NHL Referee Woes: Tim Peel Curses Canes Again!

From the outside looking in, you can see that Tampa Bay beat the Carolina Hurricanes once again in overtime last night 4-3. From the inside looking out, 31 of 32 teams will agree that a referee’s error probably cost the Hurricanes the game last night.

Is the NHL quick to talk about this blunder? Lets see, NHL.com says it best “Can’t Miss: Stamkos buries No.47 in overtime”. Of course they wouldn’t. The NHL ignores any mistakes that the NHL referees seem to make.

It is extremely frustrating as a fan of a team watching inexcusable calls change the outcome of the game. I am the last person to put any person who is refereeing a game on blast but it has finally boiled over.

Let us go back to the February 8th game of the Carolina Hurricanes at the Anaheim Ducks.


The referee clearly no-called a tripping penalty that should have sent Corey Perry to the box for two minutes in overtime, but instead led to a Corey Perry game winning goal not even ten seconds later because of a referee’s mistake.

Who was the referee in that game you ask? Oh it would be NHL official Tim Peel. Now lets go back to last nights game against Tampa Bay.


The referee in this game you ask? Oh it would once again be NHL official Tim Peel. First of all, the Lightning goalie Mathieu Garon is clearly at least 5 feet in front of the crease. Let us read the NHL rulebook to make this judgement call.

Rule 69 – Interference on the Goalkeeper

If an attacking player has been pushed, shoved, or fouled by a defending player so as to cause him to come into contact with the goalkeeper, such contact will not be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for purposes of this rule, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.

Lucky for us Hurricanes fans, the interference call wasn’t made. They instead ruled it to be a “Roughing” penalty. What does the NHL rulebook say about Roughing penalties?

Rule 51 – Roughing

51.1 Roughing – Roughing is a punching motion with the hand or fist, with or without the glove on the hand, normally directed at the head or face of an opponent.

Roughing is a minor altercation that is not worthy of a major penalty to either participant. (An altercation is a situation involving two players, with at least one to be penalized).

Penalties are all about the intent. In the video of the penalty Sutter clearly showed he was attempting to stop, as he was on the edge of his blades attempting to stop.

Stamkos who was behind him was going slightly faster and had an arm on Sutter. Whether Stamkos was pushing or pulling Sutter, at that speed it is nearly impossible to come to a full stop at the drop of a dime, especially with somebody else behind you giving you a slight nudge.

Hurricanes announcer John Forslund summed it up best “Sutter leaps to avoid the goalie, what are you supposed to do?”

The thing that angers me the most as a fan though is that this is a game changing play. You blow the whistle with the intent of calling a penalty on Sutter, why do you not call a meeting together with the referees to discuss the play at hand and make sure you are making the right call?

Clearly on tape, you can see that the right call was not made, and once again the NHL excuses the fact that their own referees could have cost points off of the standings for another team once again. Inexcusable.

You can follow Sterling Eby on Twitter @TheSterlo

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  • B.J. Hinson

    Find a way to use this and garner support for it as a petition if you wish or find it worthwhile………We, the fans of the NHL, love our sport. We also understand it to be the most aggressive, fastest moving competition in all the North American sports, and governed by sets of rules open to all kinds of interpretations, but interpretations that in any form, must be maintained in a consistent and fair manner. Fans of any sport, accept that officiating is part of the human element within the competitive context, and also accept that calls made within games, will at many times go against what any individual or fan base would like to see transpire. That is part of the sporting process, but fairness in the interpretation of rules, and consistency from period to period, game to game, and season to season, is inherent for the industry as a whole, to be able to maintain its credibility to the sporting public at large.

    Proper levels of officiating, whether it be hockey or any other sport demand that it be done in such a way, that the players and coaches are the ones who decide the outcome of games and seasons, and that the officiating be the judge of maintaining the fair and balanced interpretation of rules. Sadly the fact is, within your league, the officials have taken on a far more prominent and deciding profile, and this intrusive nature of their actions, or inactions in many instances, is obstructive to the flow and natural excitement inherent to the game itself. Day after day, night after night, fans of the NHL watch as interpretations, covering the entire spectrum of credibility, are practiced with little consistency from one game to the next, one period to the next, even one market to the next, and it is taking away from the overall product as a whole, and fans deserve a better effort on your part, or at the very least a public disclosure of your endeavor to remedy these maladies. A one line response from Gary Bettman whenever confronted as such, though politically correct, is totally insufficient and smacks of you thumbing your nose at legitimate supporters of your sport, continent wide. WE DO NOT ACCEPT THIS half hearted and insulated approach to concerns of ours that are as real to us as ticket and merchandise prices.

    As with all the other major sports, technology is being used to help in maintaining the fair and balanced playing field. These measures are not meant as an embarrassment to the individuals given the difficult proposition of judging the fast and furious nature of athletic competition, but rather as a tool that can be used and as an enhancement to the overall product as it exists on the field. Coaches are allowed to challenge in certain situations a difficult on field situation, and are penalized as such when their judgment proves to be wrong. It is proven in other sports that 90-95% of the calls officials make are correct upon review, and we as fans can accept that occurrence of human error, as part of the equation, but your efficiency at getting the right call and interpretation is way below that average, and this is why we wish to voice our displeasure at your seeming inaction, via the uses of technology, accountability to the public, and an open door policy regarding officiating issues.

    Fans are tired of spending hard earned money in a discriminate manner, only to have the arbitrary decisions of individuals, who granted have a difficult job, decide the outcomes of games and seasons, and the ability of organizations to build and secure long term support due to the credibility of their on ice product as a whole. To continue to keep your head in the sand regarding this monumental issue, only gives credence to the sporting public that refuses to recognize your and our sport as legitimate. And it is our sport, for without our continued support, your usefulness is diminished, and may go the way of other industries in a troubled economic world. Time to give us something to be proud of, without having to defend the credibility of the sport we love. And we the hockey public deserve a forthright and public display of your intentions to rectify the intrusiveness into the game that officiating has become at the NHL level.


    • Sterling Eby

      I could not have said it any better than you just did!

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  • Brian

    Side note – this was also Mr. Peel’s first game back after the Anaheim game.