What IS interesting, not to mention unexpected, is that some referees remained remarkably consistent in the high average of minor penalties called on Sidney. There are four referees in particular (Spada, Hasenfratz, Walsh and O'Halloran) who have refereed games where Crosby has been heavily penalized.
Those four accounted for 21% of Sidney's penalties in 05-06 while having a part in 15% of his games. For 06-07, they accounted for 28% while participating in just 12% of games.
Does this mean there's a grudge? Does this mean it's a complete coincidence? I'm guessing it some of both. I think that referees are human, and would be hard-pressed to put aside personal likes and dislikes. It certainly seems that when Sid's penalties dropped sharply in 06-07 that these four would rise to the top in their consistency. On the flip side, someone had to be the top and be the most consistent. It could just be chance.
At the very least, when you're watching the Pens this year and one of these four guys is wearing the striped shirt, pay a little more attention to see how they interact with Sid.
The chart shows the ref, the number of games in 06-07, the average number of minor penalties in 06-07, the same data for 05-06 and the percentage change from 05-06 to 06-07. I didn't include anyone that didn't handle at least 4 games in 06-07.
Here's the chart so you can see for yourself:
|Ref||06 Games||06 Avg||05 Games||05 Avg||% change|
|Don Van Massenhoven||5||0.2||6||0.67||-70%|
Here are the previous parts in the series:
Part 1 - PIM
Part 2 - PIM Difference
Part 3 - PIM vs Opponent PIM
Part 4 - Offense
Part 5 - Sidney Crosby