If you are a fan of the Vancouver Canucks you are going to struggle to stay calm during this one, and frankly I can not say that I blame anyone who is furious about the officiating in the closing minutes of this game.
On Saturday afternoon the aforementioned Canucks faced off against the Buffalo Sabres and through the full 60 minutes of play we got what turned out to be a pretty spirited affair between these 2 squads. The Canucks marched out to an early lead in this one after a pretty poor first period from the Sabres but after that first 20 minutes had played out we got an explosion of offense on both sides of the ice. By the time it was all said and done the 2 teams had combined for a whopping 11 goals on the night, but it was what happened in the final moments of the game that truly rubbed some fans in Vancouver the wrong way.
The controversy began with just over 5 minutes of time left to go in the third period when Buffalo Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour delivered a rather questionable hit to Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat, one that seemingly went unnoticed by the National Hockey League's officials on the ice. The crowd in Vancouver certainly noticed it however as they were quick to shower that officiating crew with chants of "refs you suck" aplenty, but the damage had already been done and the Sabres were walking away without so much as a slap on the wrist. The hit, which appeared to catch Horvat primarily in the head, forced the Canucks captain to retreat back to the bench.
To his credit Horvat would remain in the game and even got back out onto the ice, when suddenly a phone call came down from the NHL's head offices. The officiating crew on the ice spent several seconds on the phone before eventually skating over to the Vancouver Canucks bench to let them know that Horvat had just been pulled out of the game as a result of the hit from Montour. Not only did the officials miss the call, not only was this a one goal game, but the Canucks would now also lose their captain in the final minutes of the third period. As if the universe was against the Canucks on the evening the Sabres would pull their goalie and rally to score a game tying goal, but thankfully for angry fans in Vancouver the Canucks did manage to secure the win by a score of 6 - 5 in the end.
Here's the hit that caused all the controversy.