Bottom Six Minutes: Officiating clown show in Ottawa

Kirby Dach’s arc in Wednesday’s game was a wild story of incompetent officiating.

The Montreal Canadiens squandered a fantastic first period on Wednesday night. After dominating a scoreless opening 20 minutes, they surrendered three goals to the Ottawa Senators in the second. A comeback was mounted in the third, but they would ultimately fall short before hopping on the bus and heading back to Montreal.

As much as the Habs were to blame for authoring this tragic comedy, the officials managed to play a frustratingly present supporting role.

For the most part, their role entailed ignoring some potential calls against Ottawa, while calling virtually everything against the Habs. Most of those calls against the Habs were valid, with the only frustration being that the Senators were typically getting the benefit of the doubt. Pretty standard NHL game stuff, all told.

But then you have the Kirby Dach arc. Dach was called for a slash in the second period, one that could be categorized as extremely soft at best, with him simply going hands over hands with his check. He took exception to that call, and let the officials know about it. Later in the same period, they deemed the following puck battle to be tantamount to interference, and another two minutes in the penalty box.

He and Brady Tkachuk are pursuing the same loose puck. The latter goes down, perhaps a little easier than necessary under the circumstances, but I digress — the call is again, soft at best. Dach is sent off for another two minutes, and is understandably incensed over a second undeserved trip to the box within the same period.

To add insult to insult, they tacked on an extra two for alleged verbal abuse...

Without bothering to type out my bad lip reading, I think most will agree that this doesn’t stray very far from what you’ll hear on a nightly basis in the NHL. And yet, on a nightly basis, this doesn’t warrant supplemental penalties. Why are these words any different than any other night? Why was it called this time? Why Kirby Dach?

Martin St-Louis was as diplomatic as he could be after the game, but clearly upset with the officiating.

He can’t say it because he’ll be financially reprimanded. I’ll say what he won’t: the officials felt slighted by Dach and sought retribution. They used the rulebook to do so in a way that you don’t typically see. They called two ridiculous penalties against him, and his verbal opposition to those ridiculous penalties was met by yet another.

St-Louis is correct in wanting his player to avoid the misconduct, but you also can’t have officials targeting him later in the game because he dared to complain about a soft call. Dach is one of the more important players for the team, after all, and scored one of their goals in that ill-fated comeback attempt. It could be said that he rebounded extremely well from a situation he didn’t deserve.

And when their absurd penalties failed to keep Dach down, and his team nearly stormed back into the game, they just made one up against another Hab for fun.

Click the play button below to listen to your full Bottom Six Minutes, also available wherever you typically get your podcasts. It’s a back-to-back, so we’re at it again after tonight’s game against the Anaheim Ducks back at the Bell Centre.

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