I'm not the kind of fan who is quick to blame the referees when my favorite team fails. As we've been wont to say more than once, we're not afraid to call a piece of shit a piece of shit. And the refereeing of Chris Lee was dung-tastic Wednesday night in Vancouver.
The Blues gave up the game-winning goal in the 3-2 defeat on a Vancouver power play with eight minutes, 20 seconds left in the third period. Paul Kariya was called for slashing one of the Sedins. I'm not sure which Sedin. But after Kariya's stick came up and tapped the Swede on the glove, the Sedin started shaking his glove like he broke a nail.
The referee who was in the zone in the corner with the play just a few feet from him didn't make a move to call the penalty. Chris Lee at the other end of the ice saw the shaking of the glove in "pain" and raised his arm to make the call. In all the Blues had two power plays -- both on delay of game calls of all things in the first eight minutes of the game and then none the rest of the match. Meanwhile Vancouver had one power play in the first period and three in the third.
I will admit, Kariya's stick did come up and he did swing it at the Sedin's hands. But it sure wasn't a two-handed chop. It wasn't an obvious call. But that penalty probably would have been called earlier in the game. But when Lee called it from outside the zone, how can he tell what happened? How does he know if Kariya's stick even hit glove?
With the paper we produce for every home game, Gallagher tracks referee calls for Blues games. Before the last home game, Saturday's contest agains Anaheim, Chris Lee had officiated four Blues games. Combine tonight's results and the Blues have gotten power plays 19 times and the other team has 25. In those five games I have results for, the Blues are 0-5-0. That sucks.
But Chris Lee's effect goes beyond that. Since 2007, also tracked in the paper and a good reason to subscribe (hint, hint), the Blues have played 15 games with Lee on the ice. Their record: 4-9-2 with 14 more power plays for the other team in 15 games. That's not daming evidence that Lee has it out for the Blues or something, but of all the referees in the NHL, he's one of two referees to officiate more than one game this season involving St. Louis and the Blues are winless in those games. Coincidence? You tell me.
Few random notes as usual:
- Good to see David Backes out on the ice fighting for loose pucks, playing in front of the net and making a nice play to get the puck to T.J. Oshie for the game-tying goal in the third as he was getting knocked down.
- Speaking of Oshie, I think he's liking the move to center, his natural position growing up and what he expected to play in the long run in St. Louis. Now, can he stay healthy the rest of the season? To me, that's about the only question mark for him and his progression.
- Ty Conklin had a solid game. The first Canucks goal was off a horrible giveaway at the St. Louis blue line that pretty much left him with his pants around his ankles in the crease as the play blew up in front of him. Mason Raymond was allowed to walk in and unleash a huge blast in the left slot. The game-winning goal just bounced the right way for Vancouver at the side of the net. It was the softest of the three, but not a horrible goal.Regardless, I would bet Chris Mason gets the start tonight in Edmonton.
- The Blues have to shake this one off quickly. The Oilers are a train wreck of a team right now but a team that will probably be looking for some revenge after allowing seven goals against St. Louis in December. Come back for the game day thread. I'm sure there will be all sorts of fine things to be said about NHL officials then.