2) We understand that officiating the game of hockey that is moving at break neck speed has to be a difficult task, however if these are the best athletes, certainly we should/could have the very best officials too, right? Is this a case of institutional incompetence or is it going according to Gary Bettman's plan, or both? We have even seen a significant number of blown/missed offsides calls. For instance, the game winning OT goal by Pittsburgh-v-Rangers appeared to be significantly offside, yet it was allowed.
3) Also, can someone please explain the rule of when a goal counts/doesn't count/when interference should be called with respect to players bumping/interfering with goalies? It seems each referee has a different take on the rule, and then they change the interpretation game to game or sometimes period to period. We have seen offensive players throw/push defensemen into a goalie and have a goal count, and have player stand NEAR the crease and have a goal waved off, and every other possible scenario take place these past playoffs and we are as befuddled by the actual rule as we were before. If we are, then the players/coaches must have no clue either on how they are allowed to play. We would most definitely could have foreseen another Brett Hull 1999 'goal' to decide the Finals. We'd have loved to see Bettman again embarrassed by such an occurrence once again!
4) Another factor that can't be overlooked is the uneven manner in which calls are made. We were told that there would be zero tolerance for restraining fouls, yet we have seen countless stick infractions missed by BOTH refs. Also, can we dispel with the myth that they call the games the same in the first period as the third/OT? The stats we have uncovered would seem to tell another story. In the playoffs the number of calls in the first half of games averaged to be about 40% MORE than the second half. (eliminating coincidental penalties) If one simply compares the first period to OT's thus far the difference is even more stark!
5) Again, we understand it's not an easy job, officiating an NHL game. Even on a good day it's probably one of the least desirable and most difficult jobs to do, and no one is saying that 100% of the calls are expected to be right 100% of the time. In a high pressure situation like the playoffs the microscope is even bigger, with instant replays and the 18,000 or so paying referees (fans) disputing every call, and there is a subjective nature to the system that can't be overlooked. That said, there should be the expectation that the referees and linesmen will make the right call most of the time. Clearly, thats not that much to expect. There will always be controversial calls in every playoff series; there are always those plays that should have been whistled down that weren't, the moments that become legend for one fanbase or another. Somehow, though, it seems like this year the bad calls, or blatantly missed calls are not only more prevalent but more pivotal in the final outcome of a game or even a series. That shouldn't happen. In order for hockey to maintain its integrity, this SHOULD NOT happen.