Some might wonder why Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortarella was seeing red when Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley decided to start his goon line, with clear instructions to physically attack the Canucks as soon as the puck dropped. But not me.
After the week Torts and his boys in Royal blue and Kelly green had, Hartley was waving a red flag in front of a raging bull.
No, it wasn't because of the slump, as maddening as that is for the ultra competitive coach. No, it wasn't because of the 9-1 spanking the best team in the league, at this moment, gave the Canucks, as embarrassing as that was.
It was because of the treatment NHL refs had given the Canucks over the past week.
It was because of three Penalty calls of 2, 5 and 10 (misconduct) minutes the Canucks received while their California opponents got zip.
I have been watching hockey for nearly 50 years and I had never seen a team get a 7 minute penalty kill thrust upon them until Tom Sestito was singled out in the LA game. Perhaps in that instance the Kings hit and run specialist didn't earn a penalty, and everyone knows that fouls don't count against twins from Sweden (it's called the Boston rule).
But when salt was rubbed into the wound late in the Anaheim debacle with not one but two 7 minute to 0 calls were made, forcing the Canucks into a 5-on-3 situation for nearly half a period the pretense at impartiality was thrown to the wind. It was clear that the ref was punishing Vancouver.
Why? Is there some Bettman edict against thevancouver squad? Did the ref get anally raped on his last visit to the wet coast? Who knows?
But when the first three instances of 7 minutes powerplays happen in one week to one team, in a half century of observation, something is amiss.