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SALVAS: How Refs Really Think. But Really, What Were They Thinking Last Night With Josh Manson????



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David Zalubowski/AP

“No injury, no penalty!”

Look, I’m not one to blame officials. In my time working in college hockey, I got to be really friendly with some of the ECAC Hockey refs and linesmen and they were all great guys. I learned that referees just want to call the game correctly. They want the story to be about the players and not them. 

(I also learned they wanted the game to be over quickly. They would always check the box score to see when the game ended for total game length and compete against each other for who had the fastest games of the season. They would even tell me that the scorer got the end time incorrectly… children.) 

Saturday night against the Stars was not the best showing for the “Zeebs du Jour” (a line that legendary St. Lawrence Hockey sports information director Wally Johnson used to put on his line charts to denote the game’s officials). 

We don’t even really need to look at the entire Avalanche game, either. The second period was so bad that it seemingly dominated the entirety of the night.

But that high-sticking ‘penalty’ on Josh Manson that went uncalled was bad. It was really bad. And what made it worse was the official announcing ‘no injury, no penalty.’ You missed the call and then you make that announcement? Yikes.

There is nuance to it, though. The linesman makes the call and has to convince the refs to make the penalty official. Since they missed it, the refs have to be absolutely sure that there was an infraction. With Manson popping right up and with no blood, their hands are tied. For the ref to make the call it has to be at least a double-minor, and with no blood, we get the no-call and the ‘no injury, no penalty’ call.

That, by itself is bad, but when viewed through the lens of two other bad calls going against Manson, it looks even worse. There was the strong gust of wind that knocked over Mason Marchment that went against Manson when it should’ve earned the Stars forward a roster spot on his high school swim team. Later, there was the holding penalty against Manson in which the only thing he holds is… up from hitting the Greg-Louganis-wannabe into the boards from behind.

Head coach Jared Bednar is a master, though. He has his players’ backs, but at the same time, never says anything that undermines or publicly calls out the officials. In his press conference after the game, he says that what Manson does is the right thing in holding up and not ‘running him through the boards,’ but that he did finish him ‘pretty good’ which led to the call.’

I don’t want to be rational! I want irrational logic!  Well maybe from me and not from our head coach and Zen master. 

I can’t be too mad. We did beat a division rival by three. Let’s goooooooooo.



  • Those jerseys. I had them in the top in my initial rankings based on a picture and bias. Boy was I… CORRECT! Those are beautiful! The colors. The socks. The font. The piping into the back of the collar. They are better than I thought. “I’m in love, I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!”
  • Adam Foote. Footer has made the transition into the intermission analyst seat look like a great move for Altitude. Are there still some growing pains? For sure. He’s still new to all this in the grand scheme of things. But he is doing great as Ryker moves upstairs for the unenviable job of sitting in Peter McNab’s chair. (For what it’s worth: I think Foote’s biggest room to grow is continuing his thought process while someone from the truck talks in his ear. As a broadcast journalism major… I concur. My brain did not function when that happened and my degree is basically worthless now.) It’s also great when a legend of the game, a guy whose number is in the rafters, can give insight into the game. Adds a whole layer of credibility.
  • Mason Marchment. Is he our biggest enemy as Avs fans right now? I tried to think of another player I genuinely don’t like as much as him right now and I’m blanking. Drop a comment below to tell me who I missed… and it can’t be Ryan Reaves, because it’s too easy to say that guy.
  • Nashville… If I struggled to think of players I don’t like, I don’t have that same problem for teams. Nashville is one of them. HOWEVER, there’s nothing you can do when a giant water pipe bursts and I feel bad for the people who were financially impacted by the damage and the lost revenue from the game. That being said… If the Avs were outplayed by Dallas on Saturday without the Friday matinee in Music City, then imagine how different the game with the Stars could’ve been had the first game of a scheduled back-to-back taken place.
  • Nathan MacKinnon’s goal. I love that the first goal came on a Jamie Benn turnover… the Stars captain hasn’t had his best outings against the Avalanche the last two weeks.
  • Josh Manson Hat Trick. For all the talk of the penalties in my earlier ramblings, the Manimal had a great night: goal, assist, three minor penalties: The Josh Manson Hat Trick.
  • Alexander Georgiev. He’s so friggin’ good. And he doesn’t like smiling, either! That’s all I got.
  • Depth. Dryden Hunt finally breaks through and his teammates looked so happy for him. He’s got the Nichola Aube-Kubel vibes this year. A guy picked up on waivers and provides depth on the ice in his role, as well as filling a role in the locker room. Also, my favorite pizza-eating pal Logan O’Connor gets a great goal driving the net.

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