NHL ref gets caught on a SCORCHING hot mic sounding proud of handing out a penalty
Sometimes, the amount of flags, fouls and penalties called in the four major sports makes you wonder - do the referees/umps want to be involved in the outcome of games? Judging by this hilarious mic'd up moment from a NHL game Tuesday night, the answer is a resounding yes.
Early in the second period of the Nashville Predators-Detroit Red Wings game, Preds' winger Viktor Arvidsson was called for a tripping penalty. We have no video evidence, but we know that it was a borderline call that could have gone either way. How do we know this for a fact? Because the ref that called the penalty admitted it himself on a SCORCHING hot mic as the game went to commercial.
"It wasn't much but I wanted to get a f------' penalty against Nashville early in the..." says the mystery zebra before the sound cuts off. No, we're not kidding. Listen to the video:
The initial reaction here is that this ref is a piece of you know what, and that's fair. Looking to call penalties on either team in the contest is CHUMP stuff, and it's one of the many reasons fans can't stand how much say the officials have in sports. Watch any NCAA Tournament game this coming weekend and the whistles and subsequent ticky tack foul calls will make you want to pull your hair out. Different sport, yes, but you get the point.
Now, on the other hand, this is a pretty common thing in the NHL, and the three other major pro sports, too. The "makeup" call. When a ref makes a call he or she knows is awful on one team, perhaps he or she will look for a way to redeem it by making a similarly questionable call on the other team at some point. It's almost like one of those unwritten rules everyone—players, coaches, other refs—accepts. It also could be a "game control" thing, i.e., the ref calls an early penalty to set the tone and not allow things to get out of hand.
The key problem with this situation, of course, is the hot mic. Had no one heard this official say what he said, it's a complete non-issue. But to sound proud of handing out a penalty, to say you "wanted" to, is automatically going to rub people the wrong way. Apparently, the NHL is going to "look into" the incident, which is usually code for "we'll handle it internally and quietly and everyone will probably forget about it in 24 hours anyway." However it's handled, it's an awesome mic'd up moment we all wish we could get more of in sports. The players, coaches and refs, though, might say different.
UPDATE: The NHL did indeed "look into" the incident, and quickly made a statement saying that referee Tim Peel would no longer be working NHL games: