Monday, March 31, 2003
It's true, Fred L'Ecuyer's CHL season is over, but don't expect me to believe it had anything to do with Game 1 of the Austin-New Mexico series. I'd say Don's post is on the money about the process, and the answer to his wondering is, there was no change in thinking at all.
For one thing, I have heard repeatedly that the video review of Game 1 did not reflect badly on L'Ecuyer. Granted, if he graded out as the best ref in the league he'd still be working, but I'm sure the main reason is they don't need more than two refs in each conference at this point, and there was nothing punitive about it.
After all, if it were up to the Scorps fans, Dwyer and Boyd would never work again, and they'd have as valid a point about the so-called phantom slashing and Game 4's "third-period penalty as the Bats fans do about L'Ecuyer, i.e., not much of one.
Meaning, it's every fan's prerogative to gripe, but if the league sat down a ref based on one controversial game or overriding fan perception, there would be no refs.
An exception was last year in the WCHL, when a ref waved off a good goal in the playoffs and was publicly reprimanded and suspended. But even there, his grasp of procedure and his on-ice positioning was as important as the actual error. We can safely presume that's what most officiating reviews are primarily concerned with, not whether one team had 10 penalties and the other had four, or holding officials accountable based on slow-motion video when they only get to make split-second decisions.
Also, be careful what you wish for 'cause it's just a matter of time before the Bats get a bad break on a tough call next round and everyone will be on here going "that f***ing (insert ref's name here) is worse than L'Ecuyer!"
Oh, and while I wouldn't expect him to admit otherwise, since I began writing this I heard back from CHL VP of Operations Duane Lewis, who says "[L'Ecuyer] is a first year official, who unfortunately had to beat out several other veteran officials who have been working very well. It is like the young kid getting less ice in the playoffs."