The NHL preseason schedule begins Sunday with five games and they will be officiated by NHL referees with or without new collective bargaining agreement in place.
As of this moment, there is no deal in place.
In 2010, the two sides worked through the preseason before reaching a four-year deal prior to the start of the regular season.
According to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports, the two sides don’t anticipate a strike and expect a deal in place prior to the start of the regular season on Oct. 8.
The two sides met in August in Toronto to discuss a new CBA.
In 1993, officials went on a 17-day strike before reaching a new deal in November.
To say it’s been a tricky playoffs for the officials would be putting it politely.
In just about every series there’s been some kind of gripe about a blown or missed call and worries over referees putting their whistles away so the players can “settle things themselves” have caused more than a few grumbles. With a seemingly different set of standards in the postseason, complaints have been plentiful and in some cases for good reason.
The question for the Stanley Cup finals now is whether or not the officials will continue to steal headlines? Both teams and the league would prefer they not do that.
Take a look through these playoffs and you’ll see a laundry list of players who had gripes about officiating and we’re not just talking about regular schmoe defensemen here. Sidney Crosby spoke his mind. Jonathan Toews was more than open about his thoughts on calls. Alex Ovechkin went as far as suggesting there was a conspiracy, something the Caps GM basically agreed with.
With this many high-profile players and executives speaking their mind, either they’re all big crybabies or there’s a definite problem. The Toronto Star’s Damien Cox opined today saying the finals would make for a good time for the league and its officials to reestablish what the correct way to call a game would be. With everyone turning their attention to the finals, it might be a good way to restore order.
Officiating is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” kind of profession. Make too many calls and people complain they’re ruining the game. Too few and they’re letting it get away from them.
The only thing we know for sure is that whatever level officiating is at now isn’t meeting many fans’ approval and any blown calls in the finals are going to be put under the microscope. The less we notice the officials, the better and the league would sure love it. Here’s to hoping a game isn’t won or lost because of a bad or missed call.
For more 2013 Cup finals questions, click here.
Even the midst of a lockout, the NHL continues to add employees.
According to the Western Hockey League website, three officials — referees Trevor Hanson and Trent Knorr, linesman Kiel Murchison — have been recruited to the NHL.
While all three have signed NHL contracts, they’ll officiate in the American Hockey League this season.
Bob Hall, the NHL’s senior officiating manager, says the WHL is a good breeding ground for referees and linesmen.
“[The WHL] is an environment that has huge crowds, great venues, a lot of pressure, and a highly-skilled and competitive level of hockey,” said Hall. “One of the main advantages of the WHL is that it is so big, geographically, that it really teaches guys how to self-manage.
“Just getting from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ can be very distracting, and you have to learn how to get yourself ready to work a game after traveling for hours, and through some tough weather conditions at that.”
The addition of new NHL recruits isn’t all that surprising, as a couple of jobs opened up this summer.
In June, referee Stephane Auger — he of the l’affaire de Burrows — announced his retirement after 13 years in the league.
Later that month, Marcus Vinnerborg — the NHL’s first European-trained referee — also called it a career.