NHL Referee Paul Devorski (#10)

NHL Referee Paul Devorski (#10)
Courtesy NHL Officials Assoc.

The Canucks have had a rough week.  They went 1-3, racked up a ton a penalty minutes, and have lost their coach for the next two weeks. (Depending on who you talk to, that last one might not be a bad thing.)

We’ve covered that.

What we didn’t hit on is how the referees – one in particular – reacted to the Canucks’ antics.

Paul Devorski is apparently not a fan of these types of shenanigans.  He had the Canucks for back-to-back games.  Devorski worked Canucks/Kings (total 109 PIM), then headed on down  to work Canucks/Ducks (total 104 PIM).   Francois St. Laurent was his partner in Los Angeles.  Dan O’Rourke refereed alongside him in Anaheim.

It was his comment to O’Rourke that’s got him in hot water.

Test your lip-reading skills here:

The Ducks were up 7-1.  The Canucks had just picked up 44 minutes of penalties, with both Jannik Hansen and Tom Sestito getting minors for instigating, majors for fighting, and game misconducts.

Those penalties gave Anaheim an unheard-of seven-minute 5-on-3 advantage.  Anaheim kept piling on, ultimately finishing with a 9-1 victory over their division rivals.

Devorski participated in a little misconduct of his own – one caught on camera.  Unfortunately for a referee, that’s not the kind of thing you want out there.  There’s been no comment from the NHL Officials Association, but that’s par for the course.  If they had any objection, they’ll handle it internally.

It’s surprising to see a veteran official of 24 years show this kind of emotion.  Not that others don’t – they shouldn’t – but this moment was caught on camera, and that makes it much worse.

Referee Kerry Fraser weighed in on his TSN Blog:

It matters little that referee Devorski was the recipient of Vancouver Coach John Tortorella’s profanity-laced attack; lip reading aside! What matters most is that the referee is entrusted with the authority to act as an impartial arbitrator and conduct himself in a professional manner at all times.

You can rest assured that Paul Devorski has already been spoken to about this incident by someone from within Hockey Operations and/or the Officiating Department. There are also times when an Official’s assignments will be altered to keep from throwing gasoline on smoldering ashes that remain from a previous game or incident. Moving personnel is not always easy with back-to-back games and especially on the West Coast. 

While the referee’s conduct was inappropriate it demonstrates something none of us should lose sight of.  These guys are only human!

It’ll be interesting to see if Devorski works another Canucks game this year — especially in Vancouver — or if we see his workload drop at all as a result.