The second season begins

The regular season for the NHL ends with a bang, not a whimper, as Brad Stuart scores twice late to tie the game, and Vinnie Damphousse scores in overtime for a great win to close the season. It’d be a shorter list of who didn’t set personal/career bests, what wasn’t a new team record, or what isn’t a new standard for this team to build on.

And if I’m LA, losing even the moral victory aspect of today’s game (we aren’t in the playoffs, but at least we beat San Jose), has to hurt. they’re going to be telling themselves it was a meaningless game all off-season, but not really believing it.

One thing I noticed in the arena: at the end of the game, a number of players came over to wish Randy Mitton a fond farewell, as he closed a wonderful career today; but also, I noticed Luc Robattaile doing the same — is Luc planning on hanging it up? He sure acted like it today, quietly. And kudos to the referees (Dennis LaRue and Mick McGeough) for showing Mitton the respect of letting him lead them off the ice after the game — which Mitton didn’t want to do.

And now off to the second season, another two months or so of hockey, but this stuff counts!

Today, however, showed the ultimate failure of the two ref system: Mick McGeough was calling a very “let them play, let’s go home!” kind of game, which suited us just fine — but in a couple of cases, after McGeough let it go in the offensive zone, LaRue called penalties in center ice that didn’t seem in character iwth the action in the hot zones. And that’s where the two referee system falls apart: different refs having different ideas of what to call during a game; the league tried for a while to teach all of the refs to call the same, and that didn’t work. but now,instead, you sometimes have different games in the opposite ends of the ice.

I’m not sure how to best resolve this. I’ve generally been supportive of the two ref system, I think in many ways it fixes problems that aren’t obvious to many fans (stuff that wasn’t called because the one ref didn’t see it — and isn’t called now because players stopped pulling it), but it has its own set of problems the league hasn’t been able to fix, and can’t really blame on there being a large influx of new players — adn the key one is consistency within a game. I’m more and more convinced we should move the 2nd ref to the video booth, and let them ref from off-ice, with the job to get the call done right.

But I don’t think it’ll happen. and problems or no, I think we’re better with two refs instead of one, unless you want to let one of the linesman call some penalties. which might be an alternative…