The Tim Peel incident from Tuesday night is the hot button (mic?) topic right now, and for good reason. It’s a terrible look for the NHL to have one of its on-ice officials audibly note his desire to give one team a penalty, no matter the context. Especially with legalized gambling on the horizon, it could become problematic.
But there does seem to be some confusion over what the core issue is. The terms “game management” and “make up calls” have been thrown around almost interchangeably when, in fact, they are not necessarily the same thing.
It’s no secret that game management is a referee strategy, and not just at the NHL level. It’s taught and encouraged. But game management should mostly be about communication and keeping things under control. Former NHL referee Paul Stewart talked a bit about this with Mark Spector today in his piece. It should be game dependent, too. If there are a couple emotional and physical teams going at it, game management should be aimed to make sure the situation doesn’t spiral out of control, while at the same time acknowledging that in a game where both teams are playing it hard, perhaps the standard for a low end penalty shifts somewhat.
More important than setting a strict season-long standard, perhaps, is sticking to a standard within a game or within a playoff series and not changing course halfway through. That does nothing but confuse and frustrate players.
Some games might not need managing at all. Tuesday’s Detroit-Nashville game looked like it should have been one of those. There was nothing to manage. Only a single penalty was called in the first, there was no heightened emotion or risk. If the penalty that was called on Viktor Arvidsson was supposed to be game management, it sure looked closer to mismanagement — though, again, we don’t have a full view of the picture.
But on the surface at least, it didn’t accomplish what “game management” should set out to.
“Let’s talk about the calibre of the game, the potential calibre of the game,” former NHL referee Bryan Lewis said on Writers Bloc. “Say the Rangers play the Islanders, or Philly plays Washington or Edmonton plays Calgary, games we can think of in advance that are going to be tough hockey games. I don’t need (former ref) Scotty Morrison to call me saying ‘Bryan you better be ready’ — I am. So my intensity goes up a bit. Therefore I’m looking for and want to maintain control from the moment I drop the puck until the last whistle is blown in the game. I don’t sense this happened here. There’s nothing to indicate it was a tough hockey game, nothing to indicate it was going to be a tough hockey game. Two teams that are not in the playoffs. It’s one of those games you should enjoy.”
What proper game management shouldn’t be is forcing the issue to keep penalty calls even, or close to it, no matter the transgression.
Make-up calls are also a reality, and might follow a missed call, or a bad call. We all make mistakes, though, so why compound one miss with another? Innocent missed calls should even out over time due to human error and we live with that to some degree in every sport.
But aiming to call a penalty on one team just to keep the overall power play splits in the game even or close to it? Or calling a penalty to make up for a missed one earlier? That should not be how game management is defined or thought about. These two ideas should be separated, in a perfect world. Even up calls, in fact, shouldn’t be a thing and, to me, is the real problem here.
“The key word here is marginal penalties,” Lewis said. “We don’t want marginal penalties in any game, the players don’t want them.”
This was the penalty at the centre of Tuesday’s uproar, when Arvidsson was called for tripping.
It’s all about how standards for management are set, directed and supported on a grand league-wide scale. Not every game needs to be called the exact same way for officials to be effective, but mistakes should be admitted to and moved on from. Not made up with two minutes later.
So with that in mind, various players and coaches around the league were asked for their takes on the Tuesday incident, game management and makeup calls. Here is some of what they said…
NATE THOMPSON, WINNIPEG JETS
“I think if you look at every sport, we’re probably the only sport really where games are managed. It’s a tough job, those guys are in a tough spot. That’s the biggest thing every player wants. We want consistency. If you’re calling penalties consistently or if you’re letting guys play I think that’s what guys want. I don’t think they want it to change from game to game, you want consistency night in night out.”
ROD BRIND’AMOUR, CAROLINA HURRICANES HEAD COACH
“Watch the games. Watch what happens at the end of games. If a team’s up, seems to get a power play for the team that’s behind. I think it’s just human nature. It’s hard. I know they’re not trying to do that. I don’t believe that’s how they go about it. It’s just human nature to maybe look for the team that’s down, but it seems to happen all the time.”
TRAVIS GREEN, VANCOUVER CANUCKS HEAD COACH
“As far as standard and whatnot I think standards change from game to game sometimes and depending on the heat of the game. But if you’re going to talk about standards in pre-season when you’ve got half the team’s rookies and talking about Game 7 playing for a Stanley Cup, I don’t think that’s really gonna happen.”
NATE SCHMIDT, VANCOUVER CANUCKS
“Every game’s different, every game is unique. Not just the same script every night. When it comes to officiating, I try not to look too far into it because they’re trying to do a job… as a player you just hope when they make a call they stick with it, stick by it.
“For me with referees, I have a lot of respect for guys who own it. If there’s something that happens in a game good, bad, or indifferent for your team and they own it, we’re all human and we make mistakes… if there’s a weak call or something like that, it happens, it’s human nature. Does it warrant another one? That’s not my decision to make. I think it’s about game flow and how it’s moving. They think things have gotten out of hand or getting away with a little too much then that happens. Game flow, game situation, as long as they own it it’s cool by me.”
NICKLAS BACKSTROM, WASHINGTON CAPITALS
“Honestly I’ve never heard it in my 14 years here. I’ve never heard anything like that. I think it’s maybe unfortunate that it happened and came out that way, but at the same time the league had to do what it had to do.”
PAUL MAURICE, WINNIPEG JETS HEAD COACH
“The black and white calls are all easy. But the entire game is a judgement call. What you’re hoping for is an understandable standard and that’s what we’re all shooting for. But the game at least is viewed in the same kind of judgement band. You get some games called a little tighter, some a little looser, you get in a playoff series you’re looking for that kind of standard. I think the referees have to have room for those judgements. That’s what the whole thing is about.
“I think what we’re talking about is that band of the standard that happens in a game as long as it stays consistent. We understand that sometimes that standard is slightly different. The idea we would get this consistent in 15 rinks a night, that’s just not going to happen. You’re just hopeful that what’s a penalty early is a penalty late.
“As far as how they do it, they set an internal standard for a night that has to be in the NHL guidelines and we try and hold the referees to that standard.”
ZACH HYMAN, TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
“Refs have a really tough job. You’re never going to make one side happy. A lot of calls, they vary obviously because it’s a person making the call. I know it’s human error, they’re mistakes. I think the refs are doing the best they can. The NHL sets that standard and you just try to make the calls based on that standard. I don’t know to speak to make up calls but it’s a tough job to do.
“It happens in all sports. Look at the NFL. You had the pass interference stuff, and in baseball you have a strike zone where you can look at that. But I think the nature of reffing is there’s going to be human error involved in it and you want people to be involved. You want to have refs. You don’t want to have everything on review. There are complaints about reviews now! So I think no matter what, when you’re in a competitive environment and it’s heated and both teams want to win you’re going to think you got the wrong end of the call sometimes and sometimes you’ll be on the other end. It’s the nature of competitive sports. When I say refs have a hard job it’s the truth. They gotta stay the line and make it as even as possible. Some games you’re going to get good calls and some games you’re gonna get bad calls. In the end you hope it balances out.”
ADAM LARSSON, EDMONTON OILERS
Q: Are makeup calls just part of hockey?
“Probably a little bit, but it shouldn’t be. It’s unfortunate that something like this happens, but everybody does mistakes. Everybody is not perfect. He made a mistake but unfortunately you don’t want make up calls to be part of the game. I don’t think it’s right. I think if it’s an obvious one I don’t think it should be made up for.”
JOHN TAVARES, TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
“I’d like to give a clear, easy answer but I think it’s extremely difficult and the referees have a very tough job trying to manage all those things, applying a standard, keeping consistent, and also getting a feel for the game because I do think there’s that element to it. The best way I feel about it is keeping the standard as consistent as possible, at least from start to finish. Some nights a little more gets let go, sometimes it’s a little tighter. But when the standard’s changing in-game so significantly that’s when it can get so frustrating as a player because something happens to you or someone on your team and you feel a similar situation, same type of play, doesn’t get called and maybe because the referee doesn’t want to decide the game at that point, which I can understand. But from us competing out there those are the times you can get frustrated trying to understand. I know dealing with the referees they don’t want to be the ones deciding the games. They want the two teams to be doing that.
“I think (calling the rulebook as it is) has to be at the top of the list, the absolute framework of the way the game’s getting called and the way it’s getting applied so I completely understand that. But I don’t think anyone wants to see important games, important points, happen to be decided by a faceoff violation in the last two minutes of a great hockey game that’s got a lot on the line. But at the same time we want to have the accountability… If sometimes things have a little bit of a different feel to them from night to night I can understand that a little bit personally, but it’s when things shift so drastically through a game that’s when it can be tough.”
Boston Bruins Add Offense With Solid Taylor Hall Trade – Boston Hockey Now
The Boston Bruins clearly understood they had serious deficiencies on their NHL roster this season and credit them for going and doing something about it.
The B’s finished off their Sunday night fireworks ahead of the NHL trade deadline by sending a second round pick and Anders Bjork to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for top-6 winger Taylor Hall and bottom-6 forward Curtis Lazar. TSN’s Darren Dreger, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and ESPN’s John Buccigross were the first to report about the completed deal between the Bruins and Buffalo Sabres in the hours following the B’s getting stomped by the Washington Capitals, 8-1, at TD Garden.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) April 12, 2021
The Buffalo Sabres retained half of the $8 million salary that Hall signed for prior to the start of the 2021 hockey season.
After acquiring Hall @ 50% & Lazar for Bjork, the #NHLBruins added $772K Cap Hit for remainder of year.
They have $24K of Projected Cap Space; $100K Annual Cap Hit that can be added, w/ 24 Active on Roster. Sending players to taxi would create more room.https://t.co/2o0hsHzUIy https://t.co/rXiRKKk3lt pic.twitter.com/I7ZRUSmSQp
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) April 12, 2021
The 29-year-old Hall is having a terrible season in Buffalo with just two goals and 19 points in 37 games along with a minus-21 rating after he chose to sign a one-year deal with the Sabres during the offseason. But he brings legitimate offensive talent as a former No. 1 overall pick and Hart Trophy winner to a Boston Bruins team that’s ranked in the bottom third of the NHL offensively all season.
The Bruins were one of the suitors for Hall prior to him choosing the Sabres months ago, and now they get him for a deep discount while keeping their own first round picks after making their deadline deals.
Holding onto their own first round pick was a priority for Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney after spending first rounders at the deadline in two of the last three deadlines in trades for damaged goods Rick Nash and Ondrej Kase.
The 26-year-old Lazar has five goals and 11 points in 33 games as a bottom-6 forward for the Sabres this season and is signed for $800,000 for next season. It seemed clear that something was going on with the 24-year-old Anders Bjork over the last couple of weeks as he was a healthy scratch for five straight games, including Sunday night against Washington, and heads to Buffalo hoping to further develop a game built on speed and skill level that hasn’t translated into offense as of yet.
Hall should fit right into the top-6 with the Bruins as a skilled winger for playmaking center David Krejci, but it remains to be seen how he’s going to fit as another left winger on a team with Nick Ritchie and Jake DeBrusk.
Either Ritchie or DeBrusk is going to have to play the off wing with a Krejci/Hall combo, but that’s a problem that Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy will gladly figure out after being forced to piece together lineups all season due to injuries and offensive inconsistency. With the acquisition of Hall, Lazar and left-handed defenseman Mike Reilly on Sunday night, it would appear the Boston Bruins are largely done with deals ahead of Monday’s NHL trade deadline.
Interestingly enough, the Boston Bruins are set to play the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night at TD Garden.
Drouin must return to mentality that’s led to success this season – Sportsnet.ca
It was something Dominique Ducharme said after his Montreal Canadiens played an abysmal game against the Ottawa Senators last week, something that only truly resonated after they lost 3-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday — a game that emboldened the struggle Jonathan Drouin’s currently enduring.
“Ninety per cent of the mistakes we made were mental, and the rest of it was above our shoulders.” the coach said after the 6-3 loss to Ottawa last Saturday, somewhat channelling New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra with this bit of wit and wisdom.
It was hard not to think of those words watching Drouin play the way he did on Wednesday. For much of this season, the talented left winger has played a primary role in Montreal’s success. He’s led them with 19 assists, been tenacious on the forecheck, physically engaged all over the ice, cerebral as always in his execution and, as he’s said on several occasions, relatively unconcerned by whether or not his name has been featured on the scoresheet.
But it seemed clear, after watching Drouin dump a breakaway into Jack Campbell’s chest with one of 32 shots the Maple Leafs goaltender turned aside to set a franchise record with his 10th consecutive win, he had diverted from that. And that affected the way he played the rest of the game.
It was Drouin’s fifth in a row without a point, his 18th without a goal, and he’d have to be a robot not to be suffering the mental wear of not seeing the puck go in more than twice since the season started, the torment of seeing only three per cent of his shots hit the back of the net through 36 games after 10 per cent of them resulted in goals through the first 348 games of his career.
“It is weighing on me where, when I have a chance and miss the goal, I might be trying to score too much,” Drouin said. “It’s something I obviously think about — every player would — and I’ve just gotta put it past me and just keep shooting pucks.”
Ideally, the 26-year-old wouldn’t be thinking about any of this. These are thoughts that weigh a player down and right now the Canadiens are in tough without Brendan Gallagher for the rest of the season and Drouin needs to be light and free to help account for that loss. And in order for him to do that, he needs to focus on what he does best.
Because the reality is that even though Drouin can score more, scoring isn’t what he needs to do in order to be at his best and really help this team.
“When his feet are moving and he’s making plays, Drou’s a pass-first guy,” explained Jake Allen, who made 29 saves in Carey Price’s absence. “When his feet are moving, his head’s always in it. When his feet are moving, he’s controlling the play, controlling the puck. He’s a guy who really can control the play for a whole line. You want the puck on that guy’s stick and let the other guys do the dirty work and he’ll find them.”
But when Drouin’s feet aren’t moving, there just isn’t enough of that other stuff happening.
When Drouin’s feet weren’t moving, he lost a battle for the puck in the offensive zone and allowed the NHL’s leading goal scorer to start the rush that resulted in the winning play of Wednesday’s game.
Auston Matthews to Mitch Marner, back to Matthews, off Allen and slammed into Montreal’s net by Zach Hyman with 9:39 remaining in the third period, with Drouin watching from just inside his own blue line.
“You give a 3-on-2 to the Matthews line and it’s the kind of play they’re going to make you pay on,” said Ducharme.
Was Drouin still thinking about that shot he didn’t bury in the second period?
It’s understandable if he was, but those are the kind of thoughts he needs to shake right now.
“He wants to do well, and I’m sure it’s getting a little bit in his head,” said Ducharme. “I think the best remedy for him is to be scoring that goal or making that big play, and I think he’s going to be energized by that and less thinking, more acting.
“It is a fine line. Those kind of thoughts is not something that you want to happen. But when you receive that puck and you see the opening and stuff, (the slump) comes back to (your mind). That’s why the mental part of the game is something that’s very tricky. It’s not his will to be thinking that way. Every player who’s going through a time like that will have that thought and scoring that goal will take him to a different level. At those kind of times you need to make it even simpler and being even more inside going at the net and finding a garbage (goal) right there and you put it in and sometimes you go on a little run. It might be that kind of goal that he needs to get that monkey off his back.”
It’s the kind of goal Corey Perry scored twice to give the Canadiens a chance in this game.
But Drouin isn’t Perry, who rightly pointed out after the game he’s made a career of scoring goals that way. And even if Drouin can borrow from what Perry does next time he has a chance like the one Brett Kulak set him up with for that breakaway, there are other ways he can positively impact the game.
You can appreciate that Drouin said he’s putting pressure on himself to score more and help make up for the goals the team will be missing with Gallagher sidelined, but that might not get him to where he needs to be mentally to contribute as much as he already has this season.
What would, though, is a sharp turn towards the mentality he described just days ago. The one that’s enabled him to be a much more consistent player this season than he has in seasons past.
“When I was younger, I’d stay on one game or stay on one play for too long and wouldn’t be able to let it go for a bit or a couple of days,” Drouin said. “But I think for me now it’s can I look at myself in the mirror after a game and did I give my good effort? Was I a part of this game? Was I doing something right in a lot of areas?
“That’s what I do now. I think points are there, goals are there, assists are there, but it’s just about playing that real game and playing to help your team win.”
Drouin’s done a lot of that this season and has a chance to get right back to it when the Winnipeg Jets visit the Bell Centre Thursday.
Scioscia to lead U.S. baseball bid for spot at Tokyo Olympics
(Reuters) – Mike Scioscia, who won World Series both as a player and manager, was named manager of the U.S. men’s national baseball team on Tuesday, as they seek a spot at the Tokyo Olympics.
After 19 seasons as manager of the Anaheim Angels, guiding them to their only World Series win in 2002, Scioscia will make his international coaching debut in June when the United States hosts the Baseball Americas Qualifier in Florida.
For the tournament the U.S. will be grouped with the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Nicaragua in Pool A while Canada, Colombia, Cuba, and Venezuela will make up Pool B.
The top two teams from each pool will advance to the Super Round, where the country with the best overall record will earn a spot in the Tokyo Olympic tournament.
Second and third-place finishers will advance to a final qualifier, joining Australia, China, Taiwan, and the Netherlands.
“Mike’s tenure with the Angels’ franchise was nothing short of spectacular, creating and celebrating a culture of success with six division titles, an American League pennant, and its first-ever World Series title,” said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler in a statement. “More impactfully, his leadership, integrity, and character are unparalleled in our game, making him the perfect fit for the USA Baseball family.”
The Olympic tournament will take place from July 28-Aug. 7 in Fukushima City and Yokohama.
Hosts Japan, Israel, South Korea, and Mexico have already secured a berth in the six-team field.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Toby Davis)