Just when it seemed like the response to National Hockey League star Ryan Getzlaf’s use of a homophobic and sexist slur couldn’t get any more disappointing... it just got more disappointing. Getzlaf, who is the captain of the Anaheim Ducks, was fined $10,000 after calling a referee a “cocksucker” during Game 4 of the Western Conference finals on Friday. Many believe he got off too easily, considering the fine is just a drop in the bucket of his yearly $9 million salary and that another player, Andrew Shaw, was suspended by the NHL and sent to sensitivity training last year when he called an official an anti-gay slur.
Call it sour grapes if you wish, but Randy Carlyle thinks the Anaheim Ducks got screwed by the NHL’s schedule-maker. The head coach launched his complaint last night after his Ducks fell to the Nashville Predators in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final. “I don’t think we played poorly in the series,” said Carlyle.
The NHL has an officiating problem. I don’t mean that in the sense that the league’s referees and linesmen themselves are the problem. Hockey is a fast, nuanced sport, and the on-ice officials are no worse than their NFL or NBA counterparts. Nor am I of the opinion that NHL officiating is progressively getting worse. Since the dawn of organized, regulated sports, officials have missed calls, mishandled situations and unjustly influenced outcomes of games. Human error, for better or worse, will exist as long as humans are adjudicating. I refer instead to a small set of rules (though well-intentioned) that wind up preventing the officials from properly managing a game, demolish the flow of a game