Monday, 2 February 2015

Slap On The Wrist

Because I work when it airs, I rarely get a chance to listen to Marek vs. Wyshynski as it airs. I do listen to the podcast, though, and I have to say that I enjoy the vast majority of conversations that these two have. Both are well-educated in the sport of hockey, and both do a fantastic job of conveying their points. Kudos to Jeff Marek and Greg Wyshynski on their success as broadcasters and podcasters, and I really hope they continue down the avenue of success. They're a couple of hard-working individuals who deserve a little recognition.

However, I'm not sure that Mr. Wyshynski is happy about the recognition he's receiving over his latest interview. If you're a reader of his Puck Daddy blog or listened to the podcast today, you are probably aware that Wyshynski had, at one time, no love lost for NHL referee Tim Peel. He's written a couple of articles with the creative titles of Continuing adventures of Tim Peel, Terrible NHL Referee and Further adventures of Tim Peel, terrible NHL referee. Needless to say, they don't paint Tim Peel in the best of light as a referee despite him being a full-time NHL official since 1999. Wyshynski has repeatedly called him out, so Tim Peel decided to call out Greg Wyshynski, hockey blogger.

Peel invited Wyshynski to meet him on an off-day in New York City for a "hockey summit". That discussion appears to be what got Tim Peel "suspended" from the Penguins-Devils game scheduled for Friday before returning to work on Saturday for the Rangers-Hurricanes game. The details as to why he was suspended for the one game have yet to be revealed, but you would guess that his revelations in the article, released at noon on January 30, didn't do him any favors in the NHL offices.

In the interview, Peel spoke of making a call against Anaheim's Sami Vatenen and stated,
But Peel knows it was a bad call, to the point where he skated up to the Ducks bench and apologized the next time he officiated an Anaheim game. So why make it? Well, because the NHL wanted a crackdown on diving, and with that mandate, he felt compelled to make that call.
Yeah, it's probably not a great idea to roll your employer under the bus for how you use your discretion on the ice. I know that Peel is saying that the NHL wanted a crackdown on embellishment calls - and rightfully so - but calling the game is entirely in the hands of the referee. To have him admit that he apologized to the Ducks' bench for making a call because the NHL wanted him to won't make him the favored child when it comes to playoff assignments this year.

I know an NHL official who I've tried to have on both the radio show and write a column or two here on HBIC. He simply refuses to do it. He has always maintained that his job is to not attract attention to his work unless it's through charitable work, and that he doesn't need the NHL or the NHLOA scorning him for having a conversation about his work. I respect that greatly, and I understand where he's coming from in terms of a keeping-your-job outlook. The guy is one of the most honest workers I've ever met, a hell of a guy, and someone I have a deep respect for based on who he is rather than what he does for a living. In no way do I want to put his livelihood on the line.

However, in this case, Tim Peel sought out Greg Wyshynski. And being a man who is proud of who he is and what he does, he wanted to set the record straight with Greg. As he stated, "when his two young children are old enough, that they'll search out their dad on the Internet and this is what they'll find" - that's actually a great reason to set the record straight, and it should be a lesson to writers, both professional and amateur. We get to sit up in our perch and criticize and commend those that we think deserve it, yet we have no idea who reads our words and how far they reach. What seems like a funny running joke can be, as we heard from Tim Peel, a more serious case where a "permanent stigma attached to his name" could affect future work or employment.

Tim Peel was honest in that he makes mistakes, and he seemingly doesn't shy away from the questions that Greg was asking. Greg admitted on the Marek-vs-Wyshynski podcast today that he was mean in his writing on Puck Daddy, and he worried that Tim Peel was going to sit down with a list of items he would address. It didn't happen. Greg admitted he has no idea how far the Puck Daddy blog reaches, and Jeff Marek feels that it may reach much further than Greg thinks. I tend to agree. If an NHL referee is reading you, you have to know that it has the reach to be read by people in the NHL offices as well. Apparently, it was.

The suspension of Tim Peel? A slap on the wrist. The NHL saying, "Hey, don't do that again, please." Message sent, and message received, I'd assume. Tim Peel went back to work Saturday night, and everything seems to be fine.

I'm not faulting anyone on this. Greg learned about NHL officiating. Tim learned about how one fan thinks the game should be called. The NHL learned that people are social creatures. To find fault in this "social summit" between a credentialed member of the media and a veteran NHL official shows incredible ignorance. You won't find fault here on this blog because it was very interesting to hear how an official sees the game.

It's a view only a select few will ever have.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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