NHL fires referee Tim Peel over hot-mic incident

The NHL has fired referee Tim Peel following an investigation into a hot-mic incident during a game between the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night.

The incident occurred as the broadcast was heading to commercial and Peel was caught on a live microphone explaining how he wanted to penalize the Predators to, presumably, create a more even match.

"It wasn't much but I wanted to get a f—in' penalty against Nashville early in the...” and then the poor producer cut it off just as it was getting good.

Assuming that the referee was discussing the most recent penalty, this was regarding a Viktor Arvidsson trip of Red Wings defenseman Jon Merrill just under five minutes into the second period.

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 23: Referee Tim Peel (20) drops the puck for the opening faceoff between Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen (92) and Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin (71) during the NHL game between the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings, held on March 23, 2021, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It is uncertain if it was pure pity laid upon the hopeless Red Wings — the score was only 1-0 in favour of the Predators at that point — or simple ineptitude and the underlying narrative of referees forming the game to their control. No matter the reasoning behind it, it was laid out in crystal clear audio quality that a referee was attempting to play some part in the end result of the game.

After the game, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported that the NHL would be looking into the incident.

Both Nashville and Detroit are wading their way through the season at the bottom of the Central Division, secured in the sixth and eighth spot respectively. No one is really paying attention as these teams are just showcasing players they are about to sell prior to the April 12 trade deadline, so maybe that’s why the referee thought he could get away with it?

Peel, 53, has officiated 1,343 regular-season games in the NHL. He was reportedly set to retire after this season.

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