The Pittsburgh Penguins are the Stanley Cup Champions for the second year in a row. The Nashville Predators fall short of their goal, but man what a ride it was. As last night’s game played out, goalies standing on their heads, a quick whistle and a great game, it took a dirty goal to get the job done. Patric Hornqvist banked in a rebound off Pekka Rinne to give the Penguins the lead with just over a minute and half to go in the game.
The Penguins would add an empty netter and hoist the Cup on Bridgestone ice. They became only the second team to win a game in Nashville in this year’s playoffs in 11 tries. Both teams played a solid game. Nashville rebounded from the embarrassment of Game 5 to give the Pens a battle until the very end. This was a very Jekyll and Hyde kind of series for both teams. As sad as it is for me to say it, in the end, the better team probably won.
Now, that it is all said and done, I want to touch on a couple of subjects real quick before I go.
First, the officials. This is not about the calls that went against the Preds in this series, let me start by saying that. This is about the entire playoffs this year. The officiating in general has been on the decline in this league for a few years now. In this playoff year, from Round 1 to the Cup Final, it seems like in almost every series the officiating became the story at some point. It was so bad that at times the players truly seemed confused about what was going to be called or not. This goes for penalties, offsides and anything involving a goal.
The officials themselves are only partly to blame. The NHL must take its lumps here as well. I am not sure if the league is properly training these guys to the job in front of them. It’s a hard enough job with the speed of today’s game, but it seems like the NHL has not allowed its officials to catch up. This year the playoffs saw some of the worst officiating we have seen in years.
Adding to the problem is the fact that the NHL rule book is written in more shades of gray then the 50 shades in the popular book and movie. I realize that parts of the game are going to be subjective, but there is so much of the rule book that could be defined better and take the pressure off of the officials themselves. While I know the crews don’t want to put their stamps on these games, unfortunately they have in fact influenced this year’s playoffs in a very large way.
Enough about that.
Second, throwing crap after last night’s loss. The catfish, I get and I am good with it. However, you need to have better timing on when to throw those. To me they should be thrown at the beginning of the game and not again. Throwing them out at different times of the game is more of a distraction to both teams than anything else.
Also, the display after the disallowed goal and after the game was over was sad to me as a long time Predators fan. I know that our fan base is not like that and yet a few morons decided to take matters into their own hands and make us all look like idiots. Throwing bottles and cans on the ice is dangerous for everyone involved and unnecessary. To those people that felt compelled to do this, I say grow up. Your immature actions, to me, show that you have no respect for the players, the game or the other fans around you.
If this is what you find acceptable, I am sure there are many loyal Preds fans that would rather not have you back.
Lastly. I am so proud today. I am proud of my city, that showed up and showed out for this playoff run. I am proud of my team, that battle through inconsistency early, injuries and the mental drain of the playoffs to take this city on a ride we will never forget. I
am also very proud of the fans in the building. Having been a season ticket holder since day one, I have seen this fan base grow into something to be proud of and I think we showed the rest of the hockey world what Nashville is all about.
We deserved this run. We needed this run. Mostly, we enjoyed the heck out of this run. If you ever hear someone say that Nashville is not a hockey market again, just dismiss them, because they have no clue what they are talking about.
Thanks to all involved in this season, now let’s get ready for next year and do it all again!
Follow me on Twitter at danieljones@dj_puckplanet