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Why the NHL should be ashamed of their referees and their rule book

No one should aspire to be infamous

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-San Jose Sharks at St. Louis Blues Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

I’m mad as hell, and I can’t take it anymore. Let me explain something first as I tip off this Thursday evening rant.

I didn’t watch Wednesday’s Game 3 between the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues live. I was watching Dave Matthews Band sing away my troubles instead (and boy did he ever, I swear the band doesn’t age a bit). Yet, I managed to keep up with the game while stuck in a perpetual haze of marijuana, jam band tunes, and wild dancing all around me. The crowd even screamed, “Let’s Go Blues” at the stage, to which a clueless yet game Matthews responded with, “I hope it works out for you, so here’s a blues song.”

For the love of sweet scotch, I’m glad D.M.B. didn’t cover Gloria, but in responding to Dave’s cheerful and classy line, it didn’t work out for the Blues. And there’s one main culprit: The four referees assigned to Wednesday’s game.

In case you have been living under a rock for the past 20 hours, I’ll fill you in real quick. The Sharks won Game 3 on a hand pass. In overtime, with the score tied at four, Timo Meier literally used his hand to pass the puck to Gustav Nyquist, who dished it to the streaking Erik Karlsson for the winning goal. An official, located in the corner who skated towards the net as the play developed, saw the entire fucking play. As far as I know, he isn’t blind.

Check it out for yourself, but keep sharp objects and glass as far away as you can while watching.

F.U.B.A.R. Also known as, fucked up beyond all recognition. That’s what that is.

The Sharks won the game because the ref missed a BLATANT hand pass in the most crucial moment of a playoff game. The play should have been whistled dead, like a high stick or off-sides occurrence. The face-off would be in the Blues zone, and the overtime would continue with the game tied. It should not have been allowed to decide a Stanley Cup playoff game.

When people complain about the refs, this is why. They suck. It’s not being a homer or bias to scream at the referees, because this is an affliction and plague that spreads all over the league. If you need a great chapter to kick off your future best-selling book entitled, “NHL Refs Suck,” Game 3 is a great idea.

Let me say something before you turn heel or try to be the obvious smart ass who tells me there were other factors in the game that led the Blues astray. Shut up. Every game has factors, but at the end of the day, one thing stands out. One terrible thing.

Sure, there were other issues, and we can go over them real quick.

A) The Blues had several chances to kill seconds in the closing period, or move the puck up ice, but Alex Pietrangelo was busy tossing 95 mph laser beams down into the San Jose zone for icing calls. I love Petro and defend him often, but even Craig Berube agreed that the second and third icing shots were foolhardy.

B) Jaden Schwartz hits the post on an empty netter. The Blues are officially the worst empty net shooting playoff team in NHL history, or so it seems like it.

C) The Blues lost Vince Dunn early on in the game, and possibly for much longer. Dunn had been one of the team’s best defenders in this series, so that was huge blow. Why couldn’t Joel Edmundson hurt himself first? Losing Dunn left the team vulnerable.

D) Martin Jones was unreal in the third period, stopping all 12 St. Louis shots. What a jerk. I kid. While I still think he’s beatable (an 88% save percentage proves it), he came up big and allowed the Sharks to dig back in and tie the game.

In the end, it was mainly on the refs, especially the guy who had a front row seat to the goal. More importantly, the egregious honor of bad belongs to the NHL for not making the play reviewable. It’s like the principle who knows that one teacher is dogshit, yet doesn’t allow the school board to review his or her methods. It’s one thing to miss a call or an obstruction; the embarrassment intensifies when the play can’t even be reviewed. Why not give yourself the luxury to rethink or check on a huge play that your officials may have missed?

It’s impossible for the league to be this dumb, and I would expect some level of action to take place in the offseason. Or tomorrow night. Maybe in a couple hours. The NHL will have to install a new rule or clarification of what can be reviewed after this debacle. And please understand something, folks: this is a ridiculously bad look for the league. I have to wonder what other refs and league officials are quietly uttering to their friends, families, and to themselves in dark corners of their garage.

When people compare your gaffe to Don Denkinger, you are entering a white hot stinky hall of shit. I’m talking diarrhea flames. The NHL should be ashamed of their referees ... and their rule book.

Thanks for reading. I need a drink as I go over a headline in my head that reads, “Hockey team taken down by an unjust handjob!”