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  • Hockey Unfiltered: CBC, poor officiating Print
    Columns
    Written by Todd Lewis   
    Thursday, 24 May 2012 12:28

    Todd Lewis, Hockey UnfilteredThere have been several NHL and hockey stories over the last two days that beg for some “Hockey Unfiltered” commentary.

    The Canadian Broadcasting Company announced Wednesday afternoon  they would provide an online audio alternative to its Stanley Cup Final commentary. Lena Sutherland and Jules Mancuso will examine a player’s hairstyle or coaches choice of suits and other non-traditional hockey talk.

    The Twitter overreaction was instantaneous, denouncing it as an enormous step back in the battle for sexual equality and arguing female journalists would face additional burdens in their quest for credibility.  While I agree that female reporters still don’t always receive the recognition they deserve, isn’t this leap to link the two like triple jumping across the Continental Divide? 

    No one is asking women to surrender the right to vote or give up driver’s licenses.  The mother corporation in Canada is simply providing -- and here’s the key phrase -- “an alternative” to traditional analysis.  It is no different than someone who mutes the television audio and listens to the radio call or hits the SAP button to listen in another language.  

    Aren’t those condemning before actually hearing the program guilty of a worse offense?

    If they are, it is a sure bet that the on-ice officials won't call a penalty.

    The Los Angeles Kings disposed of the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday night to advance to the franchise's second Stanley Cup Final apperance. What should have been a transcendant moment for the Kings franchise was tarnished by incompetence from on-ice officials. The Coyotes are sour about how the winning goal occurred in overtime. Just prior to Dustin Penner popping the winner, Michael Roszival was corked, after the whistle on an offside play  by L.A. captain Dustin Brown.

    It was a late hit.  Players on both side had already let up on the play, except for Brown, who chose to inflict the full force of his check onto the Phoenix defenseman. Shane Doan complained afterwards about the poor officiating on that play and in the series.  

    I do not believe the officials of the NHL are intent on deciding the outcome of a game or giving one team an advantage over the other. I do believe that they are simply cannot keep up with the blinding speed of the game.

    In Game 5 of the Devils-Rangers series Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden there were back-to-back brutal calls in the third period. Marian Gaborik shot the puck toward Martin Brodeur in the opening seconds. The Devils' goaltender clumsily squatted on top of the puck and the official in the corner can be seen bringing the whistle to his mouth to blow the play dead. However the official stopped short of blowing the whistle. Instead he pointed at the net to signal a goal. What happened to interpretation of the rule that the officials intent to blow the play dead supersedes whether he has actually blown his whistle or not? That goal should not have counted.

    Moments later as Dainus Zubrus was clipped with a high stick from Ryan Callahan as the Devils' forward made his way through the Rangers' end of the ice. Zubrus fell to the ice and slid into the corner, bloodied.  No penalty was assessed on the play. The botched calls allowed the Rangers to tie the game and denied the Devils a four-minute powerplay.  

    Both are
    examples of how NHL officials simply can’t keep up with a game that is being played at a quicker pace than at any point in its history. There will be some who claim it is the human element and the calls eventually even out.  But with so many such clear examples of referees being unable to rule correctly on the ice it is time for a massive overhaul of the system.

    This won’t happen, of course, because the league would see it as an acknowledgement the job isn’t being done well.  But when the commissioner on his own radio show says his biggest worry while watching an important playoff game is hoping that a bad call doesn’t decide the game, haven’t you already admitted there’s a problem?

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    Last Updated on Thursday, 24 May 2012 15:41