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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Gregson To Blame For Officiating Issues

Officiating has become a focal point in this NHL season. From terrible calls to referees putting away their whistles, media and fans alike have clamored that there are significant issues that are affecting the overall quality of the product on the ice.

We can point fingers at individual officials, such as Tim Peel and Chris Lee, who time and time again have demonstrated levels of competency that one can find at the bottom of a commode. Others, like Paul Devorski and Dan O'Hallaran, have shown an innate inability to keep control of overly physical contests, often resembling zebras frozen stiff as they wait to be pounced on by a hungry lion.

Gone are the likes of Bruce Hood, Brian Lewis, Kerry Fraser, Andy Van Hellemond and Don Koharski, whose ability to get along with players and coaches was among their strongest assets.

Van Hellemond's reputation earned him the position of NHL Director of Officiating from 2000-2004, a position he took over from Lewis. Van Hellemond resigned in 2004 to pursue other interests when the year-long NHL lockout seemed inevitable. During his tenure, the NHL was rich with referees who thought themselves smaller than the game (although one could argue that Mick McGough was the exception).

After the lockout ended, the NHL introduced a new set of rules and a new Director of Officiating, that being Stephen Walkom. Walkom was another well-respected official, who decided to move his career in another direction. Walkom did an admirable job in extremely volatile circumstances. His overseeing of the new obstruction rules introduced after the lockout was a daunting task, and he did a good job making sure they were enforced.

However, as scrutiny began to grow as officials began changing their modus operandi in the playoffs, Walkom decided in 2009 it was in his best interest to return to the ice as an official.

That opened the door to the crux of the current officiating dilemma, the hiring of former NHL referee Terry Gregson on September 9th, 2009.

Gregson served as an NHL referee from 1981 to 2004. He officiated over 8 Stanley Cup finals in his career, as well as an All-Star Game, and the World Cup of Hockey in 1996. He built a reputation of being a no-nonsense official, who called the game HIS way.

His way, however, mimicked the inconsistency we currently see in the league. Gregson was notorious of putting away his whistle very often at the end of games. Further, he was loathed by some NHL coaches because of an obvious bias he had towards certain organizations, including the Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres.

That became evident during the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals, when Gregson didn't show the intestinal fortitude to disallow the now infamous toe-in-the-crease, Stanley Cup winning goal by Dallas Stars' sniper Brett Hull.

Gregson retired before the new set of rules, designed to speed up the game and increase flow, were implemented by the National Hockey League. Often viewed as a stubborn coot as an on-ice official, that is evident in his current disregard for rule enforcement. He has allowed his wards to run their assigned games their way, in turn soiling the product on the ice and confusing those closest to the game.

In four years, Terry Gregson has certainly left an in-admirable stench over the National Hockey League. Hopefully, the NHL Board of Directors, Gary Bettman and the league office will see the light, and do what Gregson couldn't...

Make the right call!!!

5 comments:

Officiating has been pathetic in every series so far during these playoffs.

It may not be all their fault, for example, did you ever stop to think that there eye doctors have no competency when dealing with eyes..

This post explains so much...

Are you kidding, ratings mater more than good calls.

The Leafs get those type of calls against them all the time and nobody seems to care?

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