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Refs wanted to avoid “circus” in Pens-Flyers Game 4

Apr 19, 2012, 12:15 AM EDT

Philadelphia Flyers forward Jaromir Jagr told Mark Masters what many assumed when watching some vigilant penalty-calling in Game 4 of Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins: officials weren’t going to allow things to unravel.

“They said there was a circus the last three games and they were going to be in charge and call everything,” Jagr said.

This video shows how swiftly referees dealt with moments that could have been catalysts for bad blood and general shenanigans. (Specifically when it came to Zac Rinaldo being, well, Zac Rinaldo.)

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That wasn’t the only moment of proactive whistle work, either. It might not have been totally fair to seemingly reformed forward Matt Cooke, but officials quickly defused a situation in which there was some rough stuff between Cooke, Pavel Kubina, Wayne Simmonds and Joe Vitale by handing out game misconducts like hot cakes.

Perhaps it took the fire out of any chance of having an especially interesting third period, but considering how things went at the end of Game 3 in particular, it was probably the right course.

We’ll see what kind of circus-like scenarios the rest of this series has in store for us soon enough, though.

  1. stakex - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:52 AM

    Not only did the refs want to avoid a “circus”…. they clearly wanted to help avoid a sweep as well. How else do you explain 7 strait power plays for the Pens, including 14 minutes of power play time in the 2nd period in which the Pens scored 3 strait pp goals that made the game 7-3. A couple of the penelties, especially the 4 minutes for Rinaldo, might have been well deserved…. but find another playoff game in history that has one team getting seven strait power plays, especially when they have the lead.

    I know the refs wanted to keep things under constrol, but cheap (considering its a playoff game) holding the stick and interference calls have nothing to do with that.

    • wingsfans - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:08 AM

      the flyers were called for so many penalties because of their style of play — which is, do as much as you can because the refs will only call so many penalties. something tells me the upper nhl bosses talked to these refs and told them to call the game the way it should be. unfortunately, the flyers are still living in 1974 and think that facewipes, crosschecks and hits away from the puck will be overlooked. it was the wrong night.

      got my fingers crossed to see this turn into a good series. the first three games robbed us fans of the true gifts of these players, and instead gave us the ‘bloodbath’ thar Hartnell predicted (and I’m sure, helped to define).

      • bobhpine - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:22 AM

        rinaldo didnt take a penalty…I CANT STAND THIS NHL PENGUINS CONSPIRACY

    • bmscalise - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:26 AM

      How about the Flyers just went off the deep end. Every one of those penalties was deserved and blatant. Bad officiating happens when the officials approach a game as if the PP chances should be equal.

    • benzoids - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:40 AM

      Have another! Philly had three consecutive calls go their way in the first period (not sure if you remember the 5 on 3). This is only the beginning. Get ready conspiracy theorists!

    • odj810 - Apr 19, 2012 at 9:39 AM

      have some pride you lost 10-3. Take your lumps and look forward to the next game. Don’t make excuses for a 10-3 loss(not a good look). Your team wasn’t the better team tonite better luck next time.

    • aglumac - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:20 PM

      Flyers led the league in minor penalties, flyers had a 5 on 3, flyers had the first 4 plower play chances including a 5 on 3, flyers got beat even strength 5 to 0, ya the refs clearly gave this one to the pens with a 10 to 3 win

    • crosberries - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:34 PM

      The briere flop was great the “Hartsy” high stick was his own fault for clamping down on cookes stick you guys bOught so many calls in the beginning. But we’re the only team that does that, right philthy?

      • phillyhatesyou - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:53 PM

        coming from the guy that defends every cheap shot by the penguins. dude you have no credibility when you speak about hockey anymore with the way you defend the penguins then cry about what the flyers do. i bet you think torres hit on hossa was clean too. and yes briere did take a bit of a dive but it was nothing compared to what letang and a few other pens did this series and you show the perfect example that you have no idea about the game of hockey by saying that hartnell caused the guy to high stick him. thats just idiotic. flyers took a lot of bad penalties expecially in the second period. only reason they lost the game. flyers stay out of the box in that game and they win the game.

      • crosberries - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:16 PM

        Did you notice I said “but we’re the only team that does it right”? Meaning that all teams do it but everyone from philthy acted as if their team never dives or anything your a moron. You have no credibility when you talk because your 5 brain cells can’t comprehend what I’m saying.

    • jasong812 - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:50 PM

      WAAAAA! How about the 5 called on the Pens to start the game?

  2. bobhpine - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:21 AM

    the flyers were called for so many penalties because of their style of play which is, do as much as you can because the refs will only call so many penalties

    “Which is do as much”

    You win philly…you win…too smart

  3. bobhpine - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    I’m almost sorry I tried to make philly fans understand that

  4. pens87 - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:20 AM

    I have to say I liked what the refs did, as game 3 was definitely a little too out of control. I know there was a period where they did call a bunch on the flyers, but I didn’t see anything wrong with their calls. Did a bunch get called that wouldn’t have been called last game? Yea. But they were pretty even about it. If I recall correctly, back in the first they called three on the pens in a little under 40 seconds or something, given them a 5-3 for just under 2 minutes…so I wouldn’t call that trying to “avoid” the sweep.

    Regardless of what the refs are doing, I’m still amazed I’ve seen 45 goals in only 4 games…I mean WOW. This is the type of hockey I enjoy watching…wish my pens were doing better but you can’t hate the game itself. I know these forms are usually for hating but I have to give it to the flyers, those first 3 games they played with more heart and passion, and fully deserved their three wins. Only now that we are on the verge of elimination do I now see the pens playing with the same sense of urgency, and like they actually want to win the cup and not have it handed to them. I know it’s not very likely, but imagine what a game 7 would be like from these two teams…I’d feel bad for both goalies!

    • bennywisest - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:39 AM

      I agree the game was called fairly, but I find games called that tight horrible to watch. I understand the refs were trying to keep it under control from the start (they should have focused more on that on game 3, but I digress). I think they took it too far and made for a bad game.

      • odj810 - Apr 19, 2012 at 9:41 AM

        generally I agree with you, especially in the finals I hate the tick tack calls made. Let them play unless its on a blatant scoring chance. But Everyone knew you had to call anything and everything in this game to get back to the hockey part. I’m sure they’ll loosen up the reins next game.

      • bennywisest - Apr 19, 2012 at 9:57 AM

        I hope it gets balanced out and we have a good game. The NHL always seems to have problems with balance. They always flip-flop going from too lenient then too strict and so on.

  5. fbothharbaughs - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:57 AM

    Anyone think maybe the Filthy Rag that depicted Sid as a “cowardly lion” maybe poked the proverbial sleeping bear?

    Never in my life have a seen such horrific goaltending in a series. Whoever wins this series will do so in spite of their “goaltending”.

    Guess the Flyers aren’t quite the choir boys their fans made them out to be…

    • cleverbob - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:57 AM

      Nice straw man argument. Hockey fans pointing out that the Penguins were dirty and cheap for 3 games does not equal Flyers fans claiming the Flyers are angels.

      • fbothharbaughs - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:33 AM

        Guess you’ve never heard of “People who live in glass houses…”, straw man….

      • chizmo - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:43 AM

        There was quite a bit of high and mighty talk that the Flyers were angels who don’t stoop to the lows the Pens did in game 3. Then game 4 rolls around and they immediately begin throwing cheap shots at guys on their knees.

      • cleverbob - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:55 AM

        fbothharbaughs –

        chizmo – There was general consensus (outside of Pittsburgh of course) that the Flyers had not stooped to the same level as the Pens after game 3. After a highly scrutinized game 4, you’d think there’d be an uproar if the Flyers returned the favor. Other than that bum Rinaldo, where were all the cheap shots?

      • bennywisest - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:58 AM

        Yea he should have waited till later and went after Crosby’s head right chizmo? Did you watch the play. Obviously it was called correctly but It was a dumb hotheaded move by Rinaldo (but lets be real that’s what he does), but it was all egged on by the Pens’ player (sorry I forget who that was). He knew he could get Rinaldo and it worked. I don’t see how that one play is near the same level or amount of cheap stuff as game 3.

      • fbothharbaughs - Apr 19, 2012 at 11:35 AM

        @ cleverbob… granted, it was Cooke, but guess you missed the Asham-like cross-check to his face in the 3rd by Kubina (I think)?

        Straw man, indeed…

      • cleverbob - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:38 PM

        I find it amusing that you continue to flail at your own little straw man, while confusing the term and trying to insult me with it somehow.

  6. cleverbob - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:58 AM

    That was a brutal game to watch. The Pens made it clear that they’re not dead yet, but hopefully the Flyers can summon up the will to play some defense tomorrow. And convince Bernie to come out of retirement…

  7. rtrmusic - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:33 AM

    Matt Cooke gets a game misconduct for being Matt Cooke

    • bennywisest - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:43 AM

      Wayne Simmonds agrees.

  8. tackledummy1505 - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:55 AM

    Pens fans are funny. The only way you score is on the power play and it’s really hard to score on the pk. Yeah it’s our type of play lol that’s a joke when your team was out to injure last game. Funny thing the flyers got penaltilized for the Pens ugly game. How funny is that? It didn’t help we looked like we wanted to leave the game, but I guess I would stop playing to if a check against the Pens players and getting a roughing call lol. That’s ok cause we own the Pens at the Consul Center

    • fbothharbaughs - Apr 19, 2012 at 11:37 AM

      wait for it… wait for it…. There it is! Flyers fan blaming refs after losing by 7…

  9. philly4lyfe - Apr 19, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    Blind sided head shots on people without the puck doesn’t even come close to what Renaldo did. I’m not saying his shot was clean, and he def deserved a penalty for it without a doubt, but come on. He took a swat at the guy with his glove after the whistle, just like every other scrum. It just looked worse because he was on his knees. And I guess so much for the players deciding the game.

    • napoleonblownapart6887 - Apr 19, 2012 at 9:26 AM

      Rinaldo didn’t need to cross check Z, take a swipe with his elbow, and then when Michalek is trying to get off the ice take two hands and knock him in the face. I’m not going to have an argument with you about whether what Rinaldo did is worse that what happened in game 3 because they were both terrible. But to try to trivialize that play is ridiculous and ruins any credibility you have.

      The players did decide the game – the Pens took dumb penalties early and the Flyers capitalized. The Flyers took a lot of dumb penalties across the rest of the game and the Pens capitalized.

  10. steelersmichele - Apr 19, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    funny how fans blasted the Pens for playing like thugs when the games got out of control…and low and behold, when the game got away from the flyers, they turned around and did the same thing. its called being frustrated.

    rtrmusic, you are wrong. the only penalty I disagreed with is throwing Cooke out of the game. guy just took the hits and shoves to avoid a fight and gets a game misconduct. for him to just lay on the ice and not throw a punch and get in trouble….he would have never been that passive last season. out of all those penalties on Sunday, not one minute was attributed to him.

  11. emoser - Apr 19, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    Not to defend what Rinaldo did, but there’s a world of difference between punching somebody in the face vs. crosschecking to the face and slamming their head into the ground, propelling yourself like a missle at their head, or taking a running elbow at their head. Unless the guy had a glass jaw there was no way Rinaldo could have caused an injury with that. Pens fans need to stop clinging to this as if it somehow makes up for what they did on Sunday.

  12. tackledummy1505 - Apr 19, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    So when Malkin decided to shove his stick up our guys croch that’s ok? Lol you even have players suspended for dirty plays. Yeah the refs were tough, yes Rinaldo was guilty, but when Matt Read throws a check and gets a roughing call? Come on, or we get a slashing call for trying to battle for a puck? Are you serious? Not to mention Flyer hater extraordinaire Referee Davorski was in charge of the game. When hasn’t that guy called double digit penalties against the Flyers. I think the refs took this game away and the Flyers looked out of sync cause they couldn’t even play. Worst playoff game I’ve ever scene. That comes after the best. At least the Penguins had a shot there. Funny thing is the Flyers have had more penalty minutes than the Penguins in all 4 games. That’s including cheap shot Sunday by the Pens

    • jasong812 - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:58 PM

      5 even strenght goals is still more than 3. Next excuse.

  13. odj810 - Apr 19, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    flyers and penguins fans are so whiny. All excuses and trying to rationalize your teams actions against the other team. Few rational opinions.

  14. jimw81 - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Wow, letting Grossman take illegal hits from kennedy and malkin in front of Chris Lee and McCauley was avoiding an circus.

  15. jmikeymania - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    The whole NHL/Ref/Pens conspiracy being spewed forth again is crap. Rinaldo got nothing. Pens have 3 suspended. You lost 10-3 with them out. Check yourself before throwing the same old whine.

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