Friday, May 17, 2013

Pool Report: Putting The Whistles Away

There’s a saying coined in the days of firewagon hockey, usually uttered late in a game. “The Refs are putting the whistles away”.

It means they’re not calling penalties anymore. Usually the reason for that is because the heat of the battle has risen to a level where virtually every point of contact is punishable and if penalties were called there would be nobody left on the ice to finish the game.

But it still reveals a certain lack of integrity designed to insure that the most deserving team wins.

As a kid, it used to bother me that penalties weren’t called while teams were still assessed for icing the puck or being offside. I mean, if you’re not enforcing one set of rules, why are you holding up play to enforce the others?

And something about the way whistles are being put away during this Stanley Cup Playoff is starting to bother a lot of people.

Fr’instance, why is a player assessed a penalty (and perhaps a suspension) for head-shotting a player whose head was nowhere near where a player’s head is supposed to be…

…while no penalty is assessed for either elbowing or intent to injure when a player is brutally attacked right in front of an official?

There’s a great discussion this morning over at Puckdaddy about the inconsistent manner in which the NHL polices its game, inconsistencies which include suspensions for clearly legal hits with bad outcomes while recidivist bad apples get repeat passes.

It’s the kind of thing that not only drives fans nuts but reinforces the speculation I once heard from a Vegas Sports Book employee that the Stanley Cup might be the most fixed trophy in sport.

I certainly don’t believe that’s the case. But if Boston, a town in need of a hug, and LA, a franchise cheated out of the full season its fans were due by the NHL lockout, end up in the final -- and referee Brad Watson is officiating –- I’ll be given pause.

That said, there is clearly no hanky-panky involved in the Infamous Writers Hockey Pool, where yours truly, its only overseer, has officially been eliminated and will soon take up his rightful place in the basement.

Although I’m somewhat troubled that Will Zmak is atop the list as we conclude week three of competition. Why (past chokes aside) does a guy from the Bay area have no Sharks on his team but a couple of the home side much reviled Kings?

Do perhaps he and I frequent the same Sports Book…? We may know more by Monday. See you then.

17-05-2013 12-37-56 PM

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