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Canucks captain Sedin: Officiating standards ‘absolutely’ changed this year

Apr 23, 2013, 5:24 PM EDT


Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin says the standard for what constitutes a penalty has changed.

And not for the better.

“Yes, absolutely,” Sedin told The Province when asked if officiating standards were different this year. “I think it’s too late now, but going into next season you’ve got to go back to the last lockout where they called everything.

“Guys are going to stop hooking if they know they’re going to get called. Right now there’s way too much of that.”

What’s curious about this statement is the NHL made an effort this summer to specifically address it.

From Aug. 21-22, a mini-summit of GMs, coaches, players, officials and the league’s hockey ops department met in Toronto and discussed significant rules — most pressingly, the standard for obstruction penalties.

From Sports Illustrated’s Stu Hackel:

The meeting grew out of the GMs gathering in March during which some expressed concern that the league had softened its resolve to restrict interference, hooking and holding.

That perception had also been circulating in the media, and while it wasn’t part of the GMs’ complaints, the fact is that with goal scoring having declined annually since the post-lockout rules were implemented, the return of clutching and grabbing was blamed.

Teams averaged 6.16 goals per game in 2005-06. Last season, it was 5.32 per game, on a par with the Dead Puck Era just prior to the lockout.

NHL Senior VP of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell said he didn’t think the obstruction standard was broken, “but I don’t think it’s perfect, either.”

He also admitted several teams questioned if the standard had slipped as the 2011-12 season progressed.


Well, the numbers put forth raised some eyebrows.

Last February, columnist John Kreiser took notice of a sharp decline in power plays:

With the season set to pass the two-thirds mark on Saturday, the average number of power plays in a game has fallen to levels not seen in more than three decades.

Entering the weekend, the 810 games played this season have had an average of 6.90 power plays — the lowest figure since 1978-79, when the 17-team NHL averaged 6.77 power plays in its 680 games.

Further data research from The Score’s Backhand Shelf suggested that, in ’11-12, the league was on pace for far fewer hooking and holding penalties than in ’10-11.

There are generally two counterpoints to claims that officiating standards have declined:

1) Penalties are down because players have adjusted to new rules and officiating standards.

2) Referees are letting more obstruction/holding go because it slows down players and, therefore, can have a tangible effect on collisions, impact and concussions.

Of course, there are also those who feel Sedin’s comments are simply a skill guy complaining about physical play.

But on that note, check out what ex-NHL referee Kerry Fraser had to say.

“I would have to agree [with Henrik],” Fraser said. “[Coming out of the lockout] there was a commitment from every faction in the game to limit the restraining fouls we had let go for so long. It was a culture shock, but players had to change the way they played and it flushed out a lot of players who couldn’t cheat.

“There are a combination of things that have resulted in a less stringent standard [today].”

  1. jpat2424 - Apr 23, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    Go figure another Canuck whining!!

    • nvnighthawk - Apr 23, 2013 at 7:38 PM

      Your the whiner dude, say something intelligent from behind your keyboard. U object to ppl answering questions yet say nothing. The game has regressed as far as calling penalties, every pro sport suffers. The old worn out theory of let the players decide the game is only another way of saying turn a blind eye.

    • canucks30 - Apr 23, 2013 at 7:55 PM

      A fan of a rival team whining about the Canucks whining.

      The ironing is delicious.

  2. pitpenguinsrulez - Apr 23, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    Honestly officiating won’t ever be perfect in this league. Players will complain no matter what that’s just the nature of the game.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 23, 2013 at 6:56 PM

      It never will be perfect but it looks really bad now, and not only for the reasons Sedin has. Refs don’t seem to know what the rules are. Some nights they make garbage calls. Some nights they let obvious penalties go. Sometimes they pick and choose. There is zero consistency and that to me is the most frustrating.

      • pitpenguinsrulez - Apr 23, 2013 at 10:52 PM

        Theres zero consistency in all four major sports with officiating. Though nothing is as bad the replacements refs in the NFL last season.

  3. dumbassgreg - Apr 23, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    team follow what wins last few winners los angeles,boston took skill out of the game slowed it down. not at the unwatchable level. it was before first lockout but the game is getting boring again. hockey is still only sports that allows less talented players to stop talent from showing skills. does any really want to see a los angeles boston final. that would be like tampa/calgary or edmonton/ carolina unwatchable. unless you cheer for those teams.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 23, 2013 at 6:59 PM

      I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but it’s funny that your two examples are Finals that went to Game 7. Teams can skate through molasses for all I care if they do it seven times.

    • nvnighthawk - Apr 23, 2013 at 7:45 PM

      I agree if refs don’t call it players will do whatever it takes to win. End result is 2 standards those that cheat & get away with it or those who play the game as intended. All sports have refs or officials for a reason & if substandard or influencing the sport then competition is compromised. Leagues r at fault & do not allow rules to be enforced, let refs call it as they see it with no bias or relaxing of the rules.

  4. elvispocomo - Apr 23, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    About as good a reference pic you can get considering the subject matter!

  5. canuckswino - Apr 23, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    When a reporter asks you a question, and you answer it, I’m not sure that’s whining. But I guess that’s just me.

  6. wannabebluesplayer - Apr 23, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    Sounds like Henrik is whining. His diving isn’t getting called as penalties against anymore? Poor diver, keep,crying.

  7. thos_prattt - Apr 23, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    You CANNOT have artificial parity in a league that privileges skill over clutching and grabbing.

  8. JoeAvg - Apr 23, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    Consistency is the main problem. What’s a penaly in the first period of a regular season game should be a penalty in overtime of game 7 of the finals. If it’s an infraction, it’s an infraction.

    If they really want to see scoring go up why not eliminate the ancient Montreal Canadien rule and make players serve the whole two minutes of a minor penalty instead of springing ’em if a goal is scored. This would also help eliminate some of the clutch and grab. The penalty could be stiff for doing so.

  9. whammy71 - Apr 23, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    Sound like Cryers fan to me.

  10. uscthom78 - Apr 23, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    After the playoffs are over , they still be 2 girls no cup.

    • canucks30 - Apr 23, 2013 at 7:53 PM

      Duncan Keith, is that you?

  11. dumbassgreg - Apr 23, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    wow took that long for a sisters comment. guess many feel being a women means your inferior weak. macho men. lmao

  12. dumbassgreg - Apr 23, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    joeavg agree 100% should go back to 2 minute full penalties. also league needs to give 3 points for regulation win. one point for a tie nothing for a loss. nhl is only sports you get apoint for a loss in overtime or shootout.shootout is crap. the worse thing about football(soccer) is copied stupid freekicks not the points system. league needs to reward teams to play to win in 60 minutes using skills. not allowed weak teams to lower skill level.

    • JoeAvg - Apr 23, 2013 at 8:00 PM

      Greg you’re no dumb ass, though I don’t think three is necessary. Two points for a regulation or overtime win and one point for the shootout (it’s not going away, unfortunately) would be fine. No reward for losing and less of a one if you can’t beat ’em without the skills competition.

  13. dropthepuckeh - Apr 23, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    Don’t these guys get embarrassed about complaining so much about not getting calls? Vancouver (268 minutes) and Montreal (307 minutes, top) are in the top four of power play minutes for the year and they both complain and they both dive all the time. Give it a rest and show some pride and nuts. We understand you want to lay the ground work for the playoffs so the refs will give you calls. What a joke. Excited for Vancouver to lose, again.

    • loinstache - Apr 23, 2013 at 9:02 PM

      yeah based upon your definition of whining your post is downright sobbing and screaming for the tit

  14. comeonnowguys - Apr 24, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    Can’t agree with him more. I don’t need or want 7-6 or 9-8 games. I just want my 1-0 games to not be a bunch of grabass in the neutral zone that places blocking a shot above actually ripping a shot off.

    If I have to sit through another second and third round like what happened in the West last year, I may flip over to baseball for some excitement.

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