This piece comes from a contributor, Danielle Kahn. Follow her on Twitter.
Communication: Something so important to any relationship.
And let’s be honest, that’s exactly what I’m in with the Boston Bruins — a business relationship.
I pay the NHL generously with my money, time and emotional investment. I clear my schedule at night and spend countless hours during the day watching, reading, thinking, caring about my local team. I stay up late. I drive for miles. I wait in lines.
All I’m asking for in return is a little clarity.
The league needs to change the practice around communication from referees. I don’t want to hear a justification for their calls — it’s their job and I trust that they’re performing it to their best ability — but I do want to hear that fairness and consistency is a priority.
When Craig Berube called out the refs for penalizing his team and the punishment suddenly stopped, did I find it suspicious because I’m a biased Bruins fan? Probably.
Are there people in Boston who will believe the officiating tide has turned unfairly against the Bruins no matter what? Maybe.
But would it make me feel better, as a hockey fan, to hear that the most experienced professionals chosen to preside over the most important games of the year are appalled at the very idea their judgement would be swayed by one team’s coach? Yeah, actually, I think it would.
Some kind of response to Berube’s comments from the league would have at least given the appearance that they weren’t going to allow their refs to be publicly shamed into not making calls against the Blues.
Maybe that’s why it was particularly insulting that the statement from the league after the blown call on Thursday night amounted to nothing more than: it is what it is.
NHL releases statement (I guess) to pool reporter on non-call: "We don't make comments on judgment calls within games. There are hundreds of judgment calls in every game. The official on the play, he viewed it and he didn't view it as a penalty at the time."— Ty Anderson (@_TyAnderson) June 7, 2019
No remorse. No reassurance. Nothing.
You know the non-call on Tyler Bozak was bad. I know it. The Bruins know it. Hell, Bozak knew it, which is why he turned to the ref, palms up, after taking Noel Acciari down.
Some kind of honest communication from the league wouldn’t have changed the result, but it would have at least made things feel a little better.
“There was a missed call in the third period of Game 5 against Boston. We will work with the on-ice officials to ensure that such calls aren’t missed in the future. The integrity of the game is important to us, and while our officials are human, we strive to get the call right every time.”
Easy. An acknowledgment of the error. An acknowledgment that things will improve. You know, a little communication.
Instead...the silent treatment.
C’mon, NHL. Don’t we know each other better than that?