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Should Players Be Fined for Criticizing Officials?

James Mirtle asks the question in his Globe & Mail blog post today, citing these remarks by David Legwand after the Vancouver-Nashville matchup last night:

“I think it’s a horrible call,” Legwand told Yahoo! Sports, among others. “Obviously they’re going to think it’s a good call, but Kesler’s obviously holding his stick. I don’t know if Timmy Peel had a date or something, but he wanted to get out of here pretty quick, it looked like. It’s a tough way to lose a game.”

He repeated his message more than once, according to the Vancouver Sun.

“That ticky-tack in overtime is kind of tough,” Legwand added. “I don’t know if the ref had to be somewhere tonight. It was a tough call to take; obviously Kesler is holding on to his stick. Webby’s stick shouldn’t be in there in the first place, but Kesler’s holding on his stick and that’s a pretty touchy call for overtime.

“Someone’s got to be held accountable for it. That’s a bad hockey call. In the end, they get the goal and capitalize. Timmy Peel calls that and it’s a bad call. Do something about it. It’s kind of tough to point on one person, but that’s a bad hockey call.”

Video of the call in question:

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: david+legwand

Comments

bezukov's avatar

There needs to be no call in that situation or more appropriately offsetting minors.  The officials have done quite a bit to encourage diving over the past two seasons (looking at you San Jose).

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 05/04/11 at 02:59 PM ET

Bosephus's avatar

When it comes to playoff OT, they should most things slide unless it’s a pretty blatant infraction.  That call was not one of those.  Regarding diving, every singe team does it, and will continue to do so since it is rewarded by the league.  I want video review of every potential dive (after the game) with fines, maybe even suspensions for repeat offenders.

Posted by Bosephus from Behind enemy lines, Denver, CO on 05/04/11 at 03:23 PM ET

DetCapC19's avatar

My thinking is - players, coaches, and GMs get roated for mistakes, so should officials.

Posted by DetCapC19 from Vancouver, BC on 05/04/11 at 03:29 PM ET

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This was not a mistake.  It’s a penalty according to the new rules (or interpretation or existing rules) after the lockout.  Weber used his free hand the push Kesler multiple time, and according to the new rule, if your hand is not on your own stick but rather on your opponent’s body, it’s holding.

The problem is that there is no consistency.  They are not officiating the game according to the post-lockout standard for most of game, and suddenly they decided to call that a penalty, as an apparent makeup call for the interference/hitting from behind on Bieksa, who did touch the puck when he was hit in the back.

Posted by Kel on 05/04/11 at 03:39 PM ET

DetCapC19's avatar

Rule 56: Interference:

Free Hand:  When a free hand is used to hold, pull, tug, grab or physically restrain an opponent from moving freely, this must be penalized as holding. The free hand may be used by a player to “fend off” an opponent or his stick, but may not be used to hold an opponent’s stick or body.

Pushing Kesler with his free hand isn`t a penalty.  Holding him with it is.  Weber didn`t hold him. 

And he didnt get the penalty for holding.  He got it for hooking.  Hooking with a stick that Kesler was holding.

Posted by DetCapC19 from Vancouver, BC on 05/04/11 at 03:46 PM ET

Avatar

Pushing him is a way to “physically restrain an opponent from moving freely

Posted by Kel on 05/04/11 at 03:52 PM ET

Wings_in_NYC's avatar

I think officials should be fined for horrible calls. There is zero accountability with officials and it’s no wonder calls like this are made. Nothing will happen to this ref so why not just call whatever you feel like? It’s ridiculous. It’s OT in a playoff game. Just let them play for crying out loud. If anything, this ref should be relieved for the remainder of the POs and sent back to ref camp or wherever it is he flunked out of in the first place.

Posted by Wings_in_NYC on 05/04/11 at 04:12 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Players should be fined only if officials are fined for blowing the calls in the first place.

Posted by Primis on 05/04/11 at 04:14 PM ET

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I don’t understand why OT should have a different standard than regulation, or playoffs should have a different standard than regular season.  If it’s a call in regulation season, make sure you call it in playoff OT game 7.

Posted by Kel on 05/04/11 at 04:17 PM ET

graf's avatar

The problem is that there is no consistency.  They are not officiating the game according to the post-lockout standard for most of game, and suddenly they decided to call that a penalty, as an apparent makeup call for the interference/hitting from behind on Bieksa, who did touch the puck when he was hit in the back.

This.  The ref’s still have the notion of playoff type hockey penalties in the back of their minds from the pre-lockout days combined with the general attitude by fans and players that less should be called during this time.  However, they also are being told by the NHL to call certain stuff and all the “training” they received post-lockout about the new rules contradicts in their minds.

You can see it in how they call stuff, and what they call during the playoffs.  They simply aren’t receiving the adequate instruction or guidelines by the NHL to be consistent.  It’s lazy on the league’s part, and leads to poor (and seemingly random) calls.

Posted by graf on 05/04/11 at 04:22 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Getting back to the overall point, yes players should get fined for criticizing officials. 

He has an agent, a coach, a GM, and an entire players organization backing him for making these claims and several outlets for voicing his displeasure “in-house”.  Complaining to the media gives way more attention to those complaints, but it also makes the business, in which he’s a partner, look bad. 

Now I know that the easy dismissive response is that obviously, nobody’s listening to those official in-house channels, as the problem continues to persist.  But, extend the one bit of complaining out to a constant stream through both means.

On the one hand, if the players, coaches, and GMs are using those in-house channels, they can help produce the changes necessary without stirring up a ton of controversy.

On the other, if all those players, coaches, and GMs constantly bitch to the media about these things, those changes may still come, but it’s also going to drive away business in the meantime, as people who are already on the fence about how the league handles refs lose their remaining faith in the NHL’s ability to get it right.

In short, one public complaint is not a problem, but the players need to be punished to prevent it from becoming a wave of them.  Because a wave of public complaints is a problem.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 05/04/11 at 04:25 PM ET

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I never understood why d-men wrap their stick around the guy to begin with.  I am not saying it should have been a penalty, but the reason kessler was able to hold onto it was because the stick was wrapped around him from the beginning when they met at the boards.  Brooks Orpik gets called for the same thing at least once every other game.  D-men have to understand to not wrap a guy up like that to begin with and you will not have the problem where the guy holds onto your stick.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 05/04/11 at 04:25 PM ET

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If players are compelled to speak to the media, they should not be fined if the league doesn’t like what they say. Now they shouldn’t be vulgar or unprofessional, but if a reporter asks what a player thinks of a call he should be allowed to answer honestly or whine and reveal his true character.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 05/04/11 at 04:36 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

My boss compels me to speak to clients, even though I’d prefer not to, but I still have to deal with the consequences of what I say to them and the affect it may have on the business.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 05/04/11 at 04:39 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 05/04/11 at 02:39 PM ET

You are allowed to disagree and / or make recommendations to your clients, correct? And then regardless of your opinion, work in the interests of the client. Same as a player: he might not agree with the call, voice his disagreement, but must still comply with the call.

Not to be misunderstood in my position, I do think you are correct on the overall point to an extent. An individual complaint is not an issue, but a tirade or a wave of complaints diminishes the leagues credibility more so than the incompetence of the officials. I don’t take umbrage with Vancouver for pointing out statistical facts or with a player saying he doesn’t agree with a call because “he was holding my stick and I went to the box.” I don’t agree with statements regarding “conspiracy” or some hidden agenda like “having plans,” that stuff is for the fans.

I just believe the player should be able to give a reasonable criticism (or questioning) of a call from his perspective.

Posted by SnLO from the sub great-white north on 05/04/11 at 04:55 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I don’t take umbrage with Vancouver for pointing out statistical facts or with a player saying he doesn’t agree with a call because “he was holding my stick and I went to the box.” I don’t agree with statements regarding “conspiracy” or some hidden agenda like “having plans,” that stuff is for the fans.

I just believe the player should be able to give a reasonable criticism (or questioning) of a call from his perspective.

Posted by SnLO from A City with Arson and Murder, but no Thrown Octopi on 05/04/11 at 02:55 PM ET

Well-said.

I think you nailed the key word with “reasonable”.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 05/04/11 at 05:04 PM ET

Chet's avatar

i’m neither a preds nor ‘nucks fan, but that call was a disgrace and players should be talking about it. what a joke.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 05/04/11 at 08:36 PM ET

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If anything Kesler should have gotten a penalty for holding the stick. Crap call that cost Nashville the game. That being said players and GM’s should be fined for dumping on the refs.

Posted by timbits on 05/05/11 at 01:00 AM ET

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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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