The Washington Times - March 25, 2011, 11:15PM

OTTAWA – Bruce Boudreau was careful about how he talked about the officiating in Friday night’s loss to the Senators. He admitted it wasn’t something that decided the game, but it doesn’t mean he was satisfied with the explanations he got on three big plays:

1. A high-sticking call against Ottawa’s David Hale for clipping Matt Hendricks above the right eye in the first that was blown off.


2. The Senators’ first goal that included Colin Greening crashing the net and possibly kicking the puck in and/or interfering with Semyon Varlamov.

3. A boarding penalty on Matt Bradley in the third that evened up the sides when Ottawa’s Zack Smith got an instigator, too.

“I mean, hey, refs have a bad night too sometimes. It’s a tough game,” Boudreau said. “The first high-sticking one, they were told that three other guys thought it was a skate, so it wasn’t a high-stick. On the goal, I wanted to know whether [Varlamov] was interfered with, and I think the question in Toronto was whether he kicked it in. The back ref had said the puck went in the net before he was interfered with.”

As for the Bradley call, the Caps’ coach called it a “clean hit almost inside the circle,” but at the end of the day he conceded the referees didn’t cause the defeat.

“I’m sure we got away with a couple hookings as well, or a couple penalties,” Boudreau said. “So I don’t think that was the definitive reason we lost.”

Not getting enough sustained pressure on offense was – and the goal could be argued either way. Goaltender interference isn’t something that’s reviewable in Toronto, so even the long process to decide if it was a goal had to have been to see if Greening kicked the puck over the line.

The Hendricks play in the first period, however, includes much less of a gray area. Hale looked to hit the Caps forward in the face and went to the penalty box for four minutes (because he made Hendricks bleed). But the official who made the call was overruled when the other three said a skate did the damage.

Replays showed it wasn’t a skate – “Obviously not,” Hendricks said.

Asked what his view was on the play, Hendricks was rather blunt.

“My view?” he said. “It was an Easton Synergy in my face.”