Monday, April 19, 2010

Bad Reffing is Unfortunate; Ignorant Reffing is Unacceptable

Now is a good time to make this face.

When the Saturday game ended, it was all I could do not to take my beautiful TV and throw it through a window. I don't have to know the NHL rulebook inside and out to know we were getting screwed on a bogus call. With everything else the refs had let go, to suddenly call a too many men when the puck accidentally struck a player who was right at the bench... it wasn't right. Nevermind that it was Kevin "The Skate Magnet" Bieksa, bleeding from the face, who was the offender and there was nothing he could do--any way you slice it, there's no reason to call that.

I try to remind myself, however, that I'm an absolute homer and sometimes my emotions get in the way of my analysis. I think I spent about thirty minutes defending Todd Bertuzzi before I came to my senses about a decade ago. In this instance, I thought maybe I was just being biased.

Nope. Click here for a link of the TSN panel discussing the Canucks too many men call. They will tell you, according to the rulebook, it was a bogus call.

Not acceptable. Not in overtime of game two of the Stanley Cup playoffs, when the officiating crew is supposedly whittled down to reliable veterans. These guys aren't scientists. They're refs. They have to have intricate knowledge of one book: the rule book. And when they blow a call as big as this one and send a guy to the penalty box in direct contravention of their own effing rulebook, it's not acceptable.

Now I'm willing to admit the game should never have gone to overtime. Sami Salo blows a tire, Alberts takes a litany of dumb penalties, the Canucks fail to ratchet up the intensity, and so on. But none of that matters in sudden-death overtime. It's just one goal. It's sawoff, and any advantage you can get in order to score that goal is manna from heaven. The LA Kings were given divine intervention in the form of a crew of hapless gods who don't even know their own Bible. And they capitalized, which is their right. It's not their fault. But it wasn't ours, either, and that's the problem. It's changed the whole dynamic of the series, stolen home ice and momentum from us, and put us in a five-game series with the LA Kings opening at home.

This series has seen some bad reffing, but that's not the issue here. Bad reffing happens all the time. It shouldn't, but it does. You're trusting the judgment of humans, and that just wont do. But this incident? It's ignorant reffing. It's the results of refs who didn't know their own rule book. And that's unacceptable.

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