PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan)- As we head into Game 7, a side storyline has been the officiating throughout the series and how it has impacted the games. Particularly, head shots to both Scott Wilson and Sidney Crosby in Games 5 and 6, respectively have garnered a lot of attention all around the league, as well as the disallowed goal by Trevor Daley for goaltender interference.
“The Fan Morning Show” caught up with former NHL referee Kerry Fraser on Thursday to talk about some of these controversial plays. Kerry said that the officials acknowledge a difference between how they call things in the postseason as compared to the regular season, but that it can’t go too far.
“What concerns me, and I don’t blame the officials so much as the people that are responsible for coaching them, for holding them accountable,” said Fraser. “Going into the playoffs, they need to be told, ‘Listen guys, we’re not changing the rule books. We need you to call a standard.’ And they have to be held accountable throughout every game during the season, the players need to know what they can do and what they can’t do.”
“Consequently, there have been very loose standards and it’s called playoff hockey refereeing. It’s not acceptable.”
“There’s always a debate, what’s the difference between regular season and playoffs? Well, I think a rule is a rule and should be called from the start of the season to the very last game of the Stanley Cup Final. But that’s not the way it’s been. We’ve seen an awful lot of stuff that’s been let go.”
Fraser said that like a player in a big game, officials need to be sharp and ready to go right away and can’t afford to have a bad start to a game.
“We’ve seen teams, that maybe through a lack of mental preparation, come out right off the bat and they’re scored on in the very first shift. The same is true for an official,” said Fraser. “They have to be mentally prepared to start that game strong and fast, depending on what the players show them. So when that puck goes down, all eyes have to be alert and ready and not a slow start for the officials.”
Conversely, the missed call on Mark Stone for hitting Crosby up high with the end of his stick in the very first minute of Game 6 was any easy call that should have been made.
“That is a must-call. That’s an easy one, that’s a gift,” said Fraser. “A gift in the sense that the referee could identify that immediately in the first minute and set a standard in its own that, ‘Hey listen, liberties are not going to be taken tonight and especially on skilled players like Sidney Crosby,’ who I know and you know, is the best player in the world.”
“I deem that [non-call] missed on Mark Stone with the shot to the jaw of Sidney. A very poor, slow start in that game.”
But, Fraser did agree with the non-goal call against Trevor Daley that had many fans upset in Game 6. Here is part of his explanation.
“Daley, in the fall into the crease, jammed at the pad to dislodge the puck. You’re allowed to play the puck when it goes into the crease. And that first one, where he jammed at the pad to dislodge the puck, I’m OK with because that was a play on the puck,” said Fraser. “The one that wasn’t OK was when he subsequently took his stick blade and gave a hard push on the skate blade of [Senators goalie] Craig Anderson, which slid him backwards into the net deep. At that point, the puck came back into the crease and Daley from his knees was able to slide it past the corner, where the goaltender was unable to get to it.”
Having said that though, Kerry is still frustrated with how the league and it’s official have applied what is known as “Rule 69” that deals with those kinds of plays saying that there are way too many inconsistencies to what is allowed to be a goal and what is not.
You can hear the entire insightful interview with Kerry Fraser on “The Fan Morning Show” above.