NHL officials mess up another game


The final score read: Canucks 4 Rangers 1.

To paraphrase what coach David Quinn had to say regarding an embarrassingly brutal five minute match penalty on Brendan Lemieux, he said they gift wrapped two Vancouver goals. Otherwise, he chose not to say anything else as to why there was no explanation on what really was a unfortunate hockey play by Lemieux, who hit Canucks forward Antoine Roussel as he was leaning downward in a tough position.

I’m in full agreement with 4everBlueshirts blogger Zak on the latest controversial call going against the Rangers. Simply put, it was not a penalty. Just as the hideous major and game on Mika Zibanejad wasn’t, which the incompetent league confirmed by rescinding it. It is unbelievable how bad the officiating is. I don’t pin the blame on the two referees and two linesmen. But rather the NHL for programming them to make reactionary calls on plays like the one involving Lemieux and Roussel.

An incensed Lemieux slammed his stick on the bench and the furious look on Quinn’s face told the same sad story. The New York Rangers lead the league in apologies. What will the NHL say this time? Oh. We’re so sorry for royally screwing you again!

I can’t anymore with this crap. The game has become so soft due to all the rule changes and how it’s interpreted. I get the need to protect players from actual dangerous hits predatory in nature that have no place in hockey. They’ve even punished guilty parties for irresponsible stick swings with suspensions. That’s a step in the right direction.
However, when you see plays you know aren’t even penalties suddenly becoming majors and game misconducts due to the four officials huddling up, it’s become a joke. Not every time is a player who’s down on the ice injured a direct result of an illegal check.

We are past the point of these calls being predictable. They’re borderline absurd. It’s insulting to hockey fans who want enjoy the game live or on TV. I didn’t even watch much of the 4-1 loss due to being emotionally invested in my Alma mater St. John’s getting a huge win over DePaul in the first round of the Big East Tournament to advance to tonight’s big quarterfinal versus Marquette.

The games don’t matter at this point. Sure. You want to see the team continue to compete hard for Quinn with young players evolving. It’s sad when I know without watching that top pick Lias Andersson isn’t playing enough. Even with the penalty fest that included two major penalties on Rangers (Chris Kreider elbowing and game), it’s disappointing that Quinn continues to roll out eight goal Jesper Fast when he’s not 100 percent while Andersson rides the pine.

It’s even worse when I finally get the chance to watch them pass the puck around the perimeter aimlessly and waste a five-on-three by not even getting a stinking shot on goal. At least Pavel Buchnevich scored his career best 16th on a late power play from Mika Zibanejad to avoid the shutout.

Seeing a flustered Henrik Lundqvist pull out a second consecutive Canucks goal from of all people, Tyler Motte on a breakaway (you gotta be kidding) is enough to make one sick. This came right after Brock Boeser made one of his patented one-timers from the off wing for a 2-0 Vancouver lead with Lemieux gone. Motte got his second in 11 seconds on the chaotic Lemieux call that was jaw dropping.

It’s beyond explanation how the officiating can continue to be so horrifically bad. I am not putting it on the refs, who are trying their best each night. Whether it’s the game being too fast or what I believe to be terrible reactionary calls due to poor interpretation of the rules, something MUST change. If it doesn’t, I might pack it in.

When I tweeted that I was done with the season once the Rangers play their final game in April, I was dead serious. The NHL has done the impossible. They’ve lost a passionate hockey fan for their beloved Playoffs. I will not watch a game for the first time since I’ve been following the sport. That’s over 30 years of love out the window.

I don’t love the sport like I once did. The NHL hierarchy is to blame for this mess. So, I’ll take a Spring break for once. I do have a suggestion. Maybe have informative meetings with the officials showing educational videos on what is a penalty and what isn’t. Accidents will happen at the speed the current game is played at. They simply have to do a better job moving forward.

If they don’t, it’s their loss.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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