While waiting for a crucial Game 4 to get underway, rival coaches have been busy trading barbs about "whining" and "white gloves."
Anaheim Ducks coach Randy Carlyle got things started Tuesday when he told reporters he thinks Oilers star Connor McDavid has been getting special "white-glove" treatment from officials during the Stanley Cup playoyffs.
"It seems like there is somewhat of a white-glove treatment for Mr. McDavid," Carlyle said. "The restrictions on anybody touching him seem to be a little bit higher than normal. It's fact. Simple. We review the tape numerous times."
You'd be hard pressed to find anyone in Edmonton who thinks Carlyle has been watching the right tape.
Oilers fan seem convinced the exact opposite is true, that McDavid has been forced to constantly fight through all the clutching and grabbing, without whining to the refs.
'We were supposed to be the team whining'
Oilers coach Todd McLellan certainly wasn't buying Carlyle's take on things.
After Wednesday's team skate at Rogers Place, McLellan was asked about Carlyle's comments.
"I heard that and I was surprised," McLellan said, "because I thought we were supposed to be the team whining."
McLellan's sharp-tongued quip at his counterpart is par for the course when you consider what's really going on here.
Carlyle is as old school as it gets, and was simply trying to plant the seed. Was he hoping to get a whistle or two to go his team's way when it comes to McDavid? He might have been. And in playoff hockey, that can sometimes make the difference.
"I think there's two, or three, maybe four players in the league — Connor, that guy who's not playing in Pittsburgh tonight (Crosby) and some others — who have to play through that hooking, and the holding, and the mauling and all that type of stuff that goes on," McLellan said in defence of his young captain.
"The white glove part of it, I think that's questioning the integrity of the officiating. So I'm going to stay out of that, and let them do that."
Even Anaheim players were dodging this one.
Corey Perry, not one to shy away from a microphone, wouldn't even go there.
"I'm just going to leave it to the coach," he said. "I'll just leave it at that."
Trying to catch the attention of referees
In the Oilers room, Carlyle's comments were met with cheeky grins.
"It is what it is," said Milan Lucic, who chuckled before going further. "I mean, I think he's just trying to get the attention of the referees."
The Oilers power forward then expanded on his answer.
"You can say the same thing the other way. I think they've gotten away with a lot as well. It's part of the gamesmanship, and we try not to let comments like that affect us too much. But in saying that, with his speed and his skill, he's going to create penalties and power plays. It's happened all year long. He gets a step on a guy, the guy takes him down and takes away a scoring chance, that's usually a penalty in my eyes.
"I think the referees have done a good job when it comes to him. And on the other end, they've gotten away with a little bit as well."
As for McDavid, he was quick to deflect the whole "white glove" controversy.
"I don't really have an opinion on it," said the subject of the discussion. "The ref's going to call the game how he sees it."
Wise words from the Oilers captain, who usually lets his play on the ice do all the talking anyway.