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Friday, February 10, 2006

The NHL Refs are here

The good news this week, for AHL fans, is that the NHL has sent its experienced refs to the AHL during the Olympic break as a refresher. The bad news is that it appears that Harry Dumas continues to ref AHL games after a terrible game in Binghamton, January 20 versus Wilkes Barre/ Scranton.

In that game, Dumas, who has a ranking among the ten worst refs in the NHL, according to the web site Internet Sports Ranking DB, awarded 121 minutes of penalties, most in the second period, to Binghamton, versus 35 minutes to Wilkes-Barre.

One of the minor reasons I've not been able to write recently is a struggle with the issue of Harry Dumas. He is as much a block to my writing at the moment as he is to an enjoyable hockey experience. It is easy, too easy, to blame Harry Dumas for everything that went wrong recently in the game between Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton and Binghamton. Let's lay out a few thankless ideas: The Senators lost control and were rewarded with a lot of penalties. The calls were 12 minutes against the B-Sens in the first period, two of which were in the final eight seconds of the period, 107 minutes in the second period, two minutes in the third period.

The Senators hadn't lost their cool yet in the first period and they had regained their composure in the final period. I think that the first and third period of Senator play demonstrates a central thesis I believe about sports: players and coaches must adjust to the official. The Senators were able to do that in the final period. They were not in the second frame.

I also feel, that whatever wrath Dumas deserves, Senator fans should look at their own organization for the reasons the team couldn't discipline itself enough to adjust to Dumas. Lack of discipline, could it be a reason the team sucks this year?

At the end of the first frame, the score was already 2-0 Pens. The Senators were already behind, and the poor officiating hadn't even begun yet. The fact is, the Senators needed to play a more disciplined game of hockey in the final frames to win, and they didn't. And, they lost.

Why was I surprised that Dumas continues to work in the AHL? Well, there appears to be a hole in the schedule, no Dumas, a little Dumas, then no Dumas again. From what I can research, it appears that Dumas was assigned to a game on January 22 between Hamilton and Toronto. After that, the next games I can find are a pair of games involving Wilkes-Barre in February, two weeks ago.

I asked the AHL to respond to the seeming light load award Mr. Dumas. They have not responded. Undoubtedly, two of the reasons his load is light is the arrival of the NHL officials and the AHLAll-Star game.

But, Dumas lacks the maturity that is necessary to officiate heated contests. Fans are not paying to see games in which the officiating is the issue. Fans are not paying to see games in which the outcome is cast in doubt by poor league management.

The on ice official must share responsibility for the management of the game. Dumas, who was challenged by Bingo players to explain his calls throughout the second period, responded by penalizing these attempts. Clearly Dumas didn't have to explain anything, and he didn't. And because he didn't, the game became a farce.

What you'll note about having the NHL refs on AHL ice this month is that they are explaining their calls. For a related story on the burn-out of minor league referees.


Anonymous said...

1. Love the blog. Nice to see something about the AHL

2. I agree with your wife -- Tibbetts is a Class A prick. Despite his hockey ability, he is nothing but a thug. I'm here in Omaha (home of the Aksarben Knights). I and hundreds of others enjoyed heckling him over the weekend unmercilessly. The guy is a time bomb. We obviously got under his skin and he was snake bit on Saturday. I have no ill will against the Wolves -- just him.

Good luck with the rest of the season.
(Go Knights lol)


Patrick Kissane said...

I've made a few mistakes so far this year. One was thinking Milwaukee was rebuilding. Wrong. Anyway, it is nice to see Omaha and Iowa continue to fight for the third and fourth playoff spot in the West with Peoria. I'm pretty much conceeding, the Wolves are playing golf at the end of the regular season.