Conspiracy in the NHL

Yes, there may be a conspiracy in the NHL. I am admittedly a New York Islanders fan. I’m sure many of you have heard the news of General Manager Mike Milbury blasting the refs yesterday. I’m sure many of you were also thinking, “there goes Mad Mike again”. In my opinion, the NHL doesn’t want the Islanders to do too well this year. In no way am I knocking the Toronto Maple Leafs. They have played an excellent series, especially Cujo in the last game.

Nevertheless, the Islanders have received double the amount of penalties, throughout the series, than the Maple Leafs. I don’t have the actual statistic but I thought penalties usually even out in games, especially in the playoffs. Even the argument of “the Islanders had to commit the penalties to receive them” doesn’t fly. You could probably call a penalty every other shift if you looked hard enough.

There are two possible reasons for this “Conspiracy”, or favoritism if you like. The NHL doesn’t want the Islanders to go from last place to a cup contender in one year. I don’t blame them necessarily because it does look pretty bad when a team that got owners with money and doubled the payroll turns around so quickly. It does look pretty bad for small market teams and the fact that there is no salary cap in the NHL. The other reason could be that the NHL really wants a Canadian team to do well in the playoffs and they figure give them more powerplays and that should help.

I lean towards the first reason, mainly because it seemed as though they were making a lot favored calls towards the end of the season as well. Maybe they were hoping the Islanders wouldn’t even make it into the playoffs. It could be both reasons to a point. The good thing for the Islanders is that they have killed off every penalty in the series. The bad thing is that it doesn’t give them much of a chance to get their offense going when they are constantly killing penalties.

What do you all think? According to Newsday.com, the Long Island paper’s web site, 76% of respondents to a poll agreed with Milbury on the calling of the games. Of course that statistic is bias, therefore I especially would like to hear the opinions of Maple Leafs fans. And don’t give me crap about “I’m just making up excuses because the Islanders are losing”. There is a huge motive to a conspiracy of this nature and it’s “The Credibility of the NHL.” Just take a minute to think about it before you respond.