Kukla's Korner Hockey
As a regular feature, StarPhoenix sports reporter Cory Wolfe gets personal with a sports figure. Today, NHL referee Brad Meier gets cornered.
The SP: You’re participating in the Sticks on 23rd street hockey tournament with several NHL players. Any fears that they’ll try to seek retribution against a guy who normally has the power to penalize them?
Meier: I don’t think so because at the end of the day, I’ll have the last laugh when it comes to regular-season play next year. I think I’ll be all right….
The SP: (Laughs) OK, you’ve got a tough job. What’s the best heckle you’ve heard from a fan, player or coach?
Meier: Well, Pat Quinn is always good for some funny ones. One night we were in Toronto and they were taking the rough end of the battle. He kind of piped up and asked us if we all thought it was Hudson Bay rules out there because he didn’t think we’d want to call any penalties. He’s always good for a comment but he’s pretty funny, pretty witty and he’s a great guy to us off the ice.
“We didn’t interfere with the players. We had five calls in the final game, they were all restraining fouls. There were no roughing fouls, no scrums. The first and third periods of Game 7 were the fastest of the whole series. The players were able to skate freely. The credit goes to the players and coaches.”
-game 7 ref Bill McCreary. More from McCreary from Jeff Z. Klein of SlapShot at the NY Times.
from KC Joyner of The Fifth Down at the NY Times,
It isn’t just that there have been missed calls that is troubling. It is also the alarming lack of consistency. Stu Hackel may have put it best in his June 3 post on the Slap Shot blog when he said, “And the officiating standard is inexplicably loosened, then suddenly tightened.” From game to game, it has been next to impossible to tell what the officials are going to call and what they aren’t.
What may be most troubling about the inconsistency is how many commentators seem to be glossing over the issue or, even worse, giving it a blind eye altogether.
The NBC analyst Darren Pang might have epitomized this best in his postgame review last night when, while getting ready to criticize the officials for a missed call, he said that “the referees have done an outstanding job” this postseason. That obviously isn’t the case, but he isn’t the only one who doesn’t want this part of the game to put a damper on what has otherwise been a really good series — the NHL seems just as culpable.
added 9:13am, from David Staples of The Cult Of Hockey,
This time the Penguins got away with one.
A very, very big one, Ruslan Fedotenko’s hook on Detroit defensive ace Nicklas Lidstrom, that led directly to a crucial Pittsburgh goal.
It happened in the third period, the Red Wings down by only one goal, but on Pittsburgh’s home ice in Grade Six of the Stanley Cup Finals.
“I think they are letting a few things go that maybe were called during the regular season, but I like it this way. This allows a lot more battles. You can see it out there. Guys are able to fight for the puck.
“As a player, a fan or a coach, all you ask is that it’s called equally both ways, and I think they’ve done a great job of that. It’s fun. It’s not back to what it was in the eighties or seventies, but it’s nice that you can go in and guys are fighting for the puck, or you’re in front of the net, and there are some battles. That’s the way it should be at this time of year.”
-Kirk Maltby of the Detroit Red Wings on the officiating during the SCF. More on this topic from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail.
The NHL names the Officials selected for the Stanley Cup Finals
Here they are:
Referees: Paul Devorski, Marc Joannette, Dennis Larue and Bill McCreary.
Linesmen: Derek Amell, Steve Miller, Jean Morin and Pierre Racicot.
The NHLOA would like to congratulate the Officials selected and wish them all the best for this year’s Stanley Cup Finals.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
It’s time for the general manager to get on with the business of finding a coach who wants to be in New Jersey for the long-term rather than continuing with one who would operate as a lame duck only out of a sense of responsibility.
There’s no need for Sutter to continue to agonize over his decision. Lamoriello should make it for him and make it for him now, even if that would allow Sutter to immediately slide into the head coach’s position in Calgary that became vacant on Friday when GM Darryl Sutter fired Mike Keenan.
There is no point in holding him hostage to a contract. There is no point in holding the Devils hostage to a lame duck whose authority over the team would invariably be compromised. There is no point to having a short-timer in control of the operation.
read on plus more NHL topics discussed, like NBC and referees in the conference finals…
from Rory Boylen of The Hockey News,
When a team loses, just like most anything else, the immediate urge is to point the finger and pass off the blame to a party without recourse. The refs are an entity that hold ultimate power over each game and are an easy and wide open target for mudslinging, character assassination and even physical challenges. Unfortunately it’s an ugly part of this game and it’s here to stay in some way, shape, or form, but like all the other intangibles within hockey, one can grow up and take a lesson away from the rink.
Being the natural and organic game it is, human error can play a decisive role in any given hockey game. Slashes, trips and interferences go undetected or overly detected, livening up the atmosphere of a game by getting people up in arms and into the action. But what’s done is done; name-callings and death stares will linger, but regardless of what anyone else thinks, someone is going on the power play when the ref makes a call.
from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,
Normally the rulings on Rule 69 are simple: an attacking player makes incidental contact with the goalkeeper at the time a goal is scored and the goal is allowed. But what exactly is “incidental contact” and doesn’t the goalie have the right to unfettered room in the crease?
An even bigger question is whether or not officials are all on the same page regarding those interpretations and whether or not the people doing video replay have the same understanding of contact, incidental or otherwise, as the people working the game at ice level.
Ice-level views are different from press-box views the same way that real-time action is different than video-replay action.
It gets even more complicated when a goalie moves outside his crease. The rules say he can be hit, but the rules also indicate that there are no rules and certainly no video review regarding a goal scored when the goalie is outside the crease. But what defines outside?
more and other hockey topics too…
from Dave Waddell of the Windsor Star,
No one likes someone who blows the whistle, but it was pretty difficult not to like former NHL referee Art Skov.
The genial Skov, 80, died Sunday after suffering through declining health in recent years.
“He was a real players’ referee,” said retired NHL linesman Matt Pavelich, who worked many a game with his fellow Windsorite.
“He did his job well and he was well respected by everyone in the game. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard someone saw anything bad about Art.”
from Mike Leggo at NHLOfficials.com,
How do you say farewell to a legend? How do you put into words a larger than life character that most hockey fans feel they already know? How do you reveal the private man behind the celebrated Officer Koharski in the movie Wayne’s World, the foil in the famous doughnut episode? That’s the conundrum, trying to describe our friend, Koho.
The hockey world knows about the well publicized larger than life Don Koharski - NHL referee – irrepressible, sometimes awash in hockey headlines, sometimes not, cheerful and always steady. Others know him as the friendly neighbor, the charity minded citizen, the golfer and pal. To us fortunate members of the NHL officiating fraternity he is all of that and more. Our Koho is a mentor, a guide, an example, a teammate, a competitor, an athlete, a father figure, a brother and a friend.
picture via NHL.com
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 email@example.com