First round’s done and we seem to have ended up with a respectable 5-3 record; mind you we accurately picked the team and # of games in 4 of the 5 winning scenerios: devils in 6, sabres in 5, canucks in 7 and the wings in 6. We also had the rangers to win.
As usual the refereeing was conspicuous in it’s obtrusiveness. The National Hockey League is drifting further into the realm of being the National Hokey League. Hate to keep coming back to the same issue (no room, ie., the need for bigger ice), but the whole mess of penalty calls all comes down to this. Because of the lack of space and the players being bigger, faster and because of the systems incorporated, more infractions are the result. And what does Bettman, et al, want to do to catch all the clutching and grabbing? Why put TWO refs on the ice, of course, when there isn’t enough room in the first place! How many times has the referee got caught up in the flow of the play, especially in the interminable ‘cycling’ that the NHL has become. Here, of course, is where I should trot out the statistical analysis. But I think it is obvious even to the casual hockey viewer. Digging around in the corners is, albeit, part of the game to some extent. But the resemblance to basketball is remarkable–or musical chairs, take your pick. So why not continue with the basketballization of hockey and just call fouls every 30 seconds and give the player a free shot at the net for crying out loud! They should put chips in the puck and have lazers under the ice (seriously) to exactly determine when a puck fully goes over the goal line and get rid of the extra ref, so he never has to be anywhere near the end of the rink, and go back to the one ref system. And, of course, make the ice bigger. Simple.
And if you like, reassign the goal judges (ahem) to watching for infractions primarily around the goal mouth/front of the net. Why not?
As far as the calling of penalties goes, the one area where the refs should err on the side of, well, erring, is in regard to diving. Not till refs are willing to call dives more stringently, at the risk of making some ‘miscalls’, will players finally get it that they can’t get away with soccor style drama and risk putting their team down a man, or at least nullify a powerplay. Do it, refs. Have the guts to be wrong on a diving call and players will soon enough realize it’s a risk not worth taking.
Tomorrow round 2 of the playoffs