Kukla's Korner Hockey
from James Duthie at the Ottawa Citizen,
I would like everyone to give referees ... a break.
Why do I suddenly feel like the guy on the All-Bran Cereal Bars commercial, where everyone spits out their water or laughs hysterically when he says they taste good?
It’s true. After spending the past two weeks scrutinizing call after questionable call on our TSN panel (TV factoid: debating referee rulings is a can’t-miss way to kill five minutes), I’m starting to suffer from some warped form of Stockholm Syndrome. I’m feeling sorry for the men in stripes.
Has there been the odd horrendous, brain-cramp, WTF?!? call in these playoffs? Of course. But there have also been countless occasions where we’ve looked at a replay a dozen times in Super-Duper HD Slo-Mo, and still haven’t been able to tell if the right call was made.
With the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs over, the National Hockey League has trimmed the number of referees that will work the second round.
The list of those staying on is headlined by Paul Devorski, Don Koharski and Bill McCreary, all of whom have worked more than 1,500 regular season and playoff games.
Notably absent from the second round is referee Kerry Fraser, who has also worked more than 1,500 regular season and playoff games.
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
And the performance of the duo of veteran referees Don Koharski and Paul Devorski in Philadelphia’s 3-2 overtime win over Washington Tuesday has to be noted, because it was simply abhorrent.
If there were a way to get a police sketch artist to encapsulate Koharski and Devorski’s wildly varying in-game assessments – featured by a stretch in which no penalties were called from the 13:27 mark of the second period to Tom Poti’s chintzy tripping minor 4:15 into OT that led to Joffrey Lupul’s game-winner at 6:06 – I’d transfer that image to thousands of Wanted: Dead Or Alive posters and start fundraising immediately to raise as much money as possible for a reward.
Making matters worse, if it weren’t for another blown call in the second period, the Caps might’ve won their Eastern Conference first-round series in regulation time.
Update 3:35pm ET: Jamie Fitzpatrick writes a response to Proteau’s comments at About.com
From Paul Kukla at Hockey.com,
My life may be a bit different than yours since I do hockey for a living. 24/7, that’s me and although you may not have the schedule I do, you probably have been following the conference quarter-finals and have been impressed by the pace and action of the games.
We have hard hard hits, battles along the boards, grit and determination is the norm and most games have kept us tuned-in until the final horn. The officiating on a whole has been great, letting the boys play is much better than calling every little infraction. As long as the pattern continues, we cannot ask for anything more from the on-ice officials.
more… from the boss
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
At the GM meetings in the winter, you’ll recall, the league essentially declared war on the goalies by demanding a new crackdown on their equipment. Now, the league that less than 10 years ago wouldn’t allow a goal to be scored with as much as a toe in the blue paint is allowing the netminders to be physically abused every game.
What the league is setting itself up for, however, is for a series-winning goal, or a Cup-winning goal, to be scored while a goalie is being blatantly hindered from being able to stop the puck.
more and some AO talk too…
NHL Director of Officiating Stephen Walkom will be the guest on the NHL Hour today, hosted by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
The show is on from 4-5 p.m. ET today on XM Satellite Radio (Channel 204) and NHL.com. NHL Hour is an interactive talk radio show that is hosted by a rotation of League executives, and co-hosted by XM sports host and former NHL player Bill Clement.
**Archived shows available for download via a podcast on NHL.com.
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
From smashing players face first into the glass to ramming their heads into the stanchions at the end of the benches, we see players “doing whatever it takes to win” on a regular basis. It happens when we see players rammed from behind with six or seven crosschecks to the back in an effort to “clear the crease”. We see it when during the endless scrums in front of the net whenever the goalie makes a save in close quarters. We see it when players deliver a leather “face wash” to an opponent after the play is whistled dead or when others take exception to “clean hits” whenever a teammate is knocked down but then defended with a quick slash or a shoulder pad to the mouth in close quarters. All part of the game, eh?
So what’s the rue and cry about what Avery did?
NEW YORK/TORONTO (April 14, 2008)—National Hockey League Senior Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell today issued the following advisory on the interpretation of Rule 75 -
Unsportsmanlike Conduct: “An unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty (Rule 75) will be interpreted and applied, effective immediately, to a situation when an offensive player positions himself facing the opposition goaltender and engages in actions such as waving his arms or stick in front of the goaltender’s face, for the purpose of improperly interfering with and/or distracting the goaltender as opposed to positioning himself to try to make a play.”
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
On Tuesday, NHL executive vice-president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell conducted a conference call to educate postseason coaches and general managers on what the league will be paying close attention to.
At the top of Campbell’s list of unacceptable behavior is unnecessary late-game brutality. Traditionally, this type of message-sending takes place when the team trailing in the last five minutes of a game wants to change the emotional tone of the series.
The NHL says it won’t tolerate this.
The National Hockey League has named its 20 referees and linesmen for the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs.
The list is headlined by veterans Paul Devorski, Kerry Fraser, Don Koharski and Bill McCreary, all of whom have worked more than 1,500 regular season and playoff games.
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org