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THN.com Playoff Blog: Don't taint exciting final with talk of poor officiating

Kirk Maltby of the Red Wings reacts to referee Paul Devorski during the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup Final. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Kirk Maltby of the Red Wings reacts to referee Paul Devorski during the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup Final. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Can everyone stop the slinging, put down the mud and enjoy what was a thrilling Stanley Cup final, before this season becomes one for the long-term memory bank?

Penalty count: Pittsburgh 40, Detroit 36. There was no grand conspiracy to overthrow the establishment. The referees – who will, no matter what, never do “a good job” – of this game have great integrity and honor and did not influence outcomes or taint history just so the league can plaster pictures of Sidney Crosby and the Stanley Cup around America.

Calls and non-calls go both ways; that’s life. It’s one of the many discreet lessons you can learn from this wonderful game. That is, if you listen to what it is saying.

Shame on those who chose to subscribe to this weak and disgraceful conspiracy. Cheese isn’t served with a drink from the Magnificent Mug.

I guess at least now you can sleep easy knowing you don’t have to sit through any more “fake” games. I hear the NBA final starts Thursday.

On the other side, sure it took Pittsburgh a triple-overtime marathon to log their first, and only, 30-shot game of the series, but Detroit – who registered at least 30 shots in each game – was far from a boring trap team.

The Wings’ terrific team defense was constantly in motion and created offensive opportunities. That made for exciting defensive hockey (somewhere Gary Bettman has a shiver trickling down his spine) and it was apparent why they have two Selke finalists on their roster.

If you can’t agree with that, then again, let me direct you to the NBA final, where two minutes can drag on for a lifetime.

After a discouraging start, the Stanley Cup final picked itself up and lived up to the high expectations dangled in front of it, with the finale coming down to an inch and a millisecond.

When the game was over and the Cup awarded I had a telephone conversation with senior writer Mike Brophy who said it was one of the best finals he’d ever been to and Game 5 was one for the history books.

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I couldn’t help but agree.

It was a great final, a great playoff, and a great season. Period.

If this didn’t impress you, I’m not exactly sure what else you could be looking for.

So on the day after, some will ask, “What can we do to fix the game?” and others will demand, “Shrink goalie equipment and get new refs!”

Meanwhile, I’ll be eagerly daydreaming, “Is it October yet?”

Simpson and Hrudey freeze
I think Craig Simpson and Kelly Hrudey did a tremendous job for Hockey Night in Canada, but I had to laugh a little when the two of them first appeared together in the final.

They’re both analysts, so it took a little time to get a feel for who was going to be asking the questions and taking charge of the segment. But once they got organized the duo started rolling with their usual insightful commentary.

Silver Fox lost?
Cliff Fletcher said earlier this week he is dedicated to pointing the Leafs in the right direction.

Funny, because as he said that he didn’t seem to know if he should to take the escalator he was walking past.

I’m sure Leaf fans are looking forward to October as much as I am. The only difference is their anticipated October comes in 2010. Or is it 2011? 2012? Yeah, they should have a permanent GM by then.

Rory Boylen is THN.com's web content specialist. His blog appears Thursdays.

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