NHL officiating: Consistently inconsistent

May 6, 2012, by

I am a firm believer that the outcome of a game is never directly effected by officiating. If you blame the officials for a loss, then about six or seven other things went wrong prior to the loss. Inconsistent officiating goes both ways, and while it may seem like your team is getting hosed, the calls and non-calls are going both ways. There is no conspiracy theory against a club.

That said, the officiating in this year’s playoffs is alarmingly terrible. As a player, you can generally deal with refs calling everything or not calling anything at all. That’s consistent officiating, even if you may or may not agree with it. The most frustrating official is the official that does not make consistent rulings; an official that lets one slash of a stick go, and then calls a penalty on the same type of play three minutes later; the official that misses someone leave their feet to decapitate someone, only to have that player suspended for 25 games later that week.

The last example may be a case of a ref just having his head turned the other way, but there have been way too many examples like this of officials just being completely inconsistent with calls. I’ll even let the Ilya Kovalchuk delay of game call from the other night –the one where it clearly went off of a Flyer’s stick– slide as just a blown call. Blown calls aren’t the issue. It’s inconsistent calls.

The NHL appears to be a-okay with the status quo of officiating. Yesterday’s game is a prime example of how horrible it has become. The interference penalty on Anton Stralman was the right call, as the puck was behind Stralman and he interfered with Jason Chimera’s path to the puck. That is textbook interference. The problem isn’t that the penalty was called, the problem is that I can count about 700 other times when the penalty wasn’t called, both for or against the Rangers.

The problem isn’t that the slashing penalty on Carl Hagelin was called, he slashed the stick out of John Carlson’s hands. The problem was that they didn’t call the slash that snapped Brian Boyle’s stick in half one shift earlier.

The problem wasn’t that the Capitals scored on the ensuing powerplay on that Hagelin slash, it was that Ryan Callahan was blatantly tripped –in front of an official– and they didn’t call that. It’s inconsistent officiating, and it’s infuriating to watch as a fan, and equally infuriating to play through as a player.

How many times did the Rangers get away with interferences, trips, or hooks? I cannot point out specifics from memory –sorry, I’m not re-watching yesterday’s game right now– but it’s probably the same amount of times that they were called for the same infractions. The same goes for the Caps. They’ve gotten away with a lot, but they’ve been called for a lot as well.

Is it too much to ask for consistency? If you’re going to call the slash on Hagelin, call the slash that snapped Boyle’s stick as well. If you’re going to call the textbook interference on Stralman, then call the textbook trip that took Callahan out of the play. Being an official is a tough job, but it’s not difficult to be consistent. Either call it tight, or let them play. Enough with this back and forth nonsense, it’s killing the game.

Categories : Around the League, Rants


  1. agentsmith says:

    that missed trip on callahan is criminal. even helen keller wouldnt miss that.

    • Bob says:

      let me see N.Y gets 2 triple ot pps… first game they tackle a cap breakaway and you are bellyaching about missed calls CAPS were not even gonna make the playoffs beat the world champs and now they are close to doing the same to N.Y with third sting goalie cmon no wonder tortalinni cant talk

  2. Rickyrants13 says:

    Tis is the worse post I have ever seen on here. For the most part your dead on about calls. But anyone who has been watching this series has seen that its not always about the call that was made But more WHEN the call was made.

    The calls always seem to be when the Caps need a lift. And they always seem to be mostly minor calls While major cant miss calls are missed.

    Sorry but its way worse then normal And way too much against our team. If the player not being susspended in the Ott series didnt tell you that nothing will. And how will you feel if AO doesnt miss time for his hit on Girardi????

    • Spozo says:

      the worst post you have ever seen on here? Way to add constructive conversation.

      • The Suit says:

        hahaha, now I know how to appease certain readers, just come up with nonsensical conspiracy theories and we’ll be alright…

      • Vince R says:

        Don’t worry Spozo, Ricky loves to come on to whine, but if you respond with an argument, you never hear from him. He lacks the ability to respond with logic or reply to a question about his posts.

        He hates BSB, but he comes to read and post for some reason. He hates every player on the Rangers, the coach, and the organization, but watches every Ranger game then comes here to tell us why they suck. This is not a man you may use logic with to argue, nor will he respond to an argument to which you provide clear reasoning/evidence against his statements. Half the time he provides conflicting points in the same post.

        At some point you just need to stop feeding the trolls (although I’m not very adept at that).

        • Rickyrants13 says:

          Vince glad to see that you follow Me so closely. But you are wrong about ME. Well somewhat. Ilove this site. And like alot of what the posters here. Put in here. I just dont allways agree with them.

          As for the reason I dont allways reply has nothing to do with Me lacking anything. Sometimes Im okay with what they say to a point of not turning it into a war with fellow Ranger fans.

          And sometimes I just move on to the next story. No sence beating up a player or a coach over and over again after the team has allready played another game or two.

          But like I said before. If the noncall for the Ott player to lose time doesnt show you that there is something wrong here nothing will. Where is the media outrage on the AO hit on Girardi??? If this was anyone else the other web sites would allready be posting that so and so has a hearing with Shanny set for Monday. AM I WRONG????

        • Rickyrants13 says:

          Ond I am far from a troll I bleed Ranger blue. But thats also why Im so hard on them. Im hard on Lundy because He hasnt won yet. Im hard on Gabs because the team pays him over 7 million dollars to score. TWO goals in almost 11 games is not worht 7 mill. AM I WRONG???

          • Vince R says:

            I’ll start off by saying I misjudged a bit, that was a pretty reasonable response to what you’re about.

            Well as I’ve said, it’s not all about goals (he has 3 actually), but give gabby a chance, he had a bad series and has been picking it up in this one.

            As far as hank not winning yet, I think it’s unreasonable to judge an athlete on championships alone. Many great athletes never win, and besides that he, until about this season, has been the only reason we even sniff the playoffs. He’s been doing his job fantastically. You’re analysis on the goal from the previous game was just simply wrong (that if he didn’t go down, it would hit him in the chest). Sometimes it just seems you get mad and look for reasons to crucify someone and even change the facts.

            He made 45 of 46 saves in that win and you were trying to claim he made a mistake in the one he let in….the facts you used seemed to be pulled out of nowhere in what the replays showed. It just seemed you made up reasons he screwed up because you were mad.

            I said you hate BSB because when you post it just seems like you often say how bad the post was or that they are just making up excuses for players.

            You can and should disagree, that’s what opinions are…but there is a way to do it thoughtfully and logically.

            • Rickyrants13 says:

              You are 100% right I was mad. Bt on that goal as many as others he was down on his knees way too soon. I agree for the most part he is the biggest reason we win on many nights But far from the only one. We block alot of shots every night. That helps alot. The first three years he was hear we had Jagr. And we didnt advance as far as we should have Even with Hank. And like I said Iam hard on him because he hasnt won yet. But Iin no way find that to be all on him.

              Hey like I said I bleed blue So most of the time I am not gonna come in here all happy joy joy. Maybe Im wrong for that. but Why gloat over something everyone else saw. Thats the way I feel.

              I understand why you feel about Me the way you do. Thats why I felt you deserved an answer.

              I just wish that others would say how they really feel. Rather then being so PC thats all.

              I dont sugar coat things. And sometimes I take being a fan of this team since the 70s as though Ihave earned a right to bitch. But I still havent found that fill that some others got in 94. I wanted us to win a cup with the Amontes. and Weights and Dugay’s more then the guys we traded for.

              And now I feel if we could win with all of this home grown tallent that it would make up for that…

  3. Tim says:

    The officials need to call it tight

  4. evan says:

    I agree with you Suit. But the calls in games 2 and 4 were just awful and happened in the final 10 minutes. I agree with your point that the rangers did other things wrong to put themselves in that position, but that still doesnt mean what is happening is right. In game 2 the refs call boyle for holding when green is holding his stick and the ref calls a penalty cause “it looks like a penalty”. Then the blatant dive by carlson right after we killed the PP and they call tripping on richards. Carlson laughing in richards face and the refs let him get away with it.

    It is just pathetic. You can bet any money you have the calls in games 2 and 4 do not get made if it was the rangers who were down 1-0 or 2-1 in the series.

    • Rickyrants13 says:

      A its not just the ones that are made on the ice that prove it. Its the ones that the NHL Brass didnt make. Hags gets three games for a hit. While the Ott player doesnt get any yet his hit was far worse And he also had a record for doing it in the past.

      And now this hit on Girardi and yet not even a peep about it??? There is something going on here and its fishy

    • The Suit says:

      I’m with you Evan trust me. What separates my opinion (and I think Dave’s) from others is that we think the refs and Shanny/Colin are inconsistent. They are not doing their jobs well. However, we don’t believe there is a conspiracy against us.

      I totally get why fans think the league is out to get us, and believe me the league isn’t doing their credibility any favors, but I still think there is a difference between not doing your job well and purposefully effing up to screw us over. That’s all.

      At the end of the day we’re not here to belittle those with a different opinion, we’re just trying to provide our perspective and hope that those who disagree do so respectfully.

  5. Zen says:

    This article is well-articulated and dead on. Bravo.

  6. Jackson says:

    Solid article. However, whether coincidental or not, I can’t help but feel that the Rangers have been getting the short end of the stick recently. It’s a great feeling to still be confident that they’ll overcome though.

    • Vince R says:

      Agree totally, I thought the same of last series. Kind of a what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger kind of thing.

  7. THM says:

    I’ve often suspected that the NHL works with their on and off ice officals to try to maximize the drama of a game and series by making calls (or not) to help the team that’s down. Its too easy to predict who’s going to get the next call in a given situation. But I don’t think the Rangers always lose out due to this, it just depends on who’s up at that time or who the refs or league feel needs a lift. Letting Ovi get away with hits like that is part of the same effort to engineer a “better” game.
    How else can the increase of inconsistent calls and rulings be explained? I’m true-blue but can never be convinced that the NHL wants the team in the biggest market to fail…makes no sense.

  8. Walt says:

    After the calls made in game 4, I just feel that we should have been give some K Y jelly, man that call inflamed my hemerriods!

  9. Pasquale says: