Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Travis Yost of TSN,
One of the biggest challenges facing officiating in the NHL is the effort to mitigate bias or persuasion as much as humanly possible.
I say humanly possible because it’s critical to note that the referees calling penalties and overseeing the run of play aren’t automatons. Despite rigorous training and a wealth of experience, it’s inevitable that at some point in time, an official will slide under the microscope of a fan base that believes their team has been unfairly victimized by the whistle.
I will defend referees to some degree here: I think examples like Stephane Auger and Alex Burrows are few and far between. We don’t have more than a handful of examples linking an official to a player or a team in a negative fashion, and I think that speaks volumes about the kind of training referees enjoy before getting to the NHL level. More than anything else, the NHL – all sports leagues, for that matter – work to protect their product against these scathing allegations. The credibility of the game must be preserved, and any thought or effort to submarine it generally ends in an official being pushed out of the league.
What I do find problematic is that referees, collectively, seem to prioritize balancing the power of a game above all else. This obviously conflicts with their actual priority, which is to observe penalties and call them accordingly.
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
More than three weeks after being rocked by a Dennis Wideman crosscheck, the Calgary Sun has learned linesman Don Henderson is still battling concussion symptoms that threaten to end his season.
As if there weren’t enough issues for the arbitrator to consider as part of Wideman’s suspension appeal, Henderson’s injuries sustained in the Jan. 27 collision with the Flames defenceman still have the 47-year-old official unable to start exercising at all.
“He still can’t do anything because he hasn’t gone two days symptom-free,” said a source familiar with Henderson’s back pain and concussion struggles since the collision that earned Wideman a 20-game suspension.
“I don’t think he’s coming back anytime soon, if at all.”
from Chris Hine of the Chicago Tribune,
Before this season, officials had to rule interference on the ice and could not consult replay. If you ask Quenneville, the new process is not going well.
"It has gone to a different level," Quenneville said. "I don't know the rules anymore or something has changed. … I think everybody has an interpretation, what's a good goal, what's a bad goal. But I can't believe it."
Quenneville did not stick around to elaborate on his point.
But it seems Quenneville was trying to say the seven sections in the NHL's Rule 69, which covers interference, is not ironclad in its current state. The lengthy explanation describes a number of scenarios in which a player could interfere with a goaltender.
But now that interference is a reviewable call it has muddied the waters, much like replay review in the NFL has caused controversy over what constitutes a catch or an incomplete pass. What may seem like a good goal to the naked eye can become interference when a play is slowed down with every instance of contact displayed frame by frame on video.
According to the rule, any contact with a goaltender in the crease will result in a disallowed goal, as will intentional contact when he is outside the crease.
But it is not cut and dry. Incidental contact can be allowed when the goaltender is outside the crease and when he is inside the crease during a rebound or loose puck situation. But just what constitutes incidental contact?
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
Of the 12 names that were added to the NHL’s concussion lawsuit yesterday, the one that stands out the most is that of Paul Stewart, the first American in history to make it to the NHL as both a player and a referee. According the lawsuit, one of the more gregarious and easy-going personalities in the game, Stewart now suffers from depressive and anxiety disorders, anger, impulse and temper control issues and a loss of memory.
And more importantly, Stewart also has had a brain tumor. Last April, Stewart had a golf-ball sized benign tumor removed from his brain at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He had spent much of the previous three seasons in Russia as a judicial and discipline consultant to the KHL. “When I got home from Russia, I promise you, things were not pleasant,” says Stewart, who turns 62 next month. “At first I thought it was because I was gone so long. I’m better since the surgery, but every day I really have to work at it.”
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
- The Department of Player Safety has become the NHL’s Fail Safe Operation, as six of the past eight suspensions and eight of 15 overall levied by the league this year have been assessed for plays on which no penalties were called by the game referees. And major penalties were assessed in only four of the incidents.
Perhaps the Board of Governors could ask Stephen Walkom for an explanation before giving the league’s VP of Officiating a standing ovation next time.
-So it seems as if Rough Rider Paul MacLean wasn’t the problem any more than original Devil Dave Cameron is the solution to the deteriorating and toxic situation in Ottawa.
Apparently the Senators don’t have quite enough Hamburglar Helpers.
- The question isn’t whether the Jackets are seeking to deal Fedor Tyutin, it is whether ownership will eat half of the $9 million remaining on the former Rangers defenseman’s contract over the next two years in order to get it done.
read on for more including time to put an end to fighting...
from Gary Lawless of TSN,
A big part of the issue is the NHL doesn’t have a direct feed for offside challenges and must rely on the network broadcast and replays to make their decision.
So what you’re watching at home, that’s what the linesmen are looking at from their vantage point in the penalty box. You have the luxury of a 60-inch plasma screen at home and you often get replays of the play prior to an official challenge.
So the linesmen have fewer looks on an inferior screen. The viewer at home has better info than the official making the decision.
Linesman, and hockey ops in Toronto for that matter, have to wait for the TV show to collect replays and different angles and then relay them to the viewers which in these cases includes the decision makers. It’s awkward and needs to be made more efficient.
The NHL has direct feeds to hockey operations from both net and overhead cameras which they use for goalie interference and puck over the goal-line challenges. They don’t have to wait or rely on the networks. So it’s quicker and more definitive.
There’s been talk of installing blue line cameras with a direct feed to hockey ops but it hasn’t happened yet so there’s a disparity in technology for offside reviews which can become apparent in the application.
Offside challenges were expected to be rare but that hasn’t been the case.
from Dave Hodge of TSN,
"Thumbs down" to what amounts to a rather large disconnect between NHL referees and the league's Department of Player Safety. The Washington Capitals are playing without two forwards, who were both recently suspended for acts that bothered NHL officials in the video room more than they did the refs on the ice. Zach Sill was given a two-game suspension for boarding and injuring Boston's Adam McQuaid, while Marcus Johansson will be out for two games after hitting Thomas Hickey of the Islanders in the head.
Sill received no penalty for hitting McQuaid at the time and Johansson sat in the penalty box for two minutes. The league's decision to suspend Johansson was a clear message that a minor penalty wasn't sufficient punishment.
So, there are a few things wrong here.
According to the league, the refs aren't making the proper calls. Corrections made after the fact do nothing to satisfy the teams that deserved better during the game.
Where video review and coach challenges are concerned, it's all about transparency and getting the calls right, but that's not the case with penalty calls. It should be.
continued plus a look at the Johansen/Jones trade...
“At some point, I think it will be emotional.
“Standing between the benches during that commercial I’ll look around the rink and delve into some memories.
“I don’t know if it will hit me that night or the next day. I’ll miss my band of brothers.”
-Mike Cvik, NHL linesman who will be working his last game in Calgary tonight. Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun has much more.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
All-Star weekend in Nashville will be an emotional homecoming for Barry Trotz.Washington has clinched the best points percentage in the Metropolitan Division through Jan. 9, the official midway point of the season, so Trotz, who coached the Predators for 15 seasons, will be back behind the bench at Bridgestone Arena. There will be no shortage of strong media material from coaches in Nashville, with two other coaching positions also determined in Dallas’ Lindy Ruff (Central) and Los Angeles’ Darryl Sutter (Pacific). Florida’s Gerard Gallant will represent the Atlantic if the Panthers pick up at least one point through Tuesday or Thursday. The final 40 players, as chosen by the NHL’s hockey operations department, will be announced on Wednesday.
Don’t look now, but Anaheim Ducks awoke Monday in a playoff spot for the first time this season. The Ducks are riding a six-game point streak, but coach Bruce Boudreau warned Sunday night’s win over Winnipeg: “We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’re certainly playing better.” Anaheim is home for the next seven games.
Cheers to outgoing NHL officials Rob Martell and Mike Cvik, both of whom are retiring midway through this season. Martell, 52, refereed his 1,000th and final NHL game on Saturday night in Tampa Bay. The NHL allows officials to choose their crew and assignment for milestone and final games; Martell picked referee Dan O’Halloran and linesmen Brian Mach and Andy McElman to share in his 20-year curtain call. Cvik, 53, debuted as an NHL linesman on Oct. 8, 1987 in Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum, making him the league’s second-longest tenured on-ice official. Sunday marked the 1,863rd game for the only official as big as Zdeno Chara (6-foot-9). That’s a lot of miles in a cramped airline seat. All the best in your next adventure, gentlemen.
Oh the on-ice microphone picks up everything.
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.
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