Reader Sandy von Kaldenberg raises an intriguing idea in response to my rant on even-up reffing: since improvements in TV technology have made such officiating shortcomings obvious, why not creat a position for an off-ice official?
I take it Sandy means an official with something akin to the appellate powers granted to video goal judges. This raises the obvious problem of too many game interruptions. But you could pipe an off-ice ref right into the on-ice official’s helmet, restricting his duty to that of a spotter—too many men, guys throwing sucker punches in melees between whistles, that sort of thing. It would be a delicate balance; he’d have to avoid undue distraction. And he would not be somebody to whom coaches can appeal for replays. That would be strictly limited to disputed goals.
But it would provide grounds to pull that stupid second referee off the ice, reducing congestion and putting the primary onus back on the ref at ice level.