The quality of officiating in this year's Stanley Cup playoffs has drawn plenty of criticism on various platforms from fans, the media, and now player agents.
Jeff Jackson, who represents Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid and whose Wasserman Hockey group represents Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews and others, amplified an argument made by TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button on Wednesday night about the work done by officials, specifically referee Chris Lee who spotted – and did not call – a cross-checking infraction by Islanders defenceman Scott Mayfield on Tampa Bay winger Nikita Kucherov.
"Craig hits the nail on the head here," Jackson tweeted on Thursday morning. "You can't sing & whistle at the same time. NHL has a problem & they pretend it doesn't exist. How many games is Chris Lee going to ref where he pretends to not see a blatant penalty? Why is he still doing games? Another star out!! Wake up!"
Kucherov, who leads the league in postseason scoring (five goals, 27 points), left the game after the first period hit and did not return. He missed the entire regular season due to off-season hip surgery.
"He's [official Chris Lee] looking right at it," Button explained on SportsCentre on Wednesday night. "And he doesn't call it. I don't know if you've tried to sing and whistle at the same time - it's impossible to do. But that's what the NHL is doing right now with the officiating.
"The officials move on in series based on meritocracy. So if that is the case, then what they're saying is, these calls that the referees are making is acceptable. That means that the league is saying that they don't want these penalties called. You can't have it both ways, NHL.
"If the case is about meritocracy, Chris Lee has blown his opportunities. If it's not about that and it's about 'This is the way the game needs to be called and the way we want it to be called,' that's on you, NHL."
Lee has also been widely criticized for his work in Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup semifinal series between the Montreal Canadiens and Vegas Golden Knights.