I'm NOT saying the officiating is the sole reason we lost the game, and I am not one who usually complains about the refs or blames losses on them, but I have to say, that was complete and utter garbage. Garbage.
And my biggest issue comes down to the Hagelin call. Not only did a near identical play go uncalled when Boyle had his stick chopped barely a minute earlier, but it is CLEAR that the ref has NO intention of blowing that whistle until Gaborik looks like he might get an opportunity out of it/the fans react. Hey refs: you make the calls, not the fans. Hey refs: the call is made based upon the ACTION, not the RESULT. If Gaborik doesn't look like he might have an opportunity coming up and the fans don't raise their whiny voices, that call doesn't happen. And the outcome? It costs us the ****ing game. THAT is the definition of bad officiating. The refs put their power to call the game in the power of the uneducated mass of fans watching the game (I say uneducated, not as an insult to Washington fans, but because when you're in a building full of 18,000 fans, the MASS of them ARE uneducated regarding the rules). That call would have been let go if the refs had called it based upon the ACTION and not the RESULT. Which is not even to say that it wasn't necessarily a slash, but to say that, based on the rest of the game (including the non-call on Boyle 60 seconds before) that is a penalty is complete BS.
I honestly thought, despite that we didn't play an excellent game, that we would have had the momentum going into those final 5 minutes. That horrendous call is a complete game changer and it was the ONE and ONLY time this entire playoffs that I lost my cool and totally lost it while watching the game (I'm sorry TV remote; I promise I will rebuild you with superglue/replace you). I will watch all manner of hockey in the playoffs. I will live with borderline calls. I will watch dirty players go uncalled for penalties. I WILL NOT watch the refs decide the outcome of the game, and regardless of whether we DESERVED to win based on our performance through 55 minutes, we didn't deserve to LOSE based on that call. You just can't make that call with 5 minutes left in a tied playoff game. If we deserved to lose, than let us lose the WAY we deserved to, in OT, by being outplayed. Don't let a call like that (essentially made by the fans) determine the outcome of a game this important.
I rarely can say that I am LIVID after a game, but I am absolutely ****ing SEETHING right now.
Edit: This all without mentioning Knubles BLATANT delay of game and the many other "discrepancies" that went ignored in this game. At one point Emrick said, regarding a non-icing, something along the lines of "just one of many mysteries regarding todays calls". ****ing AMEN. It's a joke how inconsistent officiating is in this league, and I NEVER say things like that. In fact, I usually laugh when I see other posters going on about it, but today is just un-stomachable.
Moreover, the Caps play a little bit of a dirty style and we don't. I'm not claiming we're a 100% clean team; in the NHL there is no such thing. But we don't play with the edgy, dirty, chippy style that virtually all of our opponents do. And you know what? That's honorable and all, because those teams do whatever it takes to win and we play #therightway, but ****, I would love to see someone absolutely destroy Hendricks or Carlson if it would send a ****ing message. Ovechkin getting 2 doesn't bother me so much, but he would be sitting a game if his name wasn't Ovie. Today I am truly furious with the officiating in this league.
Edit: And YES!!! Del Zotto you sucked so bad I want to disown you right now. How many times do you need to have your shot blocked? 6? 7?
When are we going to have our miracle plays? Those Chris Drury 7 seconds left, Ron Francis on Mike Richter goals? And to think that all these other fans have the audacity to call us the luckiest team in the league.