Pittsburgh Penguins forward Maxim Lapierre realized the importance of a power play.
According to war-on-ice.ca, he’s drawn four penalties this season – three in the regular season and one in the playoffs. So far in their first round match up, the Penguins have taken 40 minutes of penalties compared to the Rangers’ 24. Pittsburgh has seen 10 power plays, while the New York has had 17. The Pens made the most of those chances in Game 2, going 2-4 on the power play in their lone win of the series. With that kind of impact, you can’t fault the guy for trying to give his team another man advantage.
This call came late in the first period during an encounter with New York Rangers forward Dominic Moore as the two headed to their respective benches for line changes. Moore gave Lapierre a shove up high. The Pens winger turned quickly and went immediately to the medical trainer. Moore went to the penalty box for roughing.
Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault was incensed, screaming at the referees from the bench. He wasn’t, though, disputing the penalty call. He was arguing about his players on the ice. Linesman Shane Heyer refused to allow the Rangers to make a line change. At the time, they had three wingers on the ice. Vigneault wanted a center out there to take the draw.
Once the puck dropped, Lapierre resumed his normal position on the bench. Though he didn’t see any power play time to finish the period, he was back on the ice killing penalties in the second period.
The Vancouver Sun’s Cam Cole reported the thoughts of New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault on Lapierre’s actions. “In [Wednesday’s] game,” said Vigneault, “where [Lapierre] sort of embarrassed the officials on that play? I think the league is trying to set a standard on that, and they’ve taken notice of that.”
“The way referees are judged now, they’re going to look at that tape and see [Lapierre] acting like that and, next time, when you do hook him, he’s not getting that call. You embarrass the referees, they don’t like it. They have a tough job. It’s hard enough without us throwing our heads and this and that. If you respect [the officials], they respect you back.” – Rangers winger Tanner Glass
This isn’t the first time Lapierre has exaggerated a play to draw a penalty.
Back in 2011, when Lapierre played for Vigneault in Vancouver, he embellished a jab from Boston’s Zdeno Chara to try to give his team an advantage. Though linesman Pierre Racicot escorted the presumably-injured Lapierre to the bench, neither referee – Stephen Walkom or Dan O’Rourke – bit on the penalty call.
Lapierre wasn’t so lucky in 2010, when he was caught by referees Tim Peel and Dan O’Rourke for throwing himself into the glass to try to get a boarding call. Lapierre was called twice for diving in the game.
After Wednesday’s penalty – and certainly subsequent viewing by the league’s officials and Hockey Operations department – you can be certain they’ll be watching Lapierre carefully for the rest of the series.