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Category: NHL-Officiating

Afternoon Line- Colin Campbell

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Video- Ron MacLean On The Officiating In The Playoffs

via Sportsnet's YouTube channel,

With the Stanley Cup Playoffs averaging over 4 more penalties per game than the regular season, Hockey Central’s Ron MacLean argues more line brawls and tighter series have caused more penalties, not poor officiating.

 

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It’s A Crisis

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

The approach to NHL officiating will not change until the gatekeepers do, and neither will trust in the system. If the same people who have been overseeing the operation for years and years, if the Colin Campbell’s and Stephen Walkom’s of the hockey world are the ones charged with conducting internal reviews and charting the course, the standards will remain indecipherable.

When, for example, Edmonton’s Mike Smith surrenders a soft one, do we all add the disclaimer, “But being an NHL goaltender is a hard job?” Or, if per chance Philipp Grubauer yields another marginal goal, does the Seattle netminder defend himself by invoking the, “I bet you couldn’t have made that save” card?

Of course not. Yet every critique of NHL officiating is met with these absurd disconnects. Flying a commercial airplane is probably a pretty hard job, but we do not excuse errors in the cockpit by citing the degree of difficulty of being a pilot, do we? If an inedible meal is delivered to your restaurant table, do you smile, chew and swallow rather than returning it to the kitchen because, let’s face it, you probably wouldn’t have been able to do as good of a job?..

continue for more on this plus other topis inluding this...

Tom Wilson must be so proud that he was able to beat up Brendan Smith at the beginning of last week after finally goading him into a fight just over a month after the Carolina defenseman had suffered a fractured skull while blocking Danton Heinen’s shot below the left ear.

And what Smith, the former Ranger whose issues with Wilson track back to last May’s incident involving Artemi Panarin, was doing fighting under those conditions is anyone’s guess. Here’s a guess: the code....

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Penalizing Teams

from Travis Jost of TSN,

Over the last three seasons, the Colorado Avalanche (+178 goals) and Carolina Hurricanes (+131 goals) have distinguished themselves as the league’s preeminent franchises. They both lead their respective conferences in goal differential by a considerable margin and, once again, are favourites for the Stanley Cup.

They both play with relentless pace. They dominate the puck. They are as deep and skilled as any team you can find in the league. And yet, one data point differentiates them in an extraordinary way.

That data point? Penalties.

In what’s becoming an increasingly perplexing trend, the Colorado Avalanche and Carolina Hurricanes have realized extreme divergence in penalty behaviour. It’s particularly odd because the NHL hasn’t been shy about how they call penalties, and that’s to follow an extreme balancing strategy. Rather than call the rulebook as intended, the league prefers to ensure teams earn relatively similar amounts of power-play opportunities over the course of a game (and, by extension, a season). It’s why you see very few teams with outlier seasons; it’s also why you see teams that draw more penalties take more penalties (like the Montreal Canadiens), and teams that draw fewer penalties take fewer penalties (like the Toronto Maple Leafs).

continued

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The Thinning Ranks Of The On-Ice Officials

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Refs Under The Microscope Again

from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,

The Maple Leafs/Coyotes game Thursday night ended in controversy when Arizona defenseman Jacob Chychrun got away with a holding penalty on Leafs superstar Auston Matthews – directly in front of referee Kendrick Nicholson, who was clearly looking right at the two players – before scoring the game-winning goal in overtime.

Under the NHL’s referee-protective system, Nicholson doesn’t have to answer to the public for his blown call. That’s another column for another day. But the usual hockey status quo apologists will say he didn’t penalize Chychrun because he didn’t want to be the deciding factor in the game, which, of course, is a mound of steaming b.s., because his non-call was, without question, the deciding factor in the game. And I’d say this if the shoe was on the other foot, and it was Matthews holding Chychrun. This has nothing to do with the players or teams involved, and everything to do with an indefensible officiating culture that has festered in the NHL for far too long.

In the NFL, officials do not put their whistles away and change the standard for pass interference so that star wide receivers get mauled in the name of “competition”. In the NBA, nothing changes in terms of foul calls simply because that’s the only way non-star defenders can contain stars on offense. In every other sport, the best athletes are allowed to be the best athletes without being mugged night-in and night-out.

continued with a video of the play in question...

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Video- Bill McCreary’s Road To The NHL

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Let The Boys Play

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

NHL officiating seems to have moved into its playoff form more than two months before the playoffs actually begin. The preseason advisory about cracking down on cross-checks has been inoperable for a few weeks, already. Referees are in the “Let the boys play,” mode. Who needs rules?

The Rangers were beaten 1-0 in Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon when Evgeni Malkin scored a power-play goal at 5:09 of the third period after Ryan Lindgren had been cited for hooking Sidney Crosby on a play that was more innocent than at least a half-dozen that had preceded it and had gone without notice.

Sometimes, you are no doubt aware, “Who needs rules?” is superseded by “Crosby Rules.” The latter could, of course, be interpreted in two ways, because while there may be Crosby Rules, it’s also true that for the most part, Crosby does rule.

There were three, two-minute sets of four-on-four play in the second period but only four power plays — two for each side — in the testy contest that did at times rise to the level of playoff intensity.

When it was over, Gerard Gallant was asked about the call on Lindgren. The head coach not only took no umbrage over the penalty but endorsed the work of referees Steve Kozari and Tom Chmielewski.

continued

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All Stephen Walkom

from Matt Larkin of The Hockey News,

THN: You started as an NHL official in 1990. What do you think is the biggest change in calling a game between then and now?

WALKOM: It used to be, when you refereed the game, it was “your game.” You refereed the game. There was really no NHL standard on penalty calling and enforcement. Now in the game, there’s a standard on everything from how we set up at faceoffs, to how we present the puck, to hooking, to holding, to interference, and it doesn't matter what you're doing as an official in the game of hockey.

There has been video guidance given to everybody, a standard that's expected by fans, players, coaches and even officials on how the game is to be called. We never had video back then. When we came to training camp, we would read the rulebook. Now we see the rulebook and we see lots of plays, lots of situations, and we see them visually, so that's a big change from an officiating perspective. I also think it’s affected the way the game is called. There’s a lot more consistency right across the NHL.

When I came into the NHL a long time ago, we were looked at as a league that was an outlier compared to all other hockey leagues. Now I think the NHL is really a leader in (officiating), because no matter what we do in the NHL, every other professional league in the world and a lot of the amateur leagues are all trying to duplicate it almost immediately. Everything from all the faceoffs on the nine dots, to pucks deflecting off in the attacking zone and all staying inside, standard of enforcement, across a whole multitude of penalties. Everybody is looking at our situation handbook, everybody's looking at our rulebook, and everybody's looking at our best practices in terms of how we apply them and try to duplicate them. That, to me, is great for the game.

THN: With social media spawning mobs of fans scrutinizing replays every night, is officiating a tougher job than it used to be?

read on

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Nothing Has Changed

from Stan Fischer of The Fischler Report at the Hockey News,

During lunch with Gary Bettman, I told him that I had a beef with the officiating.

The commissioner then reached into his vest pocket and pulled out an envelope with a letter inside.

"I'm going to read you the letter," the National Hockey League's boss said, "and I want you to guess who wrote it."

It was a tough read; flowing with zebra criticism and concluding with demands for reform.

"Now take a guess," Bettman confidently went on, "and guess who?"

Knowing my longtime buddy and his candor, I snapped, "It's gotta be Brian Burke."

The Commish shook his head and handed me the missive. Instantly, I blushed. It was written by Rangers manager-coach Lester Patrick in the year 1933.

"You see," noted The Lord of Hockey, "nothing has changed."

continued

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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

 

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