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While most are questioning the officiating standards during this year’s NHL playoffs, let’s not forget that they are also looking at advancing to the next round, which isn’t an easy task.

Like it or not it’s important to understand that no one comes to watch the officials  work any game, unless it’s a relative.

Officials have the unruly task of controlling the games they officiate and it’s fair to say the games  continue to get far more intense each round the teams advance toward the finals.

Knowing the officiating world the way I do, it’s a fair assumption to say that the officials are doing their best to let the players play without calling or assessing penalties which could affect the outcome of any game and/or series.

It’s also fair to say that the amount of stick-work that at the players are continuing to use is far too excessive, let alone the cheap-shots levied at some of the league’s star players.

League officials are in some cases allowing the players to take the added liberties especially after a whistle around the net, which  many question.

I for one support the video review, but in some cases it seems to be taking far too long to make the call and given the position of the poor camera angles, it’s hard to make a fair or correct call, especially on off-sides when the player in question is in the middle of the ice.

Given today’s technology one has to question as to why the league is unable to sort out where to better place the camera’s.

In addition I personally would like to have each Referee equipped with a wireless mic that is voice activated.

When the play is at the net area the Referee nearest the net is constantly talking to the players saying such things as “keep it moving” or “it’s free” meaning the puck so the players are aware of what they at times are unable to see.

So now we come down to the question of “did the puck completely cross the goal line in areas of questionable goals that are under review.

Why in today’s world can the NHL not sort out how to put a camera or a series of cameras under the blue paint in the crease that would be visible from the  underside for video review.

Over-head camera, net camera or the one located behind the net in most situations these are not clear for the officials to make a composite and concise ruling.

When any call is in question and it’s unclear to the officials they are forced to go with the ruling on the ice, which at times (but not always) wrong.

It’s a split second, fast paced game with the players getting bigger, faster and stronger than in the past and like it or not the NHL has to adapt or understand this.

Rules are made by those in charge, but for the betterment of the game, why not ask the general public how to improve the game without taking away from the talent level.

We watch the Women’s International Ice Hockey play an exceptionally entertaining fast paced game with lot’s of skill and avoiding to crash the net or push, shove or cross-check after a whistle and the officials make the call without any outside interference, which is unto itself something the NHL could learn from.

So moving forward as with each round the officials are ranked or graded so as to give them a chance to advance to the next round or series.

It’s not an easy task to select only a few officials and at some levels of the game, it’s sad to say that politics come into play, but at the NHL level it’s about grading or a ranking system.

The league is striving for consistency, which will never happen and until the league actually wants to protect the “star” players and not have them take cheap shots as well, the game will only be as good as it’s dollar value.

It’s about TV ratings and who is watching and living in Canada, let’s be honest the league simply does not want to see an all Canadian final as the ratings would be high in Canada, but low in the US and that’s not good business sense.

So moving forward to the semi-final round the league has narrowed the officials and will be using eight (8) Referee’s and eight (8) linesman to which the officials will be again reduced for the final series.

Proud to mention that former Richmond MHA Kelly Sutherland who wears number 11 is again working the Conference Finals and let’s not forget that Kelly also worked the Gold Medal game in the Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia.

The list of officials working is as follows:


Jean Hebert,  Wes McCauley, Brad Meier, Dan O’Halloran, Dan O’Rourke, Kevin Pollock, Chris Rooney, and Kelly Sutherland, with Francis Charron listed as the Standby Referee.

Not working the next round are – Francis Charron, Steve Kozari, Francois St. Laurent, Brad Watson


Derek Amell, Scott Cherrey, Shane Heyer, Brad Kovachik, Matt MacPherson, Brian Murphy, Jonny Murray, and Pierre Racicot and having the standby linesmen Steve Miller for the Conference Finals.

Not working the next series are – Steve Barton, Michel Cormier, Steve Miller, Bryan Pancich

All the best to those selected!!!