VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Lots of outrage, lots of hot takes, over the Matt Calvert incident from last night. If you missed it, here it is again:
My take on this one is: Yes, the refs should have blown the play dead, probably around the point where Elias Pettersson practically stopped play himself to want to go over to Calvert and offer aid. That was the point where it was like, “OK, he’s he’s down, he’s hurt here, there’s blood and even the opposing player is concerned.”
The play should have been blown dead. The puck struck Calvert’s head and there was blood. That should have been more than enough for the refs to use their discretionary power to stop the game.
From the rule book:
So, yeah, the refs blew that one – no pun intended. But I don’t think the rule book should be changed, to make it a mandatory thing that refs have to stop the game any time a player goes down and stays down.
Here’s why: Because you know darn well, at some point, someone would try to take advantage of that to try and fool people into stopping play when they might need a stop at the end of a game. Hockey players are honorable guys and aren’t known for faking anything. But don’t be naive; If it were made a mandatory rule, that play had to be stopped anytime a guy went down in a heap, some player or coach, at some point, would try to fake an injury to get the play stopped.
A team up by a goal in the final minute would only have to know: “If our guy blocks a shot, he can act like he just got shot, stay down, writhe around, we’ll get a whistle, get a faceoff, win the faceoff and hold on to win the game.”
If you take the discretion away from the refs in situations like these, it’ll be a slippery slope. That’s what happened to soccer. Guys try to fake injuries all the time to get a whistle or a foul. After a while, it became like the Boy who Cried Wolf. You didn’t know whether a guy was really hurt or not.
Again, hockey players don’t like to fake anything. But if they think taking advantage of a new rule like that might win them a game, a playoff game or a Stanley Cup? Hell yes, there would be someone faking something eventually.
Then, there would be fresh outrage over that.
There was blood from Calvert’s head, in this situation. The refs should have blown the play dead. Maybe that should be the new rule:
“If blood is coming from the head or face, play shall be stopped, period.”
But let’s not turn the game into a nanny state. Let’s learn from this and adjust.
By the way, the Avs won’t give any update on Calvert until tomorrow.