NHL Finals Game Seven: The Referees' Impact
This is a dream for a lot of young hockey players, to get a chance to win the Stanley Cup in a Game Seven.
The biggest dream of all is to score the game winning goal of that Game Seven and to do so in overtime.
You can see yourself on a breakaway, the crowd is standing up and holding their breath as you get closer to the net and then...
You fall on the ice, you turn around and realise that you were tripped from behind by the back checking defenseman.
As you look towards the referee, a feeling of rage is running through your body as you realise that the referee is not calling a penalty on the play!
"What the *&%! Are you &%$!#^% blind?"
Welcome to the reality that sometimes your faith hangs in the hand of the guy wearing a pyjama, the zebras, the blind guy, those *&%$^$%$^& referees!
As a referee with 19 years of experience, I can tell you that no matter who will be the referees for Game Seven this Friday, it is an honour for them, and boy, they are very nervous about this game.
There has been allegation by both the Red Wings and Penguins fans about favouritism by the referees towards the other team.
I don't buy it at all.
Yes, there have been missed calls and bad calls on both sides, but no matter what, there will be people calling me out, saying that it is obvious that there was this call or that decision that was clearly terribly wrong, or missed, and blah, blah, blah and blah.
As long as the games will be called by human beings, there will be mistakes or horribly bad calls, and like it or not, we've got to live with that.
Now how will this game play out on Friday?
There are two very skilled and talented teams that are going to be in the biggest sports showcase of them all. This is going to be one hell of a show.
Now comes the x-factor—the referees and how will they impact the game on Friday.
Here's how I think they feel and how it will impact the game on Friday.
First period should be called like the last few games—obstruction and hooking will be called.
In the second period, the players will find that the referees are letting them play a bit more and that they can use a little more stick work and clutch and grab.
During the third period, the whistle is put away nicely in the pockets, and the boys can let loose!
Why will it be called that way, do you ask?
Very simple—nobody wants the finger to be pointed at them if the game winner is scored on a power play caused by your call.
The closer we get to the final horn, the closer you are from seeing the whistle being put away, and that is only a normal reaction.
So give these guys a break. Enjoy Game Seven and may the best team win.
PS: By the way, when that kid I am talking about at the start of the article was tripped on his breakaway in overtime during Game Three of their best of three final, I gave him a penalty shot. He did not score, but his team won two minutes later while on the penalty kill....
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