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Iffy call sparks action

Penalty turns drudgery into wild shootout

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A scoreless game through 49 minutes on Thursday night really heated up.

What caused it?

Turns out it was a very dubious penalty call by referee Rob Martell, who whistled Jets defenceman Toby Enstrom for slashing.

Enstrom put a hard stick check on Caps forward Matt Hendricks, and the smack broke Hendricks' stick. When the Washington forward threw up his hands and looked at Martell, he got the call and all hell broke loose for the rest of the night.

Washington scored on that power play to go ahead 1-0 and scored on a power play three minutes later.

But the Jets eventually got their chance, getting a five-on-three that turned to a six-on-three with goalie Ondrej Pavelec lifted, and they produced two goals to tie it before winning 3-2 in a shootout.

The call that set it off brought a vehement protest from the Jets, Enstrom and Dustin Byfuglien in particular.

They were incensed that Hendricks' two chops on Enstrom, one that began from over his head down on Enstrom's stick, were not penalized.

"We thought it was him going down on Toby more than Toby going down on him," Byfuglien said later. "It's the way it looked for us.

"I don't really know what it was but it's never a bad idea to bitch a little bit about a call. You just never know. It could help you out later on."

In this case, it well might have.

Winnipeg, got two later power plays and ended the night two for three with the man advantage.

-- -- --

The Jets were more than happy to give and Canada's Ambassador to the United States, former Manitoba premier Gary Doer, was thrilled to receive.

Doer hosted a reception for the Jets and co-owner and governor Mark Chipman upon their arrival here Wednesday night and was presented with a team-autographed jersey to dsiplay at the embassy.

"The last time Mark was through here, on his way from some meetings in South Carolina, there was no Jets sweater," Doer told the Free Press on Thursday, prior to attending the Jets-Capitals NHL game up the street at Verizon Center. "That omission was properly corrected (Wednesday) evening. They presented the sweater and it's already hanging on the wall in the Embassy.

"It's a very proud sweater and the most robust and muscular of them all. I know there are some historical ones there but we've gone from six to seven with pride."

Jets goalie Chris Mason said he was impressed with Doer, who counts himself among the nation of Jets fans.

"I love that," he said. "To me, it makes me proud to be Canadian."

One of the Jets who wasn't there to partake in the poutine, sliders and beverages was captain Andrew Ladd, who's been fighting a flu bug and instead went straight to the hotel to sleep.

Ladd said his absence was simply health-related and was not a "statement," then he poked a little fun at Boston goalie Tim Thomas, who engaged in a personal protest by skipping a visit by the Stanley Cup champion Bruins to the White House here two weeks ago

"No Facebook comments this week, either," Ladd laughed.


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 10, 2012 C3

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