Game 3: Do NHL Benefits Cover Eye Exams for the Referees?

Game 3:  Do NHL Benefits Cover Eye Exams for the Referees?
Coach Q's reaction after the refs fail to make an obvious call (Photo Credit: Getty Images).

Coach Quenneville called the officiating a disgrace after Game 3 of the Phoenix/Chicago series.  And that pretty much sums it all up.  It was just one clearer-than-Karlsson's-skin bad call to another during last night's game at the Madhouse on Madison, which left many hockey fans of various team-affiliations flabbergasted.

It wasn't the ultimate loss of the game that enraged everyone, it was the selective eyesight the referees seem to have.  Usually I'd say "suck it up, it happens to everyone", but when a call isn't made after a Player has to leave the game on a stretcher after he is violently blind-sided way after puck possession, it opens the referees up for legitimate scrutiny.

I am, of course, referring to the incident where Coyotes' Left Winger Raffi Torres made a deliberate hit on Blackhawks Right Winger Marian Hossa.  The NHL claims the Referees did not see what happened.  Well, guess what?  Most people prefer facts over unsubstantiated claims, and the fact is, the Referees definitely saw what happened.  Take a look at the replay.  As you can see, the Referee on screen cringes as contact is made.

So, that's at least one Referee who failed to make a call.  As you probably noticed, there was another Referee skating towards the site of the infraction who also should have made a call; yet  like his pal standing in front of it, failed to do so.

Raffi Torres, the Player you saw launch himself into Marian Hossa, was NOT given even a 2-minute Penalty and was allowed to play for the remainder of the game.  Meanwhile, Marian Hossa was off-site at the Hospital.

In the previous game, after Andrew Shaw made contact with Mike Smith (the accidental kind where he DIDN'T leave his feet), and no injury was sustained, he was taken off the ice for the rest of the game and received a subsequent 3-game suspension.  Yet, in this case, where a Player was injured to the degree that he needed medical attention, nothing was done; and Torres (who is a repeat offender), got another free pass to continue his disgraceful antics on the ice.

This all leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth because this is the professional league, and there are supposed to be certain standards Players are held accountable for to be allowed to play in it.  Players who continue to disobey the same rules over and over should be removed.  No one would question taking a license away from an unfit driver, so why is this any different?

It's unlikely that will happen, but the league will have to do something major here to discourage this kind of behavior.  I mean the guy is 30 and never seems to learn his lesson whether he is suspended or not.  To send a message, the league should not only levy a severe punishment, but also order a severe pay-cut.

After the game, Torres did not apologize, instead he said  "I felt like it was a hockey play, just trying to finish my hit out there."

Fine, we already established he is incapable of remorse; but, where was Coyotes' Coach David Tippett who was all up-in-arms after his Goaltender was hit (but continued to play)?  He was right there, standing behind Torres, stating "it looked to me like he was finishing his check."

If that wasn't enough, Captain Shane Doan did not say anything to redeem the team's image or convey any empathy towards the situation, claiming “I didn’t see it, I haven’t seen it, but from what I was told it wasn’t that bad.”

So while the Coyotes reel and revel in the glory of winning the game, the Referees should probably look into a better excuse than "we didn't see the hit" as an official statement because, even if that was true, it makes the NHL look horrible for employing individuals who lack attention to detail, and/or do not have access to proper eye-care.

The Coyotes will return to the United Center on Thursday to play Game 4 at 7p CT/8p ET.

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