28 April 2008
So I'm going to shift gears for a second and talk about something that affects all the remaining playoff teams. The refereeing has been atrocious in these playoffs. Absolutely atrocious. Yesterday's games were a prime example. Late in the Rangers-Penguins game the Rangers scored what appeared to be the game-tying goal with about 4:00 remaining. Yet the goal was waved off because the ref, frankly, didn't appear to be in the right position and lost sight of the puck. In that situation before I have seen referees climb on the back of the net in order to not lose sight of it, but in this case the ref was all the way in the corner and, what seemed to me, to be out of position. The Rangers would go onto lose.
In the late game Mike Modano was called for tripping in the corner. Replays revealed that the sharks player (I think it was Erhoff) had really just lost an edge when Modano was in the area and the refs made a bad call. The referee's apparently subscribe to the "two wrongs make a right" theory of officiating, because 1/2 way through the Sharks PP the refs decided to make a make-up call by calling "holding" on a Sharks player. The call was so comically bad that they might as well have just said "Sharks 2 min: make-up". Dallas scored the GWG on the subsequent abbreviated PP.
Adam Foote was clearly boarded in game 2 (when the game was still close) and there was no call. There were so many bad calls in the Wild-Avs series that it can only be described as "uncountable". (The offsides that led to a goal, and a Wild goal that took only .4 seconds being two of the worst, not that there weren't some in the Avs favor too, but you tend not to notice those).
This isn't an excuse for the losing teams because I wouldn't call the officiating biased, just incompetent. But poor officiating makes for tentative play. Players don't play their normal way because they fear getting a penalty called, even when they don't commit a foul. It makes games choppier and degrades the quality of play on the ice.
The NHL needs to take a hard long look at their officiating (and kangaroo court player-suspension system for that matter) this offseason.
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