EDMONTON — As part of its broadcast package, the NHL instituted a five-second delay in the qualifying round that allows them to edit out some of the game’s more colourful language.
On Tuesday night that delay came in handy. Otherwise, the league would have had to issue warnings about the program containing coarse language that might be offensive to some viewers.
While the Canucks and Wild have both been guilty of filling the Rogers Place air with F-bombs, the Wild might have taken it to new heights in their 4-3 loss Tuesday. Several times during the game obscenities could be clearly heard, most from the Wild bench and one from Ryan Hartman after he was knocked down by Elias Pettersson late in the third period.
Hartman had to be helped off the ice. On Wednesday, Wild head coach Dean Evason said Hartman was available for selection in Thursday’s Game 3.
“Our focus wasn’t as good with the referees as it was in Game 1,” Evason said. “It’s a lot easier to maintain your cool and your composure when you’re leading.
“There’s no sense in even discussing things, especially after calls have been made already. We continually stress that. I think every coach in the world says stay off the referees.”
The Canucks had seven power-play opportunities to the Wild’s six in Game 2.
Kevin Fiala, who scored two late goals for the Wild on Tuesday and has three on the series, admitted he got caught up in the ref baiting.
“I got a little frustrated,” Fiala said. “I have to take that away and get the focus on 60 minutes plus. It doesn’t matter what happens. I have to stay off the refs.”
It didn’t take long, in fact, for either side to get into the spirit of intense playoff hockey. You have to go back to the 2003 playoff series between the Wild and Canucks to find any semblance of a rivalry between the two teams. But just two games in, a healthy level of animosity has emerged in the series.
“It just shows that both teams aren’t taking any crap from each other,” said the Canucks’ Tanner Pearson. “There’s a lot of pushback; a lot of stuff between the whistles.
“This time of year guys want to win and guys are going to do everything they can to win. If that means getting under (someone’s) skin they’re going to do that.”
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