The Thrashers stayed alive yet another day with a solid win versus the Capitals on Thursday. Highlights of the game included two jaw dropping moves by Marian Hossa—only one of which resulted in a goal, but Hossa tacked on an empty netter at the conclusion of the match. At this point, I shouldn’t be surprised when Hossa does his power move to the net, but I can’t help being shocked when he just splits two defenseman like a knife through butter.
For most of their history the Atlanta Thrashers have seldom seen veteran referees do their games. As a non-contender the Thrash often suffered through games with second tier officials or new guys learning the ropes in the NHL. Lately that has changed as Kerry Fraser and others have made appearances. Last Thursday the veteran referee was McGeough.
If the NHL was trying to make sure that crucial late season games are called right they failed miserably in this instance. The most glaring mistake was a clean shoulder hit by Bobby Holik that caused the resulted in the Washington player’s own stick clipping himself. McGeough saw the blood dripping from the Caps player and thought that the cagey veteran Holik had gotten away with a cheap shot and sent him to the box for four minutes. That incorrect call in a one goal game could have effectively ended the playoff chances of the team but fortunately the Thrashers killed it off.
Both referees failed to call two blatant interference offenses by Washington. At one point one Thrashers forward passed the puck to another play near the faceoff dot—but that player couldn’t shoot because his stick was being held by a Capital. Then the Capitals did a great acting job that resulted in a power play for Washington. And in the game final seconds Sutton got called for "elbowing" on a great check along the boards.
I don’t like to spend space venting about bad calls, because every team gets them during the course of a season, but if this is a preview of how the NHL playoff games are going to be officiated I’m very concerned.
Random Notes: After Modry went off with an injury a guy behind us announced that the radio broadcasters had said that Modry would not return. Someone else quickly replied "Ever?" and drew some laughs.The woman directly behind me was selected for the Volvo lease giveaway. Her name had been picked in a earlier game but the Thrashers failed to win so she didn’t get a car. This is the 2nd time this season that someone who lost out on a lease had their name selected a 2nd time and won the car. For those keeping score, the four rows next to mine have now hat 6 names drawn and 5 car leases won. Sweet!