NHL referees are only human.
They’re going to make mistakes. It’s bound to happen.
But the NHL needs to admit when mistakes happen.
For example, in Game 3 of the Detroit Red Wings-Anaheim Ducks series, the ref lost sight of the puck in the last minute of the game. Detroit scored, but the ref had blown the whistle and the call.
Everyone knows it was a mistake. But what does the NHL do? They tell a reporter with the Detroit Free Press that it wasn’t a mistake.
This is a comment from NHL’s E.J. McGuire, series manager and spokesman for officials:
“He didn’t make a mistake. In hindsight, if he had a slow-motion camera to review it, he may not have” blown the whistle. “He did what all officials are instructed to do. Blow the whistle when they don’t see the puck. And he didn’t see the puck.”
Seriously? You’re going to try to deny the fact a mistake happened?
Now, compare that to the other sports. Last season, after a scorekeeping error had someone foul out of a game early by accident, the NBA determined that the last minute and a half should be replayed at a later date.
The there’s this story from the NBA. Earlier this week, the Denver Nuggets won a playoff game over the Dallas Mavericks, thanks to a last-second three-pointer. However, a player on the Mavericks tried to foul so his opponent couldn’t take the three-pointer. The refs missed the call.
So what did the NBA do: They admitted the refs made a mistake.
In this article from ESPN:
“At the end of the Dallas-Denver game this evening, the officials missed an intentional foul committed by Antoine Wright on Carmelo Anthony, just prior to Anthony’s three-point basket,” Joel Litvin, NBA president of league and basketball operations, said in a statement issued by the league about two hours after the game.
Instead of being angry, players and coaches seem to be more accepting of it. They may be angry, but they’ll say, “hey, mistake happen, and that’s all you can do.”
The NFL is the same. They’ll come out and admit if the refs made a mistake (a famous one happened last year that impacted the spread, but not who won the game).
So why can other leagues admit their mistakes, but not the NHL? We know referees are human, and there are going to be errors. But when a mistake is made, own up to it. Don’t try to defend it.