Former Referee Kerry Fraser Blames Officials for Allowing Sidney Crosby to Turn into a Bitch on Sunday

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This is fun: A former (follicly-advanced) referee blames current referees for allowing Sunday’s Game 3 to spiral out of control and into a clusterfuck of epic proportions.

Former NHL referee Kerry Fraser – whose work on TSN I thoroughly enjoy – was asked a question in his column about the no-call on James Neal (for his hit on Sean Couturier) and other Penguins for their general jackassery. Fraser responded brilliantly. Really, the man (an author) is a wordsmith. Read this: [it’s a long excerpt, but it really needs some attention… I would recommend you read the rest of the post too, because it’s very good]

"The absence of a swift and firm response by the referees to Sidney Crosby's repeated slash to the glove hand of Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov prior to the fisticuffs became an officiating turning point in the game. This spark ignited the ever-present combustible fuel that exists when these two teams meet and caused player hostilities to boil over and continue throughout most of the game. The officials had to continually battle back from this early incident in an
attempt to exert and maintain control.

Every game has an ebb and flow; a heartbeat and a temperature that rises and falls throughout. This is especially true in a playoff series when player aggression and "hatred" (perceived or stated) escalates. It is incumbent upon the referees to know when to impose themselves to control the temperature of the game through appropriate application of the rules. The "when" and "how" results from an acute feel for the game.

Action in an around the goal crease, contact with the goalie and dangerous or high hits are always "hot spots" that draw a crowd resulting in scrums and should always be high on the ref's radar screen. 

Once Crosby swatted at the glove hand of Bryzgalov as the play was blown dead, Voracek led the cavalry charge and wrestled with Crosby.  This was the perfect opportunity for the referee(s) to impose themselves and establish game control. A swift and forceful reaction by the referee behind the goal line to impose a slashing and roughing minor to Crosby in addition to a roughing minor to the Flyers' Voracek would have ended the incident in this moment. The linesmen would have escorted the two players to the penalty box swiftly and nothing further would have developed at that point and time. A Flyers power play would have also sent an early message to avoid contact with the goalkeepers at both ends of the ice.

Due to a lack of response by the referees on this initial incident, tornados of player hostility were allowed to spawn elsewhere which resulted in two fights and game ejections to key players from both teams a minute or two later. The stage was set and the match was lit for what followed."

stands up, claps, whistles, “nice hair!”

Well done, Kerry Fraser. Well done.

image from

There are a few interesting things to note here:

1) Fraser very obviously believes that officials allowed the initial scrum to get entirely out-of-control. That led to Crosby pulling off the Menstrual Cycle (as we detailed here), Timonen getting his ass beat, and set the stage for the rest of the game. 

2) Rarely, if ever, will you see officials admit to what we all already know– that they interpret rules differently based on a feel for the game. When Fraser writes “it is incumbent upon the referees to know when to impose themselves to control the temperature of the game through appropriate application of the rules. The when and how results from an acute feel for the game,” he is saying that depending on circumstance, calls should or shouldn’t be made. It’s an age-old sports debate (do refs put away the whistle at times?), but rarely has it been described so eloquently.

 3) The phrase “tornados of player hostility” may have to be mandated for every playoff game recap. That’s just excellent.

Read Fraser’s full response to the question about Neal not receiving a penalty here.


29 Responses

  1. But it’s the Penguins and the NHL’s golden boy: Crysby.
    I had to let that one go to keep the Pens in the game/series (Bettman’s orders)

  2. Lifelong Flyers fan … I have no problem with Crysby hacking at Bryz’s glove if there was no whistle.
    I also loved the glove push with the stick.
    If Giroux had done that, we’d be erecting a statue right now.

  3. Bottom line is this, the refs could have done things to defuse the “bomb” that happened. The two refs could have gotten into the middle of the scuffle and broken it up and at the bare minimum sent Voracek and Crosby off to set up a 4 on 4. Then he could have had an assistant captain from each team to say that this garbage is over and explain that heads would role. I’ve seen it before in the playoffs of the NHL and it is effective. Frasier was a great ref and I am sorry he hung it up!

  4. Crosby was hacking at the glove after the whistle and pushing voraceks glove was childish. If this were another team or another player or another game, those two offenses alone wouldn’t be that egregious. Players get extra whacks at a goalies gloves all the time… But this is Flyers-Pens playoffs, two teams that were about set to boil over on each other, with the aggressor being Crosby. Fraisers right, the refs HAD to serve up a penalty to Crosby. Would have set the tone for the whole rest of the game if they just sent him to the box then.
    And I agree with Steve about the glove push, and if that were all crosby did, no one would be bitching that much about it. We all loved when Hartnell threw his glove at a player a couple years back, but if that were Crosby we’d be at the stadium with torches and pitchforks… But Crosbys glove push lead to a bloodbath where Crosby went after Timonen and ended up “fighting” Giroux. And it came on the heels of the previous scrum that was finally starting to settle down, which was ALSO started by crosby. Crosby was front and center for most of the nonsense in game 3. Asham and Neal obviously acted on their own, but who do you think set the precedent for a star player like Neal to randomly go head hunting? Crosby. Their captain plays in the gutter, so the team follows suit.

  5. Basically the refs were helping the Penguins and it (ironically) came back to bite both them and the Pens.
    They made no call on Crosby repeatedly hacking away at Bryz’s glove hand because they didn’t want to give him a penalty (and the Flyers a power play), but that ended up leading to the rest of the nonsense.
    I expect a very tightly called game tomorrow. And that will almost certainly (again, ironically) favor the Flyers.

  6. I disagree with the whole if Giroux did it. When Hartnell threw his glove, I was infuriated because it showed the total lack of discipline he had exhibited throughout his time here. I don’t want to see Giroux running around and doing dumb crap. There is a big difference between playing physical, and chirping like when G tells Lundqvist to let him score versus an absolute atrocious awareness of class.

  7. Hartnell threw the glove and cost the Flyers a penalty shot – I don’t remember anyone loving that.

  8. Crosby swiping at Jake’s glove and his subsequent explanation for it was childish. Positive that no Flyer fan wants to see or hear that coming from Giroux.

  9. Nah Me – No one liked the penalty but I’m pretty sure the flyers or phantoms, forget which one, did a fundraiser based on hartnells glove throw, where fans got to participate in throwing gloves or something like that.

  10. I have no issue with Crosby taking a few extra slashes to Bryz, any of our players would’ve done the same and we would have loved it. The difference is that we would’ve expected the resulting physicality and stood up for ourselves. Crosby hid behind the linesman and waited for his teammates to come skating up to save him, which they did, resulting in the Voracek fight. And that behavior continued all night because the refs were more concerned with keeping Crosby out of a fight than anything else that was going on on the ice.
    Crosby’s subsequent childish behavior in swiping Voracek’s glove and his “reasoning” behind it was truly immature and embarrassing and I think (and hope) that his reputation is irreversibly tarnished.

  11. The difference between Hartnell and Crosby doing the same thing is this – Hartnell will fight when called upon/necessary, and can kick some ass in the process. Crosby backs down and lets Adams or Letang do his dirty work. Crosby’s a pussy. Hartnell is not.
    The other difference is that Hartnell threw his glove during play. Misguided & dumb? Yes! But it was during play and to try to prevent a score. Crosby’s glove was simply immature and childish. I see 5 & 6 year olds on my street acting like that.

  12. @Uncle Meat
    Funny you say about 5 and 6 year olds. That’s what one of the Pittsburgh Stations said about Crosby’s behavior!

  13. WTF does hartnell throwing his glove during the run of play trying to block a shot and crosby pushing someones glove around on the ice before a face off have in common? that was retarded!?!?!!

  14. BECAUSE THEY BOTH INVOLVE GLOVES! so they must be similar! muscles stupidity in this situation just baffles me.
    sa sa sa sa sa sa sa sarcasssssm.

  15. @Nah pete…
    The Phantoms did when they had a glove toss at one of their games for donating gloves to a kids charity…
    Just saying…

  16. Chirp should know about tossing. That pussy is tossing off 24/7 or tossing someones salad.

  17. @ uncle meat & julie…. this is exactly the point that the few crosby defenders are failing to realize. We arent mad at what he does so much as how he goes about doing it. Like that guy that talks mad shit about beating your ass then you fight, he gets beat up and calls the cops on you for “hurting him”… If crosby could just be a man and accept responsibility for his actions and face the consequences. Its not the fights the shit talking or any of that. Its what i said above coupled with the walking talking contradiction that is the Shitsburgh Penguins organization. Constantly complaining about the safety of players, owner writing letters about the “goons” in the game and the negative impacts of all this shit that the pens have been embracing for the past few weeks. Head shots, boarding, elbows, cross checks above the shoulders, the list goes on and on.

  18. Also, the way that sidney acts like a total pussy and then hides behind the “playoff hockey” line, and sounding like an 8 year old fucking kid who just got in trouble for teasing their little sister. “well she is doing it too”! Are you fucking kidding me, someone tell him to man the fuck up. You want to talk like “a man” you better be prepared to act like a man when someone calls you on it. Real big tough guy.

  19. go read the700 level they just posted a great story about crosby and his shit.

  20. Just read the 700 level, nice piece…. and brings me to another point, is that as much as we flyers fans would love to have jody shelley pound crosby’s face in, or have someone like a Dan Carcillo go out there and take a cheap penalty on Malkin, i also see the consequences of those actions. Adding to our reputation of being “dirty players/fans” calling for crosby’s head will be right up there with booing santa clause. And then the double talk will begin, non stop highlights of the “broad street bullies” taking “Superstar Sidney” out of the game. Which could be flyers up 14-1, but NBC and the likes of them will say “that is the only way Philadelphia could ensure they could beat Pittsburgh” or some crock of bullshit. I think i like the high road, b/c it allows for the rest of the world to focus solely on the Pens for being the infected dick holes that they are.

  21. Steve – your a lifelong flyers fan yet your clueless. Cindy clearly slashed the goalkeeper multiple times including after the whistle, which was abundantly clear. Thus the reaction by G if you will.
    He then hit the glove with his stick and attacked #44 -Kimmo
    He also started the other scrum by jumping Hart Nell #19 from behind. WATCH The game GAme next time and let your wife doing the cooking.
    He is a dirtbag and needs a razor

  22. Gotcha, the guy who single-handedly gave Tampa the cup a few years ago by “imposing himself to control the temperature of the game based on his ‘feel'” and will never safely visit Calgary again in his lifetime is commenting on a current nhl playoff game. Wait what?

  23. I wish that Sidney Crosby would just get put into a wheel chair with that next concussion. Everyone that hates his attitude knows that he deserves it and we all can’t wait for someone to have the guts to charge him into the boards and make him their bitch.

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