By Dave Mager, WBZNewsRadio 1030 (and recovering Chicago Sportscaster)

BOSTON (CBS) – Voice of Harry Kalas: “You make the call!”

Does winger Nathan Horton Nathan Horton deserve consideration for the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs? Of course, Tuukka Rask and David Krejci are frontrunners. But Horton is plus-22 in 17 playoff games. For you rookies, that means he’s been on ice for 22 more Bruins even-strength goals than even-strength goals by the opponents. He’s been on ice for just 4 even strength goals against in the postseason … including a personal 9-game shutout streak. That lights-out defense has boosted the superstar goalie… and, after a rocky regular season, his offense has meshed with Krejci and his other linemate, Milan Lucic.

Horton just made a lot of money this month and last. He becomes an unrestricted free agent after the season. Pending his injury status and the eventual outcome of the Finals, #18 could be a dark horse candidate for playoff MVP.

Voice of Harry Kalas: “You make the call!”

Or, not.

After the owner-led anti-labor action that cancelled the entire 2004-05 season, the NHL moved to open up the game to create more offense… adding strict interference rules and urging officials to follow them.

Paul Stewart: “The hard hand of the law came down.”

But officials have backed off in the regular season, and in the playoffs, it seems everything goes. Paul Stewart, former longtime NHL ref and now director of officials for the ECAC and the KHL in Europe, explains he trains refs to stay out of the way, whenever possible.

Paul Stewart: “Keeping it fair, keeping it safe, communicating with the players, and really having what I call a ‘benevolent dictatorship.’ The best friend of the referee is the moving puck. Because when the puck stops, that’s when all the ‘stuff’ starts.”

To Paul Stewart, the job of the ref is to keep the game moving, ‘not’ to call every grab-and-push.

Stewart: “They really have been through a process over those 7-8 years since the lockout and the emphasis on obstruction and all the other penalties so I think we’re seeing the results of this, which I don’t think is a bad thing!”

So, don’t expect the refs to start calling penalties as they were in the regular season, and certainly not as they did in the first years after the first lockout.

Voice of Harry Kalas: “You make the call!”

Making the play-by-play call doesn’t fall to local TV announcers in the finals… it falls to the radio guys, the true “voices” of their teams. Predictably, Dave Goucher of 98.5 The Sports Hub and John Weideman of WGN Chicago had different takes on Game One’s game-winner.

Listen to the audio blog

Finally, The Bruins are the only Eastern Conference team to play in Chicago this season.. so it’s a good time to remind east coast fans about one of the sounds that makes playing at the “Madhouse on Madison” so unique

The old Chicago Stadium is now a parking lot… but the horn was saved and installed in the new place, and it blares after every Hawks goal to this day.

The challenge for fans and Bruins staff in games 3 and 4 next week will making the Garden rock like the Madhouse from Madison, where reported the sound reached 121 decibels—or the equivalent of sandblasting—during the National Anthem before a Finals game in 2010.

(Thanks 98.5 The Sports Hub, WGN Radio)


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