NHL referee Tim Peel met with his fiercest critic Thursday night in New York City: Yahoo Sports NHL blog Puck Daddy's editor-in-chief Greg Wyshynski. Wyshynski feels that Peel is the one of (if not the) worst referees in the NHL, and has written a series of articles on calls he believes Peel blew with titles like "Continuing adventures of Tim Peel, Terrible NHL Referee." According to Wyshynski's write-up of the summit, it was Peel who requested the get together:
It was at that point, he tells me, when he realized that there was this permanent stigma attached to his name; that when his two young children are old enough, that they'll search out their dad on the Internet and this is what they'll find.
I know this was part of the message he wanted to convey to me, having tried to set up a meeting on a few previous occasions. A chance to see the human behind the zebra sweater, clear the air, all that. And I appreciated the effort.
In an era where sports leagues routinely refuse to make referees available for questioning and fine athletes for criticizing their decisions, Wyshynski and Peel's conversation is a remarkably candid insight into how the NHL is officiated. But as you might expect, the league isn't very happy with one of their referees spilling his guts out over shots at a bar with a writer. According to Montreal's 98.5 Sports, Peel was suspended for Friday night's matchup between the Penguins and Devils because of the meeting.
Now, as Sporting News points out, there is still some confusion. The 98.5 Sports article says Peel was suspended "indefinitely," but he refereed Saturday night's Hurricanes-Rangers game, making it seem much more likely that it was only a one-game suspension. It also called Wyshynski a fan, not a blogger, reporter, writer, or whatever term we're using these days.
The reason for the suspension, according to 98.5 Sports, is the above photo of Peel taking a shot with Wyshynski that was in the article. But Peel had an off-day—it's not like he was drinking right before going onto the ice—and the league couldn't have been happy with some of the things Peel said in the interview. Wyshynski writes about two different plays where Peel acknowledged blowing a call, but his justification was that the NHL asked referees to crack down on certain behaviors, so he felt obligated to make the call. In other words, he blamed the bad calls on the league.
Peel also revealed details about how the league assigns referees—as a veteran ref, Peel often works games with green officials and is tasked with mentoring them—and that they only have two jerseys that are both worn in a game, and therefore they must personally wash them in each new city. These details may seem innocuous, but to sports leagues trying to keep as much information secret so as to prevent another Tim Donaghy-like situation, they're not.
Anyways, Peel had to know what he was getting himself into, and according to Wyshynski, he pushed pretty hard for the write-up that resulted in his suspension:
Photo via Puck Daddy