Last night, during Detroit’s 2-0 loss to the Nashville Predators, referee Tim Peel called a tripping penalty against Nashville’s Viktor Arvidsson that replay showed was... not a good call.
Later, a hot mic caught Peel admitting to what everybody has always expected about NHL Refs:
Maybe if you're a mic'd up ref, you shouldn't express how you wanted to call a penalty against a team earlier in the game, changing how you ref the rest of the game.— Matt Best (@bestofmatt) March 24, 2021
"It wasn't much but I wanted to get a fuckin' penalty against Nashville early in the..."#Preds #LGRW pic.twitter.com/6fZImkdqLr
That’s Peel’s voice on hot mic admitting he was just looking to call a penalty on Nashville. This was the first penalty against the Preds of the game.
Today the NHL has responded:
“Nothing is more important than ensuring the integrity of our game,” Campbell said. “Tim Peel’s conduct is in direct contradiction to the adherence to that cornerstone principle that we demand of our officials and that our fans, players, coaches and all those associated with our game expect and deserve. There is no justification for his comments, no matter the context or his intention, and the National Hockey League will take any and all steps necessary to protect the integrity our game.”
Of course, Tim Peel was one month away from his NHL retirement, so this is basically a suspension that the league gets to add the semantic force of “now or in the future” to.
Peel is the veteran of more than 1,400 NHL regular season and playoff games. He worked the Sochi Olympics and was also on ice for the 2009 Winter Classic between the Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks.
Peel already had a reputation, which for NHL referees is not a good thing.
In the end, it’s probably lucky for the league that Detroit didn’t come back to win that game and that the person who did this was already retiring. It allows them to dress up the punishment without forcing them to address the concept that it’s just about the worst kept secret in hockey that this is how referees operate.
[Update: for a great distinction made]
Key distinction: Tim Peel was not fired, he was "removed permanently from working games."— Gregory Balloch (@GregBalloch) March 24, 2021
He's still getting paid. He'll still get his pension when he retires, which was apparently next month anyway.