Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: Kerry Fraser
from Kerry Fraser at the Players' Tribune,
What I want people to take away this story, especially as they’re about to watch the puck drop in the Stanley Cup finals, is how much stress everyone is under out there. You’re watching human beings, most of whom are giving everything they have despite incredible physical pain.
Mistakes will be made. Calls will be missed. Players will do dumb things. But what’s so genuinely great about this game is that, no matter what happens, when it’s all said and done, the players line up and look one another in the eye. You shake the hand of the man who has been trying to kill you for seven games.
After my father passed away in 2001, I was going through some of his old memorabilia when I found this newspaper clipping.
The article said that my father had been suspended for punching a referee in the face.
What was that poor zebra’s name?
Frank Udvari. The man who had given me my big break.
Hockey. That’s all I gotta say about that.
more, some great stories....
TSN's Kerry Fraser was asked to weigh in on the coach's challenge today:
The game, as you know, is very fast. One of the most difficult decisions that a referee has to make involves goalie interference in the often high traffic area of the goal crease. There is no more helpless feeling for a ref than having the puck enter the net and being uncertain if, or how, illegal contact with the goalie took place. In those moments the four officials would conference on the ice in an effort to determine the correct call from their various perspectives. As the conference was taking place the rest of the hockey world had the advantage of watching multiple replays on their television monitors.
The procedure worked to perfection on opening night when Toronto coach Mike Babcock initiated the first coach's challenge at 6:36 of the second period in their game against the Montreal Canadiens. The successful challenge resulted in referee Dan O'Rourke's reversal of his original decision, disallowing a goal scored by Jeff Petry as a result of incidental contact by Tomas Plekanec on Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier. Last season that illegal goal would have stood.
I must point out that Rule 69 (Interference on the Goalkeeper) is three pages long and has many components to it. As such, goalie interference is not cut and dried. The referee(s) must exercise considerable judgment to determine the presence of goalie interference even through the use of video review. It is imperative that the team spotters in the press box (assistant coaches) have a full understanding of the rule and the standard that is employed by the referees for them to initiate the coach's challenge. If the challenge does not overturn the referee's initial call the team loses their timeout. Without a timeout the coach forfeits his right to initiate another challenge in the game.
The new rule has already proven its benefit to the game by assisting the referees with the technology that is readily available for them to get the call right in the two scenarios that are allowed. It's a very good beginning. I hope that the process will be expanded over time to allow referees to initiate a video review on their own if they determine that they need a second look at goalie interference or offside and the team/coach does not have a timeout remaining. I will perhaps expand on this thought as the season moves along and we monitor the challenge process.
Every once in a while you sort of stare at a story, put it aside for a while, come back to it and have no idea where it belongs but you know that it's really good and that you have to put it somewhere.
The long story is that ESPN's Katie Strang spoke with the coach of a team this biased blogger happens to believe has come up on the rough end of some discretionary calls in Mike Babcock, the NHL's director of officiating, Stephen Walkom, and the outspoken Kerry Fraser about the fact that, last Thursday, Jarret Stoll was assessed a penalty for tripping Brandon Sutter, but Sutter fell over (there's actually a video of this if you're interested)...
And the refs made the penalty call, had a chat and chose to rescind the call. Which is new:
Former NHL referee Kerry Fraser said it is not the first time this sort of thing has happened, and though it is customary to give the official closer to the infraction the benefit of the doubt, that’s not an absolute, especially if the other official feels confident enough to overturn it. After all, each official is granted the same authority on the ice.
"The way the officials handled that call was an excellent example of thinking quickly on your feet and doing what's right for the game when possible," the NHL's Director of Officiating Stephen Walkom told ESPN.com. "Hockey Ops and the officiating department want our guys to work together to get it right whenever possible. In this modern era of hockey you often see officials huddling or overturning each other to get it right. The handling of this situation, like video review, is always evolving to best serve the game."
The long story, and the thrust of the story, involves Fraser suggesting that in light of that Luke Glendening-"must have tripped"-Braden Holtby call, maybe the NHL's GM's and Board of Governors might be more willing to adopt something that NCAA hockey, AHL hockey and other leagues.
Expanded video review capabilities under Rule 38 will allow a broader discretion to Hockey Operations to determine the legitimacy of all potential goals and can include forward motion of the puck toward the goal line during a penalty shot or shootout. The process should now provide more acceptable legal parameters for the shooter to operate under, pitted against the ability of the goalkeeper to defend.
-retired referee Kerry Fraser of TSN where you can read more on the rule changes...
“On the ice, if I made a mistake, I admitted it. And I think that we have to find a better way. I’m really concerned with some of the high hits, the dangerous plays. As the NHL is trying to sort through it and come up with a solution, I think they could be a little more diligent. And I think from an officiating perspective, they can get better as well.”
-Kerry Fraser, retired NHL referee. More on and from Fraser from Leith Dunick of the Thunder Bay NewsWatch...
Once Emery quickly got the upper hand in this fight and Holtby was incapacitated I would have grabbed/tied up Emery's punching arm and slipped my chest and body in front of the Flyer fighter and skated him backward with my legs driving quickly and forcefully. I would immediately talk with the player to get his mind distracted and his adrenaline under control.
At no time when a player was taking a severe beating would I stand on the sidelines and allow it to happen without intervening, nor would I waive players away from coming to the aid of their teammate that was placed in a position of peril. I would assess the appropriate penalties that resulted from a third-man-in.
-Kerry Fraser of TSN where you can read much more on this topic.
from Cathy Dobson of the Sarnia Observer,
“Right now, the game is very fast and it’s hard for young officials without the experience to keep up with the pace,” said Fraser, who retired a year ago as the most senior referee in the National Hockey League….
This season, Brendan Shanahan became the NHL’s head disciplinarian and set a new standard of supplementary discipline, but the officials have not been following through on the ice, charged Fraser.
“In the last three weeks of the regular season, there were three situations on the ice where minor penalties were assessed by referees that resulted in two three-game suspensions and one five-game suspension.
“There’s no equity in that,” he said.
During the playoffs, when emotions are running high, referees have to be particularly consistent so players aren’t confused and they understand what will be called.
“Otherwise, they’ll run the risk of committing the foul thinking they’ll probably get away with it, especially in the late stages of the game,” he said.
more on Kerry Fraser…
Legendary NHL referee Kerry Fraser was vacationing with his family at the Marriott’s Surf Club on Palm Beach in Aruba when KTW caught up with him.
While some tourists outside were wearing hats to shield their hair from the wind — which was gusting at about 50 km/h — Fraser was doing nothing of the sort.
“There’s a strong, warm breeze in the trade winds and my hair still doesn’t move,” said Fraser….
KTW had a 10-question survey of its own for Fraser:
Lippiest player — “Without question, Bernie Federko, the old Saskatoon Blade. His own guys used to tell him to shut up. We had back-to-back games together and, on the second night, before puck drop, he was already swearing at me. I said, ‘At least let me drop the puck’. He said, ‘Ah, f—- off and drop the f———puck.’”
From Kerry Fraser at TSN.ca:
Throughout my career I was called into many games like the recent Bruins-Sabres rematch where bad blood was still brewing from a previous incident or even a brawl. I loved the excitement and the challenge of being pressed into inaction for these types of encounters. One such assignment change involved the Boston Bruins and the Hartford Whalers.
I was at home in Sarnia, Ontario with a very rare weekend off. Early Sunday morning, I was abruptly awakened from a sound sleep by a telephone call from Director of Officiating John McCauley. In typical McCauley fashion he said, “Hey Big Guy (an oxymoron to say the least), wake up - I need you to catch a plane to Hartford for a game tonight.”
I thought that one of my colleagues must have been injured the night before for John to assign me to a game on such short notice. My thought in this regard was reinforced by the fact that John attempted to give each one of his officials the very occasional weekend at home during the season and would only alter it if there was an emergency. John obviously thought it was an emergency; not through injury however but a call to arms!
McCauley went on to tell me that Boston and Harford had played the night before in the Garden and it had resulted in a real mess. Full line brawls and excessive stick related incidents erupted throughout the game. The real storyline (and need for me to go to Hartford for the rematch McCauley lamented) was because of the telephone calls he had received immediately after the game from both teams’ general managers and coaches complaining how horrible the referee had been in that game. According to both sides, it is a small miracle that none of their players were injured, maimed or killed!
Click here for more great stories from former NHL officiating great Kerry Fraser.
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
From Kerry Fraser at TSN:
An NHL referee typically travels between 80,000-120,000 miles per season (including pre-season and playoffs). After a five-day training camp, which includes medicals and a demanding fitness test on day one, we head off to work our exhibition assignments. Unlike a hockey team that resides in an NHL city, the officials’ home residences are scattered throughout North America. The league has attempted to accommodate requests made by officials who wish to relocate or they have moved young officials into hockey markets that would provide reduced travel costs through the assignment process. [...]
There is a concerted effort by NHL assigner Randy Hall to assign the referees to an equal number of regular season games in each NHL city over the course of their 73 game schedule. (Linesmen can work 75 games max.) Since each owner pays an equal share of the league officiating budget they want the top rated officials in their building as many times as the lower ranked officials. (I’ll leave the ranking to you.) In theory it also provides a sense of fairness.
Through expansion and attrition which brought new officials into the league, Bobby Clarke proposed that officials work in set crews and remain in one conference for at least half of the season. He felt this way the players could get to know them better and develop some sort of relationship. He felt that under the current system a team might see a referee or linesman in a game and not see that individual again for a month.
Former NHL referee Kerry Fraser provides answers at TSN:
The reason players are being ejected more frequently is due to a tightening of the standard imposed upon linesmen to reflect a zero tolerance for face-off “cheaters!” The linesmen take this element of their job very seriously, knowing full well the importance of conducting a fair face-off; especially in crucial areas of the ice. The last thing they want to do is impact the outcome of a game should a goal result from a bad face-off. In recent years additional markings on and around the end zone face-off dots have been added to ensure players line up square to one another and place their sticks on a white marking on the outer edge of their respective side of the dot.
Gaining player cooperation goes a long way in conducting fair face-offs and reducing player ejections. The best linesmen solicit cooperation through dialogue before players even set their positions at the dot.
‘Kerry, I’ve got a bonus in my contract for penalty minutes, I’m four minutes short, and the f—-ing coach never played me one shift tonight.’
“I said, ‘What did you say?’
“He said, ‘f—- off.’
“I said, ‘Say it like you mean it.’
“He said, ‘F—- OFF!!!!’ ”
“I said, ‘YOU GOT 10!!’ ”
“He said, ‘Thank you’ and he went up the hall, happy as a pig in sh—.”
-Retired NHL referee Kerry Fraser, talking about an incident with former NHL player Jim McKenzie. You can read more about the book Fraser is promoting from Jason Kay of The Hockey News.
The Final Call: Hockey Stories from a Legend in Stripes is available at Amazon (affiliate link).
from Sean of Down Goes Brown,
I invite you to join me in celebrating a successful career with this list of Good Things About Kerry Fraser.
• Was an independent spirit, and not some weak-kneed conformist who made all his difficult decisions based on what’s written down in some sort of “rule book”.
• Taught you at an early age that life is unfair, justice is a myth, and that we live in a cold and uncaring universe that will feed you small morsels of hope only to crush and mock you—all of which most people don’t get to find out until they’re much older.
• s often unfairly referred to as “evil”, which theologians will tell you is not only inaccurate but actually impossible as it implies the presence of a soul.
retiring NHL referee, will be on Leafs Lunch today from noon - 1pm ET and I am sure he will be sharing some great stories. So if you have nothing else to do, listen in at am640 in Toronto.