Eric Engels wrote about the differences in officiating between the regular season and the playoffs.
He made a good point about how the refs seemed to have put their whistles away during some of these playoff games.
I know that some people have an issue with this...and rightfully so to some degree...but from my point of view...if the competition level and pace of the playoff games remains as high as it's been, I don't have problem with it.
Let's face it, the NHL is about creating entertainment.
During the regular season, when the pace is not a quick as the playoffs, the game honestly NEEDS some 5 on 4 (5 on 3, 4 on 3 etc) action to create scoring chances and to help avoid game scores from being 2-1 all of the time.
Calling the games closer during the season is part of increasing the entertainment value of the product
. The man advantage scenario creates excitement (unless your are watching the Penguins power play of course).
If you don't think that might be the case, all you have to do is look at how the NHL chose the 4 on 4 and shootout as a ways of ending tie games.
During the playoffs, it's the pace of the games that usually creates the excitement.
Letting the players ramp up the intensity is a good thing...and if letting them do a little more illegal stuff keeps the intensity level and pace of the game at a higher level, then so be it.
Game 5 of a tied series hardly seems the time to sit your #1 goalie...
But that's what Guy Boucher did the other night.
Dwayne Roloson had started in net for the Lightning throughout the playoffs until game 5 against Boston. After losing two games in a row and then allowing 3 goals on his first 9 shots in game 4, Boucher pulled his 41 year old goaltender in favor of 29 year old Mike Smith.
Smith played great through the rest of game 4 and the Lightning came back from a 3-0 deficit to win, 5-3.
Heading into game 5 the question on everybody's mind was, "Will Boucher start Roloson or Smith?"
It seemed like a tough choice, but Boucher went with Smith.
While the end result of yesterday's game was not what Boucher wanted, a 3-1 Boston win, the game allowed Roloson to do something he couldn't have done if he played...REST
Roloson probably would not have faired much better than Smith did in game 5. Granted, Smith wasn't spectacular, but he wasn't bad either. Smith wasn't the reason the Lightning lost. The goalie at the other end was more responsible for that than anybody else on the ice.
Boucher played his cards correctly in game 5...go with the hot hand and if he falters, go back to the guy who got your here for games 6 and 7.
With the series now into it's final game or two, the Lightning are in a position to go back home and win one game to force a game 7.
They now have their best goalie rested...which gives them the best chance to succeed in game 6.
If the Bolts somehow go on to win this series, it will almost undoubtedly be because Roloson plays a major part in it. If that's the case, people will look back at Boucher sitting Roloson in game 5 in favor of Smith as the key to making the comeback possibl
FHMM Platinum League
In 2011-12 we'll be starting a Platinum Fantasy Hockey League.
The Platinum League is not a league for the casual owner.
This is a league for owners who are willing to be actively involved with their team on a daily basis thoughout the entire hockey season
Details about the league are here: