Coming into last night’s action, referee Brad Meier had called the second-most penalty minutes in the NHL, averaging 13.7 PIM per game and 4.3 minor penalties per game. He took to the ice for Oilers/Blues, paired with fellow veteran Ian Walsh. Walsh called an average of 3.5 minor penalties per game, right around the league average.
Tonight, they both decided to cut back dramatically on their calls. Swallowing their whistles? They devoured them.
Oilers/Blues: Three Penalties
The two combined to call just three minor penalties in the game — all against the Edmonton Oilers. Two of the penalties were ‘automatic’ calls. Jeff Petry and Ryan Jones were both called for delay of game for clearing the puck over the glass.
That leaves just one player foul, a tripping call against Edmonton defenseman Nick Schultz.
Dallas Eakins "On a night like tonight they didn't commit one infraction?" The Blues didn't get called for one penalty vs. Edmonton.
— Gene Principe (@GenePrincipe) January 8, 2014
One penalty in sixty minutes of play? That’s pretty low. (Though, to be fair, O’Halloran and Dwyer officiated a penalty-free game between the Avs and Wild earlier this year.)
Lightning/Jets: Racking Up Minutes
The opposite scenario was playing out 800 miles to the east, where the Tampa Bay Lightning were visiting their former division rival Winnipeg Jets.
The referees for that game were Dave Lewis and Marc Joannette, who averaged 7.0 minor penalties per game combined. They broke the 10-minute mark just five minutes into the game. They were at a combined 16 minutes after the first period. When the dust settled, they’d handed out 66 minutes in penalties – a perfectly balanced 33 per side – in the game. The total included three fights, five roughing calls, two cross-checks, two slashes, and one boarding penalty.
It wasn’t the most minutes we’ve seen this season – that honor goes to the 164 minutes accumulated by the Flyers and Caps back on November 1st). It was the most penalty-filled game either of these officials have worked this year.
At least some of the Jets players enjoyed the chaos:
Seeing Byfuglien and Kane laughing in penalty box after taking bad penalties down a goal late is an example of why Jets are in .500 land.
— Mark Pukalo (@mpukalo) January 8, 2014