Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Let Them Play!

Anyone else bothered by the inconsistency of playoff refereeing? I've been screaming since the lockout that referees are controling the flow of the game with an influx of penalty calls, be them blatant, marginal, or non-existent.

And while past playoff years have yielded end-to-end rushes, bone curshing body checks, and passion-filled games, this year's playoffs have been filled with powerplays and penalty kills, emotionless dead zones that kill the flow of the game.

The NHL simply doesn't get it. Players are petrified that the next call will be on them. Why finish a check when there is a good chance the head zebra in charge will be raising his hand, blowing his whistle, and calling your number to the penalty box for two minutes of “remember to not to check too hard or touch a player with your stick above his knee time.” Derian Hatcher has pretty much gone numb to the star treatment Sid and Gino have received in their series. And why would John Stevens ever put out some toughness at the end of a game to send a message these days? We all know Collie and Gary have put the word out that message-sending will not be tolerated in their playoffs.

Meanwhile, ESPN has hired Don Cherry for the playoffs, a clear message to the NHL that they know what NHL fans want. I also am aware of another hockey story coming out soon, an E-Ticket story about the hockey fight community and the countless fans that cheer on their favorite enforcers. Boy, ESPN and the NHL are on the same page, eh?

But sorry hockey fans, it's too late. The NHL has spoken and we will get a snooze fest for a Stanley Cup final. Shoot, no one in Detroit even cares anymore. Empty seats for playoff games??? And the Penguins have been given a helping hand to the Cup finals. While they have been impressive, the number of astonishing calls are too many to be overlooked.

Well, at least Gary and Collie will be happy.

The rest of us will have to put down our beer cans, go to the convenience store, and bring home some wine coolers in preparation.

1 comment:


1) Most amazing stat: SIX fights in 76 playoff games! In the good old days there would be that many in game 1 of every playoff series!
2) More Europeanization of the NHL. It sucks!