Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Two senior National Hockey League referees are divided on whether Dean Warren should have been fired by the league.
“I’ll be frank: he was horse shit,” said Paul Devorski, a 21-year referee who regularly works Stanley Cup Finals.
“Dean Warren is a good ref,” countered 30-year veteran Kerry Fraser, who has to a certain extent fallen out of favour with the NHL, having not been assigned a playoff game in several seasons.
Warren was fired by the NHL last year, and after an unsuccessful appeal through the NHL Officials’ Association has taken his cause to the Ontario Labour Relations Board. In hearings this week, Warren - an NHL referee from 1999-2007 - asserted that it was his involvement with the NHLOA that caused him to fall out of favour with the league.
from Robert Cribb of the Toronto Star,
The NHL removed senior official Dan Marouelli from playoff duties for the first time in memory last season as retribution for supporting colleague Dean Warren’s wrongful dismissal case against the league, Warren’s lawyer told a hearing on Tuesday.
In an intense exchange, lawyer Tom Curry alleged Stephen Walkom, the league’s director of officiating at the time, iced Marouelli out of playoff action for agreeing to testify in Warren’s Ontario Labour Relations Board hearing.
“When (Marouelli) phoned you and told you he was going to come here and assist Mr. Warren, you put him out of the playoffs,” Curry charged.
Walkom chaffed at the allegation.
“You’re questioning my integrity right now. That had nothing to do with it.”
from Robert Cribb of the Toronto Star,
Warren, who was fired last year and is seeking reinstatement, has filed a complaint against the league claiming he was wrongfully terminated for his union work on behalf of the NHL Officials Association.
The league claims Warren was fired for “substandard performance.”
“In my mind there was a number of penalties called in the last two games that didn’t exist,” said Walkom, a former president of the officials’ assocation and who remains an on-ice referee with the league.
Those calls led players to react to Warren in a “contemptuous way,” he said.
Asked why Warren was chosen as one of 22 officials to serve in the playoffs that year, Walkom said Warren “was one of the top guys focused on calling the (NHL) standard.”
fromPierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Dan Marouelli had a request. Let him start his final NHL season in Helsinki.
Terry Gregson, the new director of NHL officiating, agreed. Marouelli kicked off his farewell season by working both Chicago-Florida games at Hartwall Arena.
“Terry Gregson was kind enough,” the veteran NHL referee told me before we both departed Finland this past weekend. “It’s a wonderful way to start the last year. It was spectacular.”
Marouelli will be joined in retirement by fellow vets Bill McCreary and Kerry Fraser after this season, three big names to leave the ice. Add in last season’s retirements of Rob Schick and Don Koharski, and you’re talking about a major transition for the NHL’s men in stripes. Some well-respected and top-notch talent is making way for the kids.
“It’s interesting to see the transition,” said Marouelli. “It’s fitting we’re all leaving together and turning it over to the young guys now.”
from Rory Boylen of The Hockey News,
It’s a job many onlookers think they can do better than the ones wearing the orange bands after a disagreeable call is made, but there is more to this job than meets the eye through a television screen or reverse replay angle.
Building off the popularity of last season’s ‘A Scout’s Life’ feature, every other week we will explore what it takes, what it means to be and what goes through the mind of an official to familiarize fans with this polarizing corner of the game. We’ll not only touch on NHL referees, but also the minor leagues, junior leagues, all the way down to the local minor hockey level where it all begins.
“I grew up not a great hockey player, so, fortunately, I learned at a young enough age I wasn’t going to go anywhere playing,” said pro referee David Banfield. “My dad was a ref himself, so I came home one day and asked him and I started minor hockey on the eastern shore in Cole Harbour.”
from the CP via the Globe and Mail,
Gregson, who has replaced Stephen Walkom as the NHL director of officiating, says the priorities this season will be calling the instigator penalty on fights more often and standardizing the way officials drop the puck for faceoffs.
Officials were told that the instigator has been overlooked too often.
”It’s not new,” Gregson said in a recent interview. ”We’re not changing the wording and we’re not trying to make every fight an instigator call.
”But if a player travels (to start a fight), you have to ask ’did someone clearly instigate?’ And if so, apply the rule.”
from David Staples of The Cult Of Hockey,
On the NHL Network’s online broadcast of the Oilers-Flames game on Wednesday night, (Rod) Phillips started to roast referee Chris Lee about halfway through the first period and didn’t let up. Lee did give the Flames two two-man advantages in the first, but there might well be some concern that Phillips’ response wasn’t exactly in proportion, not that the nutbar Oiler diehards like me who actually watch the game online would care about his bias.
Indeed, we love Phillips for it.
“It doesn’t matter how long you see the game, when you see bad officiating, it just ruins it,” Phillips said of Lee. “This guy has just started off the game absolutely horrendously.”
Free speech, alive and well on the radio.
“He’s obviously an American Hockey League referee and you should be surprised to see him in the NHL this season because he’s not ready,” Phillips then said of Lee.
from Robert Cribb of the Toronto Star,
Former NHL referee Dean Warren is taking the league to the Ontario Labour Relations Board claiming he was wrongfully fired for his union advocacy on behalf of his black-and-white striped colleagues.
Warren, a Toronto native who learned the ropes officiating in the Greater Toronto Hockey League, will appear at a labour relations board hearing tomorrow.
He is alleging the league fired him in April 2008 for his “union activity” with the National Hockey League Officials Association.
The NHL argues in written submissions that Warren was fired for “substandard performance.”
from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,
Terry Gregson, who spent 25 years as an NHL referee, was named the League’s Senior Vice President and Director of Officiating Tuesday. In his new position, Gregson, who officiated 1,427 regular-season and 158 Stanley Cup Playoff games, will assume overall management of the officiating staff.
“I’ve watched and been a part of the direction the game has taken in the last four years and have been excited to be a part of it,” Gregson told NHL.com. “We’re going to stay the course. It is a great opportunity to continue on and keep things going in the right direction.”
Mike Brophy does a Q & A with Stephen Walkom who has left his job as the NHL’s director of officiating and will be returning as a referee this season.
Sportsnet.ca: Some critics suggested the standard for calls took a little dip in last season’s playoffs and once again referees were turning a blind eye to infractions. Do you agree?
Walkom: They talked about it a little bit, but I think everybody is always ready to pounce on it. That’s why I compared the first period prior to the lockout against the first period of this year’s playoffs. Yeah, there was probably one penalty in the first period that we should have called, but we don’t want our guys making up penalties just so we can call the standard. Was there one hook missed? Yeah, there was. Was there a hold we could have called in the second period? Perhaps. But the thing is there were 14 of those four years earlier. Our guys aren’t missing penalties by choice; not calling penalties because of the time of the game or the score of the game. That mentality is gone. If they see something, they react to it.
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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