4. Refs are fallible, and the rules exist as they're called on the ice and not in some absolute sense. I understand that the Wings lost and that was a factor as far as many here are concerned, but consider the alternatives: review every play, double the number of refs on the ice, make every call reviewable, allow games to be rolled back for missed penalties... I'd love to hear suggestions that aren't going to ankle the game. About the only alternative people who complain about the reffing have is "just hire people who aren't idiots." I'm very sure that the refs in the NHL aren't idiots, and that you aren't going to improve the reffing by getting new people in. It's a hard game to call, especially when everyone on the ice is gaming the system as much as they think they can get away with. The only way to change that would require significantly altering the game, which would be much, much worse. The puck is going to deflect unfavorably off of the linesmen, calls are going to be missed, others called wrong, others made up based on what the ref thinks happened rather than what he saw. It sucks, but the alternatives are worse.
Fallible should not mean 'crap'. Refs should absolutely be held accountable for poor performance. Yes, the game is fast, and players are selling things all the time. But NHL refs should be the top 100 or so in the world at what they do. The refs in the playoffs should be the best of those. 'Suck' is not a standard we should find acceptable. We should demand that the refs do their job better. Demand that they don't make reputation calls, or calls based on what they think must have happened because they couldn't see, or make-up calls because they know they screwed up an earlier one, or calls based on fan reaction. How about not randomly calling hooking when a guy gets tapped on the gloves, but there's obviously no effect on the play. Maybe call cross checking in the crease whenever it happens, and not just when someone falls on a goalie or a team 'deserves' a call.
Rule changes should also be made. Intent to blow = Intent to suck. Distinct kicking motion. Head shots. Diving. How about a rule so you don't call hooking when the 'hookee' pins the 'hooker's' stick with his arm. How about trying to better define interference, and training refs using video examples. Standards for reasonable distance from puck and time elapsed after the puck is gone. Try to get all the refs on the same page, and let the teams know as clear as possible what the standards are. It will always be somewhat subjective, but that doesn't mean we can't improve. I don't believe this is the best we can do.
And why not have some type of review system? Maybe something like the challenge in the NFL. Probably wouldn't be feasible for missed calls, but it would work for bad ones.
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