Biggest Referee Screw-Jobs in NHL Playoff History
In the tradition of the Stanley Cup playoffs, there have been some memorable moments over the years. Teams coming back from behind to win it all, and underdog teams that shocked everyone on their way to the Finals.
Yet, no moment is as memorable to a fan as when a referee misses a call. These calls leave the fans feeling angry, sometimes for years, while others begin conspiracy theories that can make alien abductees look like they are not completely insane.
In the following six slides are Referee screw-jobs that the fans have not forgotten, or forgiven.
No Offside on Briere
We'll start as recent as a game from this years playoffs. Game 1 of the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers game, the Penguins held a solid three-goal lead. After just over six minutes of play in the second, Daniel Briere scored the goal that started the Flyers comeback.
The issue: Briere was offside, and not just a little bit.
While the Toronto Star explained that the Penguins acknowledged that it was a missed call, the fans still want his head on a stake.
How it was missed is anyone’s guess. The fact that it rallied the Flyers to a 4-3 overtime win has left a sour taste in the mouths of Penguin fans.
Alex “The Biter” Burrows
It was Game 1 of last years Stanley Cup when Alex Burrows decided to re-enact the Tyson-Holyfield fight. Only instead of an ear, he bit Patrice Bergeron's finger.
The offence in question is one that should have caused a suspension, and the worst part of it all was the referee was right in between them.
Granted, his head was turned. If you look at the video replay, Burrows pulls Bergeron's hand closer and lowers his head against the Referee's arm. A move that many felt should have taken a look at Burrows.
The Bruins would eventually repay Burrows for the bite by winning the Stanley Cup in Game 7 in Vancouver.
Daniel Sedin: Kick or Slide?
It was in Game 3 of the first round between the LA Kings and Vancouver Canucks in 2010 when Daniel Sedin and Canucks fans felt they were screwed by the referees and video replay.
Just under four minutes into the second period, the Canucks rushed the net. An attempt to centre the puck ended up going off Sedin's outstretched foot.
To some, it looked like he was attempting to stop, but the referees felt there may have been a kicking motion and sent the decision to Toronto for a replay.
Here is where the screw-job plot thickens. The man who handed down the decision was Mike Murphy, a one time member of the Kings front office, which had Vancouver fans livid.
They would go on to win the series, but still feel as though they were robbed.
Hossa Gets Robbed
It was during the 2009 Western Conference Finals between the Anaheim Ducks and the Detroit Red Wings. Marian Hossa put the puck into a wide open net, yet a premature whistle caused the goal to be disallowed.
If you watch the replay, the goal goes in the net just before the whistle. The referees did not see it that way. Niedermayer tried to poke the puck in at the side of the net. It slid under Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller and across the crease for Hossa.
The referee blew the whistle as he thought the puck was stopped by Hiller, which it clearly wasn't.
Incensed Red Wings fans are still angry about this call, even though the Red wings would go on to take the series and move to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Brett Hull's Cup Winner
In 1999, the Sabres and the Stars were playing for the Cup. Game 6 was tied up going into the third overtime.
Brett Hull moved across the crease and tapped in his own rebound to win the Cup for Dallas, their first in franchise history.
Sabres fans were enraged, and still feel the goal should have been disallowed.
Back in the late 1990's there was a rule stating that a player who did not have possession of the puck could not have his foot in the crease. The replay shows Hull's foot in the crease with no puck on his stick.
Referees and the NHL tried to explain that even though Hull had shot the puck, it was still in his possession when he tapped in the rebound.
An explanation that Buffalo fans still are not happy with.
This call, or lack there of, still causes pain to the Leafs fans, who for the first time in nearly three decades, were one goal away from appearing in the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals.
Wayne Gretzky and the Kings were in the Leafs zone, when Gretzky went to take a shot, his stick went high enough to clip then Leafs Captain Doug Gilmore in the chin so hard he needed stitches.
That penalty that should have ensued would have been a major penalty and an ejection from the game. Instead, no call was made, and minutes later Gretzky scored the winning goal tying the series. The Kings would win the next game and move on to play for the Cup.
This lack of penalty caused Leaf fans, and many Canadian Hockey fans, to believe that Bettman had something against Canadian teams. The conspiracy rose that Bettman did not want two Canadian teams to be in the Finals, as the Leafs would have faced long time rivals Montreal Canadiens.