The referees have been highlighted throughout this year’s playoffs. Many have claimed that the Vegas Golden Knights have gained an advantage with the referees, with some even going so far as claiming that it’s rigged to give Vegas the Cup.
Earlier in the Stanley Cup final, in the crucial Game 4, which Vegas ended up winning 3-2 after a thrilling ending, legendary referee Wes McCauley was under fire for a decision he made in the dying moments of the game.
As Florida tried everything to tie the game up, McCauley blew the whistle after Vegas goalie Adin Hill fell to the ice—but no penalty was called on the play.
There didn’t seem to be a reasonable explanation for McCauley to blow the play dead without calling a penalty, which had fans outraged.
In Game 5, referees once again made a controversial decision, and it may have decided the whole series. Florida started Game 5, a game they had to win to keep the series alive, great. But Vegas scored first, and shortly after, Nicolas Hague scored to make the game 2-0.
But before the puck crossed the line, the referee seemingly had already blown the whistle. It was clear watching it on TV that the whistle had blown, but it still counted, again sparking outrage in the hockey world.
On social media, fans once again accused the NHL of rigging the final.
”I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever seen something so obviously rigged,” a comment with more than 100 likes said.
”Has a referee crew ever won the Conn Smythe, cause it looks like it’s about to happen tonight,” another said.
”Second goal was signed and approved by Gary Bettman,” a third added.
But Sportsnet gave an explanation as to why the goal counted. According to Rule 37, a goal can still be awarded after a whistle if the shot is unaffected by any whistle.
According to Sportsnet, Hague’s shot would still have crossed the line, even if the whistle was blown, and it was therefore deemed a good goal.