming the produce for my defeat.

The Canucks are left with more questions than answers now, and appear to be headed in the wrong direction for a team once so close to winning the Stanley Cup. With realignment, their days of waltzing to a division title are over too. Some changes have to – and will be – made this summer.

Comments (32)

  1. Plenty of botched calls in Ottawa last night too… :\

  2. Andthat penalty was called by the backside Ref, instead of the one 4 feet away? Yikes.

    • I hate that. When I ref, we have a system to cut down on that – if you are on point with a clear look at the play and have no call, you actually call out “GOOD” or make a washout signal, to let the back guy know that you’ve got it. If you do nothing (as the ref above did) then the back ref is free to call something he clearly sees, that you may have missed or been obscured from.

      Like players, refs should be communicating with each other. The better refs I’ve seen all tend to have the habit of telling guys when to watch their sticks or their contact. I’m sure it’s a lot harder to overhear that sort of thing at ice level when you’re the trailing official, but better coordination might have avoided this.

      • Like you said, the “back ref” called Rule 41.1 Boarding. From his perspective, he needs the make the call as it looks like Wingels goes off-balance, head first into the boards from a hit 3 feet from the boards.

        He made a good call, it was a dangerous play. Yes, Sharks are people too.

        • Haha. Johnny Wingels (or whatever his name is) had better not suit up against the Round 2 opponent. He got rocked by a shove by Bieksa, and a shoulder to shoulder hit from a Sedin! Pathetic.

          If he really was NOT embellishing then he should take out extra life insurance before facing Reaves, Backes, Brown, Penner or Keith.

        • I got no dog in this fight, so “Sharks are people too” isn’t the point. They could just be the Hired Guns and the Rattlers (to name two teams I’ve known from past local leagues). So let’s say it’s #22 on the Rattlers going shoulder-to-shoulder on #57 of the Guns. They’re battling for position… #22 has excellent balance and #57 gets dumped trying to lean into him.

          So, from the back ref’s perspective, it looks dangerous… and from the guy on the spot, it’s the result of a clean play. Even the replays – the down-ice angle looks much worse than when you see it from the near corner, where it ‘s clear that Wingels just lost an even puck battle. The head ref has to tell the back ref that somehow – by yelling or making some sort of signal to let him know that he saw the play clearly and correctly. He has to take responsibility and not just stand there with his arms at his sides.

          So if I’m in that corner I’m waving my arms to let you, the back ref, know that there’s no foul committed and no penalty to assess. I’m yelling GOOD to let the players know to keep going. And if our situations are reversed and I’m the back ref, I’m waiting for you to do the same, and if you don’t, then honestly I’m probably putting my arm up and whistling the play. That’s my point – the lead ref turns into a fan instead of being proactive, and leaves his partner out to dry. That’s why the call comes so relatively late, after the Rattlers are already breaking out.

  3. Canucks can complain about the call, but they really deserved to lose this series. For as many good seasons as they’ve had recently, they sure have been a disappointment in the playoffs (other than the one run to the finals). Where do they go from here?

    • for their sake they better hope some of those prospects pan out because their’ll need them. they could go the way of detroit and let the young guys find their way by being blanketed by veterans but as far as playoffs runs it doesnt bode well for them. the sedins are magicians in the reg season and in the postseason they save their best act, disappearing. kesler was a beast for the first half of the series but cant carry the team, even though his photoshoots may lead you to believe the opposite. obviously one of the goalies has to go but the price has def. dropped since last offseason, coach and gm will also feel the burn for sure and i personally feel gillis should bare the brunt of it since the majority of his moves have been debatable to say the least. for the entertainment factor i sure hope burke gets a call to do a four yr rebuild!

  4. Yes, it was a botched call, but to use that as the excuse for the Canucks getting swept in the series is ludicrous. The Canucks lost because they couldn’t score, which is the same reason they lost last year too.

    Although there is something to be said about the inconsistent (or rather poor) officiating throughout the entire league this year that it has gravely impacted the quality of the game. Hopefully the league takes notice and sends some of their refs back to the minors for more training!

    As for the Canucks this off season, three things need to happen to fix their woes. 1st, Coach V’s time with the Canucks is done. Time for a serious coach who knows how to motivate his players. 2nd, Gillis needs to go. His lackluster (or non-existant) deals at the trade deadline the past few years have hampered this teams success in the playoffs. And 3rd, which is Gillis’ doing as well is they need to fix the Luongo/Schneider mess they created!

    • Scoring and penalty killing. The sharks had 24 powerplays to 10, but the canucks penalty kill wasn’t good enough.

    • Yes… the typical response to an under performing team, FIRE the Coach and GM. Last time I watched Hockey it wasn’t the coach or GM’s job to score goals…

      Botched call is a joke title for this article, Sharks out played the Canucks all series. If Bieksa spent more time on his defensive zone coverage and less time crying about Sharks Players diving (Ultimate case of the pot calling the kettle black) maybe the Canucks wouldn’t have been swept…

      1-10 record in the playoffs, how many scapegoats can the Canucks find for that pitiful performance… Poor Vancouver

    • It’s not about whether the reffing was directly responsible for the Canucks losing; there is no reason why both facts cannot be true, and complaining about the reffing in no way implies that the reffing was responsible for the series victory.
      Two non-contradictory statements:
      1. The Canucks lost this series and better reffing would not have changed that.
      2. The reffing in this series was particularly bad, and it was always particularly bad in one team’s favour, to the extent that fans, players, coaches, and GMs alike should be concerned about the quality and accountability of officials.

      There is no reason why the complaints about reffing in this series should be ignored or even weakened by the observation that the Canucks did not lose the game because of reffing. Don’t marginalize bad reffing out of some desire to crap on a team.

    • Who’s making excuses? The title of the post is that “botched hockey cost Canucks the series.” Nobody is blaming Vancouver’s poor play on the refs, least of all JB.

  5. Canucks fans can take solace in the fact that, if the series officiating was really that bad, those officials’ season is over as well.

  6. Well at least there won’t be a riot this year…

  7. A bad call did not lose the Canucks this game or the series; their lack of scoring did.

    Honestly, with how the last series ended with the Sharks and Canucks, I feel no sympathy a little bad call going the Sharks way.

  8. So I guess it’s cool to use Gary Glitter’s music if you remix it enough?


  10. The Canucks lost this series, the Sharks didn’t win it. The reason why the Canucks couldn’t score this year and last year is because their offense is bad, not because they were facing Vezina caliber goaltenders.

  11. Oh well, at least the Western Maples Leafs are out of the playoffs!!

  12. Deja Vu. Just like against Boston and LA, the Canucks opponent established the line for which if you cross it, you’ll get a penalty. The Canucks had no say, again, and were at the mercy of the officials, again.

    Marchand punched Daniel in the head 5 or 6 times. Therefore, that was the line at that point. Murder, basically. Brown’s late hits drew the line last year. Last night the Sharks were not aggressive at all, therefore, any aggression shown the Canucks was a penalty. In Game 2 period 2, the Sharks were hitting late, interfering, clutching and grabbing, so what happened? The refs put the whistles away and the Sharks do whatever they could to protect the lead.

    I don’t like either team, but that series should be 2-2. It could have been a really entertaining series, but Sutherland et al made sure that wouldn’t havppen

    • I agree, I don’t think the Canucks had the juice this year to beat SJ but the refs, for god knows what reason, aggressively subbed the Canucks in 3 of the 4 games and it was really gross to watch at times (I’m a Sens fan, for the record…). The narrative now, unfortunately, is that the Canucks are horrible and need to fire somebody, trade Luongo, etc., etc. The bigger and far more important story, in my opinion, is why a team of officials is able to perform this poorly with no consequences, no transparency, and no accountability. Sure, we all hate the Canucks so it’s fun to stick it to them and refuse to acknowledge any role of the refs, but if bad reffing can do this to one team, it can happen to any team. The refs handed the Sens the game the other night, for example (I don’t mind admitting it, it is what it is). The problem isn’t some secret league conspiracy, it’s just bad reffing with no accountability. The problem has nothing to do with the Canucks or the Sharks. The reffing in the NHL is horrible, and every year it becomes clear in the playoffs that it’s uncommon for them to get through a night without a significant controversy (a controversy that gets swept neatly under the rug in time for the next day’s screw up)

  13. He threw him head first into the boards… surely it wasn’t his intent but just cause it’s overtime doesn’t mean you don’t call it… maybe the Sharks didn’t take penalties because they were smart!

    • Watch any other playoff game for ten minutes and count the number of time this happens without getting called. Now consider how many times it happens in a night, in total, without getting called. Now consider that this time, it was called in OT with a team facing elimination. In a series where one team had a TWENTY minute PP advantage in FOUR GAMES. If you’re having a problem connecting those dots….

      • You’re just refering to numbers, Vancouver didn’t skate with the sharks and they took penalties. And seeing a guy go headfirst into the boards is not seen in every other game. I think you are thinking of Bieksa’s penalty. That one was a bad call but completely different from Daniel’s. Don’t be emotional.

  14. Refs may play a central role in losing one game. If you lose 3 more it’s your own fault. The Canucks don’t adapt well to their circumstances and it costs them every year.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if refs are down on them, there is a reason they are not popular around the league. Time for a new attitude.

  15. I hate when they say refs don’t wanna decide the games in OT by not making calls, they are deciding the game by not making calls. Not saying I agree or disagree with this one, just in general, call it if its a penalty.

    • fair enough, but you can’t decide to institute that policy in one game and then ignore it the next. regardless of which choice they make, the important thing is doing it consistently. In this case, it was so inconsistent with the reffing in the other playoff games (and other VAN/SJ games) that it was an inexcusably bad call. Making an inexcusably bad penalty call in OT with a team facing elimination is… troubling. As a person who loves the NHL and respects the competition level, calls like that make me cringe.

      • Fully agree, but consistency shouldn’t on apply from game-to-game, but period-to-period too, even if that period is OT

  16. More players, teams and fans need to speak out. I can understand how the bitching appears to be whining by other fans and hockey people in general, but there is definitely substance to this. How would the Blues/Kings series be if the wingles/bieksa and wingles/sedin calls were being made? How does a PRO league get away with such inconsistancy, even in the same round? What will Blues or Kings next series look like?
    Unfortunately a winning team will not complain due to fear of repurcussion and the negative possible results.
    For us fans’ sake, if more players and coaches speak out it may make Bettmans untouchable officials accountable for their calls. Until the fans speak out, this will never happen!
    I am not a techie, but if I were, I would love to develope a site dedicated to the terrible calls and inconsistancy with the nhl officiating . Of course it needs to be done with tact and maturity to have merit and earn respect.
    From blown offside calls, to goalies being run to superstars being treated differently by shanahan – this league is terribly inconsistant!
    Once again, the fans have the power to force change, just as Shanny has the power to stop dangerous hits and headshots but I am afraid it will take a death and criminal charges before the rulebook is consistantly enforced. The NHL prefersto be reactive and not proactive

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