WASHINGTON - Dave Hakstol has never once this season been one to question the officiating or been one to speak out against the league for any of the decisions it has made, even when those decisions surround players on his team.
Radko Gudas was suspended in December and had a February full of match penalties.
Hakstol stayed quiet and respectful.
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was suspended for Game 4 after hitting Dmitry Orlov from behind in Game 3. Hakstol spoke of Bellemare's character, said it wasn't intentional, but again respected the league's decision.
Friday morning, Hakstol was asked about Washington coach Barry Trotz sending two different plays to the league.
The most blatant one, and one Trotz may have had a case in sending, was when Brayden Schenn inexplicably cross-checked Evgeny Kuznetsov in the area of his knee.
"That's twice," Trotz told reporters. "There was a (Wayne) Simmonds one earlier in the series that was brought up to the league. Once is maybe a coincidence, twice is not."
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Hakstol shrugged off questions about Trotz and the sending of plays to the league for review.
There were two plays, specifically, that Hakstol was annoyed with. Both were in the third period. Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen hit Schenn - who answered for the Kuznetsov play with a fight on the first shift - up high with an open-ice hit in the neutral zone. Niskanen made no attempt at the puck as it squirted by.
The second play came when Jason Chimera, seeing the back of Jake Voracek the whole time, slammed Voracek into the boards 6:51 into the third period. Chimera was penalized for boarding.
"There's a couple of hits out there again tonight that, to me … We sat back and were very respectful of the league's decision on (Bellemare) and with his hit," Hakstol said. "I think there's a couple out there, one at center ice in the third and another one over on the wall that are every bit as impactful as Belle's hit."
Perhaps Hakstol is hopeful the league will take a look at either of the plays. Maybe he'll send them to the league himself.
Either way, the rookie coach finally played into the playoff gamesmanship between coaches.