NHL referee Tim Peel (20) Photo By: Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Officiating Needs More Accountability

Have you ever had that moment when someone mentions a word or subject that you haven’t heard of for a long time, or ever, and then you start seeing it everywhere? It is funny when that happens…usually.  A few weeks ago I read an article that was published by our friends over at Puck Daddy that was dedicated to one NHL official and how often he has made horrible calls.  The blown calls by just this one individual have caused multiple teams to lose regular season and Stanley Cup Playoff games.  This referee is Tim Peel.

Now, I am very aware of of that officials name.  I’m guessing you can probably see where this is going, but I will confirm it for you: that official was on the ice last night and, with one terrible call, took the game (or at least points) away from the Columbus Blue Jackets.  If you missed the game, take a look for yourself by watching the video here.  The puck clearly went into the net, which appears to have gone off of the stick of Cam Atkinson, before Matt Calvert dislodged the net, or before he hit the goaltender.  However, Tim Peel said that he made incidental contact with Al Montoya, which made the play unreviewable.

Dec 16, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets forward Boone Jenner (38) chases a loose puck against the Winnipeg Jets during the third period at Nationwide Arena. Winnipeg defeated Columbus 3-2. Photo By: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

It is widely known that officials are at the receiving end of angered fans frustrations every sport, but what happens when the officials actually make bad calls? Most would say that is why the NHL has video review, but when you cannot use that technology, then the rules have failed.  Making official reviews a part of the game brings with it the ability to eliminate human error, at least when it is done properly.

The question is this, and it spans across all sports: what are coaches, owners, players and fans supposed to do when there is no accountability on the part of the officials?

Oct 26, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; NHL referee Mike Hasenfratz (2) and referee Frederick L

In the NHL, if a player makes a poor decision and does something that he isn’t supposed to do (even accidentally), there is immediately an impending threat of possibly being called into Branden Shanahans office for disciplinary action.  A player can be fined, suspended or both.  But when a team is playing the game, doing all the right things, and loses the game because of a bad call by the official, what is the outcome?  Nothing.

Allowing repetitive incorrect calls by the same official across many seasons is a failure by the National Hockey League.  Now I bet you are wondering how many there have been.  When you are done reading Union & Blue, head over to Google and simply search his name.  You’ll find many news articles, blogs and videos highlighting the many failures of Mr. Peel.

This isn’t about one goal in one game.  This is about something bigger.  The fans deserve better.

Tags: Columbus Blue Jackets

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