Archived Story

Missed calls magnified after Wild/Avs game 5

Published 10:27am Monday, April 28, 2014

Ryan Suter said it best: “It’s a damn shame.”

That was his post-game comment when the media asked him about the tying goal (on a play that looked to be offside) Colorado scored with 1:14 left in regulation. The Avalanche went on to win game five 4-3 in their building to take a 3-2 series lead over the Minnesota Wild.

The Wild need to win game six in St. Paul and then game seven back in Colorado in order to move on to the next round of the NHL playoffs.

The result of Saturday’s game five had a similar feel as game one. Maybe a bitter taste of frustration, anyone? The Wild saw a late lead slip away, have to regroup for overtime and then see the Avs celebrate a game-winning goal on their home ice.

Alright, so far I’ve avoided what’s had many people on social media feeds in an uproar: Officiating.

Take a look at replays and photos of the tying goal, and it’s pretty obvious that the play was offside. The whistle should have been blown, stopping the play, and it’s possible the Wild would have held on for the win.

Suter didn’t hold back in his comments after the game, saying the officials missed the call. Also, I liked the vibe from Suter following the last couple games. He seemed happy with the strong play of his team, but disappointed with the results of games one and five, and hungry for another win.

Anyway, I’m not going to sit here and write that the Wild are facing elimination solely because the refs didn’t make an offside call. Or that they didn’t call Colorado for what looked like textbook holding on Charlie Coyle as he tried to skate into the zone for an empty-net goal. Or that Mikko Koivu had his stick held and was punched in the back of the head, which resulted in a four-on-four situation instead of a Wild power play.

I learned awhile ago that as a sports fan it’s really not best to say my hometown team lost a game because of the officiating. There are too many other variables. You can play the coulda-shoulda-woulda game and analyze this play or that play to determine how the outcome might be different.

If the Wild could have scored an insurance goal near the end, or if Darcy Kuemper could have made just one more save, things would be different. You could go on all day.

But games like Saturday’s make this mindset difficult for a fan. It’s hard not to pin the loss on the refs, because it’s such an easy thing to do. The stakes are so high in the postseason, too, so everything is magnified.

To be honest, I haven’t really been pleased with the officiating in the entire series. It hasn’t been the most physical matchup, but in a few instances after skirmishes it looked like the Wild should be getting the man advantage. Instead, it’s an even call.

Obviously, I know that referees are human, their calls can be subjective at times and sometimes they will make (or not make) calls that we as fans don’t understand.

Frustrating as it might be, the results are the reality, no matter how you think it should have finished. It’s time to move on to game six.

The Wild have to focus on what has made them successful so far in this series.

Though game five wasn’t as dominating, they still played well. Kuemper, who I need to remind myself is still a youngster, had some strong saves in goal once again, Zach Parise finally tallied a goal and Matt Moulson breathed a sigh of relief as he scored a goal after some bad luck with the goal post in this series.

I like what I’ve seen from the Wild, although it’d be great if the key goal scorers like Koivu, Jason Pominville and Parise could pump in a few more goals. I hope, as the Wild players keep saying, they just stick to their game and then good things will come. Head Coach Mike Yeo (who was very diplomatic in his news conference Saturday) didn’t say his team is due for luck, but rather “some stuff here to go our way a little bit.”

Despite some of the tough-to-take results and nitpicking, it really has been an entertaining series so far. Let’s hope we get to see two more games between these two clubs, not just one.


Heather Rule is the Fergus Falls Daily Journal City Reporter and resident hockey enthusiast. Rule is a sports blogger with interests in hockey and F1 racing.

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