By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
I usually try to take a hard line when it comes to complaining about officiating. Both teams are dealing with the same inconsistencies. The refs are not out to get either team. Sometimes the calls lean one way and sometimes they lean the other. It's not that they don't make bad calls, it's that the good and bad tends to even out in the end.
But you have a strong case if you believe the calls definitively favored the Bruins on Thursday in Game 1. Canes defenseman and ex-Bruin Dougie Hamilton was the perp on two ill-timed penalties in the third period, one of which proved costly for Carolina in a 5-2 loss to the B's.
Just 15 seconds after the Bruins had tied the game 2-2, Hamilton got whistled for a roughing penalty when he stuck his elbow out at Joakim Nordstrom as the Bruins forward approached him along the boards. Soft call? Perhaps. But less soft than simply tucking your elbow and absorbing the hit, which would have avoided another trip to the penalty box.
This is the Hamilton roughing penalty pic.twitter.com/TVwy3f5O3P
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) May 10, 2019
Hamilton committed yet another ill-advised penalty when he was the one rushing the puck carrier. Only 2:48 after his roughing call, Hamilton led his shoulder into what looks like the chin of David Backes.
Dougie Hamilton helping the Bruins AGAIN. This time an interference penalty pic.twitter.com/qNbQLhkQLy
— Evan Marinofsky (@emarinofsky) May 10, 2019
Would it be too much to consider the second one worthy of attention from Player Safety? It shouldn't be, but the hit isn't far off from what Charlie McAvoy did to Columbus' Josh Anderson to get himself suspended for Thursday's game.
One who would find a suspension preposterous is Hamilton himself.
"Well, I just watched both of them, so I didn’t agree with either [penalty], so not much else to say," Hamilton told reporters. "The game’s over now, and nothing we can do about it now."
The Bruins didn't let a fake goal off the protective netting faze them. Yet you have Hamilton blaming his penalties - and by extension, the officials - for killing the Hurricanes' momentum in the third.
"Yeah, for sure, I think we were playing a, I guess, not bad game, but had the lead in the third and took some penalties and gave them the lead, so tough to come back from that," Hamilton said.
Step 1 to coming back from a penalty is to kill the penalty. Step 2 is to have a short memory and keep playing. Step 3 is to not take more penalties. Complaining about the officiating after the game is not one of the steps.
Oh, never mind, Hamilton is "not going to comment on the refs." That's settled.
But were his mistakes undisciplined or unfortunate?
"I don’t think they were penalties, so neither."
Bloviate about the officiating all you want. But if you want to play that game you can also point to questionable calls made against the Bruins in Game 1. None were worse than the first penalty of the game, a roughing call against Sean Kuraly that should've been matching penalties with him and Brock McGinn. That's if a penalty in that spot was appropriate at all. It wasn't, and it led to the Hurricanes' first goal of the night.
But that's why complaining about officiating is a waste. Unless we have a Tim Donaghy situation skating around out there, the officials are simply doing their job and doing it poorly - for both sides. And even if it doesn't go your way one night, it'll work out the next one.
Hamilton may have stopped short of directly criticizing the officials. But he revealed more than enough of his feelings with what he did say. Maybe he'll show more discipline and grit in Game 2, and won't continue to put himself in unfavorable positions.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].