Refereeing has been a hot topic this playoffs and not for the reasons the NHL would like. It’s been frequently inconsistent, momentum of any given game gets routinely short-circuited for man-advantage situations, and in general it’s made for some incredibly frustrating viewing of one of the best times in the sport. It’s been a killjoy, and Cam Neely seems pretty done with it himself, as he talked to reporters today about the state of the refereeing:
...I really think it’s something that the league has to look at...I know they look at it after every game but I really think they need to take a hard look at what’s happening with the refereeing and because the game’s gotten so fast, they need to figure out if the referees keeping up with the pace of the game? - Cam Neely (slightly paraphrased for clarity because he used the phrase “Take a look at” like four times.)
He noted that it also distracts from the hockey, as he pointed out that for all the great stuff that’s been coming out of the playoffs this year, the biggest stories so far have been about refereeing...and also Brad Marchand’s licking.
For me it was the non-calls...I didn’t mind so much the calls against us...There were three in particular that bothered me; There was the Marchand slash in Game 2, Kevan Miller got a boarding call and later, same situation where Pasta got hit from behind and there was no call, and of course the No-Call on McAvoy...Those three for me were tough to take. - Cam Neely
While refereeing wasn’t the only thing that ended up dooming the Bruins postseason, it made the decidedly not-fun situation they were working with all the more maddening to deal with.
Hopefully the NHL does heed Neely’s other executives from around the league, and the nearly universal media calls for better scrutiny of the on-ice officials for next season.
Well...Here’s hoping, anyway.