Officiating takes center stage midway through NHL playoffs

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Officiating has been on center stage midway through the NHL playoffs.
Star forward Connor McDavid didn't draw a single penalty when Edmonton got swept in the first round. Tampa Bay dominated a second-round series against Carolina thanks to a potent power play. And a war of words between coaches Barry Trotz and Bruce Cassidy has spiced up an already hot Islanders-Bruins series.

Calls made, and not made, and the ensuing results are tipping the balance of the postseason. The spotlight is on referees and linesmen for the impact they're having on the way to some team lifting the Stanley Cup.

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"I don't work them," Trotz said Tuesday. "I respect them because I worked the referee situation (in practices) in the bubble last year and I got ran over. I tried to call penalties, I tried to call offsides, I got hit with pucks, I got knocked over — I got all that stuff. I've been in the league a long time: It's a hard job, and I have a lot of respect for those guys."

So much respect that he and Cassidy have mentioned officials a handful of times. Trotz said it was up to linesmen to keep Bruins center Patrice Bergeron from "cheating" on faceoffs. Cassidy quipped after Boston's Game 5 loss to New York: "They sell a narrative over there that it's more like the New York Saints, not the New York Islanders."

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Associated Press
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