Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: officiating
From Kerry Fraser’s mailbag at TSN:
With all due respect to my colleagues in the other major sports the game of hockey is the most difficult to officiate in of all sport. Movement in an athletic shoe on firm turf, field or hardwood is much more natural than skating on a thin skate blade on ice. The very first physical requirement of the job, Greg, is that of superior skating ability. This encompasses balance, agility, mobility, foot speed forward and backwards to place yourself in the very best possible position on the ice to see play and make the best possible judgment. This skill set is a must to also avoid player and puck contact in the confined 200 x 85 foot ice surface so as to not interfere with the game flow and to provide for personal safety.
Another physical requirement beyond athleticism is what you alluded to (LOL) relative to “donuts in the dugout” which implies that a high level of physical conditioning is a must. The NHL Officiating Department, under the direction of David T. Smith, Director of Medical and Fitness sets high personal standards that each official must maintain.
read on for more on the rigors of being a NHL official
CBC’s John F. Molinaro talks to former NHL official Dan Marouelli, a veteran of four Stanley Cup Finals.
CBCSports.ca: Will the NHL talk to the officials before the game tonight?
Marouelli: Absolutely. Terry Gregson [the NHL’s director of officiating] and Kris King [series supervisor] will sit down with them for sure. The big message Terry and Kris will send to them is that the precedent has been set. There’s been a lack of discipline. It was a very aggressive hockey game last time. I would be looking to have them set the tone early in this hockey game. But they will also tell them not to overreact, and therein lies the fine line. Gregson and King will inform both coaches and both GMs of the direction the officials will go if things start to go south tonight.
CBCSports.ca: How do officials tread that fine line?
Marouelli: You need to establish your presence early, and normally that’s through some form of verbal communication with the coaches or role players who are out on the ice. Any time when I was involved in games like this, I was quick to verbalize to the bench and to any players that needed to be cautioned, and then make sure you follow through quickly when something happens.
and much more on the Rome/Horton situation, and other officiating issues
From Tony Gallagher at Canwest via the National Post,
Now that the Stanley Cup has been awarded to the Detroit Red Wings and any emotion from any one particular game has faded, we would be remiss if we didn’t seriously ask some questions about what actually took place in that final series with respect to the officiating.
From Mike Brophy in The Hockey News,
NHL referees are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. While they don’t like the idea of calling goalie interference in overtime, let alone twice in extra time, they also don’t relish the idea of a goalie being hit by an opponent and the winning goal being scored while the fallen goaltender is unable to do his job. It is a discretionary call.
“We don’t want the Stanley Cup-winning goal being scored with the goalie on his back after being crashed into,” said NHL executive Kris King.
The Red Wings were rightfully ticked off about the two calls against them, but you just know if the skate was on the other foot and Chris Osgood had been bumped rather than Marc-Andre Fleury, resulting in a goal by the Penguins, Detroit would be screaming bloody murder.
and more on various topics
Note: More on the issue of the refs at MLive, with links to what the Detroit pundits have to say on the matter.
From David Staples at the ‘Cult of Hockey’ in the Edmonton Journal,
NHL refs call ticky tack fouls for minor and inconsequential stick infractions all year long, but when it really matters, they refuse to call crucial obstruction penalties, and that’s why Pittsburgh failed to come back and tie the game on the Penguin’s five-on-three powerplay in the third period Saturday night.
Detroit ace Henrik Zetterberg laid the lumber on Sidney Crosby at the side of the net, tying up his stick far before Crosby ever got the puck, thus making it next to impossible for Crosby to score when Marian Hossa put a perfect pass right on his stick, with a wide-open net staring at Crosby.
It was the kind of non-call the NHL is infamous for. Unlike any other major North American pro league, where a foul is a foul is a foul is a foul, no matter what the score and what the import of the game or when it occurs in the game, the NHL’s definition of a penalty constantly shifts.
From Scott Burnside at ESPN,
During the playoffs, we often talk about the sacrifices players make to reach the Stanley Cup finals; the commitment, the good fortune. NHL officials are no different. This series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings represents their ultimate competition. Only the best of the best are chosen to call these games. This is their Stanley Cup as much as it is the players’.
So, every day, when O’Halloran steps out of the shower and notes the meandering scar that runs from his stomach around to his back, he is doubly thankful to be here, not just professionally, but at all.
“You wonder about karma sometimes,” the 44-year-old O’Halloran told ESPN.com this week. “March 13, 1983 was the day I was shot. So that’s why I wear No. 13.”
From Paul Kukla at Hockey.com,
My life may be a bit different than yours since I do hockey for a living. 24/7, that’s me and although you may not have the schedule I do, you probably have been following the conference quarter-finals and have been impressed by the pace and action of the games.
We have hard hard hits, battles along the boards, grit and determination is the norm and most games have kept us tuned-in until the final horn. The officiating on a whole has been great, letting the boys play is much better than calling every little infraction. As long as the pattern continues, we cannot ask for anything more from the on-ice officials.
more… from the boss
NHL Director of Officiating Stephen Walkom will be the guest on the NHL Hour today, hosted by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
The show is on from 4-5 p.m. ET today on XM Satellite Radio (Channel 204) and NHL.com. NHL Hour is an interactive talk radio show that is hosted by a rotation of League executives, and co-hosted by XM sports host and former NHL player Bill Clement.
**Archived shows available for download via a podcast on NHL.com.
From Mark Spector at the National Post,
Dumb like a fox, McGeough is deep into overtime now, with only about a month left in an 20-year National Hockey League career. The result, one might say, is like a flying tub of popcorn aimed at him from the stands: He left it all on the ice.
“He’s kind of a like the villain in All Star Wrestling. The kind of guy the fans love to hate,” said Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish, who was once fined $10,000 for describing McGeough’s work as “spastic” and “retarded.”
McGeough, 50, burned an indelible image into the memories of hockey fans: For much of his career he was the helmetless, portly zebra coming out from behind the net, waving his arms in a frantic negation of a goal. One foot is on the ice, the other - for some unknown reason - raised in the air in front of him.
From Michael Farber at SI,
You can always talk about the officiating or never talk about the officiating. [Generally,] On the Fly prefers to do the latter. But with the bleating amped up this season, at least to our ears, maybe it is time for the NHL to reconsider how it forms its officiating duos.
If consistency is as much of a problem as players contend, the solution should be obvious: next season, with the influx of new referees having adjusted to the league three full years after the lockout, director of officiating Stephen Walkom should form pairs, based on style and personality, and keep them together for the duration of the schedule.
more… including additional thoughts on the Ovech-kam as well
From James Deacon at AOL Sports Canada,
Still, most fans agree the pace has quickened and there is more excitement. And the fact is that the current goal-scoring rate, while down, exceeds the 5.14 goals-per-game average from the last pre-rules change season, 2003-04.
So if the game’s moving in the right direction, why are goal totals heading the other way? Some rarely cited stats offer insight: the difference in the last three seasons is entirely made up by a drop in power-play goals. There have been eight fewer penalty minutes per game this season compared to the same period in 2005-06, and the current number of even-strength goals through 637 games is 2,434, exactly the same total as two seasons ago.
To some, that suggests referees have eased up. But players and refs say the big difference is that players’ behaviour has changed. Four years ago you practically had to draw blood to be penalized for hooking, so water-skiing was the defensive technique of choice.
Not any more.
more… on the “new” NHL and its unlikely poster boy, Brendan Shanahan
from the Columbus Dispatch,
The NHL is defensive about its enforcement of the rule book.
Yesterday, NHL director of hockey operations Colin Campbell said the league is constantly on guard against letting the rule fall by the wayside.
“I haven’t seen that slip, but maybe it’s something we need to take a look at,” he said. “I’ll tell you this: It has always been a difficult question.
“How much time do you have to play the man before it’s interference? How much space do you have? … I think our guys do a pretty good job of calling the penalty right.”
Part of the issue, Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said, is that coaches have spent the past two seasons making adjustments.
from the LA Times,
Carlyle is often the first to acknowledge the errors of the Ducks’ ways. It’s when there are plays such as the Blue Jackets’ Rick Nash leveling forward Rob Niedermayer in the first period that leaves the coach scratching his head.
“You put your stick up and touch a player’s hand, that’s a penalty,” Carlyle said. “If you put a stick between a player’s legs and impede his progress, that’s a penalty. And we were guilty of a couple of those things.
“When you’ve got players leaving their feet to make body checks and not get called, there’s a question. But that’s the way it goes.”
more (reg. req.) about the game last night with Columbus…
from the St. Petersburg Times,
So a day after Paul Devorski’s questionable holding call on Brad Richards led to the Thrashers’ winning overtime goal, players simply, and calmly, said they want the standard for penalties applied more consistently.
The league’s director of officiating, Stephen Walkom, said numerous “check and balances” help maintain the standard.
But Lukowich, after a workout at the Ice Sports Forum, insisted, “There should be less of a gray area. When the ref and rules are enforced the right and proper way, the players just go out and play. That’s what we do.”
via William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
As Hockey Night’s Elliotte Friedman reported last week, the NHL is beginning to install high-definition overhead cameras in the arenas as well as HDTV video recorders, which help clarify reviews of disputed goals.
The HDTV technology helped make possible the correct calls on two disputed, but difficult-to-see goals in the New Jersey Devils-Ottawa Senators game on Monday.
By the end of the week, 14 arenas will have the HDTV technology. By the end of the month, it will be in all the buildings.
Evan Grossman of NHL.com is live blogging from the NHL “War Room” in Toronto. Let’s see what he is up too…
Just had our first goal review. Nashville’s David Legwand got credit for the Preds’ first goal of the game, a ruling that came from the same desk I’m sitting at. Caught it all on video, which was pretty amazing. On the TV in front of me, the referee waited at center ice, like we’ve seen a thousand times. The phone here rings. Murphy speaks with the officials at the arena, saying the goal was a good one. The voice on the other end of the phone concurs. It counts. And the Preds lead, 1-0.
from the LA Times via the Toronto Star,
For truth be told, goal judges are now an anachronism. The two-referee system (phased in during the 1998-99 season and fully implemented by 2000-01) and video replay judges have made it so. As well, league executives monitoring each game from their Toronto offices have the authority to make final decisions on controversial goals.
The NHL also has made good use of high-definition technology and will be spending about $5 million in arenas this season to upgrade that equipment, Mike Murphy, the league’s vice-president of hockey operations, said.
“The goal judge became less and less a factor. Still a factor but quite a factor down the list,” Murphy said, adding the job has become more of a way to signal a goal to those sitting in remote areas of an arena.