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Napa, CA • United States • 26 Years Old • Male
Okay I'll admit right away that I have not been able to watch all the games of the post season, but I have seen enough to make me want to write this.

We all know by now that the post season is a time when things get ridiculous in the National Hockey League. Emotions are running high, play gets more physical and tempers start to flare. If you thought the officials had a rough job during the regular season trying to police things you were right, but now it's even tougher.

So far I rate the officiating in the games I've watched as an 8 out of 10. Giving a perfect ten would be that there were no "make-up calls" or otherwise questionable calls, and there were no missed calls where the infraction was in clear view of the official. These guys are human and they make mistakes, I'm rating them based on how they handle those mistakes. The better job they do to limit the mistakes the higher the rating.

Now why do I rate them as an 8?

For starters lets take a look at what they've called. The officials have done a good job of calling penalties the same way for each team between the whistles. A slash for Philadelphia is the same as a slash for Pittsburgh, a cross-check for St. Louis is the same as a cross-check for Vancouver.

Looking at the post-whistle play, when pushing and shoving can quickly get out of control, the zebras have been quick at jumping in and preventing things from getting uncontrolled. Making things better for them is that they have done a great job of taking just one player from the scrum (usually the guy that started it) and sending him to the box alone, or taking two from one team and one from the other. I've been waiting to see that all year from the officials and, after watching the Vancouver-St. Louis game last night, I firmly believe that it works. The rough stuff settled down and the game was allowed to continue. Guys got the hint that they were hurting their teams by starting trouble after the whistle and they calmed down.

Philadelphia tried the aggressive scare tactic late in the game against Pittsburgh, and the officials were having none of it. Instead of sending the message that Game 2 won't be as easy, the Flyers sent the message that they'll make it easy by heading to the penalty box. The Flyers are so out of control right now I give Sean Avery and the Rangers a four-game sweep if they played Philly right now. Avery would pester Scotty Hartnell until he forced out of the game (probably by the second period) and with all the time spent on the PK, Philadelphia would be unable to establish a rythem.

Now for the bad:

Matt Cooke gets hit in the face with something (appeared to be a high-stick on the replay) and there was no call. I don't know how the offcials missed the blood running out of his nose and mouth, but they did.

In fairness to the Flyers, the goaltender interference penalty on Scotty Hartnell was questionable. There was a clear push from behind by Kris Letang that contributed to the contact, but I can't make a strong enough case that Hartnell would not have made contact with Fleury without that push.

There have been a couple of offsides and icing calls that I have wondered about, and the Sidney Crosby powerplay goal that gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead can still be called into question. For that play I trust the video replay guys in Toronto and at Mellon Arena, but I'll admit it was close.

And finally today. In game one of Detroit-Columbus there was a scrum after the whistle where Tomas Holmstrom got cross-checked by the Blue Jackets defenseman in front of the net. No call? Really? Okay. But when play resumes Holmstrom gets called for interference for returning the favor? I agree with the call, but what's with the one-sidedness in front of the net?

Overall I have to give the officials credit for doing their jobs so well in the early stages. They are truly cracking down, especially after the whistle, which will only make the playoffs more interesting as teams get the message and we start to see more 5-on-5 time.
April 17, 2009 10:39 AM ET | Delete
weird, a pens fan says the officiating has been good. the officiating in the games ive watched so far, which has been most of them, has been pretty brutal. the asham "hook" was not a hook on the pens. there were many worse hooking infractions in that pens flyers game, but that first one set the tone and allowed pittsburgh and early pp. the consistency is still not there, and they are calling ticky tack stuff that has no effect whatsoever on the play.
April 17, 2009 11:04 AM ET | Delete
I didn't say they were perfect, and I was looking at more than just the Penguins-Flyers game. Although I gotta say after watching both the Calgary-Chicago and Anaheim-San Jose games last night my faith in the officiating went down. The consistancy late in the game was awful, not that it would've helped the Sharks at all since they never even showed up until the third period.
April 17, 2009 12:54 PM ET | Delete
Bryan, your young, you haven't seen a lot of games. The refs are brutal through and through. Not just the Pens series. Good read though.
April 17, 2009 2:57 PM ET | Delete
Overall I think they are callling it a bit too tight. they're calling too many small time penalties that are just plain too hard to call evenly for both teams. In all series...not just this one...
April 17, 2009 5:10 PM ET | Delete
April 18, 2009 12:26 AM ET | Delete
with the penalty that was called on asham in the first period of the flyers pens first game, if they were as consistent as you say they are. there would be 60 penalties in each of the playoff games.
April 18, 2009 10:08 PM ET | Delete
The Pens/Flyers series has been terrible from a reffing standpoint, we all see things with our team bias tinting things, but some of the calls on the Flyers are not being made on the Pens. If a playoff game is in overtime you better seriously hurt someone or take away a surefire goal to be put down 5 on 3. That was as close to handing the game to one team as I have ever seen.
April 19, 2009 9:39 PM ET | Delete
I was reviewing just the FIRST DAY of games and the first period of the Red Wings game and, to me at least, I felt the refs were doing a good job. Ever since watching the Anaheim-San Jose game I've been starting to question it. I find myself arguing almost every call. Whatever I said about the first day, forget it!
April 20, 2009 12:01 AM ET | Delete
April 20, 2009 7:27 AM ET | Delete
Good Job to Refs? What games are you watching. This has been the worste post season for the black and white that I can remember. Make up calls are everywhere and it is ruining the game by creating false tides in momentum. Im not saying the refs are against my flyers, but the calls being made are not consistant from game to game.
April 26, 2009 1:06 AM ET | Delete
Gilmore, read the comments. I was only reviewing the FIRST DAY. I agree with you, especially with our series, the officiating quickly deteriorated and was helped by the league's "message sending" policy.
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