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Capitals discuss ‘lopsided’ penalty calls

May 12, 2013, 8:10 PM EDT

NHL referees Getty Images

When you’re invested in the results of a game, it’s easy to think that officials are “out to get your team” when they make calls. That’s especially true if the differences seem stark.

Some Washington Capitals fans – and maybe a few players – might feel that something’s up after Game 6.

While the putrid New York Rangers power play went 0-for-5 on Sunday, the Caps didn’t draw a single penalty. That’s the first time that’s happened all season for Washington, according to the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti.

Troy Brouwer is among the Capitals speaking out against the disparity in penalty calls, as’s Chuck Gormley reports.

“We deserved some, we didn’t deserve some,” Brouwer said. “I can’t believe they didn’t get a penalty tonight. It seems a little outlandish.”

Goalie Braden Holtby shared his agreement with the Washington Times’ Stephen Whyno.

“Tonight shouldn’t have been so lopsided,” Holtby said. “It shouldn’t have. We all know that … We won’t use it as an excuse.”

Head coach Adam Oates was mostly diplomatic, merely pointing to an alleged slew foot by Derek Dorsett as a missed call.

At this point, you might be asking: how bad has it been? Here’s a power play breakdown for the series:

Game 1
Rangers received four power plays, Capitals received five

Game 2
Rangers received three, Capitals received two

Game 3
Rangers received six, Capitals received three

Game 4
Rangers received four, Capitals received two

Game 5
Rangers received four, Capitals received two

Game 6
Rangers received five, Capitals received none

Overall, New York has been on 26 power plays while Washington has only had 14. Even so, the Capitals have scored three power-play goals to just two for the Rangers.

There are plenty of possible explanations for the “lopsided” whistles, but that won’t stop conspiracy theorists from wondering if something fishy is going on.

  1. myspaceyourface - May 12, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    It was a similar situation for the Pens last night. They didn’t let it stop them.

    • bcisleman - May 12, 2013 at 9:02 PM

      Sorry, but no it was not. Pens had 3 penalties toi Isles 1.

      • Stiller43 - May 12, 2013 at 10:11 PM

        Lol thats funny everybody is “thumb upping” your for a false statement. Check the box score, you have that reversed. Isles had 3 PP’s to the pens 1 and it was 21 pp’s for the pens to 20 for the isles in the whole series.

      • pitpenguinsrulez - May 12, 2013 at 10:49 PM

        Hes an Islanders fan…they just learned hockey two weeks ago. Remember they were dead last in attendance at 83%

      • bccaps - May 13, 2013 at 3:45 PM

        Speaking of just learning hockey, 3 penalties on one team = 3 power plays for the other.

      • Stiller43 - May 13, 2013 at 7:13 PM

        Now youre reversing your story? The first comment was about the pens didnt let more penalties called on them affect them…why would you say “sorry, but it was not that way” and put those numbers out there that then support his argument if youre starting off with how he’s wrong?

        Thats completely illogical, or you typed that when you were hammered.

  2. lightningbuggs - May 12, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    Almost 2-1 NY power plays to WAS for the series?

    Yeah, something smells.

    • tfaltin - May 12, 2013 at 9:05 PM

      The most disciplined team in the NHL regular season is more disciplined than its opponent over a larger sample size? Cannot be!

  3. jkay1818 - May 12, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    You fail to mention in this article that the rangers ar the least penalized team in the NHL. Stupid, theories aside, being the least penalized team is a huge advantage and luxury come playoff time. If they weren’t penalized during he regular season, why would thy be penalized a ton in the playoffs? Because the caps are taking penalties?
    The penAlties were 5-0 today but in this article or unbiased fans who watched, can you tell me at least two, two penalties the rangers got away with? I can rip off at least 4 penalties the refs didn’t call in addition to the five.
    The conspiracy is a pathetic scapegoat, stop insulting hockey fans. To blame this going to Seven on the refs is incredible. It isn’t like the rangerS are at a thirty % rip on the pp.truth is its 3-3 and it took the caps two ot winners at home…..let’s be honest here. It’s been a great series, the whining is diluting it. Game seven is tmrw, just be more disciplined. All five calls were legit

    • tycobbfromfangraphs - May 12, 2013 at 8:37 PM

      3rd least for 2 min minors, only the Wild and Jets were called less.

      • tycobbfromfangraphs - May 12, 2013 at 8:41 PM

        154 minors called against the Rangers this year, 3.2 per game, so they are still way under their own average, just saying

    • jgw1980 - May 13, 2013 at 8:07 AM

      This is hand down the worst argument I’ve wet heard. Because a team avoids penalties in the regular season, this somehow changes what a penalty looks like and how a game is called in the postseason? So a charge in the post season on Perreault well after the puck was past him is a clean hit in the playoffs? Or a cross heck to the face of Hillen? Or a slew foot on green? Sorry those penalties were too obvious bottom all, the penalties on the Caps were much softer by comparison.

      Any Rangers fan who doesn’t believe that their team is benefitting from favorable officiating is dillusional, and will probably point to the Alzner call and the Ovechkin dive a proof. Those two no calls don’t make up for a series full of them on the Rangers.

      Looks like the officials finally figured out that it wasn’t enough just to give the Rangers PP opportunities, they had to make sure not to give the Caps any in their effort to hand the Rangers the game.

  4. mclovinhockey - May 12, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    The only consistency in the NHL is how inconsistent they are

  5. tomj4425 - May 12, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    22 to 7 power plays over the last five games …. yeah, that’s messed up. Is that a record?

    • 2jivecrew - May 12, 2013 at 9:27 PM

      Interesting that you left out a game, probably because it didn’t support your point. And Caps fans think Crosby is a whiner. LOL

  6. pitpenguinsrulez - May 12, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    It’s not like the Rangers are lighting it up on the powerplay with all those opportunities

  7. cameltoews - May 12, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    The only thing messed up is the lack of discipline Washington has. Everyone knows the second person gets caught as seen on the hillen Callahan thing or howbout game 6 when ribiero cross checks Boyle and Boyle retaliates like an idiot and ultimately cost the rangers that game. Green doesn’t have to cross check Dorsett in the face but he does. If you don’t want penalties called on your team
    Do not commit them.

  8. cspsrbums - May 12, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    Yes the on Perualt first period puck was gone Ranger came in laid hi out. 2 green Slew foot did cross check but green took the only penalty rangers Had mor PP the last 4 games then the Caps have all series. With 3 5 on 3 to was none 1 pp caps had 2 players go into the box. No team plays a complete clean game

  9. cspsrbums - May 12, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    ALS the same Ref Mark Juenult was the same ref for all rangers Home Games ??

  10. cameltoews - May 12, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    The series isn’t even over and all you hear is caps players crying fowl. I think you are better served focusing on the most important game of your season.

    • jkay1818 - May 12, 2013 at 8:48 PM

      The whining is incredible

  11. cspsrbums - May 12, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    Sorry about the crap typing on my I phone and it auto corrects on me (to lazy to proof read) it isn’t worth repeating

  12. stakex - May 12, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    First of all, the Rangers were the least penelized team in the NHL this season, and have made it clear that staying out of the box is a high priority against the Caps. That has a lot to do with their lack of penelties. Also, I don’t hear much argument that any of the calls against the Caps were bad. They took a few really bad, undisciplined penelties tonight. Ward and Green were no brainers, as was Alzner throwing the puck over the glass.

    As for the Rangers not being called at all, aside from the possible slew foot on Dorsett (which would have been offset by the Green cross check anyway), I’d like to see a Caps fan point to another obvious missed call. There were a couple slashes that could have been called on both sides, but the Rangers played a very disciplined game… and the Caps were clearly a bit frustrated and took some bad penelties. Much like last game.

    Besides, its not like the Rangers scored on their power play…. if anything, the Rangers seem less likely to score on the power play.

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 12, 2013 at 9:24 PM

      Do you just get audio or do you actually a watch games? Green cross checked Dorsett after looking at the ref and seeing no call was being made on Dosett.

    • tomj4425 - May 12, 2013 at 9:35 PM

      Callahan’s cross check to Hillen’s face. Ovi was tripped on a shot attempt in 2nd period. Just two off the top of my head.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 12, 2013 at 10:06 PM

        True. Brassard got hooked when he was about to shoot. Green wrapped his arms around a Ranger player in the D zone causing him to lose his own stick as the player broke away. We can go on and on. Non calls are not the cause of this loss.

    • killerpgh - May 12, 2013 at 9:47 PM

      A slew foot and a cross check don’t even out. A slew foot is a match penalty (5 and a GM) and the cross check was only called a 2 minute minor. i wouldn’t consider a 5 minute penalty and a game misconduct to be offset with 2 minute minor.

  13. cspsrbums - May 12, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    You would be crying fowl also if the shoe was on the other foot

    • manchestermiracle - May 13, 2013 at 9:46 AM

      Only if I were pigeon-toed.

  14. billyhauntswizards - May 12, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    think about it, if you play for John tortorella would taking a penalty even cross your mind?

  15. sampulls - May 12, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    Caps are a dirty hockey team!

  16. cspsrbums - May 12, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    You don’t have to score on a PP to hurt a team. They get out of sync Players don’t get on the ice and the biggest is the wear down when your out killing 5 times in a row in 2 games

    • crosberries - May 12, 2013 at 9:48 PM

      Then you can also say that killing power plays gives a team momentum in some situations

      • mdnjdevil - May 13, 2013 at 3:59 PM

        Give me a break. 10 minutes of some of your best players not on the ice far outweighs any benefit that “team momentum” offers. Especially in a 1-0 game.

  17. jr507 - May 12, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    If the Caps could take 60 minutes of penalties they could guarantee a shutout since John Tortorella’s powerplay never scores. Just a thought Oates.

    • ithacamike - May 13, 2013 at 12:36 PM

      ha, don’t give the refs any (more) ideas

  18. cspsrbums - May 12, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    JR507 Never thought of that maybe they should play with 4 Haha

  19. ziplock10 - May 12, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    It’s always about the money. Prolong the series to a game 7 if the teams are evenly matched. The Rangers are a little better defensively, Caps are better offensively. But the Perreault hit was well after the puck was gone. That’s not “finishing”, that’s boarding and he’s been nailed all series. But hey! 15 to 5 on Power plays in NY is fair! No home town cooking! Just clean playoff slew footin!!!

  20. 2jivecrew - May 12, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    I’d just like to take this opportunity to point out that slow-as-molasses Pens defenseman Doug Murray has twice as many goals in these playoffs as Hart Trophy finalist Alexander “controller disconnected” Ovechkin. But that must be the refs’ fault right? LOL.

    • wutzthedeal - May 13, 2013 at 4:35 PM

      I… don’t… think… anybody is blaming the refs for that? That probably has a little more to do with one player coming up against last year’s Vezina trophy winner and one, well, not so much. Ov has nothing to prove… I think his trophy rack does that well (and don’t even mention Stanley Cup; that is a team trophy, not an individual accomplishment trophy).

  21. cspsrbums - May 12, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    You need to be honest with yourself. No penalties by the rangers. Not saying the caps was going to win with Pp they did play well tonight by to listen to you even thinking this game or series has been been called evenly is disturbing how someone can see a game so different then other because it is team. Just be honest and not bias

    • tfaltin - May 13, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      The puck didn’t go over the glass?

      • ithacamike - May 13, 2013 at 12:39 PM

        Huh? They ruled it (incorrectly) a deflection. You’re STILL talking about a call from 5 games ago…the Rangers had a nash near breakaway, then a pp, then another pp in OT and still lost.

        Callahan trifecta!

  22. 2jivecrew - May 12, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    And where in the world did you Caps fans get the idea that sports games are supposed to end up with an even number of penalties on both sides? That’s one of the dumbest things sports fans say. But carry on…….Caps fan’s whining is music to my ears. Your tears are delicious.

    • kitshky - May 13, 2013 at 5:27 PM

      I’d say the point here isn’t that there should be an even number of penalties … but that it’s pretty unlikely that an NHL team doesn’t commit one penalty worthy infraction in an entire game.

  23. cspsrbums - May 12, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    No one asked for to be equal amount but even calls yes If you call it one way you should call it the same way for both. You guys a ridiculous because caps fans find it disturbing. For some reason NHL network is talking about it and you responding to a blog.about it. Strange I don’t think so everyone is wondering why so different

  24. cosmo83 - May 12, 2013 at 9:49 PM

    Just call is fairly both ways. Caps took several tonight that were deserved, but many were not called the other way.look at the numbers and tell me it’s being called fairly both ways… #slewfoot=dirtyplay

  25. jaguar0413 - May 12, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    In the last three playoff series vs the Rangers (2011 Qtrs, 2012 Semis, and 2013 Qtrs), the Rangers have had 71 power play opportunities as compared to 50 for the Caps. That’s why you might be hearing some whining from Caps fans. One series is one thing, but 3 consecutive years of more calls for the Rangers is nothing other than referee bias. Caps have had 3 different head coaches and 3 different systems in those series, so you can’t blame it on the style of play.

  26. Stiller43 - May 12, 2013 at 9:56 PM


    You have that reversed. The isles had 3 PP’s to the pens 1.

    And it was 21 PP’s for the pens to 20 for the isles in the series.

  27. Stiller43 - May 12, 2013 at 10:00 PM


    That also includes the hideous missed call in the 2nd period when paul martin was making a rush, was in the corner and had his stick broken in half on a slash and then like 20 seconds later the pens got called for a wishy washy (at best) penalty…

  28. j0ey15 - May 12, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    This whining is incredible just please stop it

  29. 2jivecrew - May 12, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    And i’m sure the Caps didn’t get away with any infractions today huh? The funny thing about you and your team is that they are what their record says they are. Look at their points…’re barely above an 8 seed. But Captain Caveman manages to come out of his coma for a month or so to win the weakest division in the history of professional sports to get you to a 3 seed and you guys think you’re world beaters. The fact is, you over-rated your team. Your entire identity is tied up in one guy. Ovie scores a few goals in the reg season and you think it’s makes your team far better than it is. You’re going to game 7 against a team that finished with one single less point. Guess what……….they don’t award the Cup for style points (Ovie’s specialty). I’d have thought Caps fans would’ve learned that lesson by now.

    Like every single one of you have said in trying to make your asinine arguments for Ovie winning the Hart…..without him you’d be in the cellar. And now you’re surprised that you’re not running away with it without ovie getting more than a single goal in this series?!

    • discountdoublecheck - May 12, 2013 at 10:42 PM

      You’re really dumb. Like…REALLY dumb.

    • mikea04 - May 13, 2013 at 9:53 AM

      The only team that would have been seeded ahead of the Caps if seeding was done on straight points and not division winners was the Bruins. So the Caps would have been a 4 seed anyway.

  30. tomj4425 - May 12, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    Callahan should be suspended from Game 7 for that elbow on Hillen’s head.

  31. flyeredup - May 12, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    The Caps are dirty and Ovechkin loves the taste of Semin.

    • bccaps - May 13, 2013 at 3:40 PM

      2012 is calling. It wants its joke back.

  32. gettingpwned - May 12, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    i thought it was a bit odd the rangers had no calls against them this game. that slew foot could have been real nasty and is a dirty play in general.

    the pens got penalties calls against them because outside of a few players on their team, the rest are a bunch of skill-less goons. you should see the calls they DIDN’T get whistled for. crosby especially stopped getting calls after game 3.

    back to the caps/rangers… every time i looked up the caps were going to the box at MSG in all 3 games.

  33. sjsharks66 - May 12, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    Green cross checked someone in the face! Then they tripped him on his way to the bench and slyly high sticked him before he even got to the bench. Not to mention the hit on clowe. I think the officiating has been fair.

    • jaguar0413 - May 12, 2013 at 11:32 PM

      DId you think it was fair when the Caps got called for too many men in Game 3 while the Rangers had 8 guys out on the ice?

      • ithacamike - May 13, 2013 at 12:43 PM

        the Rags had TEN men on the ice on that play…counting Hank

        stating facts is whining though

  34. cspsrbums - May 12, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    Your obviously clueless

    • gettingpwned - May 13, 2013 at 12:32 AM


  35. cspsrbums - May 12, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    Suspend referee Marc Joanett

  36. ludacrish05 - May 12, 2013 at 11:34 PM

    @Jkay. Okay so the 5 penalties were “legit” as you said… What this article is about the non calls on the rangers. The refs are turning their heads and letting them okay during (Callahans hit on hillen)., it’s just some bs for us to go without a powerplay, least penalized team bc the refs are paid to ignore them and let them play dirty

    • verbalnyr21 - May 13, 2013 at 12:21 AM

      You are an idiot sir

  37. cspsrbums - May 13, 2013 at 1:03 AM

    He is only an idiot because your a ranger Fan, Refs being paid I don’t thinks so . Refs. Have issues with Washington Yes have all year Caps got a few double minors down the stretch for arguing calls.

  38. magicrat13 - May 13, 2013 at 6:59 AM

    look…were there some call that should have been made on the rangers?…yes

    but there also were some calls that should have been made on the capitals that were not…

    overall i think the series has been called fairly legit…again, the rangers are continually one of the least penalized teams in the league…that is a fact….and i think that style of play contributes to the “disproportionate” number of penalties…and the conspiracy theory?….give me a break…

    i understand rooting for your team and being upset when your team loses, but try to be honest with yourselves…both sides…

  39. rpiotr01 - May 13, 2013 at 7:32 AM

    I think they’ve let a lot of stuff go on both sides. I recall Hagelin getting tripped on a breakaway in game 5 – D-man dove for the puck and missed it but took out his legs. Could have been at least a trip, if not penalty shot. Same game they miss the Mike Green cross check but get the Boyle retaliation slash – tie game. Don’t use it as an excuse, there are 50 reasons why this is a tied series right now, I’d start by looking at number 8 and then look to number 30 on the other bench.

  40. jb8383 - May 13, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    I think some of the penalties are a little weak for the playoffs. It used to be that unless it was something completely obvious then it wouldn’t be called in the playoffs. If you look at the series overall, last night was the only night that was a clearly uneven in terms of power plays. You can’t tell me that the Rags didn’t commit 1 penalty the whole game.

    Game 1: Rangers 5 PP, Caps 6 PP
    Game 2: Rangers 5 PP, Caps 4 PP
    Game 3: Rangers 6 PP, Caps 3 PP
    Game 4: Rangers 4 PP, Caps 2 PP
    Game 5: Rangers 4 PP, Caps 2 PP
    Game 6: Rangers 5 PP, Caps 0.PP

    • jb8383 - May 13, 2013 at 11:01 AM

      i just realized that was already pointed out in the article..and i think my #s are a bit off actually.

    • ithacamike - May 13, 2013 at 12:46 PM

      Once the Caps got up 2-0, the Rags had 3 straight games with twice the PPs and then last night’s 5-0 clean sheet- that’s what I’d call clearly uneven.

      • jb8383 - May 13, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        good point. why do you think that is?

    • mikea04 - May 13, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      Interesting that the PP calls were even at the end of game 2, but with the Caps up 2-0, it then shifted to a 2/1 ratio in favor of the Rangers for the next 3 games, and then when we could have wrapped the series up yesterday it was a blatant 5/0 ratio in favor of the Rangers.Just an observation.

      • jb8383 - May 13, 2013 at 2:34 PM

        Did anyone hear Ron Dugay’s commentary yesterday. He said something during one of the intermissions, and I’m not giving a direct quote here but he said something to the effect that the Rangers need to keep hitting, and how he likes the hitting in this series and it’s good to keep hitting because you never know a player could get a minor injury from a hit and be out for a game or two. I was appalled that he said that, as if the rangers should try to just take out the caps players, but only for a game or two, so that makes it ok. I was shocked that there wasn’t more reaction to his statements.

  41. gamesevenstress - May 13, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    If people actually watched the game instead of looking at numbers they would see the type of penalties called were the blatant infractions. Refs ignored both teams for the trips, holds, slashes because its the playoffs. The caps were called for a delay of game and blatant retaliatory undisciplined actions away from the puck. Rangers were smart to stay disciplined. Don’t blame the refs for trying to keep the game somewhat reasonably controlled. The skirmish at the end would’ve happened in the 1st period if the crap away from the puck wasn’t called.

  42. capsrockva - May 13, 2013 at 1:03 PM


  43. cspsrbums - May 13, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    Gameseven what games have you been watching the officiating by one man Marc Joannete has been horrible he has done all the games in NY. Rangers discipline I don’t think so . Should last game been 5 pp each probably not but if you think the rangers at a complete game clean you are delusional.

    • gamesevenstress - May 13, 2013 at 3:29 PM

      Never claimed rangers didn’t commit penalties. Both teams got away with hooks, trips, slashes but the rangers didn’t commit the dumb away from the play penalties that the refs only seemed to be worried about.

  44. cspsrbums - May 13, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    If you finish a clean Check as Ovi did and Chimeria and you get a penalty,you know it effects them they tend not to hit as much because you don’t know what is going to be called. That’s one way the penalties effect the game get real NY.

  45. bccaps - May 13, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    You know, I don’t think I’ve seen a single posting anywhere from a Caps fan saying that they aren’t getting away with a few. Our whole point is the Caps didn’t get away with EVERYTHING. So either the NHL is really bad at subterfuge or Watson and Joanette are really, really, not competent to be NHL referees.

  46. 2jivecrew - May 13, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    Caps fans don’t think they’ve ever legitimately lost a hockey game in the playoffs. Every year when they get bounced out of the playoffs early it’s endless whining about the officials. Every year. So whine all you want about this Rangers series, but the fact is you people have been doing it every year regardless of the opponent. This is not something new.

    And I better not ever hear a Caps fan call Crosby (or any other player) a whiner after this. Caps fans have done more whining on this thread than Crosby has ever or will ever do in his entire career. Gotta love hypocrites.

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