Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
The men who officiate National Hockey League games make hundreds of accurate decisions every night. But come playoff time, it’s never about the ones they get right.
When that puck slides over Antti Niemi’s pad and into the San Jose Sharks net back in Game 4 of the Los Angeles-San Jose series — a blown call in a game that would end in a 2-1 score for San Jose — Twitter goes apoplectic.
And the colleagues of Brad Meier, the referee with the quick whistle on that night?
“We’ve all been through that,” said veteran National Hockey League referee Paul Devorski, whose season came to an end after the first round. “You’re on the ice and you’re dying a thousand deaths down there. You hear the whistle go, and you see the puck keep squirting, and it goes in the net. But once that whistle goes, the play’s dead. You can’t bring it back.”
Few sports are as introspective with its rulebook as the NHL. There are changes every summer, and now, growing talk about a coach’s challenge flag for situations like that one.
F-bombs being tossed, rink mic picks-up the linseman.
from Kerry Fraser of TSN,
Every other rule in the book allows for referee discretion to determine the existence of an infraction, along with the varying degrees at the referee's disposal to implement the final assessment ranging from a minor, double minor, major or match penalty. Aside from determining if the puck is deflected, the referee's discretion is nonexistent when it come to Rule 63.2 — Delaying the Game; Puck over the glass!
We have seen more than one playoff game determined when a player accidentally put the puck over the glass to incur a penalty. It matters not if the puck was rolling and unsettled or the ice was bad and contributed to the flight of the puck. It's the only rule that I can honestly say is simply 'Black and White'!
It was very disconcerting for me to see obvious infractions that went uncalled in deciding games and particularly Game 7's that were played in the previous round. These 'discretionary calls' ranged from body slams to majors for elbowing, cross-checks from behind or a major cross-check infraction to the face (minor called), attempted slew-foot, goalkeeper retaliation with a blocker strike to an opponent's head, charging, and boarding. The referee 'discretion' implemented at times pretty much ran the gambit with a "let them play" mentality.
While I'm not suggesting that this poor standard of enforcement is in any way acceptable, it further demonstrates the absurdity of the puck over glass rule as it now exists.
The Top 10 Playoff rants directed af the refs, TSN style.
from Kerry Fraser of TSN,
Mr. Fraser, I was wondering - If the winning team all get Stanley Cup rings and bonuses, do on ice officials get anything for being in the Final?
While no 'bling' is specifically presented for Stanley Cup Finals selection, the thrill of accomplishment and lifelong memories associated with working the Cup Final remain a lasting reward for Officials who reach this pinnacle in their career. In the past few years the Officials that work the Finals receive an etched crystal trophy as a memento of the year and series they participated and playoff bonus compensation has increased considerably over recent Collective Bargaining Agreements.
It has been a longstanding tradition that once a Ref or Linesman is selected to work in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time he is presented with a Stanley Cup ring at a Special Awards evening held in September during the Officials training camp.
The first couple games of the playoffs have always been interesting from the "how will the game be called" prospective.
Usually these games are called really tight, most every infraction is called as the NHL tries to establish the rules of the game.
But then as the series continue, the calls suddenly are not being made.
For once, I would like to see a game 1 called just like a game 7 would be.
Players ask for consistency then adjust accordingly and hopefully this can be the case this post-season.
from Jeff Z. Klein and Stu Hackel of the New York Times,
The number of physical fouls that N.H.L. officials and the league did not punish during the regular season may provide a clue to how closely they will uphold the rules in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
One notable example was the leaping hit from behind by Rangers forward Rick Nash on Florida’s Tomas Kopecky in March that even the N.H.L. acknowledged should have drawn a penalty. The league declined to suspend Nash, saying he did not aim for Kopecky’s head, but its explanation overlooked Nash’s charging into Kopecky.
During last year’s playoffs, the tone was seemingly set on opening night, when Nashville’s Shea Weber punched, then horse-collared Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg as the game ended, twice ramming his head into the glass. Weber received a two-minute roughing penalty from the referees and a $2,500 fine from the league. He probably deserved a major penalty and a suspension, which would have sent a message that such behavior would not be tolerated.
Instead, other first-round series featured sucker punches, maulings, ambushes and head shots galore. The Philadelphia-Pittsburgh series, in particular, turned into one long brawl.
"How would I fare (in today's game)? I'd make about 12 million a year, score 25 goals, don't wear any equipment. Maybe shin pads. You'd have to block the odd shot. Then I'd hit somebody and I'd be suspended for half a year and I'd be donating six million dollars, which is not bad. I'd still have six million left. You could get suspended at Christmastime and go snowmobiling until the playoffs start and you're ready to go."
-former NHL player Dave "Tiger" Williams. More from Williams on the rules of the game by Greg Harder of the Leader-Post.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Henrik Sedin might not be the most objective source on the subject so, even if he’s 100-per-cent right, you can take his views with a grain of salt.
“Yes, absolutely,” the Canucks captain answered when asked if the officiating standard has changed this season.
“I think it’s too late now, but going into next season you’ve got to go back to the last lockout where they called everything. Guys are going to stop hooking if they know they’re going to get called. Right now there’s way too much of that.”
Kerry Fraser, on the other hand, is a more objective source on this subject and he sees the same things. In 30 years as a referee, Fraser called more than 2,000 regular-season and playoff games and was working right after the 2004-05 lockout when, in a stunning development, the game was called by the rulebook. That era now is referred to as the “good old days,” in hockey circles.
“I would have to agree (with Henrik),” said Fraser, who now works as an analyst for TSN.
from Kerry Fraser of TSN,
I was watching the live feed of the game last night on the NHL Network and felt badly for my friend, referee Tom Kowal when he was unofficially creditedwith a 'helper' on Daniel Carcillo's goal. Beyond that feeling my immediate response was, "Oh no, not again!" (Referee in a traffic lane.)...
Officials occupy necessary space on the ice and must constantly navigate to avoid contact with players and the puck. Most importantly the Referee must position himself in the very best location to see the play with an unobstructed view in order to make a good judgment. That typically means out of high volume traffic areas.
I don't blame Referee Kowal or his colleagues for often standing in this high traffic area behind the goal with a less than perfect sightline and much greater risk for personal injury. They are only doing as they are instructed by their Superiors in the "new way" that is poorly thought out and defies logic and common sense. This change for the sake of change is a bad idea and results in a giant step backward with regard to Referee End Zone Positioning - 101.
read on and watch the goal below...
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.
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