Throughout the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs I’ve had an ongoing discussion with a friend of mine (let’s call him Kenny) and he wants to see the NHL’s on-ice officials call the game the way they do during the regular season. Disclosure alert: he’s a Pittsburgh Penguins fans and he was unhappy with the way their first-round series went. His favorite saying, “Blow the eff-in whistle.”
I told him that no one wants to watch a team get 10 power plays during a playoff game. While we may not want to see a parade to the penalty box, I think NHL hockey fans would like to see the on-ice officials call the obvious penalties. Moving forward, I think we’d like to see some consistency in the way the games are called.
After watching the first five games of the Stanley Cup Final, I am now on board with my buddy. I’ve seen enough. On Thursday night, the men in stripes had another horrendous night. They flat out sucked. They missed obvious headshots and other egregious infractions. It’s time for the NHL on-ice officials to call the game the same way all season long. Teams will adjust to the way the game is called.
The most glaring of the non-calls cost the Boston Bruins game five.
At the 09:34 mark of the third period, Boston Bruins forward Noel Acciari was slew-footed by St Louis Blues forward Tyler Bozak. There was no call on the play, seconds later, Blues forward David Perron scored the game-winning goal. It was an obvious penalty that should’ve been called. It wasn’t.
Kelly Sutherland missing the tripping call was a major turning point in the game. That shouldn’t happen.
Post-game Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy wasn’t impressed with the quality of officiating.
“I mean, the non-call on Acciari, their player is on the way to the penalty box,” Cassidy said. “It was right in front of the official. It’s a slew-foot. Our guy’s gone; the spotter took him out of the game for a possible concussion. I mean, it was blatant. It had a big effect on the game.”
You can hear all of Cassidy’s full comments right here.
“It’s a penalty every time, I mean, there’s no ‘ifs,’ ‘and’ or ‘buts’ about it, Bruins defenseman Torey Krug said. “I’m all for letting us play, but when it leads to scoring chances for the opposing team that ends up with the puck, then it should be blown and it should be a penalty.”
The NHL’s response is less than stellar. Actually, it’s pathetic.
“We don’t make comments on judgment calls within games,” Stephen Walkom, the NHL’s director of officiating. There are hundreds of judgment calls in every game. The official on the play, he viewed it and he didn’t view it as a penalty at the time.”
The NHL response is bravo sierra. Moving forward, the NHL’s officials have to be better. They can’t continue to perform at this low level. It’s unacceptable. The NHL is the best hockey league in the world. They must demand more for their on-ice officials or fire them. Hire someone else that can perform at a high level.