Writen for The Health ‘n Hockey Community
Let me preface this. I am not, and have never been a Montreal Canadiens fan. Like a lot of sports fans, I suppose I followed the cheering of my Dad, who preferred the Red Wings, Blackhawks, Rangers and Bruins. And my brother was a huge Habs fan, so I could not root for them.
Anyway, there used to be an old joke about the Habs games and the biased way they used to name the traditional three stars after the game. The punch line of the joke was that they named Captain Yvon Courneyer first star for a goal and an assist, Ken Dryden the second star for making thirty-two saves, and reluctantly named Bobby Orr the third star for his two goals and five assists in the Bruins 8-2 victory.
Arguably at that time, in the early to mid-seventies, Montreal was far and away the best team in the NHL. And as outlandish as the joke was, that was the perception of many on the absurd bias of the Montreal officials at the time. No matter the score, the Canadiens would receive a minimum of two stars and if they won, all three stars would be theirs. This appeared regardless of the score.
And, of course, in the more fair and sophisticated arenas, the naming of the three stars after a game would be fair and based on the play of the two teams. In short, if one team won by a goal or two they would probably end up with two stars. If a team got blown out, they would not receive any stars, regardless if that team was the home team or not.
Of course, there was the odd exception. If a goalie stood on his head and was fabulous, they could earn an extra star - even in a loss. Even in a blowout like 8-4, the losing team may still earn a star if one player earned three or more points.
The point is, that it used to be pretty consistent that in the great majority of arenas, the three stars was based on the actual game, and not on the home bias of the arena official.
Today that trend seems to have changed. In the results of recent games watched, there appeared to be eight close games (games decided by two goals or less. In five of those games, all three stars went to the winning home team.
Now I admit, I did not see those games. The one I did see was the Canucks/Oilers game. That was also close and the winning team was awarded only two of the three stars.
But the trend has been going on much of this year. And it makes me wonder why. Are the off-ice officials so uneducated in the game that they only look at the winner and determine the stars? Or, are they so focused on the home team that any excuse will do to be a "homer".
All I know is that sports, like everything else has changed. I am not sure this is a trend for the better. I certainly don't like it.