If you have ever been close to throwing your beer at your TV, or lost your voice after spending most of your night booing and screaming of anger; if you have ever felt secretly satisfied that the man with the stripes got accidentally tripped on the ice, then you must be a hockey fan!
For those of you who have followed the World Championship this year, you must have heard of the goal scored by Finland against the US. On the review, it was clear that there was a hole in the net and the puck got through the side. Still, the goal was allowed and coach Tortorella just felt like he was losing his mind. "It's just a big joke" he later told the Medias. Yes, coach, we know.
During a game against the Kings, Montreal G Jaroslav Halak got scored on by Tom Preissing. It was on a power play, and Kings Kyle Calder was in front of the goalie. Normally, we just call that screening and we just say that the goalie could not see anything because of the traffic. But the goal was finally not allowed due to unintentional interference.
Well, you and I know that there is a multitude of examples. Simply ask Sidney Crosby. His goal on Biron was clearly in. Unfortunately, it was just not possible to prove anything to the referees.
Another call, just remember Pavel Datsyuk's refused goal because team-mate Thomas Holmstrom was in the crease. Was he really in the crease?
It is a fact: officials’ decisions can turn the way a game goes. If the puck got deflected on your skate, there is fifty percent chance you get it right. First thing to do when you get to your bench, pray!
"What we have come to determine is that the difference between a kick and a deflection is the force of the puck. If the force of the puck was going to put it into the net at the same speed or a decreased speed, then there wasn't a kick. But if the motion of the leg increases the force or speed of the puck, then we believe that is a kick" said Mike Murphy, the senior VP of the NHL Operations after game five between the Sharks and the Stars back in round two.
The NHL rule book should add everywhere: "at the discretion of the referee."
The solution, improve the video replays. That would also avoid us the in-case-of-doubt-refer-to-the-official final decision.
It can save us benches, bottles of water, sticks, which sometimes angry coaches would throw on the ice. It can save someone like Patrick Roy the effort to stand on his bench and ironically ask the crowd to applause. It can finally save coaches like Oilers Craig MacTavish a cheque of $10, 000 of fine after declaring to the Medias that Mick McGeough made a “retarded call”.
Don't get me wrong though, I highly respect the job they do and it certainly needs tonnes of motivation to do a job in which no matter what you do, there is always someone to criticize you.
Come on, no matter how frustrated they make us sometimes, we have to face the truth with a capital "T".
They skate in the middle of giant men who would not bother hitting them once in a while. They expose themselves to potential missed shots and high- sticking, a few insults here and there, and thousands of people who remember their names for the wrong reasons.
And finally of course, referees, like players, like you, like me, are human beings. And human beings make mistakes. We can even argue that it makes the game more exiting.
But no matter entertaining it is for one side, it is almost never for the other. And in the end, it costs points, and it costs games. And if you ever felt like I did last year, when my team missed the playoffs for one point, you do want to review a few calls again.
No, I am not playing the always-blame-the-easiest-to-blame type of game; but we all have a job to do here. The referees make whatever call THEY think is right; you and I react the way WE think we should. The problem, we are the losers in the situation.
Since it is obviously not possible to give twenty thousand fans a portable microphone at the arena's entries so we can all get the chance to express ourselves during the game, at least we can get improved video replays on our side.