From the outside looking in, you can see that Tampa Bay beat the Carolina Hurricanes once again in overtime last night 4-3. From the inside looking out, 31 of 32 teams will agree that a referee’s error probably cost the Hurricanes the game last night.
Is the NHL quick to talk about this blunder? Lets see, NHL.com says it best “Can’t Miss: Stamkos buries No.47 in overtime”. Of course they wouldn’t. The NHL ignores any mistakes that the NHL referees seem to make.
It is extremely frustrating as a fan of a team watching inexcusable calls change the outcome of the game. I am the last person to put any person who is refereeing a game on blast but it has finally boiled over.
Let us go back to the February 8th game of the Carolina Hurricanes at the Anaheim Ducks.
The referee clearly no-called a tripping penalty that should have sent Corey Perry to the box for two minutes in overtime, but instead led to a Corey Perry game winning goal not even ten seconds later because of a referee’s mistake.
Who was the referee in that game you ask? Oh it would be NHL official Tim Peel. Now lets go back to last nights game against Tampa Bay.
The referee in this game you ask? Oh it would once again be NHL official Tim Peel. First of all, the Lightning goalie Mathieu Garon is clearly at least 5 feet in front of the crease. Let us read the NHL rulebook to make this judgement call.
If an attacking player has been pushed, shoved, or fouled by a defending player so as to cause him to come into contact with the goalkeeper, such contact will not be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for purposes of this rule, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.
Lucky for us Hurricanes fans, the interference call wasn’t made. They instead ruled it to be a “Roughing” penalty. What does the NHL rulebook say about Roughing penalties?
51.1 Roughing – Roughing is a punching motion with the hand or fist, with or without the glove on the hand, normally directed at the head or face of an opponent.
Roughing is a minor altercation that is not worthy of a major penalty to either participant. (An altercation is a situation involving two players, with at least one to be penalized).
Penalties are all about the intent. In the video of the penalty Sutter clearly showed he was attempting to stop, as he was on the edge of his blades attempting to stop.
Stamkos who was behind him was going slightly faster and had an arm on Sutter. Whether Stamkos was pushing or pulling Sutter, at that speed it is nearly impossible to come to a full stop at the drop of a dime, especially with somebody else behind you giving you a slight nudge.
Hurricanes announcer John Forslund summed it up best “Sutter leaps to avoid the goalie, what are you supposed to do?”
The thing that angers me the most as a fan though is that this is a game changing play. You blow the whistle with the intent of calling a penalty on Sutter, why do you not call a meeting together with the referees to discuss the play at hand and make sure you are making the right call?
Clearly on tape, you can see that the right call was not made, and once again the NHL excuses the fact that their own referees could have cost points off of the standings for another team once again. Inexcusable.
You can follow Sterling Eby on Twitter @TheSterlo