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As a fellow ref, and one was always compared to you (because of my hair) I ask you this; prior to the recent change in what constitutes a hooking penalty where just touching a player in the midsection can result in a hooking call, my criteria in calling a hook was:
Did it impede the player's progress?
Did it cause a change of possession?
Did it cause an injury?
Did it materially affect the game?
If not, then I wouldn't call it. There may be an exception that doesn't one to mind, but essentially, that's what I chose to do.
In the game last night leading up to the winning goal, Jaromir Jagr reached in and clearly hooked Evgeni Malkin (in my opinion), resulting in a change of possession. You could tell because as Malkin was pushing with his legs to take off with the puck and as Jagr reached in with his stick and pulled, Malkin's body position went from leaning forward in a driving forward motion to being erect and his forward progress was obviously altered by that action.
He lost the puck to Jagr as a result of that hook. Jagr was closer to his offensive zone. Because of that hook, when he snagged the puck, he was closer to the Penguin goal than Malkin was and it gave him an advantage which he used to start the play for the winning goal.
So finally, my question...even in an OT playoff game, should a hook have been called?
Thank you for the insight you give us everyday and the thought process you give us of an NHL referee.
Last night on the Boston Bruins overtime goal there was a clear hook on Evgeni Malkin by Jaromir Jagr. Jagr's stick was to the midsection of Malkin and there was also a tug which led to the Bruins coming back and getting the winner. All year long including the playoffs we have seen far less hooks be called for a penalty. Why was this not called? Shouldn't the same rules be applied regardless if it's the first period or OT?
By calling the game differently in OT then it would be in the first aren't they ruining the integrity of the game?
Bill and Angelo:
The is no way anyone can put a positive spin on the non-call (video link) in double overtime that turned the puck over and resulted in the game winning goal by Patrice Bergeron of Boston. As both of you alluded to, Jaromir Jagr clearly reached and hooked Evgeni Malkin through the hands and then up under the armpit. As Jagr pulled back with his stick, Malkin's forward progress was stalled, stutter-stepped and his body twisted from the hook.
Jagr then gained possession of the puck and reversed the flow on the attack to set up the game-winning goal.
The expectation is (and should be) that obvious infractions will be called at any time of the game. There was give and take in this hard fought game and both sides gained some advantages from a 'generous' standard of enforcement that was extended to them. Once players enter a relative comfort zone that the Refs are 'allowing them to play' and anything short of a scoring opportunity or a puck shot over the glass will be called they often take advantage of everything they can.
This turnover of the puck was at the red line; just short of 100 feet from either goal. Jagr gambled that he could get away with the hook in double overtime. His leap of faith paid off for him and the Boston Bruins as they took a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.
Since the play took place at the red line and on a puck carrier (which is a visual transition zone for the Refs) it would be next to impossible if at least one Referee was not focused directly on the action.
It's even highly probable that four eyes would have had a look at the play from different vantage points. The Referee on the same side of the ice in the Penguins zone (trailing Malkin) might have had an obstructed view looking through Jagr's back as the hook was administered. Theoretically, the best view would be drawn with an angle on the play by the lead Ref on the opposite side of the ice. Perhaps neither Ref had a clear sightline on the play. If that was the case, one or both of them should have!
I can appreciate the pressure the Officials feel as the game extends into double OT. Every decision they make is crucial and magnified at this point of the game. No Ref wants to be accused of making a 'weak' call that decides the game.
Also keep in mind, penalties were being called in both overtime periods. In the first extra period, coincidental minor penalties were called on Milan Lucic and Matt Cooke followed by power play opportunities when Chris Kelly was whistled for tripping and Brooks Orpik for high-sticking before Evgeni Malkin got the automatic delay of game for shooting the puck over the glass. Boston was assessed a too many men on the ice near the start of the second overtime period. Most likely no one remembers these calls or that the Referees were performing their duties as expected.
What will be remembered, at least by the Penguins and their fans, is the old school attitude of 'letting the players decide the outcome of the game' that crept back last night; if only for just one non-call.
Following the 2004-05 lockout, the expectation was for a more consistent standard to be implemented; especially on restraining fouls. The 'new way' dictated that a Referee would get in less trouble for what he called as opposed to what he didn't. This held true last night in Boston.
Bill and Angelo, the Referees have to make a call such as this at anytime throughout the game. When they do, they need to be supported by the entire hockey community. Let's not ever hear again the old adage to, "let the players decide the outcome of the game."