Sunday afternoon's matinee pre-Super Bowl warm up act of the Senators and Canadiens provided a wee reminder that the nature of this shortened season, perhaps means not everyone is on their A game just yet.
In this case, not so much the players, though there are still the kind of mistakes being made on the ice that a helpful pre-season and training camp might have taken care of, but in the case of Sunday, we discovered that the referees too might have benefited from some more intense practice time.
Probably if you want to watch Senator's coach Paul MacLean's blood pressure rise, ask him if he has any thoughts on what is or isn't goaltender interference.
Chances are, he is a fellow that doesn't like making unwanted financial contributions to the Gary Bettman swear jar, so he'll hold his fire, but, the thousand yard stare sometimes tells all.
The Senators thought they had battled back on Sunday, with a game tying goal that suggested momentum was back on the side of the red, white and black, yet to the eyes of the officiating crew for Sunday, young Senator sensation Jakob Silfvererg had seemingly mugged Habs goaltender Carey Price, waving off the goal sending Silfverberg to the penalty box and no doubt giving MacLean cause to seek out some relaxation music.
The only problem is, that upon further review as they say, it sure looks like Price was out of his crease, which basically turns him into just another pylon on the ice to deal with.
Needless to say, the waved off goal, which helped the Canadiens thwart the comeback of the Sens wasn't a popular call in Ottawa, in fact over the course of the game, the march to the penalty box on a number of questionable calls tended to help write the sports headlines for Monday morning.
The Ottawa Citizen offers up the ever popular the of "Senators burned by officials in loss to Canadiens", where the afternoon's work of Greg Kimmerly and Brian Pochmara was described as absurd.
Over at the Ottawa Sun, we learn how Senators GM Bryan Murray is fuming over the controversial call, with the Ottawa GM apparently more than aware that his thoughts might require a collection for the inevitable fine from New York.
Not surprising, the reviews of the game in Montreal, we're a little kinder to the Canadiens (and the officials for that matter), Habs edge Sens for weekend home sweep, go figure!
In a sport where the officiating is more or less supposed to be the background of the game not it's centre stage, Sunday's matinee seemed to reverse those roles of importance for the guy's in stripes. And in a few of those instances it seems that perhaps they might require a refresher course from the league office as to what is or isn't a penalty.
Or maybe they can just pick up some tips off the Internet, available from the NHL's website are both a hard copy of the rules of the game and some helpful video tips on the theme of penalty calls.
We suspect, judging by Sunday at least, that some attention should be given to the goaltender interference videos, it could prove helpful heading down the road.