It’s hard to argue against the theory that Connor McDavid should draw as many or more penalties as anyone in the NHL. His speed and skill make him nearly impossible to stop without breaking a rule or two according to the rulebook and what is deemed a penalty and what isn’t. Strangely, McDavid doesn’t get a lot of calls.
A perfect example is the playoff series against the Winnipeg Jets last year where, in four games, not a single penalty was called where McDavid was impeded, even though it was clear as day there were moments a call or five should have been made. Some say that McDavid’s ability to stay on his feet and maintain his balance means the officials will miss calls they might otherwise make. Some argue that because McDavid doesn’t whine, the non-squeaky wheel isn’t getting the oil. Whatever the case, McDavid should be getting the benefit of the doubt and often doesn’t.
That was evident again on Monday as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Seattle Kraken and went 1-for-3 on the power play, a rare miss for the Oilers who are clicking at a 46.2% success rate. There were clear calls not made against McDavid and former NHL official Tim Peel spoke with Frank Seravalli and co-host Steve Greeley during Wednesday’s Daily Faceoff Show about the missed calls. Peel admitted the NHL is missing things.
Saying the officials and the league need to do better, especially on the obvious penalties, that McDavid is so good at keeping up the play even when impeded does not absolve the officials from making the calls. He noted each infraction as it happened and said these were clear penalties.
When asked how the Oilers should approach the NHL about turning those non-calls into calls, Peel explained:
I think the first step would be for Kenny Holland to have a discussion with (NHL director of officiating) Stephen (Walkom). As the GM of the team, it’s not really the coach’s place and get Stephen to explain why these calls aren’t being made. Then, if Kenny can bring Stephen clips like this that show Connor not getting calls, then it’s Stephen’s job to talk to the officials and pass it down by email or by sending clips like this out to make them aware of what’s going on in the league, and also keeping our guys on standard with tripping.”
How It Might Benefit the Oilers
Even if nothing happens directly from Holland’s call to the director of officiating, the message will be sent down and referees will be aware and likely watch for it. If nothing else, McDavid will start getting the benefit of the doubt when it looks like he might have been impeded.
At this point, that’s all the Oilers want. A few more calls to go their way and let their dangerous power play continue to go to work. Even if it doesn’t happen in the regular season as often as the Oilers would like, getting a couple of calls could mean the difference between winning a playoffs series and not.
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