Send in the Panda, Rules … What Rules? And Other Blackhawks Bullets

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The officiating sucks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

•   What are we even doing anymore?

•   Shea Weber and Tomas Nosek were given coincidental penalties for pushing and shoving following this play.

•   No call on Nosek for a clear and dangerous boarding penalty.

•   No excuse for no call here. After a scuffle away from the play, Brayden McNabb socks Nick Suzuki.

•   He’s looking right at it!

•   Look, I’ve watched enough hockey to know that the whistles get swallowed in the postseason and the physical play gets turned up. But when things are out of hand from the first puck drop, the refs job is to police the game on the ice. When you’re letting things go like these kinds of hits and plays, why even be out there in the first place?

•   William Carrier knocks over Joel Edmundson, to which Edmundson retaliates by shoving Carrier’s face into the glass using his stick on the back of his neck. No call. Carrier is lucky he can chew food this morning.

•   This has been going on for years and years and it’s become so bad this year that almost everyone I saw online during the game last night was fed up.

•   This has been a storyline during the regular season too. What is so hard about “see a penalty, call a penalty?” It’s literally your only job on the ice.

•   I umpired little league baseball for ONE summer in my life and I’m glad I’ll never do it again. Being a referee is almost 99% of the time a thankless job. But when you do your job well, people respect you for it. And, you will never get as much attention in the position for being a good ref as you will for being a bad one.

•   But this is what the NHL wants. They want players to play the game and police themselves. Might as well have them drop their own pucks and call their own penalties. Screw it, it’s already a free-for-all out there, might as well take four guys off the ice and make more room out there.

•   Ugh, maddening.

•   Anyway, there was good hockey to talk about last night between the Montreal Canadiens and Vegas Golden Knights as the Canadiens hoped to extend their series lead and push the Golden Knights to the brink. They looked poised to do so with Paul Byron getting them on the board first with a beautiful breakaway goal late in the second period.

•   Byron’s third goal of the postseason came on one of the nearly half-dozen breakaway attempts the Canadiens had last night against Robin Lehner.

•   Oh yeah, by the way, the Golden Knights started Robin Lehner over Vezina finalist and Vegas Conn Smythe candidate Marc-Andre Fleury for Game Four. A surprise decision by head coach Peter Deboer to put in Lehner in a critical Game Four on the road.

•   But, Lehner was the biggest reason that the Golden Knights didn’t fall further behind late in the game and kept the game in reach long enough.

•   Long enough for Brayden McNabb to tie it up mid-way through the third period with a squeaker through the arms of Carey Price.

•   McNabb’s first of the postseason tied the game at 1-1 and would eventually send the game top overtime.

•   He also became the seventh defenseman for Vegas to score this postseason.

•   Vegas has had seven defensemen score at least one goal this postseason, with three teams (Winnipeg, Toronto, Carolina) tied for the second-most with four defensemen scoring at least one goal each.

•   Getting nestled in for a long Sunday night of overtime hockey, Quebec-native Nicolas Roy had other plans.

•   Less than 90 seconds of overtime is all Vegas needed to find the game-winner and tie the series heading back to the T-Mobile Arena.

•   Hockey is a weird, dumb game eh?

•   Vegas evens the series at 2-2 heading into Game Five back home on Wednesday night. On the other side of the Stanley Cup Semifinals, the Islanders and Lightning are tied-up at 2-2 in their series with Game Five happening tonight in Tampa Bay, puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. CT.

•   Robin Lehner, one-time Blackhawks goaltender, made 27 saves on 28 shots in the overtime win, his first of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. After being thrown to the wolves in Game One against the Colorado Avalanche in the pervious series, Lehner was given a major opportunity to bounce back and play a huge role for Vegas. He answered the bell.

•   And after the game, he answered questions the only way he can: honestly.

•   I never want him to change.

•   And I’ll never understand the Blackhawks not keeping him around.

•   Good for him. Now the question becomes, who starts Game Five?

•   In Blackhawks land, there’s not a ton of chatter going on from the organization. Probably because they are focused on other things at the moment, maybe. But one thing that came up over the weekend was unsurprising news that the Blackhawks have interest in trading for Buffalo Sabres Captain Jack Eichel.

•   I mean, sure why not throw all your hats in on all the big names that will be available this offseason? But this Blackhawks team is not one, giant signing pr trade away from being “back.” Eichel would cost a TON and I’m not sure the net-gain he would bring to the Blackhawks would be enough to get them over that hump. But we’re here to talk about it.

•   Like I said, the Blackhawks have been a quiet bunch recently. Except for this today…whatever the hell this is.

•   Lol? I don’t get it.

•   Anyway, I’m not one to throw stones in a glass house since I completely dropped the ball on social media this weekend and forgot to ask for #BNHawksMailbag questions for today!

•   If you have any last-minute Blackhawks questions, or anything going on in the hockey world, fire away on Twitter using the hashtag #BNHawksMailbag ! Kindly appreciated.

•   That’ll do it for today. Enjoy your Monday!

written by

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.

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