Officiating figures to be front and center when Red Wings, Predators play again Thursday

Detroit News

Eyes likely will be on the officiating as much as the game Thursday night between the Red Wings and Nashville Predators.

Referee Tim Peel was caught on a microphone during Tuesday’s Red Wings-Predators game saying he “wanted” to call a penalty on the Predators. He was removed by the NHL on Wednesday from officiating future games.

Reached by The Detroit News on Thursday morning, Peel said “this is a private and personal matter” and declined an interview request.

Peel was set to retire in April 24, according to Canadian sports network TSN.

Peel called Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson for tripping at 4:56 of the second period, a call that caught the attention of broadcasters and people on social media.

Caught on a microphone, Peel said, “it wasn’t much but I wanted to get a (expletive) penalty against Nashville early in the …” as the audio cut out.

Colin Campbell, NHL senior executive vice president of hockey operations, said Wednesday Peel, 54, no longer will be working NHL games now or in the future.

“Nothing is more important than ensuring the integrity of our game,” said Campbell in a statement. “Tim Peel’s conduct is in direct contradiction to the adherence to that cornerstone principle that we demand of our officials and that our fans, players, coaches and all those associated with our game expect and deserve. There is no justification for his comments, no matter the context or his intention, and the National Hockey League will take any and all steps necessary to protect the integrity our game.”

Peel joined the NHL Officials’ Association in 1995, officiating his first game four years after.

Peel had officiated 1,343 games prior to the start of this season, including 90 playoff games.

Peel officiated during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The Wings and Predators are scheduled to have Zoom chats with the media following Thursday’s morning skates.

Both teams were off Wednesday.

Twitter: @tkulfan

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