Back by unpopular demand … that piece I blogged a few weeks ago about my concerns about refereeing in the NHL playoffs. Seems a lot of others are now noticing what I did: Canadian teams get away with almost nothing ..while the refs just don’t seem to see so many of those possible infractions by the U.S. teams!!
CBC drew attention Thursday to many of the “uncalls” between Montreal and Pittsburgh … and others have also wondered aloud about whether the rules are being equally applied. Are the refs biased AGAINST Canadian teams?
So after tonight’s Canucks/Chicago game, … I’m re-posting my piece from April 20…. as I head off on my vacation. Read it and weep.
Are NHL Refs Tougher on Canadian Teams?
April 20th, 2010 · 11 Comments
Is it my imagination or are the NHL refs favoring the U.S. teams when they play Canadian teams?
This radical thought crossed my mind last year during the playoffs: it just seemed to me that whenever I watched a Canadian team in the NHL playoffs come up against ANY U.S. contender … the refs were tougher on the Canadian teams when calling penalties. At least it seemed that way.
That feeling has returned to me this year … and I’m not talking about it happening just when I’m watching the team I personally favour… the Canucks. ANY game I watch pitting a team from north of the border against an American competitor in the playoffs, it seems to me the refs FAIL TO SEE a lot more violations on the part of the U.S. teams.
Now, I have done no scientific frame by frame examination of the games … almost impossible for anyone to actually do; I haven’t even counted up the total number of penalties handed out in all the games to all the teams, because even that doesn’t tell all … the timing of penalties and to whom they are handed out can make a critical difference, to be sure, even if the numbers are fairly equal.
Why am I so suspicous … maybe even paranoid this way?
Because the referees are human beings; they are no doubt well aware that the NHL has been making many concerted special efforts to have hockey succeed in the U.S. (just ask the people of Quebec City, Hamilton and Winnipeg if they think they are treated equally as potential markets).
And I get the feeling it would a ratings/advertising disaster for the NHL and the U.S. networks that carry the games in the U.S. to have only Canadian teams in the semi-finals or the finals.
Knowledge is power … and I just wonder whether even NHL officials nd referees of the highest professional and personal integrity might be subconsciously aware of the importance of having the U.S. teams go as far as possible and are therefore harder on their Canadian-based adversaries?
Watch for yourself. Am I totally off on this one? Or do you also notice that while Canadian teams get called (quite legitmately!) for most infraction, the U.S. teams get away with more that the refs apparently just don’t see?
And if enough of us notice ..maybe an interepid reporter will ask … not the coaches, who would never say anything about that … but Gary Bettman and other LEAGUE officials … IS there a double standard????
Or is it just me?