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04-18-2011, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by TheMoreYouKnow View Post
There's no conspiracy
I think something which needs to be addressed from time to time is the claim that there is a 'conspiracy'. I don't think there's a 'conspiracy'... I just think the NHL would prefer to have bigger markets deeper in the playoffs than smaller (because of the ratings, which helps dictate a better TV package, which means lots of money), they'd prefer to have series go longer than shorter (because of the greater gate revenue... which means money), and they'd like the teams they spend lots of ad bucks on to do well (better ad rates and more revenue... which, big surprise, means money).

That's not conspiratorial or tinfoil hat-ism... it's just common business sense.

Although they are usually bad at their jobs, NHL refs aren't complete idiots. They are assigned to their playoff roles (and the extra cash that comes with them... hey look, money again) by the league. I would think the NHL's general preferences are pretty obvious, even to officials. Given that, even absent a direct linkage of communication between the NHL and officials (which would demonstrate an actual conspiracy), I think officials are smart enough to know which side of their bread is buttered.

In other words, refs that reffed in a manner that nudged games against the general league preferences wouldn't be reffing playoff games.

It's pretty obvious to me for example that teams complaining about things like Wings screening the goalie or Wings running picks does have an effect. Similarly things during games can affect officiating. Refs are much more likely to call a "weak" penalty if they notice the guy in question has been walking a very thin line before etc.
I agree with all of that. There's the in-game salesmanship of coaches and players and crowds. There's the in-series salesmanship of coaches in their pressers. There's the basic reality that a team up 3 or 4 goals isn't going to get a call that they'd get if it were tied, or that a team up 2 or 3 games in a series is only going to get were the series closer.

And since the Wings have been a really good team most of the time and they've been on the way ahead side of the ledger much more often than they've been on the way behind side... those 'even up the game/series' calls are going to be against them well more often than not.

Those, I don't particularly mind. Happens in every sport and at pretty much every level of every sport. Part of the deal.

The things I tend to mind are the really, really heavy-handed and obvious attempts to nudge series, like the Pitt/Washington game 7 a couple years ago, Detroit's game 2 this year, pretty much the first four games of the SJ series last year until that series wasn't in doubt, the Washington and Vancouver game 3's last night... stuff like that.

That makes the league look ugly.

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