Senators News: March 2nd; Ottawa 1, Philadelphia 2

-Ottawa lost 2-1 to Philadelphia this afternoon in a game where they struggled not just for offence but for focus.  The game was punctuated by Mike Lundin getting destroyed by Zolnierczyk who left his feet to knock him out.  Lundin left the game, but in terms of team losses he’s one the Sens can easily afford.  Ben Bishop made 39 saves in the loss, while Mark Methot scored the only goal (somehow squeezing a puck right through Mr. Universe).  I thought the Sens held their own in the first period, but line changes in the second made things worse.  In terms of focus, after the Lundin injury the Sens spent the entire game going after Rinaldo who beat up Kaspars Daugavins who’d come to Lundin‘s defence.  It was a complete waste of time as Rinaldo refused to fight, but it wound up getting Daniel Alfredsson tossed late.  Here’s the boxscore.  I thought Gonchar and Wiercioch struggled on the blueline, while Methot played a great game.  Among the forwards it was primarily the young players who lead the Sens limited charge (with the exception of Kyle Turris whose confidence has not yet returned).

Scott had the scoring chances in the Bruins game 12/17.

-Binghamton defeated Hamilton 3-2 last night in a game I was able to watch.  Nathan Lawson made 28 saves in the win, but wasn’t a primary factor in the victory.  Cole Schneider, Corey Cowick, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored the goals (both Pageau and Cowick had two-point nights), all of which were off of rebounds.  Mark Stone looked rusty in his return to action and was largely invisible.  Here’s the boxscore.

-Binghamton plays Toronto (28-18-6) this afternoon; the Marlies are lead by Ryan Hamilton (36 points) and backstopped by Jussi Rynnas (8-8-1 2.57 .913).

Scott Burnside writes a bumbling column defending the NHL’s officiating:

Whatever the perception is, or the reality, for that matter, the fact is an independent analysis of calls made on the ice still puts the NHL at about 90 percent efficiency — a number that is in keeping with the other major pro sports in North America, a source familiar with the process told this week.

This laudatory statistic would be much more meaningful if Burnside indicated where it came from, how it was conducted, and who asked to have it done.  In the end however, it’s largely beside his point.

At the heart of the matter this season is the uncomfortable relationship between video and reality.  Every booted call is immediately seen and re-seen by anyone with a mind to watch it via YouTube, etc. The calls are instantly debated and dissected on Twitter, other forms of social media and hockey panels around North America.

Burnside seems to be saying the reality of missed calls is bad because fans are aware of them.  The problem isn’t awareness of what’s happened, the problem is errors that occur and not being corrected.

Is the answer to follow football into a system where video becomes not just a tool, but a crutch on any significant call? The NFL has become almost unwatchable thanks to the reliance on video replay, a bloated exercise in tedium that has gone from embracing technology to becoming wholly dependent on it.

Using the most profitable and viewed sports league in North America as his example of bad simply dynamites his point.  The NHL’s officiating is bad and it’s as much about the non-calls as the actual calls.  The lack of consistency remains maddening particularly since the league continual refuses to commit to solving the problem.  There’s no progressive movement within the NHL to change its system, so I expect things to continue much as they are.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)