NHL Needs to Address Bad Officiating


editorial The two penalties assessed to the Capitals showed the true inability of the NHL’s officiating crew to accurately make good penalty calls. The officiating of NHL referees in recent weeks has come under scrutiny by many NHL fans, and the high-sticking call assessed to Nicklas Backstrom was a prime example of the referees’ lack of judgement. Backstrom was called for supposedly getting his stick up high on Philadelphia Flyers forward Ryan White; but after watching the replay, it was apparent that White’s teammate, Chris Vandevelde, hit him with his own stick. Capitals coach Barry Trotz tried arguing his case, but to no avail.

Shortly after the Flyers’ power play began, Caps defenseman Matt Niskanen was handed a penalty for taking down Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds, a penalty that was unfounded, as both players’ sticks got caught together, causing Simmonds to fall back. What’s more, it happened directly in front of the official.

It’s situations like these that should be challengeable under the often-criticized Coach’s Challenge, though no changes seem to be imminent.

Although the Caps killed off one (the other nullified by a Flyers penalty), the fact of the matter is that both were, in all actuality, not good calls. If teams are going to have any chance of succeeding in close games, they’ll need the officials to make accurate calls. The NHL must make sure that their officiating crews correctly call games in order for both teams (not just Philly and Washington, but all teams in the playoffs) to be able to have a chance.

By Michael Fleetwood

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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6 Responses to NHL Needs to Address Bad Officiating

  1. ForMy Gamez says:

    They did not make the wrong call or miss anything… it’s called Cheating. It happens all the time in every game and you dismiss it as the ref is blind or stupid, but in reality they are cheating knowing they are going to be called a bad ref not a Cheating ref…

    • Anonymous says:

      Really, did you watch the video??????

    • Dean Walter says:

      Ive never watched a more poorly officiated series in 50 years. Wilson had a suspend able hit in every game & barely saw the penalty bench. If you have to cheat to beat an upcoming 8tNnEeVvEeRR WINNNNNNNNNh seed Do you really think you have a run at the Cup ?????????? 5 calls a game to get by the Flyers ????????????? Shown up by the pens ! Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha CHEATERS NEVER WIN & CHEATERS NeVeR WINNNNNNNNN !

  2. Diane Doyle says:

    Per Malin on Twitter

    Malin ‏@MalinElis 2h2 hours ago
    Per Aftonbladet, The referee that called the faulty 4 minute high stick during the Caps-Flyers game apologized to Bäckström for his mistake.

  3. Tom Smoot says:

    It’s not good enough for the ref to apologize. The NHL must institute a reply system to verify calls that are questioned by the opposing coach. Maybe a coach that questions a call and loses gets a 2 minute penalty (delay of game??, sportsmanship??) This would limit the challenges to ones that are really wrong. Have these review take place in Toronto!!!

  4. Dean Walter says:


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