Since writers get fined for criticizing the officiating in the NHL and I do not, I’ll take the liberty to point out a few things that won’t affect my wallet. Bill McCreary is the only NHL referee whose name you know for the right reasons, but after a game like last night’s game, that pendulum is starting to swing in the other direction.
In last night’s game versus the Detroit Redwings, Detroit was offside on five different rushes and was never called for it. I understand that this is the linesman’s job, but as one of the most seasoned crew chief’s this can’t happen over and over again. While the Blues were still down 3-0 in the second period and the puck was slowly trickling behind Jimmy Howard’s legs toward the goal line, the puck was blown dead. Anyone who watches hockey knows that roughly 50% of all goals are scored on rebounds and whether it was McCreary or Kimmerly who was supposed to be behind the goal for a clear shot, they both failed. With 7:48 left in the third period, the score 3-2, the puck right near the blue line, and all of the momentum in the Blues’ favor, Abdelkader jammed his stick into Vladamir Sobotka’s skates and he went down with no call. This is right after an icing call that was incorrectly negated. Once again, whichever referee was supposed to be watching the puck carrier on this one failed, again. The icing on the cake was Hudler and Helm coming off the boards and already five feet into the play before their teammates were even 10 feet from the bench, which should have led to a “too many men on the ice” penalty for Detroit, but instead led to the game winner.
I understand that hockey is a fast paced game that requires a lot from officials, which is why they implemented the two referee system starting in the 1999 playoffs. However, all that this did was make the officiating twice as bad, which is one of the reasons why the NHL is still at the bottom of the totem pole of North America’s four major sports.
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Written by Patrick McLellan