By Joe Haggerty
BEDFORD There has been plenty of yammering over the last 48 hours about lopsided referees, biases against certain teams, makeup calls and the normal subterfuge that can go down in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Referee Eric Furlatt was the center of attention after Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher singled him out as the reason more than 20 penalties had been called against the Lightning in Bruins games officiated by that referee. The Lightning had received half as many power plays.
I was asked, and people put numbers in front of me," Boucher said. "Those were the facts and the numbers.
"If youre asking me, said Boucher as he whipped out a box score following Wednesdays Game 6 win and began ticking off the penalty calls, "the power plays are 5-4 for them today, and they were 3-0 for them to start the game in the first period. It was 4-1 for them before we got our other power play, so I dont know who had the advantage today? We had less power plays than them.
Its true that the Lightning had only four power plays to Bostons five power play chances in Game 6, but they obviously scored three power play goals and are actively hoping to participate in playoff games against the Bruins that tilt toward more special teams play.
Bruins forward Gregory Campbell is in a pretty unique position with a father thats in charge of NHL Hockey Operations, and a long history watching hockey when coaches began their histrionics about the referees.
Campbell thought it was a ploy on one level, but also felt like it was a faade to take some of the pressure away from many Lightning players going through a deep playoff run for the first time.
Obviously its a tactic used by many players, coaches and GMs," Campbell said. "Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesnt. Thats not our job to worry about it as players. Were just going out there and playing. There are things that go on inside the game all the time.
Sometimes it could work . . . I dont know. Im not a referee and Im not the guy thats in charge of the referees. I think theyre professional enough to call the game as it is to be honest with you. Sometimes its done for other reasons. To take the pressure off the Lighting when theyre down 3-2 and present something. Coaches in the playoffs tend to know what theyre doing, and its our job as players to go out and ignore that stuff.