Three things happen every April. On the first day of the month, people prank each other. A few days later, Mother Nature sends out one last winter blast. And of course, cowardly NHL referees abandon the rule book and start to make it up on the fly. After watching several NHL games this week, involving teams on the playoff bubble, it is blatantly obvious that the hooking standard, slashing standard, roughing standard etc. has been lowered. This leniency will continue to expand over the next few months, until we reach a point in the league finals where anything short of a major assault will be considered a normal part of the game.
We don’t see baseball umpires alter the strike zone just because the World Series is underway. NFL referees won’t hesitate to throw a penalty flag late in the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl game. But gutless NHL referees, put their whistle in their pockets every spring, based on the laughable theory that they don’t want a penalty call to influence the outcome of the game. And of course by not maintaining the standards that were in play all season long, they are absolutely influencing the game’s final result.
Get ready. It’s already started.