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Why, Why, Why?

from Mike Boone of Hockey Inside/Out,

At least Canadiens fans will have something to bitch about all summer long.
Actually, a few things:
On the sequence leading to Mika Zibanejad’s goal, why was the faceoff on the wrong side of the ice?
Why did the goal count if replays show Zibanejad’s left skate moving to redirect the puck?
Why weren’t two icings waved off late in the third period?
All leading to the fundamental question: Did the zebras screw the Canadiens out of a win that would have tied this series?

Chris Nilan routinely refers to NHL referees as “donkeys”.

The former Canadiens tough guy enlivens his very good TSN690 talk show by making “hee-haw” sounds any time the discussion turns to officiating.

Hockey probably has the worst officiating of any major sport.  From the whistles that are buried deep in referees’ pockets when the playoffs start to the guys whom Don Cherry dismisses as “failed referees” booting players out of the faceoff circle, there are a multitude of questionable calls that leave fans of one team or another feeling aggrieved.

But did officiating cost the Canadiens Game 4 … and probably any realistic hope of winning the series?

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

Avatar

I will say officiating this year seems particularly grievous. Just awful. Astoundingly bad. The nhl needs to good this if they want to stop being 4th place in sports. They need to enforce rules and do it consistently. I don’t know about the nba, but no other league throws the rule book out when the playoffs begin.

Posted by teldar on 05/08/13 at 07:41 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Hockey probably has the worst officiating of any major sport.

This is true. The sad thing is that ever since they added the second referee the officiating went from pretty crappy to embarrassingly horrible. 

 

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 05/08/13 at 08:18 AM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

2x the officials=2x the amount of sh!t not called.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 05/08/13 at 08:30 AM ET

Avatar

Why did the goal count if replays show Zibanejad’s left skate moving to redirect the puck?

Because redirecting and kicking are different words with different meanings.

Posted by Garth on 05/08/13 at 08:32 AM ET

Mandingo's avatar

Hockey probably has the worst officiating of any major sport.

There’s no “probably” about it.

NHL officiating will continue to be the worst of the four major sports until a couple things happen:

1) Fans start being outraged about the level of officiating in general, not just how it effects their team. I’ve never seen fans who revel and take pleasure in bad calls going against other teams like hockey fans do, or who’ve come to expect and demand “even up” calls after a bad call goes against their team. I’ve said this for years. This phenomenon exists in no other sport. That comes from just accepting the fact the officiating in the NHL is terrible. That’s a problem and it’s partly on the fans. Fans need to demand accountability across the board, not just when it’s their team getting screwed. Fan outrage has led to legitimate change in both the NFL and the MLB.

2) Officiating in general stops being an insular “boys club” that is treated like some kind of un-f*ck-withable monolith by the league. Mistakes happen. Refs are human. They will make mistakes. But, unlike any other sport, there is virtually no acknowledgement of this fact by the NHL. The next time the NHL apologizes for a blown call will be the first time. In the NFL, it happens almost every week. That’s one of the many reasons the NFL is so popular. There may be problems with officiating in the NFL, but at least the league acknowledges it, and apologizes when someone f*cks up. The NHL treats its officials like they’re superior members of some other race of men who cannot be called into question no matter what or the entire sanctity of the game will be destroyed.

There is something intrinsic in the culture of hockey that allows poor officiating to go on. I don’t know where it comes from. Maybe it’s a Canadian thing.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 05/08/13 at 08:33 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

I couldn’t disagree more. NHL officials have to do the most at the highest speed of any of the officials in the four major North American sports leagues.

Certainly, there seems to be a long-standing, unspoken rule that in the playoffs the standard for a penalty goes way up, and that’s a problem. But that’s a cultural problem with the game of NHL hockey, I don’t think it is a problem about the quality and skill level of NHL officials. And it takes a lot to change a cultural problem like that.

I know that I dislike the double-standard now, but if they tightened up I wouldn’t be surprised if it bothered me, because it would likely take away a good amount of the on-the-edge battling that makes the playoffs so exciting. I think most other people that complain about the double-standard would be the same way. It’s all well and good in theory, but if it ever happened, I don’t know that we’d like the results.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 05/08/13 at 08:36 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Officiating in general stops being an insular “boys club” that is treated like some kind of un-f*ck-withable monolith by the league. Mistakes happen. Refs are human. They will make mistakes. But, unlike any other sport, there is virtually no acknowledgement of this fact by the NHL. The next time the NHL apologizes for a blown call will be the first time. In the NFL, it happens almost every week. That’s one of the many reasons the NFL is so popular. There may be problems with officiating in the NFL, but at least the league acknowledges it, and apologizes when someone f*cks up. The NHL treats its officials like they’re superior members of some other race of men who cannot be called into question no matter what or the entire sanctity of the game will be destroyed.

There is something intrinsic in the culture of hockey that allows poor officiating to go on. I don’t know where it comes from. Maybe it’s a Canadian thing.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 05/08/13 at 09:33 AM ET

I couldn’t agree more with this ^^^^ The NHL never ever admits fault on anything and the product shows. It’s pitiful…

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 05/08/13 at 10:30 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

This phenomenon exists in no other sport. That comes from just accepting the fact the officiating in the NHL is terrible. That’s a problem and it’s partly on the fans. Fans need to demand accountability across the board, not just when it’s their team getting screwed. Fan outrage has led to legitimate change in both the NFL and the MLB.

I agree, but I think you also have to consider that even though the NHL is a low tier product in the US, it has almost no competition north of the border.  The NFL, NBA, and MLB, have less singular and dedicated fan bases, and two of them have to compete with the NCAA.  The NHL market demographic is such that they can take their fans for granted.  They don’t respect us on any level, because we’re perfectly happy to purchase a shoddy product. 

Officiating in general stops being an insular “boys club” that is treated like some kind of un-f*ck-withable monolith by the league.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 05/08/13 at 09:33 AM ET

I agree 100%.  I’ve said for a long time that NHL refs should be available to the press after games.  It was so refreshing to hear Jim Joyce (1) admit he was wrong, and (2) apologize when he blew Galarraga’s perfect game.  How nice would it have been to hear Brad Watson apologize to Wings fans… just once for one of his signature waived goals?  It would go a long way.

I couldn’t disagree more. NHL officials have to do the most at the highest speed of any of the officials in the four major North American sports leagues.

That’s an excellent point as well, do generally do a great job with a seriously flawed set of rules.  So I have more problems with the rules than the actual refs.  For example:

How about reviewing goals before waiving them off, or allowing for reversal after review?

What about reviewing all crease infractions/goalie interference from incidental contact before making the call?

How about doing away with the asinine “intent to blow the whistle” rule and go to a play stops when the whistle blows and not before standard (you know like every other sport)? 

Man.  That’d be great.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 05/08/13 at 10:56 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

They generally do a great job

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 05/08/13 at 10:58 AM ET

Avatar

Maybe it’s a Canadian thing.

You mean because Canadians are too polite to stop the American running the league from completely ruining everything?

I mean, I guess there could be a way to blame Canadians.

Posted by Garth on 05/08/13 at 11:32 AM ET

Primis's avatar

The only thing Habs fans should be asking is:

Why couldn’t we keep OTT from scoring for :23 more?

I agree 100%.  I’ve said for a long time that NHL refs should be available to the press after games.  It was so refreshing to hear Jim Joyce (1) admit he was wrong, and (2) apologize when he blew Galarraga’s perfect game.  How nice would it have been to hear Brad Watson apologize to Wings fans… just once for one of his signature waived goals?  It would go a long way.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 05/08/13 at 11:56 AM ET

I said this a few days ago.  You can’t have accountability with your officials when you hide them.

Posted by Primis on 05/08/13 at 12:32 PM 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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