Hockey blogging czar Greg Wyshynski posted an article last Friday about a meeting with NHL referee Tim Peel at Yahoo’s Puck Daddy. Wyshynski has been a noted critic of Peel and his officiating over the years. As Puck Daddy tells it, Peel requested a meeting to clear the air and get in touch personally. The story goes like many others where someone meets their harshest critic – the two meet at a local establishment for a drink, come to a common level of understanding and respect – and there’s a promise to still hold Peel to account but recognize his humanity. All good, right?
Well, not so much. According to 98.5 Sports in Montreal, the NHL suspended Peel. For what exactly? The report doesn’t make it clear, at least according to the rough Google translate version. Peel met Wyshynski in New York between games in Washington and New Jersey. Peel did miss the game in New Jersey, but he was back working Saturday in New York for Hurricanes-Rangers. The report says the referee was “suspended indefinitely” (and also calls Wyshynski a fan) but that doesn’t seem to be the case. So obviously there are some factual inconsistencies here. Wyshynski bashed the outlet on Twitter Tuesday morning for the inaccuracies.
So, as I said last night, @985Sports blew the story. Good to know Ron Fournier reports news about as well as he ref'd NHL games.
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) February 3, 2015
Could the NHL really have suspended Peel for posing for a picture with Wyshynski? For having an adult beverage? Did they see what their players were doing at the All-Star Game?!?!
It seems more likely… and this is just a best guess and intuition… that the NHL wasn’t too fond of Peel opening up about the relationship between the referees and league office and sat him for a game. It’s not a good look for the league that referees are only given two shirts and are responsible for washing them both in every city. Further, the league probably would rather not have certain emphases given to their refs aired and discussed in public. And most of all, the league really doesn’t want to see refs publicly comment and validate sentences like this one from Wysh, “In talking to Peel, you start to see a pattern: The NHL asks its officials to manage the game a certain way, and they have to do it.”
So let this be a lesson to anyone in sports, if it wasn’t clear already, be very careful going out for a drink with a blogger.