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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Referees ruin games

Published: January 22, 2010
Section: Sports

When I was in high school I went to a football game where my school lost because of a bad call. My high school team was kicking for a field goal to win the game and the referee made them kick from further out than they should have. They missed the field goal and lost the game. Afterward my grandpa, who was also at the game, told me he hates it when the referees decide to play and interfere with who wins and loses. And after watching the Boston Bruins lose to the Ottawa Senators on Monday, I cannot agree with him more.

First, I doubt the Bruins would have won even if they had fair calls. They were playing poorly and must have been tired after returning from a road trip down the East Coast. Goalie Tim Thomas was pulled halfway through the second period after allowing three goals. But the worst of all the game was the referees’ own play.

It is one thing when a ref makes a bad call; but this was ridiculous. It started out with the ref not getting out of the way of the puck early in the game that ruined a Bruins chance at scoring. Then there were bad calls against the Bruins and not enough calls against the Senators. For example, in the second period, Mark Recchi received a minor penalty for the rarely called elbowing. Following his arguing the penalty, Recchi received another minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Senators went on to score in the first of Recchi’s penalties, but luckily the Bruins were able to hold off any more goals during the next two minutes while Recchi was in the box.

While the Bruins were getting penalties throughout the game, the Senators received only one penalty in the entire sixty minutes. And there were times that looked like the Senators were slashing and hooking; nothing extreme, just what happens (and usually is called) in every hockey game. The referees must not be able to tell the difference between the Senators’ white jerseys and the ice as it was the only reason I could see for the lack of called penalties.

The final, and worst, referee play happened midway through the third period. The Bruins had finally scored a goal, and though they were down 4-1 the team seemed to be building some momentum. Bruins’ defenseman Dennis Wideman had the puck but lost it as he skated into the ref. Senator Jonathan Cheechoo got the puck and skated in for an easy goal to end the scoring for the night with five goals for the Senators and the lone goal for the Bruins.

After the game, Wideman said, “I know it didn’t matter tonight because it was 5-1, but what if it had been a tied game?” And that is the problem, and it should not matter whether the game was tied or a complete blowout. It comes down to something most people are taught in elementary; if you do something wrong, it is usually better to admit it and try to fix it. Yes, it would have been embarrassing to have to admit that the ref messed up, but when the mistake led to a goal something should have happened. And if something like this happens again, maybe next time during a playoff game or during a game where the bad call makes or breaks a season, how will the NHL respond?