• Tinfoil hats are great in Vancouver because they keep off the sun AND the rain

    by Tyler Dellow • May 30, 2011 • Post, Uncategorized • 8 Comments

    I’d meant to link to this during the whole Campbell kerfuffle earlier this year but never got around to it. Chris Boersma at Hockey Numbers compiled a list of how often certain referees make calls against Gregory Campbell relative to the rate at which they make calls as a whole. Coincidentally, the guys who were number 1 in terms of fewest calls against Campbell (Stephen Walkom), 8 (Kelly Sutherland) and 12 (Dan O’Rourke) have all been selected to officiate the Stanley Cup Finals.

    Numbers 2 (Rob Schick), 3 (Mick McGeough) and 11 (Bill McCreary) on the list were unavailable due to retirement. Dave Jackson (4), Mike Hasenfratz (7) and Gord Dwyer (9) weren’t selected to work the playoffs. So, put another way, of the twenty referees deemed best qualified to work the playoffs, the least likely, fourth least likely and seventh least likely to call penalties against Gregory Campbell managed to get spots working the Stanley Cup finals.

    Of the eight referees selected for the third round, only two of them ranked were in the half of the list that was more likely to call penalties on Gregory Campbell. This is almost certainly not a sign of overt bias on the part of the league but bias works on the subconscious in a funny way. We know that calls on Campbell resulted, in a least a few occasions, in emails from Campbell to the director of officiating, in which he communicated his views as to the merit of those calls. Were there other emails like that? Who knows. Do the assessors of the referees have some idea as to Campbell’s views of at least some calls against his son that colour their assessment of referees? Presumably they do.

    What about referees calling games involving Campbell? Power plays don’t generally fall that much in the playoffs. He’s played 18 games so far in the playoffs and taken only two penalties, one of which was a coincidental for roughing. So four minutes in penalties. He’s played 443 regular season games, which provides 426 18 game segments (ie. 1-18, 2-19 etc.). What are the odds of Campbell going 18 games with only 4 PIM or fewer in his career once you strip out the majors and misconducts, which don’t generally happen in the playoffs? 19.2%. It’s an unusual occurrence. An extra round in the playoffs is worth $18,000 to a referee, by the way.

    Can you convict anyone on this? I wouldn’t. However, I’d always expect something like this to be a difficult case to prove because it’s going to affect people on the margins, if it does at all. It might not even be a conscious thing. This is why a healthier standard for organizations to apply is to not only be free of bias but to also be free of the appearance of bias. The NHL, I think, implicitly acknowledged this with their pre-Coliemail stance that he had nothing to do with games in which Gregory was involved. That stance was made more difficult for the outside observer to accept by the revelation that, on at least two occasions, he emailed the head of officiating and complained about calls involving his son. You’re now left with either taking them at their word that nothing inappropriate happens or to sort of wonder whether the appropriate ethical walls are in place.

    I am cheering for Boston, for obvious reasons (I think Vancouver will crush them though), but I have to admit that it’d be made all the more fun if the series turned on a moment involving a critical call or non-call and Gregory Campbell. The NHL has decided, for whatever reason, that it is sensible for them to take the risk of looking terrible if that occurs. It would look good on them if it did, particularly because Vancouver’s fans and management are not noted for their philosophical demeanour in the face of crushing disappointment.

    About Tyler Dellow

    8 Responses to Tinfoil hats are great in Vancouver because they keep off the sun AND the rain

    1. May 30, 2011 at

      “Vancouver’s fans and management are not noted for their philosophical demeanour in the face of crushing disappointment.”

      Yeah, that’s one way to put it.

    2. godot10
      May 30, 2011 at

      Ken Read resigned as the head of Ski Canada (or whatever it is called) when his son entered the competitive skiing in Canada. He had pretty much brought Canadian skiing back from the depths of despair, and no one was pushing for him to leave, and the majority are probably disappointed that he chose to resign.

      That is what is called a class act.

    3. Magicpie
      May 31, 2011 at

      What about referees calling games involving Campbell? Power plays don’t generally fall that much in the playoffs. He’s played 18 games so far in the playoffs and taken only two penalties, one of which was a coincidental for roughing. So four minutes in penalties. He’s played 443 regular season games, which provides 426 18 game segments (ie. 1-18, 2-19 etc.). What are the odds of Campbell going 18 games with only 4 PIM or fewer in his career once you strip out the majors and misconducts, which don’t generally happen in the playoffs? 19.2%. It’s an unusual occurrence. An extra round in the playoffs is worth $18,000 to a referee, by the way.

      So are you saying the refs didn’t take it lightly on Campbell in the regular season, and just decided to do it for the playoffs? I don’t know about you but if I was a ref and wanted that sweet, sweet playoff money I’d try to build up a solid track record of looking the other on Campbell’s penalties during the regular season so his dad knows I can be counted on. You can’t build that kind of trust over the playoffs, the only way to establish it is if you put the time in.

    4. June 1, 2011 at

      Looks like he’s stepping down.

    5. dawgbone
      June 1, 2011 at

      I don’t think 2 penalties in an 18 game stretch is all that out of whack given his career.

      Ignoring ice time (which can matter, he needs 18 playoff games to equal his ice time in 14 regular season games), Campbells minor penalties/20 games in the regular season since 05-06 are:

      2010-11 4.5 (9 minutes) 13:26 TOI/G
      2009-10 3.0 (6 minutes) 15:23 TOI/G
      2008-09 6.0 (12 minutes) 16:47 TOI/G
      2007-08 3.8 (7.4 minutes) 12:26 TOI/G
      2006-07 4.5 (9 minutes) 10:33 TOI/G
      2005-06 5.0 (10 minutes) 8:38 TOI/G

      2011 PO 2.0 (4 minutes) 10:24 TOI/G

      He’s a little bit under his numbers from 09-10 and 07-08, but not that much. He’s also seeing his fewest minutes since the 06-07 season.

      If you look at his TOI in the playoffs vs the regular season, he needs to play 18 playoff games to get the same ice time as 14 regular season games. He’d need to play 32 playoff games to equal 20 regular season games from his high of 08-09.

      Naturally this is all moot as Campbell just stepped down as a finished typing this…

    6. Roke
      June 2, 2011 at

      It’s interesting to see that Campbell is “stepping down” but remaining Director of Hockey Operations.

      So his conflict of interest is now less direct and I presume the head of officiating is a subordinate. More of the same.

    7. June 4, 2011 at

      Thanks for the plug. When I was reviewing the Greg Campbell penalties I also noticed he had an extremely high fighting to (non-fighting) penalty ratio (fighters often get more calls for highsticking/roughing etc). It wasn’t convincing enough to be useful. But worth noting.

      After this whole mess I kept an eye on EVERY call against Gregory Campbell. There was one ['subjective'] penalty between Nov 11 and January 22nd. (Roughing on Dec. 16 – Bill McCreary & Brian Pochmara were refs – this stuff started on Nov 14). That’s 33 games with 1.

      He’s had one interference penalty in the last 3 years.

      FYI – what matters in not who disciplines the players, but who promotes/chooses games for the referees. Just imagine if you punished one of YOUR bosses children… (you might think twice before making that decision).

    8. lwindover
      June 11, 2011 at

      Interesting read, thanks for doing that. I was a Boston Fan when Orr was playing and never really a Vancouver fan. After 5 games between Boston and Vancouver, I’ve never seen such poor refereeing, both ways, but more so to the benefit of Boston. Something is going on and I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with this.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *