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C Is For Consistency: Chapter 4

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The more things change, the more they stay the same. Is it time to get some accountability from NHL on-ice officials?

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Florida Panthers Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

As you may have already seen, jimmi has posted the comments from Canucks head coach Travis Green this afternoon. Sadly, it’s another incident that is not likely to end with any kind of satisfaction for Canucks fans, and thus we must bring the latest chapter to you. It’s like a preemptive strike before any of you start using the ‘C’ word.

Now we’re going to focus on a couple things here in this chapter. One, is how the NHL needs to provide some kind of accountability and transparency when it comes to officials blowing calls, missing calls and whether or not they’re disciplined for any such offences. We’re also going to take a look at some media takes, and the curious coincidence of how many of these seem to be coming from a particular area of the country.

The complete lack of a call, despite an official nearby who saw the incident, remains the most shocking part of it all for me. How is it, that in the era of 2 referees and the puck, while nowhere near Pettersson or Matheson but still in the relative area, is this not called? And here’s where the problem lies. Yes, it’s great that DoPS stepped up and called Matheson onto the carpet to explain himself. But that’s only half of the equation. The other half is how on a play that was CLEARLY interference (at the very least), and a strong case could be made for it being intent to injure, given that there was no logical reason for Matheson to drive Pettersson to the ice in that manner, is there no discipline for the game officials who missed this. Well, at least we assume there isn’t. We have no idea, and we never will, because the NHL provides absolutely no information whatsoever on whether or not they discipline refs and linesmen. This has to change for the sake of integrity in the game.

When incidents like this happen, the aggrieved side wants to see justice done. And all hockey fans should be wanting officials who get things wrong to be held accountable, especially in instances where a player is injured because of a missed or blown call. I’m not saying that we need to have all refs mic’d like they do in rugby (mostly because hockey players are potty-mouthed in a way that would make games unfit for broadcast television), but if they screw up like this, a) they should face some type of discipline (taking away playoff assignments or in serious cases, actual suspension or fines) and b) make it public, so that you can reassure the fans of the game who spend ridiculous amounts of money on tickets and merchandise, that the integrity of the game actually matters.

I’m not overly confident that Matheson will receive anything more than a fine today. It’s not really acceptable for anything less than a suspension that is at the very least similar to the amount of time that Elias will miss, and all we can hope for is that DoPS continues their recent string of decisions that seem to genuinely address the incidents in question. It doesn’t matter if Matheson is a clean player or not. This was not a clean play. It was not a hockey play.

Now, let’s talk takes, shall we? Between former players spewing code-related nonsense, and some jaw-dropping garbage from Alberta-based radio hosts, the views out there are kinda gross, honestly. Let’s start with a statement from Mike Matheson’s agent, shall we?

Mike... can I call you Mike? You need to change your agent, Mike because this dude just made your defence laughably worse.

Well, I won’t argue with you about the completely in the wrong part. It does make me wonder if you recognize you’re likely wrong but still feel strongly enough about it to make yourself look bad. And dinosaur is an apt comparison. There’s none of them around anymore and the world’s a better place for it. When I read this I was thinking you were a different word that started with a D, though...

And speaking of former Canucks, Edmonton radio guy Jason Strudwick shared his deep thoughts with us on the incident...

Strudwick is missing the point here. There’s no justification for a takedown like that in hockey. The weight difference is a strawman and nothing more. Also, imagine the reaction if McDavid received the same treatment...

But now, the creme de la creme of garbage takes, from a true master of the art. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Eric Francis.

Yup. Oh, and Eric? Your apology would mean a little more if you actually deleted the tweet that pissed everyone off in the first place.