Apparently Jack Capuano's criticism of Saturday night's officiating did not fall on deaf ears.
NHL's Senior Vice President and Director of Officiating Terry Gregson confirmed to Newsday via email Sunday that they are looking into the matter.
"We follow up on all issues that arise and the protocol is being followed," Gregson said when asked if he was aware of allegations made against official Stephane Auger by Capuano and Islanders center Frans Nielsen after the Islanders 3-2 overtime loss.
After the game, Capuano said the officiating was "one-sided," and the Devils got "all the calls." Capuano also said Auger routinely dismissed him when he requested explanations for penalties and acted altogether disrespectful.
"I don't want to beat a dead horse," Capuano said when reached by phone Sunday. "but when he came over to talk to me, I didn't think it was the manner it should have been."
Capuano wasn't alone in feeling that way. Soft-spoken alternate captain Frans Nielsen lost his cool in a rare display of emotion during the third period. Before being slapped with a ten-minute misconduct penalty at 11:33, Nielsen complained that Devils' forward David Clarkson was making inappropriate comments at Capuano from the ice.
"I tried to talk to [Auger] because they had some guys who were saying things to Cappy," Nielsen told Newsday after the game. "I've never seen that before, a guy talking to the other team's coach. So I went over to [Auger] to just let him know that this wasn't right, and he kind of lost it on me, told me to get lost."
The usually-gregarious Capuano couldn't suppress his anger in a post-game press conference with reporters.
"We got no respect tonight,'' Capuano said. "Maybe if we start winning games, we'll get it. Maybe it's a young coaching staff and they've got an older coaching staff. Maybe it's their players -- their veteran guys versus our non-veteran guys. I have no idea. But it's tough for guys to prepare for a game and then it's taken away from you.''
"I don't comment too much on the officiating," Capuano continued. "But you've got to let the players decide the game, especially with a game of this magnitude.''
As of 3:40 p.m. Sunday, Capuano said he had not been contacted by league disciplinarian Colin Campbell for his critical comments or notified of any impending fine.
"I don't think anything I said was that bad, compared with what other people have said," Capuano said. "All I said was that I thought it was one-sided. I didn't go crazy. I didn't embarrass any of the refs on the ice."
The review may be nothing more than a routine follow-up based on Capuano and Nielsen's complaints, but Auger is no stranger to controversy.
Most notably, he was accused of acting upon a personal vendetta against Vancouver Canucks' forward Alexandre Burrows last season. Back in 2005, Auger accused Phoenix's Shane Doan of using derogatory language toward two French-Canadian referees, a claim that was ruled baseless by the NHL.
There was also a questionable incident involving Auger and the Islanders earlier this season. Auger worked the team's 4-3 shootout loss to the Canucks January 11, in which a questionable spin-o-rama move was used by Mason Raymond to score on goaltender Kevin Poulin. According to a source, the league reviewed the validity of the goal after the game. Although regarded as "close" to violating the continuous motion rule, the goal was ultimately ruled legal.
Auger, who has been an NHL official since the 1999-2000 season, could not be reached for comment on this story.