cheap penguins jerseys A necessary evil
I know, I know. That’s not supposed to be the point of it. It’s there to ensure the accuracy of calls and provide a technological level of sophistication to the process.
And, undoubtedly, it has, in ways no one expected.
Back in the Dark Ages (before video review), all angry coaches or fans could do is insult a referee’s physical appearance or intelligence level.
The most famous coach to ref hockey burn of all time up to that point? “Eat another doughnut”.
Just the other night, I watched Boston Bruin Brad Marchand score a goal and couldn’t believe, after going to the video, it didn’t end up counting. It was rather amusing to watch this pesky player, who annoys so many opponents, get denied by a camera.
And last weekend in the OHL, I saw Rangers forward Connor Bunnaman appear to high stick a puck into the Erie net at Kitchener and figured there was no way it would be allowed. Even after a couple of slo mo replays, I thought, ‘Not a chance that is going to count”.
But it did. Those high stick judgments are extremely complicated and the league thought “inconclusive” was the right call.
And you know what?
After the number of times the Rangers have been hosed on calls this year, I just shrugged and chalked it up to the Gods of Video striking a balance. These tallies disallowed because somebody was a millimetre offside, though?
I will never forgive those calls.
Oh, wait. I forgot. I’m embracing video this year. Breathe deep.
The OHL, as you expect, doesn’t have the same video capacity of the NHL. That’s why one is the big leagues. They have, at last count, 16 different views per game, including home feed, video feed, satellite feed, in net camera, in post, over net, in board and over board, just to name a few.
And they still have inconclusive calls.
The OHL counts on its broadcast TV angles, plus a couple of over head cams, and that’s about it, depending on what Rogers cameras, in a lot of the league’s rinks, can provide.
The league is planning to huddle with the NHL this month and look at their technology, seeing where there is room to improve. Most of those advancements come down to equipment.
“We need to upgrade the technology we use to make these calls,” Conrad Hache, OHL director of officiating, said. “It’s the process we’re going through right now. Some other leagues have upgrade and we’re at that point.”
The over head cameras are supposed to be the same in every building. But, of course, the more angles available, the better chance of getting the call right.
The video officials in the rink are not on the dole from teams. The OHL assigns them to each game and they have a pool in the 50 range on which to draw.
They are mostly ex refs or current on ice officials. Former NHL whistle blower and Hockey Canada referee in chief Lance Roberts is the usual worker in Kitchener.
“I tell our guys, at the end of the day, are you ready to bet your house on the call you make,” Hache said. “If not, you have to come down as inconclusive (and then the ruling on the ice stands).”
Just like the old days, you say with dripping sarcasm.
Starting with the conference finals, the league takes over the video process. If Hache is on site, a trusted video goal judge is brought in to the league office to work the series.
“On some rulings, you and I can sit in a room and have two different calls,” Hache said. “That happens at the NHL level and what they’ve done is try to limit it to a war room with two or three guys, and you always have the same judgment.”