While the NHL playoffs are without question the most exciting playoffs in sports, since the start of them a week or so ago, one thing has become clear: The officiating so far has been awful, for a lot of reasons.
The joke has always been that once the playoffs start, you basically need to murder someone for it to be a penalty, especially once overtime starts. So far it’s not so much the lack of calls, but just the insane inconsistency we see night-in, night-out from the stripes.
One night a slap on the wrist that was called all season long as a slash will get you two minutes, the next night you get cross-checked in the neck and YOU somehow end up with the penalty. That’s an actual thing that happened, more on that later. Or some guy gets drilled in the head and there’s no penalty, but the league decides to “send a message” the day after and suspends the player for the hit.
There seems to be no rhyme or reason behind the calls, and no consistency whatsoever. One night it’s this, the other you have Tim Peel making the calls and somehow the Patriots are awarded a touchdown for the Predators hooking a player. It’s not good.
And then there’s goalie interference. Hooo boy. This is already a sore subject in the NHL because, sort of like penalties, there is no rhyme or reason, and no consistency to the calls. It just feels like we’re at the mercy of whoever is in charge of looking at these replays and what their mood is that day.
Even worse are the goalie interference calls where a player from the opposing team is pushed into the goalie by a defenseman, and the goal is waved off. Yes, the player did hit the goalie, making it hard for the goalie to make a play on the puck, but it’s his own player’s fault, that’s not goalie interference.
Take a look at this from last night’s Predators-Avanlanche game:
This one is doubly bad that it was taken off the books. First, Kyle Turris is clearly pushed into Colorado goalie Andrew Hammond (how much of an effort Turris makes to then avoid Hammond is up for debate, he had some time), and then on top of that, Hammond is three feet outside of the crease. I get if the goalie is in their designated area giving them the benefit of the doubt, but Hammond is nowhere near the crease, and is arguably more in the way of Turris than vice versa. That should be a goal. Luckily, puck don’t lie and like 30 seconds later the Predators scored on their way to an easy win to wrap up the series.
And it only got worse from there.
With Colorado down 3-0 in the game and well on the way to getting eliminated, frustration boiled over and they took two penalties on the same play, which SHOULD have given Nashville a 5-on-3 power play to potentially ice the game in the second period…except the refs somehow called a Nashville player for embellishment, the second such call of the day (there was one in the Philadelphia-Pittsburgh game earlier).
Sven Andrighetto with a ridiculous cross-check to Viktor Arvidsson. #Preds#Avspic.twitter.com/xA72KJHTBx
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) April 23, 2018
HOW. In what world do you take a stick to the neck and get called for hamming it up? That’s a chicken shit call by that ref to avoid giving Nashville a two-man advantage in a game that was heading towards a blowout, that’s the only explanation for it.
There is no way you should get a penalty for receiving a cross-check to the neck, even if you do act a little bit. A guy literally tried to hurt you, it makes sense that you may react that way.
This brings up the argument of if somebody is diving/acting, how can there be a penalty for hooking, slashing, cross-checking, or whatever, but that’s another debate for another time.
But it’s becoming increasingly obvious, and will only become more of an issue as the playoffs get deeper and the games get even more intense with more on the line. The officiating so far has been terrible, and I just don’t see it getting better any time soon.