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Tonight at 7:05pm et a referee will drop the puck to kick off the 2013-14 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The first round is always the toughest brand of hockey and the most difficult for the Officials to work effectively. Finishing on top of a division does not always guarantee advancement beyond the first playoff round as we have seen through several upsets in recent years. This years matchups will guarantee that some legitimate Cup contenders will be eliminated with a one and done series appearance. The margin for victory between all the teams is very slim and mistakes made by players and officials are magnified at this time of year. Simply put, mistakes can be the difference between a team and an official from going on in the playoffs or going home! Last night I joined James Duthie for a brief segment in the playoff preview show shot in Studio 9 at TSN where I will be monitoring games and officials calls on a nightly basis throughout the first round. James asked me what I will be looking for from the Officials the moment the playoffs begin. My response was for strict adherence to the letter of the law. The rules do not change during the playoffs and neither should the expected standard of enforcement! The referees have often been accused of putting their whistles away during the playoffs. Far too many times we have seen the score and time of a game factored into the refs judgment as to what constitutes an obvious penalty. I cited a game between the NY Rangers and the Montreal Canadiens from the final weekend of the regular season as an example of what we should hope from the referees throughout this postseason. In that game, referee Gord Dwyer awarded a penalty shot to Brian Gionta in overtime when the Habs captain was tripped from behind at the Rangers blue line by Raphael Diaz. Gionta was chasing a loose puck at the time he was fouled and therefore did not have possession and control of the puck. This aspect of the play could have offered the referee an out to take an easier path and simply assess a minor penalty for tripping. Instead, referee Dwyer made the correct judgment as stipulated in rule 24.8 (iii) that Brian Gionta would have obtained possession and control of the puck and was denied a reasonable chance to score. The game ended when Brian Gionta scored on the ensuing penalty shot awarded by the referee. Kudos to referee Dwyer for making this perceived tough call (video link). In reality the more difficult position a referee will place himself in is if he attempts to manage the game by letting an obvious infraction go uncalled. This often sets a chain of events in motion that is difficult for the ref to recover from. The subsequent infraction committed by the other team is usually worse than the previous one he let go. By applying a sense of fairness, the official feels helpless to call that next penalty and the standard becomes lost. The best deterrent for a player to avoid committing an infraction is the fear that he will be placing his team at a disadvantage by incurring a penalty. When that fear factor no longer exists as a result of the refs whistle being put away the game can deteriorate and the integrity of the outcome placed in jeopardy. Anarchy can result until an automatic penalty is called such as puck over the glass or too many men on the ice and a semblance of order is restored! This negative influence on a game can be avoided it the referees call the obvious infractions that are committed regardless of the score or time in a game. Whenever the officials make the tough but correct call they must receive the support of the Officiating Department heads. Management needs to demonstrate their courage by publicly backing the officials when they make the right call at a crucial time in the game. A season long subjective performance evaluation has been tabulated by the Officiating and Hockey Operations Department on each referee and linesman to determine selection to the playoffs. Congratulations and best of luck to the following officials that have been selected to the first round: Referees Francis Charron, Paul Devorski, Gord Dwyer, Eric Furlatt, Dave Jackson, Mark Joannette, Steve Kozari, Chris Lee, Wes McCauley, Brad Meier, Dean Morton, Dan OHalloran, Dan ORourke, Chris Rooney, Tim Peel, Kevin Pollock, Francois St.-Laurent, Justin St.Pierre, Kelly Sutherland, Brad Watson Linesmen Derek Amell, Steve Barton, David Brisebois, Lonnie Cameron, Scott Cherry, Michel Cormier, Greg Devorski, Scott Driscoll, Darren Gibbs, Shane Heyer, Brad Kovachik, Matt MacPherson, Steve Miller, Brian Murphy, Jonny Murray, Derek Nansen, Brian Pancich, Pierre Racicot, Jay Sharrers, Mark Shewchyk The hockey world will be watching closely as each of you display the courage and good judgment necessary to get the job done. William Carrier Jersey . Browns owner Jimmy Haslam announced the move with Young on Monday during a speech at a Pro Football Hall of Fame luncheon. 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SAN FRANCISCO -- Even with standouts Bryce Harper and Gio Gonzalez on the disabled list, the Washington Nationals are shutting down the team with the best record in baseball and taking over the title as the leagues hottest club. Jayson Werth hit his first homer in almost a month and drove in three runs, and the Nationals capitalized on Matt Cains erratic start to beat the San Francisco Giants 6-2 Wednesday night for their fourth straight win. "We kind of got Cain on the ropes early, got his pitch count up, got some big hits early to kind of set the tone for the game," Werth said. "Its hard to recover from." Cain (1-4) walked the first three batters he faced before Adam LaRoches two-run single during a three-run first inning. Werths solo shot in the fifth and two-run single in the ninth provided the rest of the pop for the Nationals, who have won 10 of 12, including the last three at San Francisco. Former third baseman Ryan Zimmerman made a pair of diving catches in left field to highlight a stellar defensive effort, and Tanner Roark (5-4) allowed two runs and seven hits in six-plus innings to propel Washington to another win. "Were playing great as a team right row," said Roark, who struck out four and walked none. "Just keep it going. Its exciting." Brandon Crawford and Pablo Sandoval each drove in a run for the Giants, who have lost a season-high tying three straight after winning five in a row. Cains struggles might have been the most disappointing thing of all for the Giants. In his second start since a stint on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, the former ace reverted back to his early season woes against Washington. Cain gave up four runs and three hits in five innings, walking five and striking out four. "It was too much of a deficit to come back from. We needed a better start than that. I wanted some clean innings. I made it too difficult," Cain said. The finale of the four-game series is Thursday, but the NL East-leading Nationals already have handed San Francisco its first series loss since losing two of three at Pittsburgh from May 5-7. Beforee the Nationals showed up in San Francisco this week, the Giants had not lost two in a row since May 16-17 to the Marlins.dddddddddddd The Nationals are doing it by getting contributions at the plate, on the mound and in the field. After Crawfords RBI triple in the fourth, second baseman Danny Espinosa made a diving stop on Gregor Blancos sharp grounder and threw out the speedy runner at first. Zimmerman, filling in for Harper in left, also swiped another run from San Francisco in the sixth when he made a diving catch of Crawfords slicing fly after Michael Morse doubled. "Im kind of learning on the fly," Zimmerman said. "Got a good break on it. It kept tailing away. I dove and caught it. The landing wasnt very smooth, but in the end, I caught the ball." Sandoval, scratched from the starting lineup because of an illness, singled home a run as a pinch-hitter in the seventh to whittle Washingtons lead to 4-2. Zimmerman slid in to snag Angel Pagans short fly for the third out. With his back right leg almost touching the dirt, Werth went low to launch his sixth homer of the season to put the Nationals up 4-1 in the fifth. Werth, who had not homered since May 14 at Arizona, singled with two outs in the ninth off Yusmeiro Petit to extend Washingtons lead to 6-2. Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Jerry Blevins each tossed a scoreless inning to help Washington finish off San Francisco again. Closer Rafael Soriano had been warming up in the bullpen before Werths single. "The best part about that is we could put the big scary guy back in his cage," Werth said, "and save him for (Thursday)." NOTES: The Nationals placed catcher Wilson Ramos on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring and called up catcher Sandy Leon from Triple-A Syracuse. ... The Giants traded left-hander David Huff back to the Yankees for cash. He was sent to San Francisco in January for cash after the Yankees signed Masahiro Tanaka. ... Tim Hudson (6-2, 1.97 ERA) takes the mound for the Giants opposite Washingtons Blake Treinen (0-2, 1.78 ERA) in Thursdays series finale. Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap NFL Womens Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Discount Jerseys Cheap Jerseys China NFL Jerseys Outlet Cheap NFL Black Jerseys ' ' '
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