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From The Branches - Aftermath Edition

Well, I guess all that I can say is "I'm sorry". I am sorry Caps fans that Don Koharski found out that we were pulling for the Caps and decided to ignore the NHL's rulebook. I am sorry that he stuck his whistle away for over two periods and managed to pull it from his nether regions to screw the Caps. I am sorry that Scott Hartnell flopped on the ice pretending to be dead in the hopes of drawing a call and then proceeded to lay two big hits once he realized that no one cared that he was hurt. I am sorry that Huet's great work and the growth of Backstrom, Semin, Laich, Ovechkin, and all of the NINE FIRST ROUND PICKS on your roster was ended in the first round.

But, it was a lot of fun watching this team play and hopefully they don't play the Leafs because after watching the series I don't feel like hating any of those guys. Except of course for Jurcina and Erskine for being failures. Now, it's easy for me to take a loss like last night's ok because I am not a real Caps fan but look at these guys that are doing it well:

In a season in which this Capitals’ team had given so much feel-good buzz to its league, the hardware for which will arrive in just a few weeks’ time, and captured the hockey hearts in Russia, Canada, and elsewhere about the globe, it seemed like they deserved a better send off than the one the league authored and authorized Tuesday night.

Nope, this morning we’re sad at the result, but not disappointed in this team. Unlike past heartbreaks, when the Capitals team that lost did so as underachievers, this one fought tooth and nail for two months without a hint of quit in them. They grew before our eyes and came within an eyelash of giving us another two weeks (or, who knows...more) of memories. Although it’s small consolation to the players, coaches, staff, and fans of the club this morning, they achieved far more than anyone had a right to expect as we were sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner last November, and for that...

Bless you boys.

Congrats to the Flyers and their fans.

Vengeance next year!

While the bloggers did a good job of dealing with their rage Matt P. reports that some took things a little too far. He uses this as an example that Philadelphia fans get too much of a bum rap for being animals. I guess the crazy Philadelphia fans are just a myth kind of like the true senator fan, the classy Habs fan, or the intelligent President. Personally, I have always held this as a good example of the denizens of Philadelphia.

Anyway, enough Philly bashing since it's the equivalent of Cox slamming the Leafs GM before he's done anything: picking the low hanging fruit. Let's look at the Flyers' controversial (read: Koharski is an idiot for blowing this easy call) goal. The NHL actually publishes explanations on their website. Here's the NHL's lie about last night's game:

Explanation on Philadelphia’s second goal at 9:47 of the second period – Washington's Shaone Morrisonn plays the puck and Philadelphia's Patrick Thoresen lays a legal body check on Morrisonn.  No Philadelphia player makes contact with Washington goaltender Cristobal Huet (Rule 69).  This play is not reviewable.

It would almost be so funny if it wasn't so sad. The league is saying that Thorensen did not interfere with Huet. Now, it's arguable whether it should be a penalty if a player forces an opponent into their own goalie however the rule that Donuts Koharski should have been following was NHL Rule # 67.c.

A minor penalty shall be imposed on an attacking player who deliberately checks a defensive player, including the goalkeeper, who is not in possession of the puck.

It's quite clear on the replay that it was a blatant interference penalty. There is no excuse for the referee to bottle a call of such magnitude or for the league to defend itself using the wrong rule. Junior is absolutely spot on when he says that Stephen Walkom needs to be held accountable. If not for his ref's complete inability to make consistent decisions within a game let alone a series or for his brutal attempt at covering Donuts' posterior how about for giving the Islanders that BS penalty shot in 2002?

Anyway, the call was blown (twice) the refs will get to continue ruining games with impunity and Stephen Walkom will continue to do a worse job that his predecessor Andy "The Bookie" van Hellemond.

Around the NHL

  • Mike W is an Oilers fans (and a hilarious blogger) and even he is upset. That probably has something to do with Joffrey Zoolander scoring the winner.

  • Sean takes a look at the top 10 game seven overtime goals. Nik's at number 6? For shame Sean. It's at least # 2 and only because Yzerman's shot is literally perfect.

  • Eric McErlain takes a look at Bill Simmons' article about the Bruins. RudyKelley thinks he's just a whiny bandwagon fan.

  • Greener offers his take on the second round matchup of Montreal versus Philadelphia. Dear Lord, can you open up the earth and swallow up two cities?

  • Kevin brings us a special message from JR himself a day after reminding us that he can still play hockey.