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It’s Official: Flames Frustrated by Penalties

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Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter has taken his concerns about the playoff officiating up a level.

He’s not the only person in the NHL who’s been perturbed by the increase in calls from the regular season. Whether the sudden crackdown is to create powerplays, or more open ice, the most common result is frustration.

“I don’t like the four-on-fours; I talked to the supervisor (Saturday) morning about it,” Sutter said on Sunday. “It’s seven in the series, now, which is really rare. That would take you 20 games to get that many four-on-fours in the regular season.”

Scrums and sidebars have been common in the series between the Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars ever since the end-of-period melee in Game 1.

Matthew Tkachuk and John Klingberg are frequent dance partners for the coincidental minors.

Sutter’s frustration doesn’t stop at the refs.

He wants everyone to do their part to ensure more five-on-five hockey can be played in the series.

“I think (the refs) can handle those situations better. And I think our team – both teams – would want to handle it better,” Sutter said. “The bottom line is, at playoff time, if you’re in there after the whistle, what’s it for?

“In the old days, as Robert ‘Butch’ Goring would tell you, in the old days if you wanted to go into those piles it was not to talk or to get the shield off. So now there’s 10 guys in there. If (the refs) want to take two guys, you’re just hurting the team.

“We’re a good team at five-on-five. That’s a fact, we’re as good as there is. So you want to be five-on-five.”

Coleman hates “Ticky-tacky” four-on-four hockey

The players agree. Calgary Flames winger Blake Coleman had the worst view possible watching Joe Pavelski’s goal from the penalty box on Saturday night. Remorseful he put his team in that position, Coleman also mentioned the “ticky-tacky” four-on-four hockey. And he was bothered that his very minor infraction was called with seven minutes left but others were let go later in the period.

“Being a ref is one of the most difficult jobs out there. I will say if you call the ticky-tacky stuff with seven minutes left, you better call the high sticks with a couple minutes left in the game,” Coleman said post-game on Saturday. “You’ve got to call it both ways, in my opinion, if you’re going to do it that way. You’d like to see it balanced.

Sutter mentioned something that hasn’t been talked about much. He went to a supervisor because of the experience there. The veteran Calgary Flames coach hopes more mentoring for a group of really young officials can help influence a more palatable game flow.

“Most of the supervisors are old referees. So the reason they’re supervisors is because they were good referees,” Sutter said. “We’ve had a big turnover in our officiating in the NHL since COVID. A lot of them, especially linesmen, are like kids.

“As you go into playoffs, you’re down to 16 teams. So those are the 16 best teams and you’ve got the 30-35 best referees. That’s what you want.”

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