Even though he’s off to a good start with Swedish Elite League club Frolunda, Matt Duchene isn’t all that thrilled with the league’s officiating.
Over the weekend, the Toronto Sun provided translation of an interview Duchene did with Swedish newspaper Expressen in which he criticized the level of SEL refereeing:
“It is sad that the (referees) did not call hooking, slashing and so on,” Duchene said in a translated story from the newspaper Expressen.
“The level here is quite different than I’m used to. That’s just the way it works here.”
Duchene, who only has 57 NHL penalty minutes, wondered about the old adage ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’, but also worried that changing his style would backfire whenever the NHL resumes.
Here’s more from Matias Strozyk of Jakoaika and Elite Prospects:
Matt Duchene is upset with SEL refereeing and talked to Expressen about it. And he’s right. Slashing is out of control in Finland as well.
— Matias Strozyk (@MaStrozyk) November 2, 2012
Excessive stickwork and obstruction have long been complaints of the Swedish/Finnish leagues, so to hear a newcomer complain about them isn’t out of the ordinary.
That said, it’s interesting to read about NHLers and their less-than-ideal European adventures. Montreal forward Max Pacioretty bolted Swiss club Ambri-Piotta after just five games while a number of guys — Tomas Kopecky, Kris Russell, Jakub Voracek,
Thomas Alex Steen, Tuukka Rask — have suffered injuries playing abroad.
UPDATE: Here’s a Twitter conversation between Voracek and Tom Sestito about the lack of quality refereeing in the Czech Extraliga (Voracek) and UK League (Sestito).