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Arlington, TX • United States • 35 Years Old • Male
I know I said I was not going talk about the officiating any longer, BUT...my dearest friend and fellow North American, Luongo07, continues to call me out and accuse me of not researching. (well, at least most of that last sentence is true!) So, as I set out to get the full scoop on the officiating in the Stars/Canucks series, I realized it was a much bigger issue than just the way game 7 was manipulated. For those of you number lovers out there, you will dive into the plethora of statistics...as for the rest of you, get a cozy seat! The table below looks much better on Excel, but oh well!

Team, Game # Eliminated/Advanced, Total Series Penalties, Total Elimination Game Penalties, 3rd Period/OT Penalties in the Elimination Game, %

Anahiem Ducks, 5, 41, 6, 0 ,0%
Buffalo Sabres, 5, 22, 4, 0, 0%
Detroit Red Wings, 6, 42, 4, 3, 75%
New Jersey Devils, 6, 34, 10, 1, 10%
New York Rangers, 4, 25, 4, 2, 50%
Ottawa Senators, 5, 39, 8, 3, 38%
San Jose Sharks, 5, 34, 7, 5, 72%
Vancouver Canucks, 7, 50, 7, 3, 43%
Atlanta Thrashers, 4, 35, 6, 3, 50%
Calgary Flames, 6, 49, 5, 3, 60%
Dallas Stars, 7, 47, 11, 5, 46%
Minnesota Wild, 5, 31, 5, 0, 0%
Nashville Predators, 5, 45, 9, 3, 33.3%
New York Islanders, 5, 27, 4, 1, 25%
Pittsburgh Penguins, 5, 36, 5, 1, 20%
Tampa Bay Lightening, 6, 39, 8, 1, 13%

ZERO penalties were called in the 3rd period/OT's for 3 teams, including both teams in the ANA/MIN elimination game. ONE penalty was called for 4 teams, and TWO for 1. THREE penalties for 6 teams and FIVE for 2. 8 teams got penalized twice or less, and 8 teams three times or more. The DET/CAL game 6 had a total of 9 penalties called, with 6 of those coming in the 3rd/OT...while the NJ/TB game 6 had 18 penalties called, with only 2 coming in the final period. The biggest game of them all, DAL/VAN game 7, also had 18 penalties called, but with EIGHT coming in the 3rd. How is this for "irony"...in game 6 of that series, it was the exact same numbers but opposite teams...funny how that works out! In addition, game 5 of the same series (also an elimination game), contained only SEVEN total penalties, with only THREE in the 3rd/OT. How does a team go from 3 to 7 to 11 penalties, or 4 to 11 to 7 in 3 games? Do they really play that different? How does one game 6 have 7 penalties in the 3rd/OT and another have only 2? 5 of the 9 teams facing elimination had 3 or more penalties called in the 3rd/OT...while the other 4 teams had 1 or 0 penalties called. 5 teams facing elimination spent between 6 and 10 minutes of their final periods killing off penalties--that's TEN OUT OF TWENTY, or HALF OF THE PERIOD! Between 33.3% and 60% of the total calls came in the 3rd period and overtimes, for those 5 teams. Of the other 4 teams facing elimination, 3 of them spent TWO minutes each on the kill, while Minnesota spent NO TIME AT ALL! The percentages being 0% or 25% of the total calls. Those 4 teams had the entire 3rd period/OT to attempt to extend their seasons. Of the 9 teams facing elimination, 3 of them had 20% or more of their total series' penalties called in their final game. Those teams were Nashville, Tampa Bay, and Dallas...all of them lost. The Stars led those teams with 23% of their total series' penalties coming in the final game...which just happened to be a game 7.

So where am I going with all of this...what does it mean? Let me preface my comments by saying I am more than thankful that the game has opened up. Undoubtedly, the hooking and grabbing and clogging up the neutral zone had to be abolished; the next step is ridding the NHL of the cheap shot artists who have no respect for the game or fellow mates. I realize the officials are human beings...I know they will always make mistakes...I know perfection is unattainable...I know the game is extremely fast-paced...I know I could never do their job! I have made significant strides in my attitude and behavior concerning officials. I simply ask and hope for a FAIRLY called game! Is that too much?

(Stay tuned Canucks' fans...I'm about to reel you in!)

Last night, as I watched the two 'Yucks battle it out in game 2, I was gleefully preparing this blog...as the most perfect lead-in was unfolding before my eyes. I was giddy...sitting at the edge of my couch...ready to cheer at the moment the Ducks took a 2-0 lead in the series. Granted, it was more about "see, I told you so" than this blog...but who's counting! Unfortunately for me, the Jekyll and Hide Canucks hung around long enough to catch a break, and for that I give them credit. Vancouver was clearly the better team for most of the game...yet they continued to find themselves in the box. Naslund played his best game since game 2 of the Dallas series. He stole a puck from Pronger (a feat in itself), turned on the jets, and fired a perfect shot for his second goal of the playoffs. The captain was great...yet he made his way to the sin-bin THREE times, including ONCE IN OVERTIME! All three calls were highly questionable, but to put the game on the line by calling the Captain for an iffy (at best) tripping call in OT...WHAT A JOKE! While on the other end, Luongo earned yet another goalie interference call--even though he was a foot outside the crease!?!

Simply put...we cannot continue to allow the officials to control the game. Sometimes they are invisible, but all too often they manipulate the flow of the game, influence the reaction of teams/players, and even determine the outcome. Last night was a rare example of a team beating another team, as well as the officials. Most of the time diversity is a good thing...but coming from the officials, it is tarnishing this game (and I'm not talking about race!). The opposite of diversity is uniformity...referees are anything but that! Politics play a major role in officiating...there are way too many factors involved in their decisions; a specific result of this is the multitude of make-up calls. Another thing to remember is that these men have egos, just like the rest of us...and too many times their attitudes factor in. I am all for them allowing the skill to be exhibited during the games...even if it means countless penalties...but to carry over the ticky-tack calls, diversity, politics, and egos into the playoffs is a travesty; and into a game 7...preposterous!
Filed Under:   stars   canucks   playoffs   nhl   eklund   penalties   referees  
April 28, 2007 5:08 PM ET | Delete
Try officiating! It is not an exact science. The speed of the game and players crossing you path may cause missed calls or botched calls. The officals do not have the benefit of instant replay or close up un obstructed camera angles. Here is a link on how to register to become an official, then maybe you can stop your whinning or maybe you will relize it isn't as easy as you may think.
April 28, 2007 5:26 PM ET | Delete
Sorry I missed the link....here it is http://www.usahockey.com/officials/main_site/main/home/
April 29, 2007 12:04 AM ET | Delete
As an (ex) competitive athlete in a number of team sports, I would like to say that it doesn't really matter that some refs call differently than others. In fact, it (almost) doesn't matter what a ref calls. What makes a "good" referee (in any sport) is consistency of calls. It doesn't take pro athletes long to adjust -- WHEN THEY KNOW HOW THINGS WILL BE CALLED. This is (imho) what is truly wrong with the NHL and their refs...nobody knows what's coming...nobody can guess what will or won't be called. I think that it is so bad that the NHL has sunk lower than NBA refs -- and that's low. So, although what you have to say is well thought out and interesting, I will say that it's simpler than that (and harder to produce): consistency of calls. I do not for a second believe that (literally)professional refs are influencing/manipulating the flow of games. certainly their calls do that, but consistency of calls would solve that problem. Easily said, eh!
April 29, 2007 4:52 AM ET | Delete
NHL refs are the best in the world. The officiating has been great in the playoffs so far. Teams that are CHASING tend to get more penalties, there shouldnt be a requirement to call an even amount of penalties or to NOT call them at certain points in the game.
April 29, 2007 10:40 AM ET | Delete
Bob...I could care less about even...I said fair. And if you are willing to concede that your Canucks got a fair shake in game 2 the other night...then congrats...enjoy your NHL! Agreed Fred...consistency is the key. Who is Luongo07?
April 30, 2007 10:47 AM ET | Delete
To bob: Only if the Refs are "made in Canada", they must be good for you...I really don't remember STARS chasing the game in game 7 when there were called by some Supid Crap Penalties...NHL needs to fix the issues with some of these Refs, as they are just destroying the playoffs hockey...
April 30, 2007 11:48 PM ET | Delete
It's pretty much fact that when a team gets consistent offensive pressure the defensive team is going to take a penalty. As for your theory on 'letting the players decide the outcome of the game'...it is not the officials decision to hook a player.
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