Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

NHL ref caught saying exactly what we’ve always suspected

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Ring ring!
Photo: Getty Images

Update (9:40 AM EDT): Just minutes after this story’s publication, the league announced that Tim Peel “no longer will be working NHL games now or in the future.” Womp womp.

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In case you’ve always suspected that NHL refs didn’t just call the games in front of them purely on what they see as the play goes on, Tim Peel confirmed all your suspicions last night.

Caught briefly on a hot mic, Peel offered this insight into the mind of a middling NHL referee: “It wasn’t much, but I wanted to get a fucking penalty against Nashville early in the...”

It should be stated that Peel has been one of the bigger clods reffing NHL games for years. He has routinely missed out on playoff assignments because of his bone-headed handling of games during the regular season. He also got himself suspended for going drinking with a blogger (at the time), Greg Wyshynski, six years ago. By any normal standard, the league would have Jazzy Jeff’d him off their referee roster years ago due to his poor performance that hasn’t resulted in grades high enough to work the playoffs.

But to think that Peel is the only ref working a “make-up” call system would be folly. We’ve all seen it. Team A gets three straight power plays, and you know that Team B will get the next one as soon as anyone on Team A belches or comes within 10 feet of an opponent. It shouldn’t be that way, because refs should just call the penalties that are in front of them instead of looking for them to “even out” a game.

This falls into the same annoying folder of “letting the players play.” When a penalty occurs, the players have decided. They’ve decided that one beat the other so badly the second they had to do something illegal to erase that advantage. The players have decided that Team A should get a power play or free throw or 10 yards or whatever.

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Peel let it out that the refs don’t call it that way. They’re just looking to keep things even. Or at least he does, which is assuredly how the league will try to frame this with their “investigation.” Peel is primed for an aggressive bus-tossing from the league. If the Players Union were on its toes, this is where they could get some major changes, because you can be sure the guys on the ice contesting these games are sick of this shit. But the union can’t really keep their members from trying to maim each other on the ice.

We can't be too careful. Two guys in an airport...talking? It's a little fishy.