Last night, Winging it in Motown Tweeted something about the standard of officiating that caught my eye.
This is one of those games where you want to yell more about the reffing, but you also realize losing 5-3 isn’t much better than 5-2.
— Winging It In Motown (@wingingitmotown) March 22, 2016
On one level I agree with the sentiment, but really there are two issues with this.
We have the tendency to think of any extra goals that would be scored due to extra power plays as tacked onto the end of the final score. And at the time that was stated, it was already 5-2 so an extra goal right then would, indeed, have only made it 5-3.
A complaint like that, though, is usually indicative of an imbalance in officiating for the entire game. It’s not just that, after they were already down by three, the Red Wings stopped getting calls.
Yeah, an extra third-period power play goal wouldn’t have made a difference but what would an extra first-period one have meant? A 2-0 game becomes 2-1, which means the Red Wings never go down 3-0? Or maybe it comes even earlier.
I’m not going to point to specific instances where something should have been called on the Lightning. That game was too painful to watch for me to go back and do it again. But we shouldn’t assume that the extra penalties (and the also-assumed power play goals that would result from them) just get tacked onto the end.
Even if we do read it that way, there’s another issue with saying the extra power plays wouldn’t have mattered. It’s basically saying that, because the Red Wings were already down by three, they didn’t deserve power plays. They didn’t deserve proper officiating.
Anecdote time… A couple of jobs ago I played on our company’s soccer team. We were awful. There was one game where we were down by double-digits and the ref blew a call against us. We argued and his response was, “What’s the score? We’ll talk about it when you tie it up.”
The implication that bad teams don’t deserve fair reffing is somewhat terrifying. Especially when combined with the idea that any extra goals may have come earlier in the game.