With the bizarre rulebook "enforcement" in last night's OT loss to Toronto, the topic of officiating came up way more than it normally does in post-game interviews. It's equal parts interesting and cathartic to see how Islanders coach Jack Capuano and players like P.A. Parenteau, John Tavares and Josh Bailey fielded such questions.
Their videos are below (Tavares may be the best), as well as Ron Wilson's always fun take on the game. (Hint: His team was "disciplined.") Wilson was happy with how his team played Tavares, ceding just two goals (though several chances, and one goal was with the sixth attacker) with JT on the ice over the last two games.
On the road Wilson was able to get Dion Phaneuf on the ice for a whopping 13.5 minutes at even strength (out of a whopping 30 minutes overall) against Tavares. Nikolai Kulemin, Joey Crabb and Mikhail Grabovski drew the bulk of forward work against 91.
One other note that escaped last night's officiating rant: Nino Niederreiter saw just 6:18 but was a thorny little devil.
He's being brought along very slowly -- rightfully so, once they decided he was sticking around -- but each night you get little glimpses of what they saw in him. Last night: a guy who hit, made a nuisance of himself at the net and got a couple of shots off. The clamor from fans to promote Niederreiter up a line will continue until it actually happens; that's probably better than the impression a few months ago: "Man, this kid is overmatched here."
On not getting any power plays for two nights in a row: "Very frustrating. Two games without a powerplay -- I've never seen that before in my career. But it is what it is, nothing we can do about it. We've got to stop complaining, and tomorrow's another day so we'll go from there."
Liked the effort in the first, was alright with Al Montoya's night. On the litany of uncalled high sticks: Disappointing. "If that's the way they see the game, that's the way they see the game. I just wish it had been a little more consistent tonight, that's all. ... But it is what it is."
The visible disgust on his face as reporters asked the obvious (essentially: "WTH was with the officiating?"). Some nights, the game just doesn't make sense. Said Tavares: "Yeah. I don't really understand it." ... "Stay focused, try not to let it get to us."
Don't want to totally overload this post with embedded videos, so find Bailey's clip here. He likewise conceded, "I don't care how disciplined a team is, there are calls to be made out there."
Liked how his guys played the Islanders' top line for two games. Thought there were a few cheap shots and thought the Leafs responded by "finishing their checks" [note: High sticks to the face are not technically "checks," though I suppose they can be finished.] after the Islanders hit Leafs skill players.
Well, get 'em next time. Maybe the league will even send professionals.