Referee who officiated Leafs/Bruins Game 7 facing serious allegations

Ryan Smitheram
May 11, 2024  (11:58)

Kelly Sutherland
Photo credit: Scouring the Refs

Years after Tim Peel was caught looking for a penalty on Nashville, another official is coming under fire for allegations of game management and match-fixing. Kelly Sutherland is now facing allegations of bias towards the Vancouver Canucks.

As we know, there is a different standard of penalty calling in the playoffs. Things that are often called in the regular season are let go in the playoffs to increase the intensity. That also leads to fans and players having no idea what is and isn't allowed and we often see series and games decided by a call or non-call, which was evident in the series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins where Kelly Sutherland was called upon to ref Game 7.
While the Leafs struggled on the power play, they were at the mercy of Sutherland, who has reffed multiple Game 7's of the Leafs in recent years, including Game 7 against Boston in this year's playoffs. Leaf fans were irate over a few missed calls in a very close Game 7, which favoured Boston, and last night, Canucks fans pointed out his bias towards the Oilers as well.
"Everyone has heard stories about Sutherland's opinion about the Canucks because he doesn't hide it during the off-season.

When Tony G talks about the NHL trying to "manage" series this is what he means.

Drai is hurt. McDavid is invisible so Sutherland gets sent in."

"Canucks 0-7-1 in the last 8 games reffed by Sutherland.

This includes the Vegas game last month where he called the high stick on [Nikita] Zadorov that didn't connect with Pietrangelo at all, an objectively missed call.

...2-7-1 same s**t it's bad"

After a loss last night, the Canucks are now 2-7-2 in their last 9 games officiated by Sutherland. Needless to say, there are some concerning questions being asked by Leafs and Canucks fans about Sutherland.

Sutherland has been around the block, and I'm sure it's not the first time he's been accused of trying to manage games. However, when trends and habits begin to show, there may be some cause for concern.

As of right now, these allegations have not led to any sort of an investigation, internally or externally, but you have to wonder whether this whole situation will lead to increased scrutiny for officials moving forward.