Living in Buffalo, N.Y., I am a hockey fan like many others in my city. Even though I am a hockey, the National Hockey League Playoffs are annoying.
The regular season in the NHL is great to watch. The reason is players can skate, players fight and penalties are called. When the playoffs commence it’s a totally different story as the referee’s whistle goes into their pockets.
For example, in Saturday night’s game two of the Stanley Cup Finals only five penalties were called for the whole game. Also, the penalties were called in the first and second period.
There were some obvious penalties as there was one Chicago Blackhawks player that fell down to the ice while hold the stick of a Boston Bruins player, but since it was overtime no penalty was called.
The reason is simple. Referees in the NHL pretty much do whatever they want and get away with it, which makes the NHL playoffs annoying.
The biggest problem with the NHL is commissioner Gary Bettman who just last week in his state of the game address called NHL officials the best in the world, according to the Sun Times.
‘The officials in this league are the best in the world — not just in hockey, but in any sport,’’ Bettman said. ‘‘I believe they have the most difficult job, and it always seems to undergo even more intense scrutiny at this time of year.’’
Someone please pass me whatever he is having, because it must be some pretty good stuff. The reason is just last night an official blew the game for the Blackhawks.
At 12:32 of the first period the Blackhawks had a 1-0 lead. At that time there was a scrum in front of Boston’s net for a loose puck. Instead of the referee getting off his lazy ass and go behind the net to see if he can get a better angle of the puck, the referee blew the whistle, which proved costly.
It proved to be costly, because the puck was never secured by Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask and slipped into the net between his pads. Thanks to the referees blowing it again, the game went into overtime where the Bruins scored to tie the series at 1-1.
Ever since the “No Goal” incident, I have been leery of the Bettman and his handling of the NHL.
For those of you who don’t know what that situation is here is a brief summary. In the late 1990s the NHL instituted a rule that players cannot enter the goalie’s crease before the puck does, because goalies were getting run constantly. In game six of the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals Dallas Stars forward Brett Hull scored a goal in overtime while his foot was in the crease and the puck outside of it that won the Stanley Cup for the Stars.
The goal was never reviewed and stood. The explanation after the game by the NHL was that it since Hull originally shot it kicked the rebound to his stick it was all one possession even though similar goals weren’t allowed in the regular season.
Even without that incident the Stars would have most likely won as they were clearly the more talented team, but the matter of the fact is they won the Stanley Cup on a blown call.
So, until Gary Bettman is no longer commissioner or the NHL, the NHL playoffs are always going to be annoying.