Quote of the Day

PICTURE PERFECT? Dan Bylsma says no one’s perfect, but Sidney Crosby is getting there

NHL promotions.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Play-off assignment rotation

This is the rotation for the 2009 playoffs showing which officials were assigned to a giving game.

Round Two Assignments:

Game#VisitorsHome Referee 1Referee 2
Game#VisitorsHomeReferee 1Referee 2
1CARBOSDevorskiLaRue
1PITWSHJacksonPollock
2CARBOSO'HalloranLeggo
2PITWSHJoannetteSutherland
3BOSCARFurlattMcCreary
3WSHPITLeggoO'Halloran
4BOSCARJacksonPollock
4WSHPITWatsonPeel
5CARBOSWatsonPeel
5PITWSHMcCrearyFrulatt
6BOSCARJoannetteSutherland
6WSHPITDevorskiLaRue
7CARBOSJacksonPollock
7PITWSHO'HalloranMcCreary












1ANADETSutherlandJoannette
1CHIVANMcCrearyFrulatt
2ANADETMcCrearyFrulatt
2CHIVANPeelWatson
3DETANAPeelWatson
3VANCHIJacksonPollock
4DETANADevorskiLaRue
4VANCHISutherlandJoannette
5ANADETLeggoO'Halloran
5CHIVANDevorskiLaRue
6DETANAJacksonPollock
6VANCHILeggoO'Halloran
7ANADETDevorskiJoannette







Round One Assignments

Game#VisitorsHome Referee 1Referee 2
Game#VisitorsHomeReferee 1Referee 2
1MTLBOSPollockLaRue
1NYRWSHLeggoPeel
2MTLBOSLeggoPeel
2NYRWSHFrulattMcCauley
3BOSMTLDevorskiWalsh
3WSHNYRJacksonSutherland
4BOSMTLJacksonSutherland
4WSHNYRDevorskiWalsh






5NYRWSHHasenfratzVanMassenhoven






6WSHNYRMcCrearyMeier






7NYRWSHO'HalloranWatson











1CARNJJoannetteO'Rourke
1PITPHIHasenfratzVanMassenhoven
2CARNJHasenfratzVanMassenhoven
2PITPHIMcCrearyMeier
3NJCARLaRuePollock
3PHIPITO'RourkeJoannette
4NJCARFrulattMcCauley
4PHIPITLaRuePollock
5CARNJMcCrearyMeier
5PITPHIFrulattMcCauley
6NJCARPeelLeggo
6PHIPITRooneyWatson
7CARNJDevorskiPollock
















1ANASJJacksonSutherland
1CBJDETDevorskiWalsh
2ANASJLeeO'Halloran
2CBJDETJacksonSutherland
3SJANAHasenfratzVanMassenhoven
3DETCBJMeierMcCreary
4SJANARooneyWatson
4DETCBJLeeO'Halloran
5ANASJLaRuePollock





6SJANAFrulattMcCauley
















1STLVANLeeO'Halloran
1CGYCHIFrulattMcCauley
2STLVANRooneyWatson
2CGYCHIDevorskiWalsh
3VANSTLMcCrearyMeier
3CHICGYRooneyWatson
4VANSTLO'RourkeJoannette
4CHICGYLeggoPeel






5CGYCHILeeO'Halloran






6CHICGYJoannetteO'Rourke

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

NHL Promotions

I do not understand it. Are the people who run the NHL PR machine really idiots?

Why is Sidney Crosby treated as a god? Good Lord, right now on the main NHL portal page, there are five categories to click on for current NHL lead stories that they consider the main presentations to represent the league. Those buttons are: “NHL LIVE”, obvious, “RED WINGS - HAWKS”, no brainer, “CHI – HAWKS MOMENTS”, Yep, on of two playoff series going, “’HAWKS POSTGAME”, seems like that one would be just post-game but whatever. It was a great OT game last night and that is what should obviously be covered. Oh, forgot, the LEAD category: “SID THE KID”. Not the Pittsburgh/Carolina series. Not the playoff in general or the Eastern Conference Finals. Sidney Crosby. And even listed before the Western Conference Finals categories for the game last night. The lead story, the first thing you see when you enter the portal, the item that NHL PR considers the most important promotional story of the day: “PICTURE PERFECT? Dan Bylsma says no one’s perfect, but Sidney Crosby is getting there”. That is a quote. I make plenty of grammar and spelling errors and do not tend to care, there are at least a few I know of in this posting which I am too lazy to fix, but don’t blame me for the quoted ones here, that is how the NHL is present itself to the world.

Give me an F’ing break! Understand, I do not blame Crosby. But, Sidney Crosby in not The NHL. Get over it. He is not even the best player in the league. You need look no further than New Jersey or Detroit to find better, more accomplished, team hockey players. You need look no further than Washington to find a better individual player of the same age group class. You need look no further than Chicago for players of the same/younger age group that are better team players, and have already accomplished more at their age that Crosby, Malkin, Ovechkin did at the same age. But Sidney Crosby is THE poster boy for the NHL. This year, they did sometimes start promoting AO more, because they almost had to. The last couple weeks Toews, Kane, Kieth, (not Versteeg, Sharp, Mason, Rinne…) have sometimes been mentioned as an afterthought in some of the promos as some of the up and coming young breed, but only because it is being shoved down their throats by performance.

Sid the Kid, the future of the NHL. No, he is not! He is a great player. Could be, probably should be, a hall of fame player, in 15 years. They have him there now though. Sell the game, not Sidney Crosby. Not Alexander Ovechkin for that matter. Not Kane, Sharp, Toews, Thornton, Zetterberg, Nash, Traveres before he is even drafted, whoever. Sell the game. Bettman, this is not the NBA where the players had to be marketed over a freaking boring game. This is HOCKEY. Market the game of hockey. Quit shoving one, or ten, or even a hundred players down our throats. Sell the game.

By the way, along with resentment that their player does not receive the same promotion; along with it being an embarrassment to the league and the game; in your efforts to institute the star system in the NHL as was done in the NBA you are throwing the entire credibility of the league into question. Fans of every other team already think that certain star players, including specifically Ovechkin and Crosby, and their teams, receive special treatment one the ice, not just in promotion. They are being given ammunition for those arguments in two ways: through the belief that the NHL cannot afford to have their promotional machine lose, and through the evidence of actually watching on the ice. Yes, it is becoming more and more obvious, to observers who try to stay unbiased, that they DO get different treatment on the ice. That the same rules do not apply to certain players on the ice as apply to everyone else. The perception is that this is worse than reality, but the reality is growing. By progression, if a player is getting preferential treatment, so is their team. That means that there is a growing perception, and starting to be actual evidence, that the league is manipulating games. Knock it off. This is not “Sports Entertainment”, a euphemism used by “Professional Wrestling” meaning staged acting. This is a team sport and you are ripping off and angering other players and more importantly, the fans who pay the bills.

Think I am wrong with any of this? Tell me. Convince me. I'm open minded. Opinionated, but open minded. I also think I am right and you will have trouble convincing me otherwise. Think I am right? Tell me. I want people to know what the fans really think and how many are on each side of what I think is an important issue.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Officiating Standards

What should the coding standards be, and what are they really?

First, the coding standard should be whatever the competition committee says it is. I actually do not who all is currently on the competition committee, but it should be fair representation by the NHLPA, teams (either GMs or coaches, probably GMs), league officials, and referee reps. Whatever they decide though, the standard should be what they say the standard is, and the games should be officiated to that standard from day one of the season until the cup is awarded. Hey, if they really want what they have this year, 2/3 of the season officiated to one standard, that standard progressively relaxed over the last 1/3, and then thrown out the window for the playoffs, then say that is what you are going to do. It is stupid, but at least state that is what you are going to do.

Changing the way the game is called for the playoffs is complete BS. You might as well play something like no touch hockey for 82 games to determine who is going to play full contact stick and grap for the championship. Hey, lets go back to days that once a team is eliminated, other teams can pick up their players too. Ovie could be playing for Carolina, Pronger and Nieds for Chicago, Thornton for... Oh, sorry, he would still be playing golf.

The officials are supposed to be professionals. If they are too big of cowards to call the rules in the playoffs, how are they compitent enough to call the regular season. I happen to be a big fan of the officials. Yes, they really do have fans. I happen to think that they are the best set of officials in sports. Their job is far more difficult than, Basketball, Football, and certainly Baseball. Crap, I could call Baseball and Basketball, I have. There is not a chance in the world I could have every skated at the level hockey officials do. The intricacies of the calls that hockey officials have to make on the fly is far more complex, and the physical level they must handle is not even in the same ballpark. Yes, football rules are at least as complex, and they have what, about seven officials on the field and each are only responcible for a fraction of that rule-book. Baseball is a piece of cake, and they are so worried about it that they go to six freaking officials for the playoffs. As professionals though, why are theysuddenly afraid to call they game in the playoffs? Call the game.

As for what level of infraction constitutes a penalty, well, I can live with any real level as long as it is consistent. Players adapt very quickly to whatever the standard is. People claim that there are too many soft penalties called. I ran the numbers earlier in the year, and it is non-sense. There is virtually no difference in total calls before and after the tighter standards were put in place, and the number of obstruction type calls has actually gone down, not up. I got those numbers by parsing play-by-play data for the games, not from some database. The claims are simply wrong.

What style of calling is better for the league? Well, that is hard to say other than consistancy, the rest is opinion and preference. My preference is the tighter standard. It is not that I like power-plays and cheap calls, it is that I like the game it produced.

I like the faster and open game it produces. That allows the skilled players to be skilled players. Looser standards does not in my opinion. I did not like clutch and grab. Well, it is still hockey, so I like it, just not as much.

Understand, I do not like no-contact hockey. I like power, high speed, high impact, hitting, fighting, competitive hockey. A lot of people think that the tight standards only promote high speed. I think a lot of people are wrong. Power forwards are back, because guys are not allowed to drape all over them. Speed guys are not dragged down every time they want to make a move. Hits are up and so are fights. Why? Because the game took a step back towards what it was in the 80's and early 90's. Higher speed means harder hits. Clutch and grab means very little hitting. How do you hit someone if they can't move? What does harder hitting produce? More fights. The reason is they same reason as the 80's, no clutch and grab means the skill players are more vulnerable. You take a run at a skill player, especially a smaller skill player, and they have to be protected. Given time, I believe it will also bring back the skill player who fights for themselves. Real fights, not the stage BS for the fans. Hockey fights.

I know that many disagree with my assertions, and they are just opinions. The numbers though I think back me up.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Headshots

I really do not understand what the NHL discipline gurus are doing. I try not to be arbitrarily critical but their actions in the playoffs just does not make sense to me. They say the want to crack down on it, and say it, and say it. Then in the course of a week or so they have their chance to show their cajones.

First, Brashear takes out Betts in the Washington/Rangers series. There was no excuse. It was a brutal and unacceptable hit. Betts got rid of a pass, was well behind the play, and turned to head off the ice after his shift. Brashear went from almost stationary, to taking three full strides and just devistated him with a trageted head shot. He broke his orbital bone. Bill McCreary was looking right at the play and acted like nothing happened. The trail referee, Brad Meier was in trial, so even though I can say he should have seen the play I do not know where his attention really was, following the puck watching some other behind the play action. There is also two linesmen on the ice, one of which should have been following the puck into the zone, but the other should have been watching the bench action and therefore been drawn immediately to Brashear heading from the bench area to center ice for an open ice hit on a player who did not have the puck. Now, in the officials defence, they did call a penalty on Brashear, roughing. The same call they gave Betts' team mate who came over to push and shove. So, according to the on ice officials, attempting to cave in the side of a players face is the same as pushing and shoving after than hit. Truthfully, my actual assumption is that Brashear got his roughing for the pushing and shoving, not the hit. Two referees, of either of the linesmen could have correctly made a call of at least a double major or more correctly a major and game or match penalty. At least the league stepped to the plate and gave Brashear five games for the hit, not that this really help the Rangers who lost a valuable player, that game and the next to be eliminated from the playoffs whil the Caps replaced their goon with an actual player.

I have no problem with the leagues reaction on this, five games in the playoffs is appropriate. Betts being lost to the Rangers is unfortunate, but it happens. I do have a problem with the fact that a creatin like Brashear is even still in the league. I have a bigger problem with the on ice officials who simply did not officiate the play.

A few nights later, it is Eager with a blueline hit. Now on this one, on first view I thought this was a no big deal interference hit, or as the official called it, roughing. I cannot fault the officials because it was fast and in play. Replay though clearly showed it to be a head-shot, and pretty clearly a targeted one. Easy for on-ice to miss the exact nature of the hit, but not on replay. Precident had been set with Brashear and earlier incidents, clearly Chicago was going to lose the services of Eager for one to two games. It was clear to everyone except Chicago home fans. Well, I guess it was not obvious to those in Toronto. No additional punishment and a clear head-shot. OK, judgement, but a pretty clear 1-2 games to me.

Then we have Brown on Hudler. Hudler dumps the puck down ice. Yes he was watching the puck but there was no reason not to. The puck was gone, the play was over for him. There was no one around, at least not anyone he needed to worry about. There was Brown, well behind the play. Brown saw it differently though. He felt that it was fair game to skate past and paste him with an elbow to the face. Sutherlands hand immediately went up, and as soon as he consulted with the other three officials and got the bleeding Hudler off the ice they correctly called a 5+Game on Brown. The call was interference, but roughing, elbow, intent to injure, they all work.

The league, in its infinite wisdom, stepped in to back its officials and hit Brown with a well deserved 4 game suspension. Err, they him with a light two games. Err, actually, they obsolved him of wrong-doing and cleared him to play in game two. I guess the lesson here is very clear. break a bone, and you get a vacation as long as you are a player of no real importance to your team. Only bust a guys up and you are OK. Way to go Mr. Murphey and Mr. Campbell. Heads are indeed still fair game in the MMA on ice.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

First round Op Eds, and thoughts

First round officiating was inconsistent at best. One of the reasons was the some of the wrong officials were put in the first round. I was openly apposed to Lee, Meier and LaRue making it at all. McCreaty, McCauley and Leggo I felt should be included only because someone had to be, and one and done should be all they see. Walsh did not have and especially impressive season, in fact many did not think they should be in. There are six other also reviewing games, and all of us gave a fair chance regardless of or thoughts going in.

My personal first round reviews were:
Flyers-Pens with VanMassenhoven and Hassenfratz. It was brutal, and I was not easy on them. They had no control, no consistency and lost it to the point that Carcillo was suspended for a game. GPA style scores for them was 1.00 for VanM and 0.75 for Fratz, and they had to work hard to score that low.
Blues/Nucks with Rooney and Watson. The teams complained that their first game was too tightly called, so they got what they wanted. They game was called fairly and even, not anything goes, but no soft calls, just beat on each other. I hit them for safety, but nothing else. 3.2 average score for both.
Bruins/Habs with Devorski and Walsh. An odd pairing because both are poor skaters. Devo though is very good at bringing the level of others up and working as a team. He did exactly that here. Walsh had a very poor skating game which lowers his score. 2.1, a touch above average. Devorski had superior positioning, which turns his poor skating effectively into well above average. 3.4, a B+.
Devils/Canes with Furlatt and McCauley. I was pleasantly surprised by McCauley, he in fact scored even with Furlatt, though in different areas. This is though probably the easiest game to officiate. This however was the controversial game with the winning goal with 0:00.2. I called the final goal clean, no interference, but did ding the officials for interference on an earlier goal. Scores averaged 2.9 each.
Flyers/Pens with Furlatt and McCauley. This time the duo did not draw and easy game. Again they really surprised me. The handled the game well, kept it in control. The only real demerits I game them was they skated poorly and were repeatedly in the way. Furlatt pulled a 2.8, and McCauly 2.5.
Wings/Jackets with Lee and O'Halloran. A pretty easy series, but a potential elimination game. They handled it horribly. It started off anything goes and became complete whistle lock. The suddenly a too many men was called with just over a minute left and Detroit scored to wing the game. The officials do not get dinged for that call, but they do for the rest of the game. 0.5 for each of them.
Flames/Hawks with Lee and O'Halloran, giving them another chance. The league had a full throttle on the game, and then when Chicago put the game early, it was just a dead game. Then the officials did not even call the game particularly even and inconsistent to try to keep it under control. If Calgary was going to show any signs of getting back in, it was made sure they did not. They still get better scores than they really deserve because the game did not test them. 2.8 for O'Halloran, Lee a 2.6.
Caps/Rangers with McCreay and Meier. A poor pairing, in what should be a fair game. In the end, I gave them higher scores than they deserved. Brashear hit bates with a brutal hit, a pure cheap shot that ended up resulting in a six game suspension. With officials had a good view, and gave him a matching minor, while Betts earned a broken orbital. The rest of the game was fairly clean except for skating, but they probably deserved a fail for that. McCreary a 1.7 and Meier 1.5.

Devorski and Walsh combined for 8 of the 12 highest scores in the round. Sutherland, Rooney,
Joannette and McCauley not only had the next highest scores and a separation from the pack. There was no question they earned the right to move on. McCauley of that group would not be my choice, but performance says he should move on. O'Rourke, Furrlatte, Watson, Jackson and Peel are in the next group. Pollock was well back of that group, but would be an almost must be moved on for his ability to police games and some of the teams that advanced. McCreary scored just behind Pollock, and a big gap back to 14. I would put him at a standby. VanMassenhoven, I would put as my other standby even with his rating of 19 out of 20 for his ability to police. No other really even earned consideration.

Those were my opinions. I have no idea what criteria the league used in place of merit as they said they were going to. McCreary was taken, and though I really do not like his officiating, he was boarderline at #13 in our ratings, and is a very veteran referee, so I could live with it without liking it. The keeping of LaRue, Leggo and O'Halloran and calling it on merit though is just out of line. McCauley would have been my first choice if I was to take someone out of line, and he was dropped, but he really deserved another round. Dropping O'Rourke and Rooney was a really poor choice, especially replacing them with the likes of LaRue and Leggo who simply are not good enough to be in the second round and they showed that in the first round. And dropping Walsh after the way he worked with Devorski is just inexcusable.

Scoring explanation.

The ratings table is the work of a group of seven people who dedicated quite a bit of time to review how officials did in the first round of the playoffs. I did only minimal interpretation of the scores, going as much as possible directly by how the reviewers scored the game.

The first two tables are for common infraction and safety infractions. Both are scored the same way. Common infractions are the non-physical fouls, interference, trips, and so on. Safety infractions are the more physical in nature infractions that if allow to escalate lead to potential injury and loss of control of the game. Too many men, pucks over the glass, fights and misconducts are not included. Ratings for call types are control calls, which would typically be a weak call but the reviewer thought it was made to keep the game under control, typical infractions, and no calls which are calls that are in the standards for calling in that game, but the officials let it go and noted why they thought it was a good call. Each of these were assigned a value of 100 when the reviewer noted them. A noted call is one that the reviewer gave specially notation about and would include things like a dive which takes special paperwork if it is called. Noted calls were set at 150, and a major was set at a value of 200. Any instance of those categories would add the noted amount to used as the standard for the game and the amount credited to the official.

There is them the negatives. A weak call is given the value of 50, and a miss 100. Make-up calls were called out by Mike Murphy of league offices in TOR as something that was not going to be tolerated, so that was given a value of 150, along with whiffs, which I defined as a miss that was made with a rated level of 20 or more points below standard for the game. A phantom call was given a value of 200, and had to be expressly called out by the reviewer as a call that simply was not an infraction. A bad miss was also given the value of 200, and I put as needing to be a level 90 or over infraction that was not called or specifically called out by the reviewer. A reviewer would call these out on things like a clear penalty that was not called and lead directly to a goal. All negative call add to the standards, but the official gets no credit.

As much as possible, reviews attempted to assign who was responsible for a noted call/non-call. This is not always possible due to camera angles, and sometime either official should see the play. These were considered shared calls. For an official, if the responsible official would accumulate the assigned value time three, for shared incidents times two, and for partner's calls with no multiple. It accounts for the fact the officials are a team, but they are also responsible for their own calls. Thus pairs did not have the same scores, but do track each other.

For the composite over-all rating, the scores from the three categories are added, with safety multiplied by 1.5. I even know of a bit fairer way of doing this, but the change in scores is small enough that I don't have time to do those calculations. If I weak or miss was close to the standard to the game, I gave the official a 1/2 rather than a full ding.

First Round Official ratings

Common Infractions
RefereeNumberStandardCreditScore
Devorski106800670098.5%
Walsh296000570095.0%
Sutherland114950430086.9%
Rooney52800240085.7%
Joannette253800310081.6%
Jackson85650450079.6%
Peel204850360074.2%
Furlatt276650480072.2%
O'Rourke425400370068.5%
LaRue147050480068.1%
Leggo35350360067.3%
McCauley48350560067.1%
Pollock336150400065.0%
Watson235700350061.4%
O'Halloran138700530060.9%
Lee288000440055.0%
VanMassehoven219000400044.4%
McCreary79275385041.5%
Hsenfratz307000280040.0%
Meier348625315036.5%



Safety Infractions
RefereeNumberStandardCreditScore
Walsh292050195095.1%
Devorski102550225088.2%
Sutherland115650480085.0%
Rooney55900480081.4%
McCauley46950555079.9%
McCreary79775760077.7%
O'Rourke422350180076.6%
Watson236700510076.1%
Hsenfratz307300550075.3%
Meier346925520075.1%
Joannette252650180067.9%
Jackson84350280064.4%
Furlatt276050385063.6%
Peel206000380063.3%
VanMassehoven217500450060.0%
Pollock334750280058.9%
O'Halloran136850355051.8%
Leggo36200320051.6%
Lee287150355049.7%
LaRue144650200043.0%



Reviewer Ratings
RefereeNumberStandardCreditScore
Devorski104000354588.6%
Sutherland113000250083.3%
Walsh294000320780.2%
Joannette253000217272.4%
O'Rourke423000208269.4%
McCauley45000338267.7%
Rooney53000197065.7%
Jackson83000195065.0%
Furlatt275000322064.4%
Peel204000253263.3%
Watson234000251262.8%
Pollock334000250262.6%
Leggo34000225556.4%
LaRue144000220555.1%
Meier345000250550.1%
McCreary75000248049.6%
Hsenfratz304000185846.4%
VanMassehoven214000171242.8%
Lee284000161840.4%
O'Halloran135000191238.3%



Combined Score
RefereeNumberStandardCreditScore
Devorski104000354588.6%
Sutherland113000250083.3%
Walsh294000320880.2%
Joannette253000217372.4%
O'Rourke423000208269.4%
McCauley45000338267.7%
Rooney53000197065.7%
Jackson83000195065.0%
Furlatt275000322064.4%
Peel<04000253263.3%
Watson234000251262.8%
Pollock334000250262.6%
Leggo34000225556.4%
LaRue144000220555.1%
Meier345000250550.1%
McCreary75000248049.6%
Hsenfratz304000185846.4%
VanMassehoven214000171242.8%
Lee284000161840.4%
O'Halloran135000191238.3%

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why all the ref data?

Mike ask a question that led me to answer a little more on what is going on with this data. Those of us who are reviewing games and the reason why I gathered and am presenting this data is because we are hockey fans. Easy and I (with others) started doing this a couple years ago when we as a group reviewed a large number of games systematically to look at the officiating. Some of that effort was initiated by rumors of favoritism and bias in officiating. Some was because I at least was tired of the yearly calls that “this year the rules would be enforced, and we really mean it this time”. We decided to monitor it. We wanted to create a forum under which officiating could be discussed without the constant bashing and whining that this or that referee hates our team, and the refs are all out to get us. Frankly, we also wanted to help educate people, including ourselves, exactly what referees in the NHL do, and how well they do it.

The project was well received. It was a lot of work for all involved, and Easy did a great job organizing it. I think all of us that were in the project found the effort worth it. We also had a huge increase in our respect for NHL officials and just how good of a job they really do. We found that some of the official we thought were not very good, actually were. Some of the officials that are/were the targets of the most criticism by the fans are actually amongst the ones we rated absolutely the best. We also watched some of the officials improve before our eyes. We watched as Steven Walkom, the Grand Poobough of officials actually implemented the system he said he was going to. We also found that our little project was noticed, to the point that the league knew they were being watched. As for bias, I will not say who, but we found evidence of only two officials that any of us felt showed signs of bias. On one of those, others found the same thing, including articles in the press accusing him of it, and he resigned before the next season.

Easy has revived the review process in a slightly different form, and we, the group that is, hit many of the late season games, and hope to get all the playoff games. One of our rules has always been no doing “our” team. Easy and I are both in SJ, so Sharks games are off-limits for us. Both of us are completely capable of reviewing a San Jose game without bias, but it simply looks better if we do not. Besides, then I get to yell at the officials for those games too. I am, and always have been, a hockey fan first though, and then a Sharks fan. I bleed hockey red, not teal.

When we did the reviews before, our grading was strictly on calls, good, bad and missed, with some verbal comments thrown in. We gave both officials full credit/blame on each issue, but we tried to lean to identify who the responsible party really was. We went by the theory that officials word as a team. This worked, but it was not 100% true. We quickly learned that senior officials often dominated junior officials for instance. We also learned that this was one of the systems that Walkom was trying to eliminate, and most of the time it is now greatly reduced. The Sr. official still usually runs the show, but most of the Jr. officials are no longer afraid to make a call. The reviews that are being done this year do not use that all a team effort. We try to identify who is actually responsible. If an infraction occurs directly in front of an official, but the official 90 feet away has to call it, we not that. We also are not grading just on pure counts, we are judging, in our opinion, the quality of the calls. We rate an infraction. If that infraction would have been called 20% of the time, then it should be let go, and we will call it a weak call if the whistle blows. If an official lets something go that is called 80% of the time: that is a blown call. We are rating each official in the game on situations that we think are their responsibility. Included are skating and position (do the players beat them down the ice, are they constantly getting hit by pucks…), fairness of the calls (do that call something we rate a 40, but let 70’s go. No calling things on one team or player and letting it go the other way), quality (no missed calls, no phantom calls, no make-ups (calling something that didn’t happen because you made a weak call last period and the team scored on the PP), safety calls (no letting things like high stick, crosschecks, charges, etc. go). The only real exceptions we give on having different call standards are there can be different standards for safety and obstruction, as long as the standard for obstruction is not lower than safety, and there is a lot more contact allowed in front of the crease (though more than I would like).

Now, on the numbers I have presented here: These are not gathered by the described review method. These come from the official play-by-play for the games. That means no way to assign who actually made a given call. If a call is made, it is assigned to both officials. That tends to flatten what should be the real spread amongst officials, and the real meaning of the numbers are that a game in which referee A is assigned has on averages these call probabilities, not that he actually made those calls. After an official has worked 70 games though, it is mostly fair to say if he has the highest call rate in the league, that it is his doing, and that his partner is actually holding it back from being even higher, or at the other extreme. There is of course no way to know how many of those calls were good calls, or how many are missed. That is where these raw numbers can be combined with our subjective reviews to come up with a real picture of what you should expect from an official. If for instance you have a high infraction team hosting a low infraction team, and have and official that is noted as seeming to call a lot more on visiting teams, that is not a good sign for the low infraction team. Our observations though might say that the tendencies of that official is to call a fair game, he has just been getting a lot of games with the visitors committing a lot of penalties. Or not. In the past, predicting call patterns for a game from these processes has been quite accurate.

Information on offciating over the season.

These are links on information about officials from the regular season. I will be adding additional information from the regular season and as the playoffs go on. I will keep this particular post at the top of the blog so that links to the other posts are readily and visible available in one place as other posts may be added. Comments are welcome. I hope you may find some of this information useful.

For call history by team. Calls by category, information by home and road, and "home ice advantage". Teams

Most penalty numbers by referee. This includes total calls, calls by category, and percentage of calls by period. Referees.

Calls by period, broken down by total calls and each category, looking mostly for drops of increases of calls. By Period.

Referee assignments. This shows total assignments by conference and division. There is then "drill down" sheets for each division. On the drill downs it will show both home many games the official work for a team both at home and on the road. Assignments

Playoff assignments is information on playoff assignments for last season. This set of sheets was made for questions of who worked specific games last year, and to see who is likely to work deep into the playoffs this year. It can be assumed that an official that worked deep into the playoffs last year would be expected to this year unless they have diminished performance since last season or if they do not perform to standards in the early rounds this season. Playoff Assignments.

Comments on the officials that have been selected for the playoffs this season. These comments are opinions, from my observations. Comments

It would be best not to comment on this post, all the others are fine. That is only because I will probably delete and re-publish this post through the playoffs to keep it on top.

Comments on playoff officials

These are entirely opinion from my observations, though I may revise according to the thoughts of other members of the group that have been reviewing officials and will be doing so for the playoffs.

When I make the comment heavy talkers, this is a good thing. Talkers are guys you can see visibly talking to players after the play, can hear on the feed calling out to get sticks down and to break up holds and jousting, especially early in the game to control rather than calling early penalties. Most of them will not make the first call until they have given a warning, then to the box you go. I am not talking arguing, strictly letting the player know what will be tolerated and what will not. They are also usually very good at going to the bench to explain their calls to the bench.

All playoff games are required to have a stanby referee and lineman assigned. In the first round these are referees other than the twenty listed as playoff referees. After the first round, referees working the series rotate out, or are taken out of the working rotation as the series progress or end. By the finals the officals are paired and usually alternate games until game seven for which the rotation sometimes is broken. Only one game last year failed to have a standby when travel issues prevented the back-up linesman from making the game.




Paul Devorski #10:
16 last year, through the SCF. Primarily an Eastern official in the regular season. Not an especially good skater but tends to make up for that in anticipation. Slightly over average in call rate. Has called 3% more on visitors than home teams. Calls level between periods even when broken down by category except misconducts. He calls misconducts in the second and third at any sign of a game getting out of hand. Consistently one of the best communicators in the game. Controls a game without bullying other officials and out of respect from the players.

Brad Watson #23: 16 games through the SCF. Above average skater who anticipates well and talks to players throughout the game. Call rate is high. Home/away differential well under average. Level all game in obstruction calls, but safety calls and fight related go up sharply in the 2nd, back down in the third indicating he cuts off the extra stuff before it gets out of hand. He is a heavy talker to the players, can be heard calling for sticks down and talking to players after whistles to keep control. Heavy Western official, matches Leggo with highest Pacific game count in the league.

Marc Joannette #25: 15 games through SCF. Average skater with good positioning. Level calls through the game, with obstruction calls dropping in the 3rd but safety calls going up. No real trends to losing control of games. Average call rate, with very few misconduct called. Well above average leaning towards home team. Regular season workload is almost even East/West, but seldom works the Pacific. Also know for very good positioning on calls.

Dan O'Halloran #13: 13 games through the SCF. Even split between East/West, almost even between all six divisions so equally familiar with all teams. Substantial drop in all call types in the third would indicate a trend to swallow the whistle late in a game. Call rate just above average with close to even calls between home and road however would indicate if may be more of getting a game under control early. Has issues with skating and position, and is sometimes completely silent in his calls, leaving everything to his partner.

Bill McCreary #7: 11 games through the conference finals. Even assignments between all divisions, and the senior official in the league. Substantial drop in obstruction calls while level in safety calls would back up his reputation for swallowing the whistle as the game progresses. His call rate is medium low however he had one of, if not the highest call rate in last year’s playoffs. A bit above average with home advantage in call rate.

Kevin Pollock #33: 11 games through the conference finals. Known as the Sherriff amongst referees. If trouble is expected, Pollock will not be far behind. This season he had a very heavy assign rate to the NE and Central divisions. Well below average in leaning to home team in calls, slightly below average in call rate. Is known for getting a game under control by making early calls, therefore is an official with the first period being the highest call period (for most of the league the second is), but a relatively flat call rate through the game. Talking much more to players this year after establishing a rep for taking no BS.

Kelly Sutherland #11: 10 games through the conference finals. Very heavy assignments to the NW, with low counts for the Central and NE. One of the best skaters and positional referees in the game. Somewhat low call rate with almost no difference between home and road. Definite drop in calls in the third, with a noticeable drop in obstruction calls and a large drop in fighting type calls. Very heavy talker to players, calling for sticks down and to drop the holding early in the game.

Mike Hasenfratz #30: 10 games through the conference finals. Even assignments across all six divisions. Much lower than league average on home team tendencies with slightly about average call rate. Not only no tendency to swallow, his call rate goes up in the third, with the increase being in safety calls indicating he does not put up with the team behind gooning. Is an official who has steadily improved over the last three years.

Don Van Massenhoven #21: 9 games through the second round. Low game count in the SE though he has a lean in assignments to the East. Call rate rises through the game but his obstruction calls drop substantially in the third while safety calls go up. Throws misconducts in the third indicating a tendency to have trouble keeping control late and is another choice for games that expect rough stuff. A favorite tactic it to throw an extra roughing call in a fight so he does not have to call the instigator and the misconduct that goes with it.

Mike Leggo #3: 9 games through the second round. Very heavy Pacific assignments. Poor skater has been known to need to be carried especially at the payoff level. Has trouble with speed teams. Has the lowest call rate in the league and high drop off in the third which is no surprise as he is considered by many to be a whistle swallower in the third. Slightly above average leanings towards home team, but average is too high to begin with. Out of position way too often.

Tim Peel #20: 8 games through the second round. Even assignments between conferences, the very heavy in the SE and Central. Call rate slightly above average and is the only official except Devorski who has called more penalties on the home team than the visitors. Does have a noticeable drop in calls in the third with it being substantial in obstruction calls giving the impression of swallowing the whistle late. Usually very good positional and a good skater which has helped him rise in respect steadily.

Wes McCauley #4: 5 games through the second round. Mostly Eastern assignments with very heavy in the SE, and what assignments he has in the west being dominantly in the Central. Not good positionally. Very low call rate and high drop off in all calls in the third for a known whistle swallower. He is not known to be consistent in calls, making phantom calls and chasing calls. A little above the high league average in home advantage.

Eric Furlatt #27: 4 last year, through the second round. Primarily an Eastern official with 20 assignments in the NE. Above average home leanings and slightly above average call rate. Definite drop in calls in the third with a heavy drop in all calls would label him a whistle swallower who attempts to control the game early.

Dave Jackson #8: 4 games in the first round. Even assignments across the board except the NW. Above average call rate and below average home leanings. Very level call rates across all categories except a drop in fighting in the third showing no tendency to back off or lose control of the game.

Dennis LaRue #14: 4 games in the first round. Assigned almost exclusively to the Pacific and NW. Has the third lowest call rate in the league. Slightly below average home leanings. Substantial drop in calls in the third and in obstruction calls, but also has the lowest rate of roughing/fighting calls in the league. Some would say it is because he allows too many roughs to go unpunished. As Easy points out, LaRue was once one of the highest call rates in the league, but also got a rep for phantom calls and backed off. IMO, he also lost confidence and over compensated. He also has skating and position issues.

Chris Rooney #5: 3 games in the first round. Mostly even assignments across the board except exchanging Central assignments for NW. Average call rate and a bit below average home advantage. Level calls across periods with the bulk of his misconducts coming late. The fact that he is below average home advantage even though working the NW when he would have likely spent time paired with some of the highest such numbers in the league means a lot. Has been noted for skating.

Chris Lee #28: Standby last season. Heavy NW assignments, with a little above average call rate, and a high home ice advantage. Increase in call rate in the third with a very high misconduct rate and high safety call rate in the third, and one of the highest fight/rough rate in the league. Part of that could be blamed on the NW assignments, but he is known for losing control of games. Poor positional official who has been known as a puck magnet, and a magnet to controversy. Should not be out of the standby pool.

Brad Meier #34: Standby only. Very heavy NW assignment rate. Low call rate when officiating heavily in a very high infraction division. Incredible high home advantage in call rate which suddenly came down late in the season from over a 33% advantage, down to 26%. Level total calls across periods, but a substantial drop in obstruction calls and rise in safety calls in the third. Also seems to be a puck magnet. Do not think he was ready to leave the standby pool.

Dan O'Rourke #42: Standby only. Mostly even assignments across division except a bit high in the SE. Highest call rate of any playoff ref with a bit below average home advantage. Level calls across periods with a slight increase in the third. Up and comer with good skating and instincts for position, but has been accused of phantom calls. I have seen more often that he still needs to call heavy to control the game, something that tends to change as a referee becomes more senior an the player learn not to test them.

Ian Walsh #29: standby only. Leans a bit to the East with assignments with the Atlantic being his highest assignment division. Medium below average in calls, and below average in home advantage. No drop in calls in the third period. Is not good positionally as he does not seem to be able to read the play if by instinct or experience, often getting caught in corner fights and hit by pucks. Do not agree he is ready to leave the standby pool.

Koharski (2), Kimmerly (1), Marouelli (1), Fraser (1)

NOTE: Many of the referees that have higher call drops in the third as amongst the officials that did not make the playoffs.