Tag: referees

Colorado Avalanche v Nashville Predators

Report: NHL officials to participate in preseason without new CBA

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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.

Cup finals questions: Will the officiating stay front and center?

Jonathan Toews, Stephen Walkom

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.


NHL adds three new officials

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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 Burrowsannounced 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.

Canucks GM Mike Gillis complains about penalty calls; Does he have a point?

Roberto Luongo

Whether it’s deflecting attention from Roberto Luongo or “planting a seed” for officials in Game 7, Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis called for an “even playing field” when it comes to penalties today.

While he’s not the first GM to pipe up about the issue in the 2011 playoffs – Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray wins that trophy – it might not be a bad strategy. From a sheer numbers perspective, he has a point, too. The Chicago Blackhawks received 27 power play opportunities (scoring six times) while the Canucks only went on the man advantage 16 times (scoring four goals) in the first six games. That’s 11 more chances or almost two more per game.

After a pretty even amount of power plays in the first two games (four for Vancouver, five for Chicago), the difference was especially clear in the first two games in Chicago. The Blackhawks received 14 chances in those two games while the Canucks only went on the PP six times.

We’re not trying to tread into conspiracy theory here, but Gillis is clever to bring up the difference, especially since officiating could make a huge difference in Game 7. If you don’t think it matters, chew on this: the Canucks scored 79 PP goals this season, the highest total in the NHL. Here’s what Gillis said, via NHL.com.

“These are facts. They’re undeniable,” Gillis said. “The first two games everything is relatively equal, the last four games they haven’t been. And when people seem to think we don’t have the killer instinct, it’s pretty tough to have the killer instinct when you’re killing penalties most of the time.

“Our power play was No. 1 in the League and theoretically we felt there were six or seven legitimate calls that weren’t called for whatever reason. That’s six or seven power-play opportunities for us. It’s going to change the outcome of the game.”


“I’m very confident that if we play the same way (Tuesday) night and it’s a level playing field we’ll win the game.”

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault was wise to leave the controversial comments to his GM, though.

“I’m not going to touch on that. Our players and myself, we need to be focused on the process, putting a good game on the ice,” Vigneault said. “I understand Mike’s frustration. When Raffi Torres hit Seabrook, there was almost a national debate on whether he should play another game this year and we even had media from our media suggest that if the League doesn’t suspend him we should suspend him. Well, the hit on Kevin (Sunday) night was the exact same hit and they didn’t even get a minor and nobody brought it up so I understand his frustration. But, as far as us coaches and players, there’s nothing we can do about that and we just have to go out and play.”

With all the talk of Vancouver’s killer instinct, the referees need to follow their own instincts by calling a fair Game 7. That’s not to say that they didn’t so in the previous six games, but Gillis is smart to shine the spotlight on the referees in this penultimate game, too.

Rangers-Capitals game knocks referee Chris Rooney out of the playoffs

Washington Capitals v New York Rangers - Game Three

Most of the time, NHL officials are only noticed if they make a controversial call or if a puck bounces off of them and creates/inhibits a scoring chance. Yet hockey can be a dangerous sport for anyone on the ice, even the guys who wear striped shirts rather than team jerseys.

That point was made clear during the New York Rangers’ tense, grinding win against the Washington Capitals on NBC this afternoon. The second period included a delay after referee Chris Rooney stumbled behind Washington’s net and showed serious signs of anguish on his face.

There’s a good reason why he seemed like he was in such pain; Jeff Marek reports that Rooney is suffering from a broken fibula and won’t officiate another playoff game in 2011.

It’s tough news for Rooney, but is also emphasizes the fact that the officials are in the line of fire too. A lot of times these guys get a puck in the face and keep working anyway, showing that they belong on the ice with some of the toughest athletes in sports. There were even a few officials who wouldn’t wear helmets until they were forced to do so (although some would argue they resisted such urges because they wanted to show off stylish hair cuts).

Anyway, it’s a tough break for Rooney, but refs can get injured too.