Former Stanley Cup Champion Calls Out NHL Referees

Published December 24, 2023 at 11:56 PM
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Buffalo Sabres defenseman Erik Johnson has recently stirred up the hockey world by pointing fingers at NHL referees for their questionable conduct during a recent game against the Rangers. Johnson expressed his frustration, specifically highlighting what he considered an unjust instigator penalty.

In a surprising twist, Johnson revealed that the penalty stemmed from complaints by the Sabres' bench in an entirely different period, dubbing it a fixed 'make-up call.' According to Johnson, the referee informed the Sabres' bench that he handed out the instigator penalty because of their excessive complaints in the first period.

In his own words, Johnson stated,
"I don't know if there's a gray area with the instigator or what have you, but that's not an instigator. That's two willing combatants that both accept a fight after what I thought was a hit on my partner, a young player in a vulnerable spot, and he needed to answer the bell for that. I thought it was ridiculous. I'd like to say more, even if I get fined. I really don't care. I thought it was BS."

The referees in question during this game were Jake Brenk and Carter Sandlak. Johnson's comments shine a revealing light on an incident that raises serious questions about the integrity of officiating in the NHL, suggesting that the instigator penalty may have been influenced by the Sabres' bench complaints.


This brewing controversy adds an intriguing layer to the game, creating anticipation for how the NHL will respond to Johnson's bold accusations against the referees. The climax of this narrative is eagerly awaited, promising to impact the ongoing discourse surrounding the game and the league's commitment to fair play.

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Former Stanley Cup Champion Calls Out NHL Referees

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