No need to go the quick-take / plus-minus recap route. Want to know how the Panthers did on Tuesday? We'll set the stage: a game tied at 1-1 behind goals from Tyler Bozak and Dennis Wideman led to a back-and-forth grudge match resulting in the following play to ultimately end the game, scoring-wise:
Watch it again, and keep your eyes on Florida goaltender Scott Clemmensen - in his first start of the year - as Leafs forward Colton Orr goes all Bobby Orr on the Panthers backup, only difference this time around being the body in flight lands squarely on the netminder. A wrister from Tim Brent to the front of the crease allowed a salt-in-the-wound deflection by Orr into the now-yawning goalmouth.
Because, of course, Clemmer was pinned to the ice. All of which is perfectly legal. In Toronto.
The referee - twelve feet from the action, with eyeballs locked on the play - immediately signaled a goal, as Florida's Clemmensen, sensing the futility in any form of protest given the official's immediacy in calling the goal legitimate, waved his arms loosely but quickly demured. At ice level, there evidently wasn't much debate about whether the play was clean or not: move along, and let's get this over with.
The Leafs got an impressive insurance marker from Phil Kessel at 17:36, but c'mon...
Now, see it a third time, and we challenge you to locate anything legal about Orr's actions. Check out the 12-second mark of the video...Clemmer's head and stick are pointing to the front of the crease while Orr - on the deep blindside - leaves his feet to initiate the bulldozer move. Any question the goaltender was jumped?
Presumably, if an injury had been sustained, no penalty would have been called since the goal was clean, yes...?
We'll predictably be deemed whiners and worse - the Cats didn't exactly ooze superiority in the first two frames - though how can a play of this sort stand? It will, and no amount of fire from Sunrise will change the outcome.
Still, no matter how it's spun, this is a travesty of officiating which should prompt attention from around the league. Absolute embarrassment to what the NHL is reportedly attempting to promote. Brings to light the unending naysayers constantly bashing southern clubs for not attracting a larger crowd; with a destiny such as that which played out tonight, can locals be blamed?
Dennis Wideman (4 SOG) scored for the Panthers as Clemmer stopped 24 shots. More from Pension Plan Puppets.
Next up: Ottawa on Thursday.