Ref to work despite controversy

CHICAGO -- Stephen Walkom is one of eight NHL referees who will officiate the conference finals set to begin this weekend between the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings, as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins.

It's not known if Walkom will officiate games between the Hawks and Kings.

Walkom called controversial coincidental roughing penalties on the Hawks' Brandon Saad and the Detroit Red Wings' Kyle Quincey late in the third period of Chicago's Game 7 overtime victory on Wednesday night. As he was calling the play dead, Hawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson was scoring what was thought to be the go-ahead goal.

The NHL confirmed Walkom did signal play to stop before Hjalmarsson scored, allowing the game to remain tied 1-1. Brent Seabrook won the game for the Hawks in overtime.

According to SportsNet.ca, Marc Joanette, Eric Furlatt, Wes McCauley, Dan O'Halloran, Dan O'Rourke, Chris Rooney and Brad Watson will also referee games in the conference finals.

Walkom is the former director of officiating who was also on the ice in Game 3 of the Hawks' quarterfinal series with the Phoenix Coyotes last season. Walkom and referee Ian Walsh failed to call a penalty on Coyotes forward Raffi Torres after Torres delivered a high hit on Hawks winger Marian Hossa. Hossa missed the rest of the series while Torres was subsequently suspended for the rest of the postseason.

Walkom was also part of the rotation of referees that officiated the 2010 Stanley Cup finals, including Game 6. The Hawks won that game over the Philadelphia Flyers in overtime but the puck from the Cup-winning goal, shot by Patrick Kane, has never been recovered. Walkom also worked the Stanley Cup finals in 2011.