Fan Fuel: Diving into O’Rourke vs. Karlsson


By now, you’ve probably heard of the “diver” moniker attributed by NHL referee Dan O’Rourke to the Ottawa Senators’ all-star defenceman Erik Karlsson. If not, Ian Mendes wrote a really good column on it.

Being called a diver is a disturbing accusation, even more so when it comes from one of the officials of the game; someone entrusted to be fair and impartial for all NHL clubs.

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An interesting fact: the game O’Rourke called Karlsson a diver was only O’Rourke’s second Sens game of the year. In the first game, November 27, 2011, versus the Carolina Hurricanes, Karlsson drew one penalty, a slash which was called against Jeff Skinner.

Since O’Rourke accused Karlsson of being a diver, he’s reffed two more Sens games, each of them losses for Ottawa.

I thought I’d take a look at O’Rourke’s officiating record against the Sens this year and compare it to the league-wide officiating record.

Here’s how it breaks down:

Ottawa Senators League-Wide Officiating Record (53 Games):

Penalty Kills – 211
Power Plays – 179


Penalty Kills – 3.98 per game
Power Plays – 3.37 per game

That seems pretty normal. Sure, Ottawa is the most penalized team in the league (the team with the most penalty kills anyway) but they get their share of power plays as well.

Now let’s look at Dan O’Rourke reffed games.

Dan O’Rourke Officiating Record Against Ottawa (Four games):

Penalty Kills – 20
Power Plays – 11


Penalty Kills – 5 per game
Power Plays – 2.2 per game

That’s a pretty big difference between the league-wide and the solely O’Rourke reffed games.

That’s about 20% more time spent in the box under O’Rourke and about 35% less time spent on the power play.

If I were Bryan Murray or Eugene Melnyk, I’d be making a phone call to the league right about now.

How about you?

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