Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

The Officiating Standard

from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,

Henrik Sedin might not be the most objective source on the subject so, even if he’s 100-per-cent right, you can take his views with a grain of salt.

“Yes, absolutely,” the Canucks captain answered when asked if the officiating standard has changed this season.

“I think it’s too late now, but going into next season you’ve got to go back to the last lockout where they called everything. Guys are going to stop hooking if they know they’re going to get called. Right now there’s way too much of that.”

Kerry Fraser, on the other hand, is a more objective source on this subject and he sees the same things. In 30 years as a referee, Fraser called more than 2,000 regular-season and playoff games and was working right after the 2004-05 lockout when, in a stunning development, the game was called by the rulebook. That era now is referred to as the “good old days,” in hockey circles.

“I would have to agree (with Henrik),” said Fraser, who now works as an analyst for TSN.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, NHL Talk, NHL Officiating, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Hank1974's avatar

Everyone’s been saying this but the NHL just continues along with their status-quo.

Not only has hooking and holding returned, but obstruction is at an all time high.
We’re approaching 2003 dead-puck standards.

Watch a game now and see how many times a player is allowed to hit his opponent when he’s 8-feet away from the puck. There’s never any call.

I’m so sick and tired of refs (and fans, coaches and players) saying they don’t want to decide the games.
But by not calling obvious penalties they are deciding the games.
Maybe if players knew they couldn’t hammer someone 8-feet from the puck, that offensive player might be able to scoop up a loose puck and create a scoring chance.

I’m tired of this subject. It’s never going to change. And anytime the league tries to clean it up, it only degrades over a period of 2 or 3 years. Sometimes only a few months.

The game is simply too fast, the players too big, and the ice too small to stop all the obstruction.
But it certainly doesn’t help when the officials and league refuse to call rules that are clearly stated in the rulebook.

Posted by Hank1974 on 04/23/13 at 10:05 PM ET


Not only has hooking and holding returned, but obstruction is at an all time high.

And yet somehow with all the obstruction let go these days, the one team that’s still being called for hooking, holding, interference to the league leading tune of a combined 80 minors of the three infractions, are the Red Wings.  35 interference calls on the Wings this year, when no other team even has 30.

Posted by Valek from Chicago on 04/23/13 at 10:40 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Valek, I know, that’s very strange too.
But that’s another gripe for me too. The refs always make sure every game is equal in penalties.
When the Ducks had Pronger and were one of the dirtiest teams in the NHL, whenever Detroit played them it was amazing to see that both teams would get the same roughing-type penalties. Then the next night, the Wings would play the Wild and both teams would get 2 PP’s each.
In both games, Detroit played the same.

The NHL will never have good officiating. “Letting the players decide the game” and “make-up calls” have ruled this league forever and I don’t see that ever changing.

It’d be nice to see some consistency and the actual rule book be instituted. But just look at how poorly the league is run from top to bottom. From Bettman to Shanahan, this league is a joke as far as accountability and integrity are concerned.

Posted by Hank1974 on 04/24/13 at 06:12 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

I might be in the minority here, but I would like to see a balance between the way the game was called in the 1994 - 2004 era, and the way it was called in the first few seasons after the first lockout.

I think the key is, we definitely want to eliminate any type of true interference—that is, when a player is obstructed when they do not have the puck. But what I would like to see allowed are the holds and “hooks” that occur in battles along the wall or when players are coming together for contact in a race to the boards or a play that develops toward the wall. But only when the puck is involved.

To clarify, when I say “hooks,” I mean the situation where a guy gets his stick parallel to the ice going into a battle with the puck carrier. The standard where the ref’s arm goes up when a stick gets parallel to the ice is absurd. Allowing guys to get their stick up in these battles to slow up the puck carrier could be a natural way to slow the game down on the margins that would lower the number of massive, dangerous hits (even if they may be clean). A further clarification—I’m not talking about when the defender is chasing down the puck carrier and is clearly beaten/out of position. I mean when the two players are side-by-side, indicating that the defender has held pace with the attacker and isn’t hooking as a last-ditch effort to prevent a chance.

Short version—let’s allow holds and some hooks, as long as they aren’t happening away from the puck, in open ice, or as a last-ditch effort by a defender that has clearly been beaten or caught out of position.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/24/13 at 08:46 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Nathan, I don’t mind allowing some holding near the boards so guys don’t get plastered from behind. But I can’t agree that we need to allow hooks or holds on the puck carrier.

The main issue with that is these are hockey players we’re talking about here.
These guys will take a billion miles if you give them an inch.
And as soon as you allow them to hold the puck carrier, eventually they allow holding on all players on the ice.

With hockey it has to be black and white.
I loved the hockey that was played out of the lockout. There was no arguing with the standard. And once the players finally started accepting that they had to play the game clean, it was beautiful.

But then the standard was reduced and now we’re back to the dead-puck era.

After the last lockout, I could watch any game, and I did. It was amazing with how fast, open and entertaining it was.
The hockey today is not nearly as entertaining as it was before.
The only thing that’s saved this season is the shortened schedule. Because it’s only 48-games, every game matters.
If this was a regular 82-game set, then I think we’d hear a lot more complaining.
Watching a grope-fest in mid November for game 22 might have more fans rallying to clean this sport up. AGAIN.

Posted by Hank1974 on 04/24/13 at 09:08 AM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.


Notify me of follow-up comments?


Most Recent Blog Posts

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 pk@kuklaskorner.com