The NHL has one of the best playoffs in all of sports. It might even be the best one in sports. There really is nothing like it. The feeling that every single shot is going to be a goal. Feeling your heart pounding like you're the one playing. The stress, anxiety, joy, pain, excitement and all the other emotions you feel during a game. You can feel the whole spectrum of human emotion in a single hockey game. And no matter what if your favorite team is in the playoffs you'll feel all those emotions four times. If you're lucky sixteen times. For better or worse. But there is a glaring problem in it all, and it's one of the most important parts. The officiating.
You might be thinking to yourself, "bullshit the refs are the most important part. You're gonna tell me refs are more important than the players? Get the fuck outta here." But hear me out. I'm not going to say refs are more important than the players, they're not, but they are a huge part of the game. Especially with how the NHL calls the rules in the playoffs. Cause this year it doesn't seem like the refs are calling anything a penalty.
In the regular season it seemed like the refs called all the ticky-tac plays that didn't need to be penalties. We as fans griped and groaned that "refs shouldn't be deciding the game" when they called those penalties. It was infuriating to see a replay during the regular season on a slashing call when a player barely tapped an opposing player's hand. But during the playoffs the refs won't even call a high stick on a play when it draws blood. Personally I'd rather the refs be calling absolutely every penalty rather than have them ignore something that egregious.
Sure we complain all the time about how "refs shouldn't be deciding the games," but they're still deciding the games by not calling penalties. Take into consideration that teams with star players get more penalties. Why? Because the other team is spending all their time and energy trying to defend that star player. So of course they are going to draw a penalty or two. So when a ref calls a penalty because someone did something illegal to that star player the ref is deciding the game. But they are doing the exact same thing when they don't call that penalty.
When a ref doesn't call a penalty he gives an advantage to the team without the star player. That team just got away with something they shouldn't have and now they're going to keep doing it. So the team without the star player just gets to slow the game down and force the other team to play to their grimy level. Hockey is an amazing sport, don't get me wrong, but when refs refuse to call obvious penalties because they "don't want to decide the game" they are making it a worse game to watch. They end up deciding the game either way. I'd much rather them call everything that should be a penalty rather than the refs blatantly ignore a player punching someone in the face.