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In Response to John Garrett's Article, "Conspiracy Theory"



*edit* This post repeats some of the comments I made on John Garrett's actual article; in case you were wondering if I had stolen points from someone else.

I just read John Garrett's article, called "Conspiracy Theory"; you can find it here.

Although I respect Mr. Garrett's opinion, and he raises some good points, I'm not sure how I feel about someone with such close ties to the Canucks organization making a formal criticism like this. Calling out referees, let alone the league as a whole is not the most professional thing in the world to do unless you have cold hard facts.

Mr. Garrett states several stats about how the Canucks have been excessively penalized (relative to their opponents) over the past few years, with some focus on the playoffs. Some examples of this are:

"Last season the Canucks had 51 power play chances in their first 10 games. They had 33 in their last 10..."

"This season they had 12 power plays in the first two games and 17 in the last nine."

I am well versed in statistics (I am currently doing my PhD in the subject), and I am fairly confident that these facts are perfectly normal within statistical variation. Sometimes you will get a lot of power plays, other times you will not. Even in the largest case, 20 games relatively speaking is not that large of a sample.

So there's one possible explanation for those numbers... However, not everything can be explained by that, so let's look at another point Mr. Garrett raises and see if we can find any other plausible explanation.

"(The Canucks) were penalized twice as much as the San Jose Sharks in their first round playoff loss."

In recent years the league has made great strides in trying to call obstruction penalties more tightly... consider the hooking, tripping, and interference penalties that no one would have dreamed of being called 5 years ago. Since the Canucks were largely a speed and skill based team, they performed quite well during the season when these penalties were being called correctly and consistently. However, come playoffs, these penalties were all of a sudden no longer called. Because of this, the Canucks players could be obstructed without as much penalty, resulting in the loss of their greatest team asset. I feel like this is a more likely explanation for the Canucks penalty woes in the playoffs; they relied on drawing obstruction penalties but these were no longer being called.

In my mind, the lack of consistency in penalty calling from the regular season to playoff transition completely nullifies what the league is trying to accomplish with making the game more skill based. This is why big teams like Boston, Chicago, LA, and now San Jose do well come playoff time. The Canucks brass has raised this issue to the league before, but to no avail. This is why you have seen the Canucks make several moves (like acquiring Kassian, Sestito and Horvat) in an attempt to get bigger. Management is starting to realize that until the league gets their act together, you have to be big to win.


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you realize that burrows inciddent with the one ref had serious consequences... in such that no one could imagine... refs have to protect thems selves and its pay back time against the canucks. Burrows inciddent with the ref was the icing of the cake and a start of harsh new chapter for the canucks. we will not win the cup ever as long as the refs and the nhl will have anything to do with it...

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John Garrett has become more of a fan than a true reporter. However we can't fault him for that; he's paid to follow this team. I too, thought his conspiracy idea was more something a fan tends to feel and express. Having said all that, I do find it hilarious that currently (after game 13) Daniel Sedin (yes that goon) is leading the Canucks in penalty minutes and his goon brother tie for 3rd with Kassian and behind Sestito. So, perhaps there's something to be said about Garrett's theory??

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Actually quite happy that people with close ties to the organization start to say, what a lot of fans have been saying for a few years now. Don't know if has been so bad this year, but during the play off loss to SJ there were so many blatantly missed calls followed by garbage calls, that it led a lot of people to suggest a conspiracy... If not the refs should be hauled over the coals for the inconsistency shown.

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An acquaintance of mine is an NHL HOF'er with 2 Stanley Cup championships and multiple league achievement hardware. He has told me that there is absolutely favoritism in officiating and that it is well known and accepted within the league. There's nothing you can do. Take it for what it's worth. No, I will not name names.

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Yes, the stats John Garrett is using to make his point can be micro analyzed and perhaps taken apart when stretched out over a bigger sample size. But I think John's opinion isn't based solely on pure numbers. He is factoring in his many years of experience as a player and analyst and his general knowledge of hockey as both a sport and a business from his being involved in the game for so long. He knows that the reality of the NHL (as with all the major sports leagues) is that the star players who drive the league's revenue get special treatment. And in his opinion, the Sedins are elite players who have earned the right to be treated with a little more respect and be given the benefit of the doubt from time to time from the refs.

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