Some NHL heavyweights like Joe Thornton, Bryan McCabe and, of course, Jeremy Roenick, are demanding NHL refs be available to the press after games.
Al Strachan reminds us that that used to be the norm before NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman put a stop to it.
Strachan and the players are right. The refs need to be able to explain their calls. By not being allowed to explain their rationales, the refs come off as subjective fans hiding from and ashamed of their decisions.
But Bettman probably thinks that NHL fans don’t realize how wildly inconsistent the ref calls are from game to game. Some refs allow a free first hit before they’ll blow a whistle. Others don’t take anything. Some allow obstruction. Some only allow obstruction against a team’s top line. Some actually call obstruction. There’s very little consistency from game-to-game, though. And if the refs were allowed to face the media, it would probably confirm the painfully obvious: NHL refs are on totally different pages about what constitutes an infraction.