Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
Of the 12 names that were added to the NHL’s concussion lawsuit yesterday, the one that stands out the most is that of Paul Stewart, the first American in history to make it to the NHL as both a player and a referee. According the lawsuit, one of the more gregarious and easy-going personalities in the game, Stewart now suffers from depressive and anxiety disorders, anger, impulse and temper control issues and a loss of memory.
And more importantly, Stewart also has had a brain tumor. Last April, Stewart had a golf-ball sized benign tumor removed from his brain at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He had spent much of the previous three seasons in Russia as a judicial and discipline consultant to the KHL. “When I got home from Russia, I promise you, things were not pleasant,” says Stewart, who turns 62 next month. “At first I thought it was because I was gone so long. I’m better since the surgery, but every day I really have to work at it.”
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
- The Department of Player Safety has become the NHL’s Fail Safe Operation, as six of the past eight suspensions and eight of 15 overall levied by the league this year have been assessed for plays on which no penalties were called by the game referees. And major penalties were assessed in only four of the incidents.
Perhaps the Board of Governors could ask Stephen Walkom for an explanation before giving the league’s VP of Officiating a standing ovation next time.
-So it seems as if Rough Rider Paul MacLean wasn’t the problem any more than original Devil Dave Cameron is the solution to the deteriorating and toxic situation in Ottawa.
Apparently the Senators don’t have quite enough Hamburglar Helpers.
- The question isn’t whether the Jackets are seeking to deal Fedor Tyutin, it is whether ownership will eat half of the $9 million remaining on the former Rangers defenseman’s contract over the next two years in order to get it done.
read on for more including time to put an end to fighting...
from Gary Lawless of TSN,
A big part of the issue is the NHL doesn’t have a direct feed for offside challenges and must rely on the network broadcast and replays to make their decision.
So what you’re watching at home, that’s what the linesmen are looking at from their vantage point in the penalty box. You have the luxury of a 60-inch plasma screen at home and you often get replays of the play prior to an official challenge.
So the linesmen have fewer looks on an inferior screen. The viewer at home has better info than the official making the decision.
Linesman, and hockey ops in Toronto for that matter, have to wait for the TV show to collect replays and different angles and then relay them to the viewers which in these cases includes the decision makers. It’s awkward and needs to be made more efficient.
The NHL has direct feeds to hockey operations from both net and overhead cameras which they use for goalie interference and puck over the goal-line challenges. They don’t have to wait or rely on the networks. So it’s quicker and more definitive.
There’s been talk of installing blue line cameras with a direct feed to hockey ops but it hasn’t happened yet so there’s a disparity in technology for offside reviews which can become apparent in the application.
Offside challenges were expected to be rare but that hasn’t been the case.
from Dave Hodge of TSN,
"Thumbs down" to what amounts to a rather large disconnect between NHL referees and the league's Department of Player Safety. The Washington Capitals are playing without two forwards, who were both recently suspended for acts that bothered NHL officials in the video room more than they did the refs on the ice. Zach Sill was given a two-game suspension for boarding and injuring Boston's Adam McQuaid, while Marcus Johansson will be out for two games after hitting Thomas Hickey of the Islanders in the head.
Sill received no penalty for hitting McQuaid at the time and Johansson sat in the penalty box for two minutes. The league's decision to suspend Johansson was a clear message that a minor penalty wasn't sufficient punishment.
So, there are a few things wrong here.
According to the league, the refs aren't making the proper calls. Corrections made after the fact do nothing to satisfy the teams that deserved better during the game.
Where video review and coach challenges are concerned, it's all about transparency and getting the calls right, but that's not the case with penalty calls. It should be.
continued plus a look at the Johansen/Jones trade...
“At some point, I think it will be emotional.
“Standing between the benches during that commercial I’ll look around the rink and delve into some memories.
“I don’t know if it will hit me that night or the next day. I’ll miss my band of brothers.”
-Mike Cvik, NHL linesman who will be working his last game in Calgary tonight. Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun has much more.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
All-Star weekend in Nashville will be an emotional homecoming for Barry Trotz.Washington has clinched the best points percentage in the Metropolitan Division through Jan. 9, the official midway point of the season, so Trotz, who coached the Predators for 15 seasons, will be back behind the bench at Bridgestone Arena. There will be no shortage of strong media material from coaches in Nashville, with two other coaching positions also determined in Dallas’ Lindy Ruff (Central) and Los Angeles’ Darryl Sutter (Pacific). Florida’s Gerard Gallant will represent the Atlantic if the Panthers pick up at least one point through Tuesday or Thursday. The final 40 players, as chosen by the NHL’s hockey operations department, will be announced on Wednesday.
Don’t look now, but Anaheim Ducks awoke Monday in a playoff spot for the first time this season. The Ducks are riding a six-game point streak, but coach Bruce Boudreau warned Sunday night’s win over Winnipeg: “We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’re certainly playing better.” Anaheim is home for the next seven games.
Cheers to outgoing NHL officials Rob Martell and Mike Cvik, both of whom are retiring midway through this season. Martell, 52, refereed his 1,000th and final NHL game on Saturday night in Tampa Bay. The NHL allows officials to choose their crew and assignment for milestone and final games; Martell picked referee Dan O’Halloran and linesmen Brian Mach and Andy McElman to share in his 20-year curtain call. Cvik, 53, debuted as an NHL linesman on Oct. 8, 1987 in Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum, making him the league’s second-longest tenured on-ice official. Sunday marked the 1,863rd game for the only official as big as Zdeno Chara (6-foot-9). That’s a lot of miles in a cramped airline seat. All the best in your next adventure, gentlemen.
Oh the on-ice microphone picks up everything.
from Ian Mendes of TSN,
In the past couple of weeks, the Ottawa Senators have seen both sides of the spectrum when it comes to referees making the wrong decision on major penalties.
If nothing else, these two incidents paint a perfect picture of why the NHL should adopt a video review system when dealing with five-minute major penalties and game ejections.
On Wednesday night in Washington, Curtis Lazar lay helpless on the ice at the Verizon Center just inside the Capitals’ zone. Groggy and unable to come to his senses right away, he was immediately greeted by head athletic therapist Gerry Townend. Just a few seconds earlier, Lazar had been hit by Washington winger Tom Wilson - who has certainly gained the reputation of playing on the edge in the past couple of seasons.
Senators’ players who were on the ice - including Chris Neil - were livid with Wilson taking liberties with one of their young players and went after him in the corner when the play was blown dead.
Now the referees had a decision to make: Should they give Tom Wilson a five-minute major penalty for an illegal check to the head - or should they let him go unpunished?
from Les Carpenter of The Guardian,
The code. The code. The code. That’s all that mattered in those days. Maybe it’s all that matters still. Hockey has always been a referendum on intrepidness. Who’s a tough guy? Who is not?
Former NHL referee Paul Stewart can still hear the words thundering down from a boss when back trouble forced him to lug his gear through airports and train stations in a rolling travel bag rather than one thrown over his shoulder.
“You look like a fag.”
This wasn’t that long ago. Stewart only retired in 2003, and the rolling bag came a few years before that – maybe a little before he found he had stage three colon cancer in the middle of a 1,000-game NHL officiating career. Always the code. Always be tough. The word he despised was “pussy”. It was tossed around rinks like a mark of shame. Use a rolling bag? You’re a pussy. Wear a helmet? What a pussy. Dare to say your head doesn’t feel right after it cracked against the ice? Don’t be a pussy.
So Stewart said nothing about the ringing in his skull on those nights after especially hard hits. To admit the confusion, the nausea, the gaps in recollection would be labeled a pussy, and there was no room for pussies in professional hockey. It’s only now, more than a decade after his last game, with nothing to lose, no reputation to risk that Stewart finally tells the truth. All those concussions the football players get that are also the domain of the hockey enforcers? Well, referees get those too. It’s just something nobody talks about.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
Through the first quarter of the season, there have been 57 challenges - nearly one every five games - and 42 of those (73 per cent) have questioned goaltender interference compared to an offside ruling.
If GMs want to take the decision away from referees, expect a fight from NHL director of officiating Stephen Walkom, who will do everything he can to keep the call in the hands of on-ice officials. Since September, referees have been pushed to “make the better call” in replays, even if it means reversing their own call. But what if the best call comes from Toronto more consistently?
There have been a lot of reasons given for why the war room should make the final call on challenges: Toronto has quicker access to replays, plus they have large monitors to view the angles, compared to a 10-inch screen in the timekeeper’s box, which is about the size of an iPad.
The hammer in the argument, though, is that the handful of league employees making the decision on goaltender interference on a nightly basis will have a lot less variance in opinion than the 35 on-ice referees. To each, goaltender interference may mean something else. And right now, the only thing more baffling in sports than what constitutes a catch in the NFL might be what actually stands for goaltender interference.
more plus other hockey topics...
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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