My problem with the NHL’s officiating
Written by Steve Fowler
Today, I’ve decided to bring up the very talked about, and controversial topic of how the game of hockey is managed in the NHL.
The controversy surrounding the NHL’s refereeing is nothing new. This has been a topic of conversation practically since day one, now dating back 104 years. Though the concept of scoring more goals than your team’s opponent to win a game has never changed, Practically everything else though, from equipment used, to adding/modifying, subtracting various rules, salaries, ticket prices, etc… has. Well,… (I should add, home crowd booing the on ice officials whenever they are not happy with a particular call as also being a constant).
Ok,.. So. I will start by saying, yes the refs cannot be perfect in this league, and are not expected to be. Missed calls will always be a part of the game, like it or not,, But it sure would be nice if they held a better penalty call consistency record, to say the least. In my view, from remembering the league deciding to go with the 2 referee system, because of missed calls, seems to me that nowadays considering what the league now has at their disposal in order to create a fair game environment for all teams, that particular aspect of the game appears to be at it’s worst.
Now, I understand the concept of the game being within the game, But It seems this also includes, allowing on ice referees to largely enforce the rules at their discretion, and manage the game as they see fit. Add to that, the fact that in certain cases video replay, which was suppose to help correct and overturn certain on ice rulings, whenever necessary, has proven to also bring controversy, for unexplained reasons. The Gallagher disallowed goal with 2 seconds left vs Ottawa back on Feb 23rd 2021 is but one example. After seeing the replay, Toronto’s head office in charge of video replay, also got it wrong according to the rulebook. it’s one thing for a referee to make a mistake, but upon reviewing the play on video, it was quite obvious the goal should have been aloud, and yet… Now add to that, no apologies nor explanations, for the decision made. Another one swept into the NHL’s bottomless pitt of shame and cleaverly covered up with a nice velvety carpet, beautifully emblazoned with the famous copyrighted NHL logo…
Nowadays, the practice of enforcing the rules at the referee’s discretion, is apparently (according to the NHL), called managing the game. As if that term alone does not sound suspicious… Now, i’m going to start tossing some interesting tidbits into the how these games are managed pile. Starting with,.. not calling penalties equally. Within 2 games I get that, but within 2 teams same game? not so much. ( It wasn’t always this way peeps). Add to that, the fact that the league doesn’t give a rats ass about what anyone thinks of this rather regular practice. Add to that, Anyone, within the league dare to question their decisions, and the only thing that get’s done about it, is the team raising concerns are then fined. Again, no apologies, explanations, nothing. Just shut up and deal with it… And what the heck is up with the far referee calling a penalty that the one standing around with his chin 6 inches away from the play couldn’t call???.. Was too busy dreaming of being a hockey player???..
I get that the NHL is a huge business involving a butt ton of money, supply demand and all, I get that as well. Player’s wanting their share of the pie and all. What i’m still trying to wrap my head around though, is the deal Bettman made with MGM resorts involving betting sponsorships back in 2018. Not only was this deal reached soon after the inauguration of the NHL’s 31st franchise, but also, the league’s ruling on the expansion draft. I see teams who have struggled in this league for years, despite the competitiveness of today’s NHL. I give credit to Vegas for having such a competitive team, but all things considered, it wasn’t much of a challenge…Really,.. It wasn’t
I constantly struggle with the same friggen questions. Does the NHL have an agenda? how does the MGM deal affect profit? Who profits from this deal? Is there a connection between how the game is managed on the ice, and gambling profits? To me there seems to be some pretty solid lines going across these dots. I see this deal with MGM, as one of possible necessity considering all the expenses teams have to deal with. teams that nowhere near, break even every year takes a toll on teams that do. Let’s face it,.. It’s all about money. One particular issue I see with this is, it may favour teams that happen to bring in the most money… Vega$ anyone?? On the other hand, teams such as Buffalo, are not one of those teams. You can certainly include all Canadian teams to this list as the canadian dollar being 80 cents or so to the US dollar, greatly affects the NHL’s bottom line. Is there a connection to this and the fact that no Canadian team has made the finals in 27 years? Hmm.. maybe. Sure seems like an odd coincidence though. If so this whole Covid thing must have really messed up Bettman’s agenda. Interesting how this all coincides with the league experiencing it’s worst year in recent memory as to how the game is managed on the ice though isn’t it?. The NHL would never admit it though. Because if they did, IMO, there would be so many lawsuits that they’d be forced to shut down the very next day. Imagine the embarasment. And for the record,.. Only reason Chris Lee was fired was because he got caught. Add that to the ever increasing interesting tidbits of how these games are managed pile. Makes for a pretty big pile don’t you think??