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Questions for the Tin Hat Brigade

Some Habs fans are upset, despite being locked up at 2 games apiece with the defending Cup champs.

Why are they upset? Because, apparently the officials are under strict orders from the NHL to ensure that Sidney Crosby and his Pittsburgh Penguins ensnare another championship. What Canadiens fans fail to realize is that just about every team’s fanbase is accusing the league of conspiring against them. How can the league possibly be conspiring against everyone…except Crosby, of course.

Friend and fellow blogger Rocket has his own blog up this morning about how the officiating has been horrid, but that the conspiracy talk is not necessary, at least not yet.

Not all of you follow all sports, but if anyone recalls the near-disastrous incident the NBA had to deal with a couple years ago with corrupted official Tim Donaghy, you’d have to believe that all pro sports leagues took note. A league that is suspected of being rigged and fixed is no better than pro wrestling. I’m sorry, but the NHL is not the WWE, and as much as we distrust Gary Bettman and his group, it’s insanity to think that he’d willingly put the NHL is such a position.

Please, enough. There aren’t any conspiracies or agendas, at least as far as match fixing is concerned. And that goes for Canadiens fans, Canucks fans, Redwings fans, and fans of any other team that think they’ve been stabbed in the back by the league.

If Bettman and his cronies at the NHL were scheming and plotting to ensure certain teams and players have success, then ask youselves the following questions:

  • Would the league have allowed the Hurricanes to play the Oilers in the Cup finals?
  • Would the league have allowed the Lightning to play the Flames in the Cup finals?
  • Wouldn’t the league have done its best to ensure that the Rangers not only made the playoffs in the last 2 games vs Philadelphia, but ensure they go deep ? After all, New York is by FAR the largest TV market in the U.S., and TV ratings mean money.
  • Wouldn’t the league have done more to try and help the Kings defeat the Canucks? Fans in Vancouver were pretty certain that the league was fixing to ensure their team’s demise. And why not? The Kings are the 2nd largest market in the U.S., and capturing that market would also mean a ton of TV ratings…and more money!
  • Wouldn’t the league want to see a Los Angeles – New York Stanley Cup final…every year? That would mean HUGE television numbers, no? I’m sure on some level, they’d love for that to happen, but they aren’t actively acting as puppet masters to make that happen.
  • Wouldn’t the league have done its utmost to ensure another matchup between Ovechkin and Crosby in the playoffs? As geniuses, surely they could have found a way to get rid of the Canadiens, no?
As my friend Sarah says “I mean, if you don’t think he (Bettman) can run the league, how do you think he could be smart enough to pull of gigantic fixes?” Bingo.
Bettman is a slick and squirmy guy. He always seems to escape certain doom, much in the same way Dr. Evil makes his dastardly escapes right before the good guys nab him. But to think he’s behind the scenes like the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz is a little bit much.
Crying and whining about officiating, as awful as it is, is a “loser’s lament”, as CBC’s Elliotte Friedman put it. And he’s right. So let’s just quit it with talk of conspiracies. It’s nonsense and it’s unthinkable that a professional sports league would endanger itself by predetermining outcomes.
Quick Edit: Something else to consider…I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that any time either Tim Peel, Chris Lee, Paul Devorski, or Eric Furlatt, Habs fans will already have their built-in excuse for any potential loss, which is sad.
  • http://www.markzonder.com/ Amy

    Great article Kyle.

    I don’t think there’s a conspiracy.

    I do think however that last night we saw a bad example of officiating. Not sure just how it happens sometimes… but maybe it’s the equivalent of going out to buy a car and ending up with a “lemon”.

    Not sure and have no desire to think about “if some officials lean towards… x-y-z….”. It was what it was.

    Every sports fan who follows their team closely has surely seen some calls…. that ultimately weren’t called and cost their team.

    I did see something that I did enjoy quite a bit thought in last night’s Habs-Pens game…. a Habs team that knew alot of calls weren’t going their way… they held composure… fought hard… and won.

    Brian Gionta got it right by not commenting on officiating after the game.

    A lemon is a lemon. I think we should just leave it at that.

  • http://www.cowhideandrubber.com Kyle

    @peterg11742
    You’re right on about that. The refs just stunk last night. End of story. Crosby gets beneficial calls, but that doesn’t separate him from any superstar in any sport in that regard…

  • peterg11742

    I do suppose that bad reffing isn’t evidence of a conspiracy. In reflection, the team possessing the puck is less likely to get called for a foul. In the Habs / Pens case, the Pens certainly have possessed the puck more.

  • http://www.cowhideandrubber.com Kyle

    @Lyse
    Thanks for reading, Lyse! You can quote me any time!

    @Yves
    Yves, it was refreshing to see a Habs team finally fight through clear adversity. Gionta was his composed, classy self in not commenting. Bashing the refs would have not helped at all. It only would have hurt the team and given more fuel to the fire that the refs are out to get them.

  • http://yvesonhabs.com/ Yves

    Great article Kyle.

    I don’t think there’s a conspiracy.

    I do think however that last night we saw a bad example of officiating. Not sure just how it happens sometimes… but maybe it’s the equivalent of going out to buy a car and ending up with a “lemon”.

    Not sure and have no desire to think about “if some officials lean towards… x-y-z….”. It was what it was.

    Every sports fan who follows their team closely has surely seen some calls…. that ultimately weren’t called and cost their team.

    I did see something that I did enjoy quite a bit thought in last night’s Habs-Pens game…. a Habs team that knew alot of calls weren’t going their way… they held composure… fought hard… and won.

    Brian Gionta got it right by not commenting on officiating after the game.

    A lemon is a lemon. I think we should just leave it at that.

  • http://touteparpillee.blogspot.com/ Lyse

    Very well said. I will quote you, I promise.


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