Next time Tortorella gets thrown out of the game for criticizing the referee, I hope he gets his money's worth.
Let me be clear about this: the Lightning didn't deserve any points out of tonight's game. They played dispassionate hockey and were outskated from start to finish. However, it would be impossible to write up this game without mentioning that the league's biased enforcement of video replay from on high in the league offices in Toronto reared its ugly head once again, twice. The first on a play where a Brendan Shanahan tip on a puck looked like it was with a high stick that resulted in the Rangers' second goal and the second on a play where an Eric Perrin goal which was ruled good by the on ice officials was overturned for kicking the puck into the net. Now, you can sit here and microanalyze each play, but when you look at the bigger picture it becomes clear every time the Lightning have a game against a big market, northern opponent the call is going against them. It's obvious. So obvious, in fact, Lightning beat writer Erik Erlendsson documented the phenomenon on his blog earlier this year with several historical examples of the double standard in video judging that has always existed for the Lightning.
The most blatent case came earlier this year when 6'9" Zdeno Chara batted a puck off his stick at his eye level (the crossbar is, of course, at 4' off the ice) and somehow, mystically, the league office created a baloney explanation for why the resulting goal counted. Tonight's cases weren't as clear cut, but they did nothing to dispell the notion that yes indeed, the video replay process is rigged, which was only made worse by a phantom hooking call on Eric Perrin which resulted in the Rangers' third goal on the power play. If I thought Gary Bettman had an ounce of integrity, I'd be calling for someone in Toronto to be fired. But with Bettman, why waste the keyboard strokes? Instead, I wish John Tortorella would've thrown more of a fit after the wave off when he was thrown out of the game. Then, maybe, just maybe, the national media attention that would've been generated might've cast some disinfecting sunlight on the festering stink we all smell coming down from Toronto.
NY Rangers 1:43, Jaromir Jagr 9 (Karel Rachunek, Michael Nylander)
NY Rangers 2:50, Michael Nylander 8 (power play) (Brendan Shanahan, Martin Straka)
NY Rangers 4:17, Brendan Shanahan 16 (power play) (Martin Straka, Jaromir Jagr)
NY Rangers 6:46, Martin Straka 10 (Michael Nylander, Jaromir Jagr)
Tampa Bay 17:20, Eric Perrin 4 (power play) (Filip Kuba, Johan Holmqvist)
Game sheet from NHL.com.
On Wednesday, the NHL's Central Scouting Service released its Preliminary Rankings for the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Among those highlighting the list are top QMJHL player Angelo Esposito of the Quebec Remparts and top Russian star Alexei Cherepanov of Omsk.
Defensemen Mike Lundin was scoreless with a -1 rating in Maine's 4-3 OT loss to Boston College.
Boston College goalie and Lightning prospect, Joe Pearce backed up staring netminder Cory Schneider, a product of Vancouver. Pearce has seen limited action behind Schneider, playing in only an early season loss to Notre Dame.
Dusty Collins was scoreless in Northern Michigan's 3-2 loss to Western Michigan.
Northern Michigan plays a home in home against Lake Superior next weekend.
Chris Lawrence had 2 goals and 1 assist and was a remarkable +5 in Mississauga's 6-1 trouncing of Ottawa. Lawrence was named first star of the game.
Kevin Beech stopped just 38 of 44 shots faced as Sudbury lost 6-5 in overtime to Oshawa.
Vladimir Mihalik had an assist and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes as Prince George spanked Seattle 5-1. Mihalik now has 3 goals and 10 points in 15 games this season. Last year Mihalik had 3 goals and 12 points in 62 games with Red Deer.