Kukla's Korner Hockey
from John McGourty of NHL.com,
If Chris Rooney hears a fan at the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic Friday (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS) call out, “Wicked bad call, ref,” he’ll feel right at home.
Rooney, from South Boston, was chosen to referee the game along with veteran Kerry Fraser. New Hampshire’s Brian Murphy will be one of the linesmen, along with Lyle Seitz.
The whole crew is looking forward to the game with great excitement. They know they’ll be part of a rare historical event and they’re soaking up every minute of the pre-game excitement. Thursday, they were asked by NHL ice guru Dan Craig to test the ice and gave him their evaluations.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
There was a time, back when the National Hockey League was more of a mom and pop shop, when Bryan Murray, Cory Clouston and their Ottawa Senators would have paid a heavy price for coming out and questioning the integrity of the NHL’s officials.
“Back in the old days when we didn’t have TV?” began veteran referee Paul Devorski, “We could show up in Winnipeg, and if I really wanted to shove it up yer hoop, I could. Nowadays, you can’t call a phantom hook or you’re on the carpet the next day with (NHL director of officiating) Terry Gregson. If it becomes habitual, now you’re not working playoffs.”
So today, referees blow off the carping that came from Ottawa this week as more excuse-making by a GM, this time the Senators’ Murray. Clouston, his head coach, was cast in a rather embarrassing supporting role.
“It strikes me as something where (Murray) is not having as much success as he wants, so maybe it’s not his fault. Maybe it’s our fault,” referee Mike Leggo said. “Take the blame off his players. Try and shift the focus, try and get the next break.”
from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
I’ll be doing my notebook lead on the two penalties called on Derek Boogaard Saturday night in Vancouver. The Hockey Night in Canada folks apparently went after referee Brad Watson pretty good, and Watson certainly appeared to call Boogaard with “reputation” calls.
I don’t know if Boogaard really angered Watson, or perhaps the ref wanted to showboat for the loud Vancouver faithful, but it was beyond belief how animated Watson got after the two penalties he called on Boogaard. He vivaciously waved Boogaard to the box on both calls like the Boogeyman had just committed murder—one after Darcy Hordichuk twice punched Boogaard in the face and Boogaard retaliated for the lone call and once when Boogaard fell (he may have embellished, but he swears he slipped because he was on one skate when bumped) after the Canucks committed the definition of textbook interference (fencing off) at the blue line. I thought it was Willie Mitchell, but Boogaard says it was Kevin Bieksa.
Regardless, Todd Richards couldn’t use him again—not because of Boogaard, but because he didn’t trust Watson.
from Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette,
Dave Jackson is used to getting booed and yelled at when he’s at work. It’s part of the job when you’re a referee in the National Hockey League.
“Yelling at the referee has always been part of the game in professional hockey,” Jackson said. “I don’t take exception to it.”
But Jackson does take exception to the verbal abuse he hears young referees taking in minor hockey. Jackson, who lives on the West Island, has been spending more time in local arenas since his NHL season came to a sudden end last month when he tore both the ACL and MCL ligaments in his knee during a game. And he doesn’t like what he has seen and heard from some hockey parents - especially at the lower levels - who take the games far too seriously.
“Sometimes kids (at the lower levels) just fall down and parents are yelling for a penalty to be called,” said Jackson, who has a teenage son who referees minor hockey. “A referee can take away the flow of the game by calling penalties that aren’t penalties.
from Rory Boylen of The Hockey News,
We’ve touched on the importance of communication between referee and player and referee and coach, but perhaps the most important part of the communication game comes between the on-ice officials themselves.
Like the two foes they are out there to moderate, the four officials in a game are their own team. They’ve got each other’s backs, they constantly try to stay on the same page in terms of positioning and interpreting the flow of the game, and part of that is the preparation that comes in the dressing room before the puck drops.
Before each game, the officials have an informal meeting to discuss trends of the two teams, tendencies of some of the players and even their own positioning to make sure all areas of the ice are covered off.
Seven National Hockey League referees and six NHL linesmen were named on Thursday to work at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver next February.
The referees are Paul Devorski, Mark Joannette, Dennis LaRue, Bill McCreary, Dan O’Halloran, Chris Rooney and Brad Watson. The linesmen include Shane Heyer, Jean Morin, Brian Murphy, Thor Nelson, Tim Nowak and Jay Sharrers.
“We had to look at experience and every other element to come up with the numbers we were told we could utilize,” NHL Senior Vice President and Director of Officiating Terry Gregson told NHL.com.
Gregson said the selection process involved more than just determining who was doing the best job this season.
from Chris Kerber of HockeyChats,
With the Olympics right around the corner, it’s a good time to remind all NHL’ers that diving is a summer Olympic event, not a winter event. Diving continues to be the one call the NHL does not call enough. A player that dives embarrasses the referee, other players, and most importantly the game. It’s not a smart move or a veteran play. Diving is embarrassing and should be handled that way. Embarrass the diver.
Before we go further, yes it is possible to have a penalty and a dive on the same play. Not always, but it can happen. A player can hook another player and the other player can embellish the act and therefore take a dive. This is where the rule must change. If a dive is handed out, it should automatically negate the other penalty. That’s an easy one and hard to understand why it doesn’t happen.
from William Houston of Truth & Rumours,
Very little of what Mike Milbury says makes sense to me, but he was right about one thing on Saturday night.
The NHL does not need new rules to address the worst of the head shots – the predatory, blindside attacks.
“The rules are already in place,” he said on Hockey Night In Canada. “There’s enough power for Colin Campbell to make a change.”
Not said by Milbury is that Campbell, the NHL’s senior vice-president in charge of discipline, won’t do anything.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Before the start of the regular season, the NHL said the instigator penalty would be called more vigilantly this season than in the recent past. So far, that hasn’t been the case.
Heading in to Tuesday’s games, an instigator penalty had been called in 8 of 117 fights. That’s one for every 14 fights or 6.8%. Although slightly higher than last season’s 5.9% rate, the calling of instigator penalties has declined significantly from the first two post-lockout seasons.
NHL officials were sent memos at the beginning of the season, reinforcing the importance of identifying instigators when the occasion calls for it. One of the most blatant circumstances is fights following clean hits. NHL Director of Officiating Terry Gregson says, “if a player seeks to hand out his own form of justice and his actions meet the criteria, it must be called.”
from Darren Eliot of Sports Illustrated,
Speaking of justice, no one has it tougher than the NHL officials when it comes to sorting and meting it out. The game is fast. The players are big. They now cluster and bunch together like never before. Maintaining clear sightlines is harder than ever—even with two sets of eyeballs. Yet, while taking all that into consideration, it seems to me that the referees are tolerating more contact away from the puck. Defensemen are sticking and pinning players on the boards once the puck has moved a beat or two longer than was the case when the league declared the new standard of enforcement in 2005-06.
In open ice, I’ve seen more moving and subtle picks than I can ever remember. The focus on such face-off infractions seems intact, but defensemen screening off for their partners, wingers taking a route to the boards that impedes a forechecker’s progress and proximity, picks at the blueline that open up lanes for zone entry, all appear to be more prevalent. Part of it is certainly coaches and players coming up with ways to be as successful as possible now that they’ve operated under these conditions for the past four seasons. Maybe it is just part of the natural cycle whereby it is now back on the officials to adjust to the adjustments made by the teams.
more plus other NHL topics…
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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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