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When Law is Lawless

Complaining about refereeing is practically a sport in and of itself in the hockey world (or any sport, for that matter). What is a fan to do when those in charge of keeping the game equitable fall asleep at the wheel?

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Hockey fans are insecure creatures; we are, as a group, seemingly obsessed with making sure everyone knows how tough the players are. We are generally fairly stubborn (and don't you dare say we aren't!) we are, as a group, are sure that the refs are out to get OUR team. Those other guys get ALL. THE. CALLS, #amirite?

The response to complaints about refs is usually an almost immediate: "well, the team wasn't playing very good anyways." To say "that kind of statement bothers me is akin to saying that you'd find the air a bit thin in outer space.

I'll warn you at this point: nothing I'm about to say is going to break new ground. There are a few things that need to be said; my guess is you've thought it, and it is basically common sense, but it needs to be said:

Teams playing poorly and refs making bad calls are not mutually exclusive.

When someone states that the referees made poor decisions, the implication is that the game's result was altered because of it, even if that person never makes the claim. Similarly, when someone says "the Avalanche played poorly," the implication is that the bad calls made by the ref had nothing to do with the result.

Hockey is a game so heavily influenced by luck and random variance that any missed call is- potentially- a game-affecting mistake. That said, we can still infer from the way the game played out what was likely to happen. In other words: the referee's poor decisions regarding icing probably aren't going to make up for the Wild's inability to connect three consecutive passes.

That said: there is no excuse for a bad call by a ref; whether or not it changes a game, a mistake is a mistake

So what are we to do when the refs aren't doing their job effectively? There's not much we can do, honestly. So instead of making ourselves miserable over the actions of a few gentlemen in black and white shirts, let's enjoy the game. We only have a few months left (and as few as six games, if worse comes to worst).

As we roll into the playoffs, bear in mind that the reffing will not always be fair. Not all the ‘right' calls will be made. Instead of getting caught up on this, let's move past it. In the end, after all, this is only a game.

And, yes, for those of you wondering: the title of this is indeed a reference to the lyrics of Clint Eastwood by the Gorillaz.