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11-03-2008, 11:53 AM
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A Fistful of Dollars
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PHILADELPHIA — The Flyers entered Sunday's 5-4 loss to the Edmonton Oilers as the NHL's third-most penalized team, behind only the Anaheim Ducks and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

For that they are unapologetic.

But on several occasions Sunday they seemed perplexed by the judgment of referees Dan O'Rourke and Wes McCauley, who whistled the Flyers for seven minor infractions and the Oilers for six.

"It's hard to distinguish between what a penalty is (and isn't) because it's somewhat inconsistent," Flyers captain Mike Richards said.

"Just because a guy gets by you, you can't make a desperation play because even if you touch him, the arm is going to go up.

"I don't want to say anything and get fined, but it's hard because of the inconsistency."

That was no more glaring than during the third period Sunday. After a goal by Simon Gagne drew the Flyers to within 5-4 just 20 seconds into the period, Flyers defenseman Ossi Vaananen was called for a holding penalty and argued all the way to the penalty box.

Shortly after that penalty expired, Flyers defenseman Andrew Alberts went off for interference when he stepped in front of the Oilers' Ethan Moreau after coughing up the puck at the offensive blue line, even though the two players barely touched.

"That wasn't a penalty," Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "(Alberts) didn't do it. It looked like he was going to do something and he didn't, and the referee already had a hand up."

About three minutes after the penalty to Alberts expired, Oilers defenseman Ladislav Smid was called for hooking Scott Hartnell on a breakaway, even though he barely laid a stick on him.

When asked about the third-period penalties that interrupted the flow of the game, Flyers coach John Stevens took the high road -- sort of.

"Do you mean the ones that were taken or the ones that were called?" he asked.

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