The 2015 NHL Winter Classic wrapped up with a storybook ending, with the home team scoring a late power play goal for a last-minute victory.
It wasn’t quite a storybook ending for the man in the box at the time of the goal, especially since he felt he’d been wrongly convicted. Toews went off for hooking Caps’ defenseman Karl Alzner with 1:13 to play in the third period of a 2-2 game:
“I don’t know how much that play deserved a call there [or] how much it had to do with maybe us getting a few more opportunities on the power play previously in the game. It is what it is,” said Toews.
At the time of the call, the Capitals had taken seven penalties compared to the Blackhawks’ three.
“I don’t really think at any point in the game the refs are looking to give an easy one to a team,” said Washington defenseman Karl Alzner, who drew the Toews penalty. “A stick on the hands is a stick on the hands. Sometimes they get it, sometimes they don’t.”
“I don’t think that given the circumstances that that situation should have been called, but that’s just my opinion and it’s the way it goes, I guess,” said Toews. “You don’t agree with everything that happens out there.”
Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz was in the officials’ ears most of the night. He might have felt his team was being unfairly punished, as the Hawks were given five power plays versus one for the Caps over the first two periods. That’s typical for the normally-disciplined Blackhawks, who earn a league-high 3.8 power plays per game, while only putting themselves shorthanded 2.8 times per game – fifth-lowest in the NHL.
One of those ‘previous penalties’ that Toews mentioned was a boarding call by Matt Niskanen two minutes prior that gave Chicago a man advantage.
Niskanen admitted he was basically holding his breath in the penalty box, according to NHL.com’s Dan Rosen, because he hated the call on him late in the third. His club bailed him out by killing of the minor. They found themselves getting a power play of their own shortly thereafter.
“They kind of evened it up there with the Toews penalty,” said Niskanen. “Sure enough, we get the winner.”
Jonathan Toews still wants referee Francois St. Laurent to check the ref-cam replay…