What do Bill McCreary, Mick McGeough, Don Van Massenhoven, Kay Whitmore, and Kris King have to do with the 2014 NHL Playoffs? The former referees, goaltender, and pugilist are all Playoff Series Supervisors.
During each series, the two competing teams get to meet the the supervisor to discuss and concerns they have with the officiating. This helps give the teams – and the series – some consistency. While the referees and linesmen working the games change from night to night, the Series Supervisor oversees the entire matchup from Game 1 to Game 7 (*if necessary).
The supervisor then meets with each night’s officials to go over concerns, tendencies, and things to watch for.
The series supervisor conducts game-day meetings with the officiating crew and acts as a liaison for team management and any concerns they might feel they need to express. The game-day meeting should not only provide the officials with an update on the previous games but to maintain a level of consistency in the way the games are called throughout the series, right through and including Game 7, if necessary. Part of the supervisor’s duties include evaluating the performance of each official that works in his series – Kerry Fraser, via TSN
After Game 1 of their series against the Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher met with series supervisor Don Van Massenhoven. (Yes, that’s right. Just days after retiring from his on-ice officiating career, veteran Don Van Massenhoven has stepped into the league offices.) Fletcher was concerned that the faster, more skilled Avs were trying to open up ice by drawing matching minors to result in 4-on-4 situations. “I think it’s a tactic that they’re trying to deploy,” said Wild head coach Mike Yeo. “No question, when they’re down, of course they want to play 4-on-4 and open up a little bit more ice. We want to play hard between the whistles. Hopefully the people that are calling the game are aware of that and judging it the right way.”
“If they find an aggressor in a scrum, they will pick one guy out of the pile basically and call a penalty,” Fletcher said after the meeting. “That’s normally the emphasis. That’s the direction going forward.”
Supervisors also meet with the officials and discuss calls and game flow after each match.
One might imagine there was a lengthy discussion between Series Supervisor Kay Whitmore and referee Francis Charron after the controversial disallowed Lightning goal in Montreal.
Tampa management reached out to Whitmore after the game:
— Rob (@RobZee31) April 21, 2014
It’s also easy to surmise that Rangers/Flyers Series Supervisor Bill McCreary spoke to referees Eric Furlatt and Wes McCauley before Game 2. The Rangers were clearly taking advantage of the Flyers’ tendency to commit infractions in Game 1. In Game 2, New York looked to artificially inflate those calls, getting called twice for diving. It’s certainly an unlikely call, especially for a team that was only called for diving twice in 82 regular season games. Those were the only two diving penalties so far in this year’s playoffs. Based on that, you’d have to think the refs were watching carefully for the Rangers to ‘sell’ some marginal calls on the ice.
Keep an eye on the calls in each series going forward. While the referees may change, the Series Supervisors will be watching closely, striving for consistency.
NHL Playoff Series Supervisors:
- Boston/Detroit – Kris King
- Tampa Bay/Montreal – Kay Whitmore
- Pittsburgh/Columbus – Don Koharski
- NY Rangers/Philadelphia – Bill McCreary
- Colorado/Minnesota – Don Van Massenhoven
- St. Louis/Chicago – TBD
- Anaheim/Dallas – Mick McGeough
- San Jose/Los Angeles – TBD
- Boston/Montreal – Kris King
- Pittsbugh/NY Rangers – Bill McCreary
- Chicago/Minnesota – Ron Pasma
- Anaheim/Los Angeles – Kay Whitmore
(Updated May 2 with Round 2 Supervisors)
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