Category Archives: Where’s Watson?

WW: It’s Been Real

They say all good things must come to an end. In the case of “Where’s Watson?” the end came far too soon.

I didn’t want to believe it when the NHL released the schedule of conference finals officials late last week. It just couldn’t be true.

Referees
Paul Devorski (160)
Eric Furlatt (35)
Dave Jackson (64)
Marc Joannette (64)
Dennis LaRue (45)
Bill McCreary (275)
Dan O’Halloran (72)
Kevin Pollock (91)

Linesmen

Derek Amell (59)
Greg Devorski (108)
Shane Heyer (108)
Brad Lazarowich (174)
Steve Miller (42)
Jean Morin (147)
Pierre Racicot (97)
Jay Sharrers (125)

I momentarily thought about contacting the league to tell them there was a misprint and that they accidentally misspelled “Watson” as “Lazarowich” while inadvertently making Watson a lineman. But I figured out would just wait out this OBVIOUS mistake, and the NHL would correct it later. No dice.

After Game 1 of the WCF? Nope.

Game 1 of the ECF? Negative.

It was at this point that I realized our glorious run here on “Where’s Watson?” had come to an end.

So farewell B-Rad. Enjoy your offseason in Saskatchewan. Get in a little golf. Read some new books. Maybe even indulge in a Timbit or two. But don’t forget to practice those arm raises and wave-offs. We want to see you back at the top of your game next season.

**For those who are curious, the fine officials that were ridiculously inconsistent in Game 1 of the WCF were Bill McCreary and Eric Furlatt, with Greg Devorski and Shane Heyer on the lines. Furlatt: You’re on notice. McCreary: You would be too, but you have a sweet moustache.

And who do we get for Game 2? Paul Devorski and Dennis LaRue will be rocking the orange armbands while Derek Amell and Pierre Racicot work the lines.

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Introducing: Where’s Watson?

watsonpimp

B-Rad’s posse making sure he only skates on clean ice.

If you’re a Detroit fan, it’s a bit of a stressful time right now. The Red Wings are in the midst of the NHL playoffs. The Tigers are getting our hopes up for a great season and we aren’t sure if we are going to be let down. The economy in Detroit is slumping. Times are tough.

In the midst of these trying times, one man has stepped forward as a shining beacon of inconsistency and head-scratching decision making: Brad “B-Rad” Watson.

Look, I am not really COMPLETELY over the whole Game 4, goal “wave off” that Watson messed up, but that is not why I am doing this. Honestly, this segment is just something to break up the regular sports recaps and commentary with some humor, while showing people everywhere that mistakes aren’t just limited to paperwork and typing. So who better than “B-Watt” to follow?

Here’s how this is going to work: Throughout the remainder of the playoffs (and hopefully into next season!), we will monitor every game to see when our boy Brad gets the whistle and stripes. Then I’ll tell you about it, about how well/not well he did, and maybe some other random tidbit or something along those lines. If we get really lucky, I might even be able to drop some advance intelligence on what games Watson is scheduled to officiate, in which case we can potentially rally some local supporters to show up and give him some love.

So let’s set our baseline: We obviously ALL know what happened in Game 4 of Detroit and Anaheim, but is that the TRUE beginning of B-Rad’s travails? NSFMF. Let’s go back to Game 2 of the Vancouver/Chicago Western semifinal.

B-Rad and his super sidekick Tim “Banana” Peel are calling the game, and ring up Kevin Bieksa for hooking Dustin Byfuglien. The call was questionable at best, and eventually turned into a two-man advantage, on which Chicago scored to tie the game en route to an eventual win. It was at this point that the head-scratching began. Let’s call it the “What Was He Thinking (WWHT)” factor.

WWHT streak: 1 game.

We all know what happened next.

(CAPTION INFORMATION)
Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen watch as a linesman calls no goal after a shot in the third period      Photos are of the Detroit Red Wings vs. the Anaheim Duckis in game three of round two of the Stanley Cup playoffs at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA., May 5, 2009.    (David Guralnick / The Detroit News)

WWHT streak: 2,000,000 games.

Obviously, the uproar over B-Rad’s quality of judgment reached the level of, oh I don’t know, a dull roar, but just as quickly it subsided, as it always tends to do when calls like this are made

Until…

May 8, 2009: Penguins vs. Capitals, Game 4, Eastern Conference Semifinal

The Participants: Our hero, B-Rad, and his trusty sidekick “Banana Boy” Tim Peel

The Line:

  • Capitals called for six penalties (2 Cross Checking, 2 Tripping, 1 Interference, 1 Holding)
  • Penguins called for four penalties (1 Holding the Stick, 1 Elbowing, 1 Slashing, 1 Cross Checking)

Nothing out of the ordinary here, but…

The Drama:

Alex Ovechkin missing a check and going knee-to-knee with Sergei Gonchar, effectively ending Gonchar’s night and possibly his postseason.

B-Rad/Banana decided two for tripping would suffice.

WHA?!?! WWHT????

Yes, it was a missed check, but c’mon! Ovechkin almost blew out his knee and the best you guys come up with is a tripping call?!?! Give me a break and at least call something like “kneeing”. However, this call, while odd, wasn’t really that bad. Ovi would get no fine or suspension for a play that pretty much was an accident, which is the correct move. However, The Watson/Peel combo once again found themselves in a situation where the crime and punishment didn’t necessarily match up, prompting fans and writers to jump all over the call. With that in mind, B-Rad and Timmay get the WWHT point.

WWHT streak: 3 games

After making his mark in Pittsburgh, our fearless friend packed it up and headed to Boston, where another interesting night would await.

May 10, 2009: Bruins vs. Hurricanes, Game 5, Eastern Conference Semifinal

The Participants: The dynamic duo of B-Rad and Timmay.

The Line:

  • Bruins called for 12 penalties (2 Interference, 1 High Sticking, 2 Cross Checking, 4 Roughing, 1 Hooking, 1 Fighting, 1 Misconduct)
  • Hurricanes called for 17 penalties (1 Holding the Stick, 1 Interference, 2 Slashing, 1 Too Many Men, 4 Roughing, 1 High Sticking, 1 Elbowing, 1 Delaying the Game, 2 Fighting, 1 Cross Checking, 1 Instigator, 1 Game Misconduct)

OK, we all expected a physical game, but this is insane. If you look at the breakdown of the 29 penalties, all but eight were called in the third period. It looks like Watson/Peel decided that, given their recent struggles, the easiest way to handle this situation would be to throw the rule book at the players.

I’m not sure the scorekeeper had enough room on the score sheet for all of the penalties.

In the meantime, the Hurricanes’ Scott Walker cold-cocked Aaron Ward, ending his night and possibly his playoffs. Peel and Watson got this one right, hitting up Walker with all kinds of penalty minutes, but, yet again, the damage was done. Ward, a solid defenseman for Boston, was taken off the ice, and may not see it again for awhile.

The fact is, Watson and Peel waited too long to get the game under control, and now somebody is hurt. Plus, any game where 29 penalties are called isn’t even a game; it’s a fight. WWHT calling 29 penalties? You’re guess is as good as mine.

WWHT streak: 4 games

Well then. Right about now, I bet B-Rad is wishing he could just get a game where the penalty calls are even and he doesn’t have to keep players from getting hurt or have to wave off game tying goals. But that’s what the playoffs are all about, so let’s see how our hero bounces back.

Until next time…

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