Around the League

Someone Should Question the NHL

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.

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  • Terrible officiating but The roots are better.than. The strokes or any other radio music right now. Minus maybe the cults.

  • Hey man, easy on the Roots, they’ve been putting out solid albums since before the Blueshirts one their last Stanley Cup!

    Besides that, your article is spot on. 🙂

  • Some of us have been saying this for years. Say what you want but yesterdays game proved it. Bettman should be run right out of the NHL. This is why everytime they do the Potvan sucks chant at MSG I say Bettman instead. This guy needs to go I was hoping god would do it sooner…

  • Well i’m going to go back bit further to the rangers 4-0 loss in montreal. Stephane Auger (Montreal native and all the refs were Montreal natives) officiated that game and as bad as the rangers played the refs were worse.

    How the NHL let’s hometown refs do their hometown team is ridiculous. I can’t even blame the refs because if I officiated a Rangers game I’d be biased also.

  • for a comment with less of a blueshirt tint:

    if we’re going to complain about the calls blown against the rangers, what about when walsh blew the play dead when briere came out in front of the net with the puck? cally clearly had a hold of timmonen’s stick as well. walsh also blew boyle’s 2 handed slash to giroux’s rib cage.

    it was an all-around bad game.

    • Two points on that blown whistle on the lose puck.

      1) The puck was still knocked away, however it was free in front of the net because players heard the whistle and stopped playing.

      2)The entire play occurred on a PP that shouldn’t have been (the phantom delay of game call), so the whole thing is illegitimate.

      I admit, I missed the Boyle thing you mentioned.

      • ref looses sight of a puck that is free and calls the play dead. this happens all the time even though there are 4 refs

        ref doesn’t actually see a player close his hand on a puck in the crease (because it didn’t happen) and calls a penalty shot. that’s a lot more dodgy.

        it reminds me of how they always used to call at least one penalty shot in the Heroes of Hockey game all star weekend just to make it interesting

    • that only bolsters the argument of the horrible officiating. but still, a loose puck always gets blown dead when it appears to be covered. and in a game where most calls were not made, they seemed to make 3 or 4 late in the game that were critical, against the Rangers, and not very good calls either.

      lets be real, Cally getting hooked on an open net and he gets a call too? McD clearly pushed with arms stretched out into the net and he gets the call? Sliding into the puck to knock it away is not covering it with your hand. Even if thats close, refs never call a play like that unless its obvious. …all this in the last 5 minutes just after the Rangers take the lead? Might not be a conspiracy but its smells of something.

  • This misses the whole point of the supposed “conspiracy,” and Carpinello is an idiot (which may or may not be relevant here). The idea intimated by Torts and Lundqvist was NOT that the refs wanted the Flyers to win, but that they, and the league and NBC, wanted the game to go into overtime.

  • Comcast-Spectacor is the Philadelphia-based sports and entertainment firm, which owns the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League and the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA — home of the Flyers and the National Basketball Association’s Philadelphia 76ers.

    Comcast is the majority owner and manager of NBCUniversal, which owns and operates entertainment and news cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, local television station groups, television production operations, a major motion picture company and theme parks. Comcast Corporation owns a controlling 51% interest in NBCUniversal, with GE holding a 49% stake

  • I have been a big hockey fan for 45 years. Until they improve the officiating they will remain a second rate sport. But That’s Hockey!!

  • Putting in a “homer” ref smartly obscured the fact that this was a network + NHL FIXED game, not incompetenly officiated game. Bettman is the world’s most cunning weasel.

  • While I disagree that there is a conspiracy theory, what’s lost here is that Hank said something too. Hank never says anything like that.

  • HOCKEY has the worst officiating setup of any sport. The linesmen are always getting in the way of the puck. The ref points at a guy and there is no CHALLENGE no way to say “hey buddy look at the replay- you blew the call” but they can review a goal from CANADA? Cmon!!! Good for Torts!

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