A Hockey Post? Really?

Yes, really. I just had to comment on it, as I’m sure millions hundreds of not just Philadelphia Flyers fans, but hockey fans, are as well: the Flyers got jobbed in Game 1 against the Montreal Canadiens.

The Flyers went into the second period with a 2-0 lead and looking much better than the Canadiens, but the crap was only beginning to hit the fan when Alexei Kovalev used his stick to bat down the puck into the net behind goaltender Marty Biron. Everyone who isn’t a Canadiens fan could clearly see that it was a high-stick (above the crossbar) simply by the fact that… his stick hit the crossbar. The referees’ whistles, however, were silent.

That stuff happens, karma, yada yada yada…

With about a minute left in regulation in the third period and the orange and black up 3 to 2, center Mike Richards clearly knocked Kovalev down with his shoulder, but the refs claimed that Richards kneed him, and the Canadiens got a power play with 1:09 remaining on the clock. Unsurprisingly, they pulled their goaltender to create a 6-on-4 advantage, and, as luck would have it, Jeff Carter’s stick broke on the face-off — essentially making it 6-on-3 — and the puck glided right over to Kovalev who promptly tied the game at threes with 29 seconds left in the third period.

The Flyers’ bad luck continued when Tom Kostopoulos scored 48 seconds into overtime.

So, we can say that the referees were responsible for two Canadiens goals and indirectly responsible for another (Kostopoulos’).

Even worse is that Gary Bettman, commissioner of the NHL, calls the officiating “good” according to an article by Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald:

“You know what? I think the officiating is good,” said Bettman. “I think it undergoes intense scrutiny this time of year. Of all the people on the ice and surrounding the ice, our officials probably make the fewest mistakes. This is a game of mistakes, including the officials, and we hold them accountable.”

It’s not just the labor issues that have the NHL lagging well behind the other three major sports organizations — it’s the blatantly awful officiating, and the commissioner of it all has not a clue.

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4 comments

  1. FlyersFan25

    April 24, 2008 10:44 PM

    The major issue I have with NHL officiating is that the league protects it officials too much, to the point that the become infallible. And it goes beyond just tonight. I have been saying it for years.

    You need to protect your officials from abuse from players, coaches, etc. But the NHL refuses to admit when officials make a mistake and that mistake influences the outcome of the game. Other leagues admit to blown calls.

    The NHL also has yet to get the multi-official system right. In the NFL, the each officiating crew is together the entire season. This gives you a crew that is familiar with each other. The NHL, the officials are working with different people each night. This only leads to inconsistency when making calls.

  2. Dan Simpson

    April 27, 2008 01:01 PM

    Tough game last night! It was just one of those games when all the bounces went the other war. I thought Price did OK. Big screen on the first goal. Biron was amazing (hopefully he’ll come back down to earth next game), still has rebound trouble though. Looks like theCanadiens forwards can have an easy time with the Philly defense. man those guys are slow. So if they just keep chipping it past and blowing by the defense…next game should be easy (I hope).

    Dan from Used Hockey Skates

  3. Eggshmeg

    April 27, 2008 08:31 PM

    It’s funny how a Philadelphia site would react like this, Bill. On my blog everyone seemed to be in agreement that it was a clear knee. (everythinghockey.blogspot.com/2008/04/knee-or-no-knee.html)

    Richards himself admitted it was a knee, and some forums I visited were suggesting that a suspension be given to Richards for intent to injure!

    While I think a suspension would be far too much, the fact of the matter is, it was a penalty, and the referee made the correct call.

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