Saturday, May 23, 2009


Blackhawks 4, Red Wings 3 (OT); Western Finals, 2-1

In 1983, Dan O'Halloran was shot and almost killed by an unknown gunman while in the city of Detroit.

25+ years later, I guess he's trying to even the score.

Last year, it was O'Halloran that immediately waved off a Red Wings goal in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against Dallas. That goal would've given the Wings a 1-0 lead, deflated the already sketchy Dallas crowd, and shattered the teetering psyche of the Stars.

Instead, O'Halloran ruled it was no goal because Tomas Holmstrom was interfering with Marty Turco. I posted this, along with this picture:

Dallas ended up scoring first in that game, won it, and eventually forced the series to six games before the Red Wings closed them out.

In Game 1 of the Finals last year, same thing happened. Holmstrom was in front of the goalie, not inside the crease, contact was made, and because of Holmstrom's reputation, the goal was wiped out. Didn't matter that Holmstrom has every right to be there as long as he isn't bumping the goalie in the crease. Didn't matter that the contact was negligible and it was dubious as to who actually intiated it.

The referee? Dan O'Halloran.

And now tonight. Watch the video. The CBC guys make multiple mentions of it. Not a single arm goes up from a single official when Kronwall blows up Havlat, who wasn't even paying attention. Just like Stuart's hit on Selanne in Game 7 against Anaheim, there was no penalty called until they saw there was an injury. Only in this fucked up league could the result carry more weight than the intent. In other news, I hear they're going to treat manslaughter as a more serious offense than attempted murder.

Oh wait. That doesn't make any sense at all, does it?

Obviously this did not affect the outcome of the game. The Wings came back, tied it 3-3, and for some reason coasted through the third period (against a cold goalie who hadn't played in six weeks) and then came out with their heads up their asses in OT. Chicago deserved to win.

Doesn't change the fact that O'Halloran is a joke. I'm not going to directly say that he is intentionally (or unintentionally, even) screwing the Wings as some sort of bizarre payback for what happened to him 26 years ago. But at the same time, how amateurish of the NHL to continuously put him in Detroit games. Then again, it IS the NHL I'm talking about. Might as well be an amateur league with their Mickey Mouse commissioner and butt sniffing lapdog of a disciplinarian. You want to give Kronwall two minutes for interference because by the strictest letter of the law, it probably was? Okay. It'd be a tick-tack call, but we'd live with it. But five and a game for that is irresponsible and can't help but make us question the motives of the people calling the shots. Get the fuck out, O'Halloran. You're a sideshow and an embarrassment.

Then again, maybe it's not his fault. Maybe there was no bias on his part. Maybe he's just another pathetic cog in the pathetic machine that spits out pathetic NHL referees. I thought I'd seen the lowest of lows when NBA refs essentially took the Phoenix Suns out back and made them grab their ankles in their series against the San Antonio Spurs a few years ago. I thought I'd seen the lowest of lows when Ed Hochuli literally took a win away from the San Diego Chargers last year because he blew a call.

This is definitely the lowest. Not this specific incident, as laughable as it is. But the entire situation. There is no sport, no league with more abysmal officiating than the NHL. Tired of hearing the complaining? Tough shit. Incompetence has to be exposed. I shouldn't have to look up who the officials are going to be in a game and wonder if things are going to get screwed up. This is the third time in two years O'Halloran has stuck his nose where it didn't belong in a Red Wings game.

When's the fourth one going to happen?

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