Let me preface this by saying that while I referee HS volleyball, HS volleyball is very different from NHL hockey. The refs have a tough job to do and I am not qualified to address the nuances of NHL refereeing. What I am qualified to address is a referee's consistency or lack there of as was the case tonight.
One of the main jobs of a volleyball official is to keep the game flow consistent and moving. In volleyball, referees have a number of "judgement" calls that can clearly swing momentum and its our job to maintain consistency in those calls so that the play on the court dictates that momentum. "Fans don't pay to come see us blow our whistle" was one of the first lessons I learned from a veteran official. I try not to penalize a better team by allowing a lesser team get away with faults that I don't let a better team get away with. So if it's a double contact by one team, the exact same play is going to be a double contact for the other team. But if you start the match by calling every little "judgement call" then you're either going to be blowing your whistle way too often or if you back off you're going to upset a coach who questions your judgement because you showed inconsistency.
The problem tonight was an extreme lack of consistency from the officials. Multiple times I saw Red Wings players going down because of Predators players sticks. (side note: I can't be partial in this because I don't watch Predators players fall, probably because they do too often) Yet no call was made. But then Hank went to the box for a much less egregious trip. Fast forward to Hudler's Dive, or lack there off. Hudler was clearly tripped, yet he was given a matching minor???? Makes no sense unless you're specifically trying to help a team.
It's way too inconsistent of officiating and while Shea Weber should be suspended a game for what he did to Hank, I also think this officiating crew needs to be replaced. If they can't reign in the whistle, then they need to at least maintain consistency and call every little thing. That will at least get them the training they so desperately need.
With game 1 in the books for every matchup (except FLR/NJD) I thought I would total the penalty minutes by period for each matchup:
1 - 6 penalties / 12 minutes 2 - 5/10 3 - 6/12 Total 17/34
1 - 0/0 2 - 2/4 3 - 2/4 OT - 0/0 Total 4/8
LA/VAN (including the boarding major and game misconduct)
1 - 6/12 2 - 5/21 3 - 2/4 Total 13/37
1 - 0/0 2 - 4/8 3 - 4/8 OT - 0/0 Total 8/16
1 - 2/6 2 - 4/8 3 - 1/2 OT - 0/0 Total - 7/16
NYR/OTT (including matching misconducts in the 3rd)
1 - 5/10 2 - 2/4 3 - 4/24 Total 11/38
PHX/CHI (game went to OT)
1 - 3/6 2 - 3/6 3 - 2/4 Total* - 8/16
So in 5 games refs handed out 68 penalties (64 minors) totalling 155 minutes (120 for minors). That averages to almost 13 minor penalties per game!!! That's crazy!! And who would have guessed that the PHI/PIT game 1 would have the fewest amount of penalties of the them all????