By Rodger M. Wood
The Caps loss of Game 5 in overtime 3-2 may just be unjustly blamed on our hard working hero of the Bruins quarter finals, right winger Joel Ward for a high stick penalty on Rangers forward Carl Hagelin with 22 seconds remaining in the game and the Caps ahead 2-1.
Ward drew a double two minute penalty for high sticking, the Rangers pulled their goalie for a 6-4 man advantage, and Brad Richards scored to tie the game 2-2 with 8 seconds remaining. Marc Staal scores the winner on the same penalty at the 1:35 mark of the first overtime period.
Some folks are faulting a player deserves better treatment. There were horrible racist Tweets leveled at him when he beat the Bruins and yet he ignored them. We should also be loyal to him, especially when he may have been duped into the penalty.
I urge the referees, fans and teammates to look at a replay of the penalty high stick play. You may see how Hagelin brought his stick under Ward’s and up into his own face deliberately, maybe a predesigned play to draw a high stick penalty and minuscule blood. If injured, it is amazing how fast Hagelin got across the ice to show the referee the blood.
It all looks suspicious to a hockey fan like me, but I’m told this is becoming an increasing tactic in the NHL, especially late in the game to draw a high stick when behind or in overtime.
The referee and linemen ignored Ward’s lack of intent and gave the game to the Rangers by their oversight.
In any event, the Caps are behind in the series three games to two and needing to win the 6th game at home Wednesday and 7th at New York Friday. It would be great if the Caps could rock the Rangers at the Verizon Center and then go on to stick it to them in their arena.
Maybe, the Caps could dedicate their efforts in beating the Rangers to their much aligned teammate and win a couple games for the Gipper.