YOU TALKIN’ TO ME – MAY 22
By ISM Staff

SHOULD NHL REFEREES CALL THE GAME THE SAME WAY IN OVERTIME AS THEY HAVE IN REGULATION?

Boys, you know what?  This may be a subject that we finally all agree on and that will be a first.

The old school “hockey purist” in me says that you don’t want the game to be determined by a call by a referee.  Not just in hockey but in any sport.  You don’t mess with tradition.

On the same token, you don’t want a blatant penalty to be overlooked just for the sake of letting the players decide the outcome.  That, to me, is just as egregious.

Brooklyn and South Beach, the fact that it’s pretty much common knowledge in the NHL that, to get a penalty called in overtime, a player has to do something that would probably get him jail time for assault.  At least in New York City, right BKLN?

South Beach, you were complaining in your column about what you viewed as some one-sided officiating against Florida.  You felt that Tampa Bay got the benefit of some questionable calls and, you know what SB, you may be right.

I would rather see the guys in the striped shirts set the tone as to what they were going to allow and what they weren’t early as opposed to waiting until it’s too late.  By then, as we saw today in Game 4 of the Lightning-Panthers series, the “cows were out of the barn” so to speak and the third period became a bloodbath.

So, let me be crystal clear on this point. Not just to “yous guys” but anyone else who will listen especially the NHL along with their referees.  Call the game the same way from beginning to end.  If you’re going to blow the whistle in the first 60 minutes, don’t swallow it in OT for the same offense.

South Beach and Brooklyn, all I want is consistency from the time the first puck is dropped to the final horn.  Is that too much too ask?

Now, I’m talking to you.  What do you both have to say?

Low Ball, like Billy Joel, you may be right. I, too, want consistency. But, if they swallow their NHL whistles in overtime consistently, I am more than fine with that. I may be crazy, but I actually want fewer calls in overtime periods.

But the lunatic you are looking for also is a “hockey purist” and would not want referees dictating the results of these important overtime contests. But, if we have consistency in allowing the players semi-manage the overtime periods, and every team and player knew it, the NHL games may be even better than ever.

It would bring back NHL hockey the way it was not too long ago, physical, Low Ball. And I’m not referring to an Oliva Newton-John song.

You see, South Beach, these are musical references from a fossil like myself. I’m throwing you off. What do you like in this argument.

Adam Sznapstajler

Low Ball, I think you are correct. This is finally something we all agree on. Too often inconsistency between calls gets frustrating and in the world of playoff hockey, where a power play can make all the difference, the inconsistency can often lose teams games.

Brooklyn, I’m surprised you questioned my musical knowledge. I had this written down and ready.

There’s one song lyric that sums up my feeling on overtime hockey and playoff hockey in general. In the words of the great Olivia Newton-John, “Let’s get physical, physical.”

That’s because I do think the game should be allowed to get more physical in overtime. Players should be given more of a leash as the game goes on. If more plays are allowed in the second period than the first, and the third than the second, then players should not be caught surprised when the game gets more physical.

But Low Ball and Brooklyn, in the words of the great Yogi Berra, “If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.” Some of the imperfection, like inconsistent calls, drive the emotions that make playoff hockey. 

So, yeah, I’m talkin’ to both of you.  But, as you can see from my commentary, I’ve listened to you too and that is truly a first!