Apr 11, 2011, 11:58 PM EDT
The NHL named the 20 referees and 20 officials who will legislate the 2011 playoffs today. Some of the familiar names include Paul Devorski, Stephen Walkom and Dan O’Halloran, but if you really need to know every guy you’ll eventually heckle during the next two-plus months, they’re listed at the bottom of this post.
This list of referees brings up an important question, though: will the NHL send them a message to actually make calls during the playoffs or will the pervasive “just let ’em play” illogic prevail?
Instead of boring you with fractions and decimals, the easiest way to notice the fact that the league is starting to sink back into those ugly, pre-lockout habits can be seen in the scoring leaders. Daniel Sedin’s 104 points is the lowest Art Ross Trophy-winning total since Martin St. Louis won it with 94 in 2003-04 while Corey Perry was the only player in the league to hit 50 goals.
Referees are turning a blind eye to instances of obstruction and interference more and more, if you ask me (and many other increasingly concerned observers). One might look at a subtle pick or a moderate grab as a “part of the game,” but these tactics allow slow, lower-skill players to dumb the game down when hockey should be opening every door for the fastest, most talented guys to shine.
As Mike Chen astutely points out, the beginning of the 2011 playoffs could provide the league with an opportunity to send a message about making the proper calls rather than swallowing whistles to silence angry fans and whiny coaches.
More and more first-time and returning fans will gravitate toward these games as the postseason goes on, so why not display the sport at its best instead of allowing mediocre teams to muck things up with their clutching and grabbing?
Chances are, things will just get worse because of that aforementioned “just let ’em play” mentality, especially since the league has been getting off the hook lately. For the last three seasons, luck has been on the NHL’s side when it comes to high-profile, elite teams meeting in the Stanley Cup finals. If they let the on-ice mugging (er, I mean “defense”) go too far, we could be in for another New Jersey Devils-Anaheim Ducks-type snooze fest.
Hopefully the cream will rise to the top, but here are the list of officials who will be given the power to allow the best to be the best (or not). (List via NHL.com.)
Francois St. Laurent
- Hamilton signs six-year deal with Flames 13
- Sharks get Jones from Bruins for first-round pick and unsigned prospect 35
- Hurricanes to buy out Semin 14
- Bruins are talking to teams about Savard, but not Rask 6
- Report: Richards part of police investigation 42
- UFA of the Day: Mike Green 4
- Agent: Franson has spoken with ‘half a dozen’ teams (Updated) 8
- Your 2015 HHOF Class: Fedorov, Housley, Lidstrom, Pronger, Ruggiero 39
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder 104
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ 89
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (104)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (89)
- Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks (75)
- Trade: Busy Bruins send Lucic to Kings (66)
- Consensus reached: 5 minutes of 3-on-3 OT could be in place for 2015-16 (60)