Kukla's Korner Hockey
I'd say more frustrated.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
We spoke with one team executive who said the problem with the dramatic difference in how playoff games are called from game to game and period to period -- especially as it relates to the standards set in the regular season -- is that it makes casual fans feel at best confused and at worst stupid.
They watch a game in the regular season and see a player make contact with an opposing player, impede his progress, obstruct him, take his hand off his stick and grab him, and the referee's arm goes up and a penalty is called. They get that. They come to expect it, and that understanding gives them a connection to the game.
A week later it's the playoffs and there's no guarantee that the calls get made.
And if it's overtime or a Game 7, well, the odds that you'll see calls made decrease further.
"This lack of objectivity makes [fans] feel they're not in the know," the team executive said.
Does this lack of clarity have a negative impact on the game's growth?
If it does, it's something team owners and players should have a keen interest in improving given that they share the revenue pie.
from Damien Cox of The Spin,
There's going to be a lot of people watching.
For sure in Chicago and Boston, and certainly throughout Canada, and beyond, well, we'll see. In the world of the Bettman administration, this Stanley Cup final would only be better if all seven games were scheduled for Wrigley and Fenway.
Otherwise, two great American sports cities, and two terrific hockey towns, suggest this is some kind of peculiar reward from the hockey gods to the NHL owners and players after the grinding 113-day lockout that produced something for both side and nothing for the fans.
But the fact that a lot of people will be watching also means is that if the NHL were of such a mind, a correction right now would be most helpful.
That is, after allowing the rulebook to be stretched, perverted and torn to shreds over three rounds, now would be a good time to re-establish a little structure.
Hell, if they can change the standard halfway through the season and then again the playoffs, they can change it back again.
And let's face it, things have become rather ridiculous. Sure, the spirit of "letting them play" has merit within the sometimes dubious history of the game, but beyond that, allowing blatant fouls to go uncalled at key points of hockey games has turned these playoffs into a bit of a joke.
A longtime NHL player, who has requested anonymity, contacted the Examiner and asked for the following post to run in response to the controversial play that occurred late in the third period of Wednesday night’s decisive Game 7 of the Chicago-Detroit series.
One of two things should have happened. One, Walkom - the trailing official, should have let the exchange go without making a call. It was a nothing play, it did not interfere with a scoring chance and the game is clearly at a point where it’s time for the players to decide the outcome.
Two, call it for what it is - it's roughing on Detroit and flag the offending Wing for a minor. In either case, the goal stands and the team that should have won would have won, right then and there as Hjalmarsson scores. (Fortunately, for NHL hockey ops and for Walkom, Chicago did win in spite of the botched call)....
Here's the bigger question though ... is this an isolated missed call or a symptom of a larger systematic concern? You guessed right; it's the latter.
I have played in too many games where NHL officials are doing everything in their power to "even things out." No matter who's playing whom and no matter how they're playing, it was all too common for officials to attempt to mete out an equal number of minor penalties to each team. Meaning, going in to any given game, the men in black adopt the approach that the penalties taken by the visitors will, for the most part, equal the number of penalties taken by the home team. All is fair if everybody gets their fair share, right?
more at the Examiner...
from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,
Had Detroit won in overtime, the NHL would have been turning 50 shades of blue. The work of its on-ice officials would have come under scrutiny. The media would have pounced; the players would have piled on. Forget about working another game; Walkom would have been lucky to get out of Chicago unscathed.
He was, after all, culpable on more than one front: he blew the whistle on matching minors scrubbing a play that ended with Chicago scoring. The penalties were on the opposite side of the rink and had no bearing on the action. And while Detroit’s Kyle Quincey deserved his roughing infraction for body slamming Chicago’s Brandon Saad to the ice, all Saad did was land in a heap. (“Worst call of the playoffs,” tweeted Paul Stastny of the Colorado Avalanche.)
At that moment, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman must have broken out in a rash thinking, “There goes our beautiful Conference finals involving the last four Stanley Cup winners. Who can I suspend for this?”
more and other NHL topics too...
Did you miss or want to review the controversial matching penalty call, watch it below...
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.
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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