Whistle-happy refs for Game 3 not good for B's

Whistle-happy refs for Game 3 not good for B's
May 6, 2014, 11:45 am
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(USA Today Sports)

MONTREAL – If you’re looking for a window into what Tuesday night’s Game 3 at the Bell Centre will look like, one needs to look no further than the referees chosen for the pivotal Game 3 in the best-of-seven series between the Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens. Tim Peel and South Boston native Chris Rooney were named the referees for Game 3 with the Bruins sporting a 14-1 record in Game 3’s since Claude Julien took the reins behind the Boston bench in 2007-08.

Rooney was probably a Boston Bruins fan growing up, but now the NHL referee is a fan of calling penalties at a greater rate than any other official in the league. He also calls 14 percent more penalties on the road team than the home team, according to the web site scoutingtherefs.com.

Rooney led the NHL with 303 penalties called during the 2013-14 season, and also set the standard for the league with 948 penalty minutes doled out in the 73 NHL games he worked this season. Likewise Tim Peel was in the top 10 with 248 minor penalties and 824 penalty minutes called in the 73 games, and whistled a whopping 20 percent more penalties on the road team than the home team, according to the site.

The reputation for Peel has been well-documented among bloggers while there’s a feeling in Boston among Bruins fans that Rooney goes out of his way to call penalties on the Black and Gold to prove his objectivity despite being an Irish son of Southie. The Canadiens already have the advantage in power plays awarded in the series with a nearly 2-to-1 ratio over Boston with nine power plays for the Habs, and just five power plays awarded to the Black and Gold thus far.

Some of that conjecture is clearly conspiracy theory stuff up there with the magic bullet theory and Area 51, and the Bruins are focused on simply doing their jobs.

“It’s a tough place to play, but they’ve won there a couple of times in the playoffs. We know what to expect,” said David Krejci. “We have a couple of new guys, but we’ll let them know what they’re getting themselves into so we’ll be ready to go.”

Hockey is hockey no matter where you play, of course, but a pair of whistle-happy referees certainly doesn’t bode well for the Bruins in their first game of this playoff series set at the loud, influential Bell Centre.