Penguins whine to referees too much, says Pittsburgh’s Bill Guerin

Penguins whine to referees too much, says Pittsburgh’s Bill Guerin

The naïve view of NHL referees is that they’re straight arrow, by-the-book automatons who carry no biases nor harbor retribution against those that embarrass them.

This is, of course, idealistic nonsense. We’ve read how players are called out for diving by the League and we’ve read how NHL officials have hit lists for players.

So it stands to reason that if you’re a diver, you won’t get the benefit of the doubt. And it stands to reason that if you’re a whiner – complaining about calls you’re not receiving, questioning the integrity of the officials – they’ll do you no favors, either.

Which brings us to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Pensblog found a clip of Bill Guerin, the team’s assistant general manager and former player, on Sportsnet’s Hockey Central (co-hosted by a lovely man named Jeff). During the interview, Doug MacLean – who interviewed for the Penguins head-coaching job, and likely offered this assessment to GM Jim Rutherford – told Guerin he believes the Pens whine too much to the officials:

Doug MacLean: Your team whines quite a bit. Do you ever say what’s going on with our group? It’s hurt you at times in key situations, and I think it’s hurt you at playoff time.

Bill Guerin: Yeah, I think it’s definitely an area that we’ve identified as being an issue at times. And you know what? We’ve put ourselves in that position, and we have to be better. There’s no question. The referees are out there, they do a fantastic job, the game’s faster than ever, and it’s really hard to pick things up sometimes with just the naked eye. These guys are human beings too. They’re out there doing tough job out there. And we just have to be better. We have to flat out be better.

Watch it here:

“It’s hurt you at times in key situations,” says MacLean, which is interesting. Looking back at the last four seasons, the Penguins’ power plays per game:

2011-12: 3.53

2012-13: 3.54 (lockout)

2013-14: 3.39

2014-15: 3.14 (so far)

Now, that would appear to be a decline for the Pens, but keep in mind their average this season is still higher than the NHL average (3.10) and it was the same situation last season (NHL average: 3.27).

But MacLean also mentioned the playoffs, and that’s an interesting theory, considering how Marc Staal acted like an amateur chiropractor all series against Sidney Crosby for the New York Rangers.

Perhaps we’re burying the lede here: The assistant GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins, long considered one of the whiniest teams in the NHL, confirms they whine too much and to their detriment.

Merry Christmas, Flyers fans …