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.
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.
Losing a game is frustrating as it is. When you think the referees are helping you lose though, that tends to make everyone a little more cranky. The Ducks getting doubled up by the Kings last night 4-2 helped make Bruce Boudreau one of those grumpy guys thanks to the Kings scoring two of their four goals on the power play.
Boudreau sounded off about the officiating loudly after the game. Jeff Miller of the Orange County Register gets the rant.
“Some of the worst calls I’ve seen in a friggin’ long time,” he said. “A game of this importance, we can’t have officiating making calls like that. I mean, there’s three penalties that weren’t penalties.”
Oh yes, there’s more.
“Everybody makes mistakes,” Boudreau continued. “But if we’re busting our (rearend) all night long and playing our fifth game in seven nights. I mean, we need it better. I mean, from them…I don’t know what their schedule is, if it’s four nights in a row or what have you. But we can’t have that. Just bad calls.”
With a rant like that, Boudreau’s wallet is likely to get a bit lighter because of it. The league will always stand up for their officials, right or wrong, and anyone that lashes out is going to hear about it. Rants like this though make us all happy that Boudreau found a new place to land, getting tirades like this is priceless.