Watch seven minutes of questionable officiating, if four games wasn’t enough for you [VIDEO]

Let’s get right out in front of this: the Canucks didn’t lose this series because of officiating. They lost because the Sharks were better, because San Jose’s speed on the forecheck gave them fits, because they couldn’t handle the Sharks’ depth down the middle, and because their penalty-kill went lame at the worst possible time.

But even still, man alive, did that lame penalty kill get a lot of chances to fail, especially compared to San Jose’s. Granted, the Sharks were going to draw more penalties because they had the puck more and they were faster, but as TSN analyst Ray Ferraro noted in Game 4, “From a Vancouver standpoint, you have to feel like any time there has been a 50/50 call, it’s gone against you. They have to be furious.”

The Canucks were indeed furious. While, again, the Sharks made it to Round 2 the old-fashioned way — by outplaying their Round 1 opponent  – San Jose was also handed a few big-time momentum shifts throughout the series as a result of some oddball calls. There aren’t many outside of San Jose who feel Daniel Sedin’s penalty in overtime was warranted, for instance.

But as this video from Canucks fan and prolific Youtuber Makaveli suggests, there’s a case to be made that the questionable officiating went beyond that:

A couple quibbles with the video: of course the officiating is going to look biased if you cherry-pick moments and slow everything down. That’s right out of the Eugene Melnyk school of forensics. Plus, the officials are still humans, so human error accounts for some of this as well. Please don’t use this slanted but movingly scored video as irrefutable proof of a grand conspiracy.

Speaking of which, we’re going to hear partial or full conspiracy theories for a few days now, so here are eight words on that: There isn’t one, that’s stupid, don’t be stupid.

I also do not feel, as Jason Botchford suggested, that Kelly Sutherland, who made this call from centre ice and called Alain Vigneault for a bench minor that led to a Canucks’ loss earlier this year, did so Tuesday night because he still hates Alain Vigneault so much. From the Province:

Sutherland refused interviews, and by the NHL’s chicken-s*** regulations, he doesn’t have to stand up and be accountable. He did get word through rights-holder TSN that he called the penalty because he “deemed it a violent shove into the boards where the player couldn’t defend himself from the hit.” (via Farhan Lalji).

It seems obvious Sutherland was calling the injury, not the penalty. He saw Tommy Wingels struggling to get up, and made a player safety call. Either that, or he hates AV, and got his revenge for getting called out. Take your pick.

Yes, that is a Vancouver beat reporter suggesting an official went out of his way to decide a playoff elimination game because he has a vendetta against a coach. And yes, that is downright absurd.

But I do think that the Canucks got a raw deal from the officials in this series. So if it’s not a vendetta and it’s not a conspiracy fit for Mulder and Scully, then what is it?

Their reputation. This video was made after Game 3, when it had become clear to many that the calls weren’t favouring the Canucks. I suspect Kevin Bieksa had an inkling as to why, and tried to do his best to fix it when he went out of his way to call out the Sharks for diving.

Brad Ziemer pointed out that Bieksa repeated the diatribe later on for TV cameras with props – a no-no for debates, but a yes-yes if you’re trying to refocus a narrative in an extremely calculated move.

People laughed because it seemed as though Bieksa had forgotten what team he belonged to, but the more I think about it, the more I think Bieksa’s affiliations were a large part of why he called out the Sharks. This video should give a pretty good indication that the Canucks weren’t getting the benefit of the doubt, and that’s the sort of thing that happens when you have a reputation for diving and dirty play. So Bieksa tried — in vain, as Game 4 would prove — to fit the Sharks with a similar reputation, and in so doing, hopefully strip the benefit of the doubt from them as well. It didn’t work.

Again, it’s not why Vancouver lost, so save your outrage. But it hurt them in this series, and I’m willing to believe that the officiating will continue to be unkind to them until the Canucks figure out a way to change their reputation.

They could start by sending cards to the NHLOA. But don’t put glitter in their cards. People hate glitter, and you’d hate to get a reputation as the team that sends glitter in the mail.

Tags: , , ,

28 comments

  1. Kooney!
    May 8, 2013

    I’m a Sharks fan and the penalty on D. Sedin in overtime was not a penalty.

    However, the refs called the Sharks for icing in the last minute of game 5 in the 2011 WCF when it (oddly enough) deflected off a Sedin’s stick. Kesler scored off that faceoff to tie the game. We all know about the stanchion in OT. The Canucks were far and away the better team in that series.

    That stuff happens and it sucks. I like the Canucks. I like AV a lot. I hope he isn’t fired and I hope the fans can understand that even though this team didn’t live up to expectations it doesn’t mean they can’t do something in the future. That’s where I feel the Sharks and Canucks are very similar.

    Try not to overreact, Canucks fans. They are still a great team.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +44 (from 48 votes)
    • CanucksFan
      May 8, 2013

      This is a really solid comment. Well said.

      That being said, I think it would be a really enjoyable series to watch both these teams, with proper officiating, operating at their peak level and a fairly even share on the bounces. In 2011, the Canucks got every bounce, and found every hole (7-2 game with back to back 5 on 3′s, stanchion bounce, missed icing). This series was the exact same, only reversed.

      What’s a shame is that as hockey fans, we’re unable to watch the real talent and real battle when someone like Kelly Sutherland steps in with his ‘expert opinion’ from the far blue line.

      The Sharks lost in 2011 because the Canucks were A. The better team and B. Got every break. The Canucks lost in 2013 because the Sharks were A. The better team, and B. Got every call.

      With all this fall-out (that Couture dive after the Bieksa hit is astonishing) The Sharks are playing a dangerous game, especially if they end up against a Kings or Blues team in the Conf Final. They will be decimated.

      Alright. I’m going to the beach.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +23 (from 23 votes)
      • Hy
        May 10, 2013

        The penalties against the Sharks in ’11 were not the same bs calls made against the Canucks.

        The multiple 5-on-3′s were a result of Sharks player shooting the puck over the glass for ‘delay of game’ penalty. This is a black-and-white rule that the officials HAS to make as oppose to the many judgement calls made against the Canucks in ’13.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • André Vidal
      May 8, 2013

      I never though the vancouver canucks stood a chance against the sharks based on how they played all season long, but I’m impressed and kind of proud of how this team battled their own demons, especially in the last game. I really think that this series deserved some more games, it would have been fun to watch.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  2. Ryan
    May 8, 2013

    You nailed it at the end. Karma is a so and so. And the Canucks have a reputation as bunch of diving sissies. It’s about time they weren’t rewarded for it. Enjoy the offseason.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -41 (from 53 votes)
    • Gabe
      May 8, 2013

      Bro, do you even logic?

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +17 (from 19 votes)
    • Jake
      May 8, 2013

      That doesn’t make any sense. How can the Canucks be diving sissies if they took 24 penalties in a 4-game series? Clearly they stopped diving and turned into murderous goons and thugs, just for these games.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +29 (from 29 votes)
  3. Tommy Wingels : The Diving joke
    May 8, 2013

    1~
    Tommy Wingels, snaps his head back, embellishing, to draw the 4 min high stick vs. Hamhuis then jumps into the boards head first 2x (Bieksa, D.Sedin) to take the series.
    What a clown, not even the Canucks at their worst pulled that kind of garbage.
    Tommy Wingels should be exposed for this.
    2nd ~
    Kelly Sutherland should never be allowed to referee another NHL game if the NHL wants to save an ounce of credibility (doubt it)
    3rd ~
    The sweep will be a blessing for this club and hopefully spark the widespread changes much needed. Too small, too undersized , no heart, no sense of urgency. Club needed a heart trasnplant ages ago. There is no choice left with a sweep.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +13 (from 21 votes)
    • Gabe
      May 8, 2013

      Take a deep breath and think about kittens.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +9 (from 9 votes)
  4. Unknown Comic
    May 8, 2013

    The Sharks were called out nationally by TSN last night for the diving. They took the series and were the better team. But they took the Diving Crown from Vancouver as well. Good luck to San Jose going forward with the new target on their backs. It’s a tough rep to shake as seen in the video.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +20 (from 24 votes)
    • Kooney!
      May 8, 2013

      Could you provide a link to this “call out” if it even exists…. Because your whole comment looks like projection haha

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: -5 (from 7 votes)
  5. Lenny
    May 8, 2013

    Somebody add the two from last night in there… this is a disgrace.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +15 (from 17 votes)
  6. David S
    May 8, 2013

    Blaming officiating is like a contractor blaming his tools.

    The Canucks are notorious for taking the extra cheap shot when they can. In this game they got called for it and lost.

    Sure there were a few questionable calls. There are in every series. In this one they just got outplayed.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -24 (from 26 votes)
    • Josh D.
      May 8, 2013

      A few questionable calls? You know this series set a record for the most one sided officiating in a four game series, right?

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +24 (from 24 votes)
  7. Tom 1040
    May 8, 2013

    This article is much like the Canucks reputation for the past 5 years.

    Oh, and by the way, good call on the Sedin penalty.

    Not much question, in my mind.

    Cheese with your w(h)ine.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -15 (from 15 votes)
  8. CthulhuBob
    May 8, 2013

    It’s not that the Canucks have a target on their backs, or that the Sharks are better at diving than Greg Louganis, its the damnable bush league officiating LEAGUE-WIDE. From what I have seen and heard in the Ottawa-Montreal series, the same lameness is occurring. I don’t know how you fix officiating in a fast and fluid game like hockey but a good start would be to..oh I don’t know… CALL THE RULES AS WRITTEN MAYBE! Everyone says that that game is better in the playoffs because they call less except the refs don’t actually do that, they just call differently.
    I have come to the conclusion that there isnt any point watching playoff hockey until they start calling with consistency plus allow video review and a Coach’s challenge. I mean, seriously, as a fan I cant trust the product that they expect me to buy. It would like a car that occasionally slows down when you press the gas or speeds up when you tap the brakes *facepalm*.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +9 (from 9 votes)
    • best behaviour
      May 9, 2013

      Agreed!! They wonder why they don’t expand the fan base? Even setting aside the way they keep locking us out, most people expect some consistency. When they give us a game with sloppily mis-weighted calls, they give us a poor product not matching the excellence of the players.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  9. Mike
    May 9, 2013

    Karma…sweet, sweet karma!

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -4 (from 4 votes)
    • Daniel Wagner
      May 9, 2013

      I don’t recall anyone saying that the Canucks (or rather, some members of the Canucks) don’t dive. We’ve always been clearing in saying that some of them do, some more than others, but no more than players on every other team in the league.

      VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  10. best behaviour
    May 9, 2013

    “Yes, that is a Vancouver beat reporter suggesting an official went out of his way to decide a playoff elimination game because he has a vendetta against a coach. And yes, that is downright absurd.”

    Why?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  11. best behaviour
    May 9, 2013

    “Again, it’s not why Vancouver lost, so save your outrage.”

    No, actually, I don’t think I will. I think I’m allowed to think that a league that actually thinks it’s OK to award calls based on which guys they think are cooler is a bush league.

    A lot of reporters seem to have drunk the NHL kool-ade that players, coaches, and reporters who call out the league on their bad calls and non-calls are whiners, hypocrites, people who should save their outrage.

    But fans can still be outraged that we’re seeing the very best players in the world playing in an inconsistent environment so they’re not giving us the best of the game.

    Don’t tell us to save our outrage. I like your blog, but don’t you roll your eyes at us for being angry that they’re not making a genuine attempt at consistency and fairness.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
    • Daniel Wagner
      May 10, 2013

      Honestly, that kind of outrage is fine. Outrage that the reffing cost the Canucks the series, however, is misplaced. I am definitely upset at the standard of reffing in the NHL and have no issue with fans expressing their anger over the lack of consistency and the changing rules in the playoffs. I’m pretty sure that Harrison feels the same way.

      But it’s still not why the Canucks lost.

      VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      • best behaviour
        May 10, 2013

        I think plenty of teams win a series without being the better team in some of the games, and go on to do very well, even if not to win the cup. Game 4 could have easily been a pivotal moment.

        Even setting aside the obvious difference in point production on the power play (which even a child would notice is deeply favouring to the favoured team), somehow no one ever talks about the deeply negative effect it must have on morale, spirits, energy, confidence & vigour to know that you can be a good, straightforward, upstanding guy, acting with respect with a whole teamful of guys doing the same, and see the calls coming in and see the look on the ref’s face that says, “Nope, we still don’t like you. You blew it years ago. We’re weighting this game, in fact this whole series against you. Suck it up, let’s see your penalty kill again.” And to know it will keep happening. Not to mention the corresponding boost it gives to the favoured guys.

        This kind of difference costs teams games and series.

        The players themselves would probably just give up if they didn’t keep saying, “It’s just on us; we have to be better on the penalty kill; we have to stop taking these penalties,” because they have to feel like they still have a chance at winning in spite of the bias. Have you guys started to believe them?

        Frankly, your “expos/e” on Bieksa’s attempt to address this disrespectful inequity came across to me as cynical & even critical of him. When I first saw him speaking, I thought it was a brave and manly move, speaking out and drawing attention to the problem without criticizing the officials, instead of continuing to touch his cap and bow and say, “We shouldn’t be taking these penalties; we have to be disciplined. Please, sir, may I have another?” That hasn’t been working for the Canucks. And there is no way to get around it. And they all knew it.

        You think they didn’t look their best, huh? Well, surprise, surprise.

        And it happens throughout the league. I won’t watch another playoff game, just because there are no consistent standards, so what you’re seeing isn’t skill and passion against skill and passion.

        We cannot say the Canucks would have won that series with better reffing. But you cannot say who would have won. It is lazy and unaware to say with authority that it didn’t cost the Canucks the series, that the Canucks were going to lose even with even-handed reffing.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  12. Actual Athlete
    May 10, 2013

    The reffing IS the reason the Canucks were swept in the series, that is the simple and undeniable truth. We all know that it isn’t good form to whine about the reffing and we all know that you have to fight through it and create your own breaks and all that stuff. But the truth of the matter is that the refereeing cost the Canucks the series. The difference between winning and loosing is so small that when one team gets 3 to 4 more penalties that the other team that is a monstrous advantage and if you don’t know that you quite simply have no clue about high level sports. It isn’t just the 6 to 8 minutes per game that the Canucks are short handed it is the change in momentum that penalties create and it is the vigour from which you can play the game when you know your not going to get called, versus when you know your are going to be called. It is also the 6 to 8 minutes of poor matchups that being short handed creates. Yes indeed – it was the reffing and it is pretty simple. Everyone one would have been talking about how well the Canucks played had they won any one of the games, and they could have easily won any of those games, with a bounce ot two, even game one. Think about if the Canucks not only were not short handed 6 to 8 mins per game, but it was the other way, with the Canucks getting the extra power plays. That is a 14 to 16 minute power play switch and would easily be the difference. If there was a prop bet for winning and loosing, when a team is short handed 4 times more than the other team, what would the odds be? It would be interesting to know what the stats are for when a team is short handed 8 mins more than the other team, how many times out of 10 would they win…..not very many, I would bet.

    We have been taught growing up that real men don’t blame the refs and real winners don’t whine about the refffing. However, when you take a step back and really give knowledgeable consideration to what happened, – assuming that you have any real understanding about how fine the line is between winning and loosing – and you know how much momentum even a 2 minute penalty can affect the outcome – you know it was the reffing that was the difference. There is quite simply no doubt about it and the Canucks and everyone in the NHL knows it.

    If you believe Borrows side of the Auger story, and any right thinking person watching the pre-game video and reflecting on the actual calls and non-calls that were made would – then it is pretty easy to see that the refs got some payback for getting one of their comrades fired.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  13. Ed Lisogar
    May 10, 2013

    During the upcoming disappointing off season, when your mind wanders to thoughts of why hockey fans outside of BC never seem to pull together and root for the Canucks, pull today’s cry baby, whining diatribe (“Cam Cole”) out of the archives and read it…again…slowly. “The ref lost the game for us” is about as old and tired an excuse for Canuck failures as “it’s George Bush’ fault” is on this side of the border.

    The Canucks season didn’t end due to one bad call. It ended because they lost four straight games to a western division organization that GETS it. It ended because management (and apparently an entire city) has been fooled into thinking that the regular season exploits of two European figure skaters will be enough to carry the other 18 spectators (most whom will be forever remembered as “players to be named later”) through several brutal rounds of PLAYOFF hockey. Fair or otherwise (as any HONEST hockey fan will admit) NHL referees put their whistles away in the playoffs. It’s a fact and no amount of feigned outrage ( “HEYYYYYY, that guy stuck his glove in Daniel’s face!!”) is going to change that. The twins were invisible, again, in this series, as they have been every year of their tenure with the Canucks. An ex player suggested to me after game three that its gotten so bad that it now appears that they take intentional penalties late in tough games to ensure their safety…a little far fetched perhaps, but what player, scratch that, what North American player would want someone to even SUGGEST that about their play? It takes Hendrik four and a third games to muster the ba__ s to run into someone and he does it a foot from the boards? Smart… (i guess its to be expected when you wait until overtime of an elimination game to try something you have never done in your career). Predictably, had the roles been reversed you’d be calling for a full fledged RCMP inquiry into an alleged assault and battery.

    Once management secures a coach and drafts and/or trades for the horses that UNDERSTAND the difference between regular season and playoffs, the sooner Vancouver will get back to conference finals and eventually the cup finals (Raffe Torres would look nice in a Canucks jers…what’s that? Oops…never mind).

    Ed Lisogar
    Former 20 year season ticket holder
    Scottsdale, AZ

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
  14. Cheryl
    May 10, 2013

    But I’m still hearing people say that because the Canucks have a reputation for diving & embellishment they will be punished for that by the officials. Soooo….how then is that not biased officiating ?

    1stly – diving/embellishment has been a part of the game for many years now. See some classic dives from chronic diver Mario Lemieux in the ’92 playoffs against Chicago on YouTube for your viewing pleasure. All the teams do it – 4th liner or superstars, some teams more, some less but they all do it. To target one team is, well………. biased.

    2ndly – the one constant in this league is the rule book. It DOES apply equally to all teams.

    3rdly – if an on-ice official is making calls based on his personal feelings about a specific team then that official needs to be removed/remove himself from the game as his call can be nothing except biased.

    The Canucks may well have been out matched by the Sharks. If that is the case then they would have lost the series of their own accord and without any interference by incompetent and biased officiating.

    Of course now we’ll never know.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  15. kenahora
    May 23, 2013

    When the NHL starts paying officials reasonable salaries…instead of chump-change …then and only then will the leagueget qualified and satisfactory refs. MAYBE THEY SHOULD HIRE OFFICIALS from Europe…cause this group entrusted with the great responsibility are a sad xillection of nobody’s

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)