Officiating: It’s Time for Consistent Incompetency
It has never been more clear that officiating in the NHL is inconsistent and for fans utterly frustrating. As a former official I can attest that it is virtually impossible to call every infraction however good officials typically limit their calls to infractions that are too obvious to ignore and infractions that negate a scoring chance. However far too often during the first round I have seen blatant penalties ignored only to have a minor infraction called moments later. With two officials on the ice this level of incompetency can no longer be tolerated and it is time for the NHL to make some changes.
Personally I believe that the level of inconsistency could be minimized by making one simple adjustment. It is time for the same two officials to be assigned to a series making them responsible for officiating every game of that series. This would allow the players on both teams to familiarize themselves with the tendencies and trends of the officials. This method would allow the NHL to rate and monitor the job each official more effectively. Those officials who do the best job during the first round would then be rewarded with a second round series.. and so on.
Vancouver Canucks: From Contenders to Imposters
When Jonathan Toews called out his teammates for not exposing the Canucks it should now be clear to all exactly what he meant. Vancouver will go down in history as one of the best teams to never win a Cup. This can simply be attributed to a lack of heart and grit from their best players. Yes I’m talking about the Swedish Softies; they are undeniably two of the most talented hockey players in the NHL however they spend most of their time on the perimeter not exploring the tough areas where playoff games are won. To win a Stanley Cup your most talented players also have to be your hardest working players and the Sedin’s are anything but. This series was over after game 5.
Philadelphia Flyers: Pushed the Panic Button Way To Early
Well it’s playoff time in Philly so it must be time for a goalie controversy! However this year I can’t blame the goalies; this one falls on Laviolette for pushing the panic button way to early. Brobovsky stopped all but one shot in game 1 and although he allowed 3 goals on 7 shots during the 1st period of game 2 he could only be blamed for the third. So when the goalie change occurred I just assumed it was intended to spark the Flyers. I had no idea that Laviolette would send Brobovsky to the press box and revert back to last years tandem of Boucher and Leighton.
By doing so the Flyers have created a colossal mess in their net and destroyed the confidence of the goalie that led them to a second overall seed in the Eastern Conference. With Boucher allowing 2 straight goals from behind the net in game 5 and Leighton looking lost in the net in game 6 it is clear to me that Phillys best shot at winning a cup is sitting in the press box. Unless Laviolette gives Brobovsky another shot and the youngster is able to regain his confidence the deepest offensive team in the playoffs and the Eastern Conference’s best shot at a Stanley Cup will be a major disappointment this post season.
Tampa Bay & Anaheim: No Depth – No Glory
Both teams posses two of the best tandems (St. Louis - Stamkos) or trios (Getzlaf-Perry-Ryan) however as the Ottawa Senators learned in 2007 a lack of depth will cost you sooner or later in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Ducks lack of depth cost them against what many considered to be a less talented Nashville Predators. The same will soon be said for the Lightning. Even if the Lightning sneak past a Penguins team that lacks any offensive upside they will be further exposed and eliminated with ease in the second round.
Hard work and a team concept will more often than not prevail over star power. Sooner or later you will encounter a team that is capable of shutting down those stars and when you need secondary scoring from a group incapable of doing so you will be in a world of trouble.
About the Author
Written by Kirk Butler
Born and raised in Murray Harbour - PEI. Like many Canadians hockey is my religion; as a kid I had the pleasure of playing my minor hockey with Conn Smythe winner Brad Richards of the 2004 Stanley Cup winning Tampa Bay Lightning. I played competitive hockey until the age of 21 which included stops in the American Prep School System, Canadian Junior Hockey and the CIS. I now get my competitive fix on the golf course as a scratch golfer. More to come: Kirk Butler PEI, Canada