NHL Officiating at All-Time Low

Joel LefevreAnalyst IMay 23, 2009

Once again, bad officiating has reared it's ugly head in the NHL.

This past Friday in Chicago, as the Hawks defeated the Red Wings 4-3 in overtime, an absolute bogus call by Dave Jackson and Dan O'Halloran put the Red Wings shorthanded for the entirety of the game. 

Late in the first period with the Hawks up 2-0, the Wings needed a spark. Nicolas Kronwall set out to do just that, flattening Martin Havlat with a perfectly timed hit that sent the Hawks bench into a tizzy. 

Well, it's a good thing the Hawks were as incensed as they were as it helped influence the referees to call a mysterious five minute major and a game misconduct.  The Wings would  have to play the remainder of the game short one defencemen.  

This was just the first of many awful calls that have overshadowed what is supposed to be the most exciting time for hockey fans, the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

The refs have been incredibly inconsistent all playoffs long as the new NHL and their rules have ruined some great games. Evidently the new NHL is more interested in getting rid of clutching and grabbing, rather than preventing serious injuries.

Last year, Sean Avery got a rule changed in the playoffs and now apparently a new rule has been put in place without anyone knowing: staying down and being hurt. Now let me say that I do not believe Havlat was diving or making a meal of his hit, but nonetheless I was not aware it was a penalty for staying down and being hurt. 

Or maybe the new rule is if the home crowd and the players go crazy on the bench than you have to call something to satisfy the majority?  Whatever the reason, Colin Campbell and Gary Bettman should be ashamed of how bad the officiating has become.

Who would have thought there could be officials more incompetent than the ones that worked the 72 Summit series? Heck, it looks as though we may have some. 

So you are not allowed to clutch or grab or take your hand off your stick ever, but you can high stick almost anytime you want?  The goalie is also fair game, a new rule Luongo found out about when Byfuglien jammed his stick halfway up Luongo's mask. 

No longer off limit, these days the man in front can push guys into the goalie and basically do whatever they want. 

Oh, and a late hit when the puck is long gone and the player is blindsided is fine.  However, don't even think of hitting a man cleanly with your shoulder and time the hit perfectly.

Once again, the new NHL is proving what a joke it can be.  I just want to know how much these officials make for their bogus jobs?  Maybe the new NHL with all the new rules give the refs a bigger salary as well.  Or maybe there is a bonus for officials who blow calls? 

Whatever the reason, the league ought to be ashamed of the product it has put on the ice. 

Who'd have thought we'd see the day when referee's rule the ice.