Paul Maurice is finding out what it’s like to coach the Winnipeg Jets when it comes to penalties being called. Since Maurice’s debut the Jets have only had more power-plays than the other team twice in a game, the same number of power-plays in a game 4 times and less power-plays than the other team in a game 5 times. Last night against the Carolina Hurricanes the Jets didn’t receive one powerplay. In a lot of the last 11 games the Jets have received some even up penalties that would be considered weak calls in many games and can be extremely frustrating.
Players want consistency when penalties are called. If you trip someone with one hand on your stick and the player jumps and goes down like one of the calls against the Jets in Carolina last night and then in the next period Blake Wheeler has the same thing done to him, you want it called. Those missed calls are frustrating in a tight checking game.
That type of officiating makes it tough to stay calm in games when every game is so important. That being said, the calls that are being made that have made the difference to the Jets receiving more penalties than the other teams are these cheap, weak calls late in games. Hooking calls where a Jets player tickles the gloves of the opposing team that are let go the entire night are being called in the offensive end late in games against the Jets and those are tough to swallow in close one goal games.
I had to write this while the Jets are winning, or it might sound like complaining or making excuses for them, but since they’re winning, it’s an observation.
Last night’s game where a team can go an entire game without a penalty is amazing in this day and age with the way hockey is called today.
Being part of Jets 1.0 and 2.0 it’s nothing new to Winnipeg fans. I’m not sure why it seems that way, possibly being a homer, but those stats I just shared don’t lie. I only want consistency and I’m the first to admit a bad penalty by a Winnipeg player, but the low end call late in games is getting a little too common against the Jets. If you make the call against one team, the same call has to be called against the other team.
Maybe Maurice should take a page out of Scotty Bowman’s book when it comes to officiating. Bowman put together a video for the officials back in one playoff series in the 1970’s showing all the penalties they missed during a playoff series against the Boston Bruins because he felt his team was not getting any calls. Back then you could complain about the officiating in the papers, on TV and on the radio and you didn’t have to worry about being fined. The officials have no accountability anymore except from their own officiating brass, kind of like us writing columns about hockey players, no accountability, we can say whatever we like. But, if the officials are like me, I want to be fair, and that’s all a team can ask for.