what can be done about the state of the officiating

Discussion in 'The Business of Hockey' started by Matt, Jan 7, 2007.

  1. Matt

    Matt Registered User

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    Over the last month there have been an over abundance of questionable calls. The puck in the pants call in Minnesota, the "New Rule" instigated in the Columbus/San Jose game, where they now get to shoot one and one penalties. (Score and they give you another chance). Stupid call after stupid call, Poor Calls from the "War Room". Stupid rulings from Toronto to substantiate stupid calls. Disallowed real goals. A total lack of control over officials. No fines or suspensions for out and out stupid calls. Does the League have a school for officials? I have been attending amatuer and college games and this type of officiating is not in those games. Is it the League can only attract people from the lower end of the gene pool?
     
  2. EbencoyE

    EbencoyE Registered User

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    1) Actually teach the referees the rulebook.

    2) Allow coaches to challenge calls like in the NFL. But give them more challenges, like 5 or 10. That'll straighten up the refs so they make sure they get the call right.

    The NHL could track which referees have had the most of their calls overturned and those guys should be the first to get the axe.

    3) None of this "let the players play" crap. If it's a penalty, call it. If not, don't. It's simple logic, people.
     
  3. Foy

    Foy Registered User

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    A lot of what has been suggested, both here and elsewhere is against the NHL's contract with the Referee's union. If you want the officials to go on strike and a bunch of replacements to come in, you will see REALLY bad officiating.

    The NHL is allowed to fire only one full time NHL referee per year. Last year it was Blaine Angus. There are several people I'd like to see go after this year, but none more than Kevin Pollock.
     
  4. Falloooooon

    Falloooooon Registered User

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    I don't see how one of the guys from that SJ/CBJ game last night isn't the one to be let go. That was insane, and I don't understand what they could have possibly been thinking. They are both obviously incompetent, as there is no defense for this. They weren't out of position, or screened from seeing something for whatever reason. They just don't know a simple rule.
     
  5. Crosby87.*

    Crosby87.* Guest

    I hate to say this, but, what happen? I never saw the game or highlights for that one game.
     
  6. From my observances, the new standard (ie: no longer "letting them play") is why a lot of fans are upset. They want the "old standard" to come back.

    If anybody really thinks the referees don't know the rules, they cannot have a credible opinion on this subject. NHL referees go through a 2-week training camp every season, just like the players.

    Officiating hockey cannot be compared to officiating any other sport. The in-game action of a hockey game is at least ten times faster than any other sport. Hockey also has a lot more judgment calls than most other sports. Just like any other sport, mistakes will happen. It's part of the game, like it or not.

    Agree or not, NHL officials are the best in the world. That's why they are in the NHL. If you put an average fan (say anybody on this board who complains regularly) in the officiating director's seat, he will fire half the league's officiating staff, and then he would have to hire a bunch of lower-quality officials to fill the void. Think of the gong show that would follow.

    Why are there so few officials ready to make the jump to the NHL? I wrote a letter to our local minor hockey association which I hope will help explain why, and open some eyes as to how difficult it is to keep new and young officials around......

    Our Officials’ Association is upset with the nature of numerous complaints regarding officiating so far this season. While we realize concerns regarding officiating are part of the course for the job we do, our expectations are that these concerns are brought forth with maturity and respect. So far this season, we have encountered more of the opposite than the expected. To be more specific, the majority of concerns raised have contained “shopping lists†of calls and non-calls (which are mostly judgment calls anyway) and a suggestion of how good (or bad) the official(s) in question are, and a recommendation of the level of hockey said official(s) are capable of officiating.

    The message we would like to send is that our qualified supervisors within the Officials’ Association, and only our qualified supervisors, are capable of objectively evaluating and judging the performance of any individual official. Having coaches suggest to us how we should handle their concerns is disrespectful to our efforts in providing regular supervisions to evaluate and develop our officials. We are in a unique, but not unexpected position this season, where the vast majority of our officials are in their first season of officiating. This position requires patience from all parties. A recent complaint we received mentioned how a game got out of control because the referee of said game was not calling enough (or appropriate) penalties. We raise the point that coaches are required, under Hockey Canada rules, to control their players and their actions. If coaches cannot do this, especially knowing they will have inexperienced officials, they are contributing to the problem instead of being part of the solution.

    Young and inexperienced officials need a positive game environment in order to make their officiating experience desirable. The reason we have such a high turnover of teenaged officials every season, is because the experience simply is not desirable more often than it is desirable. Part of the reason for that is the in-game complaining and occasional attempts to intimidate that these officials experience, not just from players and coaches, but parents as well. Coaches are also responsible for the conduct of the parents in the stands. Unfortunately, the inexperience of a lot of our officials works against them as they often do not assess the appropriate misconduct penalties to players and coaches who employ these tactics, and they also do not often eject parents from the arena who are displaying a negative example by berating the young officials on the ice. Such conduct from players, coaches and parents must be eliminated from the game if we want to keep our young officials around. The first effort to eliminate such conduct must be made by the coaches and parents, which will influence the players to show more respect for the officials as well. If this effort is not put forth by the coaches and parents, our unique situation with the majority of our officials being inexperienced will become the norm every season.

    We are more than willing to listen to concerns raised by coaches. However, we would appreciate that those concerns raised not include suggestions and recommendations on how the Officials’ Association should handle the officials we supervise and develop.

    We look forward to working together to help make the game better.

    Thank You.



    This is common throughout minor hockey in North America and will have a reverse domino-effect in the near future as the number of officials capable of even officiating junior/college hockey will decline, nevermind the NHL.
     
  7. KeydGV21

    KeydGV21 Registered User

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    1. I'm fairly confident that the referees have read the rulebook and are aware of what the rules are

    2. Even in the NFL you can't challenge a penalty. And do you propose challenging non calls as well or just penalties? There is a whole can of worms here that makes this something that just wouldn't work. The only call that I'd be ok with going to a review is when a guys on a break and there is debate if they guy coming from behind on a sweeping stick check got the skate or puck first, and this is only because a large percentage of time the net ends up off the moorings.

    3. I do agree with calling penalties if it's a call it needs to be called. Non calls allows the officials to decide a game just as much as calling a penalty if not more.
     
  8. Sens Rule

    Sens Rule Registered User

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    Referring is better now than it ever has been. More consistent and more fair. No more make-up calls. Penalties are called in the third period or OT or if a team is already short-handed. If an infraction is made it is called. The refs are calling the rule book, as the NHL wishes it to be called. If you don't like the way games are called then change the rules not the refs.

    Some calls are missed as is inevitable in a fast paced game.
     
  9. X0ssbar

    X0ssbar Guest

    http://www.columbusdispatch.com/blu...story=dispatch/2007/01/07/20070107-E1-04.html
     
  10. KeydGV21

    KeydGV21 Registered User

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    Why that is indeed some horrible officiating I have to believe at least some of the blame falls on Columbus itself.

    I'll admit I didn't see it but I would have to think that either the Blue Jackets didn't notice themselves or couldn't explain how the officials blew it... seems like if they brought it to the officials attention a quick stop could be made at the scorers table and the problem would be resolved. Though like I said not seeing the game, I can't say for sure the Jackets didn't bring this up.
     
  11. That occurrence was, in some way, everybody's fault. The timekeepers should be on the ball with that, as it is their primary job to keep track of such things. The officials (all 4 of them) need to take some responsibility as well.

    I didn't see it, so I don't know how much the Blue Jackets were complaining, thus I cannot judge their actions. I would think, at the NHL level, a team encountering that situation would have its captain at the referee's circle immediately.
     
  12. Irish Blues

    Irish Blues Worth waiting for :)

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    That particular example is bad; however, it's not like it happens every game.

    Pre-lockout, there was a Blues-Coyotes game where the first 4 penalties of the game were matched with coincidental penalties for diving. Is it possible there were really 4 dives - one on each penalty called? Sure. Is it likely? Nope.

    A lot of people love to ***** about officiating. Until you've done it (and I suspect 99% of those who complain never have), you honestly have no idea just how tough it is. Sure it looks easy to do; go try it a few times and see if it's as easy as you think.

    I know guys who constantly complained about calls, and when offered the chance to call a game themselves they steadfastly refused. I knew a few who took up the offer; after one game, they quit complaining about the officials after that. I'm not saying the guys employed by the league now are perfect by any means, but by and large they do a decent job.

    For the record, I have a bigger problem with how umpires call strikes in MLB than I do the officiating in the NHL - and there's no outcry to toss umpires because they clearly can't call the strike zone according to the rule book.
     
  13. X0ssbar

    X0ssbar Guest

    Every player and coach were yelling at the refs regarding the decision...in fact Klesla came out of the box and they told him to get back in. The refs told Hitch that it was a "new rule" after he asked for an explanation. There is nothing more the staff or players could have done.

    These officials are supposed to be the best of the best -- the teams are not responsible for inept officiating at the basic of levels. This particular one is all on the NHL hence why Walkom himself issued an apology mid-way through the second period. Obviously the head of officials found out pretty quickly whose fault it was.
     
  14. Casework

    Casework Registered User

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    Difficulty doesn't make incompetence a legitimate excuse.
     
  15. One mistake doesn't mean they are incompetent.

    I challenge you to start officiating for your local minor hockey association.
     
  16. KeydGV21

    KeydGV21 Registered User

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    Wow, if indeed true (and the only reason I have to doubt you is this is the internet after all) that is horrible and inexcusable. It's to bad that it seems as though officials are never held accountable for their actions (and I'm not talking about missing judgment calls or even getting in the way of the puck (an alarming trend if you ask me) but blatant things like this) I'm sure there is something behind the scenes but I think the NHL coming out and letting the fans know what sort of disciplinary action was taken would go a long way towards eliminating fans negative opinions towards how the NHL handles it’s officials.
     
  17. Casework

    Casework Registered User

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    Even if I wasn't a ref, it doesn't mean that I have to try it before I can say anything about it. I challenge a ref to be a computer programmer or a doctor. It doesn't matter. Everyone makes mistakes but just because it is a mistake doesn't mean that you don't have to take responsibility for your actions. Just because a job is difficult doesn't entitle people to make mistakes.

    An officials job is to know the rules. This isn't like it was a disputable call or something that happened fast and the ref had to make a quick decision. This was something that should have been straight out of the textbook, and for some reason, they had no idea what to do.
     
  18. If the NHL made discipline of officials public, it would create more outcry. For example, if Kelly Sutherland had a couple games removed from his schedule for a mistake and the NHL made it public, you know the fans at the next game he works will be all over him.

    I do not believe fans of the pro game will ever respect the officials as long as the average minor hockey parent is more than willing to verbally rip up a 12 year-old kid reffing a novice game. More often than not, those parents are those fans of the pro game.


    They did have "an idea", it was simply the wrong idea. Nobody is trying to suggest that they are entitled to make mistakes. The message is that it is reality that they will make mistakes. It is part of the game, it is unavoidable.

    Your comparison to computer programming and being a doctor doesn't help your cause. If a computer programmer tells you your computer is broken beyond repair, it is broken beyond repair. If a doctor tells you that you need surgery, you need surgery. If a hockey referee tells a player on your favourite team he hooked an opponent, you're likely to tell him he's wrong.
     
  19. X0ssbar

    X0ssbar Guest

    More on the incident from the Dispatch this morning:

    http://www.dispatch.com/bluejackets/bluejackets.php?story=dispatch/2007/01/08/20070108-D1-03.html
     
  20. Irish Blues

    Irish Blues Worth waiting for :)

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    No, but if you don't try it then you have no way to appreciate or understand what it's like. And before you pull out some "so do I have to try brain surgery to understand how difficult it is" statement, we're talking about things that every armchair referee can do if he/she wants to. The problem is, the vast majority of them would rather sit on their duff chugging a beer and eating nachos than go grab a whistle and an official's jersey and find out if calling a game in any sport is really as easy as they think it is.

    So one mistake is proof that all officials are incompetent? That's an *awfully* huge brush to paint everyone with. The particular case above was an incredibly bad call by the officials, and no one here is excusing that; again, I ask how many times something like this happens. The answer is "it's extremely rare".
     
  21. Casework

    Casework Registered User

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    Did I even come close to saying that? I'm talking about the 4 officials that were on the ice in San Jose... you're the one putting words in my mouth.

    I'm not mentioning anytime a ref makes a mistake ever. I'm talking about an incident that is black and white that the officials should have been able to call correctly in their sleep.

    I understand it is difficult to be an official, and trust me, I've almost never complained about refs before, and on these forums I don't think I ever have. However, you've got to be realistic about this. Saying it's extremely rare doesn't change anything. It's not like the Wes Walz goal in Minnesota, this is something that should be straight out of the handbook. This is something that could have happened on any game, with any teams, on any day, because those four on-ice officials didn't know this rule.
     
  22. Irish Blues

    Irish Blues Worth waiting for :)

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    And if they flat out screwed up (as they apparently did in the CLB-SJ game), I'd be one of the first to point the finger and ask how they didn't get it right. (You mention the 4 officials; it's actually up to the 2 referees to understand the rules, the linesmen aren't responsible for understanding the rule book cover to cover like the referees are).

    On the Walz goal: that play was examined by the replay officials in the arena and by the league office in Toronto before it was ruled a goal, so I fail to see how that was the fault of the on-ice officials.
     
  23. ColoradoHockeyFan

    ColoradoHockeyFan Registered User

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    I'll take it a step further. By and large, NHL officials do an outstanding job. They're the best in the world.
     
  24. Falloooooon

    Falloooooon Registered User

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    I try to give officials the benefit of the doubt when it comes to calling penalties. I realize that the game moves way too fast for them to do everything right.

    The Columbus thing does not fall under this umbrella, and the assertion that we should all try it some time to see how easy it is does not fit for this situation. It was an easy thing to fix, everyone was telling them of their mistake and they insisted they were right. It's not even an uncommon situation. Spada and Watson are incompetent, and that's all there is to it.
     
  25. Casework

    Casework Registered User

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    OK, well first, with all due respect, if you don't even know what happened, you shouldn't be commenting on the subject.

    In short, a Columbus player and San Jose player both took penalties at the same time(4 on 4 play).

    20-30 seconds later another Columbus player took a penalty(4 on 3).

    A goal was scored about a minute later, the game SHOULD have returned to 4 on 4, however, it went to 5 on 4(and another PP goal was scored by San Jose).

    The Columbus player that should have been let out of the box got out and went back to the Columbus bench. The officials came over and told him he needed to go back in and they let Malhotra and Clowe out(the two who made it 4 on 4 to begin with).

    They forced Klesla to go back to the box even though Columbus players and coaches, along with San Jose coaches(I believe) were questioning the call. As posted a moment ago, even off-ice officials tried to correct it but the on-ice officials wouldn't listen and threatened Columbus with a delay of game penalty if Klesla didn't return to the box.

    He returned, and a 2nd goal on the Klesla penalty was scored.

    During the 1st intermission, the officials and NHL representatives contacted Columbus and apologized for the mistake. The on-ice officials claimed they thought it was a "new rule".
    I was making the statement that it's not like something like the Walz goal that is one in a million. I was stating that this could happen in any game at anytime, unlike the Walz goal where they had to make a tough decision on a disputable play. This should have been cut and dry.

    Also, I'd like to add, notice that all San Jose fans are in agreement with Columbus fans. This isn't a case of a few fans whining about a disputable call. This was flat out wrong.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2007

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