The NHL announced its officiating group for the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Monday, and much to my expected chagrin Tim Peel isn’t on it.
After (finally) speaking with some NHL officials at the Stadium Series in Santa Clara about my night out with Tim Peel and his subsequent suspension, it was fairly obvious that further punishment was probably in the cards for him, and losing his playoff assignment completely – he’s not even an alternate – would seem like a punishment, no?
The NHL wouldn't confirm that Tim's well-documented Tequila Shot of Peace was the catalyst for the demotion when I spoke to them on Monday.
But here’s my problem with yanking Tim Peel off the playoff beat, if you’re NHL director of officiating Stephan Walkom:
The constant pushback on criticism of Peel, from this corner and countless others, is that he’s a good official. No, not good, one of the NHL’s better officials. His assignments never really indicated that – Peel has never officiated a championship round in the NHL – but that was the response to years of criticism.
So going off that premise, if the NHL is actually holding back a veteran official from the most important point of the season to double-down on punishment for an off-ice embarrassment -- a harmless one on which the NHL keeps intensifying the spotlight -- that doesn’t really seem productive for anyone involved.
But if the NHL doesn’t actually see Peel as one of its better officials, and might use this whole situation as cover to supersede the assignments his seniority requires … well, like I've said, I think Tim Peel’s a really good dude, but I won’t miss the fried hash of his goalie interference calls in the postseason.
Meanwhile, I'm just glad the NHL keep the postseason for only its most upstanding on-ice officials. And by that I mean I hope linesman Steve Miller gets a chance to add another Stanley Cup winning puck to his collection ...
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