Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Kerry Fraser at TSN:
There will be a third team on the ice as well. Their deep desire is to avoid becoming (or perceived as) a negative factor in the outcome of this game. Added pressure will certainly be on them to achieve this objective given the events to this point in the series. How they prepare themselves (& are prepared by Officiating/Hockey Ops) will go a long way to achieving a successful result in their performance. I say with the utmost confidence that all of us hope the officials will be a non factor in this final game. Let me share some thoughts on my preparation and occasional obstacles to overcome in memorable game 7’s that I worked.
Dealing with pressure is unique to every player and official; individual coping skills are developed along the way. Experience is often the best teacher when dealing with the internal combustion associated with the pressure of a Game 7. Sometimes you even have to incubate yourself from everything just so you don’t crawl out of your skin prior to the game.
The first time that I was thrust into a Game 7 pressure cooker was in the Battle of Quebec in 1985.
Stephen Walkom was mic’d up for game 3 of the SCF.
CBC’s John F. Molinaro talks to former NHL official Dan Marouelli, a veteran of four Stanley Cup Finals.
CBCSports.ca: Will the NHL talk to the officials before the game tonight?
Marouelli: Absolutely. Terry Gregson [the NHL’s director of officiating] and Kris King [series supervisor] will sit down with them for sure. The big message Terry and Kris will send to them is that the precedent has been set. There’s been a lack of discipline. It was a very aggressive hockey game last time. I would be looking to have them set the tone early in this hockey game. But they will also tell them not to overreact, and therein lies the fine line. Gregson and King will inform both coaches and both GMs of the direction the officials will go if things start to go south tonight.
CBCSports.ca: How do officials tread that fine line?
Marouelli: You need to establish your presence early, and normally that’s through some form of verbal communication with the coaches or role players who are out on the ice. Any time when I was involved in games like this, I was quick to verbalize to the bench and to any players that needed to be cautioned, and then make sure you follow through quickly when something happens.
and much more on the Rome/Horton situation, and other officiating issues
Kerry Fraser at TSN answered this email today…
I have always been curious as to why NHL referees do not have to give post-game interviews, especially in the playoffs. Since technically the NHL fans pay the referee’s salary from revenues generated by their ticket purchases, I often feel like we deserve an answer....
I couldn’t agree with you more about allowing media access to the officials for post-game comments. It is a position I have always held. At the very least a pool reporter should have access to the officials and then provide quotes to the rest of his colleagues in the media. Failing this, an official statement should be released by the vice-president of officiating, Terry Gregson or through the league’s media relations department.
The media has access to players and coaches following a game and they can be asked about calls that went against them. Those responses are always biased and often emotional. Why not gain a perspective from the person that made the decision? The media could then provide a more balanced report of an incident to you, the fan.
The truth is that most of the officials would welcome the opportunity to express their reasoning behind decisions on calls and non-calls; even if it was just an honest statement of, “I missed it - I blew the call.”
Great call by the linesman on the winning goal.
Many thought Kesler may have been offsides on the play, but as you can see, his skate tip was on the blue line when the puck entered the Boston zone.
from Kerry Fraser at TSN,
When it comes to diving or embellishment to draw penalties, do referees have access to game tapes or ‘diving reels’ of serial divers/embellishers? Does the league put out a memo on guys? Any former players you remember that were on a ‘naughty list’ to watch for?
The home team is responsible for providing both referees with their personal DVD copy of the broadcast (or in-house feed) following the conclusion of the game that they worked that night. The DVD, if utilized properly, can be a useful teaching tool if the ref analyzes his performance in an honest and objective fashion. This is often done on the airplane the next day unless an incident report has to be written following the game. The DVD can be used to confirm something that occurred in the game that night to assist in providing accuracy in the report writing process.
From Kerry Fraser at TSN:
An NHL referee typically travels between 80,000-120,000 miles per season (including pre-season and playoffs). After a five-day training camp, which includes medicals and a demanding fitness test on day one, we head off to work our exhibition assignments. Unlike a hockey team that resides in an NHL city, the officials’ home residences are scattered throughout North America. The league has attempted to accommodate requests made by officials who wish to relocate or they have moved young officials into hockey markets that would provide reduced travel costs through the assignment process. [...]
There is a concerted effort by NHL assigner Randy Hall to assign the referees to an equal number of regular season games in each NHL city over the course of their 73 game schedule. (Linesmen can work 75 games max.) Since each owner pays an equal share of the league officiating budget they want the top rated officials in their building as many times as the lower ranked officials. (I’ll leave the ranking to you.) In theory it also provides a sense of fairness.
Through expansion and attrition which brought new officials into the league, Bobby Clarke proposed that officials work in set crews and remain in one conference for at least half of the season. He felt this way the players could get to know them better and develop some sort of relationship. He felt that under the current system a team might see a referee or linesman in a game and not see that individual again for a month.
from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail,
With the NHL warning every team in the past few days that it was going to start cracking down on dives and embellishments, Thornton picked up a minor for “unsportsmanlike conduct” while Johan Franzen went to the box for slashing.
For whatever reason, diving and embellishments have been epidemic in these playoffs, with players snapping their heads back or dropping to the ice at the first sign of contact. And often when you watch the plays in real-time, it’s difficult to see whether or not to tell if there’s an acting job or not, which makes life tough for the officials.
Even some players are calling on their teammates to cut it out.
Eight or nine years ago, there was a big crackdown on these sorts of plays, with the officials calling a diving penalty roughly once every 10 games during the regular season in 2002-03. The past four years, diving calls have dried up considerably, with only 32 made all year during the 2010-11 season.
Former NHL referee Kerry Fraser provides answers at TSN:
The reason players are being ejected more frequently is due to a tightening of the standard imposed upon linesmen to reflect a zero tolerance for face-off “cheaters!” The linesmen take this element of their job very seriously, knowing full well the importance of conducting a fair face-off; especially in crucial areas of the ice. The last thing they want to do is impact the outcome of a game should a goal result from a bad face-off. In recent years additional markings on and around the end zone face-off dots have been added to ensure players line up square to one another and place their sticks on a white marking on the outer edge of their respective side of the dot.
Gaining player cooperation goes a long way in conducting fair face-offs and reducing player ejections. The best linesmen solicit cooperation through dialogue before players even set their positions at the dot.
From Bob McKenzie at TSN:
[Steve] Miller worked Game 1 of the Pittsburgh-Tampa series on April 13 and then Game 3 of the New York Ranger-Washington series on April 17. But he hasn’t worked since then.
On April 20, three days after Miller last worked, ESPN’s Outside the Lines presented an in-depth story about the ongoing, year-long controversy surrounding the as-yet unfound game-winning goal puck from overtime in Game 6 of last year’s Cup final in Philadelphia. Video and still photographs in the ESPN investigative feature appear to indicate Miller picked up the puck. Miller was portrayed as a suspect in the story about the much-talked about unsolved mystery.
In the story, Miller denied knowing of the puck’s whereabouts.
Miller has not worked a game since the story appeared. The NHL has confirmed Miller, for now, has been taken off active playoff duty.
Update 9:23pm ET: And more on this story from ESPN.
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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