Time for a bombshell: For the last few seasons, I’ve taken on an interest in the referees. It’s a long story, and I don’t want to dive into the specifics. All you need to know is what I’ve told you.
But I need to get this “rant” of sorts off my chest: Guys, you’re killing me this season.
Let me list off some of the prime examples of referee insanity in 15-16:
- Numerous times referees have gotten in the way of plays; mainly Tim Peel. He’s been involved in two cases where a player could have been hurt (and one of those cases actually did cause injury). Let’s not forget the play that resulted in the Nail Yakupov injury as well – remember linesman Matt MacPherson grabbing onto him? Fluke accident, I know. But all of these referee/player injury interactions could have been prevented in one way or another.
- And then, we have coaches and referees. Two coaches were ejected from games this month alone. Gerard Gallant’s ejection from Wes McCauley and Chris Lee was due to a player injury and an uncalled penalty. That was just a quick preview of what was to come four days later. Paul Maurice versus Francois St. Laurent, anyone? The mini-feud took place after… You guessed it. A player injury (or two) and a few uncalled penalties. This was a little crazier, because it resulted in TSN calling St. Laurent “proud” after he was seen smiling and/or laughing on camera. I won’t give you my opinion on this, because I’m just not sure what was going through St. Laurent’s mind at the time. Whatever the reason, it didn’t look good to see him with a grin on his face prior to the puck drop.
And then we have the laundry list of referee/linesman injuries this season…
- In the “unknown” category, I’m bringing back St. Laurent. He missed time between November and January with a “something”. Dan O’Rourke lost time in November for the same reason. Linesman Brad Lazarowich was also missing in action for a while with a mystery diagnosis. All three are now back.
- Peel (bringing him up again; sorry!) took a puck to the face in what I believe was this season – during the game that had his 1000th celebration – resulting in cheers from the crowd. Ian Walsh missed a game because of a possible concussion from a game in Toronto, getting the worst of a check into the boards. We all know the Don Henderson story. Concussed after Dennis Wideman cross-checked him. He may not work another game in his career.
- And there are the referees and linesmen who haven’t seen ice time this season. Mike Hasenfratz has been missing since he was injured in a Philadelphia/Pittsburgh game two seasons ago. Dennis LaRue has also been absent, although he last worked a game in December of 2014, and he said he was trying to come back. Linesman Thor Nelson hasn’t seen ice time for a few seasons now, and I believe he’s also trying to get back in action in the future.
All of these moments – non-injury – want to make me facepalm. I can’t count all of the Coach’s Challenge moments, because that would be a longer list of chaos than this is right now. Do me a favor, NHL… Control your officials. This can’t go on much longer.