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Written By: #TheUllmanBrosBand

Once again it appears that the NHL has a severe disconnect when it comes to on-ice officiating. The inconsistency of NHL officiating is nothing new. If there is one thing NHL fans CAN agree on, no matter who our team is, it’s that the referees in the NHL freaking suck. They are arguably the worst officials out of all the 4 majors, (NHL, NFL, MLB, and MLS).

Two incidents happened in separate games on Saturday Night. The first incident involved the Ottawa Senators at the Detroit Red Wings. 6:10 into the 1st period during a play in front of the net, Mathieu Joseph crosschecked Red Wings Captain Dylan Larkin, in the back of the head, and he fell into Parker Kelly full force. The result of this found Larkin star-fished on the ice, not moving.

video via “The Locker Room” YouTube Channel

The result of this dangerous hit (which only garnered two “Roughing” penalties) was a big scrum in front of Joonas Korpisalo that resulted in a nasty hit from David Perron on Artem Zub.

via “Spittin’ Chiclets on X, @spittinchiclets

To me it’s worth noting that Larkin did not return to the game, had to be helped off the ice and has since been placed on IR by the Red Wings with no timetable for return.  Zub didn’t miss a shift and played for 22 minutes in Ottawa’s 5-1 win. It was announced on Monday that David Perron would be suspended 6 games, in the name of player safety for his hit on Zub. Joseph and Kelly would not even be fined. Now, I’ll agree, I don’t think Joseph or Kelly had INTENT to hurt Larkin, however, that was a high hit, and a dangerous hit. Mistakes even with non-malicious intent still need addressed.

In another game that occurred Saturday night, the Buffalo Sabres took on the visiting Montreal Canadiens. Eric Robinson was going into the boards to fight for a puck, and he hit Justin Barron. Clearly, it was boarding. No clear malicious intent by Robinson, just a hockey play that was a mistake.

video via “Highlight Harbor” YouTube Channel

Eric Robinson was issued a 5-min major penalty, and a Game misconduct. We must keep our players safe, right?

Now, brings me to Sunday. Florida Panthers at Columbus Blue Jackets. This game was uneventful for the first 40 minutes. 24 seconds into the 3rd period, Erik Gudbranson was chasing a puck behind the net and was boarded by Nick Cousins.

video via “1st Ohio Battery” on X. @1stOhioBattery

                Gudbranson is out on the ice for a moment, and then he jumps up, drops the gloves, and immediately goes after Cousins. Initially the refs, called Cousins with a 5-min major for boarding. Following a review, they reduced it to a minor penalty, (because we care about player safety right) and to add insult to injury asses Gudbranson with a 2-min penalty as well. While in the box, Cousins was full of laughs and smiles, while Gudbranson was yelling at him.

                Most experts agree, the officials blew this call. This was a dumb, and dangerous hit to a player’s numbers, and Cousins left his feet to make contact. What did Cousins expect was going to happen when Gudbranson regained his wits about him. Gudbranson told coach Pascal Vincent, that next opportunity he was going to take care of Cousins and boy did he deliver.

                Roughly 6 minutes later, Gudbranson and Cousins were finally on the ice together. Gudbranson used this opportunity for him payback. Pulling Cousins down and slamming him to the ice, Cousins immediately “turtled up” as Gudbranson continued with the punches until the refs were finally able to get control of the situation.

video via “1st Ohio Battery” on X. @1stOhioBattery

                Gudbranson would get a total of 29 minutes of penalties in this game, but the real story here is, if there was consistency in officiating, this whole debacle likely never would have happened. A hit that is arguably worse than Robinson’s less than 24 hours later, and it is reduced to a minor, while Robinson’s is upheld? If you really were concerned about “player safety” the NHL and the NHL Department of Player Safety would penalize officiating for their inconsistency, but no they PROTECT the officiating and fine players and coaches for questioning them?

                If the officials aren’t going to do their jobs and police the games properly, the players are going to do it. Especially the older players who have been in the league for a while and remember the old days.


Speaking of dumbass referees, Cole Sillinger was checked by a linesman, preventing a break-away. A momentum shift that could have changed the dynamic of the game, squandered by a linesman.

video via adelle on X. @chinahv

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