Keep offside reviews out of hockey and keep catfish in Nashville: Game 1 Recap

Going into last night’s opening game of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Nashville Predators were 3-0 on the road in Game 1 in this year’s playoffs. They came out flying, out-shooting the Pittsburgh Penguins 26-12 which included a 9-0 shot chart in the second period.

Yes, you read that right. The Penguins had ZERO shots in the second. Nada. Zilch. A big old Goose Egg. In fact, the Penguins did not have a shot for 37 minutes. This is the first time a team did not have a shot on goal in a period in Stanley Cup Finals history.

The worst part: the Pittsburgh Penguins WON. How does a team with only 12 shots (fewest by winning team in any Finals game ever) pull out a win like that? Absolute robbery.

Don’t give the Penguins all the credit for that W. Like I said, before last night, the Preds were 3-0 on the road in game 1. Nashville comes out flying to start out a series, taking control right away. They did just that last night until the worst rule in sports history happened: the offside review.

Absolutely bogus. This is why people despise the NHL. The zone entry was so long after the actual goal. The offsides review is like the NFL taking back a touchdown because the receiver wasn’t on the line and, key phrase, THE REF MISSED IT!

I understand challenging if a puck is in the net or not. That’s an actual factor in the score of the game. But, this offsides review rule is just so ludicrous I can’t even take it. Not only that, this play was so inconclusive. The skate blade is so tiny, there is no way to tell if his skate was up. But typical NHL, a terrible rule and a bad call going in Pittsburgh’s favor.

If that’s worthy of a review, then why isn’t Sidney Crosby’s blatant penalty leading to Malkin’s goal worthy of review?

It’s the same exact deal. The only difference is Crosby’s elbow/interference led directly to an assist, unlike the boatloads of time between Filip Forsberg’s zone entry and P.K. Subban’s goal. On top of that, this goal happened on a 5-on-3 Penguins powerplay which never should have been a 5-on-3. But, it was, thanks to yet ANOTHER bad call going in Pittsburgh’s favor. I almost turned the game off after this one happened.

So, a 1-0 Nashville lead turned into a 1-0 Pittsburgh lead. That 1-0 lead turned into a 3-0 lead before the end of the first period, thanks to a beauty of a no-look pass by Chris Kunitz and a painful bounce off Mattias Ekholm. Totally different game.

The Preds bounced back, tying the game 3-3 without allowing a single shot against. Absolute dominance after the end of the first period, but the Penguins got lucky just one more time.

Pittsburgh’s first shot in 37 minutes ended up being a short-side snipe show from Jake Guentzel, giving the Penguins their fourth goal on nine shots. Easy to say that this was not Pekka Rinne’s night. An empty netter sealed the deal, and the Pittsburgh Penguins went home with an unearned 5-3 win.

The Penguins pulled one out of their ass here, and they better be ready for a hungry Predators team. Nashville has faced adversity throughout the entire season, and this is just another bump in the road for them.

Now, let’s talk about an interesting moment in the second period, when a catfish was thrown on the ice. This would be common in Nashville since it is a playoff ritual to throw a catfish on the ice during a stoppage in play, but this game was in Pittsburgh.

It turns out that Preds fan Jacob Waddell smuggled a catfish, which he held in a vacuum seal in his compression shorts, from Tennessee and brought it into PPG Paints Arena last night. He threw the catfish on the ice early in the second period.

Normally, I would have no problem with this. Being a huge Philadelphia Phillies fan, I was proud to call Nationals Park in DC “Citizens Bank Park South” back when the Phillies were a great team to watch. However, this guy stepped over the line a little bit.

First of all, Jake, you threw the catfish when your team was down 3-0. That’s a joke; your team is out here getting embarrassed and you decide to disrespect someone else’s barn like that. If the Predators finished off the comeback, sure, it would have been cool. But, they didn’t, and now you just look like a big idiot.

Also, you went through all that trouble of buying an overpriced ticket, driving over 500 miles with a catfish in your compression shorts, just to get thrown out of the game early in the second period. A big waste of money. Now, you’re facing charges. Idiotic charges, but charges, nonetheless. Good work, big man.

Team traditions should remain in your own arena. I would’ve loved to see Lauren Hart crash the United Center back in 2010 and belt out “God Bless America” instead of the traditional National Anthem. But, some things are best when you’re in your own barn and when the series is on the line, not in game one of a seven-game series.

So, Nashville fans, keep your catfish in Bridgestone Arena.

That’s enough to get my anger out. Game 2 is back in Pittsburgh again tonight. Let’s hope the offsides reviews stay out of the decision this time.

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