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Canucks Should Stop Whining About Officiating - Must Change Reputation as Divers (Jason Botchford)


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This postseason, the Vancouver Canucks couldn’t kill a penalty, make a late save, or score goals.

They also couldn’t win a game. But what was everyone talking about when it was over? The officiating.

Yes, it is the same as it ever was.

The long-simmering rivalry between the local team and the referees who officiate its games seems as entrenched, and embittered, as Yankees-Red Sox.

Roll up to the Rogers Arena entrance and what greets you is a statue of Roger Nielsen, raising a stick high in the air with a towel draped on the butt end like a white flag. It lampoons the refs, immortalizing their ineptness, while whispering in every fan’s ear, “Your team didn’t lose, it got screwed. Royally.”

It also reminds visiting referees they are now entering hostile territory, just in case it may have slipped their minds.

If that doesn’t drive it home, the Canucks will. Take this past week. After Game 1, the Canucks called out the linesmen for allowing the Sharks to cheat on faceoffs. After Game 3, they called out the refs for being duped by embellishing. Kevin Bieksa even used props.

It was a four-game series and they managed to make officiating the overriding storyline, tossing every official in their path under the bus.

Who knows what they’ll say today when the players and GM Mike Gillis meet the media after two controversial calls cost them their final game of the season.

But the best advice they could follow is this: Shut up.

It doesn’t matter anymore if the Canucks are in the right. It doesn’t matter if the Sharks embellished more. It doesn’t matter if every 50-50 call went San Jose’s way. It doesn’t even matter if the refs made calls to settle old scores.

What matters is the Canucks have a loathsome reputation for antagonizing referees, both on the ice and off it, and it seems to have put a target on their backs and it’s one they can’t seem shake.

It sure hasn’t helped them. Instead, the more they complain, the more there is to complain about, creating a vicious cycle they have to end and the only way to do that is silence. A lot of it.

The Sharks did dive more than the Canucks. The calls were inequitable, and in more than a few cases, entirely unfair. There’s a seven-minute video circulating on YouTube which strings together about a dozen calls. If you don’t watch that and leave thinking the Canucks were jobbed, you may be walking through life blindfolded.

For the Canucks, none of this should matter. The reality is they didn’t lose because of calls. They lost because they weren’t as good as the Sharks.

Try and blame the officials during their locker cleanout today and it only fortifies the narrative that the whiners are at it again, and this time they’re complaining about calls in a sweep.

Off camera in San Jose, Ryan Kesler shared with TSN a telling story about his reputation as a diver. He worked diligently last year to change his image. He kept his head down instead of snapping it back. He didn’t bewail calls on the ice. But when the playoffs started he saw Dustin Brown’s act. He viewed him as a player trying to do everything he could to do win and thought he needed to do the same.

He admitted he started diving again. On the first one, all the work he had put in rehabilitating his reputation was gone. Poof.

The Canucks’ brand name in the past six years is as much about whining and embellishing as it as about dominating the Northwest Division.

If the Canucks are going to turn it around, so that they’re a team which gets the benefit of the doubt, it’s going to take some time. Check out Alex Burrows, who has been reforming for two years and he still can’t catch a break.

That’s because there is a lot of history.

In 2007, Roberto Luongo was calling for a penalty when the puck went in, ending the second-round series against the Anaheim Ducks.

In 2009, the Canucks bemoaned snow showers from the St. Louis Blues, another team that was getting all the calls.

In 2010, it was Stephane Auger in the regular season and then Daniel Sedin’s supposedly kicked-in goal that was disallowed in the first round of the playoffs.

In 2011, Gillis blamed the refs for forcing the Canucks to play Game 7 in the opening round because the Chicago Blackhawks were getting too many power plays.

Then, it was ongoing embellishing to sell calls in the 2011 run. It actually became national news, and the Canucks were tattooed with a rep they may never shake with this core.

Even this year, after a regular-season game in March versus Calgary, Alain Vigneault spat venom post-game at referee Kelly Sutherland. It seems he did during the game too, because he was called for a bench minor.

He called out Sutherland’s integrity after that game, and in a delicious coincidence it was Sutherland who got the call wrong in overtime of Game 4 Tuesday. He assessed a boarding penalty to Daniel Sedin for a clean shoulder-to-shoulder hit. On the ensuing power play, the Sharks ended the series.

Some believe Sutherland was exacting his revenge. If the Canucks were to suggest that today, how do you think the close-knit brotherhood of zebras will react?

It’d be viewed as yet another shot from the ref haters in the Lower Mainland.

The Canucks couldn’t catch a break in the first round this year. San Jose got 24 power plays, the Canucks had 10. A discrepancy like that is nearly unheard of in the NHL.

It’s a discrepancy the Canucks can’t ignore.

If it always happens to them, they have to ask themselves why is it always happening?

Is there anything they can do to change it? Yes. For the first time, do nothing. http://www.montrealg...7415/story.html

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At least the media is starting to take notice of the officiating.

But Botch's point makes absolutely no sense. "San Jose got 24 power plays, the Canucks had 10. A discrepancy like that is nearly unheard of in the NHL. It’s a discrepancy the Canucks can’t ignore."

Yet, we should do nothing about this? WTF.

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Who's whining? Miss or bad calls are one thing but it is more than obvious the refs are extremely biased. It was if they were on a witch hunt on the Canucks itching to blow the whistle of any infraction they could justify to call a penalty....biased or corrupt...this can not be tolerated. I don't like to pay thousands of $$$$$ to watch a game with officiating like that! Sutherland, Auger etc should NOT be an NHL referee period!!!!!

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This story could have been debunking the myths about the Canucks, as Gillis alluded to in his presser today. A little research would lay to rest the urban myths about the Canucks, but once again a local hack takes the easy way out.

Even to this day, almost every non-Canuck fan thinks that the Canucks somehow had way more PPs than the Sharks in 2011 and that all those PPs were the result of dives. This article perpetuates that myth. Subtracting delay of game calls and too many men calls the Canucks had one more minute of PP time. However, they cashed in on their chances. But ask any fan and they will tell you the Canucks had WAY MORE pps in every series in 2011 and all were a result of dives. It's crazy.

I think local scribes are all too worried about maintaining good standing in Friars Club as opposed to calling a spade a spade.

Nowhere does this article question the professionalism of the officials? Why is that? Kelly Sutherland, where's the article calling him out? Why does he get a free pass. I used to be a reporter/publisher and I can tell you that a motivated reporter could easily find the facts to make the case of a vendetta. Why not do that instead of blaming the victims? FFS

edit; I don't understand how he can say that "it doesn't matter" over and over. Sorry buddy, all that does matter to paying fans.

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This story could have been debunking the myths about the Canucks, as Gillis alluded to in his presser today. A little research would lay to rest the urban myths about the Canucks, but once again a local hack takes the easy way out.

Even to this day, almost every non-Canuck fan thinks that the Canucks somehow had way more PPs than the Sharks in 2011 and that all those PPs were the result of dives. This article perpetuates that myth. Subtracting delay of game calls and too many men calls the Canucks had one more minute of PP time. However, they cashed in on their chances. But ask any fan and they will tell you the Canucks had WAY MORE pps in every series in 2011 and all were a result of dives. It's crazy.

I think local scribes are all too worried about maintaining good standing in Friars Club as opposed to calling a spade a spade.

Nowhere does this article question the professionalism of the officials? Why is that? Kelly Sutherland, where's the article calling him out? Why does he get a free pass. I used to be a reporter/publisher and I can tell you that a motivated reporter could easily find the facts to make the case of a vendetta. Why not do that instead of blaming the victims? FFS

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Yeah, Canucks. When there is corruption going on, SHUTUP about it.

What a joke this guy is. Fans spend big money to watch hockey games. If the refs are planning to frack us over, maybe they should gives us a heads up so we don't have to waste our money on an auto-loss.

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Y'know... The Canucks don't need to hear this from the media.

They need a proven winner there to tell 'em how to win. But that time might have passed regardless. At least for the Sedins.

Meanwhile, every team dives. But everybody outside of BC hates the Canucks. Uphill battle to change a reputation in any regard. Oh... Unless you win.

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