Did I say happy?...I meant ecstatic, elated, over-joyed! I really hate to make excuses, or have to include the officiating in any writing...so thank-you so much, Mr. Gallagher, for your article...it is 100%, spot on! In fact, I used the phrase "phantom call" seconds after the penalty, as well as in a comment to my new best friend's blog (What a friggin joke--Flyershockey81). This is the last you will hear from me about the refs deciding GAME 7, so enjoy STARS fans! And Canuck fans, players, coaches, and organization members...please make your checks payable to the Shick and Devorski Retirement Fund!!!
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Here is the article that appeared in the Tuesday, April 24, 2007, edition of The Province. It was written by Tony Gallagher and titled, It Was Pretty Apparent Refs Were Biased.
"As the playoffs roll on and occasions arise when Canucks fans might want to consider the officiating bias, they should remember Monday's Game 7.
If there was ever a collection of circumstances which favoured the home team, this was it. The Dallas string of penalties in the second and third periods which turned the tide Vancouver's way was nothing short of astonishing, a remarkable turn of events to people who have watched NHL playoff hockey over the years.
With Dallas nursing a lead as only they can in the second period, they proceeded to take seven of the next eight penalties, some of them infractions that wouldn't have been considered offences in a pee-wee game.
A tap on the arm of Trevor Linden by Stu Barnes that wouldn't have bruised an egg gave Vancouver a two man advantage for 48 seconds in the second period which allowed the Canucks to generate some crowd noise with some great scoring chances, even though they weren't able to convert. But there's no question it lifted Vancouver off the mat.
The penalty to Joel Lundqvist early in the third period which again got the Canucks going was nothing short of amazing. There appeared to be virtually no contact between offender and offended, yet the arm shot up as though there'd been some kind of mugging. Harry Neale on Hockey Night called it "a brutal call" and Tom Larscheid reportedly referred to it as "a phantom call" on the TEAM 1040. What Dallas coach Dave Tippett thought of it wasn't known until afterwards, when there was no point moaning.
"Baffling," was how Tippett described the work of Rob Shick and Greg Devorski. "Why don't they let the players decide it. The five penalties we took in the second period changed the whole complexion of the game, changed the momentum of the game. ... We could never get our legs under us after that."
The penalty that resulted in the winning goal was another of those new NHL mysteries, the most flattering thing that can be said about it being that it's been called all year, albeit sporadically. As Daniel Sedin circled the Dallas net with the puck, Jeff Halpern was chasing him with his stick in one hand, lifting it to the point of contact around the waist but not impeding him in the least. Sedin didn't even notice he was there.
Doubtless these guys would take the Adolph Eichmann defence of "just following orders", but never in the history of the game have the officials been so prominent in determining the outcome of games."
Thanks once again, Mr. Gallagher...the Dallas STARS and all of Texas appreciate the support from across the border!
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