NHL Notebook: How bad is the officiating in the playoffs and what a 36-team league could look like

Photo credit:Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 year ago
If you’ve watched any of the NHL playoffs this year, you’re probably doing the same thing a lot of us are: shaking your head at the officiating.
There have been some tough nights for the officials and Edmonton Oilers fans saw it a lot in game three.
On Daily Faceoff Live on Monday, Frank Seravalli and Mike McKenna talked about what’s been going on:
Seravalli: Let’s talk about the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild. Speaking of controversy, tough night for Garret Rank and Chris Lee. You look at the officiating and Marcus Foligno ends up in the box for both goals that are scored on really questionable calls. The first one being just a hit along the boards that was called interference, the defenseman there clearly touched the puck from Dallas in just the seconds prior and appeared to be ducking out of the way.
So Foligno gets the interference call there and then later pursuing a check, he gets essentially cross-checked in the face and goes down and gets called for tripping. I don’t understand either call but certainly understand the frustration from the Minnesota Wild. What did Marcus Foligno do to deserve all of these calls, who did he hurt Mike, heading into the series to get to this point?
McKenna: Yeah, whose Cheerios did he take a leak in. I don’t really understand it either because both of the penalties Foligno took, one for interference and one for tripping, neither of those should have been calls. Foligno laid clean hits in both instances and one of them he was actually the aggrieved party as Marchment hits him in the face as he goes to make the hit. So, I can usually pawn this off on the referee not having a great view of it or maybe saw something different. These were just two blown calls.
Ultimately, what does it matter. The Wild had all the chances in the world to win that game so I can understand Foligno being mad but he is one of their main drivers of physical play Frank. It almost makes it feel like there is something coming from the league saying like we need to keep an eye on certain guys that we know hit. Well, why? He didn’t do anything wrong in those instances so I didn’t like either call and I didn’t like the fact that the Wild couldn’t score. Because that’s on them, they had opportunities to do it then Ryan Hartman gets tossed for yelling at the referees with still three and a half minutes left to play in a 3-1 game?
You have to hold your head together, especially as your number one centre right now. So plenty of blame to go around there.
Seravalli: Jake Oettinger slams the door shut as well for the Dallas Stars, an incredibly strong performance for the Minnesota native with his family in attendance. So to put a bow on the officiating conversation, there’s been no hotter topic Mike in these Stanley Cup playoffs so far than that one.
Is the officiating actually worse this year or has it always been this bad?
McKenna: I think we just hyper-analyse everything. It’s tough because these were two clearly wrong calls Frank, so its one, access to information but its also a fever pitch. So my question is what is the solution?
We all want to complain all we want but how do you fix it, you can’t just go get different refs, these are the best in the world at what they do. I don’t think there’s a real clean-cut answer other than score more goals than the other team. Play the ball as it lies, you gotta deal with the refs.

A 36-team NHL?

On Sunday, a group dedicated to bringing back the NHL to Atlanta shared an interesting proposal looking at what the league could look like if it were to hit 36 teams.
It would involve four teams joining the league: Atlanta, Houston, Quebec City and Salt Lake City. Their suggestion would see each conference have three divisions of six teams.
For the Oilers in the Northwest Division, there would be some interesting changes. The Oilers, Flames, Kraken and Canucks would remain, but the Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild would join the fray.
What do you think of the proposal?

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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