I’m not normally a conspiracy theorist. However the last five minutes of the Winter Classic and in fact throughout a lot of the game, NHL refereeing managed to sink to a new low. Some of the calls (and non-calls), particularly at the end of the game were so bad they were almost funny.
This morning I read Rick Carpiniello’s always informative Rangers Report blog for his game review and got stuck reading the same bullet point a few times. Credit Rick for highlighting this grim fact:
Who officiated that third period, Ed Snider? No, it was Philadelphia native Ian Walsh, who grew up in the Little Flyers organization. How in Holy Hell does he get an assignment for a Rangers-Flyers game ever, never mind this one?
Seriously, what the hell? Many people throughout the league, and its fans, already complain at the NHL’s apparent ulterior motives, the at-best questionable refereeing and at the apparent favouritism Gary Bettman seems to show certain players and organisations over the years. Did the league really think in a world of mass media scrutiny and extensive fan involvement that the fact they employed a Philadelphia native, a former Flyer no less (to an extent) to be involved in officiating would get overlooked?
I’m still not a conspiracy theorist but this league needs to be transparent. Every team needs to feel equally treated and at least have confidence in the league that when they step on the ice they have a fair chance at winning a hockey game. Assigning guys like Ian Walsh to this game doesn’t instil confidence.
This kind of stupidity (let’s leave it at that for now) in their decision making is terrible. The league needs to be challenged as to why they allowed a Philadelphia native, one with ties to the organisation, to referee the game. Some people will always question a league’s integrity whether it be their handling of discipline or otherwise. This kind of faux-pa really does them no favours. Its bad enough I had to listen to the Roots.