C is for consistency, something the Canucks have been starting to find as of late. Consistency in the power play (save for a little dry spell), consistency in goaltending, and most importantly, consistency in getting wins. However, if I were writing this post a couple of weeks ago, I would not be singing the same tune. After losses to Calgary, Columbus and Carolina and victories against Detroit, Minnesota, and San Jose, I was left wondering what team would show up on game night. At times the Canucks were dominant against powerhouse teams, and at others would look like minnows against cellar dwellers. Although as a fan this is maddening, I've learned to accept that there are ups and downs over the course of an 82 game season.
Now for something that bothers me a bit more... consistency in officiating. As a trained referee, I am well aware of the need to alter your officiating SLIGHTLY depending on game situations. This doesn't mean looking for penalties for one team or letting blatently unfair penalties go uncalled, but rather taking control of the game if it appears to be getting out of hand. Cory Schneider makes a pretty good comment about this in his post-game interview after playing the Bruins.
The referee's main goals are to protect the players, stop unfair advantages, and to ensure the flow of the game, not just to sit there and call penalties. I can assure you that something occurs every shift which warrants a penalty if one were to strictly follow the rules... slashing and interference are the first two things that come to mind. However, like I said the primary job of an official is to stop unfair advantages. If a player interferes with another who has no chance of being in the play, it's useless to call a penalty. Doing so would make games take ages and irritate everyone to no end.
Therein lies the dilemma of an official. They have to make split second decisions as to whether certain actions warrant a penalty. Now, the referees in the league are mostly fantastic at using their discretion - it amazes me to no end how many things they have to be responsible for on EVERY SINGLE PLAY - but there's one thing I'd like to see change, and that's officiating during the playoffs. It is undeniable that the intensity is much higher and that the emotions of players are at a peak; this leads to a much more physical game, which I think is fantastic. However, it also leads to a much dirtier game. There are a Boatload of teams (who will Remain Unnamed) whIch base a majority of their strategy oN slaShing, cross-checKING, and punching playerS during and after the play. In my mind, this adds nothing useful to the game. They are plays that under the current 'playoff officiating system' are allowed unless are 'sufficiently' vicious. You can understand how players get confused about how something that wasn't a penalty at one point in the game is a penalty later. This inconsistency turns some playoff games into a joke. Take for example Brad Marshmallow punching Daniel Sedin, or
Given all of this stuff that happens, going through the playoffs really is a war. If you look at the Canucks injuries during the last postseason, maybe only a couple were a result of 'clean' physical play; the rest were due to the likes of slashes, cross-checks and other cheap shots. I think officials need to wake up and control the dirty stuff, otherwise it just makes the game inconsistent and out of control.
I'd like to close with a wonderful picture my girlfriend drew on her computer!