If you’re a Penguins fan you’re familiar with plenty of other fanbases around the NHL bemoaning that the league is rigged for the Pens. For example:
NHL must really want the Pens to win hahahahahah
— Drew Gallagher (@Drew__Gallagher) April 21, 2018
Wow are the refs horrible tonight, not Even trying to make it look like they are calling the game even. NHL wants the Pens to win, like call an even game
— Coach Cass 🇨🇦🇨🇮🏴🇳🇴🏒🏈🏐⚾️⛳️ (@leafs4life50) March 11, 2018
And of course, we all remember the uproar caused when the referee blew the whistle early in game six of last year’s Stanley Cup Final. It’s a pretty well-worn narrative actually, that the league favors the Penguins. Now, if you’re not a Penguins fan and you somehow found my story just replace Penguins with whatever team you like. Because I’m sure the NHL’s many fanbases are full of folks who think the league is rigged for just about every and all teams.
The truth is… that’s just not true.
Look, I’m not saying this because I’m a Penguins fan who wants you to think the league isn’t biased for my team. I’m saying this because the league can’t figure out what goalie interference is so how can they figure out how to fix a game?
I mean if they can’t call this a goal:
That’s a goal. pic.twitter.com/YWEkoNLmPg
— Nick Vucic (@npv708) April 29, 2018
And the instances of goalie interference in Games two of both the Las Vegas-San Jose and Washington-Pittsburgh series aren’t called the same way, how can you argue differently?
It’s not being biased for someone. It’s not wanting a series to go seven games. It’s human error in some cases (the goalie interference) and unavailable footage (the disallowed goal) in others. It’s not that the league wants a certain outcome because they shouldn’t. If the league wants a team to win, it’s not Pittsburgh. Last year, a Nashville win would’ve been bigger for the NHL. Nothing could be bigger than the league than for a different team to finally win. But that doesn’t mean that they’re calling things unfairly on purpose. It just means it’s a league, run by humans and humans, sometimes, make mistakes. Sometimes, humans even make really bad mistakes.
Do refs maybe try to be the checks and balances of games? Of course, they do. We all know what happens when a team has had three power plays in a row. The next time they sneeze on the opponent they’re going to the box. It’s natural. It’s the refs trying to make things fair. It certainly doesn’t always work or seem like that’s the end goal. But for the most part, it is.
Look, I get it the Pens lost and conspiracy theories are fun. But it’s just a simple error. That’s why your team, no matter who they are, was shafted on that call or this chance.