There is an issue in the playoffs this year and it is not solely on the Refs. It is also on the players and their ability to play the game honestly, with integrity, maybe even ethically is a better word at this point. The old code of hockey has been forgotten and with it the responsibility of players to play the game honestly.
It isn't an issue unique to the Canucks. It is all over the playoffs this year and the most recent highlight was Ryan Kesler with his "Chicken Wing" on Shea Weber.
I was careful to find another source before publishing this article, so M&G doesn't get bombed by Nuck trolls who hate the Flames. Don't shoot the messenger, here is another media source on the topic.
Kesler's 'Chicken Wing' for the Win
It is just another part of our Playoff Perspective series, we didn't make the playoffs and I honestly do not care who wins the Cup. I am not as Anti-Canuck as a few of my fellow scribes and I also am not jumping on the Predator's bandwagon. Here is an Oscar level dive from Jerred Smithson as well from the Preds previous series against the Ducks.
It is everywhere and it is wrecking the integrity of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, don't kid yourself. A significant number of NHL players, not all, have stopped playing the game honestly. The Refs already have an incredible challenge on the ice, with what they have been tasked with and now they have to be Hollywood Talent scouts as well and judge the quality of a performance ?
My beloved Stanley Cup, will it be nothing more than a big Silver Oscar in 5 years ?
More after the jump...
Canuck fans you can not have it both ways. Before it was everything was rigged, conspiracies and non-stop attacks on officiating. Now the call goes your way and you look the other way, no problem here, you say. No, that is not the correct approach.
Step back, forget about your team for a second and look at bigger priorities like growing the game in the American South, a healthy NHL and a Sport you can actually proudly call the best sport in the world. Now last night we had a great Orange crowd in Nashville. Awesome to see and I bet a few of them may even have been seeing their first NHL hockey game.
On that Kesler call, which isn't minor, it lead to the winning goal and won the game. A Predators' fan can look at it and argue it should have been holding against Kesler on Weber and the PP should have gone to NSH. The Canuck fan will yell, No way the Ref got it right it was clearly hooking and Nucks honorably won the game.
The person new to the game is going to look at the exact same replay, look to his right then to his left and in his mind go WTF, this sport does not have its Shit together.
They are right. I live in the American South now and have been to games in Nashville, Dallas, Phoenix and Denver and talk hockey all the time, to whoever I can find willing to talk hockey.
That "new" fan, or I should say 'potential' fan, just shrugs the game off and goes and watches baseball, they don't even come back to hockey. The game is too fast and the rules are unclear to them, I don't blame them. Everyone knows the rules in baseball.
I'm not picking on the Canucks, I've watched over 35 years of professional hockey and I'll offer the compliment to the Canucks that Game 7 against the Blackhawks was Epic. Up in my top 100 best hockey games I have seen in my life of the thousands and thousands. You know why it was so good? Because there was no diving, no embellishment and the game meant so much that no one was going to risk not playing hockey 100%, instead of hockey 90% and embellishment for a penalty the other 10%.
In the old days, there was a code in hockey, an unwritten code and there was nothing more taboo than playing the game dishonestly. It has been lost. Some players have become experts at "drawing" penalties, experts at embellishing and selling but why be a hockey player. Go be a salesman if you want to sell, go be an artist if you want to draw.
5 years ago in hockey the only chicken wing you find when you watched the game in a pub were on the table with your beer, now they are all over the game. I didn't use the term but I did decribe in my previous playoff perspective article on officiating.
The NHL has to get rid of it. They really do, it can't be allowed.
In this series I am not convinced the Vancouver Canucks can beat the Nashville Predators 5 on 5. They absolutely must have their PP advance them to the next round. In the old days, the saying was put the whistles away, let the players play, especially in the playoffs.
That kind of borderline call is not how you want to win your Stanley Cup.
It is not in the best interests of the NHL as a whole to ignore this issue of player responsibility to play the game ethically. It turns new potential fans away from the game and rightly so.
Here is a rant worth watching, you have to cut and paste and sorry I could not find a version without the annoying commercial.