The St. Louis Blues lost on the road at Detroit Friday, a building that has haunted them for several years.
The Blues have now dropped four straight and seven of their last eight meetings at Joe Louis Arena.
That being said, it’s hard to win inside any building when the home team benefits from the type of officiating we saw last night, and for that matter the last three decades at the “Joe”. Referee Ian Walsh gave captain David Backes a 5-minute major for an “illegal hit to the head”, and a game misconduct. Today, the NHL rescinded that penalty — essentially acknowledging Walsh blew the call.
Here’s a video of Backes’ penalty last night, and below, a video of Rafi Torres’ knock out hit on Marian Hossa in last years playoffs (which Walsh officiated as well). Torres’ hit was NOT a penalty.
Where is Gary Bettman? How come we never hear from this schmuck unless the league is locked out? Why can’t he fix the pathetic officiating this league is constantly ridiculed with? Where is instant replay? Why can’t the referees conjure to make the right call?
All these questions refer to where the NHL sits in terms of other professional leagues…behind.
There’s no doubt the NHL lockout had the most negative impact on goaltenders. Without singling out Jaroslav Halak or Brian Elliott, goals-against-averages are up across the league. However, Halak and Elliott are playing no-where near the level that won them the William M. Jennings Trophy last season.
I’m beginning to wonder if the condensed schedule is even beneficial for a two-goalie system — at least early on. Goalies need game action to get in rhythm, and considering the Blues lead the league with just 21 shots allowed per game, neither goalie is getting the necessary action.
The Blues open a four-game home stand on Tuesday against Nashville, before welcoming Detroit, Anaheim, and the reigning Champion LA Kings to the Scottrade Center.
Winning at home becomes essential when you can’t win on the road in key venues like Joe Louis or the United Center, where they haven’t beaten the Chicago Blackhawks since February 3rd, 2010. They’re frustrating losses, especially when a zebra has the most influence.