NHL Refs Have Been Abysmal This Playoffs – And Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl Admits He Doesn’t Know What The ‘Standard Is Right Now’
Friday night was yet another of how bad visibly bad the NHL officiating has been – and players including Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl want answers.
Of course, bad calls happen – but if they do it’s up to the officials to not only be better going forward but make sure they are consistent when something similar happens to the other team.
It’s up to the NHL to make the game as fair and even as possible given every inch matters too much at this time of the year.
When officials miss as an obvious that can seriously hurt a player and a soft penalty is called instead – it becomes an issue.
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In the second period, Draisaitl sat in the box for unsportsmanlike conduct after slashing Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.
with leon draisaitl in the box for this unsportsmanlike call, adrian kempe quickly scores to tie this game at 2. pic.twitter.com/kDFbpm3v83
— zach (@zjlaing) April 22, 2023
But if you take a look at the replay above, the slash doesn’t have a lot of force on it and you have to ask yourself: Does that call really need to be made when it has little to do with the impact of the game?
Sure it’s not a smart play on Draisaitl’s part and he admitted that – but he took a shot at refs in his post-game interview.
“You don’t call a clear knee on knee right in front of you, and then you call a slashing penalty… just don’t really know what the standard is right now,” the German native said.
"You don’t call a clear knee on knee right in front of you, and then you call a slashing penalty… just don't really know what the standard is right now."
Leon Draisaitl when asked about his frustrations with the refs following the Oilers' Game 3 loss to the Kings. pic.twitter.com/8EoYHxb5G1
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) April 22, 2023
What Draisaitl was referring to was the Doughty hit on Connor McDavid that made contact with his knee.
While the video is tough to see, it does in fairness to Doughty looks like he makes contact with the body first before making contact with the knee – so it’s not a malicious play.
Doughty hit on McDavid pic.twitter.com/KwMw8NufSZ
— Hockey Realm (@hockey_realm) April 22, 2023
However, the refs could have called a charge on Doughty because it looks like he makes no effort to play the puck after it left McDavid’s stick.
There was also another penalty that could have been called in the game when Phillip Danault took down McDavid with a slash that took away a potential offensive opportunity for the Oilers.
So if you’re going to call slashes one way call them the other.
The other issue was the Kings scored off the Draisaitl penalty, and it resulted in a tie game in the second period after the Oilers had a 2-1 lead.
The powerplays in the game favored the Kings 6-3.
And now the Kings have a 2-1 series lead after scoring on the powerplay in overtime.
Some other bad calls in the playoffs included New York Rangers defensemen Adam Fox getting called for roughing in game two and Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Kämpf getting called for slashing in game one.
The NHL needs to be more consistent in these playoffs going forward – because two-minute powerplays could make a huge difference.
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