BRAMPTON, Ont. – Coach Stan Butler of the Brampton Battalion is set to serve the final two games of an eight-game suspension while the Troops play teams whose bench bosses have voiced their own criticism in recent days of Ontario Hockey League on- and off-ice officials.
Butler received the suspension for a two-part tirade against referee Mike Marley after a 2-1 victory Jan. 22 over the visiting Sudbury Wolves. Marley hasn’t worked since that game.
The Battalion hosts the Owen Sound Attack at 7 p.m. Thursday before visiting the Kitchener Rangers on Friday night. Butler is eligible to return to the bench at 2 p.m. Sunday when the Peterborough Petes invade Brampton.
Coaches Greg Ireland of the Attack and Steve Spott of the Rangers both have taken issue with officiating in the last week.
More recently, Spott was so incensed during a 4-1 home-ice loss Sunday to the Saginaw Spirit that he confronted an OHL officiating supervisor in the second intermission.
“I went up after the second period,” Spott told the Waterloo Region newspaper The Record. “If there is a fine coming for that, so be it.”
Kitchener’s Andrew Crescenzi took a first-period shot that was ruled, upon an inconclusive video review, to have rolled along the goal line without entering the net before defender Steven Strong swept it away.
In the second period, referee Jason Goldenberg signaled a goal by the Rangers’ Cory Genovese before negating it and calling incidental goaltender interference against Kitchener’s Brent Pedersen.
Spott told The Record that Goldenberg admitted in a talk at the Kitchener bench to having erred.
“I had a referee wave a goal; he then waves it off and second-guesses himself. It’s unacceptable.
“The questions are what are the ramifications to him? I would love to know.
“We can contact the league office but where does it go from there? We don’t know. There isn’t a manager in this league who knows.”
The other referee was Joe Monette, who partnered Marley in the game that led to Butler’s suspension.
Ireland had issues with referees Korey Bannerman and Scott Ferguson as well as video goal judge John McCutcheon last Friday night, when the Attack fell 6-5 in overtime to the visiting Windsor Spitfires.
Windsor’s Zack MacQueen scored on the power play 44 seconds into the extra period, 20 seconds after a boarding penalty was assessed to Owen Sound’s Mike Halmo.
“Once again we had a penalty at the end of the game that we didn’t deserve,” Ireland told the Owen Sound newspaper, The Sun Times. “I’m the first one to say when we’re undisciplined but I think we’ve done a really good job in the last week and a half since I brought the hammer down. I just wish our guys would get rewarded for it.”
That hope has been uttered for years by Butler, whose Battalion historically has been among the league’s least-penalized teams.
Ireland, who considered the refs to have blown a third-period delay-of-game call against Windsor for lofting the puck into the stands, an infraction that would have given the Attack a two-man advantage, also was upset about McCutcheon’s ruling of a goal on a Nick Czinder shot that hit the crossbar. The Sun Times reported that video review never showed the puck in the net.
“It hit the crossbar and went straight out,” Ireland was quoted as saying. “If that guy has the same angle as us, I don’t understand what he sees.”
The Battalion expected to have right winger Philip Lane and defenceman Zach Bell in the lineup against Owen Sound. Lane has missed eight games since suffering a concussion in a 3-0 home-ice win Jan. 19 over the Plymouth Whalers, while Bell has sat out four games since being checked into the boards Jan. 28 in a 3-2 victory over the host Oshawa Generals.
“Obviously, anytime you get two of your better players back, it provides a boost to the lineup, but you have to understand that these guys have missed a few games and it might take them a little while to get back into it,” said Butler.
Butler said left winger Alex O’Neil is to undergo shoulder surgery March 6 to repair damage done in a fight with Emerson Clark in the Oshawa game.
That game is the most recent win for the Troops, who have been beset by the flu bug in recent weeks and are on a four-game losing streak, matching a season high set Nov. 24 to Dec. 2.