I remember watching that game and even NBC commentators were puzzled. You could tell it by the tone of their voices, "five consecutive penalties to Capitals." Alex Ovechkin, in an interview to Russian Dmitri Shumin and Slava Malamud had his guess, it was league's conspiracy. Personally I just don't believe it is. However my guess is that refs are humans and they have their own prejudices. And prove to it are people like Mike Milbury and Don Cherry, the first is known for his dislike of Alex Ovechkin, the latter is well documented for his bias against the European players. If the refs are influences by those or share their views, then they act accordingly.
Via CSN Washington:
“I don’t think there’s a league conspiracy,” McPhee said Wednesday, “but it sure didn’t feel right. And Alex wasn’t wrong.”
McPhee said he liked the way the Capitals were playing through the first two games of the series and noted they took a 1-0 lead in game 3 in New York.
“Then things changed,” McPhee said. “I don’t know why there were six penalties [against the Caps] in the first 30 minutes of that game. I don’t know why. What did we do to deserve that?
“And then you come back to Washington, you win [Game 5] and now you’re up 3-2 going back and it’s five-nothing in power plays [in favor of the Rangers]. It’s probably unprecedented in a 1-0 hockey game in this league. One team gets five power plays and one team gets nothing. I can’t explain that. I don’t know why that happened.”
McPhee said he spoke with someone from the league offices during the series, “but at some point you stop. They referee the way they referee.”
What can be done about it? I think the head coach or GM should talk about when it happens, not after the team lost the series. Yes, they can be fined by the NHL, but at least they can make it more difficult and/or raise awareness of what is going on.
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