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[Article] NHL tells head coaches to simmer down amidst concerns of berating refs

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NHL tells head coaches to simmer down amidst concerns of berating refs


The NHL is hoping to mend some bridges between coaches and officials, with the hopes of improving communication between the two sides.


Watching an irate, likely red-faced head coach berate an official is a rare, honest treat during NHL telecasts. Such explosions — which almost always include easily lip-read profanities — don't seem to be something the NHL wants to expose its viewers to.


As such, it’s not shocking that the league gathered all 32 NHL head coaches and asked them to cool it.

The Athletic’s Michael Russo and Joe Smith shared the lowdown on that meeting involving coaches and GMs, touching on how coaches and referees have “communicated” over the years.


The headlining takeaway was that message from the league and its officials, which included a highlight reel of coaches flipping out on refs.

The NHL emphasized to its coaching ranks that cameras are everywhere these days, and they'd need to be more cognizant of that.


Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice apparently “stole the show” with “world-class profanity,” something he’s been doing for years — one time even wondering out loudabout how masking rules during the COVID-shortened season would impact his ability to give refs the business.


The NHL has a long history of fining coaches and executives for lambasting officiating. Last season stood out with multiple $25K fines, yet that didn’t always keep emotions from blowing over.


“At the end of his presentation, [Stephen Walkom, the NHL’s director of officiating] cued up a video montage, broadcast on TVs around the room, showing roughly 20 clips of the biggest names in the coaching ranks going off on officials. Fists shaken. Fiery red faces. F-bombs flying.”


Will NHL coaches ease off of officials or fall back into profane habits?


It's possible this special meeting and a montage that Dallas Stars head coach Peter DeBoer compared to “getting called into the principal’s office” might make the message stick, however, it certainly doesn't sound like a forgone conclusion either.


Coaches like Maurice did admit that they'd at least try to take it easy. Granted, Maurice also acknowledged that may be easier said than done.

“Here’s my great plan: I’m not going to yell at the referees,” Maurice said. “That’s my plan for the year. But you can monitor and see how long I can go.”


Interestingly, the NHL isn’t approaching this as a two-way street.

For years, calls have been made for officials to address the media, however, the league has instead shielded referees from that venue of criticism. Keeping coaches from burying officials under a hail of profane criticisms might be good for optics, but it removes another layer of accountability for a league that often feels sluggish to respond to criticism compared to other major leagues.



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16 minutes ago, TheBrockStar said:

Considering how atrocious the reffing had been in recent years, if anything coaches should yell more. Force a change. 

I'm personally in favor of sending an enforcer out and advising that the refs won't be skating off the ice if they don't conduct themselves appropriately.  If the league wants to avoid that, they need to provide proper recourse and start taking the integrity of the sport seriously.

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I agree with the masses here, be better at your job (especially with 2 of you out there now), maybe take one off the ice and watch from above from a fans perspective


Also like in baseball when a coach would run out arms ablazing and kicking dirt all over home plate for umps to clean it up (symbolic of what they wanted the calls as well)

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