Sidetracked

Not much to say after two games of this series. Clearly Detroit is the better team at this point, and while the Avs can play better, it's not how you can play it's how you actually play that matters. Until they show some fight in this series there's not much to talk about.

So I'm going to shift gears for a second and talk about something that affects all the remaining playoff teams. The refereeing has been atrocious in these playoffs. Absolutely atrocious. Yesterday's games were a prime example. Late in the Rangers-Penguins game the Rangers scored what appeared to be the game-tying goal with about 4:00 remaining. Yet the goal was waved off because the ref, frankly, didn't appear to be in the right position and lost sight of the puck. In that situation before I have seen referees climb on the back of the net in order to not lose sight of it, but in this case the ref was all the way in the corner and, what seemed to me, to be out of position. The Rangers would go onto lose.

In the late game Mike Modano was called for tripping in the corner. Replays revealed that the sharks player (I think it was Erhoff) had really just lost an edge when Modano was in the area and the refs made a bad call. The referee's apparently subscribe to the "two wrongs make a right" theory of officiating, because 1/2 way through the Sharks PP the refs decided to make a make-up call by calling "holding" on a Sharks player. The call was so comically bad that they might as well have just said "Sharks 2 min: make-up". Dallas scored the GWG on the subsequent abbreviated PP.

Adam Foote was clearly boarded in game 2 (when the game was still close) and there was no call. There were so many bad calls in the Wild-Avs series that it can only be described as "uncountable". (The offsides that led to a goal, and a Wild goal that took only .4 seconds being two of the worst, not that there weren't some in the Avs favor too, but you tend not to notice those).

This isn't an excuse for the losing teams because I wouldn't call the officiating biased, just incompetent. But poor officiating makes for tentative play. Players don't play their normal way because they fear getting a penalty called, even when they don't commit a foul. It makes games choppier and degrades the quality of play on the ice.

The NHL needs to take a hard long look at their officiating (and kangaroo court player-suspension system for that matter) this offseason.

5 comments:

  1. not that there weren't some in the Avs favor too, but you tend not to notice those

    I appreciate your honesty in this regard.

    From what little I saw of the game, I didn't see the Wings playing that tentative, and perhaps thats the difference. Take a step off your game, and you give the opposition every chance to take your game away from you.

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  2. 1) ....and those are only examples from some of the games of the second round. We're sure some Montreal/Philly fans have a story or two. You can bet your boots many have instances where the refs were clueless in the first round.
    2) Why does it seem particularly bad this season? Its not like its one or two refs that are bad, there are NO good referees in the NHL anymore. At least none whom we can say are reliably consistent.
    3) Is it the new no tolerance to hooking/holding that has these guys so intense on looking out for this, that they are missing so much else?

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  3. I think it's confusion. The NHL hasn't done a very good job setting an agenda of what is and isn't a hooking penalty, what should be called? how lenient does the NHL want the refs to be?

    To me it's that the refs don't have good direction from above (which is shocking to anyone who has followed the NHL recently)

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  4. I think one of the biggest problems with the "new NHL" has not been that the refs are now calling obstruction and holding. I really have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with is the zero tolerance of infractions. It's encouraged players to sell infractions when they get them. One step closer to the NBA and soccer. Frankly, the pride of the Canadian hockey player still midigates the outright diving but there are subtle signs of it. You don't get the highsticking penalty now unless you check yourself for blood. You can get a slashing call if you drop your stick. If you don't bend over and check for blood or you don't have your stick knocked from your hands then there's frequently no call.

    The NHL has to ask themselves what's the bigger sin? Calling a penalty where one did not truely exist? Or, failing to make a call even even though evidence might point one having been commited? (for example, a player falling down). To me it's the former. Call exactly what you see and don't buy in to any circumstancial evidence that you missed a call. Be it a broken stick, a player fallen on the ice etc...

    Nothing drives me more crazy than a guy holding a defenseman's stick in his armpit and then drawing a penalty for hooking. Call what you see and don't make calls based on circumstantial evidence that a penalty may have occured.

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  5. This is really nothing new. Reffing is always really bad in the playoffs. I don't quite understand why.

    There's the "let 'em play" theory that they supposedly adhere to in the playoffs, and the "call anything and everything" that the league has them do at the beginning of every season. Either of those would be fine.

    Problem is, refs seem to let one team play while calling anything and everything against the other team, and that can change from team to team within a series.

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