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Officiating needs to be consistent

Tim Wesley, Cranberry Township, Pa.

There is no better sport than hockey and there is no better hockey than in the NHL playoffs.

Even so, playoff hockey could be better if the officiating were more consistent.

How many times have we heard this: "The referees shouldn't have an impact on the outcome of the game"? And yet they have a huge impact on playoff outcomes by not enforcing the rules.

This is not about Chris Pronger or the Flyers, because they deserve credit for a terrific playoff run, but allowing Pronger to stand in front of his goalie and constantly cross-check and slash away at the opposing team gives him an unfair advantage and is against the rules.

By not enforcing the rules, the officials are, in fact, having a tremendous impact on the outcome of the game by allowing a less-talented player or team to compete against a better, faster opponent.

Game 7 was a perfect example: Pronger gets whistled for two penalties in the first period and was a non-factor the rest of the game. Why should the first period of Game 7 be any different than the rest of the playoffs?

The officials shouldn't have an impact on the outcome of the games. And the best way to ensure that is for them to be consistent throughout the season.

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