Ducks coach, Oilers cross verbal swords over officials’ treatment of McDavid

Carlyle's McDavid comment ruffles Oilers

EDMONTON — First it was a jab over faceoffs, and then it was preferential treatment of NHL star Connor McDavid. Randy Carlyle’s comments continue to stir the pot in Anaheim’s playoff series against the Edmonton Oilers.

The Ducks head coach seemed mildly surprised prior to Wednesday’s Game 4 that a comment about McDavid he’d made the previous day to reporters in Kelowna, B.C., had made it to Edmonton.

“In this viral world, things get out in a hurry,” he said.

“We all have tape in this modern era, so we review things that are happening, infractions that are happening on the ice. We explain to our players ‘this is what’s going on out there.’ We think there are situations that people have received preferential treatment.”

Postmedia and the Los Angeles Times quoted the Ducks coach as saying in Kelowna that “it seems like there is somewhat of a white-glove treatment for Mr. McDavid. The restrictions on anybody touching him seem to be a little bit higher than normal.”

“I don’t know what game he’s watching,” Oilers forward Zach Kassian countered Wednesday. “Obviously a guy with that speed, guys are going to be hanging all over him.”

Protecting the league’s stars became the burning issue after Penguins Penguins forward Sidney Crosby suffered a concussion in a controversial collision Monday with Washington Capitals defenceman Matt Niskanen. 

So Carlyle may have been doing some preemptive lobbying of officials in regards to McDavid, the winner of this year’s Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s points leader.

McDavid and Jordan Eberle led the Oilers in drawing penalties in the playoffs with four apiece prior to Wednesday’s game. McDavid had three power-play assists in nine games.

“I think the ref is going to call the game how he sees it,” McDavid said. “That’s all I’ll say about that.”

Carlyle had also predicted prior to the Western Conference semifinal against Edmonton that the Oilers would “be whining to officials” about faceoffs. The Ducks were the best team on draws and the Oilers the worst in the regular-season.

“The ‘white-glove’ part of it, I think that’s questioning the integrity of the officiating so I’m going to stay out of that and let them do that,” Oilers head coach Todd McLellan said.

“I heard that and I was surprised because I thought we were supposed to be the team whining.”

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press