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Let's Talk About the Refereeing


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#121 Nightfall

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 09:43 AM

No one is denying that it is a difficult job and that mistakes can happen, but what drives us crazy is how absolutely fixable so many facets of the officiating are.

So many simple tweaks and changes could vastly improve the reffing and subsequent complaining about the reffing. The replay system, overall consistency, subjectivity of the rules, interpretation of the rules, players understanding of the rules, intent calls, headshots, etc. The reffing is different in every single game, for every single team, for every single player, and it simply makes no sense.

That the league has an anti-honesty policy in regards to coaches and players voicing their opinions about the officiating speaks volumes to me.

The system is fixable, you are right on that. Replaying a game as fast as it is would add on a lot of extra time to get every call right. I tend to think that a ref that is watching television or standing above the play would to better thant he refs on the ice. Once again, the hockey purists would have a field day with changing the system. Also, could you stand being at a game that is 3 hours in length because every play has to be reviewed? I can understand why they don't want to add instant replay. On Berts hit last night? Thats a good instance of instant replay. During the game, going to the attendant every time to check to see if it was a penalty? That just adds a ton of extra time.

Just remember that every system you put in place is going to bite your team at the same time. How many calls have the Wings gotten away with this year? Then who are you going to blame?

IMHO, the only way to make the reffing system better is to change it. Have one ref standing above the glass watching the play. The combine PROVED that worked! Why won't they institute that?

As for the coaches and players not discussing the reffing, I agree on that. If there is a disagreement with the reffing, take it up with the league office. That is the way it is done in USA hockey at the lowest level. That is the way it should be done at the highest level as well. Bad mouthing refs should be fined. What should be allowed is an evaluation of the refs and the situation. I know I have been brought into those from time to time.

One situation happened a year ago in a JV game when there was a check from behind, which I called. I gave a 5 minute because I felt there was an intent to injure. Instead of the coach going off at the public about how dumb the call was, he went to the league office and there was an inquiry opened. Tape of the game was shown and I had to explain my call, which I did. In the end, the call was explained and what I did was right.

I guess I would like to hear what you propose to improve the game without adding on 3-5 minutes in between puck drops to analyze the play. Maybe during commercial breaks the refs see the highlights of the game from toronto to evaluate possible penalties? Can they give them out at that time? What about the ref above the ice level?
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#122 Hockeytown_Ryan

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 09:45 AM

Officials are people. therefor have a different point of view (it can happen) and different view of what is and is not a penalty.

I understand that it should not be that way, but I guess until Apple comes out with the iRef app for the iPod it is a human element that seems to be
the real issue here.... there will be perfection in the officiating when there is a perfect person to do it, since no person is.....I guess it is what it is.

#123 hooon

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 10:01 AM

Why does everyone say that a game will be 3 hours longer if the officiating is fixed? That's such an overreaction to a very modest statement.

Nowhere did I say that every single play should be reviewable, so please don't put words in my mouth to make my comments sound absurd. All I said was that the replay system as it is now is very flawed. There is a very vague line as to what is reviewable, and what isn't. It is so flawed that sometimes simple plays take 10 minutes to review, instead of 30 seconds. Fixing the review system should make it faster, not longer. I never said every single play should be reviewable.

Ref homers like you love to jump to the argument that games will be hours longer if the review system is fixed, which is ridiculous. If anything, review improvements will speed up the game while also functioning as it should - to get the call correct.
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#124 Nightfall

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 10:09 AM

Why does everyone say that a game will be 3 hours longer if the officiating is fixed? That's such an overreaction to a very modest statement.

Nowhere did I say that every single play should be reviewable, so please don't put words in my mouth to make my comments sound absurd. All I said was that the replay system as it is now is very flawed. There is a very vague line as to what is reviewable, and what isn't. It is so flawed that sometimes simple plays take 10 minutes to review, instead of 30 seconds. Fixing the review system should make it faster, not longer. I never said every single play should be reviewable.

Ref homers like you love to jump to the argument that games will be hours longer if the review system is fixed, which is ridiculous. If anything, review improvements will speed up the game while also functioning as it should - to get the call correct.

Calm down cowboy. :D

I asked you to make some recommendations as to what you would change. I wasn't trying to put words in your mouth. So what changes would you make to the system to make it better and faster? You spoke a good line there, but offered no specifics. I am eagerly awaiting your reply.

Speaking of putting words in peoples mouths, I said it would be 30 minutes longer (total of 3 hours if you would have taken the opportunity to read what I wrote) not "hours longer" like you said. Also, calling me out to be a ref homer because I am looking to improve the game as well? Come on man. So I guess in the "putting words in your mouth" statement applies to you as well. Not that you will apologize for it....

Lets discuss how we can make reffing better here. At least I brought ideas to the table with specifics. :)

Edited by Nightfall, 29 March 2011 - 10:14 AM.

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#125 Anijuice

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 10:16 AM

There is always going to be the element of human error involved. Even if Toronto reviews more plays, people will still come up with conspiracy theories when the calls don't go their way. Instead of the refs, they will just complain about the incompetency of the reviewers. I do not think we would really be changing anything except making the games slightly longer. I'm sure more correct calls will be made, but as Nightfall stated, the wings will get away with less too.

I have watched all but maybe five wings' games this season, and we have gotten away with our fair share of calls, just as any team does. It is probably not 50/50, but would you really expect it to be? Human error does not work that way. It is no surprise that every fan base has very selective memory when it comes to bad calls - they will always remember the times when they get screwed more than the times when they benefit.

When you are driving in late to work and you hit a red light, do you get irritated and complain? I think most people do, but what they don't consider is how many green lights they made before the red. Selective memory, you only remember the bad things.

#126 Namtaru

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 10:34 AM



#127 Hockeytown_Ryan

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 10:45 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQfqw8DWOOw


I think there is a problem with your clip...the audio must be broken....I could of sworn I heard the announcers say
that there should of been a call in Detroit's favor.... better get that cleared up!<_<

#128 donfishmaster

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 10:58 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQfqw8DWOOw


I was just thankful to Buddha that Holmstrom didn't get called for "goalie interference" on that one.

#129 Shoreline

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 12:29 PM

time of the game does not mean you do or do not call it. a hook is a hook at the 19:00 mark like it is at the 1:00 mark....

He's saying that from a perspective of how the NHL usually refs games. Added on that, play by play and color commentary announcers tend to wonder on the same thing. Obviously you're not thinking of how the NHL refs actually call the game, but how they should. I agree in theory but in practice it doesn't happen.

Someone who closely followed the NBA ref scandal would see the very same thing happening now that was admitted by the ref who gambled on it in terms of favoritism and this love/hate game for certain players. Who can suggest that Holmstrom gets away with calls? He doesn't. There is no give/take on this situation. Sure, the Wings may get away with a call here and there, usually of the interference variety, but the refs systematically go after Holmstrom to a point where fans on other boards believe they have something against him. Then Wing fans get to see opponents fall and lie on our team's goaltender, outright hit him, push him back into the net, this is not interference somehow. I guess we already forgot about Colin Campbell-Walkom partnership.

I don't believe this sort of thing would change just by switching these guys out for new refs, but the NHL has to get a better grasp on it's ref system (I don't mean replays, avoid this kind of bogging down the game like the plague), even though they are partly responsible for the Campbell issue.. then get over the stupid issue of levying fines for criticism of referees. I don't really think either will happen but thankfully the NHL isn't the only source of hockey if it gets worse.

#130 Hockeytown0001

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 01:04 PM

He's saying that from a perspective of how the NHL usually refs games. Added on that, play by play and color commentary announcers tend to wonder on the same thing. Obviously you're not thinking of how the NHL refs actually call the game, but how they should. I agree in theory but in practice it doesn't happen.

Someone who closely followed the NBA ref scandal would see the very same thing happening now that was admitted by the ref who gambled on it in terms of favoritism and this love/hate game for certain players. Who can suggest that Holmstrom gets away with calls? He doesn't. There is no give/take on this situation. Sure, the Wings may get away with a call here and there, usually of the interference variety, but the refs systematically go after Holmstrom to a point where fans on other boards believe they have something against him. Then Wing fans get to see opponents fall and lie on our team's goaltender, outright hit him, push him back into the net, this is not interference somehow. I guess we already forgot about Colin Campbell-Walkom partnership.

I don't believe this sort of thing would change just by switching these guys out for new refs, but the NHL has to get a better grasp on it's ref system (I don't mean replays, avoid this kind of bogging down the game like the plague), even though they are partly responsible for the Campbell issue.. then get over the stupid issue of levying fines for criticism of referees. I don't really think either will happen but thankfully the NHL isn't the only source of hockey if it gets worse.


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#131 Hockeytown_Ryan

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 01:22 PM

He's saying that from a perspective of how the NHL usually refs games. Added on that, play by play and color commentary announcers tend to wonder on the same thing. Obviously you're not thinking of how the NHL refs actually call the game, but how they should. I agree in theory but in practice it doesn't happen.

Someone who closely followed the NBA ref scandal would see the very same thing happening now that was admitted by the ref who gambled on it in terms of favoritism and this love/hate game for certain players. Who can suggest that Holmstrom gets away with calls? He doesn't. There is no give/take on this situation. Sure, the Wings may get away with a call here and there, usually of the interference variety, but the refs systematically go after Holmstrom to a point where fans on other boards believe they have something against him. Then Wing fans get to see opponents fall and lie on our team's goaltender, outright hit him, push him back into the net, this is not interference somehow. I guess we already forgot about Colin Campbell-Walkom partnership.

I don't believe this sort of thing would change just by switching these guys out for new refs, but the NHL has to get a better grasp on it's ref system (I don't mean replays, avoid this kind of bogging down the game like the plague), even though they are partly responsible for the Campbell issue.. then get over the stupid issue of levying fines for criticism of referees. I don't really think either will happen but thankfully the NHL isn't the only source of hockey if it gets worse.


Yes I know.... I wasnt bashing him for his comment.. I know what he meant.... I know It should be called the same every minute of every game. It's not going to be EVER!
More eyes..more bodies looking at the play.. what ever. It does not change the fact that every person is different. and as long as the rules have "At the discretion of the Referee...." in them the rules and interpretations are gonna be different all the time.

Don't think for a minute that the Referee who missed calls doesnt get his ass chewed ..... Its just not done publicly.


and yes it is true that the NHL is not the source...But they too have human refs.... not long before they start missing calls too.....just sayin'

#132 Hockeytown0001

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 02:16 PM

Yes I know.... I wasnt bashing him for his comment.. I know what he meant.... I know It should be called the same every minute of every game. It's not going to be EVER!
More eyes..more bodies looking at the play.. what ever. It does not change the fact that every person is different. and as long as the rules have "At the discretion of the Referee...." in them the rules and interpretations are gonna be different all the time.

Don't think for a minute that the Referee who missed calls doesnt get his ass chewed ..... Its just not done publicly.


and yes it is true that the NHL is not the source...But they too have human refs.... not long before they start missing calls too.....just sayin'


Missing a call that blatant would call for a little more than that.

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#133 Shoreline

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 02:26 PM

Yes I know.... I wasnt bashing him for his comment.. I know what he meant.... I know It should be called the same every minute of every game. It's not going to be EVER!
More eyes..more bodies looking at the play.. what ever. It does not change the fact that every person is different. and as long as the rules have "At the discretion of the Referee...." in them the rules and interpretations are gonna be different all the time.

Don't think for a minute that the Referee who missed calls doesnt get his ass chewed ..... Its just not done publicly.


and yes it is true that the NHL is not the source...But they too have human refs.... not long before they start missing calls too.....just sayin'

The problem with referee discretion has nothing to do with perfection, it has to do with making consistently biased calls. Hence the analogies to the Campbell and NBA incidents. Whether these calls are based on a ref not liking certain players, or being given directions from a ref directive or NHL directive to send a message to that player, or even team, I don't care. They need to pull their heads out of their asses and stopf****** up calls to a consistent point where error is not even attributed.

If the suggestion is that refs make calls without bias (forget errors, again, bias), then pass me the crack pipe. I don't like refs deciding games, even less so over them doing so for some ulterior motive. I trust them even less so after the Campbell incident.

#134 blgillett

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 02:33 PM

the whole problem with the officiating has been the inconsistent calls one ref will call a foul on a play and the next ref will let that go, or even the same ref will call it on one play and not the next. i know it seems that the Wings are getting screwed all the time, yes some times they are but the same thing is happening to the other teams in the league. i have seen calls that should have been called on the Wings that aren't. all in all the NHL needs to fix it, and yes i know the refs aren't going to catch every thing all the tine, but there is need for improvement
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#135 Electrophile

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 02:41 PM

Do I need to post this in every single thread on this issue that pops up?

"Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence."

In other words, there is no conspiracy, just facked up refs who need to be retrained/taken to Dr. Rahmani. The reffing in the NHL has been horrible for years, and it's been horrible for all teams, not just us. However, since most of us I would assume do not ardently follow/watch other games like we do our own team's, we tend not to notice that. In baseball, if the umps make enough mistakes that the league brass catches wind of it, they're sent to Umpire College or whatever it's called, where they are re-taught the rules and how to interpret them correctly. This doesn't necessarily go for ball/strike calls, since each ump has their own strike zone, but if the ump is egregious about calling pitches, that'll get them flagged too. Also, managers can contest a call, and there's an umpire in a press box with a TV that allows him to see several different angles of the play, to determine if the call on the field was the right one or the wrong one. Why the NHL doesn't have a similar policy in place is beyond me. When Bud Selig makes you look dumb, that's bad.

If re-training all the refs is too time-consuming/expensive, put more on the ice. In a sport where little things can make a difference, more eyes watching the action is a good thing, not a bad thing.

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#136 hooon

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 04:27 PM

Calm down cowboy. :D

I asked you to make some recommendations as to what you would change. I wasn't trying to put words in your mouth. So what changes would you make to the system to make it better and faster? You spoke a good line there, but offered no specifics. I am eagerly awaiting your reply.

Speaking of putting words in peoples mouths, I said it would be 30 minutes longer (total of 3 hours if you would have taken the opportunity to read what I wrote) not "hours longer" like you said. Also, calling me out to be a ref homer because I am looking to improve the game as well? Come on man. So I guess in the "putting words in your mouth" statement applies to you as well. Not that you will apologize for it....

Lets discuss how we can make reffing better here. At least I brought ideas to the table with specifics. :)


The last few posts kind of nailed it, but what I want to see is an established consistency to the rules and how they are called. The rules are soo subjective and as such are interpreted completely differently in every game. What is a penalty on one play will be let go on another, and it never ends. The rules need to be black and white, and either called or not called CONSISTENTLY.

It has nothing to do with whether its on the Wings or not, frankly I get embarrassed if a terrible call goes in our favor. I want to see the sport of hockey being played as it should... by the players. The refs are there to keep it in line and the make the calls as they appear in the rulebook, not to interpret the rules based on situation and control the play or outcome of a game.

In terms of review, the system just needs to be improved. Every goal is supposed to be reviewable, and yet the the Brad May debacle still occurred last year because of a fundamentally flawed system and chain of command. I don't want every darn play to be reviewed such as penalties or offsides, but goal reviews are basic and that should include goals that are cancelled based on interference. I don't see how this would add 30 minutes to a game. At most it would add about 3 to 5 minutes, which is a price I would gladly pay for improved quality in officiating.

The whole thing where the "war room" reviews the play, then talks to the ref on the phone seems really counter-intuitive. In the NFL, the actual ref watches the review and makes a call based on that. I'm not sure how that could be applied to the NHL, but there always seems to be error in the communication between Toronto and the on ice refs. I don't even need to mention that the whole "intent to blow the whistle" thing as the absolutely dumbest rule in hockey.

I like the idea of the overhead ref TBH, because it is easier to see the calls from a fan's POV. This is a drastic change though and I don't see it happening. It also isn't necessary when so many little things could be improved first.
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#137 SouthernWingsFan

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 04:36 PM

I have been a USA hockey referee for a few years now. Back when I first got my start, I can tell you that it was not as easy as I thought. I really enjoy it which is why I continue to do it. Perception is everything, and you won't catch everything that happens in the course of a game. Some things you do call will be totally wrong. Even the best referees in the world don't get every call right.

All these things being said, I have also found in my travels that the team that wins doesn't complain about the reffing as much as the team that loses. Sure, they both complain, but the one that gets the short end of the stick always complains. This is never going to change.

There are many calls the Wings have gotten where nothing has happened. All wings fans praise and love these calls. Others go against the Wings for nothing, and the fans ***** about the reffing and how its a conspiracy. So, let me get this straight. If a call goes for the Wings where the Wings didn't get tripped or just fall on accident, its ok. If a call goes against the Wings where someone fell and the Wings weren't involved, its reffing failure?

I don't subscribe to reffing conspiracy theories. There are going to be missed calls in the progression of the game. There are going to be calls that shouldn't be called in the progression of the game. Human beings are going to perceive things differently. Now that you have television in the mix where you can slow down and really analyze the play, every call can be questioned.

I believe the NHL has the best professional hockey refs. At the same time though, they perform like any other ref would perform. When the game is played at that high of a level, mistakes are going to happen. If the NHL was hell bent on fixing those mistakes, they would change the reffing system. For instance, one of the things they tried at the combine this year was one ref on the ice while the other ref is standing on a platform overlooking the glass. Both refs can call penalties. What they found was that the ref up high caught more legit penalties than the ref on the ice. I am all for a system like this to be honest with you, but the hockey purists would not be happy.

In closing, there are a couple things I want to point out....

1. I firmly believe before you get upset with the refs, you should put the stripes on and ref. It really opens your eyes to the world of refereeing and you will see, even at the rec league level, that it isn't as easy as you thought it would be. Even you will make mistakes, even after years of reffing.

2. I also firmly believe that the best team always wins in the end. The refs didn't screw the Wings out of the game last night. The Wings defense went to sleep on the two goals that Chicago scored in the game. The Wings were lucky to get to OT last night thanks to the bank shot off of the defenseman's skate.

3. As for the playoffs, I also believe that the best team wins a 7 game series. The refs may make a bad call which results in one team winning a game, but things always seem to work out. A team down 2-0 in a series will turn it on to make it a series if they want it bad enough. The refs don't decide 7 game series, the players do.

That is all....

I've been a sports official for basketball and soccer for collegiate intramural leagues when I was back in college. Obviously not as talented as professional sports or even college varisty sports, but still a lot of these guys are competent athletically, played sports at competitive levels in high school, whatever.

Last night I went beserk on the officials on almost every call. And I'm not one that likes to go off on games or yell and hollar.

The first basketball game I officiated, if I was a player in the game, I'd punch myself for the retarded job I did. One of the players at the end of the game wanted to rip my head off, and I don't blame him. I was terrible. I tried to let things go and made up my own rules to be as fair as I could (there was no bias or being afraid of other players or whatever, I just did what I thought was best, and my judgment long/short was just flat out awful). Eventually I got over that and just called games by the rules as best I could. And I think I got pretty good at it. I messed up plenty of calls over those few years, yes, but everything was by the rules of those games, I never got reprimanded by people in charge, got a good job here and there for games, and so forth.

I have no doubt that NHL officials have a hard job. I don't expect perfection. I just expect them to follow the rules, like I officiated with as little grey area as possible, and like many people have stated, those rules are just so absurdly grey from game to game, player to player, it is impossible for officials not to look like a bunch of idiots.

Back when phantom interference started or people were bitter on here blaming officials for the Wings losing a few years ago against the Ducks in the playoffs or whatever, I'd be one of the first to rail on people saying they were nuts, the Red Wings lose games by themselves. If you don't see though that some of the things that are called just reek of inconsistency and bias towards some players (i.e. Holmstrom phantom interference), inconsistencies of player suspensions, and basically you have to treat the officials with kiddie gloves or they'll cry and you'll be fined money, I don't know what to tell you.

EDIT: I recently went to a basketball playoff game for the high school I went to. The team they were playing was winning most of the game, until my school fought back to tie the game up. The other school took the ball out with about 20 seconds left, and the guy dribbling the ball got called for palming/carrying the ball. We got the ball back one more time, made a layup with about 4 seconds left, and their desperation shot fell well short. While I'm glad my school won, you realize how chicken s**t of a way it is to lose a game on a call like that when it wasn't being called at all the whole game and he really wasn't palming the ball? The other school didn't deserve to lose, at least that way. Just like Zetterberg's phantom hook call late in the game? Kudos to the 'Hawks for taking advantage but that's just a piss-poor way to determine the outcome of a game.

Ticky-tacky stuff and what other people have stated already as loose rule interpretation and legitmate arguments of bias towards certain players is what annoys the crap out of everybody, not them not being 100% perfect. And it's getting worse and worse each season. The officials overall stink for all teams across the board, and the rules are way too inconsistent.

Edited by SouthernWingsFan, 29 March 2011 - 05:02 PM.


#138 Nightfall

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 05:45 PM

The last few posts kind of nailed it, but what I want to see is an established consistency to the rules and how they are called. The rules are soo subjective and as such are interpreted completely differently in every game. What is a penalty on one play will be let go on another, and it never ends. The rules need to be black and white, and either called or not called CONSISTENTLY.

It has nothing to do with whether its on the Wings or not, frankly I get embarrassed if a terrible call goes in our favor. I want to see the sport of hockey being played as it should... by the players. The refs are there to keep it in line and the make the calls as they appear in the rulebook, not to interpret the rules based on situation and control the play or outcome of a game.

In terms of review, the system just needs to be improved. Every goal is supposed to be reviewable, and yet the the Brad May debacle still occurred last year because of a fundamentally flawed system and chain of command. I don't want every darn play to be reviewed such as penalties or offsides, but goal reviews are basic and that should include goals that are cancelled based on interference. I don't see how this would add 30 minutes to a game. At most it would add about 3 to 5 minutes, which is a price I would gladly pay for improved quality in officiating.

The whole thing where the "war room" reviews the play, then talks to the ref on the phone seems really counter-intuitive. In the NFL, the actual ref watches the review and makes a call based on that. I'm not sure how that could be applied to the NHL, but there always seems to be error in the communication between Toronto and the on ice refs. I don't even need to mention that the whole "intent to blow the whistle" thing as the absolutely dumbest rule in hockey.

I like the idea of the overhead ref TBH, because it is easier to see the calls from a fan's POV. This is a drastic change though and I don't see it happening. It also isn't necessary when so many little things could be improved first.

I totally agree with you on the goal reviews. Every goal, especially waving off a goal, should be reviewed IMHO. It shouldn't take 3-5 minutes per goal. Maybe just 30 seconds to determine that the puck did go in and it was a good goal. Especially goals that are called off because of interference. Those should be mandatory for a review.

I also agree with you on the "intent to blow the whistle", even though I have done that in the past. Goalie has it covered, I blow the whistle and just as I do the puck goes in the net. I should have a right as a ref to call it back because I lost sight of it and the puck went in as I was bringing the whistle up to my mouth.

In terms of the black and white rules, they are in black and white terms. The issue is that it is all based on perception, so I don't know where you are going with this suggestion. Could you give a couple examples of rules that are "interpreted differently"? I am looking through my USA hockey rulebook, and every rule is black and white. The issue on the table is PERCEPTION. For instance, if you see someone get hit from behind, and you have a second to decide and call a penalty, only to find out that they were tripped by someone on their own team and fell into someone from behind, thats a wrong call to make. Same goes for goalie interference. If you see an offensive player fall into the goalie and you call something, then you find out that the defender hit him in the back of the leg and thats how they fell into the goalie, you are making the wrong call. It all comes down to how a referee sees the play, and with so many things happening, they can't see it all. I think you will find that all rules are black and white. The only issue is that the situations happen so fast that a ref can't possibly catch everything. As you see by instant replay, people at home can catch more than the ref can.

You aren't going to get consistency with reffing unless you replace the human being with a robot. Even if you put the ref in a up high position above the ice, you won't get the same calls in a game that is played. Thats just the nature of the beast.

The referee is there to enforce the rules and keep the game under control. You say they shouldn't swing the favor for one team or another. Well, the players do that on their own. If players are playing on the edge and taking more penalties, would you call that the referee swinging control to the other team? No, obviously not.

Let me know about these rules that are not black and white that you complain about. I would like to hear about them.
Christopher Brian Dudek
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#139 Nightfall

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 05:53 PM

I've been a sports official for basketball and soccer for collegiate intramural leagues when I was back in college. Obviously not as talented as professional sports or even college varisty sports, but still a lot of these guys are competent athletically, played sports at competitive levels in high school, whatever.

Last night I went beserk on the officials on almost every call. And I'm not one that likes to go off on games or yell and hollar.

The first basketball game I officiated, if I was a player in the game, I'd punch myself for the retarded job I did. One of the players at the end of the game wanted to rip my head off, and I don't blame him. I was terrible. I tried to let things go and made up my own rules to be as fair as I could (there was no bias or being afraid of other players or whatever, I just did what I thought was best, and my judgment long/short was just flat out awful). Eventually I got over that and just called games by the rules as best I could. And I think I got pretty good at it. I messed up plenty of calls over those few years, yes, but everything was by the rules of those games, I never got reprimanded by people in charge, got a good job here and there for games, and so forth.

I have no doubt that NHL officials have a hard job. I don't expect perfection. I just expect them to follow the rules, like I officiated with as little grey area as possible, and like many people have stated, those rules are just so absurdly grey from game to game, player to player, it is impossible for officials not to look like a bunch of idiots.

Back when phantom interference started or people were bitter on here blaming officials for the Wings losing a few years ago against the Ducks in the playoffs or whatever, I'd be one of the first to rail on people saying they were nuts, the Red Wings lose games by themselves. If you don't see though that some of the things that are called just reek of inconsistency and bias towards some players (i.e. Holmstrom phantom interference), inconsistencies of player suspensions, and basically you have to treat the officials with kiddie gloves or they'll cry and you'll be fined money, I don't know what to tell you.

EDIT: I recently went to a basketball playoff game for the high school I went to. The team they were playing was winning most of the game, until my school fought back to tie the game up. The other school took the ball out with about 20 seconds left, and the guy dribbling the ball got called for palming/carrying the ball. We got the ball back one more time, made a layup with about 4 seconds left, and their desperation shot fell well short. While I'm glad my school won, you realize how chicken s**t of a way it is to lose a game on a call like that when it wasn't being called at all the whole game and he really wasn't palming the ball? The other school didn't deserve to lose, at least that way. Just like Zetterberg's phantom hook call late in the game? Kudos to the 'Hawks for taking advantage but that's just a piss-poor way to determine the outcome of a game.

Ticky-tacky stuff and what other people have stated already as loose rule interpretation and legitmate arguments of bias towards certain players is what annoys the crap out of everybody, not them not being 100% perfect. And it's getting worse and worse each season. The officials overall stink for all teams across the board, and the rules are way too inconsistent.

I think a lot of people are misinterpreting "black and white rules" for "perception of the rule". Its not like slashing, tripping, hooking, etc. are not in the rulebook or are a "grey area". Either it happened or it didn't. Some people just look at a situation and determine a different thing.

Case in point, if a ref sees a player hit someone on the back of the leg, and the player falls down, is it tripping or slashing? Was it a dive by the player? All these things have to be decided in a second. The rulebook says it would be slashing, but it could be interpreted as tripping, and it also could be diving if the ref saw the slash and determined that it wasn't hard. Another case could be a hooking call. A player gets hooked and falls to the ice, and you call a penalty. Later on tape you see that the player that fell had a hold of the defending players stick and dove. Oops, you made a mistake. How many times have you seen that happen in the course of a season? 20? 30 times? I watch a lot of hockey and see that at least that much.

All these rules, in my experience, are black and white. Its just the situations that they are in happen so fast and the timing of the calls have to come so quick that you can't expect perfection.

I would say that the refs get the calls right a good 75% of the time. Yet, there are the 1-2 penalties per game that I look at and groan with Mickey or I begrudgingly agree with Mickey if its a benefit to the wings.
Christopher Brian Dudek
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#140 Hockeytown0001

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 06:53 PM

Inconsistency is by far the most immediate problem IMO.

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