Ducks-Red Wings: In the Skates of Brad Watson

Dany LemieuxContributor IMay 6, 2009

RALEIGH, NC - JUNE 19:  Referee Brad Watson signals no goal during the final moments of the first period of game seven of the 2006 NHL Stanley Cup Finals between the Edmonton Oilers and the Carolina Hurricanes  on June 19, 2006 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Detroit Red Wings fans are outraged this morning!

Referee Brad Watson robbed them of a goal! 

He had a panic attack! That's why he blew the whistle too fast.

The NHL will have a talk with him, that's for sure, according to other writers on Bleacher Report.

This is such a typical reaction of the couch potato fan who has never ever been a hockey referee.

Fortunately for you, my friends I am a referee and in a not-so-distant past, I was reffing at a high level.

Therefore I can share with you my opinion, but most of all, I can go into Brad Watson's head and show you how the event of Game Three have unfolded for him.

First, we got to look at the play, again from his eyes and his mind.

Scott Niedermayer has the puck. He is pressured but everyone knows that Niedermayer will get that puck out anyways.

So as a referee, you try to give the players as much room as possible and you go in the corner, which is exactly what Watson did.

Then, oh shoot!

Niedermayer loses the puck and it goes to the front of the net, where a sprawling Jonas Hiller is trying to cover the puck.

You start moving in. You can see that the goalie does not know where the puck, is as he is not moving.

You can't see the puck, either.

So what could have Watson thought of that?

"Ok, the puck must be under him"

Not a single player close to the net is moving.

Watson can see that a Wings player is going towards the net.

"Can't see the puck. It might be under Hiller and the player will crash the crease and take a few whacks at the him and a major scrum will be the result of me waiting to blow the whistle, plus I don't see the puck anyways," Waston must be thinking.

"Better blow the whistle now!"

Now these thoughts are taking you a long time to read, but in a referee's mind it takes about four seconds.

So far, Watson is confident that blowing the whistle is right.

He takes a good hard breath of air to blow into his whistle to let everyone know that the play is over.

Then, shit happens.

"...And the puck is in the net!" yells Chris Cuthbert from TSN

Watson waves off the goal.

As he blew the whistle, here is what Watson must have been thinking:

"Ah F@&*!!!!"

Red Wings players are yelling. Mike Babcock is losing is mind on the bench!

If Watson was the Joker, he would be an agent of chaos.

Brad Watson has a long line of thoughts going through his mind as he is waving off the goal.

"I could not see the puck, that's why I had blew the whistle"

"If I had seen it I would not have blown the play dead"

"I feel like sh*& now"

While you people are going nuts, and saying that Watson's reaction was caused by a panic.

It was not. I is a normal referee's reaction. 

You don't see the puck, you blow the whistle.  It's that simple.

As a referee, I know that what he did was the right thing.

I know he feels extremely bad that he could not see the puck.

I know he wishes he could have seen it, but there is no turning back now.

As far as the NHL is concern, what are they going to tell Watson?

It's what I call the human factor in sports.  All the referees in every single sports are human!

Humans make mistakes.

As far as I am concerned, it is the right call and that is the end of it.

Now for those angry Wings fans, if the game had been 2-1 for your team, Lidstrom had lost the puck, Chris Osgood had been sprawling, would you say Watson blew the whistle too quickly because he was in a state of panic?

No, it would have been the greatest call in the world. The referee would have been almost a hero because of it.

Think about this for a minute.

Then put yourself in the referees skates and you will understand. I know I do.


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