Last night’s game three answered a few questions that we had. Would the Wild come out strong at home and announce their presence in the series? (They did) Would the Jets third line continue their strong almost dominating play? (They didn’t) Would we still be annoyed by Sportsnet’s Garry Galley? (Many of you were)
But it also left us with just as many questions that we may never know the truth to…
1 – Why is it ok that NHL officials change how they call penalties between games?
When it comes to NHL officiating, most hockey fans know it won’t be good, but all we ever ask for is that it be consistent. A penalty called in the first period should be called with five minutes to go in the third period. We can carry that over between games as well. Theoretically a cross-check that is called in period one, game one of a playoff series should be called in period three of game seven of that same series. We know as hockey fans that’s not how it ever works, but in theory, that’s how it should work.
Game one saw a grand total of three minor penalties called the entire game.
Game two – before the brewhaha at the end of the contest – saw only six minor penalties called.
The first period of game three had six minor penalties called.
All calls made were by their definition penalties, so we’re not really arguing their validity, but it’s not like games one and two were played by two sets of choir boys and game three instantly descended into madness. Hooks and holds and cross-checks that went uncalled in the first two games were suddenly being called in the first period of game three.
To hear the Sportsnet announcers tell it as the game went on, this was all perfectly normal and that after game two’s shenanigans, the refs wanted a tighter grip on game three so it didn’t descend into madness. Only the penalties that were called were minor stick infractions that you see in virtually every hockey game ever and then two very dubious roughing calls on Adam Lowry and then Matt Dumba. All this is accepted as “normal”
And to further confuse and frustrate matters, after a penalty filled first period on Sunday night, the remaining two periods only had two minor penalties called – both in the second period. I guess after their evil first frame, the Jets and Wild turned into choir boys again? I guess the two times Mark Scheifele was tackle/pinned to the boards in the second half of the game was perfectly legal huh? Not to say anything of that Marcus Foligno play later on.. (We’ll get to that in a moment)
It’s ridiculous. It’s pretty much peak NHL officiating and there really doesn’t seem to be rhyme or reason to it.
2 – How much did travel affect the Jets on Sunday evening?
The Jets travel odyssey started on Saturday morning – two hours earlier than planned – as the team left early to sneak a flight into Minnesota, only it didn’t work as the airport closed due to poor weather before the Jets could make it in, so the plane was re-routed and stopped in Duluth, Minnesota. They hung around there for a few hours before deciding late in the afternoon to head back to Winnipeg, stay overnight in their own beds and then head out again bright and early Sunday – morning of game day – and made it into Saint Paul at about 8 AM local time.
Say what you will about their travel conditions and how “it couldn’t have been that tough” … a long day of travel is still a long day of travel for any human and hockey players who are notorious creatures of habit and routine had to be thrown off by such irregular circumstances.
The Jets came out sluggish and not skating as well as we saw in the first two games. Something obviously felt “off” about how they were playing to start game three. When asked after game three if the travel situation hurt the Jets, Paul Maurice quipped “it certainly didn’t help.”
How much did the travel affect the Jets? We won’t ever truly know, but the end result of game three speaks volumes.
3 – Was that really a sucker punch to the back of Tyler Myers’ knee?
Ahhh yes, the biggest question of them all. Did Marcus Foligno punch the back of Tyler Myers’ leg in that awkward fall that took place in the second period?
— #BelieveInTheJets Nation (@NHLJetsNation) April 16, 2018
Unless we hook Marcus up to a lie detector, we’ll likely never know the true answer or intent.
Looking at the replay a few hundred times as I’m sure we all have at this point, it’s hard to watch it and then come to the conclusion that it was simply an accident and that Foligno was trying to brace himself for the fall.
Only we can’t say for sure because when watching the play in real time it sure doesn’t seem like there is any time at all for Foligno to recognize that he has an opportunity to do a Tonya Harding job on the back of Myers’ leg.
Only there is a slight sliver of time for that exact opportunity and have you ever tried to brace yourself for a fall by throwing a fist parallel to the ice and directly at someone’s leg in front of you? Of course you haven’t. It’s clearly a punch to the back of the knee.
Only it might not be…
Ultimately, this incident may be at best get thrown in the “unintentionally intentional” pile, right next to Claude Giroux’s “accident” with Chris Letang in game two of the Philadelphia Flyers / Pittsburgh Penguins series where it looks like Giroux loses his balance, only he looks to see where he is about to end up and doesn’t do much to stop himself.. Or so it would seem.
Scary moment in Flyers vs. Penguins as Giroux and Letang collide. pic.twitter.com/iCyhmnJtCH
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) April 14, 2018
He didn’t mean it, only he totally meant it. We’ll never truly know.
BONUS Q – What the heck is the Wild logo?
Look at that thing. What the heck is it? Is it a wolf? Is it a bear? What is this mush-mash of assorted iconery and symbols?
Jibblescribbits on Twitter has tried to help figure it all out.. It’s brilliant.
LRT: I found the The symbols hidden in the logo of the Minnesota Wild pic.twitter.com/ig3nda0ftF
— Jibblescribbits (@Jibblescribbits) September 23, 2016
But beyond the deep symbolism uncovered in this tweet we still have no idea what that animal is supposed to be. What is a “Wild” exactly? The world may never know….