RefRatings: Calls of the week – Apr 30, 2019

Officials get cute in Rockets vs Warriors Semifinals Opener

It was clear from the get go the refs were allowing tighter defense than usual in game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors. Officials went as far as allowing defenders to step into the shooters landing zone without calling it, various times throughout the game. A play the NBA has cracked down on hard in recent years, aiming to abolish the move from the game due to injury risk.

All of a sudden, the officiating shifted drastically in the third quarter. After a no-call on Chris Paul on a 3-point made shot with Sean Livingston clearly jumping into Paul’s landing zone, officials started calling ticky-tack fouls for basically the rest of the game. Well sort of. Until Houston’s final possession. Were they trying to overcorrect their mistakes from earlier in the game? It sure seemed like it. Down three with the game expiring, Harden shoots a three and does his signature jump into the defender move to draw a foul. It didn’t work, he missed the shot and no call. Paul gets the rebound, gets hit trying to pass it out, no call again. Mayhem ensues, Paul is ejected.

This game was being called one way, then another way from mid 3rd-third quarter on. Then reversing course again and calling differently in the final moments. What happened to consistency?

Islanders get hosed against the Hurricanes, lose first playoff game

During the second period of a scoreless NHL playoff second round opening match between the New York Islanders vs Carolina Hurricane, Mathew Barzal broke through off a carom, for an Islanders goal. At the same time, Carolina center Lucas Wallmark clearly pushes Islanders winger Anders Lee into goaltender Petr Mrázek. As he was being pushed, Lee turns his skate parallel to the crease to avoid contact. Without talking it over, without review, the goal was immediately nulled and adding salt to the Islanders wound, Lee was called for a penalty.

The refs obviously did not follow protocol. NHL Rule 69 states that a conversation should have taken place between officials followed by a review. A call that proved costly as the scoreless game went into overtime, with Jordan Stall scoring for a Hurricanes win.

Bad call propels San Jose Sharks in Game 7

With the Golden Knights up 3-0 and just over ten minutes left in the game, it all started with a face-off, followed by a routine cross-check by Cody Eakin to Joe Pavelski who bounced into Paul Stastny, who just shoved him aside. Nothing viscous, no call. However, Pavelski fell on his head, bleeding from his helmet. The visuals were bad, the play not so much. An unfortunate outcome to what seemed as a legal play. After a no-call, Eakin was hit with a five-minute major, usually given to an illegal hit, which wasn’t.

The Sharks took full advantage, scoring four times during the penalty, taking a 4-3 lead. The Knights showed some resolved and tied it with less than a minute to go to forcing overtime. Only to lose it in the closing minutes of the period. That game changing call spurred the Sharks in becoming the second team in history to come back from three goals down in the third period of a game 7.

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