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Canadiens Matheson Fine Highlights Poor Work From NHL Referees



Canadiens defenceman Mike Matheson hits Eric Staal

The NHL announced Montreal Canadiens defenceman Mike Matheson has been fined $5,000 for the play that set off a series of unfortunate incidents in Thursday night’s matchup against the Florida Panthers.

The play took place in the first period, featuring a nasty reverse hit by Matheson which forced Eric Staal to leave the game.

And while there’s no doubt Matheson deserves the fine, it also puts the questionable work by the referees on full display, seeing as Matheson was not penalized for the clear interference.

Hellbent on revenge, the Panthers took matters into their own hands, including a blatant knee by Sam Bennett on Canadiens defenceman Jordan Harris, not to mention an ugly hit on Arber Xhekaj which epitomized boarding.

It’s also worth noting Radko Gudas attempted a cheap shot of his own, attempting to take out Kirby Dach’s knees in the third period.

Dach did not participate in practice on Friday.

Lost Zebras

Simply put, the referees lost control of the game, and the fallout resulted in several players on both teams putting their health at risk.

The failure to properly penalize Matheson also led to three different fights, which, once again put player health on the back burner as the thirst for retribution drove players to seek revenge.

With two players injured, and more potential injury news on the way, it’s fair to say the inertia from the referees didn’t just lead to a game filled with illegal hits, it also put their lack of accountability on full display.

They directly impacted the game, and without an explanation for their actions, or rather, inaction, it’s difficult to get a handle on the decision-making process involved in the inconsistent world of NHL refereeing.

If the NHL hopes to curve the number of brain injuries sustained by their players, a semblance of accountability would be in order.

As it stands, officiating in the NHL is a guessing game.

A dangerous guessing game.

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David Trott

The referees, and frequent incompetences, are completely protected by the NHL. I was shocked that Matheson was not penalized and that the first goal was not disallowed. If there are complaints from coaches they are fined. Tantamount to competing with one hand tied behind the back. The NHL may think that it evens out, one terrible call for each team but the danger to the players goes up exponentially with each terrible call. I’m also surprised that the NHLPA is not more vocal about this level of refereeing.


So if Matheson had touched the puck and pushed it forward and then stopped and hit Staal it’s a legal hit. Staal expected Matheson to skate around the net with the puck. Bettman’s NHL is IIHF on small ice. No comparison to the NHL before Bettman. The hit was a penalty tho. I would say most fans have no clue to what the NHL used to be. Sad.


You can add the non-call for goalie interference on the Panthers first goal (which led to the PP causing the 2nd goal) as another guessing game moment with respect to NHL officiating. I heard the league’s explanation too that said basically “the puck would have gone in anyway”. That’s baloney imo. It would have been a miracle save for sure, but if you look at Montembeault’s blocker hand, it looks to me that he would have had a chance had Tkachuk not blocked him from getting across. You wonder if it had been a goalie with more established credentials (like Price) if they would have taken a different approach? Maybe they think the likelihood of a save possibly being made is higher, so they call goalie interference? And that right there demonstrates yet another problem with the rule. It shouldn’t be based on a judgement of a player’s abilities. A penalty is a penalty no matter who does it or who it’s against. What’s next? Judgements on whether a guy that is interfered with would have scored or not on a breakaway? Oh… wait… Nvm. 😁

John Stone

so matheson gets a fine .. but when an established veteran like bennet does a dirty move that could end an Early Career doesn’t get fined ? I in no way condone the hit Matheson took on Stahl… but to get revenge on a kid just barely out the gate is just plain disgusting.. by getting revenge doesnt mean u knee some young defencemen or crush some other rookie against the boards.. Win the Game.. thats how you exempt revenge.. This is getting outta hand.. and gary bettman needs to do something about this obviously broken ref situation.


This post was pointless.
The League Failed and the Artlicle goes after Refs?

I mean sure they missed a call but they didnt add gas to the fire.
They tried to correct and move forward . Pretending they cant is foolishness.
We’re all humans and yestarday proved everyone makes mistakes.

No one was above criticism in that game but ultimately it fell on the NHL to send a message and they chose not to. Matheson’s fine was deserved but Bennet’s was one the NHL ruled on over the years a lot and Gudas is a repeat Dirty Player who both got nothing.

Thats not on the Ref’s but instead the NHL sending a message “we dont care” which has been Bettmans catch phrase basically since taking office. He does what he wants and since taking over more Stars and Generational Players have been majorly injured then at any other point in professional hockey bar none.


NHLPA = Players rep’s
Commisioner =Owners rep’s
The Former League President = Represented the Game and the owners.

Sure it made somethings harder when it came to financial side of things but as far as the integrity of the rules and game it was above reproach. I mean Scott Stevens hit the next level in Gary Bettmans NHL for his Grey Area Ruthless Aggression because in Gary’s Eye’s Big hits that can end career’s are fine as long as there’s no fighting afterwards to defend the injured.

Reality is the Instagator rule ruined Hockey.
Instead if you have 2 fights in one game you should be ejected.
This idea to penalize the team based on the politics of a referee’s call on who started the incident is ridiculous. Especially given since 2013 Referee’s will often tack on a penalty to the opponent to ensure things are evened up.

My point is we’re focusing on the wrong problem
Fans need Clubs like Soccer does as they hold power .
They represent a the voice of each owners fans like a union.
We dont have that in hockey

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