While we’ll be waiting until January to see who will be playing for gold in Sochi, we know now who will be wearing the stripes during the Olympic hockey tournament.
The International Ice Hockey Federation announced the names of the referees and linesmen who’ll handle the tournament. The NHL is well represented with seven referees and six linesmen getting the call amongst the 28 total officials (14 referees and linesmen each).
Among the referees, NHLers Dave Jackson, Mike Leggo, Brad Meier, Tim Peel (pictured), Kevin Pollock, Kelly Sutherland, and Ian Walsh are headed to Sochi. Sweden’s Marcus Vinnerborg, a one-time NHL referee, is also headed to Sochi.
As for the linesmen it’ll be Derek Amel, Lonnie Cameron, Greg Devorski, Brad Kovachik, Andy McElman, and Jesse Wilmot represent the league.
Now fans know which guys they can really get on should their country come up short because of a bad penalty. Like that would hold them back anyhow.
For what it’s worth, none of these officials got the call to do the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.
Raffi Torres’ brutal and illegal hit on Marian Hossa infuriated the Chicago Blackhawks thanks to the play not even being penalized. While Hossa was sent to the hospital, Torres was allowed to play on the rest of the night, something Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville did not appreciate in the least.
Following Chicago’s 3-2 overtime loss, Quenneville ripped into the referees of last night’s game, Stephen Walkom and Ian Walsh, for finding a way to blow what should’ve been one of the easiest calls of the postseason. Tracey Myers of CSNChicago.com has the details.
“It was a brutal hit,” Quenneville said. “You can have a multiple choice question it’s ‘All the Above.’”
Quenneville said the Hossa play happened right in front of him in the first period.
“I had a hard time. I saw exactly what happened,” he said. “How four guys missed it tonight, it was hard. The refereeing tonight was a disgrace.”
Walkom and Walsh missing the call is just yet another example of how poor the officials work has been on the ice during the playoffs. Quenneville isn’t the first coach to complain about the referees during the playoffs and at this rate he won’t be the last.
What’s disturbing here is Walkom and Walsh have had complaints against them already in the postseason. Walkom and Walsh worked Game 2 of the Rangers-Senators series that saw things get wildly out of control throughout the game. Now with missing Torres’ illegal hit on Hossa, it’s another mark against him.
In case you’ve forgotten, Walkom is the former NHL head of officiating who resigned from that position to get back on the ice.
If nothing else, Rangers coach John Tortorella is an honest guy. Sometimes he’s a bit too honest like he was after the Winter Classic expressing his displeasure with the officiating late in the game.
Today, Tortorella was busy apologizing for those comments that were both honest and tongue-in-cheek.
“I tainted the Winter Classic with my mouth and I shouldn’t have,” Tortorella said at Rangers practice this morning. “They were sarcastic comments by me at the wrong time, and it was frustration on my part, as far as the referees on my part and what was done at the end of the game.”
Tortorella added that he apologized for his remarks about the officiating being “disgusting” and that he regrets that choice of words. He added that he apologized to anyone he could get a hold of including Flyers GM Paul Holmgren. Tortorella said he’ll wait until he sees referees Ian Walsh and Denis Larue in person to apologize to them.
He also said his comments about there being a conspiracy to get the game to overtime were “tongue-in-cheek,” as Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants gathers.
“For me to question the integrity of the league, the integrity of NBC, the integrity of (referees) Denny (LaRue) and Ian (Walsh), the Flyers, the Rangers, go right on through all the people here—there’s not a chance I am thinking that way,” Tortorella continued.
It’s unfortunate that Tortorella had to go this far with everything. His comment about the officiating may still get him fined by the NHL, but his talk about there potentially being a conspiracy to get the game to overtime was snarky silliness at its best and ill-timed at its worst. The next time a coach wants to joke around about things, he’ll have to do it at a time that isn’t right after the game.