NHL Postseason Inconsistencies: The Performance of the On-Ice Officials Is An Eyesore to the League


If you have tuned in to the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, you may have noticed a disturbing trend in these playoffs.  This disturbing trend involves the on-ice officiating (or lack thereof).  The questionable officiating has been a hot topic around the league, and players, coaches, and fans are becoming very frustrated with the inconsistencies.

The latest questionable incident with the on-ice officials came in the Western Conference Finals Game 3 matchup featuring the St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks.  The game was decided by a questionable overtime goal that involved a hand pass that was not called.  Check out the highlights:

This was clearly a hand pass that was not called by any of the on-ice officials.  In addition to the non-call, this is a non-reviewable play under the current rules of the league.


Playoff hockey tends to be more vicious and the on-ice officials let the players play a little bit more dangerously.

Here are some more highlights of some questionable calls (and non-calls) in the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs:

First Round, Game 7: Vegas Golden Knights versus San Jose Sharks

Golden Knights forward Cody Eakin received a five-minute major for a cross-check to Sharks forward Joe Pavelski.  The on-ice officials claimed that Eakin’s stick made contact with Pavelski’s head.  Did Eakin make contact with Pavelski’s head?  The stick appears to hit Pavelski in the chest.  This call likely changed the final outcome of this series.

First Round, Game 4: Washington Capitals versus Carolina Hurricanes

Hurricanes forward Warren Foegele received a two-minute minor for boarding Capitals forward T.J. Oshie.  This dangerous play caused a clavicle injury for Oshie, which he later had surgery on.  Was this play only worth a two-minute minor?

Second Round, Game 3: Boston Bruins versus Columbus Blue Jackets

Bruins forward Brad Marchand gave Blue Jackets defenseman Scott Harrington a stiff punch to the back of his head.  There was no call on the play and Marchand did not receive any supplemental discipline.  Perhaps a two-minute minor for roughing should have been called.

Second Round, Game 6: Boston Bruins versus Columbus Blue Jackets

Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head to Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson.  McAvoy later received a one-game suspension for this hit, but this hit was questionably called a two-minute minor.  Was this check to the head worth only two minutes?

Second Round, Game 4: St. Louis Blues versus Dallas Stars

Blues forward David Perron gave Stars goaltender Ben Bishop a strong slash to his back inside the trapezoid.  No penalty was called on the play.  Perhaps a slashing penalty should have been called here.


The inconsistencies are beginning to add up for the NHL, and it is certainly not a good look for the league.

At the end of the day, player safety is always an issue, and the NHL is not doing the best job on the ice to protect the players.  The on-ice officials must do a better job of calling plays that are blatantly penalties, and rough stuff that occurs away from the puck.

In regards to overtime goals, the NHL must change the overtime format.  Perhaps the NHL should mandate that any overtime goal is automatically reviewed.  The NFL has this in place with every touchdown scored, so it should be no issue for the NHL to put something similar into place.

While on-ice officials are human and make mistakes, the mistakes being made are simply out of confusion.  The on-ice officials seem conflicted on what to call on the ice when it comes to something major.  The NHL must clear up the confusion among its on-ice officials.  The officials must be properly trained on what to do in certain situations.  If the referees cannot comprehend what the NHL wants in regards to appropriate officiating, then new officials must be trained and brought into the mix.  Perhaps some former players can come in and perform on-ice officiating duties for the league.

By: George Foussekis

About George Foussekis

I am a sports fanatic. I love hockey and football, and I enjoy writing about my two favorite sports. I am a proud Old Dominion University alum.
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4 Responses to NHL Postseason Inconsistencies: The Performance of the On-Ice Officials Is An Eyesore to the League

  1. Anonymous says:

    It seems like this post season has been the worst. And that’s from a casual observer.

  2. Day One Caps Fan says:

    Game Three, WAS vs CAR, on the big national TV broadcast, NBC had a PERFECT cameraman close-up of the non-call against Caps’ defenseman Brooks Orpik. Orpik was retreating full-speed into his zone to retrieve a dump-in by CAR … and EVERYBODY in the viewing audience could see the two big hands of the CAR forward. Forget which one it was, but the player grabbed Orpik by the shoulders, one hand on each, and violently yanked Orpik out of the play, leading to one of the five illicit CAR goals. Further camera-work showed the frustration on Orpik’s face, Ovechkin’s too, and the whole Caps’ bench. But no call. Of course not! SBI loves Carolina and dislikes the Caps and especially Alex Ovechkin. [SBI = Sports Betting Industry]

    Did you see the play?

    I don’t think the Caps played as badly as lamented by NBCSportsWashington, and I recall a whole clutch of extremely convenient referee calls that snuffed out Caps’ scoring chances, either with bogus penalties, bogus offsides, bogus icing etc etc etc. NHL and all sports leagues have suffered from official crookedness going back decades. In South America they murder soccer referees who don’t produce for the elites. But the Gary Buttman NHL is so OBVIOUSLY crooked that it’s taking its toll on fans. Buttman is an SBI fanatic, and so is Leonsis in Washington (just ask the Greene Turtle). The dubious calls will continue!

    The Game Three debacle of WAS vs CAR could have had a radically different course. Caps were outhitting CAR and had an early initiative and space advantage. That all frittered away after Ovechkin decked his fight opponent … the Refs took care of the rest.

    PS excellent analysis, George Foussekis!

  3. Pingback: Blues Head Home With Chance To Clinch First Stanley Cup Final Berth In 49 Years After Dominant 5-0 Win In Game 5 Of Western Conference Final Against Sharks | NoVa Caps

  4. Pingback: Inconsistent Officiating Continues To Plague 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs | NoVa Caps

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