Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Entries with the tag: department of player safety

When the ‘best officials in the world’ look the other way

While duly noting that the NHL's standards for suspendable offenses and standards of officiating are two very different things...

So nine of the 26 suspensions handed by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety were for violations that were not contemporaneously called as penalties. I suppose you could argue this means the review system works, but when (just over) one-third of suspensions are on infractions missed by the referees (and by the linesmen), then there’s something amiss with NHL officiating.

Dustin Byfuglien’s cross-check to J.T. Miller’s neck was impossible to miss, yet Dan O’Rourke, no more than 10 feet away from the play at which he sure seemed to be looking directly, somehow missed it. Either that, which is pretty bad, or he didn’t think the Winnipeg defenseman merited a penalty, which is a whole lot worse.

And yet, there was O’Rourke working two nights later in St. Louis as scheduled. Maybe the egregious error will cost the referee a playoff assignment, maybe there will be consequences for this one, but, again, when one-third of suspendable acts are missed on the ice while the delinquent parties simply move on, the issue needs to be addressed by the NHL in a public setting.

The New York Post's Larry Brooks comes upon a truth those of us who watch hockey and love it are very frustrated with and about:

You have to start with the supposition NHL officials are the best in the world at what they do. But something is lost in the translation of how games have been called this season. Tolerance for interference and the clutch-and-grab has reverted to the pre-Shanahan Summit days that preceded the 2004-05 canceled season.

Clearly, this is by design. It is not as if all of the league’s referees have at once independently adopted new guidelines for identifying infractions. Mandates are coming from somewhere, though there’s no logical explanation for any of this. Less space, fewer power plays, less scoring and less entertainment.

Brooks continues, and the truth of the matter is that we've become paying customers of an NHL that's undergoing the Dead Puck Era 2.0, a period of clutching, grabbing, groping, tackling, wrestling, leg-humping, stick-grabbing-and-sitting-on and all sorts of strange, football-or-rugby-on-ice stuff that used to be penalized when appropriate. Not anymore.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dan+o'rourke, department+of+player+safety, dustin+byfuglien, j.t.+miller

Bettman tells NHL.com that league will name new disciplinarian soon, is talking World Cup w/ NHLPA

From NHL.com's Arpon Basu:

The NHL is close to hiring a new head of the Department of Player Safety, Commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday.

The NHL has been without a permanent lead disciplinarian since Brendan Shanahan left the League on April 11 to become president and alternate governor of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Stephane Quintal, who worked under Shanahan since November 2011, took over as head of player safety on an interim basis through the end of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We're getting to the short strokes of that process," Commissioner Bettman said, speaking at a media event outside Montreal. "We've interviewed a lot of candidates, including somebody that's been doing it on an interim basis, and we will be making a decision shortly. We wanted to finish the process; [NHL deputy commissioner] Bill Daly and I each managed to take a little time off in August, but certainly well in advance of the start of the season we'll have an announcement."

Bettman also tells Basu that he's working with the NHLPA to reestablish "more international play," i.e. a revival of the "World Cup of Hockey":

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Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: department+of+player+safety, gary+bettman, nhlpa, world+cup

Matheson engages in a fascinating conversation with Rob Blake about the suspension process

The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson's posted at least half of his weekly Hockey World articles on his blog page (I believe that he's still working on "Ask Matty" as I'm posting this, and I don't see any "Short Shifts" yet).

Especially given a) the fact that Don Cherry decided to suggest that John Scott and Cody McLeod require the sympathy of fans who don't understand "their role" or their obligation to "make a difference" and b) the endless suggestions that it's up to players and only players to police themselves when Sportsnet's John Shannon so wisely suggested that coaches, GM's and owners also share responsibility for employing players in "punishing" roles (we tend to forget that both players, coaches, GM's and owners are generally concerned about their team's well-being and competitive interests ahead of safe working environments)...

It's refreshing to hear now-NHL Department of Player Safety employee Rob Blake tell Matheson that there's a significant amount of push-back from teams when players are facing Sheriff Shanny's Wheel of Justice:

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Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: buffalo+sabres, calgary+flames, colorado+avalanche, department+of+player+safety, jiri+hudler, john+scott, magnus+paajarvi, matt+duchene, rob+blake, st.+louis+blues

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