April 09, 2009

Changing of the Guard: Sportswriter Mark Spector laments the loss of "character" as the torch is being passed from old to new when the core of longtime NHL referees retire over the next couple of seasons.

posted by Spitztengle to hockey at 01:45 AM - 2 comments

I have a beef with this article, specifically the second sentence:

National Hockey League officiating is better today with video replay and two referees than it ever was when they worked without a net, all by themselves.

Bullsh*t. More calls are missed nowadays, and more marginal calls wind up as 5-on-3s. Players have no idea from one game to the next what constitutes a penalty because the refs seem to have no idea. They can't even seem to make consistent calls within a game, more less over the season. They get constant mandates from up high to watch for specific penalties, so much so that they concentrate on those fouls, and miss others. Video replay has worked, but to say that officiating is better now shows a lack of knowledge in what good officiating is...I suggest the writer watch a few games from the 80s and early 90s before he makes that determination.

That said, I'm gonna miss Bill McCreary. He is one of the best refs ever, no question. Never out of position, never in the way, and he was like a ninja on skates. You never knew he was there until he needed to be front and center...unlike the prancing peacock with the bulletproof hair.

Great article Spitz, and I love their presentation...

posted by MeatSaber at 03:42 PM on April 09, 2009

I can't really agree wholeheartedly with you, MeatSaber. True enough, there are a lot more tight calls than there used to be, but all in all, they tend to even out over time. I would prefer not to see so many penalties, because it really messes up the flow of the game. Good 5 on 5 play, with a lot of end-to-end skating is still the best hockey.

Today's referees are as good as they have ever been. I marvel at how few calls they miss. The problem is that if they miss one in a critical spot, they're all over the sports pages next day. If goaltenders had the same success rate as referees, you'd see an awful lot of scoreless ties before the shootouts.

Back when it was a 6-team league, you would see the same referees game after game. It would always seem that one of them had it in for your team, although this was never the case. With so few referees back then, the fans got to know them pretty well, and there were some very creative comments from the crowd. The officials today seem to be less well-known.

posted by Howard_T at 06:21 PM on April 09, 2009

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