Saturday, May 23, 2009

Kerrzy's Notebook: Playoff recap, Day 35

The Chicago Blackhawks had to be 'Sharp' in game three of the NHL's Western Conference final with the Detroit Red Wings looking to go up three games to none, and it came down to another overtime session.

Here's the recap:

(Blackhawks 4, Red Wings 3 - 1OT)

Before you could spell "Nikolai Khabibulin," overtime was over and the Chicago Blackhawks had pulled out the 4-3 win, which takes the focus off of the fact that they blew a 3-0 lead in the second period.

The main talking point of this game comes down to the guys wearing the stripy shirts, though. Thirteen minutes into the first period Niklas Kronwall absolutely levelled Chicago's Marty Havlat along the boards as the Blackhawks were breaking out of their zone, knocking him out cold.

The puck was in Havlat's skates, Kronwall led with his shoulder and didn't leave his feet, and - most importantly - neither of the two referees raised their arms to signal an upcoming penalty.

When Havlat stayed down, all of a sudden there was a five minute major and a game misconduct for "interference" on the board and Kronwall was headed to the dressing room. WHAT?!

You never want to see a guy get hurt, especially a beauty like Havlat, but there was nothing wrong with that hit. Some will say that he didn't have control of the puck, therefore it's interference...okay, so give him a two minute minor.

The thing is, neither of the officials called a minor penalty when it happened, so they obviously didn't see it that way. You be the judge:

If Kronwall on Havlat is interference, shouldn't Dustin Byfuglien get an interference penalty too? The puck wasn't there was he retaliated by throwing a hit of his own.

Either way, here's what Red Wings coach Mike Babcock had to say:

"(Kronwall) didn't leave his feet, he did it on the follow through, he just finished the check. He hit (Havlat) fair and square.

There was a play in the game where the puck rims around the wall, our D doesn't tough it at all, (Ben) Eager runs him, totally. No penalty whatsoever.

It's a reaction to what happened, it takes one of your good players out of the game right off the hop. In my opinion it was absolutely the wrong call."

It's true - that type of play happens all the time. What are you supposed to do? The puck is right there and it's a contact sport.

If Kronwall came out of nowhere and blind-sided Havlat, it would be different, but replays showed him looking up twice in the seconds before the hit.

Here are the positives that both teams can take from Friday night's game:

-For Chicago, they were able to win despite blowing a three-goal lead and back-up goalie Cristobal Huet looked pretty sharp in his first period of work in these playoffs.

-For the Wings, they were strong on the penalty kill, holding the Blackhawks to one power-play goal in four opportunities...which included an unsuccessful five-minute man advantage.

Game four goes Sunday afternoon from Chicago.

*Pittsburgh @ Carolina - 5:30pm (Series: 2-0 PIT)

Let Kerrzy read it to you here:

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