You hear the complaint, you've made the complaint, and my mother will never forgive Andy Van Hellemond for it. You know what I'm talking about; it's those goddamn homer refs.
In all honesty, you aren't going to find a sport where the refereeing, officiating, judging, etc. isn't criticized. The exception may be Nickelodeon GUTS, possibly, but it's hard to question Mo' with that marvelous British accent.
Note: A great idea for a drinking game is to watch GUTS, pick your "horse" (contestant), and either slam a beer for each loss or do a "beer tower" after each event. The best part is you all end up yelling at children.
Moira Quirk aside, I want to take a brief look at players who either are a.) getting a lot of love from their homer refs, or b.) are getting slammed by homer reffing.
A quick explanation at how I'm doing this. I'm simply taking the player's penalty minutes in away games and expressing it as a percentage of their total penalty minutes this year. Initially, I've broken the players into two categories, forwards and defensemen, but I have a couple of additional categories worth looking at as well. I've set the minimum games played at 10 away games (with the idea that they would have played around 20 games overall).
Tom Pyatt, Canadiens - 8 PIM (8 mPIM)
Andrei Markov, Canadiens - 16 PIM (16 mPIM)
So, outside of these crazy cases, who are our leaders? (Note: total mPIM is included to give an idea of how frequently the player fights)
High % of PIM in Away Games, Forwards
1. Wayne Primeau, Leafs - 93.94% (31 of 33 PIM; 18 mPIM)
2. Pavel Datsyuk, Wings - 87.5% (14 of 16 PIM; 16 mPIM)
High % of PIM in Away Games, Defensemen
3. Tomas Kaberle, Leafs - 90% (18 of 20 PIM; 20 mPIM)
4. Jeff Finger, Leafs - 87.5% (14 of 16 PIM; 6 mPIM) - Note: The Finger's been in two fights?!
As you can see, a curious number of Maple Leafs among these top 5. On the flip side, we also have a good handful of forwards and defensemen with all of their PIM assessed in home games; most prominently, Sami Salo (10 PIM; 10 mPIM) and Jesse Winchester (15 PIM; 10 mPIM). The remainder are likely more anomalous. The "leaders":
Low % of PIM in Away Games, Forwards
2. Michael Frolik, Panthers - 9.76% (4 of 41 PIM; 24 mPIM)
4. David Moss, Flames - 12.5% (2 of 16 PIM; 16 mPIM)
Low % of PIM in Away Games, Defensemen
2. Brian Rafalski, Wings - 14.29% (2 of 14 PIM; 14 mPIM)
3. Mark Stuart, Bruins - 17.02% (8 of 47 PIM; 30 mPIM)
4. Wade Redden, Rangers - 19.05% (4 of 21 PIM; 16 mPIM)
Once again, some interesting recurrences, with Bruin defensemen and Panther forwards getting the short end of the stick this time. One of the things you might notice is the drawback of using percentage to express this; a lot of these players have relatively low PIM totals. So, to get better evidence of a player seeing a major difference in calls home and away, I reset the minimum to include both games played and 50 PIM. At least half of those minutes have to be minors. Now it gets good:
High %, Forwards
1. Eric Staal, Hurricanes - 80.77% (42 of 52 PIM; 32 mPIM)
2. Jarome Iginla, Flames - 78.43% (40 of 51 PIM; 26 mPIM)
3. Ryan Getzlaf, Ducks - 76.47% (52 of 68 PIM; 58 mPIM)
4. Derek Dorsett, Blue Jackets - 76.39% (55 of 72 PIM; 42 mPIM)
5. Todd Bertuzzi, Wings - 67.65% (46 of 68 PIM; 58 mPIM)
High %, Defensemen
1. John Erskine, Capitals - 73.33% (44 of 60 PIM; 30 mPIM)
2. Bryan McCabe, Panthers - 73.13% (49 of 67 PIM; 52 mPIM)
3. Joni Pitkanen, Hurricanes - 69.7% (46 of 66 PIM; 66 mPIM)
Low %, Forwards
1. Mike Knuble, Capitals - 22.64% (12 of 53 PIM; 38 mPIM)
2. Rene Bourque, Flames - 25% (19 of 76 PIM; 66 mPIM)
5. Ethan Moreau, Oilers - 39.29% (22 of 56 PIM; 36 mPIM)
Low %, Defensemen
1. Zdeno Chara, Bruins - 30.56% (22 of 72 PIM; 52 mPIM)
2. Jim Vandermeer, Coyotes - 33.93% (19 of 56 PIM; 36 mPIM)
4. Erik Johnson, Blues - 35% (21 of 60 PIM; 40 mPIM)
5. Victor Hedman, Lightning - 36.36% (24 of 66 PIM; 56 mPIM)
A lot of fun conclusions to be had here. Star forwards (and Derek Dorsett?) seem to get the "star treatment" at home, as Staal, Iginla, and Getzlaf have to get their time in the sin bin while traveling. On the flip side, your hard-nosed forwards tend to get highlighted at home, but are curiously given the slip on the road. Rookie defensemen Johnson and Hedberg are getting taught the nuances of the game on-the-job, while some tougher veteran D get virtual playgrounds at home. And nobody likes Steve Downie. Well, maybe a couple of Flyers fans.
In general, when you get to the bigger penalty-takers, favoritism towards teams seems to be all over the map. On the other hand, player-types seem to draw trends, and I will be spending a bit more time with these data in the future.
P.S. Original link at BN here