Tag: officiating complaints


Tough start for Coyotes: Toews scores, Vrbata banged up

It’s understandable that there’s a festive atmosphere in Phoenix. The Coyotes won their first-ever division title. They avoided the Detroit Red Wings after being bounced from the playoffs twice by that team. Unfortunately for the ‘Yotes, the early goings against Chicago haven’t been all peaches and cream.

First, Jonathan Toews signaled his return to action by scoring an opening goal against Phoenix:

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Things went from bad to worse as Radim Vrbata appears to be banged up. Reports are mixed on whether he’s just being evaluated or whether he’ll miss the game completely, but Elliotte Friedman’s update doesn’t foster a lot of confidence for one of the NHL’s sneakiest scorers.

Not every break went against Phoenix, though. The CSN Chicago telecast indicates that the Coyotes might have gotten away with a too many men on the ice infraction in the first portion of a sequence that eventually ended up with a 1-1 goal. Look out for more on what might be the next officiating controversy of these young playoffs later tonight.

Mike Babcock critiques officials during in-game interview

Mike Babcock

Sure, there are plenty of times when coaches and players have cliches on call, but in-game and post-game interviews exist because emotional reactions occasionally bleed through. Wednesday night represented one of those times as Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock reacted to a heavy run of penalties in his team’s match against the Nashville Predators while he was interviewed by Brian Engblom.

“The refs are trying to get to the Stanley Cup finals just like the rest of us,” Babcock said.

Check out video of the interview below:

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Naturally, that honest bit of criticism brought out the snark (particularly in comparison to John Tortorella’s recent fine), but the question is: should Babcock’s wallet be a little lighter?

Perhaps, but I think it would set a bad example. It’s one thing to hand a hefty punishment on Tortorella for comments made during a press conference, yet the New York Rangers coach at least had a little more time to decide that he would speak his mind. If the NHL wants to encourage interesting discussion during on-the-bench interviews, then hitting Babcock hard would be counterproductive – it was in the heat of the moment, after all.

What do you think, though? Does Babcock deserve some kind of punishment – even if it’s mainly to be “fair” to Tortorella? Does he have a point? Maybe a little of both? Share your thoughts.

Danny Briere was offside on 3-1 goal

Danny Briere

Danny Briere isn’t the biggest player by any means, so the Philadelphia Flyers forward has become the leading playoff scorer of the post-lockout era because of his cleverness and craftiness. Apparently he’s good at sneaking by officials’ eyes every now and then, as the NBC Sports Network gang captured evidence that Briere was offside while receiving the pass that set up Philly’s only goal so far in a 3-1 game that eventually morphed into a 4-3 overtime shocker.

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It certainly wouldn’t be fair to pin a potential comeback on that blown call alone – some will quibble with an icing that wasn’t called, eventually allowing Pascal Dupuis’ 3-0 goal to happen – but it absolutely helped to open up the door for a Flyers resurgence.

Conspiracy theorists tend to pile up against the Penguins, but any tin foil hat wearers in Pittsburgh might break them out if this game gets interesting as the third period approaches.

Bobby Ryan thinks officiating is “horrendous from an inconsistent standpoint”

Bobby Ryan

Bobby Ryan had a forgettable game against Nashville last night. Ryan finished the night with no points, a minus-1 rating, and three minor penalties, the last of which led to the Predators game-clinching empty net goal.

With a hat trick like that, you couldn’t blame Ryan for being upset with how he played. He decided to take his frustrations out on the officials instead, telling Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register that the men in stripes have a lot of work to do.

“Oh, it’s been horrendous from an inconsistent standpoint,” Ryan said. “You almost don’t know what you get. You’ve got to wave a white towel almost. It’s upsetting. It is what it is.”

 Waving a white towel is what Roger Neilson did while coach in Vancouver years ago to “surrender” to officials, a sweet hockey history reference by Ryan if that’s what he intended.
Hearing complaints about officiating is becoming commonplace in Anaheim as we’ve heard coach Bruce Boudreau sound off on two different occasions about the refs. The Ducks aren’t going to be making the playoffs and getting frustrated over it is part of the story, but a quick way to guarantee not getting the benefit of the doubt in calls is to point out what a bad job the referees are doing. Leave that stuff to the fans.

Daniel Briere says the officiating went too far in Game 4

Daniel Briere, Jordan Leopold

During last night’s heated Game 4 between Buffalo and Philadelphia, the heat that many were expecting to see between these two teams finally started to show up. You saw Ryan Miller and Dan Carcillo take pokes at each other and you also saw Flyers captain Mike Richards deliver a questionable back-elbow to the face of Patrick Kaleta.

Richards received a five-minute major for elbowing on his play and while it’s not as obvious as say Chris Kunitz’s elbow to Simon Gagne was, getting the captain sent off for five minutes grabs everyone’s attention. It certainly got the attention of Daniel Briere who is doing a daily blog at Chuck Gormley’s Flyer Files.

Briere who has been denying being a war of words with former teammate Ryan Miller, spoke out this morning on the site to say that the referees might be better off getting their act together.

Last night we felt the five-minute penalty on Mike Richards was personal more than anything and there was a lot of frustration from that. Mike wasn’t happy about the (roughing) call on (Dan) Carcillo when both Miller and (Mike) Weber were mugging him and Weber didn’t get anything. We were all furious about that call and then he turned around and gave Mike the five minutes. For the most part since I’ve been here the refs have been very good at knowing the difference between the playoffs and the regular season, but I thought last night the line was crossed by one of them.

This sort of frustration was being echoed by all the Flyers after last night’s 1-0 loss but when you see it there in cold hard print, it hammers things home a bit.

Of course we treat these things a bit cynically as we’re guessing the Flyers might be politicking for some calls to go their way. That’d be understandable if they were being shortchanged in that department but they’re not. The Sabres have had 30 penalties called against them in the playoffs, tied for most in the postseason with Anaheim. They’ve spent over 34 minutes on the penalty kill in the series.

If the Flyers power play performed better (scoring at a 9.5% rate in the playoffs, fifth worst in the postseason) they could’ve put Buffalo in a much worse spot by now but instead they’re in a fight for the series down to a best of three at this point.

If Philadelphia wants to help put the Sabres away they’re going to have to get to Ryan Miller somehow as well as get their power play clicking at a better rate. If not, games like last night’s Game 4 could happen again and when it comes down to it, you don’t want to end up in that uncomfortable position of leaving fate up to the goalies.