How times have changed…

I watched a fair bit of the Ottawa-Los Angeles game tonight and two things are worth noting.

1. I can’t believe how the Ottawa announcers (and fans) have changed their tune since 2003-04 and earlier. Back then the Leafs were the dirty, goon team who had to fight to win. They were a disgrace to hockey and the Maple Leafs, particular Domi and Tucker, should be ashamed. They were a black eye on the game of hockey. Tonight the Ottawa Senators initiate several fights and they the announcers are all but cheering them on saying it is so great to see the Senators stand up for themselves and their team mates. McGratton, who wouldn’t be in the NHL (and maybe not the AHL) if he couldn’t fight actually didn’t get in a fight but wanted attempted to instigate one on at least 2 occassions. Chara instigated a fight with Gleason with 3 and a half minutes left in the game and will get an automatic 1 game suspension (and coach Murray fined $10,000) because of it and Hasek showed again that he can let his emotions get the better of him overreacting to a play which Avery was attempting to knock a loose puck into the net.

2. The referreeing what horrible tonight. Here are a few examples.

(a) Sean Avery gets a game misconduct for not having his tie down propery secured. The rule clearly states that this penalty is only to be applied when a player participates in a fight. There was no fight. If there were a fight, McGratton would have gotten an instigator and in that case the rule doesn’t apply either. The referees were clearly targeting Avery to get him out of the game but he didn’t do anything to deserve it. Yeah, Avery can be a jerk at times and he has said some pretty stupid things but for the most part tonight he was just playing the game and playing it hard. Unfortunately the referees targeted him and did everything they could to get him out of the game. It’s a shame.

From the NHL rulebook:

A player who engages in fisticuffs and whose sweater is not properly “tied-down” (sweater properly fastened to pants), and who loses his sweater (completely off his torso) in that altercation, shall receive a game misconduct.

A player who is involved in an altercation, when the opponent has been identified as an instigator, shall not be assessed a game misconduct if his sweater should be removed by an opponent or an Official in the discharge of his duties.

(b) Craig Conroy gets an interference witht he goalie penalty. This was rediculous. The only penalty that deserved to be given on that play was to Heatley who had his stick in front of Conroy’s feed, then pushed Conroy from behind causing Conroy to trip over Heatley’s stick which in turn resulted in Conroys skate coming up and hitting Hasek in the side of the head. The worse thing is the video shows the referee looking right at the incident when it happened.

These are just two examples of many. As a hockey fan, it really is sad to see how horrible the refereeing has been this year. Every game you can point out several calls or non calls. Chintzy hooks or holds get called while more obvious ones don’t. It’s sad because the new rules have opened up the game and made it more exciting on many levels but when games get decided by bad refereeing it really frustrates me as a fan.

Posted in NHL

This article has 5 Comments

  1. The announcers were also saying the suspension with the instigator was with 10 minutes left in the game (it was said at least at different times in the third) – the rule is with 5 minutes left.

    I wrote about Chara – will he get suspended? Or will he get the Shane Doan-Wayne Gretzky pass?

  2. I couldn’t agree more. The Sens fans sure have changed their tune. It’s good to see themselves standing up for themselves but some of the LA game was goonery.

  3. All of those situations were reactions to previous actions on the part of the Kings. You can justify Avery’s net crashing and punch to Hasek’s head all you want, but enforcers like McGratton are there to ensure that other team’s know that it will not go unpunished. Chara’s fight with Gleason was a reaction to Cowan beating up Chris Kelly, after both Neil and McGratton invited Cowan to fight. As a Sens fan I have no problem with that type of retribution. The Leaf fiascos of years past included, Domi attacking Magnus Arvedson, clearly a non-fighter, and Shaun Van Allen, a non-fighter who had a broken jaw at the time and the Tucker-Green-Corson circus that initiated Tucker’s leap into the Senators bench. If you don’t remember that one, their low-class coach blamed it on a phantom loogie that Chris Neil launched at Tucker. “Imagine that in our game”

    As for the officiating, I agree that Conroy’s penalty was clearly an accident, and probably a case of the ref calling the result instead of the infraction. I also think that the refs were more than happy to find an excuse to throw Avery out of the game, and for all the grief he causes them through his diving, whining and general shit disturbing, I can’t say that I blame them. The thing is that you always use poor officiating to describe ways that Ottawa isn’t really as good as they look and omit the fact that they are on the receiving end of just as many bad calls as the teams they oppose. In fact, Ottawa receives 7 minor penalties a game, while the league average is 6.47 minors per game, so chances are the Sens games are closer because the bad refereeing is giving the other team more chinzy powerplay opportunities.

  4. Actually, I was pointing out poor officiating in the L.A. game because I think it is representative of a lot of what is wrong with the “new” NHL and not because I want to make Ottawa look bad. The problem is on the Conroy incident they called a penalty for something they didn’t see. I suspect what the ref thought happened was that when Conroy was skating by Hasek he caught him with an elbow or a shoulder or something like that. This isn’t the only incident that I have seen referees call penalties for something they saw that clearly didn’t happen. I say Derian Hatcher get a hooking penalty when he didn’t even touch the opposing player. The opposing player just fell on his own. I’ve seen that sort of thing a couple other times too. At times it seems that if a guy falls they seem obligated to call a penalty.

    On the Avery incident, yeah, I realize they were just trying to get him (and McGratton) out of the game but it isn’t the referees job to make up rules, it is their job to apply the rules that exist. So they either made up a rule in order to toss Avery out of the game or both referees and both linesman don’t know the rule. Neither, in my opinion, is very good for the NHL.

  5. I agree entirely…I was watching the Boston vs. San Jose game were boston lost 6-2 and i saw the hit Thornton gave, resulting in his ejection from the game. Later on, i watched the Vancouver and Toronto game and Kesler hit Colioacovo nearly the EXACT same way…and then taunted him saying “get up! ur fine!” with no regards to his condition. Colioacovo went to the dressing room for the rest of the period and there was a 2 minute boarding penalty.. The EXACT same hit was an ejection in a different game. Then Kesler had a few retaliations…he hit Allison in the head (retaliated no call), Boarded Domi (although a little dirty, but for the most part a fair hit) and another missed penalty on Bertuzzi for leveling Khavonov who hadn’t touched the puck but was in pursuit, less than 4 feet away from the referee behind the net. Now neither referee was Kerry Fraser, but i have to say Fraser is probably one of the least preferred referees in the league. On top of all that, i saw countless obvious hooks (too many to follow) that the Leafs put on the Canucks and not a single call.
    Concluding… i very much agree that the referees seem to entertain the idea of putting the rules of the game in their own hands. It’s the rules they have to ENFORCE… Not create. I agree entirely

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