A strike by the refs is exactly what I thought I was watching for the last game of the playoffs. Last night Boston defeated Vancouver to win the Stanley Cup, but it was the officiating that made me angry, not the play.
For the first half of the game, no penalties were called. If you’ve ever seen an NHL game you know there are usually about 5 – 8 penalties at about this point. Indeed in the whole game only 3 penalties were called.
I think when the hosts on CBC discovered this, they then delighted to show each would-have-been penalty. Through the game they must have shown 8 penalties that would ordinarily cost a team two or more minutes being down by a player.
This “let the player’s play” attitude may have been costly to Vancouver. After all, each hockey club has special teams precisely for penalties. And Vancouver’s power play is mighty, but they only got to use it twice last night.
When a paid member of an organization like the NHL does a bare minimum of their job, it is called a work slow down. That is precisely what the refs in last night’s game did. It is a form of strike, thus my title.
Also, such a strategy is dangerous to the NHL. The NHL gets away with various assaults by its millionaire players precisely because they say they police themselves. Well without the refs calling things, you can say goodbye to that lie.
But that’s okay. I wouldn’t mind seeing police arrest millionaire NHLers. Of course cities with teams would have to pay more taxes to the police services. But if that’s the way we want to go then it’s okay.
Then there’s the way the rules were the same all the way through the season and even the playoffs. Till the very last game, an important winner-take-all affair, when the way the game was played suddenly changed.
I dabble in fiction writing. What if I were to write a nuts and bolts detective story? The detective hero dutifully tracks down clues in a murder or other important crime. The hero tracks down one clue after another that leads to a blind alley. You’re intrigued to find all clues led to nothing and there’s only 5 pages left in the book.
Then I spring it on you that the detective is really an alien with excellent telepathic abilities. He found it intriguing to try sleuthing the human way. But he gives up and just reads everyone’s mind and uncovers the killer.
Would you throw this book or movie across the room in anger at this cheat of an ending? Many would. This is exactly what I felt after watching the officiating in last night’s Stanley cup Final. I felt like the refs cheated me.