Friday, December 30, 2005


WJC Day 4: It's "Officially" Crappy!

I took the day off from covering the WJC yesterday, but I did catch the second half of the Canada/Norway game. For the second straight game, Norway got great goaltending, but we were also subjected to the worst officiating ever. recaps here.

I thought Swedish ref Marcus Vinnerborg was horrible, but last night's game took the proverbial cake. It was long, frustrating, and basically a battle of Power Plays and patience.

...most of the game was a snoozer because Russian referee Rafail Kadyrov rarely removed the whistle from his mouth. He seemed to take the International Ice Hockey Federation's instruction to crack down on hooking and obstruction to heart, calling 21 minors in the first 33 minutes of the game.

He called 45 in total and incurred the wrath of the 16,083 at Pacific Coliseum several times as the game had little flow and the Canadians were unable to generate much excitement, with the exception of three goals in a two-minute span in the second period.
After the game, Brian Burke said that it was impossible for there to be a more incompetent referee. He also criticized the linesmen for making mistakes.

Now, this quote irks me:

''I want the players to know the level of play that they can play so that they can show their skills,'' Bob Nicholson said. ''At this time, we knew there would be a learning curve with the officials. Hopefully they're going to get on a curve here that it's going to be more consistent."
This is a major international tournament. This is not a time for teaching and learning 'new' methods! If the standard wasn't in place before the tournament, subjecting the fans, the teams, and everyone else to crappy and inconsistent officiating is the wrong thing to do! The officials at any IIHF tournament, especially a major A-level tournament, should be the best of the best. There should not be 'junior' officials or some random guy from a Russian tavern.
Can we expect this kind of crap in the Olympics or will we get NHL referees that will do a much better job? (Providing Mick McGoo is not one of them)

In other WJC news, the 2005 Canadian Junior Team that destroyed everything in its path was named Team of the Year by the Canadian Press.
Poor HC Ceske Budejovice gets robbed again!

Let me first say that I didn't watch the game and that the number of penalty minutes handed out is not normal for a WJC game. However I often run into discussions with North Americans who are blaming refs at tournaments like this.

Sure, things are stricter officitated than 'normally' for them. One likes, one doesn't. That's a subjective thing I won't get on too now.

Nevertheless one should keep in mind it's an 'international' tournament going by the 'international' rules.

So all those comparisons with NHL referees and things like that are like comparing the Canucks with the Rangers.

There is more between black or white.

My condolences to Ceske Budejovice. Too bad my votes for Havirov never made it to the final voting round either:/

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