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Blackhawks notebook: Coach Jeremy Colliton frustrated with playoff officiating

Colliton voiced concern Saturday about the lack of calls in the first two games of the Hawks-Golden Knights series.

The Blackhawks dissented with one of Ryan Reaves’ hits during Game 2 of the series.
Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP

Numerous coaches are upset about the officiating in the Stanley Cup playoffs so far, and the Blackhawks’ Jeremy Colliton is one of them.

Colliton voiced concern Saturday about the lack of calls in the first two games of the Hawks-Golden Knights series.

‘‘It does feel like [the referees are] letting a little more go,’’ he said. ‘‘That probably benefits Vegas. They’re a physical team, and they’ve definitely taken advantage of that at different times. We’ve got to earn a few more power plays, and hopefully a few of those high hits are penalized going forward.’’

Colliton seemed particularly angered by a hit by Knights enforcer Ryan Reaves on Hawks captain Jonathan Toews in Game 2. Toews was tied up on a faceoff, but the puck had skittered away to his left when Reaves barreled through him from the right.

‘‘We didn’t like it; we let the referees know we didn’t like it,’’ Colliton said Friday. ‘‘We’re going to start taking freebies at centermen tied up at the dot when the puck wasn’t there? I don’t think that’s a hockey play.’’

The Knights also committed a second illegal-looking play — wing William Carrier hitting Hawks defenseman Connor Murphy’s head from behind near the boards — that went uncalled in Game 2, though Colliton hasn’t mentioned it since.

The number of minor penalties per game has increased from 6.4 in the regular season to 8.3 in the playoffs. But the physicality and hostility has increased dramatically, so it has seemed as though referees have been more lenient, especially in overtime.

The Hawks-Oilers series featured a number of penalty calls and special-teams situations, but the same hasn’t held true against the Knights.

Through the first three games, the Hawks have been whistled for only six penalties and the Knights for eight. Entering Game 4, the Hawks are 5-for-26 on the power play and 18-for-23 on the penalty kill in the postseason.

Earlier in the week, Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour aired the most notable grievance against the playoff referees so far.

Furious about a challenge that failed not because the Bruins’ goal was legal but because the grounds he challenged on were upheld, Brind’Amour called the decision a ‘‘crime scene’’ and added, ‘‘This is why the league’s a joke.’’ He was fined $25,000.

Chalupa loaned out

Matej Chalupa temporarily will head back to the Czech Republic after all.

The 22-year-old forward, who signed with the Hawks as a European free agent in May after spending the last four seasons in the Czech Extraliga, was loaned by the Hawks to the Extraliga team Mountfield HK.

The move will allow Chalupa, considered more of a long-term prospect than many of the Hawks’ other recent European imports, to play hockey this fall while the NHL plans its sure-to-be-delayed 2020-21 season.