Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid was recently named the winner of the NHL’s Hart Trophy for Most Valuable Player. During his acceptance speech, McDavid talked about officiating.
McDavid shared his thoughts on the officials and an apparent lack of consistency in calls.
“You have to perform under any circumstance. The refs have such a tough job to do. The game is so quick and things happen so fast. It’s hard for them to see [everything].
“However, I do wish there was maybe a little more consistency. That’s what we’re looking for as players. What everyone wants is just consistency throughout. The other sports have been able to do that from the regular season to the playoffs.
“But the refs have such a hard job and I have a lot of respect for them.”
There’s no question officiating in the National Hockey League is tough, especially given the speed of the game. The greatest concern, which McDavid touched on, is the lack of consistency – or, perhaps more accurately, the shift in standards from the regular season to the playoffs.
McDavid drew 29 penalties during 56 games in the regular season, but failed to draw one during the Oilers’ playoff games. Over the course of his 21-game playoff career, McDavid’s only drawn six minor penalties — none in his last eight postseason matches.
It’s not that the officials weren’t calling infractions committed against McDavid. It’s that the standard seems to have shifted to a higher threshold for some of the more pedestrian restraining fouls like hooking and holding and for tripping — the types of penalties McDavid primarily drew throughout the regular season.
We’ve often advocated for consistency. Call it the same from Game 1 of the regular season through Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. Including overtime.
Now the NHL’s most valuable player has taken an opportunity – during one of the league’s highlight events – to call out the NHL on consistency.
McDavid became the first unanimous Hart Trophy winner – capturing 100-of-100 first-place votes – since Wayne Gretzky in 1982. He also received the Ted Lindsey Award for most valuable player in the NHL, as voted by the players.