NHL Referees Need Serious Re-Training

Joe AscherContributor IJanuary 26, 2009

I am finding it very hard to watch an NHL Hockey game without being disgusted with the overall refereeing in almost every game I watch.

Some of the calls are absolutely ridiculous. You cannot even breathe on someone without getting penalized. They want more penalty shots in the game now, so I hear, but a call this year I saw on Zdeno Chara was brutal. The Capitals player skated by Chara. Chara just touched him with his stick and they called a penalty shot. He didn't even interfere with the guy's inability to get the shot away.

In all the years I've been watching hockey, about 40, I've never seen someone get rewarded a penalty shot for so little. In the old days the only time you would get that call is if your were tackled on a clear-cut breakaway.

I realize the league wants to cut down on stick-work, but if you don't affect the play in any way why make the call? I also know that all these borderline calls won't be called in the playoffs, so why call them now?

A lot of times the outcome of games are determined by these stupid calls. Let the players determine the outcome. There is nothing worse than watching your team get called in the last couple of minutes of a game and having to kill a penalty to preserve a win or tie on a ridiculous penalty the ref had no business calling.

I believe the league or the head of refereeing need to take a step back and look at the rule book and understand why penalties are called in the first place. They were put there for a reason and should only be called if it actually affects a play, not because it technically falls under the definition.

Fans want to see PLAYERS—not referees—decide a hockey game. It truly ruins the game.

The same can be said about Football and Basketball.