LA Kings Win 2012 Stanley Cup: NJ Devils, Game Six, NHL Officiating
The LA Kings won the 2012 Stanley Cup after finally closing out the New Jersey Devils in Game Six. However, we are left to wonder what could have been if NHL officiating wasn’t so miserable.
The Kings may have won the 2012 Stanley Cup even if the game was officiated correctly. Anything could have happened in Game Six were the game less out of control. However, despite the Kings dominating most of the game, the Kings would have never blown out the Devils in the elimination game of the Stanley Cup Final if not for a missed call that led to a stupid play and ultimately three powerplay goals.
I’ll try to keep this from being an angry New Jersey Devils fan ranting about how unfair life is. After all, the Kings are celebrating their first cup and the end of a generation of hockey suffering while Devils fans already have three. Heck, I’d already come to grips with a possible Stanley Cup loss when the Kings took two overtime wins and a blowout to open the series, so this isn’t exactly an emotional outburst. Still, the officiating in the 2012 Stanley Cup Final was abhorrent and I can’t help but wonder what could have been in Game Six.
To open the scoring on a three-goal, five-minute penalty after a missed boarding call on Jarret Stoll’s hit on Stephen Gionta was the absolute worst way for an elimination game to start. Even NBC, whose LA Kings bias was palpable throughout the postseason, showed replays of the hit on Gionta citing the missed call as the reason for the Kings’ powerplay. LA went on to score three quick goals and put the Devils away early. While the Kings may have still won the game, it’s a shame that the Kings won the Stanley Cup on a missed call and a stupid retaliatory penalty by Steve Bernier.
Adding insult to injury, and ultimately injury to deplorable officiating, the Kings’ fourth goal came when an out of position referee set a face-first pick on an entry into the Devils zone. The puck popped into an open slot and the Devils succumbed to another opportunistic Jeff Carter goal.
While the Devils never really got close, if they weren’t down 3-0 in the first period it’s a completely different game. If the Devils go on the power play in the first period instead of a disastrous five-minute penalty kill, it’s a different game. If halfway capable officials found their way to Game Six of the Stanley Cup, it’s a different game. It was a fantastic series full of shots off the post, excitement, overtime, and two evenly matched teams. It’s a shame that it ended this way.
That said, the entire postseason was an abomination in terms of officiating. The game is simply too fast for the referees to control thanks to rule changes that have opened the ice and more talented, more physical skaters. The future of the game is in jeopardy. From a missed delay of game call in an elimination Game Five of the Coyotes Kings series to calls that alter the course of the Stanley Cup Finals, something needs to be done in terms of officiating. Whether it means more replay, new rules, or a more capable officiating staff, the NHL needs to change.
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