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Question for commenters: What, if anything, needs to be done about the officiating?

May 22, 2013, 2:07 PM EDT

Referee

Officiating is always a hot-button issue in the playoffs, but this year the button seems hotter than normal.

Last night in San Jose featured the latest controversial call of the 2013 postseason, when an early whistle cost the Los Angeles Kings a goal.

Now, referees are going to make mistakes — they’re only human and hockey is a fast game. Everyone screws up sometimes. Even you.

But there’s also the issue of consistency, i.e. the standard of officiating.

Bottom line: Players don’t seem to know what constitutes a penalty anymore. And frankly, sometimes we’re not sure the referees do either.

The fans, based on the comments we get at PHT, definitely don’t.

(Not that consistency is solely an NHL issue. How many times have baseball fans complained that some umps have massive strike zones while others are far less pitcher-friendly?  In basketball, there are endless complaints about star players getting preferential treatment.)

So what, if anything, would you like to see done about the officiating in the NHL?

Does there need to be some sort of rules summit this offseason, where the league tries to get everyone on the same page?

Do refs need to be held more publicly accountable, if only to give the fans and players their pound of flesh when mistakes are made?

Does there need to be more video review?

Or, should everyone just stop whining?

We know you have ideas, so go share them.

108 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. JoeAvg - May 22, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    How about fining players for embellishment and put that money towards training officials at all levels.

    • ibieiniid - May 22, 2013 at 2:57 PM

      you gotta get into politics. that’s a crowd-pleaser. nobody can disagree with that one…. except Alex Burrows.

      • JoeAvg - May 22, 2013 at 3:11 PM

        LOL I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or an insult. But it looks like I did get a thumbs down. I guess it goes to show that you can please some of the people all of the time…blah blah blah…you know the rest.

        At least while trying to kill two birds with one stone, if the money from the fines dries up you’ve got one problem solved.

      • ibieiniid - May 22, 2013 at 3:34 PM

        yeah that was Burrows himself thumbs-downing you…. got mad and smashed his computer before he got to my comment.

        but ya that’d be a compliment. need more ideas like that in gubbament. takes care of funding. alleviates a problem, solves a solution. boom.

  2. pastabelly - May 22, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    I just want to know if they change the special playoff rule where no road teams are allowed power plays in Madison Square Garden. How can they really fine Ovechkin for his comments when he has the facts on his side?

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 22, 2013 at 2:21 PM

      What facts? That there were no penalties, or that there is a rule where no road teams are allowed power plays at MSG?

    • billyhauntswizards - May 22, 2013 at 3:04 PM

      they fined Ovi because he was in no position to whine. The reffing in game 6 was stupid I agree but he had 50 even strength minutes to score and didn’t do it. I wish EVERYBODY would stop whining about the refs, especially through the press. Give it a rest you babies.

    • stakex - May 22, 2013 at 4:21 PM

      This is part of the problem right here: Everyone expects “make even” calls. If one team gets a power play, everyone expect the other team to get one as well. Thats NOT how it should be.

      Game six Rangers/Caps was actually a great example of how the refs SHOULD call a game. The Caps were sloppy and un-disciplined in that game, and took several really bad penelties. No one argues those were bad calls by the refs. On the flip side, the Rangers played a very disciplined game and Caps fans have a very hard time pointing to any one penelty that should have been called against them. Yet just because the power players were 5-0 against them, Caps fans are still whining that they were cheated because there is this expectation that if one team has a power play or two… the other team should get one.

      In reality, if the refs simply call penelties as they see them with absolutely no other motive behidn the call…. games like this will be far more common. Some teams, like the Rangers, are very disciplined. Others aren’t, and the calls when such teams play eachother shouldn’t be even for the sake of being even.

      • cheliostwin - May 23, 2013 at 12:44 AM

        This season, the Red Wings played back to back games in which they didn’t take any penalties. In the first of those games, the other team also didn’t take any penalties, so there were no power plays at all in that game. In the second game, the Wings did get three power plays.

        It happens sometimes, that a team doesn’t take any penalties.

      • atteckus - May 29, 2013 at 12:00 PM

        I don’t expect make even calls. I expect the games to be called correctly. Game six of the Rangers/Caps series was not a model of correct officiating. The Refs overlooked several Ranger penalties while at MSG. Shortly thereafter, the Refs did the same thing to the Bruins when visiting at MSG. You cannot possibly argue that the Rangers deserved to be penalty-free in two complete playoff games. If you do, your delusional. It is nothing less than a politics/convenience-inspired conspiracy of the referees to go light on the loud-mouthed Tortorella in his own bat cave.

  3. andrewproughcfe - May 22, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    I like the way the NBA handles it. Wait until the playing has stopped, the refs walk to a table with a TV on the middle of the sidelines and take a quick look — 15-20 seconds usually — then make a call and move forward. And since it doesn’t disrupt the game, they tend to take a look any time they want.

    All the major sports should be doing that. More use of video, quicker use of video, no disruptions to the regular flow of the game.

    • hockeyflow33 - May 22, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      I’ve never heard the words quick and NBA used together

    • esracerx46 - May 22, 2013 at 2:21 PM

      Have you watched an NBA game recently? I tried to, couldn’t do it. The last 5 minutes of the game take an hour. Between all the fouls in the last 2 minutes and the refs going to TV after every other play for 2 minutes at a time is ridiculous. Your comment on how it doesn’t disrupt the game is flat out ludicrous. The days half over but I’m confident that will be the dumbest thing I read today.

    • supercoop8 - May 22, 2013 at 2:37 PM

      Goals immediately called off for goaltender interference should warrant a quick video review. Diving/embellishment penalties should be solely assessed without issuing a penalty for the other infraction; four on four does nothing to impugn diving on faster teams.
      The problem with this year is that the league leaned on the refs, in the beginning of the year, to call games tight to list the game away from a clutch and grab scheme. Add all the make-up calls to keep things even and the eventual weening off of calling all contact ‘interference’ and now no player, ref, or coach understands what is a penalty. Things can never be consistent till they are properly defined.

    • billyhauntswizards - May 22, 2013 at 3:03 PM

      oh god please no. Some NBA games drag on for hours with those reviews, ruins the flow of the game, and puts me to sleep.

  4. hockeyflow33 - May 22, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    Have commenters read a rule book and officiate a hockey game. Most of the complaints have to do with people who do not understand the rules nor the speed at which the game is played.

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 22, 2013 at 2:22 PM

      I just gave you 100 hundred thumbs up, but only one was registered. :-)

      • hockeyflow33 - May 22, 2013 at 3:06 PM

        Haha thank you. I think this is the first time we’ve ever agreed.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 22, 2013 at 3:09 PM

        Really! Don’t get used to it! :-)

      • hockeyflow33 - May 22, 2013 at 3:34 PM

        I’m not planning on it haha

    • tdrusher225 - May 22, 2013 at 6:29 PM

      Well said flow… well said.

  5. bekay19 - May 22, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    CONSISTENCY (and stop favoring the home team)

    • polegojim - May 22, 2013 at 4:06 PM

      I have no problem with the Officiating… and view it like Government

      The LESS… the better. LET THEM PLAY!

  6. cspsrbums - May 22, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    No wonder the Rangers have the lowest PK chances they don’t get called for Penalties at home.O Rourke and Pollock ref. the games last night. The Rangers were 4-0 and 2-0 with these refs. And had no penalty called on them again.

  7. sjsharks66 - May 22, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    Video review. Take 30 seconds to review a play with your own eyes. They take 3 minutes talking to “the war room” why mot take a few seconds to make the right call.

    That disallowed goal for LA was complete BS. It is like everyone has been saying. Some games players dog pile and there is no whistle. They need to be consistent with those calls.

    • stakex - May 22, 2013 at 4:28 PM

      Problem with the quick whistle around the net is that refs are suppose to blow the play dead the second they lose track of the puck. So when you see a mad scramble and there is no whistle, you can assume the ref still sees the puck or at least knows the goalie doesn’t have it.

      This is one area where I actually think the refs should be given a break. Yet, that no goal last night was terrible for LA…. but the ref was just doing what they are told to do, and by letter of the rules made a good call.

  8. tfaltin - May 22, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    I’m on board with the stop whining approach.

  9. kcprof926 - May 22, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    The inconsistency among refs is the problem. Goalie interference on the Hawks was a joke. The player never touched the goalie. 9/10 refs don’t make a call there but one does. The rule changes for more offense have just put too much power with the refs. Let’s loosen things up and hold them more accountable for bad calls.

    • hockeydon10 - May 22, 2013 at 2:35 PM

      Except he did bump into Howard’s stick, which in turn pushed the arm/blocker out of the way, right when the puck came sailing past.

    • clefty1 - May 22, 2013 at 4:10 PM

      Go and read rule 69 in the rule book, here is part of the rule: Goals should be disallowed only if: (1) an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal. The correct call was made.

    • cheliostwin - May 23, 2013 at 12:51 AM

      To me, it looked like Howard tried to move his stick, but it hit Shaw’s skate, so he wasn’t allowed to make the play he wanted to. The ref got the call right, amazingly, because he didn’t have the benefit of slow motion replay, or another angle to look at.

  10. tycobbfromfangraphs - May 22, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Expand replay, less quick whistles

  11. myspaceyourface - May 22, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    If it’s wrong when the score is 1-0,
    It’s wrong when the score is 5-0.

    If it’s wrong when team A does it in the first period,
    It’s wrong when team B does it in Overtime.

    If it’s wrong in game one of a series,
    It’s wrong in game 7 of a series.

    • 19to77 - May 22, 2013 at 3:58 PM

      Yes. Very yes. If I might add one more thing:

      If it’s a suspendable play for a fourth-liner,
      It’s suspendable for a superstar.

      • 67jalopy - May 22, 2013 at 5:07 PM

        Are you still whining about the Marleau – Brown collision? Brown was obviously not ready for the game to begin; he’s skating into center ice and gazing off to his right to watch the puck. I’ve watched Marleau get abused for years and never resort to dishing out a cheap shot. That’s what makes him a superstar in my book. And that’s why Cory Perry will never be one… in my book.

      • 19to77 - May 22, 2013 at 5:32 PM

        I had Shea Weber grabbing Zetterberg by the head and slamming it into the glass at the end of a game in last year’s playoffs in mind, actually, and a couple of times Ovechkin’s straight-up jumped into a hit and got nothing. Those teal goggles you have on are mighty thick.

    • bruininnh1984 - May 22, 2013 at 4:13 PM

      i’m sorry, but i don’t want to hear from or see the refs in a winner-take-all game 7 of a series. case and point: game 7 of the ECF between the bruins and lightning(the best hockey game i’ve ever watched). 0 penalties, though some could have been called on both sides. the refs let the players decide who was going to win that game without getting involved. scoring chances on both sides, great pace to the game. everyone on both sides played great in that game. game was decided on a shot roloson had no chance on.

    • stakex - May 22, 2013 at 4:31 PM

      Thats never how hockey has been, and its not how it should be. The best hockey is when the whistles go away.

      The problem is that they have to go away evenly. If the refs are going to let them play in game seven, then let them play it game seven…. don’t suddenly call a BS little hook out of nowhere when everything else has been let go.

  12. jb8383 - May 22, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    I agree with the video review, plays in hockey happen fast so sometimes the refs might need review to make the right call. Lately there have been some obvious wrong calls and when it changes the outcome of the game that is not acceptable. I also think that a ref should not be allowed to call a penalty if the play happens down the other end of the ice or that ref at least has to discuss it with the ref on the side of the ice where the play happened.

    • cheliostwin - May 23, 2013 at 12:59 AM

      Exactly. Like how a referee 80 feet away called a high-sticking penalty on a Detroit player, when the ref 10 feet away didn’t, giving the Ducks a power-play in overtime. Video review showed that the Ducks player was hit in the face by his own stick, while the Wings player’s stick was down on the ice. Luckily it didn’t make any difference, the Wings killed off that penalty and went on to score a few minutes later.

  13. Stiller43 - May 22, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Everyone needs to stop whining.

    • ibieiniid - May 22, 2013 at 3:07 PM

      at this point, I halfway agree with you. there’s not a lot you can do about just some bad calls except maybe call out the inconsistency. but you can’t say ‘stop whining’ all the way down the line to the point where refs are sitting on the bench reading the paper. there’s gotta be a point where you do something about the way they ref the game. I think that’s the question the article is asking. the answer to which, I don’t have.

  14. sharksman - May 22, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    if its a penalty at the beginning of the year it should be a penalty in the playoffs
    and stop with “the make up calls”
    and stop putting the whistles away at the end of games

    • blackfoot11 - May 22, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      Agreed, consistency with levying penalties is the issue with the current refs. Also, whoever is the Chief of Refrees for the league should be fired, the Ref training and certification process should be assessed, and the Ref game evaluation system (if one exists) should be looked at for how playoff assignments are issued as the post-season progresses.

    • 67jalopy - May 22, 2013 at 5:22 PM

      Putting the whistles away at the end of games?!? Two of the four games in the California series have had 5-on-3 power plays in the last minute of a tie or one-goal game! I’m a Sharks fan, but that tripping on Stuart at the end of game 2 is a call that every player (even Stuart) wants the refs to make no matter when it happens. And the calls against LA at the end of game 3, I can see the first one being called, but I thought the goalie interference to make it a 5-on-3 was questionable (at best). I don’t think players or fans want to see games decided by questionable calls.

      I thought the first 2 calls against SJ last night were terrible calls made by the trail official skating 75 feet away from the play. I know the trail official is mainly watching for penalties, but unless you are 100% sure you saw a penalty you let the players work it out among themselves.

      But that’s how it goes. You’ve got the best refs you can get on the ice, and you hope they work well as a crew and you play your game until the whistle. It all evens out in the end.

  15. cspsrbums - May 22, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    8 periods with out a penalty at MSG for the Rangers 2 2/3 of a game. One period shy of 3 games for you who can’t figure it out .Tfaltin only because your a Ranger fan do you make that stupid comment

    • JoeAvg - May 22, 2013 at 2:46 PM

      No, there is a lot of whining here. But it can’t be denied that officiating has been especially bad of late. Andy Van Hellemond could call a better game by himself than two officials today can. The NHL really needs to address this issue. I’m just not sure they’re competent enough to find a reasonable solution.

    • hockeyflow33 - May 22, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      That’s simply not true though. There has been 5 penalties called against the Rangers over the last 3 games.

      • pastabelly - May 22, 2013 at 4:06 PM

        Please don’t count the matching minor as a penalty called against the Rangers. We are talking about short handed opportunities for road teams. Chara was spewing blood all over the place and they called nothing. Are they blind or are they being selective? A previous post pointed out that those two clowns last night were the same that didn’t give the Caps a power play at MSG last time out. It’s not as if the Rangers even play such a squeaky clean game. Their captain is as dirty as Marchand. I’m a Bruins fan and know they commit penalties.

        I really don’t care if Ovechkin whines or even was just making excuses. Sometimes it takes a player like Ovechkin to call out the officials to help clean it up. Obviously, his points were totally lost on those two clowns last night.

      • bruininnh1984 - May 22, 2013 at 4:35 PM

        a better way to say it would be that the rangers have been short-handed 5 times and 4 of those times came in game 1. and the only penalty called against them in game 3 resulted in a 4 on 4 situation.

      • hockeyflow33 - May 22, 2013 at 10:22 PM

        Well last I checked, matching penalties are still counted as penalties.

  16. valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 22, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    To err is human. So what if they miss a penalty because a guy got a high stick. This is going to happen. If they miss a trip or hook when a player is on a breakaway then that’s a different story. A penalty will be called in this case and any other situation when player is directly prevented from taking a shot on net/missing a scoring opportunity. No big deal if a stick goes up accidentally and the refs miss it for whatever reason. Ref blinked. Too bad! Ref didn’t have the right angle or a player was crossing in front of him when it happened. Too bad! Do you think every holding infraction on the line in football is called? No! Stop whining. The game has been around for 100 years+. The game is faster than ever, and the refs are missing some. I would rather see a no call than a phantom one because players are diving. The league works closely with the head referees at various levels of hockey to prepare younger refs for a potential NHL career. They have the likes of a farm system for refs as teams have for players. Do players make mistakes that result in goals? Yes! Do players make mistakes in a breakaway? Yes! And sometimes you see them do what they’ve been taught not to do since their teen years. Give me a break with your whining.

    • valoisvipers - May 22, 2013 at 3:16 PM

      Your post is right on the money. Good call or bad call, just get over it and move forward.Crying about anything never helps.

    • theclaim - May 26, 2013 at 6:07 PM

      Or in the case of Ovi making an incredible defensive play against Stepan( on a breakaway) and injuring Erat in the process. Ovi sits. I am a Hawks fan. But foremost a Hockey fan. Both series vs The Rangers (Caps and Bruins) have the refs looking pretty inept. Players spitting blood from high sticks in both series NO CALLS. That’s not whining, It’s a FACT. It’s comical reading the posts on here. The entire comments board consists of 2 types of comments.1. Quit whining and let em play! and 2. Where are the calls on BLATANT penalties? and across the board you can see that people making statement 1 THEIR teams advanced DUE to bad or lack of calls and people making statement 2 teams were eliminated DUE to bad or lack of calls. CONSISTENCY is the answer The entire referee body would do well to review games already played and assess a report card of sorts. The best graded refs call the post season while the rest watch. As decided by ALL the refs. Miss a call -1 get a call correct +1

    • 619nick - May 28, 2013 at 5:15 PM

      good post, on point. However, they need to stop with the make up calls. Oh they missed on so now they have to call one to make up for the mis. Same for a bad call.

  17. chicagobtech - May 22, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    There’s a discipline system for players that commit infractions. How about creating one for officials that can’t do their job properly? Fines and suspensions if they’re needed. To balance things out more resources will need to be put into training the officials, so they have the opportunity to improve their skills.

    • ibieiniid - May 22, 2013 at 3:45 PM

      well the referees have their own playoff of sorts in the NHL playoffs. getting ranked high in each round nets them a move to the next round and more money.

      as for the regular season, making them take days off work is a novel idea…. idk if I like the idea of FINING them though unless the amounts were reasonable. tough to say how much a $5k fine would affect a referee’s family. (and I realize that fining and taking days of work isn’t that far off from each other, that’s just my personal view on it)

      • chicagobtech - May 22, 2013 at 4:32 PM

        The fines should be based on what the refs are getting paid. A hundred or two off of a game check is a noticable chunk of change if they’re bringing in $1400 per game, but not so much that it’ll send the family to the poor house.

  18. 3yardsandacloud - May 22, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Call it the same way as Game 1 of the season. If interference is a penalty, then call it in the playoffs. If boarding is a penalty, call it against the team losing, even if it might cost them a goal. If a player dives, call the dive.

    Its simple. Don’t ignore rules after a season of calling them

  19. hockeydon10 - May 22, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Don’t let everyone and their brother second-guess and comment on the officiating in a public manner. Ever. Any player, coach or team that complains about the officiating in public gets a fine. Every successive event multiplies the previous fine by 10. That would end a lot of the officiating “controversy” right there.

    If they have a problem with officiating, take it up directly with the league. No more of this passive-aggressive BS of playing it all out through the press. We the viewing public seem to have grown accustom to being spoon fed these complaints about the officials. It does, after all, drive page views.

    The truth is that officials are reviewed regularly by the league. They’re constantly being re-trained, either because of mistakes or from the league’s inability to leave well enough alone. At the end of the regular season, those they deem to have followed directions well enough are retained for the playoffs. At the end of each round, they repeat this process.

    • blackfoot11 - May 22, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      I think every process you stated in the last paragraph needs to be thoroughly reviewed and modified. All refs this year have been inconsistent with the penalties they call from start to finish. This inconsistency shows that there is a problem with how refs are trained, certified, graded, and how call adjustments are communicated to crews throughout the season.

      • hockeydon10 - May 22, 2013 at 4:48 PM

        Great point. Establishing this is the preseason and setting it in concrete, so to speak, might do a lot toward solving the inconsistency.

    • hockeyflow33 - May 22, 2013 at 3:09 PM

      Agreed!

  20. sjawesome - May 22, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    They need a coaches challenge.

    1 coaches challenge per contest.
    If the team loses the challenge they lose their timeout.
    If they lose the challenge and don’t have a timeout they get assessed a 2 min delay of game penalty.

  21. cspsrbums - May 22, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    This isn’t about the missed calls,its about blatant calls that are not being called. Why do you think there is a blog on it because people see the problem.

    • bruininnh1984 - May 22, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      i agree. not every little thing should be called, nor should it. its the ones that are so obviously blatant that can’t be ignored. you have 4 officials on the ice and no one saw callahan’s blatant high-sticking double-minor on chara?? the guy was bleeding, how do they think that happened?? either they saw it and didn’t want to call anything or they weren’t watching everything happening on the ice(which is their job by the way).

  22. bauxjangles - May 22, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    The only problem with officiating is the inconsistency. There is no need for video replays for everything, the game is long enough with linesmen taking forever to drop the damn puck.

  23. billyhauntswizards - May 22, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    -No more make up calls.
    -Coaches challenge. They challenge a non-call or a call, if it’s wrong, delay of game.
    -Fine players heavily for embellishment
    -Put the whistles away when the game is close.
    -Get rid of the puck over glass penalty, please.

    That’s my two cents.

    • hockeydon10 - May 22, 2013 at 4:49 PM

      re: puck over glass

      Make it match the icing “penalty”. D-zone face-off and no line change. That solves the problem of intentionally “accidentally” putting it over the glass.

  24. surfoside4life - May 22, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    Everything needs to be changed. I was praising NHL refs for being the best refs in any sport but now I highly question my beliefs after watching the kings get cheated out 2 games in a row. The sharks complained and complained and the refs gave them what they wanted

    • 67jalopy - May 22, 2013 at 5:32 PM

      Sounds like bi-polar disorder to me. You praised them as the best in any sport, but all that changed when your kings lost 2 in a row… after winning game 2 in such dramatic fashion. You must have LOVED the game 2 refs, eh? You should. That 5-on-3 was earned by the Sharks and the refs called it right.

      I suppose you think the Kings outplayed the Sharks last night? That was a very lopsided game, and only got close in the third when the Sharks were just protecting their lead.

      The refs see a very different game than the fans, and if you talk to a ref about a call that looked like a bad call from the stands (or on TV) you will often hear a very logical, reasonable, and impressive assessment of what happened and why a call was made or not made. And they do all this in a second or two while keeping up with the play in progress. It’s pretty amazing what they do.

  25. barkar942 - May 22, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    They have gone to reviewing goals with video to do their best to determine goal or no goal in Toronto.
    The one reviewable play should be if any player comes up cut or injured, Toronto could be looking at the tape to see if the player was injured by an illegal high stick.
    I am a Ranger fan, and last night, there would have been two major penalties against the Rangers that went uncalled, and it could have changed the outcome of the game.
    Many times the Refs miss the call. Many times players are cut with their teammates stick which gets called and shouldn’t be. Toronto can be looking while the play continues and they can help get the call right.
    If they call diving, the original penalty gets dropped. After putting your team down a man enough times, Ovechkin will stop looking like he was hit with a cannon ball when he gets brushed with Richards stick.

  26. ballistictrajectory - May 22, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    I say again:

    How about putting the officials’ stats up on a page on the NHL and AHL web sites? Good Call/Bad Call ratio. Consistency rating. Linesmen can get offsides/icings missed and maybe an average “drop the puck” time. Use video replays to pin down the yeas and nays.

    I’m sure the braintrust in both leagues can come up with enough statistical dreck that they can put a page out and maybe get the officials to improve themselves.

    • hockeyflow33 - May 22, 2013 at 3:12 PM

      Because those aren’t actual figures.

    • JoeAvg - May 22, 2013 at 3:28 PM

      Who is to decide if it’s a good call or bad call and how long do you think it will take until we are here arguing about their decisions?

  27. hrudey - May 22, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    Similar to how the department of player suspensi… er, safety does, have video posted that details penalties called and why they were called, as well as any non-calls as requested by either team or that are obviously wrong. It’s still not going to prevent armchair officials from complaining about the officials based on the color of the sweaters involved in the play, but it should at least make it clear to the players, teams, and most importantly the officials what the league expects of them and holds the officials accountable for their good and bad calls. That is, of course, if they’d ever admit the referees make mistakes.

    • hockeyflow33 - May 22, 2013 at 3:14 PM

      They already do this. The NHL sends teams videos of points of emphasis for the upcoming year that showcase the types of actions that will draw a penalty. The league also constantly reviews on-ice officials and gives out games based upon it.

      • hrudey - May 22, 2013 at 4:42 PM

        Not enough – I’m talking about every game, and posted for public perusal.

  28. gbar22 - May 22, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    The refs just need to be held accountable. Graded and regarded after games as a group. If they call the game consistently for both teams from period 1 to period 3 I’m fine with it but there should be some sort of review panel grading them from the league and those who fall below a certain mark should be put in training and retraining when necessary

  29. aldog83 - May 22, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    There should be some way to over rule a blown whistle when it comes to a “GOAL SCORING” play.

    The video review clearly shows the puck go through and behind the beaten goaltender heading with enough momentum to cross the goal line.

    If this had been game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals it would have been a disaster.

    The league should consider expanding the review or GOAL SCORING / POTENTIAL GOAL scoring plays in the crease.

    If a player covers a puck in the crease that results in a PENALTY SHOT. Why should the ref be able to unfairly take away a scoring chance due to his lack of vision.

    The camera / audio proves the was a BAD mistake.

    • hockeydon10 - May 22, 2013 at 4:53 PM

      That would never work. The on-ice official determines when play is dead. Even after some sort of video review he could still say he determined the play was dead.

      It sucks for your team, but that’s not a viable solution.

  30. theblakfox - May 22, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Can’t the refs in Toronto make the decision seconds after a play and tell the on ice refs without them having to skate to a phone from 1990?

    Seriously, can we not afford cordless phones in the nhl?

  31. kmacle - May 22, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    I’d like to see the NHL officials confer more often. You see it all the time in the NFL; and if it turns out the whistle was mistaken they pick up the flag. They should also, like the NFL, have access to view replays themselves – I think if they reviewed that interference call against Chicago they’d have corrected their own call.
    And the B’s game last night… Not whining; a missed call happens. But if you know you missed a call (and if he needs stitches it isn’t faking), then get on the ball. It wasn’t my team that had 3 players forced off the ice, so I’m not being a homer, but that was due to reckless stick work that they should have addressed early on.

    • 19to77 - May 22, 2013 at 4:10 PM

      As part of that, I think the near ref needs to be able to negate a call by the far ref if he thinks it was botched. So many times I’ve seen the far ref throw his hand up and it turns out to be a clean play that just looked bad from a hundred feet away because his sightline was blocked by a bunch of bodies. Nearest ref’s decision should take precedence.

      And video review should of course trump everyone.

  32. rrino - May 22, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    How about a quick video review of each scoring play, combine that with instructing the officials to try not to blow the play dead so quickly especially when it comes to play in front of the net.

    Its either diving or hooking/holding/etc., not both.

    Be consistent, if its a hook in the first, its a hook in third too.

    I am kind of torn on the idea of a coaches challenge, maybe it would work but only for certain types of plays.

  33. 19to77 - May 22, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    Joining the various calls for instant video review – there’s no need to consult Toronto when the war room guys are just using the same arena video feeds that the refs already have access to right freaking there.

  34. 19to77 - May 22, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    I’ve been thinking of ways to balance a coach’s challenge if they went that route. How does this sound? I’d like some thoughts, PHT.

    Each coach should have one challenge per game, the use of which counts as their timeout – so it’s one or the other and they can’t use it as an extra breather.

    It should only be useable on scoring plays to further minimize potential abuse, and if the play is found to be legit, I’d even suggest slapping them with a bench delay of game minor. Basically, force the coach to be utterly certain the play wasn’t fair before they call it.

    Refs make mistakes. They’re only human. But between instant video review and the occasional coach challenge, you can probably cut most of the garish mistakes we’ve seen this postseason out entirely.

  35. rootgamble - May 22, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Like many of the comments above – Don’t let the game situation (or the importance of the game itself) dictate the officiating. I understand the “let the teams play” aspect of the playoffs, but it’s too inconsistent from game to game, even period to period. Also, don’t make up for a bad call by making another bad call (I’m looking at you, Blackhawks v. Red Wings).

    I don’t know if this is already being done because I don’t pay enough attention to who the referees are in each game, but one solution could be that the officiating crew stays the same for each playoff series. There SHOULD be more consistency if the same crew officiates 4-7 games in a row for the same two teams playing, and the teams will be able to get a better idea of what constitutes a penalty with that given crew.

  36. buffalomafia - May 22, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    How do they miss high sticks to the face?

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 22, 2013 at 5:23 PM

      Who cares? They blinked at the moment if impact. What dif does it make?

  37. stakex - May 22, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    As a frequen critic of the refs, let me layout some problems I have:

    1. The league is in charge of the refs, and certain outcomes have a bigger financial stake for the league then others. This is a huge conflict of interest. If for instance, the Florida Panthers were playing the Penguins…. who do you think the league would want to win that series? Also, longer series means more $$$, which is why there is always a slight tilt in the direction of teams trailing in a series.

    2. The refs make too many reactionary calls these days. Not every hit that hurts someone or draws blood is a penelty… yet the refs have a terrible tendency to react to the aftermath of a hit a call a penelty based on that instead of the play itself.

    3. Diving and embelishment are almost always ignored. Every game you see more diving then pretty much any other penelty yet its almost never called, and when it is its almost always as a matching minor. Refs need to grow a set and start calling it, but again…. the league runs the refs, and does the NHL really want diving penelties called every game? Kinda looks bad.

    4. Too many makeup and make even calls. This goes to the whole “No penelties against the Rangers” thing. Against the Caps the Rangers just didn’t take any penelties in game six…. but everyone expects they should have been penelized just because they had five power plays. Last I checked, having a power play is not a penelty…. and there never should be calls made to “even up” the amount of power plays.

    5. Call it consistent. Every game is called a bit different then the other, but each game should be itself called consistently. I have no problem with the refs putting the whistle away in the playoffs, especially elimination games, but keep them away when you do. Nothings worse then seeing the refs letting them play then all the sudden call a laughable penelty.

  38. jernster21 - May 22, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    It’s all about consistency – there shouldn’t be a difference between regular season officiating and playoff officiating, but it’s blatantly obvious there is.

    As far as I’m concerned, give the linesman more say in the calls on the ice – there’s no reason for calls to be missed: ie: Chara taking a high stick in the face. Why isn’t someone going to the box instead of Chara skating by the ref leaking blood? It’s inexcusable.

    There’s nothing I hate worse than the ref at the blue line making a call for the ref standing right in front of a play or in turn, a ref on the blue line making a bad call because he’s too far away and possibly obstructed by bodies and/or the net.

    The no goal calls when one team pushes the other team’s guy into their own goalie is unacceptable – GAMES ARE WON AND LOST BECAUSE OF THIS. Video review it – the puck is already in the net, how hard can it be to take a couple minutes to go review the freakin play? Toronto should be making the final say on those goals just like they do on other controversial calls – all they do is watch video! THEY HAVE ONE JOB!

    • jernster21 - May 22, 2013 at 6:17 PM

      *controversial goals

  39. cspsrbums - May 22, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    @ Hockeyflow the facts are correct the Rangers have not been shorthanded in 8 periods AT HOME.

    • hockeyflow33 - May 22, 2013 at 10:25 PM

      No one has made that point, you incorrectly stated several times that no penalties were called.

  40. jacketsfan7 - May 22, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    How about hiring former players who know a call when they see one?

    • hockeyflow33 - May 22, 2013 at 10:26 PM

      All of these guys are former players, most at very high levels.

  41. jacketsfan7 - May 22, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    @bekay19 I’ve never heard of bias refs for the home team , it’s always for the away team

  42. taintedlombardis - May 22, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    Don’t blame the officials. They are just doing what they are told. Coercion is alive and well. The refs have to call it how the league tells them to…or they go home.

  43. taintedlombardis - May 22, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    Penguins can seemingly do whatever they want tonight…Bettman is in attendance.

  44. vanfoodman - May 23, 2013 at 1:38 AM

    Terry Gregson needs to resign or be fired, the sooner the better. This guy has been Director of NHL Officials for 4 years, and in that time we’ve seen some of the worst officiating in the history of the game. From phantom penalties, to the complete lack of consistency and blatant leniency during the playoffs this guy has displayed zero credibility. Obviously the refs have either been instructed to call nothing or are completely confused by their leaders orders. The department of officiating is in an absolute shambles. There is no one person to blame, but the first one to go has to be Gregson. He has shown zero leadership. Either he is incompetent or he has let someone or something take over his agenda, which is fair play. Something I am sure we’d all like to see.

    • vanfoodman - May 23, 2013 at 1:44 AM

      Why am I the only person to mention Gregson in 97 previous comments?!?!?!? This guy has been a cancer in the officiating department for FOUR YEARS! The Director of Officiating needs to be a leader not a dithering sycophant.

    • shoobiedoobin - May 27, 2013 at 7:35 PM

      Bingo. Walkom wasn’t any better. He was at the helm when the Penguins were gifted a championship by allowing them to do anything they needed to do until they won (tried in 08, tried even harder in 09 so they wouldn’t let their poster child lose twice). Walkom mysteriously steps down, how convenient, to become an on-ice official again and does a couple finals himself.

      Gregson takes over and it gets even worse. The league has turned into wrestling, trying to control a game that once used to control itself. But that’s not uncommon, we’re trying to control offense and penalties, manufactured rivalries, artificial parity, etc. This league is the furthest thing from fair and it’s heartbreaking.

  45. thencredwing - May 23, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    I agree with those that say there should be consistency. To get there a lot of the ambiguity needs to be removed from the rules and then the officials need to be taught how to all interpret and call them the same way and for all players. The reason the league made all dumps over the glass from the defensive zone a delay of game penalty was to take the onus of determining intent off of the refs. Yeah it has caused some teams to have to kill a penalty when it was appeared to be clearly accidental but that assumption is the subjective part. I don’t agree that officials putting away the whistles in the playoffs is the way to keep the refs from determining the outcome of games. Ignoring penalties and other calls in the guise of not impact the game is in reality doing the exact opposite. If a player is allowed to commit penalties without getting penalized then you have essentially made it a non-penalty and thus impacted the game. A penalty is a penalty and should be called no matter when it happens, what the score is or who the player making the infraction is. Just because it might be game 7 of the Cup Finals doesn’t mean players should be allowed to break the rules and gain an unfair advantage for doing so.

  46. shoobiedoobin - May 23, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    What needs to be done? Psh, nothing that couldn’t have been done years ago if they’d actually wanted a fair game. But pro sports doesn’t deal in fair games.

  47. pensfan1 - May 28, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    Players are bigger and faster and the game has changed in the 40+ years I’ve been watching. Much more strength and speed in addition to puck handling. Protective equipment, too. It allows players to routinely do things now that had a measure of risk in the past and go faster doing it. Because of that officials can’t see everything. It’s been enough of an issue that as the game evolved the league added an extra ref has and still not everything can be seen. They added additional player numbers to the helmet to help them try to get it right, a subject that had much debate in this forum.

    They should routinely review every puck that goes in the net, even if there is an “early” whistle. Some goals will be obvious and don’t need review but others like the LA goal can be game changers. Make the dividing line be continuous flow of play and not a whistle. If it went in the net without stopping (puck still moving) then it should count, regardless of whether the ref loses sight of it or not. In these cases let the “war room” make the call and not the ref.

  48. peterbuelow - May 28, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    The only consistent point here is that everyone wants their team to win. Even the unbiased “I’m not trying to be choose a side…” comments. I see above comments that the home team is favored by the refs, no wait, the road team is. The Pen’s are the NHL darlings, no, the Wings are, no, it’s Vancouver or San Jose or NYR. The Rangers got away with murder. Toews is being killed by cheap penalties that aren’t called (that’s mine BTW, he is).

    Humans are fallible and unreliable. Fining officials will just make them scared to make mistakes. Increased scrutiny and micro managing will do the same. And you know what, when the new and improved consistent officials call that Toronto Columbus game, they will be inconsistent, and we’ll need new methods and reviews to fix all the problems. That’s because the Leafs go jobbed. No, wait, sorry, the CBJ fans think Toronto got away with murder on the boards and with that pesky goalie interference. Nothing will change as long as you have people doing the work. Maybe you can improve it by adding a 5th and 6th official behind the glass on each end to help spot penalties in close, but calls will still be missed. Video review will slow the game down to a crawl, and one replay will never be enough. And what if we got every call. I see a 4 hour game coming…

    The problem isn’t the officials. It’s that we love our teams and hate to see them lose. Very few hockey games hinge on bad officiating. I would guess less than .1% of all of them are decided by a bad call or calls. The rest are good and bad plays on the ice, degrading ice over time, mental lapses, exhaustion, bad coaching, bad line changes, pick any of the others. Players lose games, but you want to believe that your captain really is infallible, so it can’t be their fault. Wait, that was a stick to the head late in the 2nd, and Kaner was coming around and “may” have scored. Damn the officials for giving the game to the Wings (made that one up). The Hawks lost all of their games this postseason because the other team played better, got the lucky bounce (luck plays a huge part), or one of our own just took a play or 3 off. They didn’t lose because Franzen held Toews stick behind the net or Abdelkader was a bully.

    But, the whining about officiating is part of the fun. I do it. I did it for games 2-4 of the Wings Hawks. This has been a fantastic series, blown calls and all. The officials haven’t been a factor taken as a whole, it’s just good playoff hockey between a team that blew through the season like a juggernaut, and a team that is putting together a monster postseason.

  49. atteckus - May 29, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    Overall, quit whining and play hockey. Part of the game is overcoming adversity resulting from the fact that fallible humans officiate the games. There are rare instances, however, where officiating is rooted in something more nefarious than just poor judgment or poor eyesight. When officiating is influenced by league politics, that must be opposed and eradicated. Favoring certain Canadian teams who play in close proximity to the league offices, or in a heavily French-influenced city, just because of their proximity, passion, history or vociferousness is deplorable.

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