The Shittiest Period Of Refereeing That I Have Ever Fucking Seen In My Lifefuck

I’ll spare you the paragraph about “in all my years of watching sports…” Let’s just say I have seen exactly 6.85 billion games in my life, dating back to the first sporting contest on record (a wrestling match on Crete, circa 746 B.C.)

I’ll also spare you the paragraph about how “Even if I weren’t a Pens fan…” If I had to repeatedly shiv Sid the Kid in the ACL to prove my objectivity while writing these accounts, I gladly would.

That being said, the second period of last night’s Penguins/Devils game marked the single worst, most consciously unconscionable display of deliberate officiating arrogance I have ever seen in a sporting event, ever. And I have seen me quite a bit of spo– sorry, never mind.

Here’s how the second period — henceforth referred to as the “Dancing Bullshit Jamboree” — went down:

4:37 – Jarkko Ruutu gets called for hooking, because he gets called for something every time he moves a limb, because every time he moves a limb it’s to do something illegal. C’est la vie.

6:47 – Ten seconds after the Pens kill off the first penalty, Daryl Sydor gets called for hooking. This means Gonchar will likely have to play on the penalty kill, and the goal judge readies his index finger accordingly. Devils score ten seconds later.

7:21 – Petr Sykora gets called for hooking (hooking natural hat trick!) on a really obvious “Just cause you’ve had two straight penalties doesn’t mean we’re gonna even it up but really this means we’ll go out of our way to penalize you to impress the league with our objectivity” calls. Fans boo. Devils announcers ominously joke, “I think we know who the next one’s gonna be against!” We will later learn that they have just uttered the wrongest sentence in the history of English.

9:00ish – Sidney Crosby is hooked to the ground in the offensive zone. Fans boo. Refs assume Crosby took a dive knowing that the next call in the game would probably go against NJ and make no call, proving their impartially impartial impartialness.

9:37 – Mark Recchi falls down and his arm kind of tugs on a Devils players’ jersey as he goes down, having little effect on the play or the universe in general; if you went back in time and reversed this action, it would have zero Butterfly Effect repercussions. Recchi gets two for holding. Refs break into an early-90s style hip-hop song about how rad the New NHL is, complete with cheesy but spirited choreography.

12:24 – During a hectic line change, Brooks Orpik wheels a long pass to Jordan Staal, who goes in on a clear 2-on-0 with Evgeni Malkin, and Malkin buries a one-timer, blowing the roof off the Igloo. The refs then have a conference at center ice and after a couple bewildering minutes, announce that the goal doesn’t count because Pittsburgh had too many men on the ice, despite not having blown the whistle when Staal touched the puck or any of the four officials ever raising their arms at any point. I yell expressions at the television that are more hateful and vulgar than I ever believed myself capable; I then hear my upstairs neighbor moving around and make it a point to articulately yell “WHAT A RIDICULOUS GAME” to make sure the person upstairs knows I’m not beating my children to death or something. (Additional Note: good thing my children weren’t home)

14:21 – Gonchar gets slapped with a hooking call for good measure after the ref realizes the Too Many Men penalty is about to expire and he doesn’t want his dick to get cold if he has to remove it from the Pens’ collective ass.

14:48 – The puck sits underneath Marc-Andre Fleury in the crease for a good four seconds with no whistle. Brian Gionta decides “what the fuck, they’re probably gonna call a penalty on us at some point, might as well go into the crease and knee Fleury in the face and see if it somehow makes the puck cross the line.” The puck crosses the line, and the ref emphatically signals “goal”. He then whips out a cell phone, speed dials the league office, and explains that just because a team has had six consecutive penalties called against them in a ten minute span, he isn’t going to cave and blow the whistle when he loses sight of the puck or call goaltender interference when it obviously occurs. He then asks the league official what he is wearing. The league official answers, “A giant foam costume in the shape of the words ‘NEW NHL.’ The referee then immediately ejaculates onto Petr Sykora’s nose, breaking it again.

15:03 – Andy Greene shoots the puck over the glass. Refs sigh and give him two minutes for “Doing act that always immediately turns entire other team and fans into whiny, pointing eighth-graders.”

17:33, 17:54 – Zach Parise and Paul Martin both get penalized just seconds apart from one another, giving both skaters some badly needed rest after spending three weeks on the power play. Malkin scores a minute later; refs presumably decide that the Pens had the correct number of people on the ice and allow the goal to have happened.

19:39 – Ryan Malone gets called for holding, although the Devils announcers can’t even find the penalty after multiple slow motion replays. Brent Sutter whispers to a linesman that the officiating crew is one random, arrogant, authority-asserting call short of setting a record for the worst-officiated period in hockey history, and the refs promptly tack on a 2-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to Malone. I simply have no will or energy to resist anymore. I feel like Big Brother and the chairman from V for Vendetta have just come into my apartment and used the Marathon Man torture machine on me until I finally agreed to help them move.

So, long story short, the Pens lost 5-4. Also, if anyone has any extra cardboard boxes lying around, feel free to let me know.

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6 Comments

  1. Clearly the officials wanted the Devils to win. You know, NJ winning and having success is great for the league.

  2. I believe these were fair and impartial decisions. Tough, but fair.

    /moneylinewinner

  3. But…aren’t lots of goals a good thing? How are you going to get lots of goals if you don’t force Gonchar onto the PK?

  4. At least you got to see some replays, Dan. I was at Mellon Arena for the game.

    Fuck, man. Just… fuck.

    You missed the part where Max Talbot took a high-stick to the face while the refs were filling their weekly Sergei Gonchar Ticky-Tack Hooking Penalty quota.

    Oh, and there was more in the 1st and 3rd:

    — Right off the opening face-off, Roberts and Clarkson got in a tussle that ended with Clarkson dropping his gloves, but no penalty was called.
    — Sid getting an utterly inexplicable tripping penalty on a hard, clean shoulder check in the 3rd. Thankfully, Aaron Asham was dumb enough to take a retaliatory roughing call to even it up.
    — A linesman making a horribly late offside call on a Pens rush after Fleury was pulled for an extra skater.

    Think Director of Officials Stephen Walkom is wishing he didn’t live in Moon Twp. right now?

    Oh, and Malone definitely earned that unsportsmanlike conduct call. He spiked the puck at the ref’s feet, then slammed his stick off the glass from inside the penalty box. That’s when he got tee’d up. Everybody around me was saying, “Shut up, Malone. Shut up, Malone! DAMMIT!”

    At least I got to study the aerodynamics of mousepads thrown in anger. So the night wasn’t a total loss.

  5. I don’t know what I did before the internet – I have no hockey-loving friends, and so watching a game on TV is a very isolated event. Sometimes I think, “That could not have been as poorly officiated as I thought it was.”

    The most annoying part for me was that at the beginning of the period, Pens announcer Bob Errey noted that an old buddy of his (high school, I think?) was an official. Then the Pens announcers proceeded to say things like, “That looked like a good call.” Or, “See, the official was right on top of that play.” And my favorite, “When there’s a bad call, we’ll tell ya’.” They eventually did disagree with one of the calls, but it was waaaaay late, and a mild disagreement.

  6. [...] UNHAPPY BLOGGER: If you want to see me in angry, Mr. Hyde mode, feel free to check out my (NSFW) account of the loudest I’ve ever yelled at my television set, including the 2006 “Sopranos” finale. (Melt Your Face Off) [...]


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