FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m not gonna lie to you! I admit it! I’m a die-hard NY Rangers fan! Right now, my heart is heavy with the hard fought loss.
I wanted the New York Rangers to win the Stanley Cup last night. But like all dreams, they all don’t come true. We all want the best for the teams we support. So it hurts tremendously when man-made events take place that shatter our spirit.
That being said, the officiating in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as a whole, was a complete fiasco. It was, in my mind, the worst I’ve ever seen in my 43 years of watching the NHL. The breaking point for me was the 3rd period call on NY Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello in game 5.
Zuccarello was trying to get a puck out of the zone when he and LA Kings defender Jake Muzzin knocked legs. Muzzin went down and Zuccarello was assessed a minor penalty for tripping. After reviewing the replay, however, Muzzin actually was the one who initiated the contact by sticking his leg out. Both players went down, but Zuccarello was accessed the penalty, when it probably should have been Muzzin.
17 seconds later Marian Gaborik scores the tying goal and the Kings would go on to win the Stanley Cup. But you be the judge! Was that a penalty on Zucc?
But wasn’t just this penalty! You can go back to the non-call on the goaltender interference that allowed the goal for the Kings in game 2. In that incident, Dwight King scored for LA, even though he was clearly interfering with NY Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Looking at the photo, some would say Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh engaged him at the top of the blue paint and soon King, McDonagh and were tangled.
You be the judge!
The quality of officiating was something short of the WWE and long on something out of a Warsaw Pack “gulag. Was someone paid off to make sure the team they wanted win? We’ll never know! But I do know that it is a practice, according to former NHL referee Kerry Fraser.
He wrote in his blog, “While it is highly unlikely that a Referee would “invent” an infraction, the hard truth is that while every Referee’s attempted objective is to maintain a “consistent” standard, he might alter that standard to grab a quick penalty with an eye toward fairness. If that meets your definition of an “even-up” call to compensate for an obvious mistake that has been made then so be it.”
Will NBC or new NHL partner, Rogers take them to task and begin to hold the referees accountable, as Fox has done in hiring Former Vice President of Officiating Mike Pereira as FOX NFL Rules Analyst? I highly doubt it. But it would be a bold move for the fans to have someone with the mindset of an official to explain if the call was legit or bogus.
The NHL had a great opportunity to elevate itself above major league baseball as a viable sport in America. The poor officiating just set itself back, badly!