Playoff Reffing: The Worst Job in the World

The Stanley Cup! The holy grail of hockey trophies sits just 12 short victories away for 8 franchises (11 for some as of Tuesday morning), including your Seattle Kraken. The stakes have never been higher, the potential for glory is almost unlimited, but so is the potential for pure, unadulterated rage.
Right now Avalanche fans are complaining about Will Borgen’s and Jordan Eberle’s uncalled fouls over the course of the previous series, and they even have a point. In a seven game series as tightly fought as the Kraken/Avalanche match up just was, a single play really did matter. Who knows if Andrew Cogliano might have made a key play, scored or stopped a game changing goal?

Refs Letting Them Play?

You hear it all the time, and you certainly saw it in Round One. “The refs have put away the whistles tonight.” or something similar. Not wanting to decide a game by giving a penalty on a play that may, or may not, have happened as they saw it in real time. It could be the Kraken on the wrong end of such a call in the next round.

The truth is, when a call isn’t made, it can have just as big an impact on the game. There’s no right answer, and few jobs more thankless than that of a playoff referee, with 50% of fans steadfastly believing that each call is wrong. But what every fan wants, and a far more achievable goal, is consistency. Ideally the rule book is called the same across the league, but barring that seeming impossibility, the calls within a single game should line up.

If this was a slash:

…then every time somebody taps someone with their stick the call needs to be made. This is a perfect example of the issue, because this is, without question, a slash. It was the correct call, and few who saw the replay could argue otherwise with a straight face. But I guarantee you there were five other “by the book” penalties that period that went uncalled.

It’ll never be 100%, and I’m not certain a bunch more replay and call reviews would be the right answer either. But let’s all hope the Kraken’s season, if it ends in anything other than a championship win, doesn’t come down to a penalty call, or a lack of one.