Canadiens’ P.K. Subban ejected after slashing Sens star Mark Stone – did the referees get it right?

Carey Price and P.K. Subban (Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

You know that, no matter what else happens in every Stanley Cup tournament, there will always be at least one controversy related to NHL officiating. If it’s not a personal relationship between a referee and a particular player some fans and media focus on, it’s a debatable call that earns the ire of the public (and often, the team on the wrong end of the call). And it didn’t take very long at all for that officiating controversy to take place in the 2015 post-season: in the second period of Game 1 of Montreal’s first-round series against Ottawa Wednesday night, Canadiens star defenseman P.K. Subban was assessed a five-minute major penalty for slashing and a game misconduct.

The ejection of Subban enraged Habs fans, especially after Sens phenom Mark Stone – who, after being slashed by Subban on the penalized play, writhed around in great pain and left the game – returned to action a few minutes later. But if you think Subban was wronged to be given so harsh a penalty, don’t blame the officials. Blame the league and its philosophy of basing punishments on injury and thus encouraging players to embellish.

To be certain, Subban’s slash of Stone’s arm was (a) a two-hander; (b) vicious; and (c) could easily have caused serious damage to him: Read more

Blues’ Shattenkirk issued 10-minute misconduct for applauding referees post-game

Jared Clinton
Kevin Shattenkirk (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

To say Kevin Shattenkirk and the St. Louis Blues were displeased with the refereeing in Tuesday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets might just be the understatement of the season.

From perceived missed calls to a goal snuffed out by a slashing call, the Blues were none too happy with the tandem of Steve Kozari and Graham Skilliter. In a contest that was as physical as any this season, things boiled over at the end of the game, resulting in a skirmish between all ten skaters on the ice. Once the dust began to settle, Shattenkirk let Kozari and Skilliter how he felt about everything: Read more

NHL losing two officiating giants after this season with retirements of referee Paul Devorski, linesman Jean Morin

Adam Proteau
NHL referee Paul Devorski (center) and linesman Jean Morin (second from right). (Paul Bereswill/Getty Images Sport)

Two senior members of the NHL officiating fraternity – referee Paul Devorski and linesman Jean Morin – are retiring at the end of this season, taking with them a wealth of experience and skill at policing arguably the toughest sport there is to police.

The 56-year-old Devorski, who officiated his first NHL game Oct. 14, 1989, ranks fifth on on the All-Time Referee list for regular-season games as of March 31 of this year, with 1,592 games under his belt. The Guelph, Ont., native currently leads all active referees in that department as well as playoff games, but trails retired icons Dan Marouelli (1,622), Don Koharski (1,701), Bill McCreary (1,737) and Kerry Fraser (1,904). The 51-year-old Morin began his NHL career in the 1991-92 campaign and sits eighth overall among active linesmen in regular-season games, as well as second overall among active linesmen in playoff games. The league has experienced significant turnover among its officials in recent years, and the professionalism of both Devorski and Morin will be missed.

Here are up-to-date lists ranking active referees and linesmen in both regular-season and playoff games: Read more

Why it’s time to kill the ‘distinct kicking motion’ rule

Stu Hackel
Milan Lucic (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Look, this is hockey, right? It’s not soccer. We’re continuously reminded of that when an NHL player embellishes after being hit. The tsk-tsking can be heard from Antigonish to Anaheim and the men responsible for punishing on-ice wrongdoing announce they’re fining the perpetrator. It’s hardly the most critical problem facing the game, but there’s a segment of the hockey world that insists rugged hockey players cannot adopt the theatrics of “soft” soccer players. It’s not in keeping with hockey’s identity.

So why are many of these same people so permissive of goals that are directed in by skates and not sticks? This isn’t soccer.

After a pair of important tallies last Saturday afternoon, the spotlight fell again on one of the NHL’s worst rules, the standard that allows players to use their feet to score goals. Read more

Watch Justin Abdelkader score controversial, broken-stick OT winner as Red Wings top Blues

Jared Clinton
Justin Abdelkader (Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

The ability for coaches to challenge plays during the game has been talked about for several seasons, but there may be more weight to the argument after Detroit winger Justin Abdelkader and his broken stick helped the Red Wings topple the St. Louis Blues Sunday afternoon.

In overtime, with the Red Wings and Blues tied at one and Detroit on the power play to start the extra frame, the puck got worked around to Marek Zidlicky, who one-timed the puck on goal. Zidlicky’s shot found its way off of Blues goaltender Jake Allen and into the feet of Abdelkader, who was tied up in front of the goal by St. Louis rearguard Alex Pietrangelo.

In Abdelkader’s attempt to swipe the puck into the net, he got his stick caught on Allen’s pads and, as you can see in the video below, his stick actually began to break. Then, with a broken stick, Abdelkader was able to get enough on the puck to knock it home: Read more

Why NHL GMs should welcome expanded video replay – including on goalie interference

Adam Proteau
NHL referee Chris Rooney speaks with off-ice official Augie Conte. (Len Redkoles/NHL via Getty Images)

The NHL’s GMs are enjoying their annual spring meeting in Florida, and one of the questions they’re pondering is the expansion of video replay to include goaltender interference. The GMs have a history of being slow to implement change, and they’re no different on this issue, which they’ve been talking about for years, and the answer has always been the same: they’re comfortable with the inherent subjectivity of the game and are willing to let the on-ice officials make the bulk of the decisions.

And that’s fine. But when the league is dragging its heels in embracing a technology that will benefit its referees in the execution of their jobs, you start to wonder if it really has the best interests of the officials in mind. Read more

NHL makes history with first-ever Russian referee

Evgeny Romasko (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

It was only fitting that the first Russian to ever referee an NHL game would do it in Detroit, the city that assembled the Russian Five and is home to one of the all-time greatest Russian players in NHL history in Pavel Datsyuk.

Evgeny Romasko made history Monday night by becoming the first-ever Russian-born official to work an NHL game when the Red Wings defeated the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. It took Romasko just four minutes and 52 seconds to call the first penalty of his NHL career, a highsticking minor against Marek Zidlicky of the Red Wings, which impressed his boss, NHL director of officiating Stephen Walkom. Read more

BCHL player receives misconduct for checking ref from behind

Jared Clinton
(via Hockey Webcast/Vine)

Chalk this up as something you don’t see every day – a junior player running into a referee from behind and sending him sprawling into the boards.

Satuday night in the BCHL, in a game between the Chilliwack Chiefs and Surrey Eagles, Eagles defenseman Latrell Charleson was chasing down a loose puck near the end of the game. As the linesman, Troy Paterson, waves off the potential icing, Charleson shoved referee Kirk Wood into the boards from behind. Read more