There are good penalties and bad penalties. There are also terrible penalties. In the second period of Thursday night’s game, Canucks captain Henrik Sedin took a terrible one – one he never expected to be called.
With the Canucks shorthanded and trailing by two late in the second, defenseman Dan Hamhuis was sent off by referee Ian Walsh for tripping San Jose’s Melker Karlsson.
As Hamhuis headed to the box, Canucks captain Henrik Sedin expressed his displeasure with the call.
“The Canucks have had a lot of chatter to the officials in this game,” the Canucks’ broadcast crew said. “Henrik’s been outspoken a couple of times today.” Apparently this was one time too many.
Referee Chris Rooney didn’t like what heard. He sent Sedin to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving the Sharks a two-minute two-man advantage.
So what did Sedin say? “Not much,” Henrik said after the game. “I was a little surprised [by the penalty]. Tough call. It’s a 5-on-3 with a few minutes left. I’ve said a lot worse to referees before.”
Under NHL rulebook section 39.2, Abuse of Officials, a minor penalty shall be issued to any player who challenges or disputes the ruling of an official or who uses obscene, profane or abusive language or gestures directed at an on-ice official.
Normally, officials offer quite a bit of latitude in on-ice comments. Whatever was said – whether it was particularly harsh or just the straw that broke the camel’s back on a night full of referee-directed barbs – Rooney determined it was enough to justify sending Sedin to the box.
“Thats a weird call to put a team on a 5-on-3 like that,” added defenseman Luca Sbisa.
Vancouver head coach Willie Desjardins spoke about the officiating after the game:
“I didn’t hear what [Sedin] said [on the unsportsmanlike penalty]. It happened on the ice. It’s tough. The refs, they call their game. That’s a lesson we’ve got to learn and we can’t do it.
We’d been on [the officials] all night. Maybe [Rooney] had enough. Maybe he had ten guys on him and that’s the one that finally did him in. I don’t know what was going [the referee’s] way.
We had a couple of tough plays. On the first goal, Danny [Sedin] couldn’t get to the puck so he was upset with the ref. I’m not blaming the ref. That happens. But as a player, you’re frustrated with that.
They get a call on a stick that’s right there and then we get one called back. There were good calls. I have no problems with any of them, but as a player it builds up. You get frustrated.
We can’t let that happen. But it happened.”
The Sharks scored on the ensuing power play to take a commanding 3-0 lead. They went on to win the game 5-1.