Originally written on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 11/9/14

The 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs have been unpredictable from every aspect imaginable. That is, of course, with the exemption of one constant, which has been the despicable officiating and perplexing off-ice discipline that's taken control of series after series in this postseason, or at least attempted to.

So the display witnessed Saturday afternoon at the Verizon Center in Game 4 between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers shouldn't have been as awe-inspiring as it was made out to be. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the officials missed Brian Boyle having the stick hacked out of his hands by Alex Ovechkin, or Ryan Callahan being hauled down by Brooks Laich as he carried the puck through center ice. Or even the Capitals punching the puck into the crowd within the defensive zone, which is an automatic delay of game minor when abiding by the rulebook (are one of those even in existence anymore?). 

Nor should one have been flabbergasted when late in the third period Carl Hagelin was whistled for slashing as John Carlson simply dropped his stick in hope of deceiving the officials. He was successful, or at least it seemed that way, and Mike Green went on to score the game-winning goal on the ensuing powerplay for Washington. 

In addition to all that occurred in the third period, or didn't occur based on your vantage point, there was Alex Ovechkin's lunging hit to the head of Dan Girardi in the second period which was deemed a two-minute charging minor, but nothing further. NBC Network's Pierre McGuire should have known better than to predict that a player of star caliber such as Ovechkin would receive more than two minutes for a hit the League is supposedly working to remove from the game all together. 

And so should have those who expected any supplementary discipline to come out of this for the repeat offender in Ovechkin. Reports this morning state that No. 8 was not even required to speak with VP of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan over the phone for targeting the head of Girardi, who by the way has been Ovechkin's worst nightmare all series long at even strength. Coincidence? 

But the NHL would never risk Game 5 ratings to properly discipline Ovechkin, who claimed the hit was shoulder-to-shoulder contact. 

The fact that the Rangers must defeat both the opponent and the officials to go anywhere in these playoffs was established long ago. Shall we rehash Game 6 against the Ottawa Senators, in which the officials nearly brought the Sens back into the game singlehandedly with the Blueshirts facing elimination? Or how about the Winter Classic back in January where something very similar occurred against the Philadelphia Flyers?

This is nothing new. 

All that being said, the officials cannot be used as the scapegoat for the Rangers failing to get the job done in Game 4, or any game for that matter. The Rangers' deficiency on the scoreboard potentially allows the officials to take control of the game because one disadvantage against New York harms them more than it should. Any powerplay handed to the Caps does 3x the damage the Blueshirts manage to muster up when they have the man advantage. 

But this is an issue that New York has faced and fought through before, and will have to again in what has now become a best of three series beginning tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden. So instead of the coach walking out of the press room, or players rumored to be screaming and slamming doors in the locker room, it's time to get a grip on the situation and realize that just one to two goals will not cut it against this opponent.

Whether the officiating is one-sided or not, the Rangers must find a way to win two of their next three or they will be going home. 

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Marshawn Lynch on final SB play: 'I was expecting the ball'

Report: Rangers acquire Keith Yandle from Coyotes

Report: Bucs to keep Vincent Jackson under current contract

Twins to limit players' smartphone use on game days

Shane Battier: Carmelo Anthony is not that tough to guard

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Ronda Rousey would be 'happy' to fight Cat Zingano again

Markieff Morris calls out Suns fans after loss

Cowboys to let DeMarco Murray test free agency?

Brock Lesnar attends UFC 184, keeps MMA rumors alive

Dick Vitale will not call Duke-UNC rematch either

PHOTO: Auburn coaches, players wear ribbons for Mason

Jim Harbaugh tells Madonna he respects her toughness

Are the Oakland Raiders finally trending up?

Durant blasts Instagram hater for Westbrook comment

Three potential big signings the Steelers could make

Kevin Garnett buys 1,000 tickets for Timberwolves fans

Michigan fan has incredible Charles Woodson tattoo

WATCH: NIU C brings down basket on dunk

McCown plans to embrace mentoring role with Manziel

Chris Sale out three weeks with foot injury

NHL analyst calls out media over Blackhawks report

Alabama recruits aim to bring the dynasty back

WATCH: Jon Jones, Rumble Johnson prank Dana White

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Lynch: 'I was expecting the ball'

Report: Rangers get Yandle from Coyotes

Harbaugh respects Madonna's grit

Twins to limit game day cell phone use

Kevin Durant blasts hater on Instagram

KG buys 1,000 tickets for T-Wolves fans

Markieff Morris calls out Suns fans

Cowboys letting Murray test market?

Brock Lesnar attends UFC 184

Rousey beats Zingano in 14 seconds

Anthony Mason: The most 'New York' of the 90's Knicks

Could Eagles release LeSean McCoy?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.