Chicago Blackhawks v Detroit Red Wings - Game Six

Refs are notoriously stingy when it comes to calling penalty shots. If they’d call them more, we’d see more partial breakaways matter, because defenders wouldn’t want to risk giving opponent’s time to set and think on a clean breakaway. It would be great for the game, and for the fans’ enjoyment of it. But nooooo, instead refs are afraid to make the call, so we rarely see them. There was a play in last night’s game where I thought Patrick Sharp deserved a penalty shot. He would have been in alone had he not been mauled from behind.

BUT. Ohhhhhh, but. The call on Carlo Colaiacovo to give Michael Frolik a penalty shot with ten minutes to go in an elimination game was garbage, and I say that as someone who is decidedly pro-call-more-penalty-shots.

You’re allowed to hit your opponent’s stick when he shoots – that’s defense – and you’re even allowed to get in on his hands if you’re not overtly violent. How else do you defend? You take away the opposing shooter’s stick. And EVEN IF you want to be an uber-Hawks fan and complain about your guy getting a stick on the hands (which I don’t think he got much of, if any), how Downy soft was that flick? I’m well aware of the position of their bodies (Colaiacovo behind chasing), I’m well aware of the definition of the rules, but I’m also well aware of the fact that there’s an expectation that players be able to withstand some level of resistance. Even in basketball where a touch is a foul, you know you’re going to get some uncalled contact going to the rim.

I can’t be won over here. That’s a weak penalty shot call at a pivotal point in the game.

So allllll thaaaatttt saaaiiiddd… They DID make the call, and it was a huge moment for Michael Frolik and the Hawks, and boy did he have some chutzpah to make the move he did, and the skill to make it count.

It was a huge, eventually game-deciding goal for the Hawks. What a move. Backhand Shelf, y’all.

I love Bob Cole – like, a lot – but the only thing worse than the ref’s call on the play might be Cole’s. From the blocked shot inside the blueline to the three-zone breakaway by Frolik to the call, here’s the dialogue:

“…And this race for it.

…Frolik. Annnnd, uhh…penalty..?..what’s he calling? Yeahhh, he’s calling a penalty shot.”