In Defense of Referees

19 September 2014, 11:21
The Kontinental Hockey League has released an official statement in reply to critical comments made in some quarters regarding a number of refereeing decisions from two of Wednesday’s Championship games, namely Admiral vs. Barys in Vladivostok and Dynamo vs. Metallurg Magnitogorsk in Moscow. At the request of the KHL Disciplinary Committee, the League referred all the controversial episodes for evaluation by a commission comprising expert analysts. 

During the game in Vladivostok, a 3-2 win for Admiral over Barys of Astana, the visitors incurred a series of minor penalties, the last of which – imposed for having too many players on the ice – stoked the wrath of Barys head coach Andrei Nazarov to the extent that his response led to him being sent back to the locker room by the referee and later disciplined by the League. 

n defense of Mr. Nazarov, some of the Barys staff highlighted the significant difference in penalty minutes earned by the two teams, and more specifically, claimed that the last-minute penalty decision was preceded by seven consecutive minor penalties against Barys players in the second half of the game. In fact, after the 28th-minute penalty shot awarded against the home team, the referee handed out not seven, but five two-minute penalties against the visitors, and the Commission has studied each one and maintains that all five were justly awarded. 

The Commission also studied the episode resulting in the referee’s call of too many players on the ice. Rule 411, governing the change of skaters or goaltenders during play, states that the exchange may take place at any time, “provided that the changing players and goalkeepers are within an unmarked area bounded by the length of the respective players’ bench and 1.5 meters from the boards.” With regard to the episode in question, a clear violation occurred, as when the sixth skater entered the playing area the goaltender did not approach the bench, but was skating back toward the goal at the time. The linesman signaled the offense and the referee’s decision was entirely in accordance with the Rules. 

In the Dynamo vs. Metallurg game, the Commission investigated the two episodes which resulted in injuries to the Magnitogorsk players, Tim Brent and Sergei Mozyakin. The Commission discerned no illegal play in the challenge on Tim Brent by Nikolai Zherdev or in the hit on Sergei Mozyakin by Martins Karsums. The Commission notes that Mozyakin’s injuries were caused by his colliding with the boards, and from a refereeing perspective this must be regarded as an unfortunate accident. 

The League considers it a duty to remind its clubs that if any representative of a club publicly criticizes the performance of a referee after a game, the club must submit a formal request to the KHL, in order that the League may investigate the complaint. If the club does not send an official request to the League, then its members’ allegations against the referees shall be deemed unfounded and damaging to the reputation of the Championship, and such behavior is subject to disciplinary sanctions.
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