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Colaiacovo ‘surprised’ referees called penalty shot for Frolik

May 28, 2013, 9:01 AM EDT

DETROIT, MI - MAY 27: Michael Frolik #67 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates in for a penalty shot attempt on Jimmy Howard #35 of the Detroit Red Wings during Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Joe Louis Arena on May 27, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Chicago won 4-2 (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

Blackhawks forward Michael Frolik charged towards the Red Wings’ net on a third-period breakaway when Detroit defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo appeared to swipe at or near Frolik’s hands with his stick. Around the same time, Frolik lost control of the puck and he was awarded with a penalty shot.

Frolik took advantage of the opportunity by scoring the game-winning goal in Chicago’s 4-3 victory. The teams will consequently play in a Game 7 on Wednesday.

After the contest, Colaiacovo offered up his defense.

“I just tried to make a play to the with a shot and it hit him in the hand,” Colaiacovo told the Detroit Free Press. “I was just trying to get it down to the net and it was a fluke bounce.

“There was not much I could really do — I’m just trying to make a play. It’s unfortunate the way it ended. I thought I did a good job recovering. I haven’t seen the play. I didn’t think I hit him in the hand. I thought I hit him in his pants. It’s an unfortunate call.

“I was surprised they called a penalty shot.”

Other Red Wings players were less vocal. Goaltender Jimmy Howard refused to talk about it. Meanwhile, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock and defenseman Niklas Kronwall both separately dodged the question by arguing that it doesn’t matter what they think.

If you’d like to see what happened for yourself and make your own determination, the footage is available below:

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  1. comeonnowguys - May 28, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    Now who’s complaining about the refs? /troll

    Actually, just as in the case of Chicago earlier in the series, this will likely be blown out of proportion, too.

    • 619nick - May 28, 2013 at 4:40 PM

      I just want to see the refs call a consistent game. In game 4 toews was getting slashed, cross checked, held, etc. And no calls until he retaliated. I am tired of the compensation calls too. Like when the red wing player went down and kane was able to score. Since they didn’t blow the whistle stopping the play before he scored they then called interference on the next goal when clearly it was not….

  2. polegojim - May 28, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    Forget it… this one wouldn’t have mattered if the D had helped any of the first 3 to NOT happen.

    The Wings were too soft for the second game in a row, and Chicago took it to them in the third…again… which has been an all too familiar theme.

    Gotta play three full periods boys… 3… count-em.

    Good news is Detroit’s not afraid of playing in Chicago.

    Let’s Go RED WINGS!

  3. hockeywithdrawal - May 28, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    Eh…not sure what the ref was supposed to do with that one. He was right there skating in perfect position with the players watching for the slightest infraction…and that’s what he saw, the slightest infraction. Awesome penalty shot though. Good that the call didn’t decide the series.

  4. pastabelly - May 28, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    Judgment call which could be argued either way. Nobody should dispute that and it didn’t “give” the game to Chicago. In terms of many controversial calls we have seen in the Playoffs this year, this one is very low that controversial meter. Also, give Frolick credit. That was a classic penalty shot move and shot and great for the game. As a Bruins fan, I have no dog in the fight and love this series. It’s up there with Boston-Toronto as top series of the playoffs so far. I hope that the winner goes on to the Finals as the two west coast teams are pretty boring.

  5. esracerx46 - May 28, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    Was it breakaway? Yes. Was it a penalty? Yes, pretty clear Frolik took a stick to the hands. Penalty shot? Ehh, this wasnt as clean of a breakaway as most penalty shots are. Seen this very play happen twice this series, where its kind of a breakaway where Detroit takes a penalty but no penalty shot. I think on this one Frolik was a little more clear of Colaiacovo. Was pleasantly surprised it was a penalty shot

  6. detroitcityy - May 28, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    This was a bad call detroits first penalty not he interference was a bad call Chicago’s one call they were offside. I’m not complaining just my opinion but I guess the refs can’t get them all right

    • buckeye044 - May 28, 2013 at 12:38 PM

      looks like you are complaining to me.

  7. joestemme - May 28, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    Not a fan of (or against) either team.
    But, damn, if THAT is a penalty shot, you could easily argue that there should be one called in just about every game played in the NHL………..

  8. c9castine - May 28, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    im sorry i dont see much of a penalty here. there is absolutely no hindrance whatsoever on his path to the net. he wasn’t hooked up, he wasn’t even slashed. if you wanted to call a slash there you would have to call 50 a game. if a 2 minute would have been called i would have brushed it off put to call a penalty shot on a play where his path is not disturbed whatsoever, if just ridiculous. the refreeing in the NHL has become so arbitrary and random. you can’t say im complaining either because im just a spectator from Pittsburgh, i could care less who we play in the Finals….

  9. nyrnashty - May 28, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    That was a terrible call he tapped him. You used to have to damn near tackle a guy to get the call. It’s would’ve been different if he dove and clipped his legs instead of getting puck first. He tapped him where are we going with these NBA style calls that have plagued every series of these playoffs? Girls will be playing in the NHL in 5 years from now haha! The automatic delay of game for accidentally flipping a puck into the crowd is garbage as well. Everyone who has played knows when a player does it on purpose or not. Let it be refs discretion, or just eliminate that dumb rule.

    • joestemme - May 28, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      TOTALLY agree on the “automatic” puck in the seats penalty. You’ll see games where guys are hacking, slashing & cross-checking in the back with no penalties called for 10, 15 minutes.

      All of a sudden a guy is trying to move the puck out of the zone and it bounces off the boards and goes into the seats and – BAM! – instant penalty! Absurd. I remember back in the day when players (and even goalies) would routinely just toss the pucks in the stands to relieve pressure or just get a line change. I get that it’s why the rule was instituted. Those should be penalties.

      But, it’s ridiculous that it has been totally automatic now with no judgement whatsoever.

      • ryanprzy - May 28, 2013 at 5:23 PM

        You know how you fix that? Make it the same as icing. No penalty, but the team that does it gets a faceoff in their zone without a line change. Problem solved.

      • joestemme - May 28, 2013 at 8:27 PM

        Problem with just calling it icing is that it would be abused – particularly in a short-handed situation.
        Like I said, I’m old enough to remember why the rule was put in place. It got so bad that defensemen & goalies would just flip the puck in the seats whenever his team was outnumbered in the zone.
        It should be a judgement call. 99% of the time it isn’t difficult to tell if someone is just stalling for time.
        One compromise would be that the player handling the puck would at least have to clear his end of the rink with the shot for it NOT to be called a penalty (icing instead as in your suggestion). Otherwise, you’ll have the defensive team just flip the puck over the boards within their own blue line with impunity.

  10. nyrnashty - May 28, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Maybe the D should just stop chasing the player and just go to the bench to get a drink of water :)!

  11. ryanrotman - May 28, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    I will preface this comment by saying that I am a Red Wings fan and an official with USA Hockey. As this play developed and when the ref signaled he had a penalty I knew he was going to give a penalty shot. It was the right call to make. As an official there are four criteria to look at when determining whether or not to give a penalty shot:

    1) The infraction must have taken place in the neutral zone or attacking
    zone. – Check.
    2) The infraction must have been committed from behind. – Check.
    3) The player in possession and control must have been denied a reasonable chance to score. – Check. The slash to the hands is a penalty and it was the action of the slash that caused him to lose control and not a get a shot off.
    4) The player in possession and control must have had no opposing player between himself and the goalkeeper. – Check.

    The official made the right call and it’s one that I would have made as well.

    • kitshky - May 28, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      It absolutely was the right call, I think where the question marks start to come in is when officials continually bend and flex the interpretation of the rules to fit certain moments in the game …. and the suddenly stop and call an infraction by the letter of the law.

      All anyone is looking for from the officials is some consistency. Having said that, I don’t see how you *don’t* make that call.

      Gad knows I have no love for Chicago, but those who claim calls like this affect the outcome of the game can’t have it both ways …not calling a penalty on an infraction can have as much affect on the game as making the call can. If you don’t want the officials determining outcomes of games then an official should never allow a Defenceman to get away with impeding such a clear scoring opportunity.

    • 619nick - May 28, 2013 at 4:53 PM

      I agree totally. The issue I have that the calls are just not consistent. Same play a couple game earlier, no penalty shot. I am a hawks fan and I hated the way the wings were allowed to beat up toews hold his stick right in front of the ref and no call, but when he retaliated then he was the one in the box. Same thing with allowing Detroit to set picks (basketball term) for interfernce in game 5 no calls. I think there should also be a leve of judgement for incidental contact such as going for the puck and hitting the players skates (Hossa). That being said there were a lot of “no calls” that went the hawks way in game one. I just want to see a fair game called with no compensatory calls. Game 3 is case in point. Kane scored when the play should have been whistled dead with a player down at the other end of the ice. Penalty for boarding. Then to compensate a goal was disallowed due to goalie interference when the overhead camera shows clearly that the hawk player was not even close to interfering. THAT was a game changer.

    • joestemme - May 28, 2013 at 6:20 PM

      I will accept that your credentials are true. I will accept that the four criteria are as stated. The problem is that you see those same four criteria game in and game out, and a Penalty Shot is not called in the vast vast vast majority of cases where those same criteria are met.
      Let alone in a Playoff game (not to mention, a potential Elimination game in the playoffs)…….

  12. gatorjr - May 28, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Another case of the referee determining the outcome of the game. I don’t care what anybody says.

  13. frankiesweep - May 28, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    I have no dog in this fight, but that was the weakest penalty shot call I’ve ever seen….

    Hawks fans have forever lost the right to complain about a call.

  14. blackhawkslove - May 28, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    Red Wings fan will complain till the end and that is fine. He had the breakaway, a slash was committed therefore its a penalty shot. Don’t like the call? Play better. The Redwings got out worked and paid the price for it. Everyone gets bad calls but this one was fair.

    • dtownbeatdown - May 28, 2013 at 6:40 PM

      I absolutely agree, I do think the officiating has been probably the worst I’ve seen in years though. No consistency, I seem at least 3 hawks players get high sticked and no call, I seen Zetterberg get dumped twice and no call. But if you notice when they do call a penalty on either side, that is a questionable call the refs will call a chincey penalty on the other team less then a minute later to make up for it. I wish they would just let them play and be more consistent with their calls. As for the penalty shot, regardless if it was of merit, we were out of position, if Col wasn’t out if position there wouldn’t even have to worry about this penalty shot or discussing it on a sports blog, what’s done is done. As a wings fan not going to lie I’m worried about game 7. I also am worried that I will have to become a hawks fan for the remainder of the season if we lose… I definitely don’t want to see Pittsburgh hoisting the cup. The game should for sure be exciting though.

      • blackhawkslove - May 28, 2013 at 7:24 PM

        I can’t wait for game seven. This has been a fantastic series and I could not have asked for a better one (other than a four game sweep but thats personal bias). There have been a lot of non-calls like Z getting crushed in game 3. Although despite a lot of the chippyness, this penalty shot was a for sure good one. All I know is the west will win, look how easily the two east teams cruised through their semis.

      • basedrum777 - May 29, 2013 at 9:58 AM

        If you think the East playoff results has anything to do with who’s going to win the SC I have some land to sell you in the Meadowlands. The East is playing with a skill that can’t be matched in the West. If they allow clutching and grabbing then yeah the West will win. Otherwise….

  15. 619nick - May 28, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    Is it just me or does it seem like the home team gets the calls this season? Just kidding last night the hawks brought the refs from Chicago. They got tired of the detroit refs not calling anything against the wings and helping them stay in the game. Just a conspiracy thing no real proof

  16. junterberger22 - May 28, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    Not a fan of either team but man did Chicago get a break. Definitely not a penalty where a shot should have been awarded

  17. basedrum777 - May 29, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    I have no interest in who wins this series but that was the weakest penalty shot infraction I have EVER seen. He slashed him in the hands yes but he wasn’t behind him, didn’t drag him down, didn’t trip him on an uncontested breakaway. VERY very weak. I think the refs were looking for some reason to call one at some point.

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