The Philadelphia Flyers had to play most of Thursday night’s game with five defensemen. Sam Morin was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for boarding Casey Cizikas just 7:27 into the first period.
The Flyers were already trailing 2-0 after the Islanders struck twice in 1:03 just 14 seconds before Morin’s major penalty. The Islanders had a great chance to extend their lead with a five-minute power play, but the Flyers killed it off.
But back to Morin’s penalty.
It was a questionable call on Morin. Cizikas was injured –– and returned to the game during the five-minute power play ––, but the hit looked like it deserved nothing more than a two-minute minor.
The referees reviewed the play and still determined that it was a five-minute major.
Morin wasn’t pleased by the call.
Alain Vigneault and the Flyers also weren’t fans of the call.
“Obviously, I don’t agree with the call on Sam,” Vigneault said after the game. “The referees see the game the way they see the game.”
“From our point of view, we thought it deserved the two minutes, weren’t quite sure about the five,” said Travis Sanheim, who was one of five defensemen left. “We went down to five early and I thought the guys stepped up tonight on the back end and played solid.”
“Kinda questionable there with that check that he made,” Carter Hart said. “Our PK really stepped up and the five ‘D’ stepped up and played a lot more minutes.”
Flyers announcers Jim Jackson and Keith Jones were also confused by the call, to say the least.
“That to me, wasn’t a five-minute major,” said Jones. “That’s too bad that that was a five-minute major.”
“You can argue it’s a dangerous place to shove, but he engaged him with the puck. I don’t know,” Jackson said. “Just didn’t seem five-minute major worthy, but it is.”
Sam Morin now faces the possibility of a suspension. It’d be surprising, however, given the fact that Cizikas returned to the game and the penalty occurred in the first period.
Morin has been a physical presence since being called up as a defenseman. Unfortunately, the officials may have a closer eye on him due to his size and style of play. This was one of those instances.