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Quality of playoff officiating

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

The second round of the playoffs isn’t nearly as emotional as the first round, but it’s still very early and should pick up soon. Your mailbag questions, on the other hand, are as emotional as ever. Thanks, as always, to all who submitted something for me.

Hey Adam, as an Islanders fan who has been to both playoff games, it is hard for me to not realize how poor this first round has been officiated. With the no calls such as Casey Cizikas getting his head smashed into the ice, and Chris Kunitz cross-checking a referee, it angers me that so many people can see these things happening, yet since it wasn't called in the game, it is as if it didn't even happen. Are you seeing what I am seeing? Or am I just being a biased fan?

Murphy Siegel, Long Island, N.Y.


First of all, you get credit for at least being willing to consider your perception may be colored by being a fan of one team. In my books, that already makes you smarter than most irate fans who have no self-awareness and stubbornly insist their view is the only reasonable one.

That said, I guess my opinion of your opinion depends on whether you believe officials are intentionally making calls that hurt a particular team. As I’ve said before, people who imagine that any referee would be dumb enough to favor one team over another need to step up with concrete evidence that is true – and if they can’t, they need to stop making such serious accusations.

However, even a regular official-defender like me has to acknowledge this year’s officiating has been an utter disaster. From the dozens of blown calls (including Chris Kelly’s elbow to the face of James van Riemsdyk) to the clear change in officiating standard between the regular and post-seasons, I can’t ever remember the men in stripes looking less qualified to do their jobs. League brass has to address these issues during the off-season or risk looking like a second-rate operation.

Dear Adam, I read an article from the Canadian council of commerce that did a study on pro sports in Canada. One of the things it stated was that cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver could all support a second NHL team. My question is could that ever happen and would the NHL ever allow that?

Adam Stiles, Saskatoon, Sask.

Dear Adam,

Like a lot of people associated with the NHL, I do believe Toronto is going to get a second team sometime within the next few years. Vancouver and Montreal are different stories, though.

Of course, Quebec City is looking like a solid candidate for expansion or relocation. But although Vancouver and Montreal are gorgeous cities that love their hockey as much as any metropolis, I don’t think there’s enough corporate support to sustain a second team in either locale. In the last couple years, the Leafs have had challenges selling out their luxury corporate boxes, so to think that smaller business centers could thrive is a serious stretch.

Hi Adam, I was wondering, what do you think the Bruins are going to do in the off-season? There are a lot of contracts that are going to be up and I was wondering who you think we'll resign. With big name players like Nathan Horton, Tuukka Rask and Andrew Ference – who Peter Chiarelli calls his core – needing new contracts, what do you think he'll do about our younger players like Kaspars Daugavins, Jordan Caron and Anton Khudobin, whose contract is going to be up. Who goes and who stays? Let me know what you think.

James Wawrzyniak, Boston


You can’t make judgments on the Bruins or any other remaining playoff team until their run is over. That’s not to say teams don’t have off-season plans that won’t change regardless of how the post-season plays out, but injuries and quality of play can significantly affect the road ahead for any franchise.

The Bruins have only $6.6 million in available cap space for next season and just 17 players signed. Horton, Ference and Rask are the most important veterans to sign, but I can see the team allowing Horton to move on and lean on their prospects more than they do now. But again, they might have a change of heart depending on how the next handful of weeks go.

Adam, where do you think the Islanders go after this year? After a surprising playoff berth and pretty much outplaying the Pens in every category except goaltending, what do you think they need for a deeper playoff run next year?

Frankie Narciso, Huntington, N.Y.


The Islanders impressed a ton of people this year and have some elite components, but they’re going to be in another dogfight to make the playoffs next season when the current divisions are scrapped and they’re fighting it out with the Capitals, Hurricanes and Blue Jackets in addition to their traditional Atlantic rivals.

The Isles have $29.7 million in cap space for next season, but as one of the league’s more cash-poor teams, they won’t spend anywhere close to that this summer and have just 14 players signed. Their biggest challenge will be on the back end, where they need to either re-sign defenseman Mark Streit and goalie Evgeni Nabokov or find suitable replacements.

Isles GM Garth Snow may choose to look internally to keep the team taking positive steps forward, but even if he does, he’ll still need to make savvy moves to bring in complementary players if his team is to make the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2002-03.

Ask Adam appears Fridays on Ask your question on our submission page. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Adam on Twitter at @ProteauType.



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