With the first round of playoffs well in hand it is just great for the fans. There are a handful of games on every night. You can pick the game/teams that you want to see or you can be the flipper, where you go back and forth between all or some on any given night. With the games being so well contested you are almost assured of getting to see a decently entertaining game whether you like the outcome or not is a matter of personal preference.
With every series being available and seeing most of the teams play one thing is becoming even more and more evident. The refereeing is very poor. It is poor in terms of quality, consistency and the ability to control the game. After watching the Sens game last night I am even more convinced. Now, it has been bad in the Montreal series as well and only marginally better in any of the other series but on the whole... not good. If there is one thing players coaches and fans want is consistency. You can adjust to a tightly called game and you can adjust to a game with little or no calls but it is the grey areas when you don’t know from shift to shift what will be called and what is going to be overlooked. It hamstrings the players from playing aggressive and takes away from the flow of the game. It is frustrating for all involved.
There are some veteran referees that are retiring this year and that is not a good thing. When they moved to the two referee system they had to double the referees that were working in the league and the curve has proved to be steeper then maybe the league would have thought or hoped. A guy like Kerry Frasier may not be well liked but you knew what you were going to get and that goes a long way. When the talent pool is already shallow and not good and you are taking out some of the veterans you are just watering it down even more with rookies. That is not a recipe for success. I fear that it is going to get worse before it gets better.
I don’t know how they are going to fix this when they can’t even decide what some penalty’s are. In the referee’s defence; What is a head shot?? If the league doesn’t know how can the referees? What is a kicked in goal? There is no way that you can direct a puck into the net with your skate and have it not called a direct kicking motion. In slow motion every movement of the leg looks like it is a kick,,, at full speed it is usually just a matter of inches. If a player can make the puck go into the net with your foot I say count it.. provided that the blade stays on the ice, the hinge of that knee can not be the determining factor. Lifting the blade of the skate will need to be looked at like a batter in baseball on a check swing, there can be motion but the wrist has to break and/or the barrel to cross the plate. This is clearly only an argument during video replay because as we have seen the refs on the ice are already missing enough calls to have to add this into the mix.